No. 13182 Frank E. Murdoch
Photograph of Frank E Murdock. Contained in an album at the Dorchester Historical Society of about 150 photos kept by Nathaniel R. Perkins, MD, who examined thousands of men who were going into the war, 1914-1918. Given by Mrs N. R. Perkins in accordance with instructions from her late husband, Dr. Nathaniel P. Perkins of 1122 Adams St, Dorchester. Index catalog has entries for the individuals.
Frank E Murdoch Corp age 26 301st Infantry Co F Selected Oct 5 1917 to Camp Devens overseas July 18, 1918
Francis Edgerton Murdoch. Written by Julie Wolf.
Frank (Francis) Edgerton Murdoch was born in Dorchester, MA, on January 11, 1892, to William A. Murdoch, a fireman, and Louisa C. Erhard Murdoch of 2187 Dorchester Avenue. An only child, Frank was 3 when his father became a patrolman for the Boston Police Department, attached to Station 11 at Fields Corner. Over his decades-long career, William was considered “one of the most popular officers in Dorchester.”
At 25, Frank registered for the World War I draft. Unmarried, he was employed as a “commercial salesman” for the Camden, New Jersey–based Joseph Campbell Company (Campbell’s Soup). He was still living with his parents, so the precise location or nature of his work is unclear. From his enlistment in the U.S. Army on October 5, 1917, until November 9 of that year, Frank, a corporal, served with Company G of the 301st Infantry; he was soon promoted to sergeant and served with Company C of the 161st Infantry until November 29 and then with the 39th Depot Service Company No. 39 Army Service Corps. On July 6, 1918, he sailed to Europe aboard the USS Cedric with Company F of the 301st and served for a year in France, departing from Brest and arriving on U.S. soil aboard the Dutch ship Rijndam on August 4, 1919. Sgt. Frank Murdoch was honorably discharged upon demobilization at Fort Devens on August 15, 1919.
Five days after his 32nd birthday, on January 16, 1924, Frank married Ethel Boyd Sweeney of Stockton Street in Dorchester. Their wedding announcement describes Frank as being “in the shoe business.” The Boston city directories for 1923 through 1926 corroborate this, identifying him as vice president of the Shawmut Shoe Company at 170 Summer Street.
For at least part of 1924, Frank’s address was still his parents’. In 1925, however, he and Ethel moved next door, to 2185 Dorchester Ave, a “frame house with 9720 square feet of land” near Richmond Street that Frank’s father had purchased in 1906. They lived here until at least 1943; by 1946, if not earlier, Frank and Ethel moved to Milton with their three children.
For the twenty or so years that Frank lived at 2185 Dorchester Avenue, he held various sales positions. In 1929, he worked at the “Textile Building,” 99 Chauncy Street in Boston, located in the heart of what was then Boston’s textile industry. The 1930 census describes Frank as a “salesman, commercial,” while the 1940 census specifies “salesman, neckwear.” According to his 1942 World War II draft registration card, Frank’s employer was Lewis Steiger & Company, a men’s clothing manufacturer located in the Empire State Building. In the 1940 census, company owner Steiger also described his industry as “neckwear.” As with Campbell’s in New Jersey, we cannot pinpoint exactly where Frank worked; it is possible he was a local company representative.
The Murdochs, it seems, were members of the fashionable set, no strangers to the society page. In March 1942, the family, still in Dorchester, was essentially the opening act for a skating performance: “Setting the pattern for the revue,” the article states, “will be the opening scene imitating a Currier and Ives print of 1865. Mr. and Mrs. Frank Murdoch and their children, Lois, Carol and William, will all take part.” In 1946, Frank and Ethel were among a select few couples invited to luncheon at Maine’s exclusive Poland Spring House. Frank, as a young man a member of Dorchester Lower Mills Council, the Knights of Columbus, and Quincy Lodge of Elks, joined the Milton Yacht Club and the Wollaston Golf Club. Ethel served as president of the Milton Catholic Women’s Club, a position previously held by Catherine O’Hearn Fitzgerald, the daughter-in-law of Boston mayor John “Honey Fitz” Fitzgerald and niece by marriage of Rose Kennedy. Their daughter, Carol, drew notices for social appearances and for her fashion sense, described as “a breath of Spring chic” in 1953’s Boston Easter parade.
Frank lived to see the birth of several grandchildren, including his namesake, Lois’s son, Francis Murdoch Wallace, born in 1954. Ethel died in 1956. Frank died “suddenly” on May 4, 1962. Funeral services were held at his and Ethel’s home, 18 Longwood Road in Milton, with High Mass of Requiem afterward at the Church of St. Mary of the Hills.
“A fourth child….” Boston Globe: July 1, 1954: 11.
Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2004.
Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2006.
Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.
Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2002.
Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012.
Ancestry.com. U.S., Army Transport Service, Passenger Lists, 1910-1939 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com, Operations, Inc., 2016.
Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.
Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2005.
Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.
Ancestry.com. Massachusetts, Marriage Records, 1840-1915 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2013.
Ancestry.com. Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2011.
FamilySearch.org. Massachusetts Marriages, 1841-1915.
“Ex-Patrolman Murdoch to Be Buried Tomorrow.” Boston Globe, February 5, 1935: 12.
“Made Regular Patrolmen.” Boston Globe, October 12, 1895: 5.
“Miss Sweeney Weds Francis E. Murdock.” Boston Globe, January 17, 1924: 10.
“Murdoch.” Boston Globe, May 5, 1962: 22.
“News of Women’s Clubs.” Boston Globe, January 29, 1950: 100.
“News of Women’s Clubs.” Boston Globe, October 19, 1952: 49.
“Real Estate: West Roxbury-Dorchester.” Boston Globe, September 18, 1906: 2.
“Today in Society” column. Boston Globe, August 27, 1946: 32.
“Today in Society” column. Boston Globe, March 3, 1942: 19.
“What Several Bostonians Will Wear in Easter Parade,” Boston Globe, April 5, 1953: 63.