SURNAMES: BRENNAN, ASPAL, SHAUNNESSY, WHALEN,
one of the prominent farmers in the Milpitas School District, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1824. His parents, Thomas and Mary (Brennan) Murphy, were natives of Westmeath County, Ireland, who emigrated to the United States about 1814, and in 1839 located in Des Moines County, Iowa, where his father followed the occupation of a farmer. Mr. Murphy was reared as a farmer upon his father’s farm until twenty years of age; he then worked at the carpenter’s trade for about three years, after which he worked as a boatman on the Mississippi River for a season; returning to his trade, he followed that calling until 1859. In the latter year he came across the plains to California and located in Placer County, where he removed in September. He immediately took up the occupation of a miner, and was engaged as such, in Placer and other counties, until 1859. Leaving the mines, he went to San Francisco, where he married Miss Julia Aspal, a resident of that city, and shortly after moved to Santa Clara County, locating in Santa Clara Township. Upon his arrival he began teaming and freighting, principally between Santa Clara and Alviso. In 1870 the death of his wife occurred and shortly after he entered into farming operations on the south side of the Milpitas and Alviso roads, about one mile west of the Milpitas road, upon the lands of Mrs. Mary Shaunnessy, the widow of Edward Shaunnessy, a pioneer of the county. In 1871 he married this lady, since which time he has been engaged in farm occupation. Mr. Murphy has a farm containing ninety aces, which he is devoted to general farming. His extensive vegetable cultivation occupies twenty acres, among which is ten acres of asparagus. He has also six acres of Sharpless strawberries, and six acres of orchard, the principal production of which are pears. This fruit matures finely, and is very productive upon his land. Under the above cultivation his lands require irrigation, and for this purpose he has two flowing artesian wells, one of which furnishes a magnificent supply of water, flowing fully six inches above a seven-inch pipe. The remainder of his farm is devoted to hay, grain, and stock; among the latter he has some thorough-bred Norman and Percheron horses.
By Mr. Murphy’s first marriage there are three children: George H., Mary E., and John W. Mary E. married Nicholas Whalen; they are living near Milpitas. George H. and John W., both enterprising and energetic young men, are residing at home and are conducting the farm operations. The failing health of Mr. Murphy during the past few years has compelled his retirement from active life; but his sons have proved themselves his able successors in the cultivation of these lands. Mr. Murphy is an intelligent and well-read gentleman, one who takes a great interest in all that pertains to the prosperity and growth of Santa Clara County. Himself and family are consistent members of the Catholic Church. Politically he may be styled an Independent, his intelligent criticism of public men and measures being well worthy of attention.
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. 581
Transcribed by Kathy Sedler