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Early California Settlers and Immigrants Resources: Murphy Family

Guide to the Manuscripts and Digital Collections of California Founders

Murphy Family


Santa Clara College students Robert Keating (1857-1862) of Poker Flat, and Bernard Murphy (1858-1862) of Mountain View. 

Related Books: Murphy Family

Murphy Family Papers

The Martin Murphy family emigrated from Ireland to Canada in 1820. In 1828, Martin Jr. (b. 1807) and his sister joined them. After a period in Missouri and in the Sacramento Valley, the family arrived in the San Jose area in 1844. They came to California with the Stephens-Townsend-Murphy Party, a pioneer wagon train that came to California over the Sierra Nevada two years before the journey of the Donner Party in 1846-1847. Shortly after arriving in Santa Clara, Martin Murphy, Sr. bought Rancho Ojo de Agua de la Coche in San Jose. Eventually, it came to be known as the “Twenty-One Mile” house and was a popular stop for travelers going between Santa Clara and San Jose. The Murphy family became landowners of vast territories in the San Francisco Bay Area through purchasing land owned by various old, californio families. Martin Murphy, Jr. eventually took up residence in Sunnyvale. Father of several sons, he was an advocate of education and an early financial supporter of Santa Clara College. Murphy's sons were among the earliest students at the college.

Related Collection: Gabrielle Sullivan, SNDdeN

The Gabrielle Sullivan, SNDdeN Papers, 1890-1994 (bulk 1959-1979), document the research of Sr. Gabrielle Sullivan, SNDdeN (Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur) and her investigations of the Murphy family. The records consist of research materials and correspondence related to the Murphy family andSullivan’s academic work. This collection is arranged into one series: Series I. Sr. Gabrielle Sullivan, SNDdeN Research Materials, 1890-1994 (bulk 1959-1979).

This collection was once part of the Murphy Family Papers, so if you cannot locate certain materials that were once in the Murphy papers you should check here!

Quick Links to Archives & Special Collections

Archives & Special Collections Access Policy

In some cases, Archives & Special Collections staff reserve the right to insist on researcher use of digital surrogates in lieu of the originals due to fragility of the originals. These cases include researchers interested in the sacramental records and Fr. Viader's Miscellany Book. If you feel you have a good reason to consult the original, please contact us to discuss this.

Otherwise, items from the Santa Clara Mission Manuscript Collection are available for researchers to use in the Norman F. Martin, S.J. Reading Room Monday - Friday, 10 am - 7 pm.  Access to the collections are by appointment only.  Please contact us at to make an appointment. Researchers are required to complete the user register form before interacting with materials.