Weakley County's connection to Donner Party of 1846-47

The MURPHY family of Weakley County - part of Donner Party

by MaryCarol

D: I44194
     Name: Damaris Kathleen COCHRAN
     Sex: F
     Birth: ABT. 1841

 Marriage 1 William Green MURPHY b: 15 JAN 1836 in Weakley County, Tennesse

               Married: 3 DEC 1861 in Weakley County, Tennessee


         1. Tullulah "Luttie" MURPHY b: ABT. 1862
         2. Kate Nye MURPHY b: ABT. 1864
         3. William Green MURPHY b: ABT. 1866
         4. Charles Mitchell MURPHY b: ABT. 1868
         5. Ernest H. MURPHY b: ABT. 1870
         6. Harriet F. MURPHY b: ABT. 1872
         7. Leander B. MURPHY b: ABT. 1874


               Young William set out with the Forlorn Hope with the other members of his family, but had
               no snowshoes and had to turn back. Had he not done so, he almost certainly would have met
               the same fate as his brother Lemuel. Two months later, on his way out of the mountains
               with the First Relief, William's feet became so badly frostbitten that he couldn't continue,
               but it came to a choice of walk or die. He walked.

               After their rescue and recuperation, the two surviving Murphy boys flourished in California.
               In 1849, their sister Mary Covillaud wrote, "William and Simon are large healthy boy and as
               like the other boyes was William can ride wild horses like a Spaniard they can talk Spanish
               and Indian to." William acted as an Indian interpreter at Bidwell's Bar in 1848-49.

               In December 1849, William and Simon Murphy accompanied their sister Harriet and
               brother-in-law Michael Nye east via the Isthmus of Panama. At Gorgona, they met John
               Sutter's family, who were on their way to Sacramento escorted by Heinrich Lienhard. After
               arriving at New Orleans, William and his companions traveled to Dresden, Tennessee, where
               the family still owned property.

               The Nyes returned to California but the boys stayed on, living with a local family. Evidently
               William, as the eldest surviving son, was expected to continue his education. His schooling
               had been scanty, however, so he had to be tutored until he was ready to enter the University
               of Missouri at Columbia for the school year 1852-53. In 1854, he returned to California,
               helping to drive a large herd of cattle back to Marysville, but after a few years went back to
               Missouri and completed his education, graduating in 1861.

               William returned to Marysville, where he was admitted to the bar in January, 1863. In
               August of that year he was admitted to the bar of the Supreme Court of Nevada and
               practiced law in Virginia City for three years, but in 1866 went back to Marysville for good.
               His law practice was very successful. He served as court commissioner for 27 years and also
               as District Attorney of Yuba County.

               Murphy stood more than six feet tall, loved children, was a note orator, a staunch
               prohibitionist, and a founder of Maryville's Congregational Church, His passing in 1904 was
               sincerely mourned by his fellow citizens.

               " The Donner Party" by Kristen Johnson