Welcome to the City of Murphy, Texas
The Murphy area was one of the earliest areas to be settled in Collin County.
In the mid-1840s the Maxwells, McMillens, Herrings, Sachses, Pegues, and several other families settled in the area around present-day Murphy. Some were there before statehood. The Murphy family came in the early 1850s.
James Maxwell, Sr. brought his family to Collin County in 1846 from Arkansas. Maxwell Creek still carries the name of this early family. It runs from Allen down to Murphy where it turns east and joins Muddy Creek near Wylie.
The first community in the area was named Maxwell. It was located about 1/4 mile down present-day South Maxwell Creek Road from FM544.
Comfort Allen McMillen, husband of Lydia Maxwell, is credited with forming the Corinth Presbyterian Church in 1846, thought to be the oldest continuing church congregation in Collin County. For many years the congregation met in the Maxwell School House. After the Civil War it met at the McMillen home and later the Wilkins School House in Corinth. The present building in Parker was built around 1920 when one of the church members donated land for a new building. To view pictures of the Corinth Presbyterian Church go to
Its stained glass window is interesting in that Jesus has 6 toes on one of His feet.
According to the Daybook of Henry Maxwell, 1853-1860, life was busy and thriving in the 1850s in and around the small community of Maxwell. Even though no county roads were officially built until 1858, in 1853 Henry Maxwell was going to the town that later became Plano for shopping a couple of times a week and McKinney about once a month. He went south toward present-day Sachse to the blacksmith's shop and west toward present-day Dublin Road for legal work. He went east to check on his livestock that was allowed to roam free in the East Fork of the Trinity River bottoms around present-day Wylie. Note that the community of Maxwell predated all of the towns mentioned, except McKinney. It might even have predated McKinney.
Henry Maxwell worked on his land, planting crops and building fences. He took his corn to the mill in Dublin to be ground and his cotton to the local gin. He sold and traded his pigs, sheep, cows, and horses and bought and sold pieces of land. He went to preaching every Sunday.
The Maxwell school house had already been built by 1853. "Preaching" was held there weekly. In the days of circuit riders, ministers from different denominations visited the school each week. In Collin County the denominations were usually Baptist, Methodist, Cumberland Presbyterian, and Christian. The local residents attended every week, no matter which denomination was represented.
Other entertainments included Singing Schools and debates. Singing schools lasted about 1 week. Debates were very popular at that time when most people were illiterate. A debate might last three or four nights and would cover any number of topics. Which denomination was best was a favorite subject. Many times the debaters were preachers also.
As early as 1846 protracted camp meetings were held as a way to bring religion to the rural people where no church existed. The annual meetings were held usually near a spring. In the Murphy area they were held at Pegues Springs, near present-day Dublin Road and FM544. Different denominations would hold the meetings. Families would pack enough supplies in their wagons for a week, or maybe two, and camp out near the spring. The revivals always ended with several conversions and baptisms. Many of Collin County's earliest churches claim their beginnings were the annual camp meetings. There were stories about families being half way home before realizing they had left one of their children behind.
At the beginning of the Civil War, the Maxwell community voted for secession, even though the rest of Collin County voted against it. Most of the local Confederate enlistees were in either Fitzhugh's Regiment in Lucas or Stone's Regiment in Plano.
At one point in the 1870s some of the residents tried to develop a town site. Decatur was located between the present-day roads of Murphy, Maxwell Creek, and FM544. It was about 3 blocks wide and 3 blocks deep. A few town lots were sold. Decatur was not a successful business venture. However, at one time the town had J. T. Murphy's cotton gin, a church, a school, 3 doctors and a general store. The Decatur school lasted until about 1900. In 1884 the town applied for a post office. Since the name Decatur was already in use, the post office was named Maxwell. The post office lasted 3 years, until the railroad came to the area.
In 1887 the St. Louis-Southwestern Railway (Cottonbelt) said they wanted to connect Plano and Greenville. When railroads were being built, the companies knew they wanted to go from point A to point B. The exact route depended on bribes and incentives. James Murphy promised to donate right-of-way and a nice depot if the railroad came through his property. The railroad named the depot "Murphy." A new town was born. Maxwell and Decatur faded away.
Murphy continued to thrive. The Murphy post office was started in 1891 with James Murphy as postmaster. In 1900 the First Baptist Church was built near the corner of FM544 and Murphy Road. By 1920 Murphy had a bank, a school, a drug store, a general store, a barber shop, a café, and a picture show, plus cotton gins and gas stations. The major crops were cotton and onions. The WPA built the Murphy school building in the 1930s. During the 1950s, the school district and the post office were consolidated with Plano. It seems odd that Murphy did not incorporate before 1950. It was obviously a thriving community before that time.
In the late 1980s Murphy was still a rural farming community. To see what Murphy was like in 1988 go to
The intersection of FM544 and Murphy Road consisted of the First Baptist Church of Murphy on the southwest with the current little strip mall going south down Murphy Road. On the northeast corner was the Murphy Store. The other two corners were undeveloped. Current development.
Expansion and development started in Murphy in the late 1990s. The Plano Independent School District built a high school and middle school. A huge city hall was opened recently. Shopping centers are being built. All four corners of Murphy's main intersection, FM544 and Murphy Road are developed, with shopping centers on three of the corners. The First Baptist Church that had stood on the corner of FM544 and Murphy Road for 100 years moved about 1 mile north on Murphy Road.
Murphy is the only community of its size in Collin County that has four (4) cemeteries: Maxwell/Murphy, Herring/Hogge, McMillen, and Murphy Family. The oldest of these is the Maxwell/Murphy Cemetery.
The Maxwell/Murphy Cemetery is a public cemetery that is located in northeast Murphy on the James Maxwell, Jr. survey. Maxwell Creek was named for this family. This cemetery was in use as early at 1852. It is thought that members of all of the early Murphy families are buried here: Maxwell, Herring, Sachse, McMillen and Pegues. There are no stones or records to verify this.
The Maxwell/Murphy Cemetery was started in the late 1840s, possibly when James Maxwell, Sr. died. The earliest marked grave is dated 1852. Henry Maxwell mentions helping with the burial.
In 1886, while a resident of Coryell County, Texas, James Maxwell, Jr. sold three acres of land for $5 for a public cemetery to trustees C. A. McMillan, H. Willaford, and W. Brinson. The deed states that the cemetery is known as the Maxwell Cemetery. Members of the families of all three trustees are buried in the cemetery. McMillan and Willaford were part of the original Maxwell wagon train. The cemetery was deeded right before the railroad came through Murphy.
The Maxwell/Murphy Cemetery served the Dublin, Parker, Garland, Lucas, Sachse, Wylie, Plano and Murphy communities. For many years the Maxwell Cemetery was the only public cemetery in southeast Collin County between Plano and the East Fork of the Trinity River. The cemetery contains over 300 graves, the last one in 1966.
A cemetery association was started in 1993 to help protect and preserve the cemetery. The Maxwell Cemetery continues to be one of the few remaining records of the life and history of this very early Collin County community known as Murphy.
The Herring/Hogge Cemetery is located on the east side of Murphy Road about 1 mile south of the intersection with FM 544. It contains about 25 graves. Daniel Herring was one of the earliest settlers in the Murphy area. He came to Collin County in 1848 from Illinois with his wife and family and his mother. They were in the same group as William Sachse. His first wife and his mother are buried in the Maxwell/Murphy Cemetery. In the 1870s he started the Herring/Hogge Cemetery. He and his second wife are buried there. One of his daughters married a Hogge. Most of the graves in this cemetery are for the Herring, Hogge, and McAmis families. The McAmis also married into the Herring family.
Comfort Allen McMillen was also one of the earliest settlers in the Murphy area, arriving in 1846. His wife was Lydia Maxwell, a daughter of Henry Maxwell. McMillen was one of the trustees of the Maxwell/Murphy Cemetery. Several McMillens are buried in the Maxwell/Murphy Cemetery, including some of the children of Comfort Allen and Lydia. Comfort McMillen created the McMillen Cemetery near his homestead and in 1907 he deeded the property to the Corinth Presbyterian Church in Parker, which he helped found. The cemetery contains about 12 graves.
Thomas Moulden married Polly McMillen, sister of Comfort McMillen. He died before his family came to Texas with the other McMillens. One of th Moulden sons married Susan Murphy, a daughter of William Murphy, for whom Murphy is named. William Murphy is buried here, along with about 30 family members.
Graciously provided by Collin County historian Joy Gough
Ms. Gough is the author of: Cemeteries of Collin County, Texas; Hear That Lonesome Whistle Blow: A History of Railroads and Interurbans in Collin County Texas; Place Names of Collin County; Texas Early Roads of Collin County; Texas Decatur-Maxwell-Murphy Cemetery The Young Cemetery of Collin County, Texas.