An Irish Tale

Twas probably the luck o' the Irish that landed him in such a fine place. Cornelius stood on the North bank of north fork of the Shenandoah River, gazing up toward the protruding rock formation that jutted spectacularly from the mountainside. The river falling down like stair steps from its beginnings farther up, added to the beautiful scene. Even the name Shenandoah reminded him of the river Shannon of his native Ireland. He turned and traced his footsteps down the well worn path toward the cabin he and Austa had built together. I'twas a far better place than the estate of William Nobel, from which he and Austa and their children William and Daniel had fled.
Pennsylvania Gazette
July 8, 1742

"Run away on the 1st Inst. from Wm. Noble of Fallowfield Township in Chester County, an Irish Servant Man, named Cornelius Murley, aged about 35 years, a thick set Man, dark Complexion, black bushy Hair, and grim look. Had on when he went away an old blackish Kersey Coat, patch on one Sleeve with whitish colour Cloth, an old Hat, new coarse shirt, patch Trowsers half worn, Shoes with latchets, and had a Sickle along with him. Whoever takes up and secures the said servant so that his Master may have him again, shall have Forty Shillings reward and all reasonable charges, paid by William Noble."

This scenario may have existed only in my imagination. But it also could have happened. We know Cornelius was there in the Shenandoah Valley because of the court records he left. I hope you as his grandchildren enjoy the pictures of the land he lived on and loved.

We know that a Cornelius Murley signed as a witness to the will of Bernard Griffith in Queen Ann's Co., MD on 29 Nov 1718 but nothing more has been found in the records of him from then until in 1742 the Philadelphia Gazette when William Noble advertises for the return of his runaway Irish servant Cornelius Murley, age about 35. About that same time Cornelius finds his way down to the Shenandoah Valley along the Shenandoah River were there are many families of Dutch, German and Scotch-Irish background settling the new frontier. In 1747 a Nicholas Cain received a patent for 100 acres in this very area 'above the gap called Brock's Gap on the North Fork of the Shenandoah River and commented that "here was located old friends from Bucks Co., PA" and mentions Daniel Murley, among others. Indeed, Nicholas named his son born in 1743 Daniel and even more so, another son born in 1747 was named Cornelius - a new name in that family that was carried on for several generations. Cornelius Murley and his son Daniel both seemed to live along the outer fringes and amongst many families of German descent - even Cornelius' wife Austa reflects a suggestion of germanic heritage in her name.
Cornelius Murley himself applied for and received a patent in 1742 for 400 acres of land lying on the North Fork of the North River of the Shenandoah above the Gap in the Mountain. Here was 400 acres of good bottom land, flat and level, along the river. In 1749 he signed an indenture for 200 acres of this land to his son Daniel for use or management which lasted only a year before signing paperwork to return it. In 1752 he sells the entire 400 acres to Jacob Trumbo, another whose family of german descent had migrated from Pennsylvania. By this time anyway, his son Daniel was scouting and trying to claim land across the mountains and southward along the northern parts of the James River.
Cornelius wasn't a quiet person. Seems the only times he gets listed in any of the court records, it has to do some sort of assault charges. In May 1748 Cornelius Murley verses James Boggs and Eliza his wife and Henry Boggs his son on charges of trespass, assault and battery. Seems both parties agreed to dismiss it and where ordered to pay court costs. December 1751 finds him against Valentin Sevier but the suit was dismissed on account that both parties failed to show up. June 1751 Cornelius verses Thomas West. Thomas West 10 years later posted a bond with Uriah Humble(who married into the Cain and Custer families) in order for Uriah to be granted legal guardian of Cornelius granddaughter (daughter of Daniel) Chatharine Murley. May 1751 Cornelius verses John Smith on assault and battery charges. This case was tried by a jury of Robert Brown, James McGill, Hugh Cambell, John Lood, James McDowell, Robert Patterson, William Williams, Samuel Lockart, Robert Christian, James Coyle, John Cunningham and Samuel Gay. The defendant John Smith was found not guilty and Cornelius was ordered to pay court cost and recovery monies. In particular listed in these Augusta County Court records Cornelius is ordered to pay John Patton 175 pounds of tobacco, Elizabeth Preston 150 pounds of tobacco and William Preston 150 pounds of tobacco for their time in court testifying in the case Cornelius brought against John Smith. My research could be wrong, but I believe Elizabeth Preston is a sister to Col James Patton and William is her husband. Col James Patton came from Ireland in 1737 and settled in the Shenandoah Valley. He was a strong influence in persuading many Scotch-Irish immigrants, especially those in servitude such as Cornelius was, to leave their current situations by any means and migrate to the Valley. Col Patton was killed early in the French and Indian wars, very much likely that Cornelius met the same fate. Logically, we feel that Cornelius was living in the Greenbrier area when his death was reported in 1755. He had sold his land in Brock's Gap 3 years earlier and was living with his son Daniel on the Great Levels in the Lewisburg area. This, too, was the area hit first and with intensity when the Indian raids commenced in 1755. James Patton died in August of that year near modern day Radford, VA, just east of Lewisburg and Cornelius was reported dead 3 months later in November. Many people were reported lost and captured during these years - women, children and young men. Could this have been Daniel's fate for several years? His neighbor Arnold Custer's sister in law was living nearby when she was captured and only returned after 20 years in captivity. Daniel is reported as dead the same time as his father but he shows up in the county records 11 years later (1766).

Chapter 3: Daniels Story
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