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Converse Legends

LG Murphy
Noted author Zane Grey shown with a
Special Murphy Rod and record breaking
tuna catch

L.G. Murphy

At the age of 32 and a veteran of the Civil War, Levin Graham Murphy not only married Miss Delia Slocum on January 1st, 1873, but also began the lumber and builder's supply enterprise that once occupied the block of the present day Dollar General. It wasn't until the late 1890s that his love for angling led him to William Wrigley's Catalina Island. At Catalina Island it was said that the blue-fin tuna arrived in such great schools they would literally churn up acres of white water when feeding. The very fact they were considered impossible to catch by rod and reel became a challenge for a few bold sportsmen. When L. G. Murphy arrived, he discovered that it was remarkable they had any success at all with the tackle these pioneers used. The rods were three piece and prone to breaking at the ferrules, the reels were direct drive and were termed "knuckle busters".

Mr. Murphy's many trips to the Pacific coast as an angler gave him the idea of a super strength fishing rod. The Converse Journal reported that, "His expert knowledge of woodworking enabled him to produce the premier rod of the world and through his product, as well as his personal acquaintance, he was known among the world's greatest anglers." Innovation plus hickory wood made the Murphy rod dominant over all others. Mr. Murphy later served the famed Tuna Club as honorary vice-president.

Following Zane Grey's World Record Tuna catch, he sent L.G. Murphy a signed photo, "Caught w Special Murphy Hickory" at 758 pounds, 8 '8" long, 6' 4" at girth. Zane Grey. In the note, Zane Grey recapped his summer expeditions and placed an order for "three or four of the extra heavy Zane Grey Special Murphy rods, and Capt. Mitchells, as soon as possible."

It's interesting to note the photo and order were an endorsement (not paid) of Mr. Murphy's expertise. The envelope was simply addressed to L. G. Murphy, Converse, Indiana. Return address: Zane Grey, Altadena, Calif. One legend to another legend.

Unfortunately we do not have any photos of L. G. Murphy.

Microfilm, Converse Journal, 1/01/26. Converse Public Library

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