“Blind” Murphy, the Croesus of the Fourth Ward

Blind Man's Alley, 22 Cherry Street, c. 1890. Photo by Jacob Riis, Museum of the City of New York (MNY41446.jpg)

Blind Man’s Alley, 22 Cherry Street, c. 1890. Photo by Jacob Riis, Museum of the City of New York (MNY41446.jpg)

Irish American Weekly, 24 January 1891. Murphy was “renowned for the lenient way in which he dealt with his tenants, never having been known to order an eviction,” according to a notice of his death that appears in the Charlotte News (North Carolina) on January 16th.

 

Murphy’s memorial identifies “Balintobnig, Tralee, Co. Kerry, Ireland” as his birthplace. Ballintobeenig is a townland in the barony of Trughanacmy, in the civil parish of Ratass, and the Tralee Poor Law Union.

Erected in 1873, eighteen years before his death, Murphy’s impressive memorial cost $25,000. The 2015 equivalent value was $511,000.