Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Meet Ella Jane

Meet Ella Jane Eddins Murphy, born 130+ years ago in November 1885, she died in the spring of 1928. She was the matriarch of the Murphy Family, and my great great grandmother. She bore 10 children between 1907 and 1927. The last of her living children survived until 2002. It seems almost impossible to me that someone could link the turn of the century to the new millennium.

Ella Jane had to of been a strong woman, like most in my family. Her husband Samuel gave some of his farmland for the Sawney's Creek Baptist Church in Ridgeway, SC. On an unspecified date, a night when the family moved to the "house on [the] hill" behind the church, she gave birth to her 4th son 'Woodrow.' According to official records, this was the birth of George Woodrow Murphy on January 13th 1915.

These notes came from the family book that was found in my Papa's desk the day after his house burned down. Someone (still unknown), presumably from Sawney's Creek Baptist Church, took the time to notate the family history with notes of stories passed down, diary's found, newspaper clippings, church information, and even photos. There is a full scan of it in my very first blog entry, "The Beginning."

It's mind blowing to me to see all of this history linked together to form a story of my family.

Sometimes, I still think I can see them in all of us today. What do you think?

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Branching Out: The Branham's Beyond the Grave

In the small town I am from, Branham is a popular surname. It did not surprise me to find some in my family tree. If you ever find yourself driving down the long stretch of Highway 34 outside of Ridgeway headed toward Camden, look for the Smyrna UMC cemetery. The sprawling cemetery is just over the Kershaw County line. The accompanying church was founded over 200 years ago, so the graveyard is filled with the history of nearby families. One hot day in August of this year, I decided to just go peek at what was known as "the old Branham cemetery." I had ran across this name in my research but could not find an address. Asking a few locals, I was pointed to Smyrna UMC cemetery. This is where I found my first bonafide ancestor of the American Civil War

I had started this research many, many years ago - approx. 2001 while in school - and hoped to join a social club known as the Daughters of the Confederacy. I have always been fascinated with history. I don't agree with the ideas of the confederacy, but being from the south it's part of my story and I wanted to learn about it. I was disappointed to not find mine back then, but had much more information on other ancestors - so I quickly forgot about it. But in August, armed with a list of names and dates, I found several matches of tombstones to my ancestors. One in particular caught my eye. 

David Wesley Branham was born July 9th 1834 in Kershaw County to Samuel Branham and Lizzie Talbert. He was raised in Kershaw County, and went on to join the Army in 1861 at the start of the Civil War. I came across a newspaper article (below, clipping from an article about living Confederate Veterans in the Winnsboro, S.C. area; in The News and Herald [Winnsboro, S.C.] dated May 25, 1910.) posted by a fellow FindAGrave member. 

The article reads: 
DAVID BRANHAM (Header) Born July 9, 1836, near place of current residence. Entered Army in the spring of 1861 in Co. D. 1st Reg. S. C. Inf., under Capt. Thomas Boykin. Was private prisoner at close of War. 
"I was taken prisoner at Gettysburg in July, and was taken to Fort Delaware on Delaware Island and remained until close of war. Rode on ship from New York to Charleston and walked home at close of war. Fought in the bombardment of Hilton Head Island. Was at the siege at Fredericksburg, Va., and either skirmishes too numerous to make mention of here. Farming."

My 3x paternal great grandfather, John E. Murphy, married Louise Branham. Lousie was the daughter of Robert and Mary Branham. Roberty had a brother, named David W. Branham. I think this would make him my... 3x great grandfathers brother in law! LOL

Friday, August 18, 2017

Histories Mysteries Part I - SC State Hospital for the Insane

I knew getting into researching my genealogy, there may be some surprises. When I was younger and first started this, I found a footnote of a Cherokee ancestor named Miss Smothers. I have still been searching for her, with very little results.

Yesterday, I came across some things I had never seen before. If you know my family, you know we're all a little crazy...lol... but finding bonafide records of it was shocking! Now, I will admit, while it's likely this is my relative - I have not verified it 100%. I would like to make a trip down to the archives building in Columbia and see his patient files. The dates/ages approximately match, so it might be! This would make him my 4x great grandfather. The father of Ella Jane Eddins who married Samuel Murphy, who bore Theodore who married Helen, who bore Jerry Sr - the patriarch of my family and my grandfather.

Line 74 of the 1900 census for Richland County (Columbia Township) at the State Hospital for the Insane lists a John W. Eddins as a patient. Listed as born in 1860, a 40 year old married man, somewhat lines up with my relative who I have listed as born about November 1857. Now, I know these records are not 100% accurate. I can tell this by every single birth month, as well as father and mothers birthplace being listed as unknown. Surely, a room of 50 adults, someone knew their birth month - or the place their father/mother was born. I hope to dig further into this mystery soon!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Four Generations of Murphy Men

My brothers son makes 4 living generations of Murphy men. I have known 5 generations, with my great-grandfather Theodore passing in the mid 1990's when I was a child.

This photo is several years old now, with Hunter having TWO little sisters now. My grandfather has since lost his sight. My father's dark hair has now changed to salt-and-pepper. 

Theodore Samuel Murphy married Helen Louise Clack on August 17th 1940. If they would have lived, tomorrow would be their 77th wedding anniversary. My grandfather, "Papa," was the middle child. Even with the deaths of all 3 sisters, who I had never met, he is still the middle child of the living brothers. The oldest, Ronald "Ronnie," was conceived just a month after the marriage of his parents. There was also a set of twin girls, Linda Faye and Sandra Kaye Murphy.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

So many memories, so little time...

I have not been on this blog since January of this year. The summer is drawing to and end, and the crisp fall air will be here soon. My paternal grandmother, Jeanette, has been dead since August 8th 2006, and this time of year I find myself missing her more and more. It's funny, I started this genealogy project - aside from the history assignment in school - because I found my paternal grandfather's information (Papa), and now I wish I could go back and see my grandma Jeanette again.

Top - Grandma & I, cir. 1995; Top right - Grandma, her mom Great Grandma MawMaw aka Jettie Bell, and then my Great Aunt Doris Brazell "MawMaw with her only daughters" (date unknown); Bottom left - Grandma & I - with part of my maternal Grandma'a face cut off Phyllis Branham. I was probably 4-5 in this photo; Bottom right - Grandma and my little brother Justin when he was a baby - probably around 1992.

It's funny, seeing the photo of Justin and Grandma reminds me how much she would have loved those babies.

I went searching for pics of the kids, as a comparison. Instead I found the "whole" (I use that word sparingly) photo of my Grandma Jeanette, me in the middle, and my maternal Grandma Phyllis on the right. As a kid, just getting into 'keepsaking' I can remember cutting this photo so it would fit in my scrapbook. Now I know not to do that! :)

I also found the 'whole' photo [below] of me, Grandma, my step-sister Ashley and my new-born baby half-sister Blair. This was taken January 1995. Hard to believe she is 22 now! Hard to believe wind-suits like the one my grandma is wearing were once the style...lol

Below is my nephew Nolan (Blair's baby), my dad Wayne (Jeanette's oldest son) and my niece Hailey (Justin's daughter). We often joke that Hailey is a look-alike of my grandma Jeanette! Photo cir 2016.

More recent of Hailey and my dad. She kind of looks like her mother here!

Another photo below - it's Hailey's brother, Hunter - he is my brother's oldest and has those Murphy genes too!

Hunter with his dad (my brother) Justin - these are a few years old now. 

My dad and step-mom with all the grandkids - Jeanette sure would have enjoyed them! From left to right is Hunter, my dad Wyane, Hailey on his lap (Justin's kids) then Kelley, my step-mom, Nolan (Blair's kid) on her lap, and then Trey and Kylie (Ashley's kids).

I am the only one left with no kids - although not by choice! Maybe I will throw in my cat Wendy for the next blog! LOL

Thursday, January 19, 2017

The Beginning

In July 2015 my grandfather, Jerry Murphy Sr. and his wife Miriam McCoy Murphy lost their home to a fire. While most of their possessions were gone, something great remained... In the bottom drawer of an old wooden desk buried under burned insulation and papers, was a book of our entire family history. 

With so much to learn about my family and so little time, I decided to start a blog. Also, this seems to be the most convenient place to store images of the book for others to see!