Ann (Davis) Murphy

Mary Ann (Davis) Murphy (1827 - 1910)

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Mary Ann (Ann) Murphy formerly Davis aka Ryan
Born in Shropshire, Englandmap
Ancestors ancestors
Wife of — married about 1842 in Auckland, New Zealandmap
Wife of — married 28 Dec 1875 in Edwardes Street, Auckland, New Zealandmap
Descendants descendants
Died in White Street, Auckland, New Zealandmap
Profile last modified 4 Sep 2019 | Created 25 Nov 2015 | Last significant change: 4 Sep 2019
00:38: Kathryn (Smith) Mooney added Ryan Ditchfield-Ede as manager for profile of Mary Ann (Davis) Murphy (1827-1910). [Thank Kathryn for this]
This page has been accessed 419 times.


Mary was 10 years old when the family arrived on board the brig Nimrod to live in Hokianga, New Zealand. At about 16 she became involved with "Thomas" Ryan and had at least five children by him.

It is heresay that Ann's relationship with "Thomas" Ryan seems to have displeased her parents ["and family" - the family interest was not there in 1842 - it was much later that the family had a financial interest] who were strict Catholics. We all accept this is hearsay, however there is no reason to think they would be pleased.

John Ryan was a reformed prisoner from Parkhurst Prison, who was employed by the Catholic Parish in Auckland.

Mary Ann DAVIS - first marriage. 68 years after her alledged marriage to John RYAN, the descendants from the second marriage made wild claims that there was never a first marriage, and that the couple lived in together. And therefore NO children from the first marriage were legitmate and therefore could not inherit from her estate. Thses same claimants also say that Mary Ann DAVIS could not married Edward MURPHY because she was still married to John RYAN.

Mary Ann DAVIS did marry John RYAN - however this marriage record has not been located. When they married there was no New Zealand Civil Registration - marriages occurred through a Church. As they were both Catholic and John Ryan worked for the Church it will be within their records and written in Latin, and French.

Please confirm this information if you locate it. Copies of other early New Zealand marriage are starting to surface.

The certainty of this marriage is due to historic research done regarding the Auckland Priests at that time; Rev. Father Jean Forrest was well known for "not being very tactful", and well known for rounding up and marrying anyone who should be married. Fear would have made them get married. 1st Husband John Ryan worked for Bishop Pompallier - umm - The Bishop would have known if his worker was unmarried but the father of children. Gossip would have told him.

Ann was abandoned by John in the early 1850s, taking with him her in heritance money. This money from her late father is said to have been a large sum of money.

Once again this tale is a riddle. Her father died in March 1847. John Ryan disappeared about 1854. Fact... he has a daughter born 2 Feb 1853 who died 23 Dec 1854

The first possible children born with Edward MURPHY are in Feb 1855 - this need to be verified. Or this John Murphy maybe the son of John RYAN.

Whatever... the new man in Mary Ann RYANS life is very close to his departure. Was he forced out of town by the new man? Have the family been fabricating tales here? There are too many lies in the family tales.

The reason Ann gives for not marrying Edward MURPHY, is that she was still married to John RYAN - after seven years her marriage was considered legally over.

Was it innocence or greed that made the family fight over inheritance?

Auckland Star, Volume LXVII, Issue 279, 24 November 1936, Page 8 CITY SECTION. OWNERSHIP DISPUTE. CLAIM MADE BY FAMILIES. WILL OF 1849. Whether two separate families should inherit equally a property in Durham Street West was a question which Mr Justice Fair was asked to decide in the Supreme Court to-day when Michael Henry Murphy, of Wanganui, Theodore Murphy, of Auckland, and Thomas Aquinas Murphy, of Palmerston North (Mr. R. L. Ziman), proceeded against Mudford (Mr. J. J. Sullivan and Mr. A. Winter) and the Public Trustee (Mr. Cocker). The case is one upon which a Supreme Court ruling has already been given Under the will of her father, Mary Ann Davis was left a property in Durham Street in 1849. In 1842 it is claimed she married John Ryan and three children were born. In 1852 Ryan left her and in 1854, it is alleged, she became associated with Edward William Murphy and following that association seven children were born. After all the children had been born, Mary Ann Davis and Murphy were married in 1875, and Murphy died shortly afterwards. His wife died in 1910.

Last year an application was made to the Supreme Court to determine whether, under the will of her father the piece of property in Durham Street left to Mary Davis was a life estate or a fee simple, and Mr. Justice Callan ruled that it was a fee simple. The property has been let for many years and moneys have accumulated in the hands of the Public Trustee. The amount, including the value of the property, is over £2300. It is alleged by the plaintiffs that the association by Mary Davis with Ryan was valid, and if that was held by the Court, it would mean that the Ryan descendants only would inherit under the will. The defendant, Ellen Mudford, who has been appointed by the Court to represent the Murphys, contends that there was no marriage and consequently holds that the Ryans and the Murphys should inherit equally. When the case was called yesterday morning, his Honor said he would like to be certain that if he made an order such an order would bind absent beneficiaries of the Ryan branch. The case was stood down until yesterday afternoon for authorities on the subject' to be quoted :by counsel. Request for Declaration. When the action was commenced yesterday afternoon the plaintiffs asked for a declaration of the Court that Mary Ann Davis and John Ryan were married, and asked the Court to determine who were the persons now entitled to share in the estate left by Mrs. Mary Ann Murphy. Mr. Cocker said that in the certificate of marriage between Murphy and Mary Ann Davis the bride was described as a spinster, but a record kept at St. Patrick s Cathedral, where the marriage was held, showed her as a widow. A clerk in the office of the Public Trustee said that no record could be found of a marriage between Mary Anr Davis and John Ryan between 1841 and 1853.

Dealing with the history of the case Mr. Ziman said that Mary Ann Davis had been living with her father at Hokianga in 1838, two years before the Treaty of Waitangi. Ryan was a servant in the employ of Bishop Pompallier It was admitted that Mary Ann Davis and Ryan lived together from 1842 to 1852. No record of a marriage between them could be found by the authorities of the Roman Catholic Church, but the records of that period were admittedly incomplete. She became known as Mrs. Ryan, and her children- were known as Ryan. She described herself in the church register in 1875. as "Mary Ann Ryan, widow." Her death certificate stated that she had been married to John Ryan at Auckland.

Michael Henry Murphy, the plaintiff, said he was a grandson of Mary Ann Murphy. She used to point to a portrait of Bishop Pompallier as the man who marrried her to John Ryan. A granddaughter of Mary Ann Murphy, Mrs. Laura May Murphy, said her grandmother used to speak of her marriage to Ryan as having been solemnised by Bishop Pompallier. Signature to Document. In cross-examination the witness said that Ryan was a servant of Bishop Pompallier, and used to drive him about. When Mr. Sullivan produced a document dated 1929 in which the signatories (of which she was one) stated that they did not know whether Mary Ann Davis and Ryan had even been married, the witness said she could not recollect signing it. Subsequently the witness said she did recollect signing a paper, but she was not then aware that its purport was as expressed in the document. She understood at the time that she was signing a document to assist the Public Trustee to partition the estate. (Proceeding.)

Auckland Star, Volume LXVII, Issue 281, 26 November 1936, Page 22 OLD ESTATES. FAMILY CLAIMANTS. - QUESTION OF MARRIAGE. - JUDGE DECIDES ISSUE A decision was given by Mr. Justice Fair yesterday afternoon in the action brought to determine the distribution of an early Auckland estate for which the descendants of the two families of Mrs. Mary Ann Murphy, who died in 1910, claimed ownership. Mrs. Murphy, whose maiden name was Mary Ann Davis, was a daughter of Thomas Davis. The latter in his will of 1847 bequeathed his estate, valued at £2000, and including a section in Durham Street, to her. Mrs Murphy died intestate.

It was sought to establish in the action that Mrs. Murphy in 1842 married John Ryan, by whom she had three children, before she formed an alliance with Edward William Murphy, by whom there were seven children. If it was established that Mrs. Murphy married Ryan, then the descendants of that family would divide the whole estate, but if it was not so established the Murphy branch of the family would also participate.

The action was brought by three brothers. Michael Henry Murphy. Theodore Murphy and Thomas Aquinas Murphy (Mr. Ziman), against Mrs. Ellen Mudford, formerly Murphy (Mr. Sullivan and Mr. Winter) and the Public Trustee (Mr. Cocker).

His Honor said that no evidence had been called to show that Ryan and Mary Ann Davis were generally known as man and wife, though the evidence of birth certificates pointed in that direction. The property was left by Davis to his daughter as "the wife of John Ryan," but not a great deal of weight could be attached to that. His Honor held that it had been established that the deceased was not at any time married to John Ryan. He directed the registrar to ascertain who are the next of kin entitled to succeed to the estate. The question of costs was reserved.

From Researcher K D Mooney. After the Treaty if Waitangi was created the Catholic Missioneries decided to move their operations to Auckland. It was in 1842 they began a major building programme, lead by Frenchaman Father Jean Forrest and Father Peittjean. They came under Bishop Pompallier, who at this time was based in Auckland but did a lot of travelling. This new Catholic site was less than a kilometre from the Davis property. Father Forrest was no ordinary Priest. He was a Founding Father of the Society of Mary. He was the First Visitor for the Marist Order. Forrest had the skills to built a Parish with no money; and he did this in Auckland. He was a regular walker around town and the wharf - on these walks he collected desperate people, or people he considered needed to be saved. He did not tolerate drinking or immoral behaviour. These people he collected were placed in safe Catholic homes. There are two sides to this - they worked for free in exchanged for food and clothing. Forrest was greatly disliked by Publicans as he took away most of their barmaids. All of Father Forests parisheners were expected to be well dressed for Mass. There were no excuses for anyone - as he was renound for setting up collections of second hand clothing.

This information was researched and collected for a parish publication.

I can see no way that Father Forrest would have allowed two of his Parisheners Mary Ann DAVIS and a parish worker John RYAN to live in sin! He would have known they were not married. Others say that Bishop Pompallier was the celebrant and this could be correct. In 1842 these Frenchman would never deposit this information with an English offical. This marriage will be written in Latin or French and could be amongst any collection in either Auckland Parish archives or been taken back to France with the Bishop.

e.g. I once found a death record amongst the shipping list!

Edward made a promise to marry abt 1855. - this is told from several different branches. "At this time Mary was still married to John Ryan" This confirms Mary did marry John Ryan - we just cannot locate the marriage cert. It will turn up one day

Please confirm this information if you locate it.

Auckland Star 10 November 1910 Page 4 By the death on Tuesday evening of Mrs. Ann Murphy, at the age of 86 years, Auckland has lost a colonist who dated back to the year 1837, when she landed from the brig Nimrod at Hokianga., After several years spent iri the struggling young Northern settlemer-, the deceased about 35 years ago came to Auckland, where she had resided ever since, her knowledge of midwifery constituting her a very valuable member of tbe comarrtmity in the infant days of the colony. She is survived by six of her 16 children, 56 grandchildren, 72 great-grandchildren, and one great-great grandchild, making in all 135 living descendants.


Smith-86545 - General Knowledge. Whilst researching the Kilgour family history Mr Robertson, whose family had moved to Australia; shared copies of his researched work.

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"Faith, Family and Friends" by Kathry D Mooney

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Ann is 14 degrees from Michael Cayley, 24 degrees from Rick Rescorla and 19 degrees from Henry VIII of England on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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