John Murphy, Sr.

John Murphy, Sr. (1738-1819) was the father of Pleasants Murphy (1786-1863) was the father of Ann Maria Murphy (1822-1909), who was the mother of Ann Elizabeth Pendleton (1843-1928), who was the mother of Albert Gaines Gibson (1871-1922), who was the father of Idabel Amanda Gibson (1892-1983), who was the mother of Jeanette Anne Williams (1921-1968), who was Curt Bright’s grandmother.

The following is an email from Louis R. Taylor to Orvill Paller, Jr., June 25, 2001

I believe that I may have compelling evidence that John Murphy, Sr. came to the colonies directly from Ireland. Also, I believe that he was born about 1733. Now for a brief description of how I reached that conclusion.

I was reviewing a new addition to my subscription on the web yesterday. It is called “Virginia in the Revolution and War of 1812 Military Records.” While searching the information, I located records of the Rolls of Captain Thomas Waggener’s Company at Fort Holland and Fort Hopewell. On the rolls was a John (Jon) Murphy, from Bedford County, VA, who was aged 24 in August 1757. He was 5’3″ tall, his County was listed as Ireland, and his trade was that of a “Barber.” He served under Capt. Waggener along with many other Virginians.

After doing extensive research, I found that shortly after the new year of 1756, the new commander of the reorganized Virginia Regiment, Colonel George Washington, ordered Captain Thomas Waggener to leave Fort Cumberland with his company and proceed to the South Branch of the Potomac. His orders instructed him to construct two forts in the area above The Trough after consulting the local leaders on the best places to erect them. After completing the forts, Waggener was ordered to station detachments in the most advantageous locations to protect the settlers on the upper South Branch.

Arriving on the South Branch, Waggener met with the local leaders and, based on their advice, began work on two forts, one located on Henry Van Meter’s grant in present Old Fields, Hardy County, and the other further upstream on Lunice Creek in Petersburg, Grant County. During the first years after construction, the forts were know as Waggener’s Lower and Upper Forts, respectively. The Lower Fort acquired the name Fort Pleasant during 1757. (Now isn’t that a coincidence that John Murphy helped build a fort in what is now West Virginia, near the Ohio/PA boarder, and later in life John Murphy names his son “Pleasant.”)

Beside a military function, Fort Pleasant also served a civil function. At least by 1759, the fort served as the seat of the County Court until the court was moved in December 1761 to Pearsall’s Level (present Romney). During the trying years of Indian raids, the safest place to conduct county business and keep the records of the proceedings was in a fort. Transacted from here were orders for new roads, grand jury indictments, indenture agreements, tithables compiled, lives taken, wolf bounties paid and numerous other activities that directly effected the lives of Hampshire Countians. Fort Pleasant was probably chosen because it was the main fort in the part of the county that held the majority of the population.

From the time the fort was completed through 1758, the post served as refuge on numerous occasions to the local settlers. Most of the military activities involved a detachment of the garrison setting out in pursuit of small raiding parties. Usually the Indian raiders could not be found and the settlers taken were not recovered.

One chase involving Hampshire County militia from nearby Fort Hopewell began with one of the worst defeats in the area. The Fort Pleasant garrison heard musket fire across the river coming from the direction of Fort Hopewell, but because of high water they were unable to offer assistance. The next day, the Fort Pleasant inmates were able to ford the river and assist the militia in pursuit of the raiders, but too much time had elapsed for the search to be successful. This incident occurred a few days before 24 April 1756, and is probably the same event described by Kerchreview in which dozens of men lost their lives as they were trapped between Indians and the rain-swollen South Branch in a narrow defile called The Trough.

Isn’t it strange that a “John Murphy,” an Irish immigrant tom Bedford County VA, served along with many other Virginia Militia in Captain Waggener’s Regiment, built Forts Pleasant and Hopewell in a territory near Illinois, Ohio and Indiana, and many years later our John Murphy names one of his children Pleasant? If this is John Murphy, Sr. he would have been about age 37 when he married Katy. He would have lived until age 86. Unusual, but not out of the realm of possibility for “Our Old Boy.”

Now for more light not the subject. I found in the rolls of the War of 1812, a commander of the First Corps D’Elite name Captain William Murphy. In the Company was a Private John Murphy, Jr. Also serving in the Tenth Regiment of the Virginia Militia of Bedford County in 1814-1815 was James Murphy and Pleasant Murphy.

One last thought. During the Revolutionary War, a Land Script was issued to the Heirs of Lemuel Murphy, who died in the war. We have a William Lemuel Murphy in our line and John’s youngest son was named “Uel,” the last three letters of Lemuel’s name. Maybe he was a brother or close relative of John Sr.

So much for tonight.

Louis R. Taylor

14 Stablers Court

Parkton, Maryland 21120-9194


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