Coleman Ezekiel "Zeke" Murphy
Gospel Preacher In East Alabama
Coleman Ezekiel Murphy was born on March 21, 1899. He was the youngest of eleven children born to John Terry Murphy (1849-1937) and Emily "Emma" Elizabeth Weaver (1855-1903). Emma passed away when Zeke was only three years of age. Growing up was difficult without a mother, but his older siblings were able to fill in the gaps. He worked on the farm, and at times for other farmers to make a little money. When he was old enough, he worked in a sawmill.
When he was grown, Zeke purchased a forty-acre farm in Cherokee County, Alabama, and commenced to raising his own crops. Knowing the sawmill business led him to do this kind of work through the years.
He was married to Ella Mae Butler (1903-1998) of Etowah County, Alabama, and together they raised three sons and three daughters.
It is hard to know just when he began preaching the old time gospel, but he preached for the Lebanon church of Christ in Cherokee County. He did not attend school to be a preacher. He was self-taught. It was very rare to see him without a Bible in his hand. He studied the Bible many hours every day.
C.E. Murphy's influence for preaching the gospel was realized in subsequent generations. One of his sons and many of his grandsons and great-grandsons followed in his footsteps and became gospel preachers. Grandsons Charles Box Jr. and Dannie Box are known preachers among churches of Christ. Gary McCurdy, who was trained by Coleman Ezekiel Murphy, and is married to his granddaughter Vickie Box, is still the preacher at Lebanon today. In March of 1994 Gary and Vickie's house was destroyed in the Palm Sunday tornado in Spring Garden, Al and Coleman's Bible was found still intact.
He always said he never knew the love of a mother because his mom died when he was so young, but anyone who knew Zeke Murphy, knew that he had a great love for people. He wanted everyone to know about God and heaven, and because of that love for people, when he would stand at the front of the church and wait for people to come forward to answer the call to repent or accept God, tears would flow. He was a loving and kind man.
Although he was battling lung cancer, he continued to preach until 2 weeks before his death having to be helped to the front of the congregation to sit in a chair to do his sermon. At over 90 years of age, brother Murphy passed from this life the 19th of August, 1989. He had ministered at Lebanon and the churches in the area for over 60 years. The church was filled to capacity for his funeral, and his body was laid to rest just a few yards up behind the church building.
It was my privilege to conduct a gospel meeting in Collinsville, Alabama in June, 2013. While there some of the brethren were talking about preachers of the past who influenced the churches in the area. The name Zeke Murphy came up time and again in conversation. I had the opportunity to meet one of his sons who came a couple of nights to the meeting. Brother Murphy did much work in east Alabama in his life. More information is needed to put together a lasting tribute to him, his life and influence. If anyone has any information they would care to share, and make available for this site, it would certainly enhance the memory of this good man.
-Scott Harp, 12.09.2020
-Special Thanks to Marla Harden, a granddaughter of Zeke and Ella Mae Murphy, who contacted me about this webpage and offered to provide personal information about the life of her grandparents.
The Cherokee County Herald, Cherokee County, Alabama
Wednesday, May 15, 1963
This advertisement appeared weekly for many years.
Alabama House Resolution Honoring
Zeke and Ella Mae Murphy on their 70th Wedding Anniversary
The Anniston Star, Anniston, Alabama
Monday, August 21, 1989, page 10
Directions To The Grave of Zeke Murphy
Coleman Ezekiel & Ella Mae Butler Murphy are buried in the Lebanon Church of Christ Cemetery on County Road 6 in the Estes Crossroads Community in Cherokee County, Alabama. In east Alabama take I-20 to Exit 191 and go north. Turn right on Hwy. 78. Go 4 miles and head north on Hwy. 9. Go 22 miles and turn left on Hwy. 278 in Piedmont, Alabama. Go 6.2 miles and turn right on County Rd. 19. Go .6 miles and turn left on Old Taylor Chapel Road. Turn left on Hwy. 6, also Old Taylor Chapel Rd. another 2.3 miles and the church and cemetery will be on your right. Head to the back of the church and up the little knoll to the cemetery. The Murphy plot is near the front of the cemetery, and in the middle.
or D.d. 33.994642,-85.725208
View Larger Map
Photos Taken 10.13.2013
Page produced 11.26.2013
Courtesy of Scott Harp
Youtube Sermons of Zeke Murphy
1987 Presentations At Lebanon Church of Christ
Cherokee County, Alabama
Ephesians the 5th Chapter - May 24, 1987
Prepare To Meet Thy God - May 3, 1987
The Christian Walk - April 26, 1987