L. M. Murphy

L. M. Murphy was born in 1849 in Kirkwood, Ohio, the son of Dr. John Murphy the county physician. Murphy was a veteran of the Civil War, a criminal lawyer, and the last living member of the Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.) post in Maumee.

Murphy first joined the Civil War when he was 15, but his parents arranged for his release. Later on that year he rejoined the army and served with the Thirty-Second Ohio Volunteer Infantry. At the end of his service he was mustered out and attended school at Vermillion and Mt. Union College. In 1877, he was married to Miss Martha Adrian of Gambier, Ohio. Murphy served as a newspaper editor before he was admitted to the Ohio Bar Association in 1879. The next year he moved to Wauseon where he opened a law office. While in Wauseon he was elected mayor three times and served as a county school examiner. In 1891 he moved to Maumee where he lived to the day of his death.

Murphy also maintained an office of his own in Toledo for some years. Later he joined the offices of Brown, Hahn, and Sager. Murphy was familiar in the area as the "Sage of the Maumee." He took on the cases of the weak and poor. Attorneys and laymen would fill the courtroom to beyond capacity to hear Murphy's arguments and keen examinations.

Although he defended many people accused of murder in the first degree, only one received the death penalty. A black man named Jack Harding received the death penalty for the murder of police officer Billy Kress in 1920. The conviction of Harding burdened Murphy until his death because he thought Harding was truly innocent.

Murphy had two hobbies which he actively pursued, reading and gardening. His collection of books numbered into the thousands. His library shelves were filled and more books were stacked on the floor. Gardening allowed him to spend time outside and provided him with the opportunity to beautify his property along the river in Maumee.

L.M. Murphy died in his home at 301 Broadway, Maumee on April 23, 1926 at the age of 77. He was survived by his wife and three children, two daughters and one son, all of whom resided in Maumee. (Toledo Blade, 24 April 1926.)

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