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F. Murphy

F. Murphy

Federal (USV)


Franklin Murphy

(1846 - 1920)

Home State: New Jersey

Branch of Service: Infantry

Unit: 13th New Jersey Infantry

Before Antietam

Age 16, giving his age as 18, he was a clerk in his father's shoe manufacturing business when he enlisted in Newark on 19 July 1862. He mustered as Corporal, Company A, 13th New Jersey Infantry on 25 August.

On the Campaign

He was in combat for the first time, along with the rest of his Company, at Antietam on 17 September 1862.

The rest of the War

He was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant, Company D on 22 February 1863 and promoted to First Lieutenant, Company A on 17 March 1864. He mustered out with his Company on 8 June 1865 in Washington, DC.

After the War

He returned to Newark and, with a stake from his father, bought into a varnish production business. It did very well, and he incorporated it as the Murphy Varnish Company in 1891. By the end of his life it was the biggest such manufacturer in the world. He first held elected public office as a member of the Newark Council in 1883, was elected to the State Legislature in 1885, and was active in state and national Republican organizations. He successfully ran for New Jersey Governor in 1901 and served from 1902 to 1905. He presided, with President Theodore Roosevelt, over the dedication of the New Jersey Monument at Antietam on 17 September 1903.

References & notes

His service from Stryker.1 His presence at Antietam and other details from Bernard A. Olsen's A Billy Yank Governor: the Life and Times of New Jersey's Franklin Murphy (2000), as is his picture, from a photograph in a 2nd Lieutenant's uniform at the New Jersey Historical Society. His gravesite is on Findagrave.

He married Janet Colwell (1842-1904) in 1868 and they had 7 children together; only one outlived him. He was one of two Civil War veterans elected Governor; the other was George B. McClellan (term 1878-1881).

More on the Web

His statue (1924) is in Weequahic Park in Newark. His papers [finding aid] are at the New Jersey Historical Society, Newark. Part of his varnish plant was renovated 2016-18 and is now an apartment building in Newark.


01/03/1846; Jersey City, NJ


02/24/1920; Palm Beach, FL; burial in Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Newark, NJ


1   State of New Jersey, Adjutant-General's Office, and William Scudder Stryker, Adjutant General, Record of Officers and Men of New Jersey in the Civil War, 1861-1865, 2 volumes, Trenton: John L. Murphy, Steam Book and Job Printer, 1876, Vol. 1, pp. 629, 640  [AotW citation 21859]