Friday, April 21, 2006

The Murfree Family of NC around the Time of the Revolutionary War

Hardy Murfree (5 June 1752-6 Apr 1809) and his son William Hardy Murfree (2 Oct. 1781-9 Jan 1826

I've been doing some looking to find out more about our ancestors who lived around the time of the Revolutionary War. I found some GREAT information!

Turns out, around that time, our family was living in the area that became Hertford County, North Carolina. Until this morning, I wasn't quite sure how we were related to these two individuals (Hardy and William Hardy Murfree), but I knew that they were somewhat important in the history of the statehood of North Carolina and the Revolutionary War. Turns out, Hardy Murfree is our Patty Murfree's brother! William Hardy Murfree was our Patty Murfree's nephew...

You see, both men were patriots and were very involved in the government. The following information was found on pages 344 and 345 of the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography Volume 4 edited by William S. Powell and printed by the University of North Carolina Press (Chapel Hill and London) in 1991.... Read on...

Murfree, Hardy (5 June 1752-6 April 1809), Patriot and state official, was born at Murfree's Landing (now Murfreesboro), the son of William and Mary Moore Murfree. As an officer in the North Carolina Continentals during the Revolutionary War, Murfree won acclaim by leading a column of infantry in a successful attack on Stony Point, a British bastion on the Hudson River. Throughout the war, he was a valuable soldier, serving as major and then lieutenant colnel.

After the war, he was appointed state inspecor of revenue and commissioner of confiscated property in the Edenton District. His interest in internal improvements led to service with a commission to promote the opening of Nag's Head Inlet and to his efforts to have a canal cut from the Roanoke to the Meherrin River. In 1787 he sponsored a successful petition to have the state incorporate the town of Murfreesboro, which he laid off on the hands of his father. He was an original member of the Society of the Cincinnati and a Federalist member of the convention of 1789, when North Carolina belatedly ratified the federal Constitution. An active Mason, he founded American George Lodge No. 17 at Murfreesboro in 1789.

His wife, Sally Bricknell, having died in 1802, murfree moved with his children in 1807 to Tennessee, where he had been granted large landholdings as compensation for his services in the war. He died suddenly at his unfinished home, Grantlands, and was eulogized in a Masonic funeral oration b y Felix Grundy. In 1811 the state of Tennessee named its new capital, Murfreesboro, in his honor. His son, William Hardy, was a North Carolina Congressman and his great grandchildren included the novelists Fannie Noailles Dickinson Murfree and Mary Noailles Murfree ("Charles Egbert Craddock") -Written by Thomas C. Parramore

Murphree, William Hardy (2 Oct 1781-9 Jan 1826), attorney and congressman, was born at Murfree's Ferry (now Murfreesboro), the son of Hardy and Sally Bricknell Murfree. He graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1801. After reading law for a year at Edenton, Murfree opened a law practice in Murfreesboro, where he was also a partner in a mercantile enterprise.

Murfree entered politics in 1805, when he was a sucessful candidate for the state House of Commons. He served a second term after his reelection in 1812. In the latter year, he also served as Democratic elector in the Edenton District for the Madison and Gerry ticket. In 1813 he was elected to the first of two terms in Congress, during which he "had the reputation of a true republican." Reviving the idea of his father for a series of canals to connect western agricultural regions with Atlantic ports, Murfree in 1814 introduced in Congress an extensive plan of internal improvements similar to that later championed by Archibald D. Murphey. His proect included the connection of the larger towns of North Carolina and South Carolina with Norfolk and Savannah. Nothing came of the proposal, though it created considerable interest in the South Atlantic states and won the endorsement of Nathaniel Macon.

By 1820 murfree had grown discouraged about the prospects for commercial development in eastern North Carolina. After arranging his affairs in the state, he followed his father's footsteps to Tennessee, settling in 1823 on lands inherited from Hardy Murfree. Like his father, however, Murfree survived the change of residence for only a short time. He died at him home in Nashville, leaving his wife of 18 years, Elizabeth Maney Murfree, and a son, William Law. -Written by Thomas C. Parramore

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