Peter A. Murphy
Born: Apr 1869 - New York (1) Baptized: Died: May 1908 (2) Buried: Father: Patrick Murphy (Abt 1838- ) Mother: Bridget (Abt 1837- ) (3) Marriage: Abt 1894 (1)
- He appeared on the 1880 Federal census on 11 Jun 1880 in New Rochelle, Westchester County, New York. (3) Peter was shown as being 11 years old and born in New York. He was in school.
- He appeared on the 1900 Federal census on 4 Jun 1900 in New Rochelle, Westchester County, New York. (1) Peter was shown as being 31 years old and born April 1969 in New York. He was married for six years. Both of his parents had been born in Ireland. He owned his home located on Sickles Avenue. He was employed as a builder/carpenter.
- A newspaper article was published in the The New York Times on 9 Jan 1902 in New York, New York. (4) Peter Murphy, who had both his legs crushed in the wreck, got to the station in the morning just as the train was pulling out. He ran for it, and just managed to clutch the stanchion platform of the rear car and pull himself aboard.
- He received medical attention for injuries from the train wreck on 8 Jan 1902 in New York, New York. (5) He was treated initially for two broken legs at the Bellevue Hospital. Later his left leg was amputated.
- A newspaper article was published in the Anaconda Standard on 9 Jan 1902 in Montana. (6)
Heroism of a Victim
Acting Battalion Chief Freel found in the wreck a man who gave his name as T. M. Murphy, and tried to move him. Murphy said his leg was held fat and asked Chief Freel to free it. The chief found that if he lossened the timbers that held Murphy's leg he was liable to let down more wreckage on the bodes of the two girls. He told Murphy this and Murphy said: "All right, I'll wait, but please be quick as you can." The chief made Murphy as comfortable as he could with a seat cushion and he lay there till the bodies of the injured ones beside him were removed.
Researcher's Note: The "two girls" menioned above were M. Rice and Sadie Scott who were identified in a previous paragraph in the article.
- A newspaper article was published in the The Waterloo Daily Reporter on 22 Jan 1902 in Waterloo, Iowa. (7)
RAILROAD WRECK HEROES
Graphic Story of Experiences In Tunnel Disaster at New York
The most graphic and dramatic account of the terrible scenes of the recent disaster in the Park avenue tunnel of the New York Central railway, when the rear car of a South Norwalk train was run into by a White Plains train, was given by Acting Battalion Chief Thomas F. Freel of hook and ladder No. 2 and Lieutenant William Clarke of the same company, says the New York World. Both have records for bravery in the fire department.
Freel and Clarke were the first two rescuers to get into the car jammed with maimed, dead and dying. Acting as spokesman, Freel described some of the scenes of the wreck as follows:
"The first unfortunate we found was Peter A. Murphy, and he has got more real courage and nerve than any man I ever saw. Both of his legs and arms were broken, he seemed to be hurt internally, and blood was streaming from a dozen cuts. He was pinioned hanging half out of described the windows. His mangled legs were held in a wedge of tons of stuff, his arms were powerless, and he couldn't move. He was the first man that I saw, and he was the last sufferer removed from the wreck. But in all that time he never made a whimper and was calm and considerate of others from first to last."
. "We chopped our way to him, and as soon as we found that we couldn't get him out for some time we fastened a rope under his armpits and hoisted him up into an easier position."
"All that he said to us was, 'I would like you to take me out as soon as you can, as the pain is very great.' "
"A surgeon from Roosevelt hospital came along and gave Murphy a hypodermic injection of morphine. Later we found a cushion and placed it under his back. He was very grateful for this and said calmly: 'Thank you, gentlemen. That makes me much easier.' Others not one-fifth as badly hurt as he was yelled and screamed, but he never lost his nerve for an instant."
""There was a lot of heroism displayed on that car. We found a young man pinioned under a mass of stuff on the floor. He was badly hurt. Near him was lying a young woman also severely injured. The woman was lying in the path of the stream of steam, and the young man was reaching over with a newspaper fanning the steam away from the woman's face."
"The fire chaplains, Father Smith and Mr. Wakely, worked in the car, helping the victims as fast as they were reached. One girl, Miss Daisy Scott, was found lying across the body of a dead man. Both of her legs were broken. On either side of her was the body of a dead man."
"She as suffering terribly, but controlled herself splendidly. She was calm all the time, and when at last we were able to move her she said to me, 'Be very careful to keep my feet covered up.' Chaplain Smith helped to lift her out and gave her some brandy."
- A newspaper article was published in the The New York Times on 9 Feb 1902 in New York, New York. (8)
HERO OF TUNNEL DISASTER
Peter A. Murphy Sends Message To His New Rochelle Neighbors
Thanks Them for Interest They Have Taken -- Is Mending Slowly After His Terrible Injuries
"Please say to the people of New Rochelle that I shall be glad when I am back there again, and that I thank all my friends there for the kind interest they have taken in me since I have been here and that I feel stronger every day. And you might also say that the entire staff of Bellevue Hospital has done everything to bring about my recovery."
This message, to be sent through the columns of THE NEW YORK TIMES, was dictated last evening in the Sturges Pavilion – Ward No. 40 – at Bellevue Hospital by the hero of the tunnel disaster of Jan. 8 last, Peter Aloysius Murphy, a builder of 20 Sickles Avenue, New Rochelle. He is mending slowly — all too slowly to suit the professional men who are attending him — and cannot hope to be home for several, if not many, weeks, but confidence is expressed in his ultimate recovery.
Just a month ago yesterday the crash came in the tunnel through Train No. 118 from White Plains dashing into the rear of Train No. 223 from Danbury. Murphy was in the rear car of the Danbury train and was pinned under wreckage. When Acting Chief of Battalion Thomas F. Freel and other rescuers came to Murphy they found that while they could get his body to a window his legs were held as in a vise.
"Can you get me out?" asked the sufferer.
"Yes," replied Freel, "but it will take time. If we chop the debris away from your feet it will let the roof down and maybe kill a lot more."
"All right, don't mind me. There are two women over there. Get them out first."
The women were Sadie Scott and Minnie J. Rice, pluck girls, who, when extricated, were sent to the Presbyterian Hospital. Both were heroines. They were more anxious to prevent bad news about them getting to relatives than about their grievous hurts.
It took two hours to release Murphy. His case was considered hopeless when he arrived at Bellevue Hospital. His left leg was entirely crushed below the knee, there was a comminuted fracture of the other leg, and he had frightful injuries to the back of the head, the right hip, the left eye, and the left shoulder, and many sprains and bruises of minor importance. His pulse was 162 for twenty hours, temperature 101 to 102, and respiration 36, and his general condition was aggravated by shock and profuse hemorrhage. His left leg was amputated below the knee as soon as he rallied.
Murphy was clean shaven and appeared tranquil and at ease when a TIMES man saw him on his cot yesterday. A large bouquet of flowers was on a table near him and with him were his father, Patrick Murphy, and his sister, Miss Annie E. Murphy, who came to the hospital the day he was injured and has never left him.
"I do not know," said the patient slowly but in a strong voice, "when I shall be able to go home, but I have been well looked after. I am a builder with my father there. The firm is P. Murphy & Son. The day I was hurt I was making a last trip to Washingtonville, Somerset County, N. J., where we had built a house for the Rev. C. Moldenki. I never lost consciousness for a moment, after the collision and my brain was not affected in the least. I can recall all that occurred up to the time I was put in an ambulance."
"Do you remember, when you were held by the wreck, telling those who were trying to release you to let you alone and look after some women who were in a similar predicament?"
"I'd rather leave that part out."
"But did this happen?"
"Well, yes. I remember saying that women needed attention."
"You are married?"
"Yes, I have a wife and two little boys, Francis, four years old, and Robert A., six years old."
"And yet you did not want help until the women sufferers had been looked after?"
"I suppose so."
The gallant young man — he is thirty-two years old — chatted quietly about his affairs. He has not yet entertained any offer to recompense him for his maiming and suffering nor has he consulted lawyers about a suit for damages. Visitors to his cot are scores. His wife and children come every other day and his father is a daily visitor.
"I have heard," he added, "that they're going to make a fuss over me when I get back to New Rochelle. Well, I know pretty well every one there. I was never an athlete, as it has been stated, only a baseball player, and I've been held so close to business that it's years since I played, but I was in good physical shape when the accident occurred. I was in a poor way ten days ago, when I heard of the intended celebration up home, and paid very little attention to it, but I feel that I am mending. Yes, I would like to send a message to the people at New Rochelle."
Those who have had the professional care of Murphy at the hospital are enthusiastic about him and say that he is a splendid, docile patient, in whose recovery they are intensely interested. Dr. J. H. Potter has charge of his case, and Miss Jones, the trained nurse in charge of Ward No. 40, has spared no effort to aid and cheer the patient.
New Rochelle gets news of Murphy daily and threatens a boisterous demonstration of joy when he gets back there. At present plans for it by Mayor H. S. Clarke and other residents are delayed by the uncertainty in regard to Murphy's stay in the hospital. It was feared a week ago that it would be difficult to rally his constitution so that the healing of his right leg and hip would progress satisfactorily, but his system has responded to tonic treatment and unfavorable symptoms have abated. No one responsible for the patient will however, predict when he may be able to leave Bellevue. "He will be progressing favorable if he continues to 'build up,' " said one of the surgeons.
- A newspaper article was published in the The New York Times on 10 Mar 1902 in New York, New York. (9)
HERO OF TUNNEL WRECK REMOVED FROM BELLEVUE
Peter A. Murphy Met at New Rochelle Station by Nearly 600 of His Townsmen
Peter Aloysius Murphy, the New Rochelle builder, who was nearly killed in the collision in the New York Central tunnel accident Jan. 8, was taken from Bellevue Hospital to his home yesterday. Murphy was the hero of the accident, for, although seemingly injured beyond recovery, he aided two injured women and told the rescuers to get them out of the wreck first.
Murphy's case is remarkable. He was in the last car of the telescoped train, and after he was dug out it was found that he was injured internally, that both legs were broken, and that he had several bad scalp wounds. His condition was critical for days, yet from the first Murphy was more cheerful than his physicians and nurses, and vastly more so than his friends.
When his right leg was amputated he joked about it. He soon had everybody in Bellevue his friend and the Mayor of New Rochelle, many prominent persons of the city, and numerous friends asked his condition daily. The Knights of Columbus appointed a delegation to watch daily and nightly for news of a favorable or unfavorable change in his condition. His sister Annie took up her residence with Mrs. Rickard, wife of Assistant Superintendent Rickard, and was of great help to him.
When Murphy left the hospital a delegation of ten members of the Knights of Columbus in carriages met him and escorted him away. He was taken to New Rochelle, where it was said a reception was to be given.
- A newspaper article was published in the The New York Times on 10 Mar 1902 in New York, New York. (9)
New Rochelle, N. Y., March 9 — Peter Murphy was welcomed home this afternoon with a demonstration. Fifty members of the Knights of Columbus went down to the One Hundred and Twenty-ninth Street station in New York this morning to escort Murphy to this city.
The crippled man was transferred from the hospital to the Willis Avenue station in the Bronx, thus avoiding the carrying up the long stairs of the elevated. A special car was attached to the noon train from the Manhattan terminus of the suburban branch of the New York, New Haven and Hartford, thus avoiding taking the man through the tunnel.
About 600 persons were gathered in and around the station here, and when they first caught sight of Murphy there were repeated cheers. The Knights of Columbus and the members of Relief Engine Company formed in line and escorted Murphy to his home on Sickles Avenue, where he was greeted by his wife. Mrs. Murphy has been very ill, but is now better and was on the veranda to meet her husband.
The procession passed in review past the house and disbanded. Only intimate friends were admitted to the house to see Mr. Murphy, as it was thought the trip from New York had excited him and the further excitement of many callers would do no good. The members of Relief Engine Company have planned a small reception for their fellow-member for to-morrow night should he be able to receive them.
- A newspaper article was published in the The Post-Standard on 12 Mar 1902 in Syracuse, New York. (10)
A Tribute to Heroism
True heroism always gains the enthusiastic admiration and acclaim of Americans. Peter Murphy, a New Rochelle man who was seriously hurt in the Park avenue tunnel disaster in New York, returned to his home yesterday, having been discharged from the hospital.
It was Murphy who, when informed that if the timbers that were holding his legs were lifted others would be crushed, replied: "I didn't think of that. Let it stay. I'll stand the pain."
Sunday about 1,000 of his fellow citizens met this brave man at the New Rochelle station and gave him a most enthusiastic reception. It was a deserved tribute to as real a hero as ever breathed.
- A newspaper article was published in the The Daily Times on 29 Mar 1902 in New Brunswick, New Jersey. (11)
BRIEF NEWS NOTES
Peter Murphy of New Rochelle, N Y., who lost his left leg below the knee in the New York Central tunnel accident, has settled with the railroad company for $18,500. Murphy was regarded as a hero because he refused to have the beams removed that were crushing him until the women near him had been taken out.
- A newspaper article was published in the The New York Times on 8 May 1908 in New York, New York. (2)
TUNNEL WRECK HERO DEAD
Peter A. Murphy Passes Away at His Home in New Rochelle
Peter A. Murphy, who for many years was known to his friends as the "Hero of Park Avenue tunnel wreck," died at his home in New Rochelle. It was in that wreck that Mr. Murphy lost a leg and was injured internally. His friends say that he never fully recovered from the internal hurt received when he was pinned down beneath the wreckage of the passenger train.
For nearly a year he lay in a New York hospital, at times apparently was on the verge of death. His leg was amputated while there.
Mr. Murphy was a passenger on the wrecked train. He occupied a seat in the rear of the last car of the South Norwalk express when that train was held in the Park Avenue tunnel on the morning of Jan. 8, 1902, to allow an outbound main line express to leave the New York Central yards.
While the South Norwalk express waited a White Plains express crashed into the car in which Murphy sat. Murphy, with other passengers, was hurled forward and he was pushed half way through a window. His feet and legs became wedged under the engine. He tried to work himself free and managed to get one leg loose. Then the roof of the car fell and pinned both his legs down again. Although suffering intense agony Murphy directed the efforts of several injured passengers near him while they struggled to free themselves from the wreckage. Battalion Chief Farrell was walking past Murphy when the latter exclaimed:
"Lift the timbers off my legs, timbers, maybe, I can swing myself free."
"But if I do that I fear the roof will fall on the women inside," said Farrell, who was directing the work of rescue.
"I didn't think of that," replied Murphy.
"Go ahead and get them out. I guess I can stand this a while longer."
Then Murphy waited while the women and children were taken out. He never lost consciousness for a minute, although he was the last one taken out of the wreckage.
Battalion Chief Farrell afterward paid a tribute to Murphy when he said: "It was one of the bravest deeds I ever saw a man do."
After leaving the hospital Murphy received $18,000 from the railroad. So great was his popularity in New Rochelle that he was elected Receiver of Taxes a short time later. A year ago he caught cold. It settled in his lungs, already weakened by the mangling he received in the wreck. He went south seeking health, and returned from Asheville three weeks ago. He was 39 years old. He leaves a widow and five children.
Spouse/Wife: Mary Parker (1)
Born: Nov 1872 - New York (1) Baptized: Died: Buried:
- She appeared on the 1900 Federal census on 4 Jun 1900 in New Rochelle, Westchester County, New York. (1) Mary Murphy was shown as being 27 years old and born November 1872 in New York. She had been married for six years and had two children. Both of her parents had been born in Ireland.
General Notes for Wife – Mary Parker
Where were Mary and her children in 1910? According to Peter's obit, she had five children in 1908 when he died.
1 M Robert A. Murphy Born: Jul 1896 - New York (1) Baptized: Died: Buried: Spouse: Marr. Date:
- He appeared on the 1900 Federal census on 4 Jun 1900 in New Rochelle, Westchester County, New York. (1) Robert A. was shown as being three years old and born July 1896 in New York.
2 M Francis E. Murphy Born: Apr 1897 - New York (1) Baptized: Died: Buried: Spouse: Marr. Date:
- He appeared on the 1900 Federal census on 4 Jun 1900 in New Rochelle, Westchester County, New York. (1) Francis E. was shown as being three years old and born in 1897. The month of birth was either April or August, but was difficult to read. He was born in New York.
- 1900 Federal Census (Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2004. [Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Twelfth Census of the United States, 1900. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1900. T623, 1854 rolls.]), Year: 1900; Census Place: New Rochelle Ward 4, Westchester, New York; NARA Series T623, Roll: 1176 Page: 5B; Enumeration District: 99. Repository: Ancestry.com, http://www.ancestry.com/.
- The New York Times (New York Times Publishing Co., New York, NY), published May 8, 1908, page 7. Repository: New York Public Library, Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street, New York, New York, http://www.nypl.org/.
- 1880 United States Federal Census [database on-line] (Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2005. 1880 U.S. Census Index provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints © Copyright 1999 Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved. Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Tenth Census of the United States, 1880. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1880. T9, 1,454 rolls.), Year: 1880; Census Place: New Rochelle, Westchester, New York; NARA Series T9, Roll: 946; Family History Film: 1254946; Page: 35.3000; Enumeration District: 115; Image: 0373. Repository: Ancestry.com, http://www.ancestry.com/.
- The New York Times (New York Times Publishing Co., New York, NY), published January 9, 1902, page 1. Repository: New York Public Library, Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street, New York, New York, http://www.nypl.org/.
- The New York Times (New York Times Publishing Co., New York, NY), January 12, 1902. Repository: New York Public Library, Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street, New York, New York, http://www.nypl.org/.
- Anaconda Standard, January 9, 1902, p. 1; digital images. Repository: NewspaperARHCIVE.com.
- Waterloo Daily Reporter, January 22, 1902, p. 3; digital images. Repository: NewspaperARHCIVE.com.
- The New York Times (New York Times Publishing Co., New York, NY), published February 9, 1902, page 12. Repository: New York Public Library, Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street, New York, New York, http://www.nypl.org/.
- The New York Times (New York Times Publishing Co., New York, NY), March 10, 1902, page 1. Repository: New York Public Library, Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street, New York, New York, http://www.nypl.org/.
- The Post-Standard, March 12, 1902, p. 4; digital images. Repository: NewspaperARHCIVE.com.
- The Daily Times, March 29, 1902, p. 2; digital images. Repository: NewspaperARHCIVE.com.