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Murfin Family

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Alternate Spellings - None found

Links - Leech, Kinnamon, Allen (Misc Families), Smathers/Smethers (Misc Families)

Contacts - Karen Gray is researching William Comfort Murfin. Cecilia Stewart is researching her husband's Murfin/Smithers family.

Thomas and Katherine Leach Murfin

Thomas Holland Murfin was born about 1808 in Ohio. He married Katherine D. Leach, daughter of Chichester and Margaret Leach, on 3/10/1836 in Hancock County, Indiana. Katherine was born about 1808 in Virginia and died before 1870 in Mercer County, Illinois. According to census records Thomas and Katherine/Catherine came to Mercer County sometime between 1837 and 1842. (Susan Park has extensively researched the Leach/Leech families and her research is attached to our Leech page linked above.)

A Joseph Murfin purchased land in Eliza Township 7/13/1836 and we speculate he was brother or father of Thomas Holland Murfin since Thomas named his second son Joseph. Joseph purchased the SENW and W2SW of Section 34 in Township 15N Range 5 West and the E/2 SE Section 33. The land is no longer in Murfin ownership on the 1875 Eliza plat map.

Catharine D. Murfin purchased the E2SE of Section 12 Township 15North Range 5 West on 12/29/1845. It was a little unusual for a married female to purchase land on her own. The land does not indicate that it was a military warrant but perhaps Catherine was able to make the purchase based on military service of one of her ancestors. We will try to follow this further. This land was owned by A. M. Leech on the 1875 plat map.

Thomas Murfin and family are found in the 1860 census in Mercer County in Eliza Township: Thomas born 1808, born Ohio; Catherine, born 1808, Virginia. They have children: John H. Murfin, b 1837, Indiana; Joseph, b 1842, Illinois; Mary Ann, born 1843; Margaret Jane, born 1845; Thomas J., born 1847; and Sarah, born 1849.

In the 1870 census in Eliza Township, we find Thomas H. Murfin, age 52, farmer, born Ohio. Katherine is no longer with the family (we do not find a cemetery record). Sarah is no longer with the family and we do not find a marriage record for her so she may also be deceased.

Thomas J. and Alice Kinnamon Murfin

Son Thomas J. Murfin married Alice Kinnamon 2/5/1869 in Mercer County. We do not find parents for Alice in Mercer County but there are several Kinnamons who could be brothers. We will be putting up a Kinnamon page. Thomas and Alice are living with Thomas H. Murfin in the 1870 census: Thomas J., age 23, born Illinois; Alice, age 23, born Indiana; William Comfort, 2, and Frend Monroe, age 1, born Illinois. In 1880: Thomas J. Murfin, 33, Il, laborer, father born Oh, mother born Va; Alice, 28, born In, parents born U. S.; William C., 11, Il; Monroe F., 9, Il; Laura B., 8, Ia; Louis Cash, 6, Ia; Mary T. Darling, 4, Ia; Mina Etta, 2, Ia; Elizabeth, 2 mo, Ia.

John and Levina Margaret Smethers Murfin

Next door to Thomas H. Murfin in the 1870 census we find son John H. Murfin. John married Levina Margaret Smethers on 11/21/1861 in Mercer County. On August 2, 1862 John enlisted in Company K of the 102nd Illinois Infantry. He was discharged January 13, 1863 for disability. In the 1870 Census: John H., age 31, farmer, born Indiana; Margaret, age 26, born Indiana; Minnie E., age 4, born Illinois; and Mary L, age 1. The fact that no child was born until 1866 indicates John may have served additional time in the Civil War. It was not unusual for men considered unfit for service in one regiment to go to a neighboring state and enlist again. Anyone researching this particular family would do well to check Iowa regiments and/or order pension records for John Murfin.

We found a group of Smathers listed in the 1860 census in Eliza Township: #2622 Walter Smathers, 37, carpenter, born In; Lizzie, 32, born In; Wilbur, 3, In; Dora, 2, In; Logan, 40, laborer, In; Margaret, 18, In; Jane, 12, In; Abram, 24, laborer, In. In 10/2008 we heard from Cecelia Stewart who was researching her husband's family. She told us that Margaret Lavina Smithers was her husband's father's grandmother and that her older brother Walter took care of Margaret until she married John Murfin (based on a family letter), which leads us to believe that the Walter, Logan, Margaret, Jane, and Abram were all brothers and sisters in the above list and that the parent's had probably died. The family letter mentioned that Margaret also had a brother Henry and that perhaps she went to be with Henry in Alta, Iowa after John died. The family letter also stated that Margaret's parents died when she was 14 and that husband John Murfin died while traveling in the west and that Margaret then married an Aller. We tried to trace the family into Indiana and they may have come from Green, Madison County, Indiana, where the 1850 census lists a Phillip Smothers and a Henry Smothers family. Phillip Smothers has a daughter Louvania, 4, and a son Henry, 8, so is a likely candidate for being parent of Margaret. Phillip and his wife Mary were both born Tennessee according to the census. The intriguing part is that between the two Smothers families there, there were a couple of Kinnaman families perhaps also connected to Mercer County.

Joseph and Charlotte Murfin

Not far from Thomas H. Murfin in the 1870 census we find son Joseph: Joseph, age 26, farmer, born Illinois; Charlotte, age 24, born Hanover, Germany; Arminda, age 6; Mary Della, age 4; and Lewis, age 2, all born Illinois. We have not identified Charlotte's surname as yet - we had thought possibly Charlotte Muhlenburg, since the age fit, but learned she married someone else. We did not find a marriage record in Illinois or Iowa. In 1880 they are in Eliza Township: Joseph L. Murfin, 37, Il, father In, mother Va; Charlotte, 35, Germany, parents born Germany; Arminda E., 15, Il; Mary D., 14, Il; Louis T., 12, Il; Charles W., 8, Il; Artie A., Il, 6, Eddie B., 2, Il; Kenton O., 8 mo, Il.

Mary Ann Murfin Hand

Daughter Mary Ann married Thomas Hand 6/5/1859 in Mercer County. Mary Ann is censused both with her husband Thomas in Hamlet and with her parents in the 1860 census. In that time period it was not unusual for a young married woman to be still living with her parents until the young couple could afford to set up housekeeping. Thomas Hand was born about 1828 in Indiana. He had a brother John Murphy Hand, age 24, living with him in 1860. Thomas and Mary Ann Hand had a daughter, Lucinda J. Hand, died 3/18/1862, age 11mo 8 dy, and buried in the Leech Cemetery. We do not find them in Mercer County in the 1870 census.

Margaret Jane Murphin Allen

Daughter Margaret Jane Murfin married William Stephen Allen 4/14/1861 in Mercer County, Illinois. The marriage record is as Stephen W. and the 1870 census record is as William Stephen. There is a William Allen on the Eliza Township Muster Roll for the Civil War but we have not found a service record for him and do not know if it is this William Allen (see our Allens on the Miscellaneous Family page). William and Margaret are found in Eliza Township in 1870: William S., age 32, farmer, born New York; Margaret J., age 25, born Illinois; Joseph, age 6; Sarah Jane, age 3, born Illinois. Again, the delay in children indicate William may have served in the Civil War. A William Allen enlisted in Company D of the 102nd Illinois Infantry on 8/19/1862 and was mustered out on June 6, 1865. He gave his place of residence as Muscatine, Iowa. Researcher Karen Gray has found Murfin family information in Muscatine so this William Allen is a possibility. The birth of a child in 1864 would not have been unusual as men did come home on leave and women did visit their soldier husbands in the field. Keep in mind, however, that we have nothing constituting proof. Pension records would probably give the needed information.

12/25/2008 Corrected information under John and Margaret Smathers Murfin as to her likely parentage.