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Mary Bailey Murphy

(b. 1834)

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At a Glance

Mary Bailey Murphy and Susan Moseley Murphy  were the twin daughters of Patrick Murphy and Eliza Ann Faison. An aunt, Mary Amelia Faison  and two cousins, Sarah Grice  and Julia Murphy , were also Burwell School students [1].


Mary Bailey Murphy and Susan Moseley Murphy , twin sisters, were the daughters of Patrick Murphy, Esq., and Eliza Ann Faison who lived on Cuwhiffle Plantation in Sampson County, NC. The name Cuwhiffle (also spelled Quwhiffle) being variously attributed to Gaelic and Indian origins. The Murphy's post office address was Taylor's Bridge, Sampson County, NC.

Patrick Murphy, Esq., the son of Robert Murphy and Mary Bailey, was largely a self-educated man and a prominent lay Presbyterian. He is listed in the Burwell School Catalogue of 1848-51 [2] as one of the Patrons of the Burwell School. Patrick Murphy had a number of brothers and sisters, one of whom, Archibald Murphy, was the father of Julia Murphy , who attended the Burwell School with her twin cousins, Mary Bailey Murphy and Susan Moseley Murphy .

Eliza Ann Faison Murphy, the mother of the twins, was the daughter of William A. Faison and Susan Moseley Faison. She, too, came from a large family, and the commodious Patrick Murphy home at Cuwhiffle Plantation in Sampson County, NC seems to have been permanently filled with an assortment of nieces, nephews, aunts and orphaned cousins.

Attending the Burwell School with the Murphy twins besides their cousin Julia Murphy  were a youthful aunt, Mary Amelia Faison , and an orphaned cousin, Sarah Grice . These five girls from Cuwhiffle Plantation in Sampson County, NC and its immediate vicinity, all kin in some degree, formed a happy (sometimes homesick) Sampson County, NC. The twins were fourteen years old when they arrived at the Burwell School to enroll for the fall session beginning Monday, July 17, 1848. This was the year when Capt. John Berry was enlarging the Burwell house, and the school had removed to crowded temporary quarters in the Parks-Hasell House diagonally northwest across Union Street.

An invaluable, completely charming letter, written jointly by the twins to their mother on Saturday, July 15, 1848, before school opened on Monday the 17th, was made available to the commission by Susan Rose Saunders, Susan Moseley Murphy 's granddaughter. In it the two girls give an uninhibited estimate of their new surroundings and new companions in Hillsborough, NC. Susan Moseley Murphy  remarks,  "Mr. Burwell's (Robert Burwell house will not be done in 2 weeks. 8 of us sleeps in a room together now but we will not when the house gets done."

Mary Bailey Murphy sent her  "Dear Ma"  this thumbnail sketch of Mrs. Burwell (Margaret Anna Robertson) and the school (Burwell School): Mrs. Burwell (Margaret Anna Robertson) is very particular with everything we wash up the dishes if we choose to if not we need nott to we have to make up our bed and fold up our night gown very neatly every morning if we dond do it we will get a erors mark when we get up from the table we have to set back our chair our food is very common we have for supper light bread and butter and for breakfast nearly the same we are just like a family we talk to (word omitted) just like we would every night she goes in our room and kiss us all we girls kiss another....

Susan's (Susan Moseley Murphy  acute attack of homesickness was probably typical of the feelings of many a student leaving home for the first time: I donot like to stay here atoll I think to much about home but I cannot hellp it. Sometimes I feel like my heart would break. It appears like I have been here 5 months allredy I never wanted to see home so bad in my life....tell him (Patrick Murphy) if he donot send for me I will go in the stage for I cannot stand it I must go home if I have to walk....

Mary Bailey Murphy married Dr. Joseph Dickson Pearsall, of Sampson County, NC, a surgeon in the Confederate Army at Fort Fisher, NC. They had four children: Patrick Murphy Pearsall, Joseph Dickson Pearsall, Jere Robert Pearsall, and Kate J. Pearsall.

Susan Moseley Murphy  married Erasmus Hervey Evans of Cumberland County, NC and had four children: Mary Evans, Eliza Faison Evans, Erasmus, II Hervey Evans, and Susan Murphy Evans.

The dates of the twins' marriages are not known, nor are the dates of their deaths.

Eliza Ann Faison died in September 1862, and the burden of family care fell upon Lou Murphy, a younger daughter who attended the Nash & Kollock School for a time. After his wife's death, Patrick Murphy married a second time [1].

Biographical Data

Important Dates

Mary Bailey Murphy was born on June 23, 1834.

Places of Residence

Schools Attended



  1. Mary Claire Engstrom. The Book of Burwell Students: Lives of Educated Women in the Antebellum South. (Hillsborough: Hillsborough Historic Commission, 2007).
  2. Burwell School Catalogue of 1848-51.