|Colonel Hardee Murphy
This information is contributed by Jim Gillgam
Hardy Murfree (June 5, 1752 – April 6, 1809) was a military officer from North Carolina
during the American Revolutionary War.
Murfree was born at Murfree's Landing, North Carolina, later renamed Murfreesboro,
where he lived for most of his adult life. His parents were William Murfree and Mary
Moore. Hardy Murfree's first name is sometimes spelled "Hardee", and some of his
descendants spell their last name "Murphrey" or "Murphy".
Murfree, a lieutenant in the Hertford County militia when the Revolutionary War began,
was commissioned on September 1, 1775, as a captain in the 2nd North Carolina
Regiment of the Continental Army. The regiment was commanded by Colonel Robert
Howe, who was later a major general. Murfree saw action at the Battle of Monmouth
on 28 June 1778, and achieved his greatest renown for leading a successful attack
against British forces in the Battle of Stony Point on July 15, 1779. He was then a
major serving under General Anthony Wayne, and was soon thereafter promoted to
On July 17, 1781, British forces led by Banastre Tarleton and Tarleton's Raiders
attacked Maney's Neck on the Meherrin River near Murfree's Landing. Murfree led the
militia that repulsed the attack at Skinner's Bridge.
While home on recruiting duty, Major Murfree married Sally Brickell on February 17, 1780.
They would have four children: William Hardy Murfree (1781), Fanny Noailles Murfree
(1783), Mary Moore Murfree (1786) and Matthias Brickell Murfree (1788). Their
great-granddaughter was the noted Tennessee writer Mary Noailles Murfree (1850–1922)
His wife Sally died on March 29, 1802.
As a young man, Murfree became a member of the North Carolina chapter of the Society of
the Cincinnati. He was a Freemason for all of his adult life, active in both North Carolina and
Around 1807 he migrated to Williamson County, Tennessee, living on land granted to him
after the American Revolution, and remained there until his death in 1809. In 1811 the
Tennessee State Legislature renamed the town of Cannonsburgh to Murfreesboro in his honor.
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