Murphree Records 1743-1800, North Carolina


The following Chronology was originally compiled in the winter of 1980-1981 as an adjunct to the book I was writing on the Bynum family.   It has been updated with a few additional records as I transcribed it into a machine-readable format, but is basically unchanged from the form it took thirty-odd years ago.  The sources were largely secondary ones, but several records were viewed in their original at the NC Archives, and several were supplied by correspondence with Mary E. Taylor, genealogist for the Murphree Genealogical Association.

Comments are in blue italics in order to expand or explain some of the records of particular genealogical interest.

— Nov 1734    Deed:   James Howard, Sarah Crew & Thomas Crew to John Jenkins, wheelwright, £40, 300 acres.  “Wee James Howard, Sarah Crew and Thomas Crew in right of his wife Sarah Crew, exec’rs of the last will and testament of James Howard dec’d late of Bertie Precinct…” land on north side of Cashy by patent dated 1726, commonly known as “Speights Land”.  Witness:  Richard Rowland, Catherine Rowland.  [Bertie County Deed Book D, p141, abstracted in Colonial Bertie County, N. C. Deed Books A-H 1720-1757, Mary Best Bell]

23 years later, Thomas Crew would sell additional land to John Jenkins, with Daniel Murphree a witness (see 1 September 1757 below)  John Jenkins was an adjoining landowner to Daniel Murphree, and there was clearly a close connection between the two men.  Daniel Murphree witnessed ten deeds by John Jenkins and his sons, both witnessed three other deeds together, and Murphree sold his Bertie land to two sons of John Jenkins.  Although this can be explained by their being neighbors, it is tempting to speculate about the possibility of a familial relationship between the two men.

On 14 August 1744, ten years after buying the land, John Jenkins acquired a headright certificate for importation of himself, his wife Anne, and eight children named James, Elizabeth, Cassia, Mary, John, Anne, Cader, and Lewis.  The importation into North Carolina was likely from Virginia, for on 12 August 1730 a John Jenkins of Nansemond County, Virginia had purchased 100 acres in Bertie [Deed Book C, p325].   There seem to have been two men named John Jenkins transacting business in Bertie.  The other was a John Jenkins of Edgecombe County (Book D, p35 and E, p88 and p532).   


3 Nov 1738     Sarah (x) Morphew and Lamb Hardy witnesses to the will of  Jacob Parrot, proved in November court 1738.  [Abstracts of Wills Bertie County, North Carolina 1722-1774 (1990), David B. Gammon, p45.]

Whether this was Daniel Murphree’s wife (or indeed, whether she was a Murphree at all) is unknown.


15 Nov 1743   Grant:  Luke Saller, 250 acres on the western side of Waloon [read Wattom] Swamp adjoining Daniel Murphy, the river swamp, and Theophilus Pugh.  [Patent Book 5, p222, abstracted in Colony of North Carolina 1735-1764 Abstracts of Land Patents, Volume I, Margaret M. Hofmann, p198.]

This is the first known record of Daniel Murphree, though he evidently was already a landowner.   There is no further mention of Luke Saller (Seller? Salley?) in Bertie records.

This appears to be the same land that Daniel Murphree purchased in 1747, suggesting that he was occupying the land either as a lessee or without a clear title from the owner.   Theophilus Pugh was a merchant and land speculator of Nansemond County, Virginia who owned considerable land in Bertie and other North Carolina  counties.   Although Pugh owned a variety of tracts by 1743, this particular tract seems to have been his purchase on 11 December 1738 from John and Anne Beverly described as being on the north side of Cashy Swamp and adjacent to Henry Roads and Thomas Roads (Deed Book E, p428).    A 7 November 1745 notice in the “Virginia Gazette” of Pugh’s default on a mortgage describes this land as “640 Acres on Cashie… called Wattom, purchased of John Beverley .”   Pugh, who was already dead when the notice appeared, had died owing a large sum to a London merchant who brought suit against Pugh’s estate with the eventual result that the Sheriff was ordered to seize and sell several tracts of land in Bertie.  On 14 Aug 1753 John Hill, Sheriff of Bertie, sold this same tract to Samuel Wiggins, describing it as 540 acres bought by Theophilus Pugh from John Beverly on 11 December 1738 located on Cashy Swamp at Thomas Roads corner adjoining Henry Roads.  (Deed Book H, p34)

It seems a virtual certainty that the Pugh land mentioned in Luke Saller’s grant was this parcel.  (I should also note that the same newspaper notice mentions two parcels Pugh had bought in Nansemond County, Virginia from a John Murphy.}


14 May 1747  Deed:  Richard Hines to William Snowden, 175 acres at the fork of Cashy River and Wattom Swamp, adjoining Robert Carter, Daniel Murphrey.  Witness: Joseph Menton, Richard Rowland.  Proved in February Court 1747/8.   [Bertie County Deed Book G, p100, abstracted in Colonial Bertie County, N. C. Deed Books A-H 1720-1757, Mary Best Bell]

This appears to refer to the land Daniel Murphree bought a few months later from Nathan Rowland (see below.)  It would seem from this deed that Daniel Murphree was occupying the land before obtaining title to it.


13 Aug 1747   Deed: Nathan Rowland of Edgecombe County, to Daniel Murphrey of Bertie County, for £30, 390 acres lying on the east side of Cashy Swamp adjoining Roades Plantation on Wattom Swamp “where is a beverdam”.  Witness: Joseph Minton, John Jenkins.  Proved February Court 1747/8.  [Bertie County Deed Book G, p96, abstracted by Bell]

Nathan Rowland had bought this land on 11 November 1728 from Thomas and Mary Rhodes [Deed Book C, p62].  Daniel Murphree almost immediately sold the land.

Perhaps his plans changed, but it appears that he had been occupying the land for at least four years but was only now acquiring title to it.  This seems clearly to have adjoined Richard Hines (see Deed Book F, p29; E, p373; and H, p149) and was evidently the land referred to in the 14 May 1747 deed above.  It was also (see above) the land referred to in the Luke Saller grant.   It is possible that Daniel Murphree had been using or leasing the land for some time and was only now acquiring the title in order to sell it.


16 Nov 1747   Deed:  Daniel Murphrey of Bertie to Richard Harrell [Sr.] of Nansemond County, Virginia, £30 Virginia money, the 390 acres purchased three months earlier… “beginning at a white oak & a black gum in a branch of Cashy Swamp that runs up by the said Road’s Plantation, thence along a line of markd trees to a red oak on Wattom Swamp where is a Beverdam, & from there along a survey line to a pine a corner tree, thence South 7 West 87 poles to a whitegum in Cashy Swamp, thence down the said swamp to the mouth of the afsd. branch, thence up the said branch to the first station…”  Witness:  John Harrell, Francis (x) Harrell.  Proved by oath of John Harrell February Court 1747/8.  [Bertie County Deed Book G, p98.]

Note that the purchase and the sale were both proved at the same court.  Since Daniel Murphree had been occupying this land for some time before he actually bought it, one cannot help but wonder why the purchase was delayed until it was time to sell.


4 May 1748    Survey for Daniel Murphree, 360 acres along James Howard’s line…  Chain carriers:  John Sholar, James Jenkins [Relayed by Mrs. Taylor, source unknown]

This probably refers to the same item as 26 April 1756 below, which refers to a “former entry” that must have been prior to 1749.  This is apparently a part of the later and larger grant of 620 acres.  Since there is no separate sale of this land it must have been originally a part of the 620-acre grant. 


5 May 1748    Survey:  John Sholar. Chain Carriers:  Daniel Murphree, William Sholar. [Ditto.]


20 Aug 1750   Deed:  Isack Stallings to James Jenkins, 360 acres on Cashy Swamp “now called Connaritsrat Swamp”, part of a patent to Robert Lanier of 1 May 1688 (sic).  Witness:  Daniel Murphree, John Jenkins.  Proved February Court 1753/4.  [Bertie County Deed Book G, page 434, abstracted by Bell.]


1 Sep 1750      Deed:  Jonathan Kittrell to William Pierce, 167 acres on the east side of Connaritsa Swamp between John Gilbert and Jonathan Kittrell, formerly between John Holly and John Thomas.  Witness: Daniel Murphree, James Dody.  Proved October Court1755.  [Bertie County Deed Book H, p228, abstracted by Bell.]


17 Oct 1750    Deed:  Nathaniel Williams to Daniel Murphree, both of Bertie County, £22,  100 acres lying on the east side of Conoritsrat (sic) Swamp at Horsepen Branch to a branch “known as Pauls Branch.” Witness: John Sholar, William Sholar.  Proved February Court 1752/3.  [Bertie County Deed Book G, p433, abstracted by Bell.]


1755                Bertie County Tax List:  List taken by Thomas Pierce (names only):  Daniel Murphree


1755                Orange County Tax List: William Murphie – 1 tithable

This person is evidently unrelated to the Daniel Murphree family.  Orange County covered such a huge area in 1755, it isn’t known where this person lived.  However, on the same page of this 20-page tax list are several persons who are later in Chatham County, including Robert Patterson, Edward Kirksey, Richard and Nicolas Copeland,.  On the next page of the tax list are Luke Bynum and John Hatley.

Orange County would, before the Revolution, be home to at least three other Murphy families:  This William Murphy, Archibald Murphy, and Roger Murphy.


26 Apr 1756   Land Entry?:  Daniel Murfrey, a tract…being the land his improvements are on and the land he formerly entered with Edward Moseley, Esquire and Robert Walton, Esquire and surveyed by Miles Yate.  [From notes of Mary Taylor.]

The land “he formerly entered” must have been before 1749, when Edward Moseley died.  Thus this likely refers to the survey of 1748 for 360 acres.

Ms. Taylor did not provide a source, and had received this from a correspondent.  There is no grant in the NC grant files for this date.  It’s not clear if this is an entry or a grant.  It seems likely that this is actually the land entry for all or part of  the grant issued in 1758.  Since he evidently did not sell this land separately, it seems that is the case.


1756                Bertie County Tax List:  List of Householders taken by Thomas Pierce (names only)
Daniel Murphree

No tithables are noted, the list is only of householders.


1757                Bertie County Tax List:  Taken by John Hill: Daniel Murphree – 1 tithable

Tithables were males 16 and over, thus Daniel Murphree’s eldest son was not yet 16.

1 Sep 1757      Deed:  Thomas Crew(s) of Bertie to John Jenkins of the same, £14 proclamation, 100 acres where Crews now dwells, on the west side of Connaritsee Swamp.  Witness:  Daniel Murphree, Samuel Howard, Cader Jenkins.  Proved October Court 1757  [Bertie County Deed Book I, p2, abstracted in The Deeds of Bertie County, North Carolina 1757-1772, Dr. Stephen E. Bradley, Jr.]


20 Apr 1758   Land Grant:  Daniel Murphrey,  620 acres in Bertie County on both sides Conaritset Swamp beginning at a pine on a pocoson Thomas Pearce’s corner running thence on his line South 290 poles to a pine in Green’s Pocoson then North 65 degrees East 375 poles to a white oak near Howard’s line thence North 10 degrees West 50 poles to a pine John Jenkin’s corner then on his line North 70 degrees East 160 poles to a red oak then North 35 degrees East 60 poles to a white oak thence a straight course through Conaritset Pocoson to the first station.  [Grant Book 11, pp37-8]

This grant seems to have included the 100 acres he had bought from Williams in 1750.  The land was on both sides of the swamp, most of it on the west side.


17 Jan 1759     Deed:  Daniel Murphree to Robert Roads, both of Bertie County,  £15 proclamation, 470 acres on Connaritsa Swamp.  Witness:  Nathan (x) Miers, Henry Roads, Nathaniel Cooper.  [Bertie County Deed Book I, p347, abstracted by Bradley]   Acknowledged in court by Daniel Murphree 24 July 1759.   [Bertie County North Carolina County Court Minutes 1740-1743, 1758-1762, Weynette Parks Haun, p68.]

This must have been part of the 1758 grant, apparently all that part on the west side of the swamp.   This should have left him with the remaining 150-odd acres on the east side of the swamp.


13 Apr 1759   Land Grant: James Jenkins, 640 acres in Bertie County in Society Parish in Connaritsits woods, joining (a point) near David Ryan… Benj. Wynns surveyed 22 Mar 1757. CC [Chain Carriers]: Daniel Murfrey, William Bly.   Benj. Wynns Survr.  [The Granville District of North Carolina 1748-1763 Abstracts of Land Grants Volume One, Margaret M. Hofmann, p20]

Society Parish was the original and only Bertie County parish.  When Bertie was formed in 1722, the Assembly designated Southwest Parish as the parish for the new Precinct, but soon after changed the name to honor the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, an Anglican missionary organization in England which sent the first “official” ministers to the colony.  Northwest Parish was created in 1727 but served the part of Bertie that became Northampton County in 1741.

Other than the brief tenure of John Boyd in the late 1730s, Bertie had no Anglican minister for its parish during the period when the Murphrees lived there.  The Quakers were far better organized than was the official Anglican Church, and the only actual church building in the county was a Baptist church.


12 Aug 1760   Deed:  John (x) Jenkins Sr. of Bertie to Cader Jenkins of the same, £10 proclamation, 100 acres which was part of land I purchased from William Lowther & Mary Gregory on the west side of Conaritser Swamp according to the deed of William Pierce to Thomas Odom.  Witness:  Daniel Murphree, Lewis (x) Jenkins    [Bertie County Deed Book K, p194]   Proved by oath of Daniel Murphree October Court 1762  [Haun, p102]


1 Feb 1761      Deed:  James (x) Howard of Hertford County & Samuel (x) Howard of Bertie County to William Bly of Bertie County, £30 Virginia, 320 acres from a 640-acre patent to Stephen Howard 1 February 1725, the remaining part of a deed from sd. Howard to Jacob Odom dec’d late of Bertie County, on east side of Conaritsrat Swamp. Witness: Daniel Murphree, John (x) Cross. Proved October Court 1762.  [Bertie County Deed Book K, p214, abstracted by Bradley]

Samuel Howard was married to Keziah Jenkins, daughter of John Jenkins Sr.


31 Mar 1761   Deed:  Thomas (x) Odom of Duplin County to James Jenkins of Bertie, 150 acres on east side of Coneritsrat Swamp joining  James Jenkins, Stephen Howard, Horse Pen Branch, Gilbert Pocosin.  Witness: Daniel Murfree, John (x) Jenkins  Proved April Court 1761.   [Bertie County Deed Book K, p61, abstracted by Bradley]
Proved by oath of Daniel Murphree April Court 1761 [Haun, p81]


2 Apr 1761     Deed:  Thomas Pierce to Robert Roades, 150 acres on western side of Coneritsrat Pocoson, joining Stallings, Spivey.  Witness: Daniel Murphree, James (x) Jenkins.   [Bertie County Deed Book K, p62, abstracted by Bradley]
Proved by oath of Daniel Murphree April Court 1761 [Haun, p81]


Apr 1761        Daniel Murphree appeared in court and proved the two deeds noted above.
[Bertie County North Carolina County Court Minutes 1740-1743, 1758-1762, Weynette Parks Haun, Book II, p81]


8 Oct 1761      Deed:  William Blye of Northampton County to John Jenkins Jr. of Bertie County, £30 proclamation, 100acres from a 640a patent to Stephen Howard 1 February 1725, the remaining 540 acres had been deeded from said Howard to Jacob Odom dec’d of Bertie County on east side of Coneriserat Swamp joining Pauls [Powell’s?] Branch.  Witness:  Daniel Murphree, John (x) Jenkins.  [Bertie County Deed Book K, p208, abstracted by Bradley]
Proved by oath of Daniel Murphree October Court 1762 [Haun, p102]

John Jenkins Jr. in his 1779 will left this 100 acres “that I bought of William Blye” to his son Reddick Jenkins.


12 Oct 1761    Bertie County Tax List:  [exists, but not read]

This was not read, but may give a clue to the ages of Daniel Murphree’s elder sons.


17 Jun 1762    Deed:  William (x) Snowden and his wife Elizabeth (x) of Northampton County to Cader Powell of Hertford County, £33 Virginia, 175 acres which I purchased from Richard Hines, in the fork of Cashie & Wartom, joining Wartom Swamp, Robert Carter, Daniel Murphree. Wit: John (x) Tyler, Abram Brice, Lewis Powell. Proved July Court 1762.  [Bertie County Deed Book K, p158, abstracted by Bradley]


25 Aug 1762   Deed:  William Blye to John Jenkins, both of Bertie County, 220 acres from a 640 acre patent to Stephen Howard of 1 February 1725, on east side of Conaritsrat Swamp, joining Horse Pen Branch, Pauls Branch. Proved by the oath of Daniel Murphree October Court 1762.  [Bertie County Deed Book K, p191, abstracted by Bradley]
Proved by oath of Daniel Murphree October Court 1762 [Haun, p102]


25 Aug 1762   Deed:  William Blye to Daniel Murphree, both of Bertie County, £10 proclamation,  220 acres on the east side of Conaritsrat Swamp, “…beginning on the Swamp at a gum standing in the mouth of the Horse pen Branch… Pauls branch…”  part of a patent to Stephen Howard 1 February 1725.   Witness: Robert (x) Rhoads, James Murphree. Proved by Roades at October Court 1762. [Bertie County Deed Book K, p199]

William Blye had now sold 320 acres of this parcel to John Jenkins and John Jenkins Jr., and 220 acres to Daniel Murphree.

William Blye was the son of William Blye Sr. who died leaving a will in Bertie dated 29 November 1748 and proven at May Court 1749.   The will named wife Elizabeth, sons William and Thomas, and daughters Sarah and Elizabeth.  Another son James Blye, was named in the will of his presumed grandfather John Champion who identified him as the son of Elizabeth Blye.


18 Sep 1762    Bertie County Tax List,  District of Joseph Hollam:
Daniel Murphree – 3 tithables

Taxables at this time in North Carolina were males 16 and over, so two of Daniel Murphree’s sons had apparently reached the age of 16.  Also on the list were John Jenkins, James Jenkins (with 3), Louis Jenkins, and Cader Jenkins.

The effective date for establishing age was 1 January of the tax year.  Two of the sons must have been born 1745 or earlier, and the next oldest born after 1 January 1746.


Oct 1762         Daniel Murphree appeared in court and proved the three deeds noted above. [Haun, p102]


1 Feb 1763      Deed:   John Jenkins Sr. to Lewis Jenkins, £20 proclamation, 150 acres  which was part of a patent to James Howard 8 December 1725, where said John Jenkins Sr. now dwells on east side of Conariste Swamp, joining Daniel Murphy.  Witness: Danl Murphy, Jno (x) Jenkins Jr.  Proved May Court 1763.  [Bertie County Deed Book K, p298, abstracted by Bradley]

John Jenkins, “wheelwright”, had bought 300 acres in November 1734 from the heirs of James Howard which was “commonly known as Speight’s land”.  [Deed Book D, p141]  He had evidently lived on this parcel for nearly thirty years.  


19 Feb 1763    Daniel Murphree and Cader Jenkins witnesses to the inventory of Samuel Howard, deceased, by Hezekiah Howard.  [Records of Estates Bertie County North Carolina,  Vol. I 1728-1744, 1762-1790,  David B. Gammon, p311.]


21 Feb 1763    Bond of Lewis (x) Jenkins… the condition was to allow John Jenkins Sr. and his wife to take possession of a piece of land.   Witness: Daniel Murfree, John (x) Jenkins  [Bertie County Deed Book K, p227, abstracted by Bradley]


12 Aug 1763   Deed:  John Jenkins (Sr.) to John Jenkins (Jr.), £10 Virginia, 150 acres on Connaritserat Swamp, joining Pauls Branch.  Witness:  Lewis (x) Jenkins, Daniel Murphree.  Proved June Court 1765. [Bertie County Deed Book K, p479, abstracted by Bradley]


Daniel Murphree & Family Move to Orange County

He probably moved to Orange County in late 1764 or early 1765.  Note that he buys two parcels on 14 May 1765 and is “of Orange County” the following day when he sold his land in Bertie.  But note that he returned to Bertie County in order to personally appear and acknowledge one of those deeds at the June court in Bertie.

14 Aug 1764   Deed: Harmon Husbands to Roger Murfey, 200 acres.  [Orange County Registration of Deeds]

This person does not seem to be related to Daniel Murphree.  I include this entry here because his grandson, Roger Murphy, was in Pendleton District, South Carolina at the same time as the sons of Daniel Murphree.

This land is in modern Randolph County, located some 40 miles due west of the land Daniel Murphree was about to purchase on New Hope.


5 May 1765    Deed:  Luke & Martha Bynum to John Hatley, 350 acres.  Proved by Daniel Murphey.  [Orange County Registration of Deeds]

This particular entry does not seem to be in Weeks’ abstract of this Registry.


14 May 1765  Deed:  James Kirkley [Kirksey] to Daniel Murphey, 180 acres. Proved by John Hatley. [Orange County Registration of Deeds, abstracted in Register of Orange County, North Carolina Deeds 1752-1768, and 1793, Eve B. Weeks, p37.]

14 May 1765  Deed:   Luke Bynum to Daniel Murphey, 175 acres.  Proved by John Hatley. [Orange County Registration of Deeds, abstracted in Register of Orange County, North Carolina Deeds 1752-1768, and 1793, Eve B. Weeks, p37.]

The original deeds of Orange County are lost, but Ms. Weeks transcribed the deed register.  Most of these entries were read in the original, as well.  John Hally [Hatley], who had already bought 350 acres from Luke Bynum and was apparently a neighbor, proved both deeds at the Orange court in May.

The land sold by Luke Bynum was part of his grant of 700 acres from Lord Granville on 30 June 1762, located on both sides of New Hope Creek in the northeastern part of modern Chatham County.    Luke Bynum sold his 700 acre grant in three parcels:  350 acres to John Hatley, 175 acres to Daniel Murphree, and 175 acres to William Blythe. All of this land was  in the part of Orange County which would become eastern Chatham County in 1771.

The deed from Luke Bynum to John Hatley for 350 acres was dated 5 May 1765.  When Hatley later sold part of this land to Biaz Rogers, he described it as part of the 1762 grant to Luke Bynum [Grants 14, p347].   Daniel Murphree’s son Daniel Murphree Jr. later sold the 175 acres purchased by his father, also describing it as part of the grant to Luke Bynum.   Luke Bynum himself apparently did not live on the land, but rather lived on land about two miles west on the north bank of the Haw River.   The 700-acre grant to Bynum is now under water due to the damming  of New Hope Creek to create Jordan Lake.  It was a few miles south of what is now the town of Chapel Hill.  Kirksey owned land in the same area.

Orange County had been formed in 1752, covering an area of more than six present-day counties, at a time when there were perhaps a thousand settlers in the area.  Land was plentiful and relatively cheaply granted, and by 1767 it had become the most populous county in North Carolina with about 16,000 residents.  Unfortunately, nearly all its early records were lost during the Revolution, though some court records still exist.

The only tax list of Orange County which survives for this period, the 1755 list, contains the name “William Murphie”.  [See above.] This William Murphy is mentioned as a chain carrier in a 1756 grant in Orange County as well.


15 May 1765  Deed:  Daniel Murphree of Orange County to James Jenkins of Bertie County, £43 Virginia, 220 acres lying on Conneritsrat Swamp. .. [then follows a description matching the land bought from William Blye]  … description is on the east side of the swamps, part of a 640-acre patent to Stephen Howard of 1 February 1725 which included a 240-acre grant t Stephen Howard…  notes that Paul’s Branch separates this land from John Jenkins’ 100 acre parcel.   Signed:  Daniel Murphree.  Witness: John Jenkins, James Jenkins. Proved June Court 1765 by the oath of John Jenkins [Bertie County Deed Book K, p477]

This is clearly the 220 acres purchased on 25 August 1762 from William Blye.  The deed seems to repeat the language of the deeds by William Blye in referring to the large patent and to the 100 acres owned by John Jenkins.


16 May 1765  Deed: Daniel Murphree of Orange County to Lewis Jenkins of Bertie County,  £20, 125 acres lying on the east side of Conneritset Swamp…  Robert [Roade’s] corner, thence running the patent’s course to the sd Swamp thence up the sd Swamp….  appears to be eastern portion of the 1758 patent.  Witness:  Wm Cherry; John (x) Jenkins.  Acknowledged by Daniel Murphree June Court 1765.  [Bertie County Deed Book K, p474.]

This appears to be the remainder of his 1758 patent.  Perhaps a new survey had been made, accounting for this being described as 125 acres rather than 150.


12 Aug 1766   Deed:  Roger Murphey Sr. to Roger Murphey Jr., 106 acres. Proved by Harmon Husband. [Orange County Registration of Deeds]


16 Nov 1766   Will of John Fields:  Estate to sons John and Roger, unnamed wife.  Names Abeneasar and Ann Starnes guardians of the oldest son, and Roger Murphy Sr. guardian of the younger son.  If Murphy dies, Roger Murphy Jr. to replace him as guardian.  Witness: William Ward, James Morgan, Roger Murphy Jr., Rachel Fields. Proved February Court 1767.   [Orange County Will Book A, p56]


25 Oct 1768    Deed Register:  James Hunter Underwood to Daniel Murphey, 180 acres. Proved by Danl. Murphey Jr.  [Weeks, p54]

25 Oct 1768   Deed Register:  John Wheelis to Jacob Rogers, proved by Daniel Murphey.
[Weeks, p54]

Two more lost deeds of Orange County, record of which is preserved in the deed index.  The deed from Underwood to Murphree, from later records, adjoined the land bought from Kirksey to create one 360-acre parcel.  Half of this was described as the plantation on which he lived when Daniel Murphree wrote his will the following year.


— Oct 1768     Deed Register:  Luke & Martha Bynum to William Blyth, 175 acres.  Proved by David Murphey.  [Orange County Registration of Deeds, also in Weeks, p54]

Weeks has the name as “David” Murphey, but the original may have been “Dan’l Murphey”.  David was not nearly old enough to prove a deed, so this must have been a clerical error in the transcription from the deed into the index.

This was the final remaining part of Luke Bynum’s 700-acre patent, the part on the west side of New Hope Creek opposite to Daniel Murphree.  William Blyth was apparently already married to Sarah Murphree by this time, and was now buying land close to his father-in-law.


— Oct 1768     Deed: Cader Powell of Hertford County to Ezekiel Wimberly of Bertie County, £30 Virginia, 175 acres which was part of land I bought from William Snowdan, joining Cashie, Wartom Swamp, Robert Carter, Daniel Murphree, Demsy Powell, Cader Powell Jr.  Proved at March Court 1769.  [Bertie County Deed Book L2, p172, abstracted by Bradley]

Whether this reference is from an old survey or whether Daniel Murphree still owned land in Bertie is unclear.   On K-158, 17 June 1762, William Snowden and Elizabeth his wife of Northampton County sold the land to Cader Powell of Hertford County, describing it as in the fork of Cashey and Wartom, near Wartom’s Swamp and Robert Carter’s corner according to the abstract (Book K, p158, abstracted by Bradley).


19 Jun 1769    Will of John Queen, Nansemond County, Virginia:  Wife Mary Queen and the child she is now supposed to be pregnant with, Priscilla Avis, daughter of Abraham Avis and Isabel Avis.  James Edwards.  William Shepherd Roberts, son of William Shepherd Roberts and Lydia Roberts.  Levi Solomon and Moses Murphee, sons of my brother Daniel Murphee.  Excrs: William Shepherd and Solomon Shepherd, Jr.  Witness: John Agnew, Thomas Shepherd, Jesse Fulghan.  Proved 14 August 1769.  [Abstracted in Some Wills from the Burned Counties of Virginia and other Wills not listed in Virginia Wills and Administrations 1632-1800, William Lindsay Hopkins, pp102.  A similar abstract is in Virginia County Records, Vol. III – Williamsburg Wills, William Armstrong Crozier, p47.]

A very intriguing record, since John Queen’s widow was later in Chatham County, North Carolina, where an undated bond appears in the loose records relating to the estate of John Queen Jr.  [A bond of James Bruxton, partially destroyed, for delivery of the estate held by William Sheppard, deceased, executor of John Queen, deceased, to John Queen Jr. and his mother.]  John Queen Jr. was evidently “the child she is now supposed to be pregnant with”.

The widow Mary Queen mentioned in John Queen’s will was  the Mary Knott of Chatham County, North Carolina who, on 9 August 1790, deeded three slaves left to her by the will of John Queen of Nansemond County to her son John Queen, son of John Queen deceased.  [Chatham County Record of Estates 1782-1799, Volume 1, p7a.]   Note that the posthumous son born in 1769 would have turned 21 in 1790, thus explaining the timing of this delivery of slaves.   I’d also note that a John Queen appears later in the 1800 census of Pendleton, South Carolina although he seems too old to be the same person.

This would be a truly striking coincidence if it does not refer to our Daniel Murphree, though why only the middle sons (all minors at the time) are named is unknown.  The meaning of “brother” is also unclear – it could mean a brother-in-law or a half-brother.   The unfortunate destruction of nearly all Nansemond County records prevents us from learning more about John Queen.

Suppose John Queen was a brother-in-law of Daniel Murphree:  It seems unlikely that Sarah Murphree was his sister since the will would have named her rather than her husband and sons.  It would thus seem more likely that John Queen had been married to a sister of Daniel Murphree.  But Daniel Murphree had been in North Carolina for some 25 years before this will, opening the obvious question of how Queen and Murphree could have been close enough to explain this legacy.

The other obvious possibility is that Daniel Murphree and John Queen had the same mother but different fathers.  However, the will implies that John Queen had no children other than the child his wife was pregnant with while Daniel Murphree had several adult children, which suggests a considerable age difference of at least twenty and possibly thirty years between the two men.   Thus the mother would have had Murphree and then many years later have had Queen.  The destruction of virtually all Nansemond County records will probably prevent us from ever resolving the question.

23 Sep 1769    Deed:  Dempsey Rauls and Michael (sic) his wife to Daniel Murphey of Orange County, £45, 375 acres surveyed on 2 September 1761, on both sides of Whiteoak Creek waters of New Hope, the said Daniel Murphey complying with all the terms of Lord Granville.  Signed: Dempsey Rauls, Mich (x) Rauls.  Names of witnesses not given, but proved by James Murphey, one of the witnesses at November Court 1771 [Chatham County Deed Book A, pp47.]

This deed was executed when the area was Orange County, but proved a few months after it became Chatham County.  Chatham was formed from the southern part of Orange County effective 1 April 1771.   Dempsey Rawls had bought this land on 28 June 1762 and several weeks later had bought an adjoining parcel bordering Elisha Cain.

White Oak Creek was on the east side of New Hope Creek near the Luke Bynum patent, part of which Daniel Murphree had purchased in 1765.  It ran roughly east-west from Wake County into Chatham County and emptied into New Hope Creek.


10 Nov 1769   Will of Daniel Murphree, proved August Court 1771 [spelling corrected]:

“ In the name of God amen.  The tenth day of November in the year of our Lord 1769, I Daniel Murphree, of the County of Orange, Planter, being sick and weak in body but of perfect mind and memory, thanks be given unto God. Therefore calling unto mind the mortality of my body and knowing that it is appointed for all men once to die, do make and ordain this my Last Will and Testament, that is to say, Principally and First of all, I give and recommend my soul into the hands of God that gave it, and for my body I recommend it to earth to be buried in a Christian like and decent manner at the discretion of my Executors, nothing doubting, but at the general Resurrection, I shall receive the same again by the mighty power of God, and as touching such Worldly Estate therewith it hath pleased God to bless me with in this life, I give, devise and dispose of the same in the following manner and form:

First and foremost, I lend to my well beloved wife, Sarah Murphree, the Plantation whereupon I now live and all my household goods and chattles after all my just debts is paid and some legesses hereafter mentioned.  Item I give to my well beloved son James Murphree the plantation where on he now lives.  Item I give to my well beloved son Daniel Murphree the land where on he now lives.  Item I give to my well beloved son John Murphree the plantation that I bought of Demmey Rawls, with half the land, and the other half I give to my well beloved son Levi Murphree to be equally divided.  Item I give to my well beloved son Solomon Murphree a plantation that I made on the Lord Earl Granvil’s land, with half the land that shall be saved when the office is open and the other half of the said land I give to my well beloved son Moses Murphree, also too I ordain that there shall be as much levied out of my personal estate as will make a right to the said land when my Lord Granvil’s office is open.  Item I give to my well beloved son David Murphree thirty pounds to be raised or levied out of my estate.  Item I give to my well beloved daughter Elizabeth Murphree five shillings.  Item I give to my well beloved daughter Sarah Blyth five shillings.  Item I give to my well beloved daughter Milley Murphee ten pounds.  Item I give to my well beloved daughter Edey Murphree ten pounds.  Item I give to my well beloved daughter Mary Murphree ten pounds to be levied out of my estate.  Item I give to my well beloved son William Murphree the plantation whereon I now live, also I ordain James Murphree and William Murphree Executors of this my Last Will and Testament, also I ordain that if either of my children should die without issue, their land or part shall fall to my younger son David Murphree, and if more than one should die without issue their part to be divided amongst the rest, and I do hereby utterly disallow and revoke, disannul all and every other former wills, legacies, bequests, and Executors by me in any way before this time named, willed and bequeathed.

Ratifying and confirming this and no other to be my Last Will and Testament, in Witness Whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this day and year above written.  Signed: Daniel Murphree Witness: John (x) Hatley, Thomas (x) Wood and John Owen.  [An unrecorded will of Chatham County, filed among the loose wills at the NC Archives]

Several comments are necessary here.

The Pending Granville Grant:

Solomon and Moses Murphree were devised rights in land that had been claimed but not granted.  Chatham County was part of the Granville District, in which grants were made by John Carteret, Earl of Granville from 1748 through early 1763.  When Lord Granville died on 11 April 1763 his land office was closed.   At that point, at least half the land in the District was vacant.  The reopening of the land office was continuously delayed by disputes among his heirs, reorganization of its records, and by negotiations to sell the land to the Crown.  By 1769, when Daniel Murphree wrote his will, most North Carolinians believed the land office would be reopened at almost any moment.  Unfortunately, it never did.

For a period of fifteen years, from early 1763 through early 1778, there was no means of acquiring title to ungranted land.   Obviously, Daniel Murphree had claimed vacant land somewhere in the county in the hope of eventually receiving a grant whenever the land office reopened.   Eight years after his will, on 15 November 1777, the North Carolina General Assembly passed the “Confiscation Act”, giving the state authority to grant Granville’s land, along with land confiscated from Loyalists.  County justices were charged with appointing an entry taker to accept claims for State grants.  Naturally, this created a land rush, which was largely a “first come, first served” affair.  Claimants who had settled on and improved their land were given little protection; only those who had lived on their land for at least seven years could claim “prior rights”, and had only until the end of 1778 to make their claims.    Solomon and Moses Murphree were not yet of age in 1777-78 and obviously could not have lived on the land for the prescribed period.   They never entered a claim for their inherited land.   The parcel probably went to one of the local land speculators, who  immediately began claiming large quantities of tracts (many of which were already occupied by others.)   Squatters and others with some claim to land were allowed three months to file a caveat, which was adjudicated by the county court.  No court entries appear for a Murphree claim through 1779.

Ages of the Children

Although the will is silent on this point, it appears that most of the children were minors.  Only three of the sons can be shown to have been over 21 at the time.  James and William had to be 17 or older to perform as executors, and by other evidence were both over 21 by 1769.  Only one of the five daughters was married.

The Widow Sarah Murphree

Whether she was the mother of the children is unknown.  The first record of the wife’s name is this will, thus we have no means of knowing how long she had been married to Daniel Murphree.  Likewise, her maiden name in unknown.   A maiden name of “Sarah Dempsey” has been proposed, but the earliest report of this name seems to be a 20th century one.  At least one other 20th century family researcher proposed that Daniel had two wives, one named Sarah Ward.   These are only guesses, for there seems to be no hard evidence or anecdotal family tradition that hints at her maiden name.


— Aug 1771     Will of Daniel Murphree proved by oaths of John Hatley and Thomas Wood..  [Written on back side of will]


31 Aug 1771   Deed:  Roger Murphy and Mary his wife. of Guilford County, to Peter Mock, £50, 200 acres on a branch of Sandy Creek… part of a 644-acre tract granted to Herman Husband on 5 August 1758 called the “Levell”. Signed: Roger Murphey, Mary (X) Murphy. Witness: William Ward, Samuel Owings.  Proved by William Ward February 1772.  [Guilford County Deed Book 1, p?]

Guilford County had been carved out of Orange a year earlier.  This land is in what is now Randolph County.  In 1769, Herman Husband had sold part of his grant to Jacob Gregg, describing it as adjoining Roger Murphy [Orange County Deed Book 2, p544].  When Jacob Gregg sold part of that land the following year, he also described it as adjoining Roger Murphy [Guilford County Deed Book 1, p242].

It appears that Roger Murphy Sr. is now dead, and this deed is being executed by Roger Murphy Jr. This is apparently the 200 acres purchased in 1764 by Roger Murphy Sr., 106 acres of which he had sold to Roger Murphy Jr. a couple of years later.

Roger Murphy moved to the waters of Saluda River, Ninety-Six District, South Carolina where he appears on the 1778-9 jury lists and in other records, located in what was later Laurens District.


4 Nov 1771     Inventory of the estate of Daniel Murphree. This includes a lengthy list of more or less typical household good and farm implements, the most interesting of which were a pair of spectacles, fourteen books, two horses and a mare, fifteen cattle, 113 hogs, and four “fowl.”  [Filed among loose estate records of Chatham County, NC Archives]


1771                William Bynum with Isaiah Hogan and Arch. Cain his securities.  Witnessed by William Murphree.  [Loose Records, Chatham County]

This is a bond of some sort, from my  unfortunately cryptic notes of a trip to the attic of the Chatham County courthouse.  No such entry appears in the court minute book.


1773                Court Case:  Wm. Bynum vs. Francis Sypert, Daniel Murphree his security.  [Loose Records, Chatham County]

Whether this is a bond made before Daniel Murphree Sr. died or not is unclear.  Daniel Murphree Jr. must have been of age several years earlier, so it is likely him.  This is from a set of unfortunately cryptic note from a trip to the attic of the Chatham County courthouse.   No such entry appears in the court minute book.


13 Dec 1773    Among a very lengthy list of debtors of the estate of an Orange County merchant named John McGee:  Roger Murphey  [North Carolina Genealogical Society Journal, Vol. 1, No. 1, p42.]

No neighbors of the Murphrees appear in this list. Roger Murphy would later moved to Laurens District, South Carolina, and his son Roger Murphy Jr. would be in Pendleton District by 1800, living a few miles south of the Murphree settlement there.  Roger Murphy the first (father of this Roger Murphy) was in Orange County by 1764 when he bought land.


19 Sep 1772    Muster Roll of Captain Isaiah Hogan’s militia company, Chatham County:
Murphy, Daniel
Murphy, John
Murphy, William
Murphy, Levi
Murphy, James

All are listed as privates.  Among the 110 names on this roll were William and John Bynum, John and William Hatley, Isaac, Christopher,  and Gideon Kirksey, Edward Tatum, and several other neighbors of the Murphrees.   William Blyth and James Bynum were on the roll of Elisha Cain’s company.   [Original muster rolls in NC Archives, reproduced in Colonial Soldiers Of The South 1732-1774, Murtie June Clark]

Militia service was compulsory for males aged 16 and over.  Note that Solomon, Moses, and David Murphree were not yet 16.  Note also that this does not constitute patriotic service, as this is four years before the Revolutionary War began.  Opposition to the King was quite strong in this part of North Carolina, and Chatham County was one of the first to openly defy the King’s representatives, but in 1772 it was still the King’s loyal militia.

Ms. Clark’s book lists the name Rober Murpre in Captain Joab Brooks’ company.  Inspection of the original discloses that the name is more likely Robert Murhry (Murray) who lived in the area.  Joab Brooks’ company was for the western part of Chatham County, several miles from the Murphree settlement.  It is possible that this person was “Roger Murphy” although it requires some imagination to read that name in the original record.


9 Aug 1774     Ordered that Daniel Murphey be allowed for five wolf scalps as per certificate filed…  Ordered that William Murphrey be allowed for one wild catt scalp per certificate filed…  [Chatham County Court Minutes 1774-78, p13.]

Old language is a bit deceptive. They didn’t actually take the scalps, but rather the ears.  Interesting that wolves and wildcats were still prevalent in the County.


10 Aug 1774   John Murphrey served on case jury in the case of Benjamin Pyburn vs. Zacha. Martin.  [Chatham County Court Minutes 1774-78, p23.]


12 Aug 1774   John Murphrey served on case jury in the case of William West vs. David Davis, debt.  [Chatham County Court Minutes 1774-78, p29.]


15 Feb 1775    John Murphrey served on case jury in the case of Benjamin Drummond vs. Vachael Clark. [Chatham County Court Minutes 1774-78, p47.]


9 May 1775    John Murphry among those qualified for the grand jury for the following year.  Among the neighbors also appointed were Francis Sypert, Christopher Kirksey, and Robert Patterson.  [Chatham County Court Minutes 1774-78, p58.]

Grand jury service was reserved for the larger landowners who were in favor with the justices.  Petit juries (or case juries) were usually composed of landowners who happened to be at court on other business on the day the jury was needed.  But grand juries sat for a period of a year and were more carefully chosen.  In the days before prosecuting attorneys, their primary role was to act as the originator of criminal and morals suits.


15 May 1775  Deed:  Daniel Murphy to John Hatley, both Chatham County, £21 proclamation money of North Carolina, 175 acres more or less… part of a deed for 700 acres granted to Luke Bynum (by the Earl of Granville) dated 30 June 1762…. all that part beginning on the east side of New Hope Creek… running to Parkers line, along the patent line to said Hatley’s line west to the Creek…  Signed Daniel Murphy, Mary (x) Murphy [Mary wife of Daniel relinquished dower right.]   Witness:  John (x) Caswell, Robert (x) Spires. [Chatham County Deed Book B, p70]


8 Aug 1775     Deed from Daniel Murphry  wife to John Hatly (sic) acknowledged and feme relinquished dower…  [Chatham County Court Minutes 1774-78, p71.]

This is the final record in North Carolina for Daniel Murphree, although there are a few mentions among Revolutionary accounts in 1778-9 for someone with the same or a similar name.  Note the entry for 1780 below which suggests that he may have gone to Georgia subsequent to selling his land.


9 Feb 1778      John Murphree & Rebekah his wife and Levy Murphree to Archibald Cain, all of Chatham County, for £40,. 375 acres [description of the land bought in 1769 from Dempsey Rawls on Little Whiteoak Creek… and clarifies that Rebecca was the wife of John]…  Signed: John Murphree, Levy (his mark) Murphree. Witness: Elisha Cain, William Blyth, William (x) Cain. Proved by Elisha Cain November Court 1778. [Chatham County Deed Book B, p142]


5 Aug 1779     Solomon Murphy and Moses Murphy enlisted in the 10th Regiment, Blount’s Company, Continental line, commanded by Colonel Abraham Shepherd.  Both were listed as deserted in October 1779.  [The State Records of North Carolina, Walter Clark, ed., Vol. 16, p1118.]

15 men from Chatham County under Ensign John Hill and Sergeant Daniel McBane joined this company on the same date, and all 15 were listed as deserters less than three months later.  (See separate document for more detail.)

The regiment was actually the 5th North Carolina Regiment.  The 10th had been disbanded in 1778 and Sheppard transferred to command of the 5th Regiment.  Blount was Reading Blount, a Major in the 5th at this time.


12 Aug 1779   Deed:  William Blyth to Archibald Cain, 175 acres on the west side of New Hope Creek adjoining Parker.  Signed: William Blyth.  Witness:  Elisha Cain, William Poe.  [Chatham County Deed Book B, p364]

William Blyth is selling the part of the Luke Bynum patent he bought in 1768.  It’s not clear if Sarah Murphree Blyth is still alive, for no dower release in noted.  By 1787 he was in Greenville District, South Carolina.


1 Oct 1779      Deed:  James Murphree and Mille Murphree his wife of Chatham County and Arthur Jones of Wake County, £110, 180 acres more or less… part of a deed of 360 acres… bought of James Kirby before this time and the aforementioned deed included the whole 360 acres, it being conveyed by the great deed on Bush Creek.  Beginning at John Hatley’s corner white oak thence running the several courses of the great deed as a line of marked trees on said land, it being lower part of said land …   Signed:  James Murphree, Mille Murphree.  Witness: Davis Jones, Gideon Goodwin, and John Jones. Proved by John Jones August Court 1780. [Chatham County Deed Book B, p401.]

This was the plantation “where on he now lives” left to James Murphree in his father’s will.  The 180 acres Daniel Murphree bought from Kirksey and the 180 acres bought from Underwood apparently formed one single parcel, half of which belonged to James Murphree.  This land obviously adjoined the home plantation sold six months later by William and Sarah Murphree.


20 Mar 1780   Deed:  Sarah Murphree and William Murphree of Chatham County to Nicholas Quesenbury of Wake County, £130, 180 acres more or less …beginning at John Hatley corner white oak saplin, then running south to the Poplar Branch, then down the said branch by a line of marked trees to Bush Creek. Then down the said creek to the first branch on the other side of said creek, then crossing the creek at a maple and running up the branch by a line of marked trees to the line of said land, then north along this line to the corner of said land, a stake, then west 44½ chains to a stake, then south to the beginning. … Signed: Sarah (x) Murphree, William Murphree.  Witness:  Herbert Haynes, Nathan Jones.   Proved by Nathan Jones August Court 1780.   [Chatham County Deed Book B, p393.]

Daniel Murphree’s will had given his plantation to William Murphree, subject to the life interest of his wife Sarah.  Both were required to sign on order to pass title.  The sequence of names in the deed seems to make it clear that Sarah is the widow.

No wife released dower interest.  Normally, we’d expect that William Murphree’s wife would also sign this deed.  Perhaps he was yet unmarried, or his first wife was dead.

This obviously adjoined the land left to James Murphree which he had sold six months earlier.

One wonders where they intended to live.  This land surely included the house Daniel Murphree Sr. and Sarah had lived in, and presumably William had lived there as well.  If they were selling, they must have intended to move elsewhere.  Note that William Murphree did not acquire replacement land until more than three years later, when he bought his brother’s grant.


31 Mar 1780   Grant:  John Murphree, 100 acres adjoining Levi Murphree.  [Grant #443, reported by Mary Taylor, not inspected]

I didn’t verify this, and there is some doubt that this was a grant.  I’d note that he didn’t sell this land.  Nor does Levi Murphree’s deed mention John as an adjoining landowner.  This may have been a land entry rather than a grant.


1 Apr 1780     Grant:  John Murphry,  200 acres on the waters of Bush Creek and Newhope… John Morgan’s corner and north up his line… across the creek… joins Jacob Flowers, William Murphry, John Crosswell. Wm. Sheppard.  Recorded 23 October 1782.   [Grant #638, Chatham County Deed Book C, p264]

This clearly adjoined his father’s plantation which he had left to William Murphree (reserving Sarah’s life interest.)   William and Sarah had sold the land ten days earlier, but the description here was from the survey made at an earlier date.  The land entry had probably been made in 1778 subsequent to the Confiscation Act which had finally provided a means of obtaining grants to untitled lands.

North Carolina Genealogical Society Journal, Vol. 22, No. 4, p380 reports a 1780 grant to John “Morphie” in Chatham County of 400 acres which was mistakenly recorded in the Randolph County books.


1 Apr 1780     Grant:  Samuel Ward, 365 acres on the north side of Bush Creek, waters of Newhope joining Jacob Flowers, John Morgan, Levi Murfrey, and Thomas Ward.  [Chatham County Deed Book B, p448.]


1 Apr 1780     Grant:   Gideon Goodwin, 300 acres on the waters of Newhope, joining James Murphry, Morgan’s line and his line. [Chatham County Deed Book C, p55.]


1 Apr 1780     Grant: Levy Murphree, 250 acres on the Over Cup Creek adjoining Thomas Ward and David Jones. [Chatham County Deed Book C, p75.]

These grants were all issued on the same day because grants were forwarded to the Governor in batches for signature, typically two or three times per year.


c1780              Estate Record of Richard Austin:  Austin’s children, Daniel Murphree, John Bynum, Joshua Bradley, Esqr., Evan Ragland, Jacob McClendon, Richard Hamlen, Thomas Stewart, Isaac McClendon, John Heard, Jr., William Chilipses (Childres?), Benj. Moslay. 1778, George Heard, Thomas Johnson, Philip Nowland, George Duglas, Thomas Coleman, Richard Ryan, James Hogg, Henry Ware, Daniel Wootone, Sarah Edwards, Chas. Bedingfield. 1779, Jacob McClendon.   [Wilkes County, Georgia, Book of Mixed Records, Wills, Administrations and Deeds 1777-1778, p45 abstracted in The Early Records of Georgia, Vol. 1, p34.]

The source gives no specific date for this record.  While it is possible that not all the persons named were actually in Georgia, that possibility certainly exists.  John Bynum, son of William Bynum and nephew of Luke Bynum, applied for a pension for his Revolutionary War service, stating that although he lived in Chatham County, he enlisted on 2 July 1777 while living in Wilkes County, Georgia and did not return to Chatham County until completing his service in 1780 (Pension 3111).  It appears that Daniel Murphree Jr. was also in Wilkes County and may well have joined the same unit as John Bynum.

The date of this record is likely to be about 1780.  Despite the title of the book as “1777-1778” entries cover a much wider period and are not in chronological order.  There are entries as late as 1783 both before and after page 45.   According to the pension application of Job Broughton, he joined the army in Wilkes County in 1777 under Capt. Richard Austinwho “ got wounded accidentally by one of his own men and died.”  He must have died before 1781 when Broughton says he was discharged.  Richard Austin’s heirs received a land grant in 1784, which included a certificate stating that Austin was commissioned a Captain in June 1777 and was still on the rolls in March 1779.   Richard Austin was still alive in November 1779 when the above record book lists him as a buyer at an estate sale.  He apparently died in 1780, a likely date for this record.    Especially since John Bynum says he returned to North Carolina in 1780.  Of course, if this record refers to debts contracted earlier, it might well be dated later than 1780.


ca Mar 1781    On a List of 534 Militia paroled by Cornwallis after the battle of Guilford Courthouse (on 15 March 1781):

Solomon Murphry, Orange County  [North Carolina Genealogical Society Journal, Vol. 4, No.3, p149.]

This seems likely to be the “other” Solomon Murphy.  One man of this name was living in eastern Chatham County, the other in northern Orange County (see below).  34 men from Orange County are on this list, none of them names associated with Chatham County.


1781                Tax List, Orange District of Orange County: Solomon Murpheys – £750

This is not the son of Daniel Murphree.  Orange District covered the northwestern part of present-day Orange County and the northeastern part of present Alamance County.  This tax district borders Caswell County and was no closer than 30 miles northwest of the Murphrees in Chatham County.


29 Oct 1781    Marriage Bond:  Solomon Murphy to Betsy Guion [Gunn?], bondsman John Lynch [Orange County, North Carolina, Marriage Bonds]

This is almost certainly not “our” Solomon Murphree, but rather the Solomon Murphry of the 1781 tax list .   It seems that this record applies to a Solomon Murphy living some 30-40 miles northwest of Chatham County.   Apart from the Solomon Murphy on 1781 tax list above, there were other Murphys living near the border of Caswell and Orange counties.  Archibald Murphy, whose son married in Orange County in 1801, lived in the part of Orange County that became Caswell County in 1777, and his land was quite close to the Orange-Caswell line.  As was the land of Gabriel Murphy.   There are also marriage bonds in Orange County for Thomas Murfey in 1783 and Thomas C. Murphy in 1789.  Thomas Murphy was on the 1786 Caswell County tax list, and was apparently another member of the Archibald Murphy family.  Further, it appears that both John Lynch and the only Gunn family in the area lived in northern Orange County, near the Caswell line (some members of the family appear also in Caswell records.)  John Lynch, the bondsman, apparently lived on Lynches Creek which runs across the county line, as did Gabriel Murphy.

I would also point out that the family Bible of Solomon Murphree’s son Daniel Murphree calls Solomon’s first nine children “the “children of my parents”, suggesting that all had the same mother – the first two of whom were born prior to this 1781 marriage bond.


10 Sep 1783    Deed:  Levi Murphree of Sullivan County, North Carolina to Herbert Haynes of Chatham County, £50, 250 acres on both sides of the Over Cup [the grant of 1 April 1780]   Signed: Levi (x) Murphree   Witness: William Murphree, John Murphree, Moses (x) Stegall.   [Chatham County Deed Book D, p139.]

Levi was apparently living on one or the other of his 1784 land grants, one of which he had entered in 1780.


10 Sep 1783    Deed:  John Murphree of Washington County, North Carolina to William Murphree of Chatham County, £50, 200 acres on the waters of Bush Creek, joining Jacob Flowers and William Murphree’s own line.  Signed: John Murphree.  Witness: Herbert Haynes, Levi (x) Murphree, Moses (X) Stegall.   [Chatham County Deed Book C, p142.]


13 Sep 1783    Deed: John Morgan of Orange County to John Jones of Chatham County, 100 acres on the waters of Bush Creek… adjoining Levy Murphree (his 1780 grant sold a few days earlier).  [Chatham County Deed Book C, p334.]


9 Feb 1784      Deed:  Zachry Harmon and wife Rebeccah to Adam Moser, 390 acres on north side of Rockey River, joining Robert Williams.  Witness:  Herbert Haynes, Levi (x) Murphree, Moses (x) Stegall.  [Chatham County Deed Book C, p141.]


6 Aug 1784     Deed: John Copland to Joseph Morphis, 260 acres on the middle prong of Rockey River, joining Richard Copeland, it being a tract of land granted to John Copeland by patent dated 30 Mar 1780.  Witness: John Morphis, James Murphree. [Chatham County Deed Book C, p482.]


— 1784           Grant:  Solomon Murphy, 150 acres in Washington County, on Sinking Creek of Holston River, joining John Willis lines and Thomas Irwins… John Murphrey’s corner.   Transferred to Solomon Murphy by George Vincent. [North Carolina Land Grants in Tennessee, 1778-1791, Goldene Fillers Burger, p25. (NC Grant #657)]

This is surely the same land that was re-granted to John Murphree on 9 August 1787, described as “including the place where Solomon Murphrey formerly lived”.  The land was affected by the border realignment between Washington and Sullivan counties in 1787.

Sinking Creek spans the present-day border between Washington and Sullivan counties, Tennessee.  In 1784, all of Sinking Creek was within Washington County, but a border realignment in 1787 placed much of it within Sullivan County.   Thus when the 1784 grant was issued it was in Washington County, but when it was reissued in 1787 it was then in Sullivan County.


8 Oct 1785      Deed:  John Jones to Absalom Harwood, 100 acres adjoining Levy Murphry (his grant of 1780 sold two years earlier)   [Chatham County Deed Book D, p350.]


12 Dec 1785    Deed:  William Daniel and Rachel his wife, Planter, to William Green, 325 acres on the Blase Pine Meadow Branch, crosses Creek Road, a tract taken up by Jacob Verdimand and Conveyed to the sd. William Daniel by Deed of Conveyance. Witness: James Younger, Elnathan Davis, William Murphree.  [Chatham County Deed Book D, p238.]


1 Aug 1786     Deed:  Matt Jones to Stephen Davis, Lots #66 and #95 per a plan of the town laid out on the lands purchased of William Petty by the Trustees appointed … to lay out a town on the Lands of Miles Scurlock Deceased. Witness: T. Davis, William Murphey.   [Chatham County Deed Book D, p207.]

This refers to the brand-new town of Pittsboro, which became the county seat in 1787.  The General Assembly had authorized a town to be laid out in 1785 on the land of Miles Scurlock, where the county courthouse stood.  Scurlock died and his heirs refused to sell, so the town was laid out on the adjoining land of William Petty.


19 Feb 1787    Deed: William Murphree of Chatham County to James Moore of Westmoreland County, Virginia, £150,  150 acres on the waters of Bush Creek … Flowers line, Arthur Jones, Murphrees corner, and John Hatley… Signed William Murphree. Witness: Nicholas Queensbury [Quesenbury], Herbert Haynes.  [Chatham County Deed Book D, p254.]


13 Apr 1787   William Murphree of Chatham County to Presley Neale of County of Westmoreland County, Virginia, £50 pounds, 50 acres beginning Joseph Flowers corner, then South to Poplar Branch, with all buildings. Witness: Jacob Flowers, N. Daniel. Proved at the May Court 1787.  [Chatham County Deed Book D, p255.]


1 Aug 1787     State census taken in Chatham County.  The census was later destroyed, so we have no knowledge of which Murphrees were still in Chatham County.


9 Aug 1787     Grant:  William Elkins, 458 acres on both sides of little Brush Creek, joins John Hatley, Jacob Flowers, and Murphreys line.  [Chatham County Deed Book E, p72.]


29 Jan 1788.    Deed: William Elkins of Georgetown District, South Carolina, to William Murphree of Chatham County, £50, 450 acres on both sides of little Bush Creek beginning at John Hatleys corner… Jacob Flowers line… Murphreys corner.  Witness: Joshua Elkins, [?] Elkins, John Sludthean [?].  [Chatham County Deed Book D, p418.]


26 Feb 1788    Deed:  William Murphree to James Moore, both of Chatham County, 450 acres (the same tract purchased only a month earlier).  [Chatham County Deed Book D, p449.]

William Murphree was still residing in Chatham County in early 1788.  But here he is selling the tract he had purchased less than four weeks earlier.


1790 census    Federal census of Chatham County shows no members of this Murphree family.  The only Murphy in Chatham is Archibald Murphy, son of Archibald Murphy Sr. of Caswell County.