Edward Murphy
City of Troy

This biography is from Troy and Rensselaer County, New York, Volume III, by Rutherford Hayner, Lewis Historical Publishing Company, Inc., New York and Chicago, 1925. It was submitted by Debby Masterson.

EDWARD (2) MURPHY, United States Senator from 1892-1899, and mayor of Troy, 1875-1883, was a native son of Troy, New York, and spent his life as a resident of the city of his birth, although his estate on the New Jersey coast was long his summer home. But Troy, with her business interests, her public affairs and general welfare, was always nearest his heart and he was always her true and loyal son. He was a son of Edward and Mary Murphy, both born in Ireland, they coming to the United States in 1833 by way of Canada, locating in Troy, New York, where both died, leaving an only son, Edward (2) Murphy. Edward Murphy, the elder, founded a brewery in Troy, and taught his son the business.

Edward (2) Murphy Avas born in Troy, New York, December 15, 1834, and died in Elberon, New Jersey, August 9, 1912. He was educated in Troy public schools, Montreal College, Canada, and St. John's College, Fordham, New York, finishing with graduation from the last-named institution, class of 1859. He then became his father's business assistant, and was chiefly instrumental in the development of the business from a small to a strong and vigorous enterprise. After several years of association, the father retired, leaving the care and management of the business to the son. After continuing alone for some years, Mr. Murphy entered into a partnership with William Kennedy, a competitor, they merging as Kennedy & Murphy, but later they incorporated as the Kennedy, Murphy Malting Company, Edward (2) Murphy, president and treasurer. That company became the largest brewing corporation in the State outside of New York City, Mr. Murphy retaining an active interest until 1903. His outside interests were important. When, in 1889, several small gas companies of Troy consolidated, forming the Troy Gas Company, he was elected the first president, an office he retained for a quarter of a century. He was connected officially with the Manufacturers' National Bank, becoming vice-president at its organization. He dealt heavily in real estate, and from 1875 owned seaside property at Elberon, New Jersey, and there maintained his summer home.

While Mr. Murphy laid broad and deep the foundation upon which he built a most creditable business edifice, his public career was equally honorable and brilliant. At an early age he entered public life, and at the age of twenty-five sat in a Democratic State Convention. From that time forward until his retirement he was a delegate to most of his party conventions, State and National. He became popular with the voters, and no defeat at the polls marred his political career. In 1864 he was elected alderman, and for ten years he continued a member of that board. In 1874 he was elected fire commissioner (he an old volunteer fireman); he was elected mayor of Troy in 1875 and was three times reelected, but he declined the offered fifth term. In the mayoralty he gained high reputation for executive ability and courageous leadership. His administration was marked by many improvements. A new city hall was built, and from the amount appropriated there remained an unexpended balance after all bills were paid. He gave the city a good system of granite pavements, and left Troy with a smaller bonded indebtedness than any city of similar size in the United States. City bonds were below par when he took his seat, but when he retired from the office of mayor, eight years later, they were at a premium. During these eight years he drew no salary for his own use, but each Christmas that two thousand dollar salary was distributed among the charitable institutions of Troy, regardless of creed.

While mayor, but during his absence from the city, a "run" was started on the Manufacturers' Bank, Mayor Murphy was telegraphed for, and the steps he took saved the bank from ruin. Mr. Murphy pledged his private fortune, and aided by his friends, George P. Ide and William Earl, the collar manufacturers, obtained a quarter of a million dollars from the other banks of Troy. This vast sum he carried to the bank and deposited in sight of the frightened depositors, who thus convinced that their deposits were safe, stopped the run, and the bank was saved.

That he did not lack physical courage was amply proven during his term in office. Rensselaer County has a large Irish population, both Catholic and Protestant. True to their blood, they often clashed, and the Orangemen's parade had been abandoned for several years. In honor of the Centennial of the Nation, the Orangemen decided to parade in 1876 and so notified the authorities in charge of the city celebration. The Catholic Irish body at once withdrew from the proposed Centennial parade and threats were made that there would be blood shed if the Orangemen persisted in marching. Mayor Murphy met the situation by calling out every policeman in the city, placed himself at their head, and led the Orange line through the streets, neither insult nor outrage being offered the paraders.

Mayor Murphy was an ardent supporter of Samuel J. Tilden, and believed that he was elected president of the United States in 1876, but defrauded of his election by the verdicts of the Electoral Commission created to meet the emergency. In 1880 he was a delegate to the National Democratic Convention and there supported Mr. Tilden for the presidency, although he acquiesced in the nomination of General W. S. Hancock. In the State convention of 1882 he was in favor of Erastus Coming, but later cast his vote and that of Rensselaer County for Grover Cleveland, that vote deciding the voting in Mr. Cleveland's favor, his nomination being at once announced.

At the Democratic National Convention of 1884 he favored Roswell P. Flower, of New York, for President, but in 1888, at the St. Louis convention, he supported President Cleveland for renomination. In 1892 he was one of the four delegates-at-large from New York to the Democratic National Convention at Chicago, Illinois, and was chairman of the delegation. He first supported David B. Hill for President, but acquiesced loyally in the nomination of ex-President Grover Cleveland for the third time. From 1887 until 1894 he was chairman of the Democratic State Committee, and during that period the Democracy wrested control of both houses of the Legislature from the Republicans. After Chairman Murphy took charge of the State party machinery, the Democracy gained control and held it, both branches being Democratic, when Mr. Murphy retired from the office. The fact speaks volumes for his skill as a party leader, for when he assumed the reins the Legislature was Republican in both houses.

In 1892, when it was found that the Democrats would have a majority on joint ballot, there was general demand within the party that Mr. Murphy be chosen United States Senator to succeed Frank Hitchcock as senator from New York, and it was done, Mr. Murphy taking his seat in the United States Senate at the extra session of Congress, beginning in March, 1892. In the Senate he served as chairman of the Committee on Relations with Canada, and on other committees. He filled the position with dignity and ability, returning to Troy at the expiration of his term in 1899, and devoting himself to his business affairs. His career as a public man deserves commendation. He met every obligation of citizenship, and as an official, served with fervency, efficiency and zeal. He never lost his interest in public affairs, although for a quarter of a century he was retired from public life, after his return from the Senate, and he always retained his influence and popularity. A characteristic trait that was never obscured in any position he ever held was his scrupulous regard for his given word, "always keeping his promises."

Personally, Senator Murphy was most courteous, generous and sympathetic. He liked social entertainment and was most hospitable, entertaining in his home many of the most distinguished men and women of his day. He was a man of liberal thought, kindly in disposition, a staunch friend, and true to the core. He was respected and esteemed by all with whom he came in contact, either in private, business or public life, and to all else he added tremendous energy. His life was one of success from whatever angle viewed, and to his sons he left a name honored in the business world, a name which they have worthily carried to greater prominence in Troy's business life, but in public life he stands as the sole family representative. He was a member of many clubs and organizations in Troy, Albany, and New York City, ana his religious affiliation was with St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church.

Early in life, Senator Murphy married Julia Delehanty, eldest child of Michael and Mary (Quinn) Delehanty, her father a wholesale dealer in store and house-furnishing goods at Albany, New York, and under Governor Roswell P. Flower, was superintendent of public buildings. Senator Edward and Julia (Delehanty) Murphy were the parents of nine children: Mary, born March 21, 1868, died in 1892; Edward (3), a sketch of whom follows; Julia, who married Hugh J. Grant, of New York City, mayor of New York City, in 1890; William E.; John J., a businessman of New York City; Joseph J., whose sketch follows that of Edward (3); Jane L. McCann; Richard P., a businessman, of New York City; Helen Miller.

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