The following Murff information is available from the research of Malcom Murff. Hopefully this information will assist someone in their research.
EIGHTEENTH CENTURY MORF’S EMMIGRATE FROM SWITZERLAND TO SOUTH CAROLINA
BY MALCOLM MURFF
NOTICE: SOME OF THIS DATA HAS NOT BEEN VERIFIED; THEREFORE, THE INFORMATION SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED 100 PERCENT VALID. ALSO I’M SURE THAT WE LOST VALUABLE INFORMATION WHEN GENERAL SHERMAN BURNED THE COURTHOUSES IN THE COUNTIES OF ORANGEBURG AND LEXINGTON DURING THE CIVIL WAR.
The first Morfs arrived in Charleston, SC in late 1749 aboard the ship Greenwich, piloted by a Captain Randolph. We know of three couples that were identified on that ship. They were Felix Morf with his wife Margaret Hess, who were married in Switzerland on 22 July 1749 and departed immediately; Hans Ulrich Morf with his wife Barbara Hindermeister who were also married in 1749; and Jacob Morf and his wife. Jacob’s wife’s name was not revealed; however, she had a child when Jacob applied for his land bounty in early 1750. Based on a family of three he was eligible for, and received, a land grant of 150 acres.
Other Morfs arriving at an unknown time included a Conrad Morf who was granted 100 acres in 1750; and Hans Jacob Morf who arrived with his family of eight children and was granted a land bounty in 1752 of 500 acres based on the size of his family. His land grant was on the south side of the Broad River near what is now called Columbia, SC. The final two Morfs were Rudolph (Rudy) Morf and a relative (possibly brother) named Jacob Morf. Legend has it that they arrived in the North Carolina port of New Bern in 1770 and came overland south to South Carolina. It is reported that Rudolph Morf married Barbara Niceler either on-board ship or shortly after their arrival. It has also been reported that a Rudolph Morf served in the Continental Army and fought the Cherokee between 1759 and 1760. If this were true, then Rudolph would have been the first Morf to arrive in the U.S.
Following is an expanded version of each of these seven men and some of their second generation Morfs.
Conrad Morf. A plat of 100 acres in Berkeley County and Orangeburg Township bounded by Casper Cunn and vacant lands was surveyed on 21 July 1750. The 100 acres indicates a man with wife; however, there are no subsequent references to Conrad. We do not know what happened to him or his wife.
Hans Ulrich Morf. Hans Ulrich was born 28 August 1718 in Illnau, Switzerland and married Barbara Hindermeister there in 1749 according to the Swiss professional genealogist Julius Billeter. After their arrival in South Carolina Barbara made application for their land bounty in early 1750. The application noted that her husband was ill at that time, and the authorities granted her wish for 100 acres in the Orangeburg township near others of her countrymen.
Hans Ulrich died and in December of 1750 his widow, Barbara, married Henry Wastine in the church of Orangeburg. They had no chidden.
Felix Morf. Felix was born 30 May 1728. He and Margaret Hess were
married in Illnau on 22 July 1749. The document prepared by Julius Billeter, “Morf family of Illnau, Zurich Canton, Switzerland” contains a comment next to the entry for Felix and Margaret, which reads in German. “zegen 1749 nach Carolina” which translates to “going 1749 to Carolina”. On 10 April 1751 a son named Hans Ulrich Morf was born to this couple. Perhaps the name was selected as a memorial to their shipmate, Hans Ulrich who had died the previous year. The name Hans is the abbreviated form of Johannes in German and translates to John in English. Hans is almost always followed by another (middle) name. I have no concrete proof but I believe that this John Murff is the same one who later is killed during the battle of Cowpens in 1781. This man who was killed during (or died as the result of wounds suffered at Cowpens, was first married in 1770 to a Ann E. (Unknown) and they had a daughter, Margaret, born April 1, 1771. It is interesting that the name of his first child was also the name of his mother. His wife, Ann, apparently died and in about 1774 he married a second wife, Elizabeth (Unknown) who gave birth to three children: John, Elizabeth and Frederick.
Margaret married a Henry Sightler. John married but had no children. Frederick migrated to Montgomery County; Tennessee between 1805-1810 and in one document was listed as “Hans Frederick”. Elizabeth, the daughter, married John Randolph Geiger. John’s second wife, Elizabeth, appears on the first census of 1790 with two sons and two daughters.
Jacob Morf. This Jacob who arrived on the ship Greenwich adopted the spelling of Murph. He and his wife had a child when they arrived since they qualified for 150 acres of land. The name of his first wife was not revealed, but apparently she died soon after their arrival in South Carolina since Jacob was noted remarrying Christianna Hess in Orangeburg on 5 June 1750. There has been speculation the wife of Felix and the second wife of Jacob may have been sisters. This Jacob was the only “Jacob” Morf to arrive in SC, thus it must be the same man and since he already had a child, he needed to quickly find a mother for his child.
The child is assumed to have been a son who was also given the name Jacob. When the 1790 census occurs, a Jacob Murph appears on the 1790 census with five sons and four daughters. Given that he was born prior to 1750, he was of an age in 1790 to have accumulated a family of that size. This Jacob Murph has been tracked as he moved across the Savannah River into Lincoln County, GA between 1810-1820. Several of his sons and at least one married daughter followed him to Lincoln County. In the 1830 census, he and his wife were listed in one of their son’s household as being between 80 and 90 years of age. This age equates to a person being born prior to 1750 and only this Jacob fits in that category.
Rudolph Morf. Rudolph also adopted the Murph spelling. We can find no
evidence of his being in the U.S. prior to 1770 and accept the probability that he arrived in North Carolina port of New Bern. He married Barbara Niceler, a German girl, either on board ship or just after their arrival. Most of their life was spent in the Amelia Township of Orangeburg County where they raised a family of three sons; Henry, John W. and John Rudolph. John Rudolph married Jane Stoudenmire and they migrated in the early 1820’s to the Dutch Bend settlement in Autauga County, Alabama. A recently published book entitled “The Heritage of Autauga County, Alabama” contains a lengthy article on John Rudolph Murph . He and Jane Stoudenmire were the parents of nine children.
Henry Murph married Rosina Stoudemeyer/Stoudenmire first and Mary Magdalene Whetstone second and remained in South Carolina. Henry died in November 1851 at age 79 and is buried in Orangeburg County, SC.
John W. Murph is thought to have married Mary Zimmerman and they had no children. He died in 1848.
The parents, Rudolph (died at age 72 on 9 June 1805) and Barbara (died at age 68 on 7 April 1804) were both buried at St. Matthews Lutheran Church cemetery.
Jacob Murph. Jacob has been reported to be a brother of Rudolph Murph, having arrived with him in the North Carolina port of New Bern in 1770.
Both came to St. Matthews Parish (Amelia Township) of Orangeburg Country, SC. In 1771 he received a 100-acre land grant in St. Matthews Parish indicating that he had a wife at that time. In 1782 a Jacob Murph had a 290-acre track of land surveyed in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina on Coldwater Creek by lands of Mathias Mitchel, Nicholas Walter, Christian Goodnite, John Nashler and Abraham Plestor. This John Nuclear appears to be the same as John Nuclear living adjacent to Jacob Murph in South Carolina. Jacob Murph was found listed on the 1790 census in Mecklenburg County, NC with a family of 1 male over 16, 2 males under 16 and 3 females. By the time of the 1800 census, Mecklenburg County was divided and a new Cabarrus County had been formed. The same family was found listed in Cabarrus County, but most likely their property was now considered in the new county.
Many descendants of Jacob Murph are found today in North Carolina but some migrated to Grainger County, Tennessee in the 1860-1870’s.
Hans Jacob Morf. Hans Jacob Morf received a 500-acre land grant located on the south side of the Broad River on 20 April 1752. A land grant of this magnitude indicated a family of ten. Hans Jacob executed a will on 16 October 1762 and the will was executed on 12 November 1762. In this will he mentions only five of his children; therefore the others must have died prior to that time. His oldest son, John who was born 24 January 1734 in Switzerland, was named executor of the estate. He also mentions daughters Margaret, Barbara, and Ann plus a younger son, Jacob. Both Jacob and Ann were minors at the time of their father’s death.
The oldest son, John, had a wife named Susannah at least as early 1764 when both their names was found on property that they sold to John Gottfrey.
No further references could be located regarding Susannah, but in 1775 John remarried a Sophia Kinsler who was born in 1758. John died in 1789. The 1790 census of Fairfield County, SC listed his wife as “widow” Murff who had a household of four males under sixteen, and two females (one of which was Sophia). The children were later identified as Samuel (1776); John (1778); Daniel (1780); Jacob (1783) and Nancy (1785). Note that the husband, John, would have been 41 and Sophia would have been no more than 17 when they married. These children, or their descendants, migrated to Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Texas. The Murffs of Leon County, Texas were descendants of Jacob Murff (1783) and his son William Murff, who later died in Leon County July 10, 1888. William Murff’s son, William Lafayette Murff (born in Alabama in 1844) died in Normangee, Leon Co., TX on May 14, 1920.
Thus far I have not mentioned my ancestor, Randolph S. Murff who was born in SC on December 2, 1784. My original goal upon entering the genealogical arena was to, if possible, find out who were the parents of Randolph S. Murff. To this end I have researched all of the original Morf’s who arrived from Switzerland and their immediate children. I cannot offer any proof, but from what I have learned, I lean heavily on the probability that the above John Murff, oldest son of Hans Jacob Murff, is the person most likely to have been the father of Randolph S. Murff. I was initially surprised that Randolph apparently never, ever told any of his 12 children who their grandparents were. If he did, then there was no record of that fact. So, why did he not reveal this information? Was it because he was somewhat ashamed that he may have been a “bastard” child, and that his daddy had a mistress plus a wife and children. After careful re-analysis, I found that John Murff was the ONLY living male Murff in that area of South Carolina when Randolph S. Murff was conceived and born in 1784. There was another John Murff, but he was killed in the Battle of Cowpens in 1781. Two Murph men and their families were listed on the 1790 census. They were Rudolph Murph and Jacob Murph. Both had families and lived farther to the east of the area called Saxe-Gotha, where John Murff settled, and I think that if his father was a Murph, then he would have carried that spelling. Randolph S. Murff was apparently counted during the 1790 census, but since he was only 6 years old, he must have been listed in the household of another named individual (perhaps his mother’s maiden name). And another question that has never been answered is “what does the S. stand for”? Was that the first letter of his mother’s maiden name?
His possible father, John Murff, who served for 90 days of militia duty during the revolutionary war, and was, paid an interest-bearing indent of 8 Pounds, 11 Shillings, and 5 Pence. On 11 May 1785, he sold his rights to this money to a Jew, named Israel Joseph. Did he sell this income-producing certificate to obtain money to support his mistress and new son?
How I wish that I had all of the answers. Perhaps when I get to Heaven I can
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