(see  1922 bio below)

Bio-Pen Pictures

        This 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.

        May 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.

        Mrs. 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.

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.
Pg. 494-495

1922 bio

MRS. 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.
            Wexford, 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 Bay. 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 town.
            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 Jose 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 Santa Barbara. Peter J. is a graduate of Santa Clara College, has had a successful business career in San Francisco, 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.

Transcribed by Joseph Kral from Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California, published by Historic Record Co. , 1922. page  818


SANTA CLARA COUNTY The Valley of Heart's Delight