One of my good friends from Notre Dame was named John Murphy...

I seem to recall him telling me there was a “Murphy Club” at ND, with 27 members.  This is a fine thing………….unless you’re doing any kind of research and trying to track down someone with that name.

As most of you know, I am doing research on early (1887-1917) Notre Dame Football.

Here are two John Murphy’s from the Notre Dame Football Media guide who were VERY difficult to identify and locate:

Murphy, John Burke

b. 10/30/1877, Valentine, NE; d. 12/17/1927 (50), San Francisco, CA.  5’10, 154. 

At ND, 1893-1897. Civil Engineering Degree. Also awarded the Ellsworth C. Hughes Medal for the best record in Mathematics for the scholastic year. The Notre Dame Football Media guide describes the 1894-1896 LE (11 games) as being from Muskegon, MI. John C. Murphy, from Muskegon, was at Notre Dame 1895-1897, which would eliminate him. John B. Murphy, from Fort Townsend and Vancouver Barracks (WA), is the only John Murphy who fits all three of the appropriate years. On the other hand, the post-season report for 1897 has this: “JOHN C. MURPHY.Left End.Murphy at left end plays very good football. This is his second year on the Varsity. He is especially good in offensive work, though he shows up well in smashing interference. He tips the beam at a hundred and fifty-four, measures five feet ten inches and is twenty-one years of age.” The middle initial is wrong and the number of years on the team is wrong. A June, 1897 item in the SCHOLASTIC reported: “Mr. John B. Murphy, '96, who has been at the University during the past year left during the week for West Point, where he expects to enter the United States Military Academy. The SCHOLASTIC joins with the many friends of Mr. Murphy in wishing him every success during his cadetship, and after life when he will be one of the guardians of the peace of the nation.” In the following February, they reported: “Mr. John B. Murphy, '96, who is at present a student at West Point, has succeeded so well in his studies that he now stands third in his class—the largest class that ever entered West Point. We hope to see Mr. Murphy in first place before the end of the year. It will interest his Notre Dame friends to know that in a picture of the West Point sword drill in the FebruaryMetropolitan Magazine,Mr. Murphy is prominent.”According to West Point Archives, Murphy “was discharged in Mary 1899 for deficiency in French”.


From the SCHOLASTIC, 1901: “We learn that Mr. Hugh Mitchell (C.E.,'98) and Mr. John B. Murphy (C. E., '96) are at present engaged in the geodetic survey of the Philippines. Both were favorites here at school, and we are glad of their success in the broad and important field of engineering.” Summer, 1909: “Captain John Murphy is now attached to the Coast Artillery Corps stationed at the Presidio, San Francisco.” March, 1923, Col. John B. Murphy, was stationed at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. WWI Captain. John’s brother Pierce A., ND C.E., 1892, also attended West Point. Pierce was ranked first in his class of mathematics according to an item in the SCHOLASTIC. In 1902, he was a professor of law at West Point and John was a first lieutenant, stationed at San Francisco. Both served in the Philippines during the Spanish American War. Pierce achieved the rank of Colonel, stationed at #44 Infantry Post, Fort Sam Houston, TX. He died five months after his younger brother, and was buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Their dad, born in Ireland, apparently also had a distinguished military career. John Murphy’s tombstone in San Francisco National Cemetery indicates he was a Lt. Colonel in the Coast Artillery Corps. He died at the Presideo where he was stationed.




Murphy, John Patrick

b. 4/25/1887, Westborough, MA; d. 7/15/1969 (82).  6’, 170.

At ND, 1908-1912, LLB.  Transferred from Holy Cross (1906-1908).  Four game sub end, in 1908.  Manager of Note Dame Athletics-1911.  From the 4/19/1913 SCHOLASTIC: “—John P. Murphy, genial Manager of Athletics last year, is engaged in the practice of the law in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Indications are that John is making good in the business world.”  He then moved to Glasgow, MT.  2nd Lieutenant, WWI, assigned to U.S. Army Spruce Products Corporation, in Portland, OR.  This was the group responsible for producing wood used in our aircraft.  He later became the General Counsel for the group, then moving to Cleveland as Counsel for the Van Sweringen Company and its Higbee Company division, large real estate and railway development corporations.  Murphy was the executor of O.P. Sweringen’s will, in 1937 and then became President of Higbee Company, the largest department store chain in Cleveland.  Ironically, in 1987, Higbee’s was sold to another Notre Dame man, Edward J. DiBartolo.  Murphy was elected President of the Notre Dame Alumni Association-1927 and served as a Notre Dame Trustee for 35 years.  He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in 1952.  He established the John P. Murphy Foundation, whose primary funding was for Catholic education, hospitals, and music.  In 1998, the Foundation endowed three faculty chairs in the Notre Dame Law School.

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