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Nathaniel N. Murphy (1841-1922)
Native of N.Y., Civil War Vet., Bay City police chief.
Contributed by Jim Petrimoulx - March, 2011.

History of Bay County, Michigan - 1883.


Nathaniel N. Murphy, was born in Dexter, Jefferson Co., N.Y., October 14, 1841. He enlisted in the Tenth New York Artillery, under Col. A. F. Piper, August 5, 1862. Was company clerk one year, and afterward private clerk for Gen. Hartsuff. He was appointed first corporal in Company I, and was clerk for the provost marshal in Petersburg, Va., under Major Campbell. He was discharged in 1865, and returned to Dexter, N.Y. He was five years in the Ontario, woolen mills manufacturing blankets. He then moved to Tolland County, Conn., where he superintended the Rusket Company's works for two years. He returned to New York, and shortly after came to Bay City in 1877. He was appointed on the police force, and in 1881 was appointed chief of the department. He still retains that office.

Bay City Times Tribune - Monday October 23, 1922.

Page 3

Nathaniel Murphy
Claimed By Death
Was First Chief of Police of
Bay City and Well
Known Figure

Nathaniel N. Murphy former chief of police of Bay City for many years and later captain of detectives, passed away at his residence , 504 Grant Place north, Saturday evening at 8 o’clock. Mr. Murphy has been in poor health for some time past, although he had been up and around several times during the past year. His last illness was of but three days duration and death was due to heart trouble and pneumonia. He had also suffered two strokes of apoplexy.

Mr. Murphy was born in Dexter, New York, October 14, 1841, having passed his 81st birthday just a week before his death. He obtained his education in the public schools of Dexter and was married there, coming to Bay City about 49 years ago. During the civil war he served as a corporal in the 10th New York Artillery U.S. Army and at the time of his death was a member of the G.A.R. After the death of his wife Mr. Murphy married Mrs. Zora Green in this city 20 years ago last May.

On April 1, 1877 Mr. Murphy was appointed a patrolman on the Bay City police force and shortly afterward was made chief of the department, being the first man to hold this position. He continued to head this department from that time until Roy O. Woodruff became the mayor of Bay City when George V. Davis was made chief and Mr. Murphy was named captain of detectives. He continued in this capacity until he was pensioned, when he accepted a position as custodian of the vaults of the First National and Bay County savings Banks. A year ago failing health compelled him to give up his duties.

Mr. Murphy was one of the best known police officials in the state and county during the early lumbering days of the Saginaw valley. Of powerful physique he seldom had to resort to weapons to subdue his prisoners and many the stories told of his hand-to-hand encounters with criminals and “bad men”.

By faith Mr., Murphy was a universalist. He also belonged to Joppa Lodge No. 315 F & A. M and Bay City lodge No. 88 B.P.O.E.

Besides his wife he is survived by one son Carl of this city and two sisters, Mrs. Harriet Wescott and Mrs. Sarah Wescott both of Sackets Harbor, New York.

Funeral services will be held from the home with Rev. William H. Gallagher officiating under the auspices of Joppa lodge No. 315 F. & A. M., interment will be in Elm Lawn cemetery.

Additional Notes.

    1850 - Census: Brownsville, Jefferon, N.Y.

  • Murphey, Henry b. 1810 Ireland
  • Laura, wife - b. 1815 Mass.
  • Nathaniel, son - b. 1842 NY
  • Joanna, dau. - b. 1846 NY
  • Harriet, dau. - b. 1847 NY
  • Wm. A., son - b. 1850 NY

    1880 Census Bay City, Mich.

  • Murphy, Nathan - b. 1842 NY
  • Loura, wife - b. 1851 NY
  • Carl, son - b. 1879 Mich. (son died same year)

    1886-7 Bay City Directory.

  • Nathan Murphy resides at 412 Jackson st.

    1902 - Michigan Marriages: Bay City, Mich.

  • Date: June 19, 1902.
  • Groom: Nathaniel Murphy, son of Harry S. and Lora A. (Friller) Murphy.
  • Bride: Zora Z. Beardsley Green (age 39), daughter of George B. and Ida (Viskey) Green.

    1910 - Census: Bay City, Mich.

  • Murphy, Nathaniel - age 68, b. New York
  • Zora, wife - age 46, b. Mich.
  • Raymond Green, step son - age 23, Mich.

Related Pages/Notes

Related Pages:
Bay City Fire Dept. 1918
Local Civil War History
People Referenced
Campbell, Major
Davis, George V.
Filler, Lora A. (mother)
Galagher, Wm. H. Rev.
Green, George B. (f-inlaw)
Green, Raymond (s-son)
Green, Zora (wife)
Hartsuff, Gen.
Murphy, Carl (son)
Murphy, Harriet (sis)
Murphy, Harry S. (father)
Murphy, Joanna (sis)
Murphy, Nathaniel N. (subject)
Murphy, William A. (bro.)
Murphy, Sarah (sis)
Piper, A.F. Gen.
Viskey, Ida (m-inlaw)
Woodruff, Roy O.
Subjects Referenced
10th N.Y. Art. U.S.Army
Bay Co. MI
Brownsville, NY
Civil War
Dexter, NY
Elm Lawn
Jefferson Co., NY
Ontario, Canada
Petersburg, VA
Police chief
Rusket Company
Sackets Harbor, NY
Saginaw Valley, MI
Tolland Co., CT
WRITINGS: History As It Was Written Then.