Murphy, North Carolina

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Murphy is a town in Cherokee County, North Carolina, United States. The population was 1,568 at the 2000 census. Murphy is the county seat of Cherokee County[3] and is the westernmost county seat in North Carolina. It is closer to the capitals of six other states (Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, Kentucky, and West Virginia) than to Raleigh, the capital of North Carolina. Murphy was named for North Carolina politician Archibald Murphey.



Murphy is located at 35°5′23″N 84°1′48″W / 35.08972°N 84.03°W / 35.08972; -84.03 (35.089848, -84.029924).[4]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 2.5 square miles (6.5 km²), of which, 2.3 square miles (5.9 km²) of it is land and 0.2 square miles (0.6 km²) of it (8.80%) is water.

The town is located at the confluence of the Hiwassee River and Valley River.


The site of Murphy, along the Hiwassee River, was known to the Cherokee as Tlanusi-yi (the Leech Place), because of a legend about a giant leech named Tlanusi that lived in the river there.[5]

The Trading Path (later called the "Unicoi Turnpike") passed by the future site of Murphy, connecting the Cherokee lands east of the mountains with the "Overhill Towns" of Tennessee.[6]

In 1836, during the Cherokee removal known as the Trail of Tears, the United States army built Fort Butler in what is today Murphy. Fort Butler acted as the main collection point for Cherokee east of the mountains. From Fort Butler the Cherokee were taken over the mountains on the Unicoi Turnpike to the main internment camps at Fort Cass (today Charleston, Tennessee). Today the Unicoi Turnpike is known as Joe Brown Highway. The Cherokee County Historical Museum located in Murphy provides information about the Trail of Tears.[7]

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