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Murphy, Richard G.

Born: 1801-01-04 Smith County, Tennessee

Died: 1875-01-10 Scott County, Minnesota

Flourished: 1818-1854 Perry County, Illinois

Murphy's family moved from Tennessee to Perry County, Illinois, in 1818. Murphy served as justice of the peace for Perry County from 1827 to 1829, and as the county treasurer from 1829 to 1830. Murphy volunteered for the militia during the Black Hawk War and served as an orderly sergeant from 1831 to 1832. After the war, Murphy was elected to represent Perry and Randolph counties in the Illinois House of Representatives for the Eighth through Twelfth General Assemblies (1833-1842), where he served alongside Abraham Lincoln. In 1834, Murphy married Sarah Lemen, the niece of Illinois Lt. Governor William Kinney. Together, Richard and Sarah had five children before Sarah's death in 1846. Shortly after, Murphy married Nancy Glore Wier. Murphy was a member of the Four Mile Baptist Church in Perry County.

In 1847, President James K. Polk appointed Murphy as agent for the Sioux Indians in Minnesota. Murphy returned to Illinois and in 1850, voters once again elected him to the Illinois House of Representatives. After serving out his term in the Illinois legislature, Murphy permanently moved his family to Minnesota in 1854. In 1858, he was President of the first senate of the state of Minnesota after it was admitted to the Union. Afterward, he left politics and became a farmer and stock raiser in Scott County, Minnesota. In 1860, Murphy owned $16,000 in real estate and $1,000 in personal estate, and his household included a servant and a farm laborer.

Combined History of Randolph, Monroe, and Perry Counties, Illinois (Philadelphia: J. L. McDonough, 1883), 166, 179, 270, 344-345; Gravestone, Valley Cemetery, Shakopee, MN; John Clayton, comp., The Illinois Fact Book and Historical Almanac, 1673-1968 (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1970), 203-04, 206, 209, 217; U.S. Census Office, Eighth Census of the United States (1860), Scott County, MN, 75.