Daniels Story

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
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