Joseph Murray


I was a Patriot who lost his life in the cause.

I was born in Northern Ireland to a Scotch-Irish family. Sometime before 1767 my mother Elizabeth and I came to America and purchased 40 acres in Middletown Township in Monmouth County. I built a sturdy farmhouse and barn for my family, which now included my wife Rebecca Morris. Our first child was born in 1771.

When the Revolution broke out, we were all torn between supporting the rebels and remaining loyal to England. I chose rebellion, and in 1775 I signed on with the First Monmouth County militia regiment. We were ordered to capture horses from the Loyalists to supply the American army. This was very dangerous because we were fighting both a civil war and a war for independence, and horse thieving is a crime. In January 1779, I was charged with trespass and assault, and then captured in a Loyalist raid and imprisoned in New York. I was able to escape and appeared in court on January 27, 1780. Luckily, no one appeared against me, so the charges were dropped.

On June 7, 1780, a group of us were ordered to reconnoiter near Sandy Hook. The next morning I was given leave to go home and plow my fields. While I was working, three Loyalists arrived and attacked me with guns and bayonets. I fought back, but it was no use, when neighbors came later to help, they found me dead in my field.

Today my house and barn still stand, and you can visit them in Poricy Park in Middletown.


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