David Murphree, son of Daniel and Sarah Murphree, was born about 1763 in Orange County, North Carolina.
While the other sons mentioned in Daniel Murphree's will were given land, David was left 30 pounds, being the younger son. He married Jemima Cornelius in Pendleton District, South Carolina, before 1796, and died in Yalobusha County, Mississippi, 18 Feb 1836 [possibly 1838].
David Murphree's wife, Jemima Cornelius, is claimed to be the daughter of William C. Cornelius and Anne Phillips but no evidence has been found. She was born in 1772 in South Carolina and died on 7 Mar 1860 in Yalobusha County, Mississippi, buried beside her husband at the Airmount Baptist Church Cemetery in Yalobusha County.
The children of David and Jemima Murphree were:
1. Martin Murphree, b. 11 Feb 1796 Pendleton Dist., SC, md. (1) 12 Sep. 1816 Rhea Co., TN, Leah Walker, md. (2) 1826 TN, Fannie Bailey, md. (3) 10 Apr. 1846 Chickasaw Co., MS, Emily Elizabeth Craze, and d. 29 Apr. 1871 Calhoun Co., MS.
2. Ransom Murphree, b. 8 Dec. 1798 Pendleton Dist., SC, md. 12 Mar 1816 Rhea Co., TN, Mary Walker and d. 25 Oct 1855 Calhoun Co., MS.
3. Anderson Murphree, b. about 1800 Pendleton Dist. SC. No records of this son have yet been found, but he appears in lists of the children of David and Jemima made out by old-timers.
4. Roland Jenkins Murphree, b. about 1803 Pendleton Dist., SC, md. 1 Apr. 1823 Jefferson Co., AL, Polly Steelman, and d. betw. 1850-1860, likely in Yalobusha Co., MS.
5. Matilda Murphree, b. 10 Jul 1806/7 Rhea Co., TN(?), md. (1) 4 (or 22?) Jul. 1822 Jefferson Co., AL, Benjamin Lassiter, md. (2) Seaborn David Davis, and d. 6 Aug 1896 Yalobusha Co., MS.
6. Bethania (Thany) Murphree, b. 1808 (42 in 1850) Pendleton Dist., SC (or Rhea Co., TN?), md. William Barton.
7. Solomon Murphree, b. 29 Jul. 1810 nr Washington; Rhea Co., TN, md. 13 Dec. 1832 Tuscaloosa, AL, Sarah Frances Brown, and d. 16 Nov 1864 Mount Vernon, Titus Co., TX.
8. Samuel Merritt Murphree, b. Oct 1812 nr Washington, Rhea Co., TN, md. 25 Mar 1830 Phoebe Nations, and d. 1884/5, age 73, bur. Jamestown Cem., Garden Valley, Smith Co., TX.
9. Editha Murphree, b. 9 Feb 1815 nr Washington, Rhea Co., TN, md. 1 Dec. 1836 John H. Hellums, and d. 14 Jul. 1859 Pontotoc Co., MS.
10. Martha (Patsy) Murphree, b. abt 1816, nr. Washington, Rhea Co., TN, md. Alfred Gallatin Vickery, and d. abt 1845/46.
The very first mention of our David Murphree recorded in official records is in the unrecorded will of his father Daniel Murphree made in Chatham County, North Carolina. The provisions of that will are listed on the Daniel Murphree page.
After the death of his father in 1771, David Murphree and others of his family became part of the southern and westward migrations popular at the time.
David Murphree is listed in Revolutionary War pay accounts and in the Daughters of the American Revolution Patriot Index with a place of service as North Carolina. However no service records are said to exist.
The 1790 South Carolina census lists a David 'Murphey' in Pendleton County and this is likely our David Murphree. Many early Murphrees were recorded by the clerks as Murphey. David Murphree's name appears as a witness to several deeds in that area. In 1800, the census for Pendleton District enumerates the David Murphree family with his wife and two sons, Martin age 4, and Ransom, age 2.
David Murphree signed as a Justice of the Peace in Pendleton District as early as February 1800 and is found subsequently signing documents in this capacity in several states. David and his sons seemed to always get themselves into public office, quite frequently as Justices of the Peace.
About the spring of 1807, David Murphree left Pendleton District, South Carolina, and took his family to Rhea Couonty, Tennessee. The Indians were under constant pressure from the settlers and the government to sell or relinquish their lands. Although large portions of eastern Tennessee remained in Indian ownership, many white settlers crossed the mountains from North and South Carolina or came down the valleys from Virginia to establish homes in the territory. The constant threat of massacres and bloody battles didn't stop the determined settlers.
After crossing one of the mountain gaps feeding into the newly created Rhea County in Eastern Tennessee, David Murphree was elected a Town Commissioner and a Justice of the Peace in his new community. Rhea County had been formed on 25 January 1898 and David Murphree was one of the commissioners who helped select and survey the site for the county seat which became known as Washington. On the same commission was Daniel Walker who was the father of a Walker girl who would later marry one of David's sons, Martin Murphree.
David Murphree remained in Tennessee about a decade. By 1818, however, records show that he was a Justice of the Peace in Blount County, Alabama, and the same in Walker County in 1820. The David Murphree family is enumerated in the 1830 census of Walker County where the families of his sons Roland J., Ransom, and Samuel M. Murphree are also enumerated along with his son-in-law William Barton.
The Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek in 1830 opened Choctaw Nation land in north Mississippi and the Treaty of Pontotoc a few years later opened Chickasaw Nation land as well. For the next few years after the treaties, there was a great migration into the Yalobusha-Chickasaw area of north Mississippi. About 1835-1836 David Murphree and his wife Jemima, who were then about ages 72 and 63 gathered up their children, in-laws, and grandchildren, and with their neighbors -- the Brashers, Collums, Lantrips, and Browns -- made their way into Mississippi in a wagon train pulled by oxen, so 30 wagons all told. They apparently crossed the Tombigbee River at Cotton Gin Port near Amory and made their way into Chickasaw County and to the Indian agency at Old Houlka. From there, they spread out over the area to the west along the various creeks and rivers. Many of the early settlements were located on or near abandoned Indian villages.
According to one of David's descendants, Dale H. McKibben, the family first landed at Airmount, which was in the Choctaw Cession. When Chickasaw Cession lands became available about three years later, some of the families moved eastward from previous Choctaw lands to Chickasaw lands. Two of David's sons' families, Martin and Ransom Murphree, split off from the rest and moved eastward into the Rocky Mount/Oldtown area which was in Chickasaw County at first but became Calhoun County when that county was formed. Airmount and Rocky Mount are about 15 miles apart as the crow flies. Airmount is on the north side of the river which has come to be known as the "Skuna", while Rocky Mount is on the south side. The proper name for the river is an Indian name, but since the Indians did not have a written language, the spelling of the name varies and is usually "Skuna" or "Schoona". Travel between the two was arduous, especially during the winter time or in flood times, and remained so until relatively recent times.
David and Jemima settled on land they acquired through the land office at Pontotoc. The settlement where they made their home was known as old 'Cuddyhunk' in one history and as "Honeycutt" in the Mississippi Archives. The name was later changed to 'Airmount'. David operated a grist mill there until his death.
According to a family Bible owned by Charles Elbert Murphree, one of David's grandsons, David died on February 18, 1836, although his gravemarker shows "1838". Jemima Cornelius Murphree died March 7, 1860, according to her gravestone. David and Jemima are buried in the Airmount church cemetery. The official name of the church, which arsonists burned several years ago, was The LoosaSchooner Primitive Baptist Church. As shown on the photograph, David and Jemima's graves are encircled with stones which incorporate a mill stone representing David's work as a miller.