Murphrey and Related Families Research
Questions and Responses

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Question - Who were the father and mother of James Murphrey of Greene County (b. c1814). The 1850 Greene County census shows the following information:

221  James Murphrey - b. 1814 - Farmer - (wife Caroline b. 1818)
     Louisa Murphrey b. 1837
     John Murphrey b. 1839 
     Henry Murphrey b. 1841 
     Joseph Murphrey b. 1843
     Priscilla Murphrey b. 1848

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Question - Was Elizabeth Harrison the wife of Captain John Murphrey of Beare Garden Plantation in Dobbs (Greene) County, North Carolina? Most genealogy writings state that she was; however, the information below relating to Ms. Harrison's age seems to cast doubt on this "fact."

This information was put together by Ima and Ailine Mewborn of Farmville, North Carolina. I have only included the excerpts which are pertinent to the age of Elizabeth (Betty) Harrison.. If the dates as stated are correct, then Elizabeth Harrison could not have been the wife of Captain John Murphrey. Everything else I have read, however, seems to point to it, so this whole subject is a real mystery.

Background Note: William Byrd of Westover and Benjamin Harrison III of Berkeley on James River in Virginia were neighbors. Excepts from William Byrd's diary appear to give clues to the age of Elizabeth Harrison. This information was located in February of 1993 at William and Mary College in Williamsburg, Virginia by Ima and Ailine Mewborn. The implications from the information are that Elizabeth Harrison was too old to be Captain John Murphrey's wife, since she had children after 1755.

March 6, 1712 (excerpt from The Secret Diary of William Byrd of Westover)

"I rose about 7 o'clock and read nothing because of the company. However, I said a short prayer and drank chocolate for breakfast. Then we walked about the garden because it was good weather and then we played at billiards and I won 3 shillings. About 12 o'clock we took a walk and met Mr. Roscoe who came from Mrs. Harrison's where he courted Mistress Betty and Colonel Hill also came to dine with us and I ate some pidgeon and bacon for dinner. In the afternoon we played again at billiards and then Colonel Hill went away and we took a walk about the plantation til the evening and then Mr. Lightfoot and Mr. Jimmy Roscoe took their leave and went to Mrs. Harrison's, one to make love to the mother and the other the daughter."

Note: The above Mrs. Harrison is Elizabeth Burwell Harrison, wife of Benjamin Harrison III of Harrison's Landing, Virginia. Mistress Betty is their daughter, Elizabeth Harrison, their only daughter. The daughter is receiving gentlemen friends March 6, 1712; she has to be a teenager. Therefore, she has to have been born prior to 1700 to be 13 years old.

Captain John Murphrey names his youngest son Jethro in his estate settlement in 1776. Elizabeth Murphrey names her son Jethro in her will in 1788. Bible records (located at Darlington, South Carolina - Historical Building) state that Jethro was born March of 1755. Elizabeth Murphrey had two daughters younger than Jethro.

March 7, 1712 (excerpt from The Secret Diary o William Byrd of Westover)

"About 10 o'clock Tom Randolph went away and notwithstanding the weather threatened rain, I walked to Mrs. Harrison's to visit the two gallants and their mistresses, but Frank Lightfoot was gone before I got there, but the rest were there. Poor Jimmy Roscoe was melancholy though I did all I could to make him merry."

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