Murphree Genealogical Association

Daniel Murphree

Extracted from The Murphree Ancestry of Bill R. Linder

Daniel Murphree (about 1715 - August 1771)
Sarah Dempsey Murphree (about 1721 - ?)

The MGA was formed to help continue research on the ancestry and descendants of Daniel Murphree and his wife Sarah.

Daniel Murphree, Sr., was likely a descendant of the Murfreys of Isle of Wight and Nansemond Counties, Virginia. He was born about 1715 (determined by approximation.) The earliest document found pertaining to him is when his land in Bertie County, North Carolina, is mentioned in a grant to Luke Sailer in 1743. In 1765 he sold his remaining holdings in Bertie and moved to Orange County. In his will dated 10 Nov 1769, made in Orange County, Daniel named his wife as Sarah. An inventory of his estate was recorded in Nov Court 1771 in Chatham County, which was formed from Orange in 1770 and Daniel's land fell in the new county. His unrecorded will is found in the records of Chatham County, naming his wife Sarah, sons James, William, Daniel, John, Levi, Solomon, Moses ,and David, and daughters Elizabeth Barns, Sarah Blyth, Milley, Edey, and Mary. His sons James and William were named executors. He died by 1771 as evidenced by an inventory of his estate presented in court in Chatham County in November of that year.

All early family traditions and published accounts give the name of Daniel Murphree's wife as Sarah Dempsey. Although Daniel's 1769 will verifies that his wife's name was Sarah, to-date the writer has found no documentary evidence yielding her surname to be Dempsey. There has also been no evidence found that would indicate Daniel Murphree was ever married to anyone else but Sarah. Accordingly, this writer [Linder] adopts the position that Daniel Murphree's wife was Sarah Dempsey, according to the family tradition, and will await the emergence of documentary evidence before proposing any other possibilities.

The descendants of Daniel and Sarah Murphree are through their thirteen children, and Daniel's will indicates that these were:

  1. Elizabeth Murphree, b. c.1737 [of] Bertie Co., NC, md. Solomon Barnes (d. Feb 1807 Wilkes Co., NC, son of Brinsley & Elizabeth Barnes).

  2. Sarah Murphree, b. c .1739 [of] Bertie Co., NC, md. William Blyth.

  3. James Murphree, b. c . 1741 [of ] Bertie Co., NC, md. (1) before 1 Oct 1779, Millie; md. (2) Dec 1803 in SC, Mrs. Ruth (Davis) Hudgins, and d. 1831, Anderson or Pickens Co., SC.

  4. William Murphree, b. c . 1743 Bertie Co., NC, md. Hannah, and d. bef. 25 July 1834, [likely] Rhea Co., TN.

  5. Daniel Murphree, b. c. 1746 [of] Bertie Co., NC, md. Mary (Molly) Bullard, and d. i n Rev. War.

  6. John Murphree, b. c . 1749 Bertie Co., NC, md. Rebecca, and d. 6 Mar 1828, TN.

  7. Levi Murphree, b. c .1753 Bertie Co., NC, md. Mary, and d. 29 Jan 1798 (Brown Bible) [or] 24 Jan 1799, Pickens Co., SC, court records.

  8. Solomon Murphree, b. 1757 Bertie Co., NC, md. (1) SarahWard, md. (2) 28 Jan 1823 Mrs. Mary Elizabeth ("Polly") Praytor (her surname unknown), and d.1854 Benton (now Calhoun) Co., AL.

  9. Moses Murphree, b. c.1758 Bertie Co., NC, and d. 1846 (will proved 8 May 1846), Pickens Co., SC.

10. Milley Murphree, b. c .1760 Bertie Co., NC, md. Lewis Wimberly, and d. aft 29 Apr 1830 [likely] Jones Co., GA.

11. Editha ("Edey" ) Murphree, b. c. 1762 Bertie [possibly Orange] Co., NC, md. Reuben Reed.

12. David Murphree, b. c. 1763 Orange [possibly Bertie] Co., NC, md. Jemima Cornelius, and d. 18 Feb 1836 [possibly 1838], Yalobusha Co., MS.

13. Mary Murphree , b. 1765 (age 85 in 1850) likely Orange Co., NC, not married.

Provisions of the Will of Daniel Murphree, Sr.

After the usual introductory statements, Daniel's will had provisions for his wife and his children.
(All of the children are referred to as "my well beloved" son or daughter.)

"First and foremost, I lend to my well beloved wife Sarah Murphree the plantation whereon I now live and all my household goods & chattels after all my just debts is paid and some legacies hereafter mentioned." This bequest was typical of the time and is often used even now. The wife was "lent" (given the household goods and the family residence to live in during her lifetime.) As indicated later in his will, the family plantation was actually bequeathed to their son William.

To their oldest son James Murphree, he bequeathed "the plantation whereon he now lives."

To their son Daniel Murphree (Jr.), he bequeathed "the land whereon he now lives."

Their son John Murphree was bequeathed "the plantation that I bought of Demsey Rawls with half the land. The other half I give to my well beloved son Levi Murphree to be equally divided."

The bequest to their sons Solomon and Moses was more complicated. He said, "Item: I give to my well beloved son Solomon Muurphree a plantation that I made on the Lord Earl Granvils 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 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 Granvils office is open."

The youngest son was David Murphree. By the time the will reached David, all the land and property had been bequeathed, so he said "Item: I give to my well beloved son David Murphree thirty pounds to be raised or levied out of my estate." Again this bequest was typical for younger sons, since the main bequests were usually given to the older sons in the order in which they were born. In 1769, the year Daniel's will was made, the currency was the British pound, and David was to be given 30 pounds. In 2012 currency, that 30 pounds in 1769 would buy about $5,500.00 worth of goods in 2012.

Their oldest child, their daughter Elizabeth Murphree Barnes, was bequeathed five shillings.

Their second child, their daughter Sarah Murphree Blyth, was also bequeathed five shillings. There are twenty shillings in a pound. Five shillings in 1769 would buy about $45.00 worth of goods in 2012. This small amount seems odd considering the substantial bequests given to the sons and to the other daughters. However, Elizabeth and Sarah were married and it was expected that their husbands would support them. Too, it was usual at that time for the father to give substantial wedding gifts to their daughters when they married. In both cases, Elizabeth and Sarah, they were referred to as "my well beloved daughter."

Milley Murphree, Edey Murphree, and Mary Murphree were each bequeathed ten pounds to be levied out of the estate. Ten pounds in 2012 value would be about $1,833.00.

William Murphree, the second oldest son was bequeathed "the plantation whereon I now live". Presumably he would also look after his mother who had life tenure there.

James Murphree and William Murphree were named as executors of the will.

Daniel also stipulated that "if either [sic] of my children shall 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."

He closed the will with the usual statements revoking any previous wills, legacies, bequests, and executors.


Table of

Children of
Daniel & Sarah