Levinah Murphy (Jackson) (1809 - d.)

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Nicknames: "Lavinia", "Levina", "Levinah"
Birthplace: Union Co., SC
Death: Died in Donner Pass
Managed by: Elizabeth-Gaye Jeans
Last Updated:

About Levinah Murphy (Jackson)

She is often called "old Mrs. Murphy" in the literature of the Donner Party, but Levinah Jackson Murphy was only 36 when she set out for California. She had been born to a prosperous family living in Union District (now County), South Carolina. Her father was a responsible landowner who sat on juries, administered estates, maintained public roads, and was active in the local Baptist church. Levinah is said to have acted as his private secretary.

http://user.xmission.com/~octa/DonnerParty/Murphy.htm

    Four days after her sixteenth birthday she married Jeremiah Burns Murphy, son of a neighboring family and her first cousin once removed. The bride and groom were both descended from one Richard Murphy, who, according to family tradition, had been kidnapped from Ireland as a boy and sold as an indentured servant in Virginia.
Jeremiah and Levinah had four children in South Carolina before they and several of their siblings moved to Weakley County, Tennessee, about 1833. The Murphys settled on a farm about 2 1/2 miles north of Dresden, the county seat. Three more children were born in Tennessee.
    In the summer of 1836 Jeremiah and Levinah frequently entertained Wilford Woodruff and Abraham O. Smoot, elders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or Mormon church. On August 6, Woodruff recorded that he had baptized "Brother and Sister Murphy" into the LDS church. These were almost certainly Jeremiah and Levinah; however, Jeremiah’s brother Emanuel Masters Murphy and his wife also became Mormons about the same time, so the notation may possibly refer to them.
    Jeremiah died October 5, 1839, leaving his 29-year-old widow with seven children to support, the youngest a toddler of 19 months. Jeremiah left a fair amount of property, and Levinah also put her skills as a tailor and weaver to good use. She was still living in Weakley County when the census-taker passed by in 1840, but by 1841 she and her children had moved to the seat of the Mormon church in Nauvoo, Illinois. There Levinah and Sarah were among the first to perform a new LDS ordinance and were baptized in the Mississippi River as proxies for the dead. 

The four boys attended a school taught by Henry I. Young (no relation to Brigham) from August 25 to October 28, 1842, in the home of Benjamin L. Clapp, a fellow convert from Tennessee. Late that fall the family left Nauvoo. They boarded a steamship for St. Louis at Warsaw, Illinois, but didn’t get very far: the ship became icebound on the opposite shore of the river. On December 29 the two eldest daughters, Sarah and Harriet, were married on board the ship to William M. Foster and William M. Pike by a justice of the peace.

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Levinah Murphy, Donner Party's Timeline

1809
1809
Union Co., SC
1825
1825
Age 16
Union Co., SC
1826
1826
Age 17
Union County, SC
1828
1828
Age 19
Union Co., SC
1829
1829
Age 20
Union Co., SC
1831
1831
Age 22
Union Co., SC
1833
1833
Age 24
Weakley Co., TN.
1836
1836
Age 27
Weakley Co., TN
1838
1838
Age 29
Weakley Co., TN
????
Donner Pass