James Murphy is now living retired in Racine but for many years actively engaged in business as a hardware merchant. He has been a lifelong resident of the city in which he makes his home. His birth having here occurred September 1, 1852. His parents were John and Nary S. (Atkey) Murphy, the former a native of County Mayo, Ireland, while the latter was born on the Isle of Wight. They were married in Rome, Italy, and the mother, who had formerly been an Episcopalian, became a convert to the Catholic faith in Rome. In 1848 they arrived in Racine and Mr. Murphy established a transfer cartage business, continuing to engage in draying until his death, which occurred August 16, 1877, when he was sixty-eight years of age. He had been one of the original stockholders of the Manufacturers Bank and in business affairs was very successful. His widow survived him for many years, passing away July 28, 1908, at the notable age of ninety-one years.
James Murphy obtained his education in public and parochial schools and in his youth learned the tinsmith’s trade, Which he followed until he embarked in the hardware business thirty-two years ago. For an extended period he was active in that connection, building up a business of large and gratifying proportions, but in 1913 he put aside the cares of commercial life and has since lived retired, enjoying a rest which he has truly earned and richly deserves. He has important invested interests and is now one of the directors of the Manufacturers Bank.
In 1883 Mr. Murphy was united in marriage to Miss Celia Hoye, a native of Kenosha, and they have become the parents of seven children: Agnes, the wife of Myron I. McAvoy, of Racine; James, who is connected with the city engineering department of Racine; John H., a sheet metal manufacturer; Celia, the wife of Dr. John H. Hogan, of Racine; Belle and Raymond, at home; and Jerome E., who is associated with his brother, John, in the sheet metal business.
The family is all communicants of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church and Mr. Murphy is identified with the Knights of Columbus and has passed through all the chairs of the local organization and has been grand knight. While in business he was president of the State Hardware Dealers’ Association, a fact which indicated his prominence in trade circles. In politics he has been a lifelong democrat, always giving unfaltering allegiance to the party. For ten and a half years he served on the school board of Racine and during part of that time was its president. Having always lived in this city, he is well known, his business affairs, his public activity and his social qualities firmly establishing him in a position among the foremost residents of the County.