Looking at Nellie McCorkle-Murphy-Giles

As a genealogist we find new family lines quite often. But what do we do with them once they present themselves? Some we will research and add the information to our trees, others will sit and be ignored until something triggers the memory. I have the belief that the ancestors will contribute to some of this action. All of a sudden, we keep seeing the names of ancestors almost as a tapping on the shoulder is happening. That’s the time to take a peek at the line. We are hearing the whispers of our ancestors. I have now learned a good lesson – We need to stop and listen. I have dedicated some time for  research for over 20 years researching my great grandparents on my father’s side. Specifically, looking at the union of Nellie (McCorkle) Murphy-Giles and the mystery man, William Michael Murphy, Nellie’s first husband. His son, of course is William Columbus Murphy, my grandfather. Granddad, as he was called who I did not know died in 1956.  He has led me on a chase with different birth locations, etc. I have been in and out of rabbit holes. So, I will focus a little more on Nellie. Here is a short version of my tree following my great grandmother Nellie’s maternal line:

My Father: Calvin 1924 Ft. Wayne, IN- d. 1997, Leon County, FL (he has 2 sisters -Lillian and Evelyn and 4 brothers, William, Harold, Donnie, and Ralph)

My Grandfather: William Columbus. Murphy b. IL 1887 d. 1956, MI married two times, I do not know the first wife’s name but she died in 1911, 2nd wife is Viola (Cureton) b. Loudon TN in 1895 and died in 1952 in Grand Rapids, MI)

Great grandfather: William Michael Murphy b. supposedly born in Indian Territory- unknown d. unknown (total mystery, I am not sure of any dates of birth, is he white, mulatto or what?) His name and information was retrieved from my grandfather social security application. He apparently was married to Nellie, because she re-married and her name was Nellie Murphy marrying Henry Giles in Bell County, KY.

Great grandmother: Nellie McCorkle b. abt. 1868 TN d. 1910-15 Iowa (questionable)

  • 2X great grandmother: Nellie’s mother is Rose (Henry) b. 1840 d. unknown (married to John McCorkle, the McCorkle surname was just taken, as there was an abolitionist in the Greenville, TN named Francis McCorkle)
  • 3X great grandparents: Rose’s parents: John B Henry/Hendry and Esther (unknown). Both were born about 1811 in Virginia, which should be Frederick County, Virginia. I continue to work on finding the deaths of both of them. They lived in Greene County, TN and that should be where they died.
  • 4X great grandparents: John B’s parents are Rose (unknown/could be Henry), a slave of William Hendry/Henry b. 1764 Frederick, Virginia d. 1838 Tn. Also seeking to find when his father William Henry freed him. I do find him in 1840 census in Greene TN, free.  (John B. has a sister with the same parents named Delphie, she because free…read about her and her path to freedom: http://www.aleliabundles.com/2014/10/14/delphia-the-price-of-freedom/
  • 5X great grandparents: William Hendry’s parents: Thomas (George) Hendry 1725. MA D 1782 Frederick, Virginia & Deborah (Borden) b. 1728NJ d. 1799 Frederick, Virginia.
  • 6X Deborah’s parents: Benjamin F. Borden and Zeruiah (White)

Now looking at the Borden line, thinking the name was familiar. (oh geez-it was Lizzie Borden, Borden’s Milk and Elsie the Cow). The Borden’s were Quakers coming from Kent, England and settling in Rhode Island and New Jersey. I do not know much about the Quakers, so there is lots to learn in order to understand the culture and life they lived during the 18th century. My line is from New Jersey group to Virginia group. Benjamin Borden was a land gangster as I call him. The Borden’s basically landed in the Shenandoah Valley (Virginia’s counties: Frederick, Rockbridge, Augusta and Bedford, etc.) obtaining land all over the place. Here is the link to read about the 92,100 acres granted from Lord Fairfax. (http://www.virginiaplaces.org/settleland/borden.html)

This all is a shock! New information which brings its own set of research challenges and more family. I am having to face some challenges of researching a slave to freedom. I had no idea any line of my father’s had Virginia roots. I only knew of Tennessee roots from Nellie and nothing from William Michael-maybe he didn’t exist, which is an often thought. He is lurking around, so I am sure at some point I will find him. Maybe the Murphy’s are from Virginia? Who knows. Selma Stewart, a genealogist from the Hampton Roads area continues to remind us that “all roads lead to Virginia”.  I have tracked Nellie through a second marriage and having two children besides having my grandfather by William Michael Murphy. I am still researching the Hendry’s who lived two hours from me in the Winchester area before William moved the family, including John B and Delphie to Greene County, Tennessee. John B and Delphie are now free. We have Delphie’s information but so far, I have yet to find when in Virginia John B was freed.

On the old Ancestry’s app (We’re Related) the Hendry/Henry line kept showing itself as a possible connection and I ignored them. I didn’t connect that it was Nellie’s folks, she was a mulatto. I ignored the fact mainly because I didn’t know the white Hendry’s connected to mine and this line had enslaved ancestors. I just didn’t make the connection and a new lesson has been learned. Check out everything. Also, my research on the Henry/Hendry line takes me back to Aberdeenshire, Scotland, the same place Patrick Henry’s line comes from. Well who knew! That will be another blog…responding to the question: do we connect to Patrick Henry who was born in 1736 in Virginia.

For more information: I did another article on the Henry’s and Borden’s.


2 responses to “Looking at Nellie McCorkle-Murphy-Giles”

  1. I agree that those ancestors tend to give us little nudges. I was doing some scanning yesterday and saw (again) a little note jotted by my grandmother about her great-grandmother, who I’ve never seriously researched. Gotta do it!

    Check out the book, Albion’s Seed for good information on early Quaker’s.

    1. Thank you, sorry for the late response. I do have that book.

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