The Valley of Heart's Delight


Bio- Pen Pictures

with the unmarried portion of his family, which consisted of his three sons, Bernard, John, and Daniel, and this daughters, Ellen, Margaret, and Joanna, came to Santa Clara County and purchased the Rancho Ojo de Agua de la Coche, situated on the Monterey road, south of San Jose, near what has since been known as the Twenty-one Mile House.  Here he lived for many years, loved and respected by all who knew him.  Coming daily in contact with the native Californians, he commanded their good-will and respect, in spite of their natural jealousy and hatred of the foreigners.  In grateful remembrance of the power which had safely led him by land and sea, through so many perils, to this haven of rest, he built a beautiful chapel on his ranch, which, in honor of his patron saint, he named San Martin.  His house was located on the then most traveled road in California, and he always held its door wide open to the wayfarer.  His liberal hospitality, his charity, his piety, his inflexible integrity, and his warm heart and sympathizing disposition, compelled the friendship of all who knew him, and when he died there was grief throughout the State.  Courts adjourned, and business was suspended, while from every direction people gathered to assist in the last sad rites of the patriarch and pioneer.  For the last few years of his life he had retired from active business, making his home at San Francisco, and paying periodical visits to the different members of his family.  When death overtook him, which was on March 16, 1865, he was at the house of his daughter, Margaret Kell, near San Jose.

Pen Pictures From The Garden of the World or Santa Clara County, California, Illustrated. - Edited by H. S. Foote.- Chicago:  The Lewis Publishing Company, 1888. p. 53-54

Transcribed by Kathy Sedler


 Bio-Pen Pictures

the eldest son of Martin Murphy, located, after the emigrant party broke up at Sutter’s, on the Cosumne [sic] River, in what is now Sacramento County.  His family consisted of seven children, as follows:  James, Martin, Patrick Washington, Bernard Daniel, Elizabeth, Mary Ann, and Ellen.  Here he purchased four leagues of land and erected a house.  About the first thing he did after taking possession of his new home, was to look around for a school-teacher.  This he found in the person of one Patrick O’Brien, an educated man, who, having become reduced in circumstances, had joined the army.  He came across the mountains with Fremont and probably deserted.  While engaged in teaching at Murphy’s, General Sherman, then a lieutenant, arrested him and took him away.  We understand, however, that he was finally released.  This was the first school ever held in Sacramento County.  At this place their daughter Mary, afterward Mrs. Richard T. Carrol, of San Francisco, was born.  The land which Mr. Murphy had purchased in Sacramento County was very fertile, but, desiring to live near his people, he removed to this county, and purchased the Rancho Pastoria de las Borregas, near Mountain View, containing four thousand eight hundred acres.  While awaiting the building of a house on the new homestead, the family took up its residence in San Jose, occupying a house opposite where the convent now stands, which was owned by Mariano Hernandez.  They were living here when Hernandez made his remarkable escape, as is elsewhere reported in this history.  The first intimation the family had of this event was the visit of the officers to search the house.  The John Foster whom Hernandez was accused of murdering was a brother of the Joseph Foster who crossed the plains with the Murphy party.

            The Rancho Pastoria de las Borregas became the permanent home of Martin Murphy, and here he, with his estimable wife, reared their large family.  Here was born James T. Murphy, their youngest child.  The mantle of Martin Murphy, Sr., had descended on his oldest son, and all the traits which characterized the founder of the family seemed developed in a greater degree, if that were possible, in the son.  His strict integrity, devout piety, kind and gentle disposition, liberal hospitality, united with a firmness of character, all combined to give him a place in the affection and respect of the people that no none has ever since been able to command.  His wife was a worthy companion for such a man.  Sharing all his trials, she lessened them, and partaking of his joys, she doubled them; and together they have impressed their character upon their children to such a degree that they have made them worthy to succeed them.  Language can accord no higher praise than this.  These people also imprinted their individuality on their material surroundings to such an extent that the homestead soon forgot its old Spanish name and became known throughout the country as the “Murphy Ranch.”  Their efforts were prospered to an eminent degree, and although they acquired vast domains in several other counties, they never abandoned the first home which they had erected in Santa Clara County.  The facilities afforded by the schools and colleges of the Catholic Fathers and Sisters, enabled them to see their children educated in all the higher branches, and to become cultured men and women, with ability and disposition to carry the honored family name untarnished to future generations.

            As the desire for religious and educational facilities was the controlling sentiment that induced the Murphys to cross the wilderness, it was also the mainspring of their actions after arriving at their destination.  To Martin Murphy was due the establishment of the College of Notre Dame in this county.  A number of the Sisters had established a school in the Willamette Valley, in Oregon.  In 1851, four Sisters from Cincinnati started to join this religious colony, and Sister Loyola and Sister Mary came down from Oregon to San Francisco to meet them.  While waiting for the arrival of the vessel from Panama, they accepted the invitation of Mr. Murphy to visit his family at Mountain View.  During this visit they called at Santa Clara and  San Jose, and determined to establish an institution here.  The College of Notre Dame is the result of this determination.

            On the 18th of July, 1881, Mr. and Mrs. Murphy celebrated their “golden wedding” at the homestead at Mountain View.  This event will be a landmark in the history of the county.  About fifteen thousand people were present, including the most distinguished men of the State.  People came hundreds of miles to offer their congratulations.  They were all entertained in princely style beneath the shade of the noble live-oaks on the lawn.  Hundreds of the best animals from the immense herds were slaughtered for the feast, while the choicest vintages of France and California were represented in limitless abundance.  The virtues of Mr. and Mrs. Murphy were celebrated in song and in story, the most eminent of the commonwealth leaving their business to lay their tribute of respect at the feet of these pioneers.

            Soon after this event, Mr. Murphy’s health began to fail, and three years later, October 20, 1884, he died, full of years and of honor.

Pen Pictures From The Garden of the World or Santa Clara County, California, Illustrated. - Edited by H. S. Foote.- Chicago:  The Lewis Publishing Company, 1888. p. 54-55

Transcribed by Kathy Sedler\


SANTA CLARA COUNTY -The Valey of Heart's Delight