Honoring Martin & Frances Burns – From Their Great-Grandson

My Trip to Long Island National Cemetery

Farmingdale, New York

We are all descended from thousands of people. However, we don’t get to know all of them. For the ones we do get to know, there are some that we actually get to spend time with and there are others that we get to know through stories. Here is the story of my great-grandparents Martin and Frances Burns through the lens of their great-grandson, Shane Martin Oxendine.

By: Shane M. Oxendine

Everyone in the family always had good things to say about Martin.

They said that he was smart and that he was the sweetest man that they had ever met.

A true gentleman.

I’m proud to have his name as my middle name because it drives me to be a kind-hearted person just like he was.

Even though I never met him, I’m thankful for him and the picture that people painted of him. I honestly believe that he was a great man and I admire the way that he treated the people that I love today.


Nanny was also such a great person. She loved me very much and she always made sure that I knew it. There was never a day around her where I didn’t feel loved. I remember that she would always say that I reminded her of her husband. She always said that I was lucky to have some of his attributes.

Nanny also always made sure that I had nice stuff. I remember that she would always buy me new clothes.

SHE ALSO ALWAYS MADE SURE I HAD A CLEAN PAIR OF SOCKS TO WEAR. She would ask me almost every day if I needed socks because she knew it was important to me. She also said she didn’t want me to have “stinky feet” and that would always make us laugh.

I loved her so much.

She was always a sweet, beautiful person to me. She never once got mad at me or treated me badly. All she did was love me. She is a big reason why I take my family seriously. She showed me how to love my family without me even knowing it back then.

She also had a laugh that was really funny. I had to get a portrait of an angel tattooed on me with her name above it simply because she was an angel when she was alive and when she passed.

I’ll never forget her.

I’ll always love her and I’ll always miss her.

I’ve never met anyone like her and I probably never will again. I know that her and Martin are now together up in Heaven, and that’s what she wanted in the last of her time.

It’s depressing but she made that very clear. She loved him more than life itself.

I admire her for everything that she was. She was such a great person.

I promised you that I would take you to see them and one day soon we will.

Honoring Our Fallen Heroes – Ed Murphy

My Trip to Long Island National Cemetery

Farmingdale, New York

For awhile, I lived in Farmingdale, New York, which is the location of what is known as Pinelawn, a collection of cemeteries in the area, including Long Island National Cemetery, one of the largest national cemeteries in the country with over 346,000 interments. This final resting place of many of our country’s departed veterans is also the resting place of a number of my family’s ancestors.

In this first installment of “Honoring Our Fallen Heroes,” I am going to cover the life of Freeport native, and U.S. Navy Veteran, Edward James Murphy, my wife’s great-grandfather.

Ed Murphy (as his family knew him) was born on April 29, 1913 in Brooklyn, New York. His parents, William Joseph Murphy and Margaret Mary Shalvoy had a total of 10 children and eventually settled in Freeport, a populous coastal community on Long Island’s South Shore.

William and Margaret Murphy with their first 5 children: Ray, Ed, and Bill (top row) and Marge and Joe (bottom row) Source: Shalvoy/Scollin Family Research Committee

The family consisted of 8 boys and 2 girls with Ed and his older brother Bill at the helm. Talk about lots of protection for their 2 sisters.

Both Ed and Bill attended Freeport High School and played football there as evidenced by this 1929 team photo.

Special thanks to the Freeport Memorial Library and New York Heritage Digital Collection for allowing me to find this gem.
Close-up of Bill and Ed. I believe this was Bill’s senior and Ed’s junior season. Must have been awesome playing together. I wonder what their positions were.

By 1930, you can see the entire family unit living in Freeport: William, Margaret, William, Edward, Raymond, Margaret, Joseph, Richard, John, Mary, and Robert. That’s a lot of Murphys!


On November 25, 1935, Ed married Lorraine Lehmann in Brookyln, New York. I have not yet been able to obtain a copy of their marriage certificate.

By 1940, Ed is still in Freeport living with his wife Lorraine and daughter Mary Lou. He is listed as working as a “Beer/Ales Salesman.” My guess is that this means he either worked for a liquor store or a beer distributor.


A few years thereafter, Ed enlisted in the United States Navy towards the end of World War II. According to this photo, Ed Murphy completed his training in Great Lakes, Illinois. This photo was found on Find A Grave and I am not sure of its original source.


In the Navy, Ed served as a “storekeeper.” The term no longer in use, a storekeeper was responsible for maintaining a ship’s military supply store. They were responsible for purchasing, procurement, shipping and receiving, and issuing equipment, tools, and essentially anything else they had in stock. I am very interested to see exactly what he did during the war and where exactly he was stationed during that time.

Unfortunately, Ed Murphy did not live much longer after serving in World War II. At the young age of 35, Edward James Murphy passed away at Meadowbrook Hospital in the Town of Hempstead leaving behind his entire family.

From The Nassau Daily Review-Star, Tuesday, July 3, 1948, Page 9.
From The Nassau Daily Review-Star, July 6, 1948, Page 17.

Thanks to Find A Grave and the Veterans Affairs Nationwide Gravesite Locator, our deceased veterans are easier to find more than ever. On Saturday, March 26, 2016, I took my wife to visit both of her great-grandfathers that are buried at Long Island National Cemetery. We don’t know the last time someone was there to visit him, but as we always do, we left a rock on top of his headstone to make sure that others know he will always be remembered.


Edward James Murphy – we salute you and thank you so very much for your service to this great country during World War II. You were taken from us way too young, but we hope you will be remembered forever.

As always, keep on digging.