Notes for Rev. William Murphy: from - the HISTORY OF REV. WILLIAM MURPHY AND HIS DESCENDANTS 1798-1918
Rev. William Murphy was a Baptist minister. He, with his two older brothers Joseph and Richard (who were also Baptist ministers), settled in Virginia near Richmond. This was early in the Eighteenth Century. At the commencement of the Revolutionary War the two older brothers remained loyal to the Crown, while the younger was a Whig, and was a merchant and importer in the town of Richmond. During the war he donated his coarser goods to the soldiers, but thinking the war was a trivial affair, and that it would be of short duration, packed the finer ones in boxes and buried them in his cellar. Here they remained until peace was established, but judge of his disgust when he found the boxes rotten and the goods too weak to hold their own weight. After the close of the war Rev. William Murphy moved to eastern Tennessee, in the vicinity of Knoxville. He was accompanied by all his children, some of whom were married. He had for neighbors and associates Capt. Menifee, Gov. Blunt, the first governor of Tennessee, and others. They were at one time appointed to treat with the Indians, and the general government furnished goods to be given to them, but there had been such bitter warfare between the whites and Indians in Kentucky and Tennessee that the goods were burned--the whites declaring that the only settlement or treaty had best be demanded at the muzzle of a rifle, and not by barter.
Mr. S. S. Boyce, who gained his information from these settlers themselves, has given an interesting account of the early days of this settlement. This account was published in the "Farmington News" in 1886, and I was enabled to make this copy through the courtesy of Mr. David Doty, of Farmington.
"I shall now in some measure try to state my information in regard to this matter which was obtained from the statements made by the settlers themselves, all of whom I remember well with the exceptions of Mrs. Sarah Barton Murphy and Mr. Kephart, both of whom died before I was born. In after years I had many talks with Mr. David Murphy, or, rather, listened to him whilst relating the trials and privations of himself and brothers and friends in the early settlement days. David Murphy was a man, remarkable in every way; remarkable for his intelligence and retentive memory, and was one of the most entertaining talkers to whom I ever listened. "Farmington was laid out in 1822 upon fifty-two acres of land donated by David Murphy for the county seat of St. Francois Co., Mo. The judges of the county court, James Austin, J. G. McGahan and James Smith, held their first meeting on February 25, 1822, at the house of Jesse Murphy, and, after electing J. Peers, clerk, adjourned to meet on same day at the house of David Murphy. "There has been some difference of opinion as to the exact year of the first settlement, some contending that it was made in 1801, but my recollection of facts obtained from the above stated source, places the event at 1798. "William Murphy, a Baptist Minister, living on the Holston River in eastern Tennessee, together with his three sons, Joseph, William and David, and one Silas George, reached upper Louisiana and located claims in the neighborhood of the present town of Farmington. "On arriving at Ste. Genevieve, they were hospitably treated, but could find no person with whom they could converse. Not a single individual in that town could speak a word of English, all being French. However, some one sent out for a Mr. Madden, who lived some three miles out in the country, and upon his arrival, he took them out to his house, and I have heard David Murphy say that he never felt so much at home as he did that night in all his life. Mr. Madden entertained them that night and informed them of the various bodies of good land in the country and particularly advised them to see this place. The next morning he sent an Indian with them, who conducted them to the spring now owned by Mr. J. H. Waide on the north side of Farmington, where David Murphy located his claim. "Rev. William Murphy took the claim that is now Judge William Carter's Springs. Joseph Murphy located the place now owned by J. W. Smith, one and one-half miles from Farmington on the Potosi road. William Murphy, the son, settled at the place now owned and occupied by Louis Hopkins, two miles south of Farmington, Mo. "They started back to Tennessee for their families, but Rev. Murphy and Silas George died before reaching home. Rev. Murphy died at the home of his son, John, who was a Baptist minister and lived in Kentucky. "William, Joseph and David Murphy proceeded home, and in 1800, returned to Missouri with their families, bringing a younger brother, Richard, who was to prepare a place for their widowed mother, Sarah Barton Murphy."
William Murphy was born in southern or southwestern Virginia and was doing pioneer work for the Lord and the Baptists in Virginia long before Tennessee was a State. The date of his first and his second birth are alike unknown. We only know that he and his brother Joseph were converted when quite young, under the ministry of Shubael Stearns, both of them becoming active ministers of the gospel in their early Christian life. They were popularly known as "the Murphy boys," and sometimes stigmatized by their persecutors as "Murphy's boys." The educational advantages of both these preacher-brothers were meager, but both of them were effective preachers of the Word, and did pioneer work. William was the abler of the two. His "natural powers of mind were good. his addresses attracted attention, and through him many were brought to a knowledge of the truth. His discourses were of a doctrinal cast, and were sometimes controversial. But it is believed that he was more ambitious to glorify his Saviour in the salvation of souls than to distinguish himself as an able polemic (Taylor, Virginia Baptist Ministers). He was also strongly Calvinistic in his doctrinal beliefs. When, for instance, in May, 1775, this query came up to his Association. and occupied the attention of the body for a whole day, "Is salvation by Christ made possible for every individual of the human race?" while most of the talent of the Association took the affirmative or the so-called "Arminian" side, Elder Murphy championed the negative. The Association divided over the question, each party electing its own Moderator; before final adjournment, however, by concessions on the one side and forbearance on the other, the calamity of a permanent division was happily averted (Semple).
Perhaps Elder Murphy's greatest single achievement under God, while still in Virginia, was the leading to Christ of one, of Virginia's most prominent and useful Baptist minister, Samuel Harris.
Some time before 1780 Elder Murphy emigrated to "the west"; that is, to North Carolina, first, settling a little later. it seems, in upper East Tennessee, where he became "one of the most active ministers in the Holston Association." He was one of the constituent members of that body, being a messenger of the Cherokee Church, where the Association was organized (1786), with Tidence Lane as Moderator and William Murphy as clerk. The following year (1787) William Murphy was "chosen moderator."
In 1785 (June 11), William Murphy and Tidence Lane organized the old "Bent Creek" Church (now Whitesburg). In April, 1897, this church celebrated, with suitable ceremonies, its one hundred and twelfth anniversary.
September 14, 1798, William Murphy and Isaac Barton were a "presbytery" in the organization of the "Church of Christ on Lick Creek" (now the Warrensburg Church), with a constituency of "eighteen members," David Wisecarver, clerk.
Benedict, who gathered his information (1810) from near-at-hand sources, speaks in high terms of William Murphy's ministerial labors in the Holston Association, "which he assisted in raising up, and in which he was very active and much esteemed until his death, the exact time of which is not known, but it is believed to have been about 1800."
More About Rev. William Murphy and Mary Martha Hodges: Marriage: Abt. 1751, Pittsylvania Co, VA.
More About Rev. William Murphy and Sarah Barton: Marriage: 1766, Pittsylvania Co, VA.
Children of Rev. William Murphy and Mary Martha Hodges are: