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Part of an old map of the San Jacinto area from the Texas Revolution

Veteran Bio

Texian Location:  Participant

The Kemp Sketch

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MURPHREE, DAVID -- Born in Bedford County, Tennessee, December 4, 1811, the oldest of eleven children - three boys and eight girls - of Stephen and Rebecca Brooks Murphree. He came to Texas in 1834. He enlisted in the army December 10, 1835, the day that Bexar fell. His son John Charles Murphree is authority for the statement that his father participated in the Storming and Capture of Bexar. The official records are silent on that point. On December 18, 1837 he was issued Bounty Certificate No. 1097 for 640 acres of land for having served in the army from December 10, 1835 to July 23, 1836.

Mr. Murphree commanded the Columbia Company in the battle of San Jacinto in the absence of Captain William H. Patton who served as one of the aide-de-camps to General Houston. Muster rolls in the Land Office show that he enlisted in Captain Patton's Company March 16; was promoted to first lieutenant April 10, and was discharged July 23, 1836. Lieutenant Murphree resigned July 23, 1836 and went to the United States on a visit. Lt. Jesse Benton, Jr. succeeded him in command of the company. (Page 232, Army rolls.) On May 26, 1838 he was issued Donation Certificate No. 204 for 640 acres of land for having participated on the battle of San Jacinto.

Mr. Murphree in 1837 was a clerk to Gail Borden, Jr., Collector of Customs at Galveston. Later that year he settled in Bexar County and in 1838 he was president of the Board of Land Commissioners for the County. This Board on February 29, 1838 granted him a Headright certificate for one-third of a league of land, the amount he was entitled to receive as a single man. In the certificate it is stated that he came to Texas before March 2, 1836. H moved to Victoria County prior to 1840 for on January 30th of that year he was elected Chief Justice of the County. He resigned on February 22, 1841.

In August, 1840, the Comanche Indians raided Victoria and burned Linnville. Judge Murphree joined the volunteers organized to expel them and was a participant in the battle of Plum Creek in Caldwell County. In 1842 he participated, first, in the Vasquez Campaign, and later, as a major, commanded a battalion in the Somervell Expedition. Obeying orders from his superiors he did not continue on the Mier Expedition.

In 1849 Major Murphree moved to De Witt County where he engaged in farming and pedigreed stock raising on an extensive scale. That he began construction of a rock house on Price's Creek in De Witt County near Thomaston. A second story was added in 1854. The house is now owned by Richard E. Clegg. During the Civil War Major Murphree served in the Confederate Service as a home guard on the Indianola coast.

In 1866 Major Murphree sent a drove of fine horses overland to market in Missouri under the charge of Colonel Harvey Cunningham and John R. Calhoun. Major Murphree went by stage and boat and arrived at Osceola, Saint Clair County, Missouri in August, just before the arrival of his trail drivers. Leaving the stage he started with his hand baggage to walk to the home of a friend of his, a Mr. Moore, who lived about three miles in the country. There was brewing in the community friction between Union soldiers and Southern sympathizers. Major Murphree was overheard by some of the Union men to inquire about the trouble. It being known that he was from the South he was followed by some of the irresponsible Union soldiers and murdered just out of town. His friend, Mr. Moore, had him buried in Osceola.

On January 8, 1845, Major Murphree was married to Margaretta Patton, daughter of John D. and Margaretta Hester Patton, and sister of Captain William H. Patton. Mrs. Murphree was born April 12, 1824 in Hopkinsville, Kentucky and died November 13, 1863. She is buried in the Murphree family cemetery at the Point Evergreen plantation two miles south of Thomaston, De Witt County.

Children of Major and Mrs. Murphree were Alexander, who was killed in the Battle of Pleasant Hill, April 8, 1864, while serving in the Confederate Army; James Owen, and John Charles Murphree.

Written by Louis W. Kemp, between 1930 and 1952. Please note that typographical and factual errors have not been corrected from the original sketches. The biographies have been scanned from the original typescripts, a process that sometimes allows for mistakes in the new text. Researchers should verify the accuracy of the texts' contents through other sources before quoting in publications. Additional information on the veteran may be available in the Herzstein Library.

Battle Statistics

  • Died in Battle: No
  • Rank: Captain
  • Company: Second Regiment Texas Volunteers

Personal Statistics

  • Alternate Names: Murphy
  • Date of Birth: 1811 Dec 4
  • Birthplace: Tennessee, Bedford County
  • Origin: Tennessee
  • Came to Texas: 1834
  • Date of Death: 1866
  • Burial Place: Osceola, St. Clair County, Missouri
  • Other Battles: Bexar
  • Comments: Somervell Expedition; murdered by Union soldiers
  • Bounty Certificate: 1097
  • Donation Certificate: 204
  • Profession: Farmer
  • Wife: Margaretta Patton
  • Children: Alexander Murphree; James Owen Murphree; John Charles Murphree
  • Family at San Jacinto: Future brother-in-law William H. Patton at San Jacinto