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Below is a family biography included in Portrait and Biographical Record of Berrien and Cass Counties, Michigan published by Biographical Publishing Company in 1893.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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ERASTUS MURPHY, a practical general agriculturist and leading citizen, now residing upon section 16, Berrien Township, Berrien County, Mich., has spent his entire life in his present locality, and was born upon the well-known Murphy farm July 18, 1842. The father of our subject, Isaac Murphy, was a native Virginian, born in 1811. The paternal grandfather was a Marylander and a farmer by occupation. The family came originally from Wales to America, a direct ancestor settling in Maryland some time prior to the Revolutionary War. The mother of Mr. Murphy was in girlhood Miss Eliza Jenkins, and, born in Ohio in 1815, was a daughter of the Hon. Baldwin Jenkins, a Pennsylvanian by birth but of Welsh descent. He was an early settler of Greene County, Ohio, and, a man of enterprise, journeyed to Michigan in 1822. Settling in Pokagon Township, Cass County, he became one of the very early pioneers of the wilderness, passing his first winter in an Indian wigwam. He remained permanently in Pokagon, became a member of the Legislature, and assisted in framing the constitution of Michigan. He took an active part in politics, and passed away honored by all who knew him. His wife was Mary Hackney, a native of Pennsylvania. The maternal grandfather and grandmother were the parents of five sons and three daughters, three of whom survive, John, Nimrod and Silas.

The paternal grandfather died in Virginia, and his widow, who afterward married in Ross County, Ohio, William Michael, removed with her family to Michigan and settled in the southeastern part of section 16, Berrien Springs. The children of Grandfather Murphy, four sons and two daughters, are now all deceased. By the second marriage the grandmother had two sons, B. H. and Noah. The parents of our subject married in Pokagon Township and settled on section 15, Berrien Township, all then wild land. The father cultivated eighty acres of the homestead and also improved another large farm. He died January 21, 1893, and the mother passed away five days later, January 26, 1893. They were the beloved parents of thirteen children, seven of whom are yet surviving: John J., Erastus, Lydia Williams, Albert, Almeda Suavely, Eliza Becker and Isaac. The father was a prominent man of the township and took an active part in all public matters. He was a liberal giver to all religious and educational enterprises. He was a man of courage, and a soldier in the Sac Indian War in Michigan.

Politically, Mr. Murphy was in early life a Whig, but later became a Republican. His brother George was Township Clerk for some length of time, and also ably occupied the office of Supervisor. For many years the father served most acceptably as Justice of the Peace, and also for some length of time discharged with fidelity the duties of Constable. As delegate, he represented his constituents at various conventions. Isaac Murphy was a thoroughly honest and upright man, opposed to wrong and a lover of peace. He had many true friends, and his death was mourned by all who knew him. His good wife, a devout member of the Dunkard Church, was a sincere Christian woman.

Our subject was reared on the Murphy farm and was educated in the excellent schools of the district. He began the work of a farmer boy at a very early age, and arriving at maturity was united in marriage with Miss Mary Johnson, April 19, 1866. Mrs. Murphy was a daughter of John and Annie (Lybrook) Johnson, and a sister of ex-Sheriff John Johnson and Mrs. W. H, Miller, She was born January 23, 1842, in Berrien Township, and is a lady of worth and culture. Immediately after their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Murphy settled upon the north half of the old Murphy homestead, and remained there until 1874, with the exception of two years, when they resided in Galien Township. From 1874 our subject has made his permanent home upon his present farm of one hundred and twenty acres, ninety acres of which he has brought to a high state of cultivation. In 1884 he erected the handsome residence which cost $1,200, aside from the labor involved and a quantity of material Mr. Murphy had on hand. The commodious barn caused another outlay of $700. The comfort and happiness of his family have ever been matters of paramount importance to Mr. Murphy, who, in 1865, built an attractive residence on the old home farm, costing a large amount of money, as he had to pay eleven cents per pound for nails. Aside from the pursuit of agriculture, our subject finds employment as administrator, and as guardian for various minors has proved himself possessed of superior executive ability and judgment. He has successfully managed several estates intrusted to his care, and given to the work the able fidelity which has characterized the entire labor of his life.

Mr. and Mrs. Murphy are the parents of six children: Ada A., Henry C., Lena Alice, Myron E., Sylvia M. and Cordelia E. The sons and daughters received a good education, and Henry C. is a book-keeper at Indianapolis, Ind. Our subject has been active in the conduct of agricultural societies and is now Secretary of an association at Berrien Springs. He is a Patron of Husbandry at Berrien Centre and has held with efficiency all the offices, and was Lecturer for four or five years. Politically, Mr. Murphy is a Republican, and, prominently connected with local politics, has given excellent service as Township Clerk, Township Constable, Treasurer, School Inspector, and for seventeen years occupied the judicial position of Justice of the Peace, discharging the duties of office to the great satisfaction of his fellow-townsmen. Our subject has also frequently represented his party at conventions, and possesses the esteem and confidence of a host of sincere friends.

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This family biography is one of numerous biographies included in the Portrait and Biographical Record of Berrien and Cass Counties, Michigan published in 1893. 

View additional Berrien County, Michigan family biographies here: Berrien County, Michigan Biographies

View a map of 1911 Berrien County, Michigan here: Berrien County Michigan Map

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