Early in May Carrie Murphy celebrated her 100th birthday surrounded by friends and family, a celebration that was marked not only by her wonderful smile, but all five of the generations of her family.
Born in Duplin County, Murphy moved to Sampson County’s Midway area at a young age and worked on farms most of her life.
She was raised by her maternal grandparents, Zeb and Martha Cromartie Council, and married her late husband, Leamon Murphy at the tender age of 13.
“She had her first daughter, me, at 23,” said Annie Baggett, who also helps with Murphy’s care. Murphy also has another daughter, Martha Bowie.
“She’s been married over 65 years and worked most of her life in Midway,” expressed Baggett. “She’s been a homemaker.” Baggett said that her mother has always worked her whole life, taking care of other people’s children and feeding them.
“She also loved her church, Point Level Disciples,” Baggett added, tenderly tucking her mother’s gown around her. “She was one of the mothers of the church, an adviser to the young people.” Her mother sang in the choir for over 70 years and also helped with the children’s choir, both things that brought her much joy.
“She only quit the choir about 10 years ago,” Baggett detailed. “She loved to cook and take care of her family, both white and black. It didn’t make any difference.” Murphy has two daughters, six grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren and six great-great-grandchildren.
All five generations were represented at her 100th birthday party.
“Momma’s always doing something good for us,” divulged Baggett, with her sister agreeing. “We’ve never done without.”
“We always felt privileged, and thought we were rich, even when we didn’t have anything,” she added. Both said that they really appreciated her hard work, and how she was always working to take care of her family.
“My first prom, I got a dress,” recalled Baggett. “It was when we couldn’t afford it. That was back in 1954, and it was beautiful. My sister got one the next year.”
“She’s proved that hard work don’t kill nobody,” her daughter added with pride. “She would feed the whole neighborhood.” Her mother spent a lot of time with the neighborhood kids, and one of those kids was Kenneth Jones.
“Kenneth Jones said the worse whipping he ever got was for not doing what Carrie told him to do,” Baggett explained. “His daddy whipped him and told him that whatever Carrie said was just like him saying it.”
“She’s worked for just about everyone around here, and has been a good momma to everyone,” attested Baggett.
“She told us we would graduate from high school and we did,” interjected Bowie.
“She made sure we went and we graduated,” said Baggett, emphasizing that other children in the family had even gone to college. “She said we were going to get an education, and she saw to it that we did, always encouraging us.”
“Momma’s very proud of all of them, and never doubted them, from her children to her great great grandchildren,” said Baggett.
“And if anyone else’s child walked in here she’d tell them to do good, too” Baggett added.
Emily M. Hobbs can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 122. Follow us on Twitter: @SampsonInd