Archive for Tuesday, June 20, 1995


June 20, 1995


For $55,000, you can buy a nice mausoleum that holds 14 with room for more outside.

John Francis Murphy has some real estate he'd like to sell.

"We've got an ideal spot," said Murphy, a 68-year-old farmer-rancher from northern Oklahoma.

The property is in Oak Hill Cemetery and is the Murphy family mausoleum, a marble and granite structure that was completed in 1914. At the time, the tomb cost $6,000 to build. It arrived in Lawrence by rail from Vermont and then was hauled by horse and wagon to the site.

No more Murphys want to be buried in Oak Hill, Murphy said.

"They want to be buried on the ranch," he said.

Murphy said that he considered moving the mausoleum to his ranch. But a company he talked to wanted $70,000 to move it the 214 miles, and the firm couldn't guarantee the marble veneer would arrive undamaged.

So he's been advertising it for sale.

He's asking $55,000 for the mausoleum, which has a capacity of 14 as well as ground on the exterior for several burial plots. Seven of Murphy's relatives -- his mother and father, his maternal grandmother and grandfather and three of his aunts -- now are in the tomb.

Once the mausoleum sells, Murphy plans to load up his relatives' caskets on a horse trailer and take them to the ranch, southeast of Arkansas City, where they'll be buried in the family cemetery.

"We may not get rid of it," Murphy said. "But we're not going to move the bodies out if we don't."

Don Shaw, sexton at Oak Hill, said that he'd had some inquiries about the mausoleum but that no one had been interested enough yet to take a look inside.

"I don't consider selling it too different, I guess," Shaw said. "People sell homes and so forth."

Murphy's grandparents, Frank and Amy Murphy, and their four daughters came to Lawrence in the early 1900s and in 1905 purchased the home at 1015 Tenn. with the intent that the girls would attend Kansas University. Murphy, whose ancestry is Native American and Irish, said that at the time, Lawrence was anti-Catholic.

"My grandparents said the Baptists treated us better in Oklahoma," Murphy said.

So the girls went to college in Oklahoma and Arkansas.

Murphy's grandfather died in 1912, but his grandmother continued to live in the house until her death in 1933. In 1950, the family sold the house on Tennessee Street, which Murphy visited frequently when he was younger.

Murphy is hopeful he'll sell the mausoleum.

"It is done a lot on the East and West coasts and in bigger cities," he said.

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