Maude Field Murphy, the only child of Thomas Malcolm Murphy and Virginia E. Field, was born on August 18, 1869, in Bordertown, New Jersey. At the age of four, Maude lost her mother and lived with her grandparents Isaac and Beulah Field, for several years. In 1886 Thomas Murphy moved to Kissimmee, Florida bringing Maude with him. That same year, Thomas married Mrs. Carolyn Cunningham, a widow; three years later, Maude became the wife of a well-known merchant in Kissimmee, William Burroughs “W.B.” Makinson. Their wedding was the first ceremony performed in the First Presbyterian Church in Kissimmee. W.B. had arrived in 1883, went into business with a friend, Moses Katz, and later branched out on his own to establish Makinson Hardware, not only the oldest store in Kissimmee but also one still family-owned.
Little did Maude know that by 1913, she would be the mother of fourteen children, losing two at a young age, and then In 1918, her eldest son William Thomas lost his life while fighting abroad during World War I. When W.B. passed away in 1924, Nelson, one of Maude and W.B.’s sons, managed the hardware store until sometime later when another son, W.B. “Dick” Makinson, took it over.
During her life, Maude was active in the affairs of the Presbyterian Church, teaching Sunday school, serving as president of the Women’s Missionary Society, and was a charter member of the Hart Memorial Library. Maude remained President of the W.B. Makinson Company until her death on April 8, 1951, at 81. She was survived by eight daughters, two sons, twenty grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren. Maude passed away in the home W.B. had built in 1900 and where many of her children were born. The home was lived in by a daughter, Jo Makinson, until her death; it was then sold. If the house on Lake Street could talk, it would have many tales to tell of a woman who reared a family of prominent citizens, all who gave back much to the community they grew up in.
Written By Anza Bast
Sources: Ancestry.com; Osceola County Centennial Book; “Kissimmee Valley Gazette” September 13, 1927; “Kissimmee Gazette” April 25, 1958; “Orlando Evening Star” April 9, 1951; Osceola County Historical Society archives