The Murphy Story

Michael has a BA in History & American Studies and an MSc in American History from the University of Edinburgh. He comes from a proud military family and has spent most of his career as an educator in the Middle East and Asia. His passion is travel, and he seizes any opportunity to share his experiences in the most immersive way possible, whether at sea or on the land.

I am the great-grand-nephew of Patrick Murphy who was the first sheriff of Young Co. and a lieutenant in the Frontier Battalion.

His name has been lionized by some of the poltically correct that would change history. He has been "historically" implicated in the murder of Major Neighbors, the Ft. Griffin Indian Agent, and has been accused of indiscriminantly killing peaceful Indians. Let me give my Murphy Family's rendition of the story.
Patrick Murphy and his brother, Dennis J. Murphy, came from Kilkenny, Ireland to work with their father, Denis Murphy, who owned and operated Murphy Station...the Butterfield Stage Station between Jacksboro and Ft. Griffin. There is a large gap in the knowledge of what transpired after Murphy Station was off line. Their sister, Margaret Murphy, was married to an Irishman, Ed Cornett, who was said to have killed Maj. Neighbors. This happened after Margaret was kidnapped, and found in custody of Kickapoo Indians.
She had died of exposure and malnutrition. The word is that Maj. Neighbors was known to molycoddle the Native Americans under his jurisprudence; and he tended to look the other way when livestock was stolen. He was even said to profit from some of the spoils.
When Margaret Cornett's body was discovered by her husband, two brothers, and members of the Frontier Battalion, Neighbors tried to sway criticism away from his Indian charges, and even went so far as to say that she had run away with one of the braves. In the days of "Colt Peacemaker Justice", Margaret's frustrated husband took the law into his own hands. My understanding is that he paid for that act with his own the hand of a "Posse Comitatus".
I recently received word that is documentation that the whole Indian kidnapping of Margaret was staged by a group called the Old Law Mob. John Baylor was the instigator.This was done to incite the anger of Ed Cornett, and Patrick Murphy. Evidently, the ploy succeeded.
My great grandfather, D.J. Murphy, became an intermediary for the U.S. Gov't, and provided livestock for the three forts: Griffin, Belknap, and Richardson.He later became involved in several enterprises with Charles Goodnight(I have a book that reads,"Presented to our friend D.J. Murphy By Charles and Mary Goodnight  Xmas 1899"). He had four children, whom were all raised at Ft. Richardson. Charles Murphy, my grandfather, was an outfit boss for the J.A. Ranch in Clarendon and later had several sections of his own in Donley County.

One of Charles' sons, Tom Murphy, married Julia Taylor, the grand niece of Col. Goodnight. She is 94 and lives in Amarillo.
No one knows what happened to Patrick Murphy, or where he was buried. One of his daughters, Josephine, married George Boedeker. He owned the old Boedeker Ice Cream Co. of Dallas, and Boedeker St., that winds through the Park Cities and North Dallas, is named in George's honor.
Rick, I didn't mean to meander, but I've read some terrible stories that have besmirched the Murphy name. I just wanted to defend my family's honor.
Bill Murphy Harter


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