Biography of Arthur H. Murphy
Bronx County, NY Biographies





ARTHUR HENRY MURPHY - The ancient and honorable name of Murphy, perhaps one of the most prolific of the patronymics in the world, was given additional lustre through the political, civic and business activities of the late Arthur Henry Murphy, long identified with the growth and prosperity of the Borough of The Bronx by reason of his remarkably successful operations as a real estate promoter and expert of the highest order. His prominence in his chosen circles of various endeavor was not confined wholly to them, since he touched life at so many points that he was considered in a true - and affectionate sense as a man of the whole body of the people, whose champion of many causes of worth and endurance he had been. This naturally gifted, educationally cultured, great hearted and keen minded business man and citizen was thoroughly in love with The Bronx and its people; it was he who had the vision of the necessity and future importance of The Bronx to the expansion of the Metropolis, if the city was to maintain its gigantic stride toward becoming one of the world's greatest if not the greatest cities of the world. He lived to see his vision become a reality, and the ridicule of his friends turned into praise and admiration. His span of life was all too brief but a few years more than a half century yet into it he crowded much more of constructive work of a versatile character than falls to the lot of most men to perform with a similar period. Though he has passed from the realm of the physical, his strong and free spirit still pulsates through the body politic of the beloved borough which he did so much to bring to its high state of importance.

Arthur Henry Murphy traced his ancestry direct to Jeremiah Murphy, famous in his day as a vigorous non conformist, who lived in Cork, and was a brilliant representative of the ancient clan of Murphy. He was a powerful organizer and an acknowledged leader of the great movements of his time. In succeeding generations, and in the earliest days of Irish history, the family of Murphy has never ceased to give of its members to be warriors of note, brilliant statesmen, ecclesiastical leaders, writers and orators, and those who excelled in the professions and in leading occupations. It is with this splendid background that Arthur Henry Murphy was ushered into the world at No. 526 East Thirteenth Street, New York City, November 25, 1868, the son of Arthur H. and Bridget (Malone) Murphy, both parents natives of Ireland. His father, though not blessed with an abundance of this world's goods, gloried in the rich heritage that was his by birthright, descent from the famous Murphy family of Cork. On the maternal side the son, Arthur H. Murphy, possessed alliance with another ancient Irish family which traces its descent from Milesius, King of Spain. The Malones, still a numerous and flourishing family, are from one of the best strains of pure Irish blood, which has told out through the centuries in prominent leaders of the clergy, scholars of marked ability and a piety which is a family trait.

The father of Arthur Henry Murphy, when the son was an infant had determined that he should have an education which should give him a thorough grounding in the principles and practices of life's foundation on which to erect the superstructure of the career he should elect. In accordance with this paternal scheme, the boy was entered as a pupil in the Immaculate Conception Parochial School, New York City, and after he finished his course there he became a student at St. John's University, Ottawa, Canada. Upon his graduation, he returned to New York City, and at once chose for his profession the buying and selling and the promotion of real estate properties and enterprises. He was possessed of the proper acumen to make of him a successful man in that line in which competition was, and is, of the closest type imaginable. But he was shrewd and far seeing, and he beheld in the great Bronx area the possibilities for relieving to a great extent the congestion that was an affliction in the city proper. He began to devote his attention almost exclusively to the development of Bronx real estate, and in the pursuit of his profession he amassed a comfortable fortune for the sustenance of his family.

Business matters did not restrict the theater of operations in which Mr. Murphy moved. He took naturally to politics, and participated actively in State and civic affairs. He rose to be Democratic leader of The Bronx, and in his honor was named the Arthur H. Murphy Association. He never sought political honors for himself, but he was an indefatigable worker in behalf of approved friends for the public service. Political honors did come to him, but they were of the order with which he was content, an alderman of New York City, tax commissioner and State presidential elector; he was also a leading member of the County Democratic Committee. He was a member of the Democratic County Club and the North End Democratic Club. He was affiliated with Bronx Lodge, No. 871, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks; the Fraternal Order of Eagles, and the Improved Order of Red Men. He was a member of the Evawey Golf Club, the Siwanoy Golf Club, and the Oak Ridge Gun Club.

Mr. Murphy passed away February 6, 1922. His funeral services were held in St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church, of which he was a devoted member, and it was there that his funeral services were held, the solemn high mass of requiem having been celebrated by the Rev. Edward J. Farrell, of Buffalo. New York, now deceased, a cousin of Mrs. Murphy. Among those present at the funeral services were the following distinguished men: John H. McCooey, Surrogate John P. Cohalan, Murray Hulbert, president of the Board of Aldermen; City Clerk Michael J. Cruise, Borough President Edward Riegelmann, of Brooklyn; John Sinnott, secretary to Mayor Hylan; Corporation Counsel John P. O'Brien; Judge Francis X. Mancuso, of General Sessions Court, County Clerk Robert L. Moran, members of the tax commission with whom Mr. Murphy has been officially associated, and members of all of The Bronx political associations and many of those of Manhattan and Brooklyn. The honorary pallbearers were: Charles F. Murphy, William C. Bergen, Supreme Court Justices Francis Martin, Richard H. Mitchell, John M. Tierney and Leonard A. Geigerich; City Court Justice Joseph B. Callahan, County Judge Louis D. Gibbs, Surrogate George M. S. Schulz, Municipal Court Judge William E. Morris, District Attorney Edward J. Glennon, Borough President Henry Bruckner, and Registrar Edward Polak. The funeral of Mr. Murphy is notable as having been one of the largest and most elaborate ever witnessed in the county, before or since. Governor Alfred E. Smith, a number of the justices of the State Supreme Court, and many other widely known men in political, judicial or business life were present, and all city and county departments of The Bronx, not excluding the courts, suspended operations throughout the morning while the funeral ceremonies were being enacted. A multitude of people, numbering more than fifteen thousand souls, congregated along the line of the funeral procession, which included six hundred automobiles bearing the mourners. After the services at St. Joseph's Church, the body was interred at Saint Raymond's Cemetery. While the ceremony was being conducted in the sacred edifice, the services of seventy five patrolmen under Inspector Dominick Henry were required to hold in order the throngs gathered before the church. Probably never again will The Bronx be so stirred to the depths by the loss of a great man and citizen, as were they upon the occasion of the death of Arthur H. Murphy.

Arthur Henry Murphy married (first), in August, 1900, Adele Murphy, who died December 22, 1907. He married (second), on February 25, 1911, Mary E. Holland, daughter of John J. and Catherine (Collins) Holland, who survived him. Children of the first marriage: 1. Elizabeth, born August 18, 1901. 2. Arthur H., Jr., born October 7, 1902. 3. Mary Adele, born February 2, 1904. 4. John E., born November I, 1905. Children of the second marriage: 5. Doris C., born July 15, 1912, died December 26, 1912. 6. Catherine V., born October 27, 1913. 7. Ursula, born December 21, 1914. 8. Charles Francis, born June 8, 1916. 9. Robert Holland, born June 9, 1917, died June 20, 1917.

From:
The Bronx and its people
A History 1609-1927
Board of Editors: James L. Wells,
Louis F. Haffen
Josiah A. Briggs.
Historian: Benedict Fitspatrick
Publisher: The Lewis Historical Publishing Co., Inc.
New York 1927


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