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Sarah Grice

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At a Glance

Sally Grice was one of the Sampson County girls who attended the Burwell School in 1848. According to the The Book of Burwell Students: Lives of Educated Women in the Antebellum South [1] she was an orphan cousin who lived with the Murphy girls at Cuwiffle Plantation.


Sarah “Sally” Grice is mentioned in letters written home by Mary Bailey Murphy  and Susan Moseley Murphy  July 15, 1848 “Sally and Amelia send their love to you.” Susan writes that there are “5 Sampsons girls” at the Burwell School, and Mary notes that “we are in class with Fanny Burwell she is a little girl about eleven years old.” Another letter says that Sally and Amelia are walking downtown together.

Sally Grice is not included in the United States Census of 1850 [2] with the Patrick Murphy family in which the Murphy twins are 16 years old and listed as students.

The United States Census of 1840 [3] of Sampson County, NC gives Sarah Grice as head of the family for a household including a male aged 30-39, a female aged 5 – 9, and a female aged 60 -69, with 33 slaves. One could speculate that the child is Sally Grice, living with her grandmother for whom she was named.

In the United States Census of 1860 [4], Patrick Murphy is listed as a lawyer worth over two hundred thousand dollars in real and personal property, and also as holding in trust property of seven people, one of whom is “granddaughter of B Grist” at the value of $735. This may refer to Sally Grice, with a difference in spelling.

The Sampson County Register of Deeds office contains many documents involving property transfers between Grice and Faison families (the Murphy girls’ mother was a Faison).

Biographical Data

Sarah was called Sally or Sallie.

Places of Residence



  1. Mary Claire Engstrom. The Book of Burwell Students: Lives of Educated Women in the Antebellum South. (Hillsborough: Hillsborough Historic Commission, 2007).
  2. United States Census of 1850.
  3. United States Census of 1840.
  4. United States Census of 1860.