Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Murray Family History

Our distinguished author, Brenda Bagwell Coates received a Master of Fine Arts from Pratt Institute in New York City – with a Minor in Art Theory and Criticism, and her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of North Carolina at Asheville where she acquired as many credits for her second love, literature, as she did for sculpture and the history of art.  Coates received a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, a North Carolina Arts Council residency in LaNouple, France, as well as grants, commissions, and exhibitions from the Atlanta Arts Council, the South Carolina Arts Council, the North Carolina Museum of Art, Asheville Art Museum, and the Seventh Regiment Armory in New York City.  She taught at Western Carolina University, University of North Carolina in Asheville, and Haifa University in Israel.  Retiring in 2013, Coates now devotes her time to researching and writing on Western North Carolina’s history.

Brenda says that, "Remarkable people shape a country… a state… a county… a neighborhood… a family… an empire. One group of such notable folks was the Murray Clan, whose early migration into the American Colonies with other Scotch-Irish cast the fate and fortune of the Fletcher area located in Henderson County, North Carolina. Here the Murray legend begins with Samuel Murray, Sr., his family, and his empire.

The Murrays' history defies the stereotypical perception of Appalachian folks, who the common lore of history tends to lump into planters, poor whites and slaves. The Murrays reveal themselves to be a new class of pioneers, one who wished to establish a better lifestyle for their families, and orchestrated efforts to build churches and schools, and actively participated in the administration of local government.

Samuel Murray's migration fits the paradigm in the early thirteen colonies for that flood of Scots, Irish, and German newcomers who relocated into the raw and immature south. In exploring Samuel's story, from his ancestor's arrival in the colonies through the evolution of his family as they journeyed southward,  and then into the rugged mountains, we discover early American history itself, and the full array of characters and dynamics that molded this virgin nation, this unsettled wilderness, into the most powerful country in the world."

Her history spans the centuries and brings the history of this remarkable family alive. She calls this opus, At the End of the Road: In the Western North Carolina Mountains, the Murray Clan Settled. We hope that you will all enjoy this great contribution to the story of Fletcher!


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  2. This book is an excellent resource for people in the Fletcher area to learn about the history of their community.

  3. Thanks. Few people know that before it was known as Fletcher it was called Murrayville after the large Murray clan who settled there in the late 1700s. They owned from Fannings Bridge Road to Long Shoals Road. They were also a member of that "middle class" who helped to establish schools, churches, and the infrastructure of roads and bridges in Fletcher's development. B.B.Coates