Sunday, March 16, 2014

52 Ancestors: #11, Flora Ann (McDonald) Murphy, Woolen Weaver

My great-great-grandmother, Flora Ann McDonald, was born 2 May 1832,1 on Prince Edward Island (possibly in Charlottetown), Canada, to William and Flora (Wilson) McDonald.2 Around 1853 she married William Murphy, a sawyer and carpenter, probably in or near Vernon River, PEI.3

Flora and William had ten children:
  1. Dominic, b. 1854, married Rose Ann McIntyre in Bloomfield, PEI
  2. Lot, b. ca 1856-59, married Nora Kelleher in Newburyport, MA
  3. Flora Ann, b. 1856, married John Sanphy in PEI
  4. Mary, b. 1858, married John Cummings in Newburyport
  5. James, b. 1860, possibly died young?
  6. Martha, b. 1863, married Edward Perkins in Newburyport
  7. Daniel, b. 1865, emigrated to Newburyport
  8. Catherine ("Kate"), b. 1868, married Patrick Hart in Newburyport
  9. Elizabeth ("Lizzie"), b. 1871, married George Blackwell in Lawrence, MA
  10. William, b. 1873, died young
By the time of the first nominal census in 1881, the family was living in Georgetown, Kings County,4 and the four oldest children had left home: Dominic was a farm laborer in Prince County; Flora Ann had married John Sanphy and lived nearby; and the whereabouts of Lot and Mary are not known (though they are known to have later emigrated to Massachusetts). The youngest, William, must have died young, because he never appeared in a census.
1881 Canada census, Georgetown, Kings County, PEI, William Murphy household
Ten years later, the rest of the children had left, most having emigrated to Massachusetts – although Dominic, with his wife and children, was now living next door to his parents. Flora was listed as a "woolen weaver" in the 1891 census.5
1891 Canada census, Lot 51, Kings County, PEI, William Murphy and "Domnic" Murphy households
1901 Canada census, Lot 51, Kings County, PEI, William Murphy household
Flora and William appeared in one more Canadian census, in 1901,6 before finally following their brood to Newburyport, Massachusetts, around 1904-06.7 After William died in 1909, Flora moved to Lawrence, Mass., to live with her daughter Elizabeth and son-in-law George Blackwell.8
1910 U.S. census, Lawrence, Massachusetts, Flora Murphy in George "Blackwall" household
Sometime between the 1910 census and Feb 1911, she moved to Lowell, where she was living with daughter Kate and son-in-law Patrick Hart when she died on 22 Feb 1911, of "senility." She was buried in St. Mary's Cemetery in Newburyport, where William had been buried two years previously.9
Death certificate for Flora (McDonald) Murphy, 22 Feb 1911, Lowell, Mass.
My descent from Flora Ann McDonald:
  • William Murphy + Flora Ann McDonald
  • Dominic Murphy + Rose Ann McIntyre
  • William George Murphy + Glenna Marie Rabideau (my maternal grandparents)
(Note: This post is in response to Amy Johnson Crow's "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks" challenge at No Story Too Small.)

  1. 1901 Canada Census, Kings County, Prince Edward Island, Township 51, p. 5, dwelling 37, family 38, William Murphy household; database and digital images, Library and Archives Canada, ( : accessed 20 Feb 2012). While this census lists supposedly "exact" dates of birth, other censuses and her death certificate indicate a birth year of anywhere from 1831 to 1837.
  2. "Massachusetts, Death Records, 1841-1915," database and digital images, ( : accessed 13 Mar 2014), Flora Murphy death certificate #351 (stamped), registered no. 273, Lowell, Massachusetts, 22 Feb 1911. The certificate lists her parents and gives Charlottetown as her birthplace. Her reported age of 74 implies a birth year of 1836 or 37.
  3. The year is an estimate based on the Dec 1854 birth of their first child, Dominic. While baptismal records for Dominic and Lot have not been located, their third through seventh children were baptized at St. Joachim's Church in Vernon River, making it a likely location for their marriage as well.
  4. 1881 Canada Census, Kings County, Prince Edward Island, Georgetown Common & Royalty, pp. 3-4, dwelling 11, family 11, William Murphy household; digital images, ( : accessed 19 Feb 2012). Flora's reported age of 50 implies an 1831 birth year.
  5. 1891 Canada Census, Kings County, Prince Edward Island, Township 51, p. 10, families 34-35, William Murphy and "Domnic" Murphy households ; digital images, ( : accessed 19 Feb 2012). Flora's reported age of 58 implies an 1833 birth year.
  6. 1901 Canada Census, Kings County, Prince Edward Island, Township 51, p. 5, William Murphy household.
  7. No immigration records have been found, but city directories show a William Murphy arriving in Newburyport around this time; Flora's husband William died in Newburyport in 1909. The 1884 immigration year given on the 1910 census is clearly a random fabrication, as she was demonstrably resident in Canada through 1901. It's worth noting that an 1884 immigration is also given for her daughter Elizabeth, who would have been only 11 (or 13 if you go by her baptismal record) at the time. I suspect the informant (possibly her husband?) pulled a year out thin air for both of them.
  8. 1910 U.S. Census, Essex County, Massachusetts, Lawrence, ED 350, sheet 42A, dwelling 550, family 769, Flora Murphy in George "Blackwall" [Blackwell] household; digital images, ( : accessed 14 Feb 2014). Flora's reported age of 74 implies an 1835 or 36 birth year.
  9. Flora Murphy death certificate.

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