The Sinking of the R.M.S. Leinster

People on board

Eliza Jane Murphy

MURPHY, Eliza Jane née Fennell

Eliza Jane Fennell was born about 1846 in Melbourne, Australia though her father Robert Fennell was from Cahir, Co Tipperary and the address at her marriage was Caher Cottage. She married Benjamin Murphy in June 1866 in the Friends Meeting House in Cahir. Both the Fennell and Murphy families were among the many Quaker families in the Clonmel area at the time, and the Murphys were related by marriage to the Malcolmson family, the foremost Quaker family of the time in Tipperary. Benjamin Murphy was a Brewer and he and Eliza had six children, one dying as an infant. The family lived at Prior Park in Clonmel, a house that had been a Quaker Girls Boarding School before Benjamin bought it in 1864.

Eliza Jane MurphyIn 1880 Benjamin died in the Bloomfield Retreat in Donnybrook, Dublin, a Quaker asylum, and he was buried in the Society of Friends cemetery in Clonmel. His sons Thomas and John took over the business, the Clonmel Brewery. Eliza has not been found in the 1901 census, though her eldest children, Amy and Thomas, were in Prior Park. In 1911 Eliza was in a house in Kilnamucky, Blarney, Co Cork close to a ‘Hydrophatic Establishment’, a Turkish Bath Hotel, where her younger daughter Adelaide was staying with her three young daughters.

Both daughters were living in England by 1918 and that may be the reason Eliza and her daughter Amy were on board RMS Leinster on the 10th of October. At a probate hearing in November Chief Stewardess Mary Coffey testified that two berths had been booked in the name of Mrs Murphy, and that on the morning of the 10th “an elderly woman and a middle-aged woman came on board. Both lay down in their berths shortly afterwards”. Neither Eliza nor Amy were seen again and their bodies were never recovered.

Their names are recorded on the Murphy gravestone in the Society of Friends cemetery in Clonmel.



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