The Murphys played a very important part in early California history. Martin Murphy, Jr. is credited with founding Sunnyvale, bringing the railroad through his property and helping to establish the Convent of Notre Dame and Santa Clara College. These were the first institutions of higher learning in the area. His son was the first student enrolled and is the only layman interred in the Mission Chapel.
The Murphy family is credited with founding three towns in California. Martin Murphy Sr. started San Martin, Martin Murphy Jr. founded Sunnyvale and son John the town of Murphys in the Gold Country. Martin’s son James was the first bank commissioner, other family members were State Assembly and Senate members, and Martin was the first rancher to grow wheat in the Sacramento Valley. Martin’s original ranch in the valley was the site of the Alvarez-Castro insurrection. His sons John and Patrick were officers in the Mexican War.
The Sunnyvale Historical Society and Museum Association has worked to recreate this historical house as a museum to tell the Murphy story and showcase the Murphy Family memorabilia.