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Benton County, Iowa ~ Biography and Family Information


Source:  The Annals of Iowa, Vol. XII - III Series.
  Edited by Edgar R. Harlan.
Published by The Historical Department of Iowa.
Des Moines. 1915-1921.
The Editorial Department. Notable Deaths. Pages 473-474.
Bernard Murphy was born at Brookline, Massachusetts, September 24, 1847, and died at Vinton, Iowa, February 28, 1918. He came with his parents to Poweshiek County, Iowa, in 1859, where they located on a farm about four miles south-west of Belle Plaine. He worked on farms in this neighborbood and in the south part of Benton County until 1867 when he went to Vinton and commenced to learn the printer's trade. Remaining there until 1870 he went to Des Moines and was employed by the Clarksons, the proprietors of the State Register, for three years, except for a short time he spent in Denver working on the Rocky Mountain News. In 1874 he assisted in establishing the Trair Clipper, but in 1876 became a partner in the ownership of the Vinton Eagle. In 1886 he became the sole owner of the Eagle, and continued as such until 1913 when his son became part owner with him. For some years he was a member of the city council of Vinton. He was postmaster at Vinton from 1897 to 1901, and state printer from 1901 to 1906. He was an alternate delegate to the Republican national convention at Minneapolis in 1892 and was a presidential elector on the Republican ticket in 1916. He was grand chancellor of the Grand Lodge of Iowa, Knights of Pythias, in 1901 and was representative to the supreme lodge of that order from 1912 until the time of his death. He was untiring in his work for the Iowa College for the Blind at Vinton, and his work for Linnie Hagewood, the blind and deaf girl, the Helen Kellar of Iowa, will long be remembered. His interest in education was such that he was appointed as a member of the Better School Commission. His greatest work, however, was on the editorial page of his paper. In originality and in creative and constructive power he was not excelled by any writer in the state. He took an active part in district and state editorial association meetings, and for years attended them and always gave interest and inspiration by his presence. He was also a well known figure at Republican district and state conventions, where he had a large influence. He had good judgment, good ability, rugged honesty, a sense of humor and a love of his fellow men that made of him a real leader in Iowa.

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