William Murchy – born to Scottish parents in Maine

Murchy -> Carlin -> Boyer

The spelling of Margaret Elizabeth “Murchie”‘s surname, to the dismay of many present, continues to be a topic of discussion at family reunions. Boyer family lore says that maybe the spelling was really Murphy but misspelled by well-meaning immigration officials.

Here is a new hypothesis on the Murchie/ Murphy spelling issue – MURCHY.

If correct then it is likely that we’ve located a ‘new’ ancestor – William Murchy, father of Margaret Elizabeth Murchy who married John William Carlin. This makes William a Great Grandfather to Bill & Evelyn Boyer.

William Murchy was born in 1831, in Maine – his parents were born in Scotland. By 1862 he was living in PA, as this is where his eldest child, “Minnie” was born. He appears in a special supplement to the U.S. Census as having served the Union Army in the “war of the rebellion” (U.S. Civil War) from 1862 to 1865 in “Ordinance.” By 1870 he is living in the Frankford Arsenal, Bridge St., where he was a U.S. Soldier, a private specializing in “Ordinance”, and where he spent at the very least 10 years with his family.

This hypothesis originates with the 1900 Census listing for John W. Carlin & Family on Bridge St. Philadelphia as follows:

1. John Carlin, head, b. Aug 1864, age 36, married 13 years, b. PA, father b.PA, mother b. PA, works in government.
2. Margaret E, wife, b. Oct. 1864, age 36, married 13 years, 5 children born, b. PA, father b. Ireland, mother b. PA (below all b. PA, parents b. PA)
3. Ralph H., son, b. May 1889, age 11, at school
4. Edith, daughter, b. Oct 1891, age 8
5. William R., son, b. Feb 1893, age 7
6. Florence, daughter, b. Oct 1897, age 2
7. Elizabeth M., daughter, b.1899, age 7/12.

Bill Boyer and Wendy Hinsdale Smythe agree that #1 is John William Carlin, Bill’s grandfather, and #7 Elizabeth M. is Bill’s mother, Wendy’s grandmother.

The interesting thing (noted by Wendy Hinsdale Smythe) is that if you look at the next two lines of the 1900 census there are two more people listed as boarders:

8. Peter Murchy, boarder, b. Sep 1863, age 36, single, born PA, parents born PA, works in government 9. George Murchy, boarder, b. Oct 1870, age 29, single, born PA, parents born PA, rope maker.

Now, if you take a small leap, maybe these Murchy’s are the Boyer’s Murchie’s/ Murphy’s? And just maybe they are relatives of #2 “Margaret E.” (Margaret E. Murchie/Murphy Carlin.) From the men’s ages, they look like they could be her brothers….so that sends us on a brand new quest looking for #2, #8 and #9 living together as a Murchy family in an earlier census..

And guess what that turns up? Living on the same street (Bridge St.), 30 years earlier, in the 1870 census we find the following family:

1. Wm. Murchy, age 40
2. Annie, age 20
3. Minnie, age 8
4. Peter, age 6
5. Margaret, age 5
6. Ann Wright, age 75

And then in the 1880 census on Bridge St. again:

1a. William Murchy, age 49, U.S. Soldier, b. Maine, Father b. Scotland, mother b. Scotland – p.18-19, Bridge St., District 482, Philadelphia, PA
2a. Anna, 28/29, wife, housekeeping, self and parents b. PA
3a. Amelia, 18, daughter, servant, b. PA, father b. Maine, mother b. PA.
4a. Peter, age 16, son, app. to Machinist, b. PA, father b. Maine, mother b. PA 5a. George, age 8, son, at school, b. PA, father b. Maine, mother b. PA
6a. Laura, age 3, dau, at home, b. PA, father b. Maine, mother b. PA

Bill Boyer remembers his mother’s Aunt Minnie from when she was probably in her 90’s in the 1950’s – If this is correct she is #3 (Minnie) in the 1870 census and #3a (Amelia) in the 1880 census. Minnie would be 96 years old in 1958. Laura (who Bill also remembers) #6a is Minnie’s younger half sister by 15 years so she would have been 93 in 1970 (but we don’t at this point know how long she lived).

Independently and prior to this research, Bill Boyer mentioned that “Mr. Murchie/ Murphy had three daughters: Laura from one wife, Margaret and Minnie from another wife.” – all those names also appear above, and the ages make sense if you assume that Annie, age 20 in 1870 is the second wife.