Thomas Murphy Sierra County, New Mexico

Thomas Murphy, county commissioner of Sierra County and a resident of Hillsboro, was born and reared in Portland, Maine, his natal day being November 22, 1848. His education was largely acquired through his own efforts in the school of experience, and in 1863, when not quite fifteen years of age, he responded to the country's call for troops, enlisting as a member of Company G, Second Regiment, Volunteer Infantry, in the District of Columbia, with which he served throughout the Civil war, being honorably discharged at Alexandria. Virginia, September 12. 1865. He participated in the campaign against General Mosby in the Shenandoah Valley and participated in the battle of Fort Stevens, which was witnessed by President Lincoln. Following the need for volunteer troops, Mr. Murphy jointed the United States regular army on the 25th of October, 1865, in the Third Battalion, joining the Seventeenth Regiment, which afterward became the Thirty-fifth Regular Infantry. He continued in active military service until 1878, when he was discharged as first sergeant of Company G. Fifteenth Regular Infantry, having served through four terms of enlistment. Following the Civil War his military duty lay largely in Texas and New Mexico, mostly in suppressing the Indian outbreaks and in quelling the rustlers. He served at all the old forts in the southern part of New Mexico and thus gained broad and comprehensive knowledge of the Territory.

In 1878 Mr. Murphy became clerk in Sulter's store at Fort Craig, where he remained until April, 1879. He was then transferred to Fort Bayard, where he continued until July, 1880, when he went to Lake Valley and took charge of the old McEvers ranch and mines for John A. Miller, who was then post trader for Fort Bayard. He acted as superintendent of his ranching and mining interests until 1882, when he took up his abode in Lake Valley, where he served for two terms as sheriff, being the first incumbent in that position in Sierra county. He was active and influential in every movement for the establishment of Sierra County, and after serving by appointment for one term as sheriff he was elected to the office for a term. He has likewise been school director and is now county commissioner. His interest in military affairs did not cease with his retirement from the regular army, for he acted as first lieutenant of Company H of the First Regiment of the New Mexico Militia during the time of the Apache Indian raids.

Mr. Murphy was married in 1893 to Miss Nellie Thurston, of El Paso, Texas. He belongs to Kingston Lodge No. 16, A. F. & A. M., to Percha Lodge No. 9, I. O. O. F., and to Sierra Lodge No. 19, K. P. The same loyalty which marked his service as a volunteer and his course as a member of the regular army has also been manifest in political offices to which he has been called, and he stands as a typical representative of the South west, interested in its development and lending active and hearty cooperation to many movements for the public good.

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Source: History of New Mexico, Its Resources and People, Volume II, Pacific States Publishing Co., 1907.

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