William Murphree, son of Daniel and Sarah Murphree, was born about 1743, likely in Bertie County, North Carolina, where his parents were living at the time. He later lived in Orange and Chatham Counties, North Carolina, in one of the counties he probably met and married his wife whose name was Hannah.
He was a witness and was named executor of his father's will in Orange County, NC, on 10 Nov. 1769. In his father Daniel's will, he lent his wife Sarah Murphree "the plantation whereon I now live..." for the rest of her life and after her death he gave his son William Murphree the same plantation. In a sale on 20 March 1780, Sarah and William sold 180 acres of land to Nicholas Queensbury [Qusenbury?] for 130 pounds. Murphree researcher Mrs. Anne B. Inman interpreted this to be that they were "selling the manor house." In a letter from Maybelle Delamar, the following was stated: "William Murphree and his mother Sarah were still in Chatham County, NC, in 1780, when they sold the land that was left to Sarah for her life and then to William. If they left NC at that time, William returned, as he was in NC in 1787 and 1788."
William and Hannah moved to Pendleton District, South Carolina, before 1790. There are a number of recorded transactions involving William in South Carolina in the 1790s and early 1800s. Hannah is mentioned in the Secona Church records as joining that church in May 1798 and being baptized the second Sunday in June.
William Murphree is not in the census of 1810 in Pendleton and it is assumed that he moved to Rhea County, TN, about 1807. In March 1807, "brother William Murphree and wife" applied for and were given letters of dismission from Secona Baptist Church. He may also have lived in or near Bedford County, TN.
Luminary Church was built on a site near the original county seat of Rhea County in Tennessee Valley. It was a combination church and school building with a cemetery close at hand. Records of the old church from the original minute book contain the following: "Sep 1820. Took the names of the Brethern then in Church membership: Abraham Howard, Church Clerk; John Conley, Elizabeth Conley, Wm Murphey, Hannah Murphey, Elizabeth McMillion, ___ Birdsong, John Knos, Elizabeth (Knox). ..."
William Murphree died sometime before 25 July 1834, as on that date his wife Hannah was mentioned as his widow in the records of Luminary Church.
The following have been determined to be William Murphree's children, and there were likely others:
1. William Murphree, Jr., b. c. 1762 likely Orange/Chatham Co., NC md. Sarah Linn (dau, of Robert Linn and Margaret Leonard).
Children of William Murphree, Jr., and Sarah Linn Murphree:
Allen Murphree, b. c. 1788 SC, d. bef 1860 Blount Co., AL md, 22 Jan 1812 Rhea Co., TN Rhoda Dunn (b. 1790 TN, d. aft. 1850, a dau. of James N. Dunn and Margaret Winton);
John Murphree, b. 1792 SC, md. (1) 19 Oct 181.9 Rhea Co., TN Matilda Walker, md, (2) Elizabeth R. Parrish, d. 1858, bur. Blountsville Cem., Blount Co., AL;
(Maj.) William Murphree b. 1794 SC, md. Margaret Doak (or Nicks? or Ricks?);
Stephen A. J. Murphree?, b. ca. 1796-1802 se, did not marry, and d. 31 Aug (or 1 Sep) 1846 Camargo, Mexico;
Aaron Murphree? (believed to be a son but not yet proved) b. 1799 SC, md. Nancy.
Rev. William Murphree, Jr. lived in Pendleton and Pickens Co., SC, Rhea Co., TN, and Blount Co., AL. South Carolina Baptists by Townsend, p. 237 records that William Murphy (sometimes spelled Murphree) was living in Pendleton Dist, in l790 and that he was a messenger to the Baptist Assoc. 1790-91-92. It also states that he was a minister at Secona Church from 1793 thru 1800. The Murphy survey at the State House in Columbia states that William was pastor of Secona Baptist Church in Pendleton 1793-99, having been given a license to preach in 1790 and ordained in 1792. A History of South Carolina Baptists by King, p. 118, states that William was a licensed preacher of Secona Church when it became part of Bethel Association, and that the church was situated not far from the town of Pickens. Names in South Carolina by Neuffer, p. 28 states that "soon after the newcomers arrived after 1785, squatters Indians, traders, and newcomers built a small log church with a dirt floor. To honor the Indians, they named it Se-co-nee Church (now called Secona). It is the mother of all the Baptist Churches, both black and white, in this area. William Murphree, the first pastor, lived in a small log home near 12 Mile River, approximately one half mile west of the church. This log house is now located in the Hagood Mill Historic Site described below and is the oldest known pastorium in all northwest South Carolina.
The Hagood Mill Historic Site is located on Jennings Creek (Hagood Creek), a tributary to Twelve Mile River. The present mill was built by James Hagood in 1845. The Murphree-Hollingsworth Log Cabin built in 1791 is located on this site. This was the home for the Secona Baptist Church pastor, Reverend William Murphree, who was the pastor there. The Secona Baptist Church was one of the first churches in the area. Over the years many families called the cabin home, including the Hollingsworths. The two story cabin was donated to the park site in 1999 and was reconstructed.
2. John Murphree, b. abt 1764 likely Orange/Chatham Co., NC. In the 1790 census, Ninety-Six Dist., Pendleton Co., SC, the household consisted of: 1 male over 16, 4 males under 16 and 3 females.
3. Jesse Murphree?, b. bef 1785 (Had son Jesse C. Murphree b. 1808 [ancestor of Othello Pomphrey]).