Ellen Murphy, who lived at the Dowlin Block for many years, worked as a weaver at the Eclipse Mill from 1902 to 1940, a total 38 years. William and Theresa Alderman, whose story appears earlier in this article, also worked at the Eclipse for many years. In 2004, a portion of the mill (the widest building at the far right) was converted to condominium units for artists.
Richard and Eliza (Tarrant) Murphy sailed from Ireland to the US in about 1868, and settled in North Adams. They had married in 1860. They arrived with their two children, Mary and Ellen. A son, Daniel, was born a year later. Richard worked at either Arnold Print Works or Windsor Print Works. They lived on Center Street. By 1880, they had two more children, John and Susan. Mary, Ellen and Daniel were already working in the textile mills.
In 1879, Richard and Eliza bought property on Furnace Street, eventually buying (or possibly building) a house at 101 Furnace Street, where Eliza and various family members would continue to live for many years. But Mr. Murphy was not listed in the household in the 1900 census, and in fact, never appeared in any North Adams records after 1900. In the 1920 census, Eliza stated that she was a widow, but I could find no death record for Richard. Eliza died on November 17, 1931, at the age of 100.
Ellen E. Murphy (also known as Nellie) was a resident of the Dowlin Block for about 40 years. She was born in March of 1862. She left school after the third grade. In the 1890s, she lived at 4 E. Brooklyn St, and 85 River Street, and worked in several shoe mills.
When the Dowlin opened in 1902, Ellen, then 40, was one of its first occupants, and no doubt found its modern facilities, privacy and convenient downtown location a welcome improvement. She chose Apartment 616 (will be demolished soon), and worked as a weaver for the Hoosac Cotton Company at the Eclipse Mill. She lived in Apartment 616 until 1911, when Jason and Theresa Braman (see first story) moved into her apartment, and Ellen moved to 48 Center Street, less than a block away. She moved back to the Dowlin in 1918, and lived at Apartment 410 (will survive the demolition). She was still working at the Hoosac Cotton mill.
She moved upstairs to Apartment 603 in 1927 (also will be demolished), and continued to work for Hoosac. In 1930, she was paying $16.00 per month rent. She retired from the mill in 1944, at the amazing age of 82, and continued to live in the same apartment. In 1951, she had a stroke and went to a local nursing home, where she died on May 14, 1951, at the age of 89. She was buried in the family plot at Southview Cemetery, in North Adams. She never married. I could not locate any descendants of the Murphy family.
Chapter Eight: Gloria Marony, hairdresser in the Dowlin Block for 60 years