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Home: Regional: U.S. States: Virginia: Buchanan County

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Murphy/Shortridge Mystery Grundy
Posted by: Stacey Murphy Wilner Date: December 13, 2000 at 09:29:43
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Polly Shortridge, daughter of Robert Shortridge and Rebecca Brown, married Edmond Murphy in 1840. They lived in the Grundy area--Edmond's name is on the petition to form Buchanan Co. In addition to being a farmer, Edmond was also a boxer. On election day in Pike Co. around 1859 at the age of 56, Edmond was in a boxing match with a young man of 23 whom he accidentally killed. The best friend of the opponent, one Joseph Staton, chased Edmond down and stabbed him to death as he exited the ring. Joe Staton was known for his hot temper. Although arrested for murder and indicted in Floyd Co., Joe escaped from jail and was a fugitive. In order to protect herself and her children from Joe, Polly used her surname--Shortridge. (the family is listed under Murphy in the 1850 census and under Shortridge in the 1860)

Years later, some of the children used both surnames, some returned to using Murphy only and some never changed from Shortridge. There are Civil War records for Robert and James under both Murphy and Shortridge--they were members of the "Yankee Chasers", a Kentucky confederate border patrol unit.

I have made contact with descendants of these individuals who have no idea that in addition to their Shortridge heritage, that they indeed have ancestry in this Murphy family. I am going to list the children and who they married to help clear up the situation.

Sarah b. 1841 married Mathias Looney
Elara b. 1844
James L. b. 1846 married Rendy Hips & Ruth Yates
Robert b. 1847 married Sarah Elswick Chambers and Amanda Murphy
Richard b. 1848 married Rebecca Prater
Clarissa Clarinda b. 1849 married John T. Chambers
Harvey b. 1850 married Cordelia O'Quinn
John W. b. 1853 married Lydia Lettie C.?
Benjamin b. 1857 (reportedly hanged)
Melisa b. 1859

To complicate things further, Edmond had a first wife and family in Logan Co. After the death of his wife Susannah Clevenger (daugher of Levi and Nancy Elswick), Edmond's two oldest sons took the younger children and moved to Pike Co. Children of Edmond and Susannah were:

Gabriel b. 1825 married Hannah Frances Phillips
Alexander b. 1827 married Keziah "Biddy" McCoy
Lucinda b. 1832 ?
William b. 1837 married Clara White and then Lovis Reed

Oddly enough, William (Edmond's son from his first marriage) and Lovis Reed had a daughter named Charlottie--Robert (Edmond's son with Polly Shortridge) and Sarah Chambers had a son named Alexander. They married--and were my ggrandparents. My grandfather was their son George Patrick Murphy of Bramwell, WV.

Edmond was the son of Gabriel Murphey and Clarissa Herndon who migrated to Russell Co. about 1805 from Caswell, NC. They were originally from the Culpeper area of Virginia.

Please email me with questions--hope this helps some folks to better understand the Shortridge/Murphy mystery!

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