Contra Costa County












THOMAS MURPHY.  The success which Thomas Murphy has achieved has been the result of his own unaided efforts, despite all the reverses of fortune, steadily rising to a position of financial importance as well as winning the esteem and confidence of all with whom he has come in contact either in business or social associations.  Born in County Cavan, Ireland, March 24, 1826, he is the son of Henry and Catherine (Shields) Murphy, who removed to America in 1835, when he was but nine years old.  They located in Connecticut where he was reared to manhood, working on a farm until 1860.  In that year he came to California via the Isthmus of Panama and with some capital settled in Napa county, where he rented land for seven years.  In 1867 he came to Contra Costa county, where he has since made his home, purchasing that same year a ranch of one hundred and sixty acres which is still in his possession.  The improvements consisted then of a small house, since which time he has erected new buildings of all descriptions.  In 1868 he had paid off that indebtedness and was able to purchase six hundred and forty acres of swamp land which shortly after advanced considerably in value and was sold in 1872.  In 1873 he bought sixteen hundred acres in Round valley, and in 1883 added six hundred and forty acres of farming land adjoining his home ranch.  In 1891 he again made a purchase of six hundred and thirty-one acres, known as the Emerson ranch, and of this, eighty acres is asparagus land.  Of his lowland he rents six hundred and thirty acres, eighty acres of which is devoted to the cultivation of asparagus and rents for $50 per acre.  The remainder is given over to grain and stock.  When he first entered into agricultural pursuits on this property there were no fences and but limited improvements, while to-day the work which he has put upon the place numbers it among the most valuable properties in the county.  On his home ranch he has a large workhouse fitted out with forge and all facilities for repair work so that much of this kind of work can be done on the ranch.  He raises all of his own horses, mules, cattle and hogs.


The marriage of Mr. Murphy united him with Alice Ross, also a native of County Cavan, Ireland.  She died at the age of sixty-five years, leaving a family of five children, named in order of birth as follows:  William, a rancher; James, an attorney in Washington; Ann, who married A. Emerson, of Mountainview, Cal.; Alice and Hattie, both deceased.  Mr. Murphy being always a stanch[sic] advocate of education, his children received the best of advantages and all became college graduates.  For twenty years he served as school trustee, and built and gave a school house to the district of Eden Plains.  Of the land he purchased at different times he retains two thousand six hundred and eleven acres, all valuable property.  As one of the leading citizens of the county Mr. Murphy has always given liberally of his time and money to the promotion of all enterprises that he considered would advance the educational and moral welfare of his vicinity, and in his declining years is enabled to enjoy the competency he has justly earned.





Transcribed by Donna Toole.

ญญญญSource: History of the State of California & Biographical Record of Coast Counties, California by Prof. J. M. Guinn, A. M., Page 1035. The Chapman Publishing Co., Chicago, 1904.

2016  Donna Toole.







Contra Costa County Biographies

Golden Nugget Library