Franklin Murphy was born in Jersey City, New Jersey on January 3, 1846. His education was attained at an academy in Newark. As a teenager, he enlisted in the Union Army, and served with the 13th Regiment of the New Jersey Volunteers. He fought in numerous battles, and rose to the rank of first lieutenant. After his military service, he established the Murphy Varnish Company in Newark. Murphy first entered politics as president of the board of aldermen, a position he held from 1883 to 1886. He was a one-term member of the New Jersey House of Representatives in 1885; and served as a trustee of the Jamesburg Reform School for Boys from 1886 to 1889. He also was a member of the 1900 Republican National Convention; and served as a commissioner to the 1901 International Exposition in Paris. Murphy next secured the Republican gubernatorial nomination, and was elected governor by a popular vote on November 5, 1901. During his tenure, child labor laws were advanced; the state’s educational system was improved; a tuberculosis sanitarium at Glen Gardner was founded; and the first state primary law was sanctioned. After leaving the governorship, he continued to stay politically active. He chaired the Republican State Committee for twenty years, as well as serving five times to the Republican National Conventions. Governor Franklin Murphy passed away on February 24, 1920, and was buried in the Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Newark, New Jersey.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 3, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.