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Delaware County NY Genealogy and History Site

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The following is a part of a collection of articles written by Karen Cuccinello of the Stamford Village library history room, mostly pertaining to Stamford, and originally submitted to the Mt. Eagle. We are pleased to share them here with all our Delaware County researchers.


Frederick Peter Murphy - One of Stamfords Movers & Shakers

by Karen Cuccinello


Fred P. or F.P. was actually born in Schoharie County but he lived so close to the Stamford line that his residence was almost always referred to as Stamford. He was born April 17, 1889 in South Gilboa the son of Thomas and Mary (McMahon) Murphy and died October 27, 1979 in Stamford, NY. Fred also had a home in Bronxville that he purchased about 1939, but I get the feeling that his heart belonged to Stamford.

He graduated from Stamford Seminary and Cornell University, got married, had two children William J. and Elizabeth Anne “Betty”, and ran or started numerous businesses.

The following is a time line of of Fred's life gleaned from newspaper articles and pamphlets housed at the Stamford Village Library, and fultonhistory.com.

February 1903 Regents Examinations- Fred received an 80 in US History; March of 1904 he earned an 81 in Physiology and a 76 in Advanced English, and Gertrude (his wife to-be) received a 91 in Geography.

June 1906- He is listed with this Stamford Seminary graduating class but he evidently attended for another year, for some reason.

1907- The Stamford Seminary debated Margaretville High School, Fred was the chief disputant. The question for debate was “Should the President of the US be elected for a term of six years and be ineligible for re-election?”

June 1907- Participated in the Annual Prize Speaking Contest of Stamford Seminary. Fred's declamation was titled- The Wrestler of Phillipps. He received the “Mrs. C.E. Becker” prize for the best essay and Gertrude received the E.C. Hanford prize for best work in Physics.

February 4, 1907- Mrs. Thomas (McMahon) Murphy died at the age of 53. She was the daughter of Peter McMahon and mother of four children; Thomas, Joseph, Fred and Matie (Mary). Funeral was held at Sacred Heart Church and internment was at South Gilboa. (I couldn't find her grave stone)

April 1908- During the month of April Fred succeeded in getting 140 subscriptions to the “Saturday Evening Post” and “Ladies Home Journal” which entitled him to a scholarship at Cornell University in September.

1909- Sold enough books for another year at Cornell.

December 1910- Fred won the prize gold medal, which is awarded the best debater at the Eleventh Annual Cornell Congress Debate Stage.

March 1910 - Fred was home from Cornell and Gertrude was home from Vassar during Easter vacation.

1912- Received a law degree from Cornell and joined Grolier as a salesman, not a lawyer. He was the first employee to sell $1 million worth of books.

December 22, 1914- Gertrude C., daughter of Dr. and Mrs. W.H. Wheeler, was married to Fred P. Murphy. The young couple left on the afternoon train for a short trip to Virginia and Washington DC, after which they will reside in NYC. Fred referred to Gertrude (who died in 1938) as “The Lady”

April 1915- They left for Kansas City, MO, where Fred will be manager of an office of the Grolier Society, a publishing house of NY and London.

1934-Purchased the Encyclopedia Americana.

1936- Acquired the Grolier Society and remained president until 1947,Board Chairman until 1967 and on the Executive Committee until 1975. He was known as the Dean of American Encyclopedia Publishers and among the first to institute a continuing revision of major reference sets. Fred Murray

1940 Binghamton Press- Fred of Bronxville spoke at the Stamford Central School annual alumni dinner.

November 1947 - E. J. McCabe, Jr.(Fred's brother-in-law) ,was elected president of Grolier Society to succeed Fred P. Murphy.

1950- He and E.F. Govern formed Catskill Craftsmen Inc. as a subsidiary of Grolier. They started by manufacturing wooden packing crates for Grolier books, then moved on to bookcases for the books and finally butcher block tables.

1956- Began Prospect Enterprises for the purpose of creating local housing to meet the needs of industrial growth.

1957 Binghamton Press- Fred of Stamford, chairman of the board of Grolier Society Inc., has established a loan fund in his name at Delhi Tech in Delhi.

June 1958- He received an honorary degree in law at Hartwick College.

1958-67- Governor Harriman appointed him a member of the Council of State University of Agricultural and Technical Institute at Delhi, NY.

March 1959- Made a donation of the Grolier Book of Knowledge to the Stamford School.

1961- He and R. Avery Robinson refurbished the Churchill Memorial Building.

March 1961- Contributed $7,500 to underwrite 25 scholarships at Delhi Tech in Delhi, NY. This represented the largest single contribution ever received by the institute.

July 28, 1962 Amsterdam Daily - Lt. Gov. Malcolm Wilson yesterday dedicated the $250,000, headquarters of the Conservation Department's Stamford region. The facility was given to the state by Fred P. Murphy and R. Avery Robinson. both men have been active in the area's civic alters. The new building (on Rte. 10) is located on a 12-acre site and consists of 25 rooms, a lobby and a large storage basement.

1963- Purchased Audiosears Corporation when they had 18 employees. Under the management of G. Vicary Mahler the company was built up to 140 employees. Audiosears is known for the manufacture and design of telecommunications equipment for commercial application.

July 1963 Binghamton Press- Melvin C. Carpenter, district superintendent, has reported that Fred P. Murphy of Stamford has offered a gift of $500,000 for a new central school that would result in the proposed merger of six area schools. This proposed gift added to state aid available for the proposed $3,000,000 new junior-senior high school would provide a cost-free building, according to Mr. Carpenter. The six. schools involved in the merger are Davenport, Gilboa, Grand Gorge, Jefferson, South Kortright and Stamford Central Schools. Each school would retain elementary facilities and the junior-senior high school students would attend the new central school.

1965- Decorated with the Chevalier des Palmes Academiques by the government of France.

October 1965- Timberland Manufacturing Co. purchased the Enterprise Aluminum Co. building in Oneonta. Fred was the chairman of the board of Timberland. Bags of charcoal and charcoal briquets, produced in Delaware County, were to be distributed from the Oneonta site.

June 1967- The Delaware County Chamber of Commerce selected Fred as its Citizen of the Year.

October 1967- Donated the toll gate house, from his property, to the Delaware County Historical Association. The 28' by 16' building was moved and restored to the museum site in Delhi.

January 1968- Donated the 70 year old Rexmere Hotel to the Catskill Mountain Educational Center. The announcement was made by Dr. Frank W. Cyr director of the Rural Supplementary Educational Center (BOCES). Fred had purchased the property from the Redempterist Order in 1965. As a kid he was a caddie at the golf course that surrounded the Rexmere.

February 1970- Was honored for his many contributions to the Rural Supplementary Education Center with a plaque that was installed in the Rexmere Center.

Some of Fred's other attributes that I could not find dates for were as follows. Prospect Farms Inc. was started with his own farm then he added six more farms through the years to total 4,000 acres of land and over 1,300 head of Holstein cattle.- He had a hand in the building of Indian trail park,Timothy Terry little league field, the swimming pool and playground- Fairview Sugar House. - Prospect Dairy & Enterprises.- Member at large of the National Council Boy Scouts of America. - Helped organize a Green Thumb group. He certainly was a businessman extraordinaire and a major benefactor of his community.

Fred and Gertrude are buried in Sacred Heart Catholic Cemetery in Stamford.

submitted by Karen Cuccinello - posted to this website February 13, 2015




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