(see 1922 bio below)
SURNAMES: MURPHY, DUNNE, RUCKER, MASTEN,
estimable lady, whose arrival on the. Pacific Coast dates back to June
16, 1851, has long occupied a high position in the respect and esteem
of the people of San Jose and Santa Clara County. She was born in the
county of Wexford, Ireland, in 1831. Her parents were John and Mary
O'Toole, who removed from Ireland to the dominion of Canada, in 1833,
settling near Quebec, where she received her education. In 1851 the
subject of this sketch became the wife of Bernard Murphy, who was on a
visit to his old home in Canada. Soon afterward they started for their
new home in California, by way of the Isthmus of Panama, arriving at
San Francisco June 16, 1851. Bernard Murphy was a son of Martin Murphy, Sr., who had arrived in
California in 1844, a member of the celebrated Murphy family, which has
since that year been so prominently a part of the history of
California, and especially of San Jose and the Santa Clara Valley.
April 1, 1853, Mr. Murphy met his death at the terrible catastrophe
that befell the Jenny Lind, when its boiler exploded in San Francisco
Bay. He left his widow with an infant son, Martin J. C. Murphy. The
latter, who became a youth of great brilliancy and much promise, died
at the age of nineteen years and eleven months, at Georgetown College,
Washington, D. C., where he was engaged in the study of law. His
remains were brought to Gilroy and interred beside those of his father,
in the cemetery of that town.
6, 1862, Mrs. Murphy was married to Mr. James Dunne, who died June 4,
1874. To them were born three children: Mary Phileta, now the wife of Joseph H. Rucker, real estate dealer of San
Jose; Peter J., who resides in San Jose(see 1922 bio), and who was married, in 1888, to
Miss Josephine Masten, daughter of N. K. Masten, of San Francisco; the
youngest being Miss Kate B. Dunne.
Dunne is the owner of large tracts of land in Santa Clara County. These
interests, descending from Bernard Murphy, have been judiciously
managed by Mrs. Dunne until they have become of great value. The family
deservedly holds an important position socially in the community, a
position due to admirable qualities more than to their great wealth.
Her children have been trained in such manner that they are honored
members of society, worthily feeling the duties of their position. As a
wife, as a mother, and as the owner of large property interests, Mrs.
Dunne has proved herself capable in guarding her own interests and
those of her children, and just and conscientious in dealing with the
interests of others.
From The Garden of the World or Santa Clara County, California,
Illustrated. - Edited by H.
S. Foote.- Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1888.
MRS. CATHERINE DUNNE-
Surnames: O’TOOLE, MURPHY,
RUCKER, MASTEN, HERSEY
CATHERINE DUNNE.—It is not often that Californians, alert to honor
those pioneers who have made straight for posterity the paths once so
crooked, have the opportunity to repay their debt of gratitude to a
nonagenarian such as Mrs. Catherine Dunne, who has already attained the
fine old age of ninety-four and looks forward eagerly to seeing her
hundredth year. She first reached the Pacific on June 16, 1851, and
more and more, as the years have gone by, has she and her worthy family
enjoyed, as they have merited, the esteem and good-will of everybody.
Ireland, was the scene of her birth, on August 3, 1828, when she
entered the family of John and Mary O'Toole, but she was scarcely two
years on the Emerald Isle when her parents migrated to Canada,
establishing their home near Quebec, and there Catherine grew up to
enjoy the advantages of the French-Canadian education. In 1851 she met
and married at her home Bernard Murphy, born in 1818, in Canada, whose
father, Martin Murphy, had mad his way to California, especially in
Santa Clara County; and it was natural enough, that instead of
remaining in Canada, Mr. and Mrs. Murphy should start for the Golden
State. They traveled by way of Panama,
and arrived at San Francisco
on June 16. Only a short period of bliss was in store for this
ambitious and worthy man; for on April 11, 1853, he was one of many who
met death through the blowing up of the steamer "Jenny Lind," while
crossing San Francisco
One child, Martin J. C. Murphy, had been born to these devoted parents
in June, 1852; and while a mere youth his brilliancy gave promise of a
future in which he would be a sustaining comfort to the mourning widow;
but the Providence whose ways are ever such a mystery called him away
from his books when at Georgetown College, whither he had gone to study
law, when just nineteen years, eleven months old, on May 25, 1872. His
remains were brought West to Gilroy
and interred beside those of his father in the old cemetery in that
On May 6, 1862, Mrs. Murphy remarried, taking for her husband
James Dunne, who had arrived in California
in the late '50s, and after twelve years of married life of the
happiest kind, he died on June 4, 1874. He had lived to see the birth
of their three children, Mary Phileta, Peter J., and Catherine B.
Dunne; and to know that his widow would inherit rather a vast estate,
mostly large tracts of land in Santa Clara County.
Mary became Mrs. Joseph H. Rucker, the wife of the San
realty dealer; Peter J. married Miss Josephine Masten, the daughter of
N. K. Masten of San Francisco.; Catherine B. is Mrs. Ralph W. Hersey of
Peter J. is a graduate of Santa Clara
College, has had a successful
business career in San
and since 1895 has been the right hand man of his aged mother, managing
with rare ability her extensive estate. This property was originally
held by Bernard Murphy, but in the hands of both James and Peter Dunne,
its value has greatly appreciated. Much of the credit of this wise
management of a large and varied property, as well as credit for the
enviable status of each member of her family, must be given this
estimable gentlewoman who looks back over almost a century; for as
wife, mother, neighbor and citizen she discharged her responsible
duties, showing exceptional ability in many ways for such a task, and
never losing her faith in a future for the land of her adoption, and
the county and the town so closely associated with his home ties. Mrs.
Dunne is now residing with Mrs. Hersey at Santa Barbara. Santa Clara County
is more than pleased to honor such a sturdy pioneer, whose life has run
parallel with the lives of thousands who have found their ultimate goal
and the realization of their dreams in this favored section.
Joseph Kral from Eugene T. Sawyers' History
of Santa Clara
County,California, published by Historic Record Co. , 1922.
SANTA CLARA COUNTY BIOGRAPHY PROJECT
SANTA CLARA COUNTY The Valley of Heart's Delight