|Postcard: Port Huron circa 1902 - Photographer Unknown|
To the people who came and remained we can say - you found a wilderness and cleared a place for habitation. You have taken from the mountains wealth to pay for labor; you have found at hand the clay for brick, the pine trees for lumber, and out of these materials built your towns. No better illustration is afforded anywhere of the skill and ingenuity of man. There is nothing great in this world but man, there is nothing great in man but mind. He found materials in nature's great storehouse; but he was the master, they his slaves. He found the land wild and inhabited by savages - lo! the change! The great stores, the busy banks, the restaurants, the hotels, stand where a few years ago the tangled underbrush gave  shelter to wild beasts and creeping reptiles. The morning whistles, the school and church bells ringing from the hillside, have supplanted the wild yell of the Indian. The newspaper, the great modern missionary, is abroad in your midst, and reports to you the outside world. The telegraph and telephone are yours; a railroad system is yours; a well organized society is yours. These are your statistics! This is your civilization! Withal, your neighbors in the old countries may enjoy some advantages which you do not; many live in the midst of culture, in a region of accumulated wealth, yet would you change places with them? Would you go back to the quiet life, so poor in experience, as the old past you left in your old home? Nay, tarry here, amid these scenes, full of the romance of promise, the mysteries of illimitable possibility, where opportunity - a goddess shy in the older communities, and coy and hard to win - extends a friendly hand on hill-top and in vale, and fairly leads you to the summits of success. (History of St. Clair County: Port Huron Township and City - A T Andreas 1883)
Port Huron, which is located in St. Clair County, Michigan was grew quickly after the 1850's due in part to the shipbuilding and lumber trade. In 1857 it was incorporated. By the time Michael and Bridget (Dunn) Murphy had moved there in was a thriving town. By 1870 the population had exceeded that of the surrounding villages and in 1871 the Supreme Court designated it as the county seat. That same year the city and surrounding areas burned. Ten years later the Thumb Fire again engulfed the city.
The Port Huron City Directory, Brown, 1871-2 and the Port Huron City Directory, Leath & Talbot, 1881 show Michael living on Chestnut, between 7th and 8th. The Port Huron & St. Clair County Directory, Sherman, 1893-4 lists Bridget as a widow living at 2211 Willow. The directory also lists Michael, a fireman, living at the same address. It seems likely that this is in fact her son, John, who was a fireman later in Chicago. It is also possible that Michael was not deceased, but rather absent and living in Chicago.
Neither of these areas were included in the detailed Sanborn Maps of 1898, however, you can see the streets in the main map above.