Frank Murphy, christened William Francis Murphy, was born on April 13, 1890, in what is today Harbor Beach, Michigan, the son of John F. Murphy and Mary Brennan Murphy. His father was a small-town lawyer active in Democratic politics and his mother was a devout Catholic who communicated to her son a lifelong commitment to Catholicism. Throughout a distinguished public career, Murphy would champion the underdog and the radical. The impetus to do so may have risen out of his family background. His great-grandfather had been hanged by the British for insurrection. His father, born and raised in Canada, had been jailed at one time there for his association with Fenianism, a secret society of Irish nationalists that flourished for a time in the second half of the 19th century. Frank Murphy himself grew up Catholic in a predominandy Protestant state. The blood of the outcast and the rebel ran in his veins.