A Dreamer's Speculations:
The Financial Plight
of Archibald D. Murphey
John A. McGeachy
North Carolina State University
History 561 - May 2002
Archibald DeBow Murphey, after holding the professorship of Languages at
North Carolina's University for only a year, left those cloistered halls in
June 1801 to seek his fortune. He turned to the law, and became one of the
state's most able lawyers and jurists. Building upon ambition and ability he
rose to become known to North Carolinians as the "Father of Internal
Improvement," the "Father of the Common Schools," and North Carolina's "first
native historian." But in the area of his personal finances, Archibald Murphey
failed. He reached for grandeur and fell short, in some respects from
circumstances beyond his control. Although he once possessed thousands of
acres and a handsome plantation, his speculative acquisitions evaporated in the
Panic of 1819 and the following decade's financial contraction. His creditors'
suits left him pennyless, and resulted in his spending three weeks in debtors'
prison. While his financial plight offers at best a cautionary tale, Murphey's
perseverance in adversity, his philosophic outlook, his demeanor in the face of
ruin, remain a model of deportment, fortitude, and optimism.
It would be unfair to say that Archibald Murphey's financial woes stemmed
from his academic resignation, but his many troubles followed that decision.
Landowners and lawyers possessed the brightest prospects in his formative days,
and Murphey wished to be a member of both these elite groups. Archibald DeBow
Murphey was the second son of Colonel Archibald Murphey (1742-1817) and Jane
DeBow. The elder Murphey was a veteran of the Revolution who became a
successful Caswell County planter and businessman. He probably helped his son
acquire his first property in 1800. Col. Murphey left an estate worth forty
thousand dollars; his children shared equally in that inheritance.1
Murphey's first purchase was the Hermitage, a farm of 150 acres acquired
May 14, 1800, from his future father-in-law, John Scott, for 300 pounds.2 The
property was at the confluence of Great Alamance Creek and the Haw River, near
the present-day town of Swepsonville in Alamance County. The following spring
Murphey wrote Scott from Chapel Hill:
Shut up within the Walls of Colledge, I long for the beautiful and
delightful Scenes, which Nature begins every where to display ... I
delight in this Season of the year, to ramble thro' the Fields and
Meadows which begin to clothe themselves with fresh Verdure; to
walk over Hills and Vallies, where Herbs, Shrubs and Trees begin
to blossom. How beautiful must the Hermitage soon appear!3
Murphey evidently expected that the daughter would read his letter as closely,
if not more so, than would her father. Eighteen months after purchasing the
Hermitage, Murphey married Jane Armistead Scott on November 5, 1801, and moved
to this idyllic site about eighteen miles west of Hillsboro.4
During the next twelve years Murphey greatly expanded his holdings at the
Hermitage, and by 1812 it encompassed more than two thousand acres.5 He was
an avid buyer and seller of land. Between 1800 and 1818 in Orange County alone
Murphey concluded twenty-five deeds, ten as grantee and fifteen as grantor.6
Through an 1804 purchase Murphey acquired a gristmill, which he and his
brother-in-law, Thomas Scott, restored to operation in 1807. At that time they
added a sawmill powered by the same water wheel. In 1810 Murphey constructed a
distillery. He and Scott opened a mercantile store at the mill in 1811.
Murphey also enlarged his domicile at the Hermitage during these first years of
But Murphey was not always at home to enjoy his retreat. As a lawyer he
was obliged to "ride the circuit," to travel from one county to the next, as
the circuit judge held court throughout one of the state's judicial districts.
The legal fees he received from clients constituted one source of Murphey's
income; and the more time spent on the circuits, the greater that income would
be. In 1810 he wrote Thomas Ruffin his former law student who also became a
judge, later a North Carolina Supreme Court justice, and Murphey's primary
creditor of his various fortunes. "At Home I have suffered considerable
losses. At Courts I have made considerable Profits."8 As his financial
obligations grew more pressing in the 1820s, Murphey spent a greater proportion
of time away from home.
The products from the Hermitage and his other properties provided an
uncertain income. Wagons transported wheat and whiskey to Petersburg,
Virginia, for sale. Murphey tried to manage the plantation's business remotely
while on the circuit. From Fayetteville he instructed his wife in an 1810
letter that the "Waggons must be kept employed," even if it meant using their
riding horses to make up the teams.9 The following year he queried Thomas
Ruffin as to who in Petersburg would be "good Judges of Whiskey, and who will
give liberal Prices." He had three wagon loads ready for the Petersburg
The 1814 harvest was large, but the "Saving of my Grain tedious," Murphey
wrote his wife who was visiting New-River, Virginia, to restore her health.11
The following year Murphey sought overseers for two Orange properties, the
Hermitage and the Rainey farm,12 and again asked Ruffin for his advice:
I want Men who understand making Tobacco. If I could get such, I
would direct all my force that way . . . The Overseer for the latter
place [Rainey] I wish to engage upon Shares, the other either upon
Shares or for a stated Sum. But as my force will be divided, I
cannot give a very high Price.13
At the time of his greatest affluence, Murphey owned over a hundred slaves.14
Murphey was generous in his financial dealings with others, and he
frequently aided family and friends. But even before 1810 he was having
difficulty keeping small debts from accruing, and was paying some obligations
while leaving less urgent ones to be carried forward. In 1808 he wrote his
former colleague, university president Joseph Caldwell, that he had "a large
sum of money to pay at this time," and so was unable to pay the university
board of his nephew, Archibald Haralson. Murphey hoped that "not much
inconvenience will be felt" until the bill could be paid.15 That same year he
made a small payment to reduce a $650 bond with the Salisbury branch of the
Bank of Cape Fear. The bank renewed the bond for a month at $610. The officer
of the bank with whom Murphey corresponded was very solicitous, writing of his
gratitude "in attending occasionally to yr. business."16
A second way Murphey displayed his generosity was in his willingness to
endorse the debts of others. By co-signing loans he obligated himself to pay
the debts of others in the event that they were unable to repay their loans
themselves. Murphey had read law under William Duffy in Hillsborough. His
former teacher asked in 1809: "Will you endorse for me? and trust to my
honour for your safety? I send eight blanks which you will endorse if you
think right."17 Such agreements between gentlemen who held honor, trust, and
responsibility as sacred principles would lead a number of them into bankruptcy
during the 1820s.
If Archibald Murphey's obligations had consisted solely of his properties
in Orange County and his endorsements of associates' loans, he might have
remained solvent during the coming recessionary period. But he was not content
with his holdings, and he contracted additional financial obligations. He was
attracted to the state's northern Piedmont counties, and purchased land in
Rockingham and Stokes Counties. The most elaborate of these properties was at
Rockingham Springs, where Murphey bought a "house of entertainment" from John
Lenox in 1807 or 1808.
This property, later known as "Lenox Castle," was a mineral spring resort
consisting of two facilities on 1650 acres, the Tavern or Mansion House
situated about a half mile from the spring, and "High Rock" about two miles
south of the Tavern. Guests who came for the "cure" stayed at the Tavern,
where the amenities included patent showers, a post office, newspapers and
literary journals from various cities, good liquors, and the "best
accommodations that the country will afford." At High Rock gentlemen enjoyed
"cock-fighting, card-playing, and horse racing" and more freely-flowing
Murphey assumed John Lenox's $9000 debt with Freeland and Gillies of
Petersburg, Virginia, when he purchased the property. In 1812 Murphey had to
delay payment of an installment on this debt. He wrote to James Freeland that
he had counted on his being able to discount bank notes for other debts owed to
him in order to pay Freeland, but that the "State Bank is doing no Business,"
and that until the bank would discount notes Murphey had no means of raising
money short of selling property. His debt to Freeland and Gillies remained
unpaid for several years.19
Murphey first hired William Roane, a relative of Ruffin's, and then John
L. Lesuer to manage Lenox Castle. Under Lesuer's direction, in 1814, he made
further improvements to the Mansion House property. A Wilmington militiaman,
John D. Jones, together with Thomas C. Reston, visited Lenox Castle in
September 1814, and later recalled that they had found there "the elite of the
low country and could not have been more pleasantly located." On the Sunday of
their visit the Rev. Barney Oshaunely, an Irish minister, conducted a worship
service in a set of stables "which had been recently constructed by Judge
Murphy; then in an unfinished state, no horse ever yet having been an
There may have been multiple reasons for Murphey's interest in Lenox
Castle. Perhaps he thought it a good investment, or maybe he wished to help
John Lenox discharge his debt to Freeland and Gillies. Murphey clearly found
the Rockingham Springs waters efficacious, and that may well be why he
purchased it. Both Murphey and his wife suffered infirmities, Jane from the
partial paralysis of an arm, and he, in later years, with rheumatoid arthritis.
In an 1807 letter Murphey urged his wife to join him at Lenox Castle; he
thought the waters would improve her health.21 William Polk, a university
trustee, inquired about Murphey's health in 1826, and Murphey replied, "Thank
God! I am at length free from Rheumatic Pain. The Mineral Waters of
Rock[ingham] gave me effectual Relief in a short Time."22
Medicinal motivations played no part in other acquisitions Murphey made in
north central Piedmont counties. He had high hopes for a copper or silver mine
in the Saura Town Mountains of Stokes County, and purchased 2500 acres there in
1815. Murphey deeded his share of the property to Thomas Ruffin in 1822.23
Murphey wrote him in 1820 that
I have seem [Mr. Jessup], and he tells me that there is an
Abundance of Rich Ores on what he was told was our Lands . . .
Jessup thinks there is a strong Probability that one entire Nob of
the Mountain is made up of a Rock which is the Matrix of a rich
Copper Ore . . . I entertain a doubt whether this Nob be included
with Our Lines.24
A few months later he wrote Ruffin again:
You and myself may prove more fortunate that either of us expected
in this Business. Mr. Jessup had with him some of the Richest Ores
...He says there is a very large Portion of Silver with the lead...
If necessary, I will go with him to Stokes and I should be glad
you would go also. No one will know our Business.25
The owners built a miners' dwelling and sank a mine shaft, but the property did
not produce the wealth of Murphey's dreams. The Ruffin family lost a portion
of this property in 1890 for failure to perfect the deed by occupying and
improving the tract.26
In another Rockingham County venture Murphey profited handsomely from his
land speculation on the Dan River. He purchased property there in 1815 for
$5000.27 Shortly thereafter the Roanoke Navigation Company completed projects
on the Dan River which opened it to flatboat traffic as far as Danville. Land
values surged, and Murphey reported to Ruffin in April 1817:
I have sold my Danville Possessions . . . there was a large
Collection of people, to purchase and to look on. Such a fever I
never witnessed. Capt. Haralson had industriously blown the
flame, and I sold out for $22:100. Majr. Cabbell's Purchase
amounted to $19,000 . . . This is a Bubble and will soon burst.28
Murphey's profitable experience on the Dan River probably contributed to his
zeal to improve North Carolina's river transportation system.
In early nineteenth century North Carolina, crops produced by Piedmont
farmers went more readily to Virginia or South Carolina for sale than to
markets and ports in eastern North Carolina because travel across the state was
so difficult. Many farmers floated commodities to South Carolina markets via
the Catawba and Yadkin/Pee Dee Rivers. Murphey himself transported wheat and
whiskey to Petersburg by wagon. He became the leading proponent of efforts to
develop the state's transportation system through the construction of roads and
canals. The goal of these projects was to direct North Carolina's agricultural
products to the state's seacoast, and to divert them from the markets of
neighboring states. Murphey's efforts in this crusade earned him the title,
"Father of Internal Improvement."29
Murphey championed internal improvement both as a public servant who
sought to improve North Carolina's infrastructure and economy, and as a private
investor who hoped to realize profits similar to those he had made on the Dan
River. He became a director of the Cape Fear Navigation Company, and of other
similar ventures.30 In and near Haywood, a boom town at the junction of the
Haw and the Deep Rivers the headwaters of the Cape Fear Murphey in 1817
purchased 500 acres from John A. Ramsay for $10,000. He owned an additional
1100 acres along the Cape Fear and Deep Rivers, and held several lots in the
town.31 Several months later he apprized Ruffin of the same inflationary
pressure that he had observed on the Dan.
I am told on today my Lands purchased of Mr. Ramsay would now
easily command $25.000 . . . You could make a Fortune in a little
Time by watching the Tide of events. Lots have risen in Haywood
from $50. to three and four hundred Dollars, and as soon as we get
the Streets cleared, it is probable they will sell for five hundred
to a thousand Dollars ... I hope that my Lands on this River, and my
Interest in the Lots in Haywood will in one Year from this Time be
worth at least $50.000. In this it is true, I may be mistaken; but
one thing is certain, this Property will be worth much more in a
short Time than it is now.32
The Cape Fear Navigation Company had grand plans; one of its most
ambitious was to link the Yadkin River with the Cape Fear by a canal
constructed between the former and the Deep. Anticipating that commerce in the
area would flourish from improved transportation capabilities, Murphey in 1817
bought 700 acres in Rowan County from Alexander Frohock for $5950.33 He sent a
"Parcel of Negroes" to plant cotton and corn, and expected thereby to quadruple
his crop. In December 1819 Murphey felt confident that he had found a buyer
for his Yadkin property: William Boylan was contemplating buying it for
between $18,000 and $20,000. If not Boylan, then Duncan Cameron would take it,
he wrote Ruffin.34
Murphey also encouraged Ruffin in 1819 to purchase land on the lower
Yadkin, at Sneedsboro in Anson County, South Carolina, "a pretty place, and
with some exertion may be made a place of considerable Commerce."35 Murphey
was a partner in a company seeking co-investors at $1000 a share to purchase
1160 acres from William Johnson for $38,410. The land would be divided into
one hundred lots and resold. Murphey offered to reserve eight Shares in the
company for Ruffin. "If You should not take the whole, I can dispose of them
By 1819 Murphey had active investments in many ventures beyond his
Hermitage plantation, including the Lenox Castle resort, the Stokes County
mine, the Yadkin farmland, and the new town sites at Haywood and Sneedsboro.
The demands on his resources reached even further. At various times in the
decade of the 1810s Murphey rescued different family members from financial
disaster.37 In 1820 John McAden, his brother-in-law, acknowledged receipt of
seventy dollars, and wrote that Murphey had been "Vastly liberal to many of
your connections."38 Murphey may have had this letter in hand when he wrote
Ruffin three days later, and remarked "You know that I have had to save all the
Branches of my Family (except Dr. McAden's) from Absolute Ruin."39
Outside his family, business associates sought Murphey's financial aid to
continue internal improvement projects. In 1819 a Fayetteville contractor with
the Cape Fear Navigation Company wrote of harassment by merchants. He asked
for three hundred dollars, and felt without it he would be "obliged to Serender
to the Grate Ingery of the cumpeney and Ruin of my Self."40 Another
contractor, of the Yadkin Navigation Company, reported,
I have received scarsley one singhl Dollar since I got the $700 from
you at Salisbury, in April . That has been exausted, long
since, and I have been going upon Creded . . . I am unable to
obtain, even provision, to feed my hands. If I Donot Get some
immediate relief I shall be compelled to stop bisiness.41
The complaints of internal improvement contractors were symptomatic of the
nation's economic difficulties in 1820. The business climate was deteriorating
even as Murphey, together with other individuals, met President Monroe and John
C. Calhoun, the Secretary of War, in Wilmington in April 1819 as the
presidential party reviewed construction of the inland waterway.42 A short
time later Murphey noted evidence of the decline of commerce on the Cape Fear:
"not more than one third of the usual Quantity of Tobacco, and scarcely one
half of the Usual Quantity of Cotton have come to the Cape Fear this Season."43
He thought this situation was due to the failure of Fayetteville citizens to
embrace improvement projects and to open the Haw and Deep Rivers to commercial
traffic, rather than to larger economic pressures.
The nation's economy was again in serious difficulty; it suffered two
reversals in the first two decades of the nineteenth century. First the War of
1812 disrupted trading relationships with European nations. At the end of the
war, trade with Europe resumed, and American agricultural products found a
ready market in Europe. The price of cotton in Europe rose to a high of 32.5
cents per pound in 1818.44 Increased receipts from agricultural goods drove up
the price of farmland; Murphey and other speculators benefitted from that
phenomenon. In addition to rising farm values, other factors drove inflation
higher. Increased government spending for internal improvement projects added
further stimulus to the demand for money. The sale of public lands in the
newly-opened West and Northwest, on generous credit terms, spurred speculation
and also pushed land prices higher.
The nation's banking practices were another factor that contributed to
inflation, and added to the risks incurred by borrowers. State banks,
chartered by special legislation, were laxly controlled. They "were primarily
note-issuing institutions" that received little specie in their capitalization,
and accepted stockholders' promissory notes as collateral for stock purchases.
During the war the requirement that banks redeem notes for hard currency was
suspended. Bankers regularly renewed borrowers' notes simply by adding accrued
interest to the amount due, and extending the term of the loan. Landholders
like Murphey could easily borrow funds for new acquisitions by using their
land, sometimes already mortgaged, as collateral.45
The Second Bank of the United States opened in 1817 amid hopes that it
would return the nation to sound financial principles. Its charter required
the Second Bank to redeem its notes for specie. Under its first president,
William Jones, the Bank failed to set a good example for the state banks.
Instead, the Second Bank also expanded the money supply by issuing notes
amounting to ten times the specie it held. Like the state banks, it also did
not supervise its branches' practices, and allowed shareholders to purchase
stock with promises of future payment. "The expansion of its note issue
encouraged the state banks . . . to multiply and continue their credit
The land boom and the cotton boom burst in the Panic of 1819. The Second
Bank's new president, Langdon Cheves, instituted stringent regulations to bring
the nation's money supply under control. The Bank called in loans it had made
to the state banks which, in turn, forced those institutions to reduce the
volume of their credit to individuals. Instead of facing amiable bankers eager
to extend loans on easy terms, speculators had to reduce their indebtedness to
the banks, and to repay a portion of their debts with specie.47 Murphey, for
example, called on Ruffin's aid:
The United States Bank has called upon its Dealers for 1/5th. My
Note is renewable . . . and I fear I shall not have as much Money as
will be required. If You can loan me a few hundred Dollars . . .
You will do me a particular Favour.48
In addition to losses from declining land values, farmers suffered another
reversal when the price of cotton declined in 1819. Cotton had been an
exception to the general retreat in commodity prices worldwide after Napoleon's
defeat, and the subsequent reduced demand for goods. But that year the
European price of cotton also tumbled. Unable to remain profitable while
buying American cotton at 32.5 cents per pound, British textile manufacturers
turned to East Indian cotton, and "in 1819 cotton dropped in one day from 32
cents to 16 cents, and plunged on down until it averaged only 14.3 cents in New
Dangerfield vividly and succinctly described the repercussions from the
collapse of the inflationary "Era of Good Feelings" in the United States:
From 1815 to 1818 the [speculative] bubble grew and grew;
beautiful, iridescent, fraudulent, opaque. For nearly three years it
resisted the pressure of a general decline in world prices ... But in
the middle of 1818 it began visibly to tremble; and with the
collapse of cotton it broke. Land values dropped suddenly from
fifty to seventy-five per cent; the prices of staples fell
accordingly; speculator, merchant, farmer, migrant were involved in
a common chaos.50
Archibald Murphey was doubly cursed by the Panic of 1819's economic
contraction: his grand plans for North Carolina's internal improvement
stalled, and his personal liquidity evaporated. Murphey, together with many
other speculators, had financed his acquisitions through credit. Now his
bankers called in their advances, while his sureties those individuals who
had endorsed his loans watched in fear that they, too, would be called to an
accounting over Murphey's debts, as well as for their own speculative
Murphey's financial difficulties began years before the Panic's crisis
exacerbated them. Duncan Cameron, a Superior Court justice and later president
of the State Bank of North Carolina (1829-1849), was another friend to whom
Murphey turned for assistance.51 He asked, not for the first time, for
Cameron's help in 1807:
I shall be under the necessity of making another request upon your
Friendship. I wish to borrow some more money from You. A large
payment for a tract of Land, which falls due on this fall, places me
under this Necessity . . . You will do me a great favour in lending
me $300 . . . You have so often obliged me in this way, that I am
almost ashamed to renew a request for money. However I have
been buying land and Negroes, and building Mills untill I cannot
make money as fast as will enable me to make punctual
Five years later Murphey still owed money to Cameron; he was sensitive about
this obligation and wished it to remain confidential. "I hope in a year or
eighteen months to discharge all my embarrasments, and you are almost the only
man in the world who knows I want money."53
But, instead of reducing his indebtedness, by 1815 Murphey owed larger
sums to more benefactors. He borrowed from Thomas Ruffin to retire the debt on
Lenox Castle with Freeland and Gillies that he had assumed on its purchase.54
Murphey owed the State Bank of North Carolina $14,000, "of which $9,000 was due
through suretyship for Solomon Debow [Murphey's cousin and brother-in-law] and
$5,000 was the purchase price of Debow's property in Danville, Va."55 Ruffin
and William Kirkland, a prosperous Hillsboro merchant, stood as sureties for
several Murphey debts. In return for their advances Murphey drew up a deed of
trust for his entire estate in 1815: five to six thousand acres, forty slaves,
a thousand volume library, and his mercantile business, equities valued at
about $50,000.56 The trustees did not record the deed; instead they allowed
Murphey additional time to extricate himself from his indebtedness.
That Ruffin held a deed of trust to the Hermitage helps explain why so
many of Murphey's letters to him deal with financial matters. In early 1819
Murphey described to Ruffin his annoyance over a lawyer's conduct in a suit
brought against Archibald Haralson, principal, and Murphey as surety, over
payment for 600 acres in Chatham County. The lawyer initiated the case without
notifying Murphey of his plans.
I am both surprised and mortified at the Conduct of [the lawyer.]
He is a young Man of whom I thought well. I wish you to tell him,
that during seventeen Years that I have been at the Bar, I have
never known an exception (except in Suits brought by this Bank) to
the Rule, which Curtesy has established among Gentlemen of the
Bar, of giving Notice before bringing Suit against a Member of the
Profession . . . I fear the Public Morals are going to Decay, and
that a Spirit of Sharping is fast succeeding to a Spirit of Honour.57
To Murphey his word and his honor were paramount. He strove to reduce his
debts and those of his relations. This suit wounded his sense of honor and
pride, it called into question his belief that lawyers pursued a high moral
calling, and, sadly, it foreshadowed more difficult financial straits that lay
Murphey had so many projects demanding his attention legal practice,
legislative duties, internal improvements, Tennessee land grants, North
Carolina history that he continued to delay a concerted effort to reduce his
financial exposure. In 1819 Murphey hoped to retain an income from his
profession, yet reduce the time he spent away from home, by accepting a circuit
judgeship. He resigned from the Senate to take this position, and had to
borrow $100 from his brother-in-law, Thomas Scott, to commence his first
circuit because he lacked cash for travel expenses.58
In April a letter from the Raleigh office of the State Bank reached him in
Wilmington with mixed news. A bank officer reported renewal of Murphey's notes
for $4500 and $650. But he continued by mentioning new regulations: borrowers
owing more than $10,000 must now "pay 25 p. Cent of the surplus and 1/10 and
interest of that amount." But since this news would reach Murphey on the
circuit and afforded little opportunity for him to address the issue, the
bank's president felt that Murphey "may renew by paying the 1/10 on the whole
Murphey gave up his judgeship in July 1820 because that office did not pay
a satisfactory salary, and because his financial situation reached a crisis.60
In January 1820 Judge Frederick Nash, son of Governor Abner Nash, wrote Murphey
to express concern about his affairs:
I return . . . the notes which you sent me for my name. I am
gratified it is in my power to accommodate you in any way. Will
you permit me to express to you the deep anxiety I have felt on
your account, from reports I have heard? [Some] of your best and
warmest friends have suffered [the] opinion to escape them, that
the pressure of the time[s woul]d at length prove too great for you
. . . [I would] truly grieve at any misfortune which might betide
you but I have an additional interest when the seventy four [a
warship with seventy four cannon] sinks the tender along side of
her is also engulphed.61
Murphey's benefactors were becoming increasingly concerned. Throughout
1820 Murphey attempted to raise money to pay his creditors by selling land and
slaves, but he found few buyers, and none willing to pay a premium while the
Panic raged. In February he offered William Polk land on the Cape Fear River,
and expressed the fear that he would have to sell some of his slaves.62 On
March 30 Murphey drew up a deed of trust naming as trustees, James Webb and
David Yarborough; they were to sell Murphey's properties, as needed, to protect
his sureties from having to cover his debts.63
His property at that time consisted of the Hermitage with its 2,000 acres;
an additional 920 acres in Orange County; Lenox Castle on 1650 acres; 1,300
acres of Yadkin farmland; "266 acres in Chatham County, near Haywood; 9 lots in
Haywood; 41 Negro slaves and a half interest in six more; and his library of
2000 volumes."64 Ruffin admired his "tranquility of mind" under these
conditions. Murphey replied he felt "compelled to be tranquil." He felt he
would not live a month if he yielded "to anxious Uneasiness." "The true
Philosophy of Life is to keep an even Course, neither to be elated with
Prosperity nor depressed by Adversity."65
Murphey continued, unsuccessfully, his attempts to reduce his debts. In a
brief May note he mentioned three suits to Ruffin; he wished that judgments be
entered against him rather than that they be sent to juries.66 In early August
Murphey sent Ruffin bank notes and asked that he and William Kirkland endorse
them. He mentioned another debt, and expressed the hope that he could get
another individual to "pay him some Money during the Month." He continued
You have already befriended me so much, that I feel ashamed to
ask or accept any additional Favours. I feel your Goodness, and
should God spare my life, I will reward it. Hereafter I devote
myself to the Making of Money, till I get clear of difficulties. I
will go to the Western Circuit for many Reasons. One to make
Money: Another to be out of the way of Talkers and Whisperers,
who take a Pride and a Pleasure in seeing a Man in difficulty.67
When the deed of trust was recorded, and its contents made public in
August, Murphey's tranquility of mind suffered a serious blow. He found it
even more difficult to sell property because potential purchasers feared they
would not receive a clear title. He wrote Ruffin a plaintive letter describing
his predicament. Murphey felt he had been "imprudent" in drawing up the deed
of trust. He was humiliated and mortified that his friends had lost confidence
in his integrity. Instead of continuing to endorse his notes, his sureties
should have demanded payment and forced him to sell property. While this
thought suggests blame shifting, Murphey reiterated his "Sense of the
Obligations I am under to relieve my Securities; and therefore shall labour
without Ceasing to raise Money and pay my Debts."68
He resolved once more to work diligently to pay off his creditors, and
threw himself into riding the circuit. But Murphey was unable to escape the
dunning of his creditors. He described his frustrations and hopes to Ruffin in
a September letter:
To be harrassed by my Creditors is worse than Death to me, And I
expect no indulgence from them. I must get out of the way of these
Men, if I can . . . I will in the meantime collect all I can on the
Circuit. I hope to do well. I wish all my Debts were in the Bank.
I cordially hate the Approach of a Man I owe. In a little time I can
pay these all off.69
But Murphey experienced an even more humiliating incident in December to
round out a horrible year. He acknowledged in court a debt of $195 to Jacob
Hubbard, a Hillsborough merchant. A young lawyer, without Murphey's knowledge,
ordered the Orange County Clerk of Court to issue a capias ad satisfaciendum
(ca. sa.), a judgment against one's person punishable with imprisonment. The
action wounded and incensed Murphey. He had known the lawyer's father for
fifteen years, and had aided Hubbard when he was poor and starting his
Murphey wrote a scathing letter to the lawyer accusing him of the "most
unkind Act" ever done to him. His actions were "shameful," and undertaken with
no other motive than a "wish to degrade me." His conduct was unworthy of his
profession and an aberration from the courtesies due a fellow lawyer. He
should quit the Bar if he had "descended from the high Walks of your
Profession, to become the Caiterer to a Client's Meaness, and a Lick-Spittle to
my Creditors."70 Murphey sent a copy of this letter to Ruffin asking that he
show it to fellow lawyers; he also said he was "in want of Assistance." Ruffin
paid the fine six days later.71
During 1821 Murphey made a few property sales privately, but to little
effect. He offered his North Carolina "Lands & Negroes," the properties held
in trust by Webb and Yarborough, for public sale in the Raleigh newspaper in
November.72 At the December 11 sale Thomas Ruffin purchased the majority of
the property: the Hermitage, Lenox Castle, lots in Hawfields and Haywood, the
library, and fifteen slaves. Murphey reduced his debt to Ruffin from $34,000
to $19,000 from the sale's proceeds. He still owed additional sums to the
state bank, and to other individuals. Ruffin allowed Murphey to continue to
live at the Hermitage and to keep his library.73
Murphey's great hope for rehabilitation lay in Tennessee where he and
other family members held grants to large land tracts. As a Revolutionary
veteran his father received grants for Tennessee land as compensation for his
wartime service. The Murphey family augmented their Tennessee claims in later
years. Murphey was interested in Tennessee both as an individual and as a
university trustee. The North Carolina legislature enacted a law that gave the
university title to Tennessee lands that reverted to the state upon the death
of grantees without heirs.74 After the Chickasaw Indians ceded their Kentucky
and Tennessee lands to the United States in 1818, Murphey saw one obstacle to
taking up these claims resolved. "This Treaty is very important to a great
Many Claimants under North Carolina, and among Others to Myself. The
University will be made rich by it," he wrote Ruffin.75
Murphey made several trips to Tennessee between 1822 and 1828, doing so
with multiple purposes. He represented his own interests, and those of clients
seeking to settle claims; and he represented the university's interests as a
member of its trustee land committee. He labored first to resolve numerous
land claims, and subsequently to sell land with clear titles. On his own
behalf, Murphey made significant progress. In August he wrote Ruffin, "It may
possibly turn out, that After being bankrupt in Dec' 1821, I may be worth,
clear of Debt, $30,000, in Dec' 1822."76 Despite writing to his cousin,
Herndon Haralson, in November news of disappointing sales, he was able to
report to university treasurer, John Haywood, in January 1823 that
A kind Providence has prospered me beyond all expectation in
settling my Affairs. Since the Month of July last I have
extinguished two thirds of my Debts. If the same good fortune
attend me, I shall, before I set out for Tennessee [on a second
trip], be free from embarrassment, and have property left worth
$20,000 . . . After sacrificing more than $70,000 for my Friends,
and being deemed irretrievably gone, I shall be enabled in the short
space of eighteen Months, to be more independent than I have been for
While in Tennessee in 1822 Murphey also argued the university's case
before the Tennessee legislature, a body loath to grant the North Carolina
claims. He spent five weeks preparing this presentation, and advised Haywood
that the university's "Lands would at this Time, bring $200,000, Cash."
Eventually in 1825 after much delay and debate in the Tennessee general
assembly, the University of North Carolina, the Tennessee Common School Fund,
and Tennessee colleges divided the money realized from the sale of the
university's Tennessee claims. During this process Murphey prepared two
Memorials, one to Congress, the second to the Tennessee General Assembly.78
Murphey spent much time during his first Tennessee trip pursuing the
university's land interests. These exertions limited the progress he could
make towards resolving his own land issues. He also lost the income he would
have received as a lawyer in North Carolina during much of the year. Murphey
expected to receive at least $5000 for his efforts on the university's behalf.
When the university offered him only $1500, including $500 already advanced,
and four parcels of land, he was so disappointed that he refused the money and
resigned as a trustee.79 Treasurer Haywood prevailed upon him to accept the
payment, to continue his work in Tennessee for the university, and held out
hope that a greater reward would be forthcoming. By January 1823 Murphey was
confident of the school's further gratitude, and instructed Haywood how to
divide more than $4000. He asked Haywood to forward $3750 of it to Col.
William Polk to settle a debt, and to keep another $300 for himself for the
From sales he made in Tennessee and in North Carolina Murphey rebuilt his
financial position sufficiently to buy back many of his properties from Thomas
Ruffin in 1823 and 1824. " . . . in the summer of 1823 he repurchased Lenox
Castle, the Campbell lands, and other property for $9,539."81 Early in 1824 he
reclaimed the Hermitage in order to ease his wife's mind over their future.
"Suspense distresses me and Kills my wife," he wrote Ruffin.82 Murphey had
reduced his debt to Ruffin to $12,272, but with these transactions his
indebtedness to his benefactor rose to $26,526. Ruffin, to protect his
exposure, drew up a deed conveying all of Murphey's property, in which Ruffin
held an interest, to James Webb and William Kirkland, trustees, to be sold if
Murphey's debt was not settled by April 15, 1829.83
Murphey made three annual trips to Tennessee where he felt, if he could
sell his western lands, he could recover his solvency. The first trip in 1822
sapped Murphey's strength. In November 1822 he wrote Herndon Haralson that his
business was so varied and complex that it "almost distracted my Mind, and I
really am unfit to do any thing more, Untill I can take some Rest."84 Haralson
had moved west, and Murphey in January 1823 asked for his aid in selling his
properties: "Unless you can Aid me in making Sales, I shall run the Risque of
being ruined a second time."85 During his 1824 trip Murphey fell ill with
fever brought on by exposure and overwork, and he did not return again to
Tennessee until 1827. In the intervening years Murphey's sons, William and
Moreau, Herndon Haralson, and his agent, Robert Hughes, continued to make sales
of Murphey's property helping to keep his finances afloat.86 Murphey made a
final trip to the west in 1828.
In addition to efforts to regain his solvency, during the 1820s Murphey
engaged in another project to improve his home state: he hoped to write a
history of North Carolina. He felt that the state would remain backward so
long as her citizens remained indifferent and ignorant of North Carolina's rich
heritage. He corresponded with a number of Revolutionary figures, and
collected documents and personal accounts from these individuals. Unable to
finance the project himself, he proposed in an 1823 letter to Bartlett Yancey
a former Murphey law student and speaker of the State Senate between 1817 and
1827 that the state subsidize the work. Murphey suggested that the state
lend him $10,000 for eight to ten years interest free, pay for engraving maps
and portraits, and allow him access to public records.87
Murphey gained access to the records, but the legislature was less
forthcoming in the matter of underwriting the project. Instead of a loan, the
General Assembly in 1825 authorized Murphey to raise $15,000 by lottery to
publish his history.88 A sale of lottery tickets took place, but no drawing
occurred, and ticket-holders at length reclaimed their money. The legislature
authorized a second lottery in 1827, and even Murphey expressed little
confidence for its success. He noted the law's passage in the General
Assembly, writing Ruffin that he "hope[d] better success may attend this than
the former one; but I shall make on Calculations on it." It suffered a fate
similar to that of the first lottery proposal. Periodic attacks of rheumatic
fever deprived Murphey of his former energy to pursue the lottery, and also
other concerns, with as much vigor as he once had. The legislature denied
Murphey's third petition to aid the history project in 1831.89 Some of the
historical material Murphey collected survives in his collected Papers. But
this enterprise, like the internal improvements that Murphey championed
earlier, did not in his lifetime achieve a satisfactory conclusion the state
was not willing to support them adequately.
Murphey had one other adventure, a final chance to redeem himself and to
set his finances in order he hoped to find gold at the Hermitage. The state
experienced a gold rush in the decade after 1825 when farmers discovered that
gold might be found in quartz veins along stream banks.90 Murphey, ever
optimistic, was caught up in the rush. In 1827 he received an invitation from
Nathaniel Bosworth, owner of a gold washing operation in Montgomery County, to
visit, and to examine Bosworth's engine which required eighty workers to
operate.91 The following year Murphey informed Ruffin that "it is probable
there is one and perhaps three Gold Mines" at the Hermitage. Despite his
weakness from a recent fever, Murphey expected to conduct further
investigations the following week.92 He began work at "Anthony's Gold Mine" in
1829: "the Trials I have made convince me I shall loose [sic] Nothing.
Whether I can make any thing remains to be seen."93 In July he wrote Ruffin
enthusiastically that his rheumatism had left him, and that chemists had shown
him better ore separation techniques. He hoped "to make $600 Per Week, by
working 4 Mills and 10 Furnaces. The entire Cost of both will not exceed $100.
Eight hands are enough to get the Ores, prepare them, and Attend the Mills and
But at this juncture, and with the tantalizing possibility of literally
making money from the earth of the Hermitage, Murphey's assets disappeared.
The trustees, Webb and Kirkland, acting on the instructions of Ruffin's 1824
deed of trust, called on Murphey to settle his debts. Murphey sold Ruffin all
his property for $20,750; he still owed Ruffin $6,286. The following day,
November 4, 1829, Murphey received news that a second ca. sa. had been brought
against him in Guilford County for a debt of $2,138. Greensboro officials
arrested and imprisoned him as a pauper because he had no assets in North
Murphey served his sentence without complaint. He received a number of
visitors in jail, and the sheriff at first declined to shut the cell's door
allowing more light for the prisoner to read.
The Judge's stay in prison was rendered as comfortable as his
friends could make it. With bed and table and chairs and candles
and books and friendly visits the period was whiled away . . . At
the end of the twenty days the prisoner took oath that he was "not
worth forty shillings in any earthly substance", and was turned
loose upon a country in which he had rendered his best service,
whose high places his occupancy had adorned, and whose interests
were cherished as his own.96
On his release Murphey had no abode. He asked his son, William, to
approach a distant relative to borrow $150 on his behalf. "I cannot commence
Life again without some Money," he wrote.97 He rented a house in Greensboro,
then removed to Hillsboro, and advertised that he would receive a few law
students. His health and his spirits revived during 1830, but on February 1,
1832, he laid aside his labors, and died from a final episode of rheumatic
fever. Sadly the weather and the condition of the roads prohibited the
accomplishment of his wish to be buried at the Hermitage beside his wife.98
Commentators on the life of Archibald D. Murphey described him as a
prophet.99 He was, indeed, before his time, proposing innovative public works
that the state was not then willing to underwrite. He suffered the prophet's
fate, and the vision of his ideas has been recognized only by later
generations. Superficially, a review of Murphey's personal finances seems to
offer nothing worth emulating. He lost a great deal of money, and died in an
impoverished state. But Murphey reacted to the difficulties that hammered at
him with a strength of character, a resilience, and a philosophy worthy of
His first biographer wrote that "the nobility of Judge Murphey's
character, his simplicity, grace, and dignity of manner, his kindly, benevolent
nature, and the sad pathos of his life endeared him to all."100 Murphey's
generosity contributed directly to his financial problems. The $70,000 he gave
various family members to save them in times of crisis was a greater sum than
the debts Murphey himself incurred. Frequently he stepped forward to pay fines
for clients, or to purchase auction items at prices higher than they would
otherwise have realized. Murphey gave generously of his time, notably within
the state as he surveyed potential internal improvement sites, and in Tennessee
where he served as the university's representative to settle land claims.
Murphey did not blame others for his predicaments, and he kept a sense of
proportion. Early in their marriage Jane reported the loss of a mare, writing
that it was caused by some "bad Conduct" on the part of a laborer. Murphey
expressed his regrets over the incident and continued, "my Philosophy is, to
bear the ills of life with Patience, and when I sustain a Loss, to exert myself
to repair it. If fortune has been unkind to me in one way, she favours me in
Another..."101 In 1820 after he concluded the first deed of trust, Murphey
replied to Ruffin's solicitations:
You admire my Tranquility of Mind. I am compelled to be
tranquil. I feel confident, that I could not live one month were I
to yield to anxious Uneasiness; and I have no Idea of making my
feelings the Sport of fortune. The true Philosophy of Life is to
keep an even Course, neither to be elated with Prosperity nor
depressed by Adversity.102
Murphey remained loyal to his friends and benefactors, and tried mightily
to repay their loans. He assured Ruffin that "I feel, I trust, a due Sense of
the Obligations I am under to relieve my Securities; and therefore shall labour
without Ceasing to raise Money and pay my Debts."103 Murphey was very upset
that his misfortune had begun to tarnish Ruffin's name. "You have served me
like a Friend, and that that Service should be the Means of lowering you in
public estimation, hurts my feelings more than any Misfortune that has befallen
me." Murphey confessed his "Anxieties, Griefs and Sorrows" over his fate, but
he would "bear up against them all, and in a faithful endeavour to do my duty,
find all the Consolation I can."104 Many men in Murphey's predicament simply
moved west to be out of the reach of their creditors, but he persisted in
efforts to balance his accounts.
As a kindly man, Murphey could not understand those who would be unkind to
him. The action of the lawyer who brought the first ca. sa. judgment against
him in 1820 wounded Murphey to the quick:
You little know how this dirty Act has affected my Feelings. There
is a certain Something about a Man's Character, which when
invaded, wounds him to the Heart. A few unkind Acts would
make me loathe my existence. They are so dissonant from my
Nature; so much at War with those Feelings which I have been in
the Habit of Cherishing, that I could not bear them. I can toil with
Adversity: I can bear Affliction with Resignation; but I know not
how to struggle with Unkindness.105
Murphey suffered pain and affliction throughout life, and counseled Ruffin
in 1811 that these conditions encouraged moral growth.
You cannot expect to live in a World of Care and trouble, and be free
from Anxiety and Inquietude; to be born to Affliction, to Sorrow and
Distress, and yet feel no Pain ... every such Affliction has a moral
tendency: And I can conceive of none more useful end, than to teach
to us the Virtues upon which our principal Happiness is bottomed,
Fortitude in Adversity, and Resignation in Affliction.106
Yet in 1828 after a rheumatic episode, when the trials of life seemed too much
to bear, Murphey lamented, "My lot is a melancholy one. My Family forever
sick, Myself the Victim of Anxiety and Pain. What have I done that Heaven has
singled me out for such misery in this life?"107 Only rarely did Murphey give
voice to such feelings. He rebounded from this state and wrote Ruffin seven
months later, "My Health is entirely good, and I am again growing fat . . . I
am here busily engaged in Reading and Reviving my Stock of Knowledge [of the
Religion played no overt part in Murphey's life, but it was one of the
sources of his strength. In the last month of his life, he received a copy of
the New Testament from James Webb. Murphey inscribed its flyleaf:
. . . I accept the Book with Reverence for its Sublime Morality and
pure Religion: a Religion that deals in no Abstractions; but
addressing itself to the Feelings brings Comfort in the Hour of
Distress, Resignation in times of Affliction, Fortitude when
Adversity comes upon us, and at all times spreads over the Mind
that Contentment which is true Wisdom . . .109
Archibald D. Murphey endured as many disappointments, failures, and losses
as Job. He brought some of these hardships upon himself through speculative
investments, and he seemed compelled to acquire more land and slaves even as he
found paying for them more and more difficult. But when Murphey finally
recognized the depth of his financial difficulties, he strove heroically to
raise money to save his holdings, only to see them at last deeded away to pay
his debts. His health, and especially that of his wife, were burdens to him.
He worked long hours in Tennessee for the university, only to find his alma
mater reward his efforts grudgingly. His innovative ideas to fund public
education, to improve transportation, to record North Carolina's history
failed to reach fruition, outcomes that must have greatly saddened him.
Through all his trials Murphey persevered, seldom growing discouraged,
remaining tranquil and calm in the face of uncertainty, disappointment, pain
and failure. He was kind, loyal and solicitous; generous of his time and, when
he had it, his money. Murphey remained optimistic in the face of his many
trials, and strove to improve his lot. By doing so, by laboring
conscientiously when others would be tempted to cease their efforts or relocate
beyond the reach of creditors, even in the realm of his personal finances
Archibald D. Murphey serves as a model to those today who learn the tale of his
1William Henry Hoyt, "Archibald DeBow Murphey," in Samuel A. Ashe, ed.,
Biographical History of North Carolina from Colonial Times to the Present. 8
vols. (Greensboro, N.C.: Charles L. Van Noppen, 1905-1917), 4:347; Herbert
Snipes Turner, The Dreamer Archibald DeBow Murphey, 1777-1832 (Verona, Va.:
McClure Press, 1971), 5.
The elder Murphey's will of 8 March 1816 made clear that he aided his
children. One clause noted his "Book of Accounts" used to record money
advanced to each of his seven children. See Caswell County (N.C.) Wills,
1771-1927, North Carolina Archives, CR 020.801.4.
The equitable division of Archibald Murphey's estate was at issue in
Jonathan Worth et al. v. John M'Aden et al., decided by the North Carolina
Supreme Court in December 1835 (21 N.C. 199). McAden was the third executor of
the will, appointed by a codicil in 1817. He became its sole executor after
the deaths of Alexander and Archibald D. Murphey. Jonathan Worth brought suit
on behalf of his wife and her four siblings, children of Lucy Daniels,
deceased, a daughter of Archibald Murphey, for an equitable distribution from
the estate. The court directed that an accounting of the estate's transactions
for the period during which John McAden administered it be undertaken. The
North Carolina State Archives holds an extensive file of that review; see North
Carolina Supreme Court Case File SC 2641.
2Orange County Deed Book, no. 10, p. 365; Turner, Dreamer, 15.
3Murphey to John Scott, 23 February 1801, The Papers of Archibald DeBow
Murphey, ed. William Henry Hoyt. 2 vols. (Raleigh: E.M. Uzzell, 1914), 1:1-2.
4Murphey, Papers, 1:1, note 1; Turner, Dreamer, 17.
5Turner, Dreamer, 19.
6Orange County General Index to Deeds, Grantees, p. 61; Grantors, p. 65.
7Orange County Deed Book, no. 12, p. 64; Margaret Evans Lerche, "The Life and
Public Career of Archibald D. Murphey" (Ph.D. diss., University of North
Carolina, 1948), 338; Murphey, Papers, 1:38, note 2; Turner, Dreamer, 19-23.
8Murphey to Thomas Ruffin, 19 May 1810, Murphey, Papers, 1:39-40.
9Murphey to Jane Murphey, 4 May 1810, Murphey, Papers, 1:38.
10Murphey to Thomas Ruffin, 1 January 1811, Murphey, Papers, 1:46.
11Murphey to Jane Murphey, 24 July 1814, Murphey, Papers, 1:73.
12Murphey purchased property from William and Benjamin Rainey on 27 August
1805 and 26 October 1812 (Orange County Deed Books, no. 12, p. 9, and no. 18,
p. 300). He sold 2000 acres to Jeremiah Holt for $4000 on 15 February 1816
(Orange County Deed Book, no. 15, p. 216). He had offered the Rainey farm to
Thomas Ruffin in 1814 for $5,000 (Lerche, "Life and Public Career," 342, note
13Murphey to Thomas Ruffin, 6 October 1815, Murphey, Papers, 1:83.
14Turner, Dreamer, 22.
15Murphey to Joseph Caldwell, 29 December 1808, Murphey, Papers, 1:24-25.
16John Steele to Murphey, 12 December, 1808, Murphey, Papers, 1:23.
17William Duffy to Murphey, 24 May 1809, Murphey, Papers, 1:31.
18Turner. Dreamer, 27-28; Advertisement, Raleigh Register, 27 May 1814;
Herbert S. Turner, "Affluent Tar Heels Resorted in Summer to Lenox Castle,"
The State 70 (September, 1969), 12- 13, 24.
19Murphey to James Freeland, 26 September 1812, Murphey, Papers, 1:65; Lerche,
"Life and Public Career," 341.
20[John D. Jones], "Cape Fear Sketches and Loafer Ramblings by the Author of
the Wilmington Whistling Society, etc." Folder 29, Benjamin Franklin Perry
Papers, #588, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, The University of
North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 33-34.
21Murphey to Jane Murphey, 18 August 1807, Murphey, Papers, 1:14-16.
22Murphey to William Polk, 9 September 1826, Murphey, Papers, 1:339-340.
23Charles Banner, sheriff, to Murphey, 13 December 1815; Murphey to Thomas
Ruffin, 8 June 1822; Stokes County (N.C.) Deed Book 7, p. 122; 17, p. 474;
Murphey, Papers, 1:154, note 1.
24Murphey to Thomas Ruffin, 18 February 1820, The Papers of Thomas Ruffin, ed.
J.G. de Roulhac Hamilton. 4 vols. (Raleigh: Edwards & Broughton, 1918-1920),
25Murphey to Thomas Ruffin, 15 July 1820, Murphey, Papers, 1:154-155.
26W.F. Ruffin et al. v. James Overby (88 N.C. 369 (1883)); Anne M. Ruffin et
al. v. James Overby (105 N.C. 78 (1890)).
27Murphey, Papers, 1:93, note 2.
28Murphey to Thomas Ruffin, 11 April 1817, Murphey, Papers, 1:93.
29As a state senator Murphey labored between 1814 and 1818 to promote internal
improvement. Murphey's first efforts on this subject are contained in the
"Report of the Committee on Inland Navigation, Nov. 30, 1815." (See Murphey,
Papers, II:19-29.) Murphey made additional reports to the legislature on
internal improvement as chair of a Senate committee on the subject. He made
his last report, his "Memoir on the Internal Improvements contemplated by the
Legislature of North Carolina; and on the Resources and Finances of that State"
in November 1819. (See Murphey, Papers, II:103-151.)
30Lerche, "Life and Public Career," 183; Turner, Dreamer, 85.
31Murphey, Papers, 1:106, note 1.
32Murphey to Thomas Ruffin, 26 March 1818, Murphey, Papers, 1:106-107.
33Murphey to Thomas Ruffin, 26 March 1818, Murphey, Papers, 1:107.
34Murphey to Thomas Ruffin, 18 December 1819, Ruffin, Papers, 1:231.
35Murphey to Thomas Ruffin, 19 March 1819, Ruffin, Papers, 1:218.
36Murphey to Thomas Ruffin, 29 March 1819, Murphey, Papers, 1:131.
37Lerche, "Life and Public Career," 342-343; Turner, Dreamer, 3, 7.
38John McAden to Murphey, 11 August 1820, Murphey, Papers, 1:172.
39Murphey to Thomas Ruffin, 14 August 1819, Murphey, Papers, 1:152.
40M. Harvey to Murphey, 15 July 1819, Murphey, Papers, 1:146.
41Hiram Jennings to Murphey, 8 August 1820, Murphey, Papers, 1:170-171.
42Turner, Dreamer, 97.
43Murphey to Thomas Ruffin, 25 April 1819, Murphey, Papers, 1:139.
44George Dangerfield, The Era of Good Feelings (New York: Harcourt, Brace,
45Murray N. Rothbard, The Panic of 1819: Reactions and Policies (New York:
Columbia University Press, 1962), 3.
46Rothbard, Panic, 7-8; Leonard L. Richards, The Advent of American Democracy,
1815-1848 (Glenwood, Il.: Scott, Foresman, 1977), 16.
47Rothbard, Panic, 11-12.
48Murphey to Thomas Ruffin, 29 March 1819, Murphey, Papers, 1:132.
49Dangerfield, Era, 178.
50Dangerfield, Era, 179.
51Murphey, Papers, 1:2-3, note 3.
52Murphey to Duncan Cameron, 21 August 1807, Cameron Family Papers, #139,
Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, The University of North
Carolina at Chapel Hill, quoted in Lerche, "Life and Public Career," 339.
53Murphey to Duncan Cameron, 22 February 1813, Cameron Family Papers, quoted
in Lerche, "Life and Public Career," 342.
54Turner, Dreamer, 20.
55Murphey, Papers, 1:91, note 4.
56Lerche, "Life and Public Career," 343.
57Murphey to Thomas Ruffin, 18 February 1819, Murphey, Papers, 1:128-129.
58Murphey to Thomas Ruffin, 25 February 1819, Murphey, Papers, 1:130; Murphey,
Papers, 1:130, note 2; Turner, Dreamer, 128.
59Benjamin Ragsdale to Murphey, 2 April 1819, Murphey, Papers, 1:133.
60Murphey to Governor John Branch, 22 July 1819, Murphey, Papers, 1:168;
Lerche, "Life and Public Career," 38-39.
61Frederick Nash to Murphey, 26 January 1820, Murphey, Papers, 1:155-156.
62Murphey to William Polk, 18 February 1820, Murphey, Papers, 1:158.
63Orange County Deed Book, no 18, p. 63; Lerche, "Life and Public Career,"
349. The deed of trust named Thomas Ruffin, William Krikland, Frederick Nash,
James Umstead, Archibald McBryde, Montfort Stokes, and Edward Jones as
sureties. A second deed of trust (Orange County Deed Book, no. 18, p. 363),
recorded 7 May 1821, added Pasquall P. Ashe, and Samuel Strudwick.
64Murphey, Papers, 1:160, note 2; Lerche, "Life and Public Career," 349.
65Murphey to Thomas Ruffin, 8 April 1820, Murphey, Papers, 1:160-161.
66Murphey to Thomas Ruffin, 22 May 1820, Murphey, Papers, 1:164.
67Murphey to Thomas Ruffin, 4 August 1820, Murphey, Papers, 1:168-169.
68Murphey to Thomas Ruffin, 18 August 1820, Murphey, Papers, 1:173-174;
Lerche, "Life and Public Career," 214-215.
69Murphey to Thomas Ruffin, 30 September 1820, Murphey, Papers, 1:174-175.
70Murphey to [John M. Dick], 20 December 1820, Murphey, Papers, 1:180-183;
Folder 76, subseries 1.3, Thomas Ruffin Papers, #641, Southern Historical
Collection, Wilson Library, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill;
Lerche, "Life and Public Career," 351; Turner, Dreamer, 132-133.
71Murphey to Thomas Ruffin, 20 December 1820, Murphey, Papers, 1:180-183;
Folder 76, subseries 1.3, Ruffin Papers.
72Raleigh Register, 16 November 1821.
73Murphey, Papers, 1:240, note. 1; Lerche, "Life and Public Career," 352.
74North Carolina. General Assembly. Session Laws, 1753-1794. 1794, Chapter
75Murphey to Thomas Ruffin, 16 November 1818, Murphey, Papers, 1:120.
76Murphey to Thomas Ruffin, 18 August 1822, Murphey, Papers, 1:263.
77Murphey to Herndon Haralson, 1 November 1822, Murphey, Papers, 1:268;
Murphey to John Haywood, 29 January 1823, Murphey, Papers, 1:281.
78Murphey to John Haywood, 18 August 1822, Murphey, Papers, 1:259; Murphey to
Thomas Ruffin, 22 August 1822, Murphey, Papers, 1:261; "Memorial of North
Carolina to Congress," 29 January 1824, Murphey, Papers, 2:320-328; "Memorial
of the University of North Carolina to the Legislature of Tennessee,"
[September 1824], Murphey, Papers, 2:328-332.
79Lerche, "Life and Public Career," 61-63; Murphey to John Haywood, 13
December 1822, Murphey, Papers, 274-275.
80Murphey to John Haywood, 29 January 1823, Murphey, Papers, 1:281; John
Haywood to Murphey, 15 March 1823, Murphey, Papers, 1:282-283.
81Lerche, "Life and Public Career," 356.
82Murphey to Thomas Ruffin, 13 March 1823, Thomas Ruffin Papers, quoted in
Lerche, "Life and Public Career," 356.
83Orange County Deed Books, no. 24, p. 482 (1824), and no. 24, p. 155 (1829);
Lerche, "Life and Public Career," 356-357.
84Murphey to Herndon Haralson, 1 November 1822, Murphey, Papers, 1:268.
85Murphey to Herndon Haralson, 24 January 1823, Murphey, Papers, 1:279-280.
86Lerche, "Life and Public Career," 357-358.
87Murphey to Bartlett Yancey, 8 December 1823, Murphey, Papers, 1:398-399;
"Memorial to the General Assembly," [5 December 1825], Murphey, Papers,
88North Carolina. General Assembly. Session Laws, 1825-1826, Chapter XXXV.
89Lerche, "Life and Public Career," 286-306, 312-314; Murphey to Ruffin, 13
February 1827, Ruffin, Papers, 1:377-378.
90Richard F. Knapp, Brent D. Glass, Gold Mining in North Carolina: A
Bicentennial History (Raleigh: Division of Archives and History, 1999), 5.
91Nathaniel Bosworth to Murphey, 30 March 1827, Murphey, Papers, 1:354.
92Murphey to Thomas Ruffin, 31 May 1828, Murphey, Papers, 1:377.
93Murphey to Thomas Ruffin, 27 December 1828, Murphey, Papers, 1:379; Murphey
to Thomas Ruffin, 28 January 1829, Ruffin, Papers, 1:467.
94Murphey to Thomas Ruffin, 26 July 1829, Murphey, Papers, 1:382-383.
95Murphey, Papers, 1:385-386, note 1.
96Lyndon Swaim, "Archibald D. Murphey," Publications of the Guilford County
Literary and Historical Association, 1(September, 1908): 23; Murphey, Papers,
97Murphey to William Duffy Murphey, 2 January 1830, Murphey, Papers, 1:385.
98Turner, Dreamer, 212-214.
99Hoyt, "Archibald DeBow Murphey," 347; Robert Diggs Wimberley Connor,
Ante-Bellum Builders of North Carolina (Greensboro: North Carolina College for
Women, 1914; Spartanburg, S.C.: Reprint Co., 1971), 27; H.G. Jones, "Murphey,
Archibald DeBow," in William S. Powell, ed., Dictionary of North Carolina
Biography. 6 vols. (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press,
100Hoyt, "Archibald DeBow Murphey," 347.
101Murphey to Jane Murphey, 4 May 1810, Murphey, Papers, 1:38.
102Murphey to Thomas Ruffin, 8 April 1820, Murphey, Papers, 1:160-161.
103Murphey to Thomas Ruffin, 18 August 1820, Murphey, Papers, 1:173-174.
104Murphey to Thomas Ruffin, 19 May 1822, Murphey, Papers, 1:240-241.
105Murphey to Thomas Ruffin, 20 December 1820, Murphey, Papers, 1:183.
106Murphey to Thomas Ruffin, 22 April 1811, Murphey, Papers, 1:50.
107Murphey to Thomas Ruffin, 31 May 1828, Murphey, Papers, 1:377.
108Murphey to Thomas Ruffin, 27 December 1828, Murphey, Papers, 1:379.
109Murphey to James Webb, 3 January 1832, Murphey, Papers, 1:397.
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