Contra Costa County












The County Paper, a weekly publication of Martinez, Contra Costa county, is one that has attained a wide popularity in local circles within the last few years. Its history dates from 1874, when it was published as the News in Pacheco, Contra Costa county, shortly after its establishment, however, passing under different management, when it was known as the Argus. Later the plant was purchased by the Prohibition party and conducted for a time as the Daily Item, but did not meet with the success which had been anticipated, and it therefore passed into other hands, Hart M. Downer assuming charge of the publication. While in his hands the paper was known as the Democrat. Not meeting with success in the venture Mr. Downer sold the paper to A. Dalton, who conducted it under the name of the Contra Costa News, in 1898. August 1, 1899, Thomas Emmett Murphy became editor and proprietor of the paper and has since brought it to a place of prominence among the newspapers of the county, his wide experience in this line of work having given to him the necessary qualifications for bringing about a success where so many failures had preceded his efforts. The County Paper now has a circulation of eight hundred copies and is devoted principally to county news, its political convictions being strongly Democratic.

            A native of California, Mr. Murphy was born in Vallejo, Solano county, November 26, 1860, a son of James and Catherine (Hickey) Murphy. He was reared to young manhood in his native locality and after completing the course in the Vallejo high school he went to Virginia City, New., where he served an apprenticeship on the Enterprise. After a year in that location her returned to California, working in San Francisco as an employe of Crocker & Co. and Cuberry & Co., until he secured a position as compositor on the Chronicle, and later on the Bulletin and the Alta Californian. In 1886 he went to Los Angeles, accepting a position on the Times, and after one year located in San Diego, where he established a paper known as the Daily Gazette. This was successfully conducted for a year when he disposed of his interests there and returning north to San Francisco was once more employed on the papers in that city, being identified with the Alta Californian and the Bulletin. In 1889 he went to Portland, Ore., where he worked on the News, later spending some time in Seattle, Wash., and Victoria, in the latter city being employed on the Colonist and subsequently establishing there the weekly known as the Victorian. After disposing of his interests in Victoria he went to Port Townsend, where he served as manager on the Daily, and later returned to Portland as proofreader on the Oregonian. For one year he was identified with the interests of that paper, when he went to Salem, Ore., and established a paper which he disposed of soon after, returning then to San Francisco where he accepted a position on the weekly edition of the Examiner as special writer. He retained this position until the summer of 1899 when he went to Martinez and has since devoted his energies to the success of the County Paper.

            The marriage of Mr. Murphy united him with a prominent professional woman of Martinez, Dr. Mary A. Leonard, a native of Michigan and a graduate of the medical department of Northwestern University, of Evanston, Ill. She is now successfully engaged in the practice of her profession in Martinez.




Transcribed By: Cecelia M. Setty.

ญญญญSource: History of the State of California & Biographical Record of Coast Counties, California by Prof. J. M. Guinn, A. M., Page 278. The Chapman Publishing Co., Chicago, 1904.

2014  Cecelia M. Setty.







Contra Costa County Biographies

Golden Nugget Library