It could have been a beautiful morning in Western Virginia. April was
just around the corner. March had come in like a lion and now was departing
like the woolly lambs that his father had talked of as a lad in Ireland. Lardd,
that seemed two life times ago. He lived in a beautiful spot, on the Great Levels near
the Greenbriar river. He had land, and live stock, and a home, and
friends, and of course, the fair Margaret, but damn, there was that
pain that dulls the pleasure, shortens the good time memories,
and weakens the spirt. If he could just be rid of that. This morning he was to
set about dictating his last will and testament. His good friends and neighbors were
expected at any time now to witness it. There is a knock at the door. The three men,
William Bowiland, Thomas Price and John Dod, enter and sit themselves about the room,
commenting of weather and livestock and family.
Then arrived his good friend James Cain. He and James had know each other since boyhood. Their families
had live as close neighbors in Pennsylvania and along the fringes of the frontier on the
Shenandoah River near the North Mountain. They had fought and scouted in the Indian Wars
against Chief Cornstalk and the Shawnee. They now lived as neighbors, indeed James younger
brother bore the same name as Daniel's father, as did James' oldest son, Cornelius Cain. Yes,
they were good friends.
Shortly Hugh Miller arrives. Daniel remembers their companionship when they surveyed the
road from Lewisburg north to Richmond. Hugh Miller had tried to get Daniel to sign with him the
petition to create Greenbrier County. Yes, it was a good community. A safe place now to raise
families, not like 1755 when the Shawnee overran the countryside murdering neighbors, friends
even family members and the area had been lost to them for 10 years.
Completing the group was the fair Margaret. The joy of his later years. Her presence in
the room distracted him from the others. He knew his time was coming and he wanted her
to be cared for. He had always encouraged her independence and gave her freedom of
thought. In turn, she had born him 2 sons and 3 daughters.
Daniel turned to Thomas and said "Take this down, Tom, there is the quill and paper".
"In the Name of God, Amen...."
The first time that Daniel Murley comes into focus is in 1742 where he is listed
in the roster of Captain James Gill's militia list alongside of his father, Corneilus. There
is no doubt that there are two seperate people, deminishing the belief some people have that
Cornelius' middle name was Daniel. This militia was gathered due to the Shawnee
activity of a war party passing through the area. The Shawnees were actually on thier way
to make war with another Indian tribe to the south, and for the most part they were passing
peacefully through the settlements of Europeans, but due to some time delays the Indians had
begun to hunt some livestock in order to eat. Most white people were parinoid anyway. So
several militias were formed at this time for protection, but Capt Gill's militia does not seem
to have seen any action. Colonel James Patton and his troops took care of any possible problems, this
is all related in the Draper Manuscripts. Daniel is next found on the paylist in 1744 for
turning in some wolf heads for bounty payments. Then, in 1748 he is found as the plaintiff in a case of against
a Samuel Adams. The records do not say what the suit is about, but the case was dismissed
due to the death of this Samuel Adams. Five months later he is granted permission from the
Court of Augusta County to remove the collar from the neck of his servant, William Shaw, who
also the servant of Daniels father, Cornelius. Later, in February of 1749, Daniel
assured the name of his friend Francis McBride for a bond. In 1751 James Robinson appraisement
by Thomas Moore, John Bryant, and John McDonal due by Daniel Murley and John Patton.
In 1749 Daniel and his father Cornelius drew up an indenture for Daniel to take over
200 acres of his fathers land along the Shenandoah River to improve upon for the tern of
1 year. Promptly one year later the land was returned to Cornelius, who sold the whole 400
acre property 2 years later to Jacob Trumbo. In 1751 Daniel filed a complaint with the courts concerning the Susannah
Carson, the widow of Henry Carson, for her mismanagement of her deceased husbands estate.
During this time Daniel was scouting out
and helping to survey new tracts of land opening up farther to the south along the
Greenbriar River. Andrew Lewis
and Thomas Lewis who was the
official Surveyor of Augusta County, VA, made the early surveys in 1750 through 1754.
The first few selections and settlements were suddenly abandoned in 1755 because of
Indian attacks. Col James Patton, brother of the John Patton mentioned above, and a great
influence in the Scotch-Irish community the Daniel lived in, was one of the first to
be killed in August of 1755. Many of Daniels childhood friends such as John Cain and neighbors
also died during the Shawnee raids. Many more were taken prisoner and held captive, perhaps
never to return, or to return years later to find the families they left behind so
suddenly grown, gone, dead. Daniel Murley and his father Cornelius Murley are reported
to the County Court in November of 1755 and having died, neither leaving a valid will and
no family to claim their property. Nothing is ever heard again of Cornelius, his wife
Austas, or Daniels wife Judith. All they owned was given to the sheriff to sell at an
auction. His 11 year old daughter Catherine somehow survived this tragedy - perhaps she was
hiding or staying with neighbors. It is amazing that the Indians did not take the young
girl, since young women and men where their primary targets for slaves.
After spending several hours at the library in Lewisburg, WV, reading of the conflicts
the early settlers endured - stories of the Lewis family, the Cains, and others
of this settlement - the authors of these same articles would have remarks about Daniel Boone and one his
parties through the Cumberland gap, and their skirmishes with
the Indians of this era. In 1755 there were many, many massacres in this era, indeed
with reading about this area, history comes alive with famous people, and near
famous people. Just to have survived this twenty-five or so years in this place,
would probably make you a hero.
That is why I assert that Daniel didn't die in 1755. And then somewhere deep in
me, like Daniel had whispered it down through the years, I just believe he survived
and became a very large part of the community in which he lived. I see this
reflected in a lot of Murleys that I have known, most of them seem to require
space around them to be creative in. They were almost always on the edge of the
frontier and, even on a crowded planet, there will always be some that will find
their own frontier.
Feb.17, 1761, finds young Catherine, believing her father to be dead, choosing Uriah Humble, their neighbor, as a
guardian. Uriah married Bridget Cain who was the
daughter to James Cain, later executor of Daniels will in 1781. Bridget's
mother was Elizabeth Custer. Arnold Custer's property, lay on the
south side of Daniels, and adjoined James Cain.(The Custers were probably
related to the famous George Armstrong Custer of the 19th century).
In 1766, the delinquent tax list read like the lost and found section of the
Who's Who list of Augusta County. There were more men not found than those that
appeared - names like Painter, Cain, a former servant of Daniels William Shaw
appeared, Humble, Savage, and on and on. So evidently, Daniel was missing from
the Greenbriar area.
(Even Colonel Andrew Lewis, whom Lewisburg was named after, who in all
probability was acquainted with Daniel, seeing how they were in the same area
at that particular time together, was imprisoned 13 months by the French in
the French and Indian War, about the same time period Daniel was missing.
Lewis also died in 1781).
Let's go back to Brock's Gap near the North Mountain Home of Cornelius and
Daniel. Let's follow the Shenandoah down the mountain aways until we pick up
Linville Creek. Near here is a small community, even today, known as
Linville Creek. I don't think it is over 7 or 8 miles from Brocks Gap.
Here, in 1766, Daniel reappears and witnesses a land transaction between Robert Green, deceased
and William Green, his hier and John Miller. Signing with him was Francis McBride,
with whom Daniel posted bond back in 1749, in this same area.
In 1772, 1774,and 1776 he is shown as a present tithable of the Greenbriar area, a
part of Botetourt Co of that time, later to become Greenbriar Co.
Sometime in this period he married the fair Margaret(Calhoun?) 'cause
they had a marriageable daughter, "Charity" in 1795.
We also believe that he fought in the terrible battle of Point Pleasant,where they
defeated the Shawnee Chief "Cornstalk" in 1774 on the Ohio River, as Col Andrew Lewis
organized the militia out of Daniels
neighbors. Many references are made about the considerable loss of male
population of the community, he would have been about 54.
We have no doubt as to the presence of Daniel in this valley of the
Great Levels, as we have repeated mention of so and so's property
bordering that of Daniel Murley's on one side or the other.
In 1776 Daniel has a son William, perhaps named after a brother, William,
probably a few years younger than himself, who fought under George
Rogers Clarke, also of this area(we wonder if Meriwether Lewis
was probably of this Lewis family related to Colonel Andrew Lewis).
On 23 March 1778 George Rogers Clark was ordered to raise an army for the
campaign to Fort Vallies, and just 3 days later, on 26 March 1778, finds the court of Yohogania Co, district of West Augusta
Co, Va recommending that Wm. Murley(the soldier), as a proper person to serve as Ensign of Militia.
Four months later in July, William, along with Abraham Miller, Henry Miller,
and Henry Newkirk, are assigned the task of reporting to the court on
the condition of a road from the courthouse to Mingo Creek.
Almost a year later in 1779, he is sworn in as a Lt-Commander.
In October that same year he is listed as being on the Grand Jury of that
same county. Sounds like someone you could admire, huh?
In 1778 Daniel had another son, and his name was Daniel.
In 1780 he signed a proposal, a plan for every tithable in the county,
to raise twenty turns of Hemp for the purpose of making a market road from
Lewisburg to nearby Richmond (a turn is term of measurement relating to the amount
of weight that a person or animal can carry on its back). It seems to be the last
reported act for his community, three months later finds him dictating his will,
less than 6 months later he has passed from the beautiful Valley of
the Greenbriar, to another life, somewhere....
Well Done, Daniel!!!
Chapter 4: A Crossroads Mid 1840's
A Genealogy |
An Irish Tale |