When I was pretty young. I want to say around 8 or so…maybe in second grade, my great grandmother died. I had met her a few times. I remember he house being large and for some reason dark. She was in her 70’s and at the end of her life.
Her death I think is one of the things that got me started asking about my family. Trying to figure out who, what when and where. Cecilia Murphy is also the source of our family identity. At 8, I knew one thing, that we were Irish. That’s not entirely accurate obviously but I’ve come to think that identity is not about accuracy.
I inherited this identity from my mom who inherited it from my grandmother, Katie Price who I suppose inherited it from her mother Cecilia. For my grandmother, being Irish seems to have been a core component of life. She collected books (some of which I still have) and had correspondence with a friend in Ireland, keeping their letters and the packaging they came in until she died.
If you read my early stuff, you’ll see me struggling with this identity.
Cecilia’s parents were Michael Joseph Murphy and Mary Ellen Willoughby both of Ohio. It is Michael Joseph Murphy’s father (Also Michael Murphy) who left Cork Ireland in 1848 for the Americas.
The Murphy’s left Ohio and settled around Owosso Michigan.