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John Ecles Murphy
Pioneer Oregon Circuit-riding Preacher
By Charles Dailey - January 1, 2001

John Ecles Murphy at a Glance:
Born: 1806 in Warren Co. KY
Married:Frances Mary Wright Doughty in 1827
Emigrated: 1852 via Barlow Road
A Founder: Christian College at Monmouth, OR
and Settled
Monmouth Christian Church
Hillsboro Christian Church
Junction City Christian Church
Harrisburg Christian Church
Spring Valley Church
Died: 1876
Buried:Fircrest Cemetery near Monmouth.

John Ecles Murphy
John Ecles Murphy
John Ecles Murphy was a prime mover for the cause of simple Christianity in central Oregon. He was the first preacher at the Monmouth Christian Church and among the founders of what has become Western Oregon University.

Who was this forceful man of God? Since he was born in Warren County, Kentucky, was he exposed to the preaching of Barton Warren Stone or John Mulkey? We get our clue when we look at the full name of one of his daughters: Sarah Ann Mulkey Murphy. John Mulkey was a force among the churches and impressed John and Frances Murphy to the point of including the Mulkey name in the name of a daughter.

There is a profile of John Mulkey.

We find John E. Murphy during the 1830s establishing the Church of Christ on Cedar Fork of Henderson River in Warren County, Illinois. In the 1840s, he was preaching in Knox County and in 1850 he organized the Abingdon Church in Knox County. Murphy was a mover and a shaker before coming west.

In 1852, John brought his family and led a wagon train to Oregon, settling eventually at Arlie, south of Monmouth. Soon the Monmouth Christian Church was established and John was selected as the preacher. Monmouth University was launched and John was a member of the Board of Trustees. Before that, he had been on the Board at Bethel College, a few miles to the north.

In 1855, John E. Murphy was busy planting churches in his area. He was one of several men who established the Spring Valley Church, east of Bethel that year.

Victor Hoven said of John Ecles Murphy,

As a preacher, John was not strong in teaching, but great in exhortation. He possessed a soft, winning voice. Almost every Saturday he would mount his pony and ride to Harrisburg, or Coburg, or Pleasant Hill, or to other places and preach the gospel.

OCT. 16, 1806
MAY 7, 1876

NOV. 14, 1810
DEC. 30, 1891

Headstone of John Ecles Murphy

John Ecles Murphy is buried at Fir Crest Cemetery, south of Monmouth. Frances shares the same marker.

John Ecles Murphy (1806-1876) & Frances Mary Wright Doughty (1810-1891)

|    Elizabeth Frances Murphy (1832-1914) & Albert Whitfield Lucas (1827-1893)
|    |    Katherine Lewis Lucas (1859-1930) & William David Fenton (1853-1925)
|    William Preston Murphy* (1831-) & Sarah J. Taylor (1840-)
|    William Preston Murphy* (1831-) & Sarah E. Stanton (1840-)
|    Emma Murphy  & James McMurray 
|    Ellen Murphy (1854-1863)
|    Henderson Warren Murphy (1835-)
|    Susan Jane Murphy  & Joseph L. Marshall 
|    James Thompson Murphy 
|    David W. Murphy 
|    Preston H. Murphy 
|    Nancy A. Murphy 
|    Mary A. Murphy 
|    Sarah Ann Mulkey Murphy 
|    Albert Murphy 

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