John F. Murphy


John F. Murphy. Among the sterling citizens who have become prominently concerned with the great oil producing industry of Oklahoma after broad and varied experience in the older oil fields of the Union, a place of special prominence must be accorded to Mr. Murphy, who is one of the well known and honored citizens of Sapulpa, Creek County, where he stands forth as one of the leading representatives of the oil producing industry in this section of the state and as one of the prominent and successful contractors in connection with this important line of enterprise, which has contributed much to the material wealth and progress of Oklahoma. He became identified with oil producing activities in Pennsylvania when a mere youth and his experience has covered a period of many years, within which he has been active in the fields of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana and West Virginia, prior to establishing his residence in Oklahoma. It must thus be readily understood that he is a man of authoritative judgment in the various details of the oil business, and it may further be said that he represents the best ideals of loyal and public-spirited citizenship.
Mr. Murphy reverts with a due mead of satisfaction to the fact that he can claim the old Empire State as the place of his nativity. He was born at Ellicottville, Cattaraugus County, New York, on the 28th of September, 1865, and is a son of John and Margaret (Cassidy) Murphy, both natives of the fair old Emerald Isle, the father having been born in County Kilkenny and the mother in County Westmeath, Ireland, whore the former was reared to adult age, the latter having been a girl of eight years when she accompanied her parents on their immigration to America and the family home having been established in the State of New York.
John Murphy was reared and educated in his native land and at the age of twenty-one years he severed the home ties and set forth to seek his fortunes in the United States. He found employment in the State of New York, and at Ellicottville, Cattaraugus County, he met and married his young countrywoman, Margaret Cassidy, who proved to him a devoted companion and helpmeet during the long years of their gracious association on the pathway of life. After his marriage Mr. Murphy continued his residence at Ellicottville until 1876, when he removed with his family to Bradford, Pennsylvania, a city then a center of oil operations in that section of the Keystone State. Of that city he and his wife continued as honored residents during the remainder of their long and useful lives, and, after the lapse of nearly forty years their loving companionship was broken by the death of the devoted husband and father, who died in 1913, at the age of eighty-two years. In death they were not long divided, however, for in August of the following year Mrs. Murphy passed to the life eternal, at the venerable age of eighty-seven years. During the last twenty years of his life Mr. Murphy was associated with a leading plumbing firm in Bradford, and he was known and honored as an upright, sincere and worthy citizen who was well entitled to the unqualified confidence and esteem in which he was held in the community that had so long represented his home. Of the six children the last two were twins, and of the number all are living except one of the twins.
John F. Murphy, the immediate subject of this review, gained his early education in the parochial and public schools of his native place and of Bradford, Pennsylvania, to which latter city the family removed when he was about eleven years of age. At the age of eighteen years he initiated his association with the oil industry, and his first service was as a dresser of tools used in drilling wells and in connection with other oil operations. He continued his connection with oil activities in Pennsylvania until 1886, when he became one of the pioneers in the oil field about Findlay, Hancock County, Ohio. Thereafter he was at intervals associated with the oil-development industry in Indiana, and in that state, in 189o, was solemnized his marriage to Miss Harriet Unis Martin, who was born and reared in Indiana and who is a daughter of Albert and Mary E. Martin, both of whom continued their residence in that state until their death. It may consistently be stated at this juncture that Mr. and Mrs. Murphy have four children, –Helen, Mary, Julia, and Katherine.
After his marriage Mr. Murphy returned to New York, where for two years he and his wife maintained their residence in Seneca County, in the beautiful lake district of that state. They then returned to Indiana and established their home at Montpelier, Blackford County, where Mr. Murphy developed a successful business as a contractor in the oil field of that locality. In 1904 he transferred his residence to the City of Cleveland, Ohio, in which state he acquired control of a large acreage of oil land and initiated development work, besides still doing a substantial contracting business. His leases proved to be just outside the oil pools, but later the land became a successful producing tract, the judgment of Mr. Murphy having been thus proved good in one sense, and his only trouble having been that he did not drive his wells sufficiently deep, though but by a narrow margin.
In 1906 Mr. Murphy came to Oklahoma and established his residence at Sapulpa, the now thriving metropolis and judicial center of Creek County, where he has since maintained his home and where he has become a prominent and successful representative of the oil industry in this section of the state. He is a stockholder in the corporation known as the Limestone Oil & Gas Company, and is interested with the Shelby Oil & Gas Company, at Tulsa. He has minor interests in other companies and holds development leases on hundreds of acres in Creek and adjoining counties. He has found also a profitable field of operation as a contractor in the oil fields, and as an authority in the business his counsel and expert advice are frequently sought.
Mr. Murphy has been specially progressive and public spirited and has shown himself fully in line with the vital energy of the state of his adoption. He takes a lively interest in all that touches the civic and material welfare of his home city and was elected the first commissioner of public safety in Sapulpa after the city adopted the commission system of municipal government. This office, however, he resigned after serving one year, owing to the demands placed upon his time and attention by his important business interests. In national politics he is aligned with the democratic party, but in local affairs he maintains an independent attitude and gives his support to the men and measures meeting the approval of his judgment, without regard to strict partisan lines. In the time-honored Masonic fraternity he has received the thirty-second degree of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite and is affiliated also with the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine.