During the early frontier settlements it wasn't uncommon for pioneers to be willing to assist their neighbors when their services were needed. William Murphy, who lived on the place now known as the Hopkins place, and who has many descendants who are a credit to his name, was always foremost in these acts of kindness. Many have heard it said of him, that while one of his neighbors was prostrated with sickness through the spring and summer, that William Murphy pitched his crop for him and gave it the same cultivation that he did his own, and when the neighbor recovered in the fall, his crop was ready for gathering. Had a compensation been offered, the old gentleman would have resented it as an insult. This circumstance is only one of many that William Murphy was noted for. It may be truthfully said of him: "He stretcheth out his hand to the poor; yea, he reacheth forth his hands to the needy." This circumstance was know to be a fact, from the lips of the recipient of that kindness.
A speech of Hon. W. L. Hensley, delivered at the grave of William Murphy at the unveiling of a monument under the auspices of the Daughters of the American Revolution, on June 14, 1915. "We have assembled here today at the instance and under the auspices of the Daughters of the American Revolution, an organization truly patriotic and thoroughly American, whose purposes, in the main, are to perpetuate in the hearts and minds of the people a proper appreciation of and regard for the memory of those who so valiantly served in that historic struggle of '76. Nor is that all; it is the purpose of this organization, to perpetuate a proper regard, yea, a veneration for those who took part in that great struggle for human liberty, by establishing records that cannot be doubted and erect tablets, such as you have seen unveiled here today, so that generations yet unborn may see, may read, and may know where rest the remains of the Father of our Country. At this time and at this juncture, I desire to express a sincere appreciation of every person present for the patriotic spirit which prompted this chapter of the Daughters of the Revolution in the preparation that was necessary for holding this meeting here. William Murphy and his patriots through their struggle, attended by all the hardships of that war, wrought well. They laid deep Virginia in 1759. His people being among the very earliest settlers of that state and of Irish origin. The service records show that at the very beginning of the Revolutionary War, William Murphy enlisted as a soldier among the many other patriots; his name being found throughout the period of the war as serving under different commands. In fact, the records disclose few, if any, whose services were so continuous as that of William Murphy. So he may properly be considered and properly classed as one of the Fathers of this great nation of ours. They laid deep the foundation stones of this Republic and thus made it possible for a great nation to exist and endure when predicated upon the eternal principle that all men are created equal, and that the Divine right of Kings was not necessary to the happiness of the people and should be banished and never again recognized within the confines of this great country of ours. It was the services of William Murphy in connection with this war for human liberty that call for these exercises to which I have so briefly referred. But my friends, I cannot refrain from following the career of this great patriot some further. Long after the struggle for independence had ended, we find him in the State of Tennessee moving westward; at one time under the command of that great, intrepid and fearless frontiersman, General Clark, fighting back the Indians and defending the white men against the depredations that they, the Indians, so frequently perpetrated upon the whites. We find him landing in Ste. Genevieve in the year of 1798 in company with his brother, Joseph, at a time when the territory was under Spanish rule. It is said that at the time he landed in Ste. Genevieve there was not a person that was able to converse with these pioneers and that it was necessary for them to send for and bring a person from some distance to talk with them. William Murphy finally, by means of a Spanish grant, settled upon the property where we are now standing, while his brother, Joseph, settled upon the property, a part of which Farmington now occupies, the immediate spot upon which he first made improvements being the property now owned by Mrs. Waide, one of the members of this organization. After this settlement his people returned to bring their families here into the very wilds of this country. History recites the fact that the mother of William Murphy established and taught a Bible class in the first Sunday School west of the Mississippi River. Thus we see a brief history of the career of this great man. He was laid to rest in 1833. What a source of pride to those who are fortunate descendants of William Murphy. Few men, indeed, have a more splendid record, or have left a more glorious heritage to their kinspeople and to posterity. In my mind's eye I can see these pioneers in the early days as they were wending their way over the mountain tops and through the valleys, cutting the underbrush to get their possessions through, battling against all the hardships that fall to the lot of any early settler, the men carrying the gun for their immediate defense, the women carrying the Bible, that good book which was to be their rule of conduct in their new homes and the basis for their development in the strange community. These men were truly pioneers, blazing the way of civilization and making it possible for those who followed them to make this country blossom as a rose. My friends, when I seriously contemplate the things for which the flag of my country stands and the purposes that were in the minds and hearts of our forefathers when they unfurled it to the breezes, I cannot but seriously inquire whether or not we entertain the proper appreciation of what it means and what it was intended to mean. Take not only the history of our country, but the history of the ages, scan the pages carefully, and you will see that so far as it is possible for one at this distant time to see, a great struggle has been put forth by mankind for centuries to evolve a plan of government such as we, the proud citizens of today, have. These principles were contended for, not only in the Revolutionary struggle, but for centuries before. The culmination came with the ending of the Revolutionary struggle, so far as this country was concerned, and thus, I say to you, that these liberties and rights were purchased by the blood and the lives of millions of patriots; yea, and these rights have been made grander and more sacred by the tears and prayers of the mothers of our country; why then, my friends, should we not venerate this emblem of human liberty and of equal and exact justice to all? And why should not every American citizen at this day and at this time, when he calls to mind conditions as they exist throughout the civilized world, raise his head triumphantly and with a spirit of earnestness exclaim: 'All honor and praise to the founders of this Republic, and to the men who have perpetrated its glories.' Would that I were able to burn into the very hearts of the youth of this country a proper respect for these things, and a deep veneration for the flag of our country. It seems to me that our duty is not at an end. The flag has been handed down to us at the terrible cost of blood and lives. Should we not by every effort that we can possibly put forth, perpetuate all of these things for which it stands, for the enjoyment and the glory of others who are to come after us? We should not let the petty differences of politics, political preferment, or selfish ambition swerve us from our duty in protecting that emblem. We should not permit the tarnished hands of the despoiler to reach it, but we should keep it not only upon the battlefield but during peace--during the time when we are enjoying the greatest blessing that a free people can enjoy--unsullied as it was when it was made the emblem of our Republic. Not only should we be willing to give our lives to sustain these principles in time of war, but by our daily lives we should exemplify the fact that we are worthy of our heroic sires. So today we can all properly hail to the flag and to our country; and let us so perform our work that we can with every confidence, look down the vista of time and catch the distant and faint voices of posterity as they join in the solemn refrain: 'All glory to the fathers of this Republic; All hail to the men who have defended its principles and who have perpetuated the liberties throughout these ages.'"
Extract from the "Farmington News" on the unveiling of markers for the graves of William and Joseph Murphy: "Monday was an auspicious day for the local chapter of Daughters of the American Revolution. Appropriate for Flag Day, markers were unveiled at the graves of William and Joseph Murphy, both veterans of the War for Independence. The markers had been secured from the Government and placed in position by the local D. A. R. members, and it was under their direction and provision that the ceremonies of Monday took place. "The grave of William Murphy is located in a small family graveyard, on what is now the Jeremiah Hopkins' farm, two miles southeast of Farmington. This farm is part of the original farm of William Murphy, who came to what is now Missouri and settled in this locality at the beginning of the last century. "A hundred or more people went out to the little graveyard Monday for the unveiling ceremonies. In the crowd were the local D. A. R. members, many descendants of William Murphy, several Civil War veterans, both of the Blue and the Gray, a squad of the local Boy Scouts, Sons of Veterans, and many others. The ceremonies began with a few introductory remarks by T. D. Fisher, who also introduced the other participants in the program. Rev. P. H. L. Cunningham, pastor of the Farmington Baptist Church, offered prayer. Little Miss Lucy and Master Joe Applegate, great-great-grandchildren of William Murphy, unveiled the marker, and the grave was decorated profusely with flowers by the children of the D. A. R. and by others present. In a very appropriate address, Congressman Walter Rensley told of the services rendered the struggling colonies in their war for independence by William Murphy and his brother, of their coming to Missouri, their settling in and near what is now Farmington, of their heroic lives and the virtues of their descendants. "After the services at the William Murphy grave, many of those present drove to the grave of his brother, Joseph Murphy, on the Bressie farm north of Farmington, where similar services were held at the unveiling of the marker for his grave. The address at the latter place was made by G. M. Wilson, and his talk was a most excellent one. Melvin McCarthy, son of Mr. And Mrs. Chas. McCarthy, and great-great-grandson of Joseph Murphy, unveiled the marker."
At the beginning of the Revolutionary War William Murphy resided in Bedford County, Virginia, where he belonged to Capt. John Wilkinson's Company when he volunteered and served as follows:
July, 1776, Private under Capt. Wm. Leftridge, three months;
April, 1777, Private under Capt. Peter Herston, Col. Christy's Regiment, three months;
August, 1777, Second Sergeant under Capt. Thomas Duley, three months.
October 12, 1778, in Capt. Robert Sevier's Co., Col. Ruthford's N.C. Regiment; in December was promoted to First Sergeant, and in March Ensign under Capt. Christopher Cunningham, who succeeded Capt. Sevier; was in the defeat of Gen. Ashe at Brier Creek, and discharged April 10, 1779 at Camp Turkey Hill by Lieut. Col. John Peasley.
April, 1780, Second Sergeant under Capt. John Clark, of N.C.; was in expedition under Gen. John Sevier against Cherokee Indians, three months; July, 1780, Private in Capt. John Renfrow's Company, Col. Lincoln's Virginia Light Horse; Captured Capt. Wm. Terry and his company of Tories, three months; June, 1781, Private under Capt. Neley McGuire, one month.
February, 1782, Private under Capt. John Clark, Col. Jacob Brown, of N.C., in skirmish with Indians, three months; August, 1782, Private under Capt. Thomas Wood, of N.C., and Gen. John Sevier in pursuit of the Cherokee Indians, three months.
He was allowed a pension on an application executed May 7, 1833, while a resident of St. Francois County, Mo.
He married in Green County, Tennessee, January 26, 1782, Rachel Henderson, born in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, November 15, 1764. He died November 2, 1833, in St. Francois County, on the place he settled, and his widow was allowed a pension on an application executed November 10, 1842. Rachel Henderson Murphy died March 26, 1844; age, 79 years, 8 months and 10 days.