WWI Snapshot: Doctor Pearson Murphy 1894-1967

Doctor Pearson Murphy’s son gained fame as one of the founders of the Black Voters League in Red Bank, NJ. His daughter-in-law was also a leader in the community. In addition, his son served in WWII.

NC WWI Service Card
Doctor Pearson Murphy was a resident of Bolivia, Brunswick County, when he was called to duty in WWI. He had recently married Maggie Galloway on May 20, 1918. The photo below was found in Ancestry.

Corporal Murphy served from August 2, 1918 until December 19, 1918, in the 349th Labor Battalion.

After the war, he returned home to Brunswick County. At least two sons were born there. The family eventually moved to Kings, New York City.

His son, Curtis, achieved fame as one of the founders of the Black Voters League of Red Bank, NJ, among other accomplishments. Curtis’ wife, Ernestine Elois Norris Murphy, was also a community leader. Their obituaries are shown below. Burial information and the obituaries were copied into findagrave: Curtis and Ernestine.

Doctor Pearson Murphy passed away on January 4, 1967. He was buried in Long Island National Cemetery, presumably with military honors. No photo of his grave site is available.

Source: Asbury Park Press (Asbury, NJ), 11 July 1995, p16.
Curtis Murphy, led Black Voters League

Curtis Q. Murphy, 75, a resident here and former Red Back resident, died Saturday at Riverview Medical Center, Red Bank. Mr. Murphy was a senior electronics engineer at Fort Monmouth until his retirement, and he was an Army veteran of World War II. He was a graduate of Stuyvesant High School, Brooklyn, and received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from City College of New York, and his master’s degree in electrical engineering from Rutger’s University.

Mr. Murphy was one of several founders of the Black Voters League, Red Bank. The league’s goals were to acquaint local politicians with the needs of the black community and to elect favorable candidates, he said in a 1983 interview in Asbury Park Press. The league conducts door-to-door voter registration campaigns and uses the churches as forums for voter education, he said.

Mr. Murphy was a member of the Red Bank Board of Education for 14 years, the Red Bank Parks and Recreation Commission, the Greater Red Bank National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Tinton Falls Board of Adjustment, the Eatontown Parents Teachers Association, and the Bates Lodge 220 of the Improved Benevolent Protective Order of Elks of the World. Mr. Murphy was born in Bolivia, N.C., lived in Red Bank for more than 30 years, and came to Tinton Falls in 1979.

Surviving are his wife of 54 years, Ernestine; two daughters, Rita Johnson, New York, and Marsha Longino, Ohio; and three grandsons. Childs Funeral Home, Red Bank, is in charge of arrangements.

Source: Asbury Park Press (Asbury, NJ), 19 April 2007, p22.
Ernestine Elois Norris Murphy,

of Tinton Falls, died Friday, April 13. She was the daughter of Eva and Riddick Norris and grew up and attended school in Brooklyn, N.Y. Ernestine was married to Curtis Q. Murphy. To this union, two daughters were born. In the 1950s, Ernestine moved to Eatontown and later to Red Bank. At an early age, Ernestine was baptized at the Brown Memorial Baptist Church in Brooklyn, N.Y. When she moved to New Jersey, she became a Watch Care member of the Shrewsbury Avenue A.M.E. Zion Church under the ministry of the Rev. Charles Bourne. She sang with the A.M.E. Choir and served as a Girl Scout leader, sponsored by the church. Ernestine helped to organize and served with the Asbury Park Cotillion for many years. She worked as a volunteer librarian on a book mobile that served migrant workers. Dr. King, Superintendent of the Red Bank School System, appointed her as a social worker for the Red Bank schools. Ernestine also served as a Head Start assistant in the Red Bank school, a nurse’s aide at the Red Bank Convalescent Nursing Home, and was a member of the PTA and the Greater Red Bank NAACP.

She is survived by her two daughters, Rita and Marsha; her brother, William Norris; three grandchildren, Julian, John, and Quentin; a great-grandchild, Erin; and a host of relatives and friends.

Her viewing will be from 10 a.m. Saturday until her service at noon at Shrewsbury A.M.E. Zion Church, 285 Shrewsbury Ave., Red Bank. Interment will be at Monmouth Memorial Park, Tinton Falls. Childs Funeral Home, Red Bank, is in charge of arrangements.


To view this or an earlier profile or snapshot at any time, click on the veteran’s name on the WWI Brunswick County Veteran list, which is also accessible by the blue button on the top right of the webpage.

If you would like to help us honor Doctor Pearson Murphy or another Brunswick County WWI veteran, please use the following links:

Click here for the announcement:
Announcement: Honor a Brunswick County World War I Veteran
Click here for directions to donate and honor a veteran:
How to Honor a Brunswick County World War I Veteran

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