Murphy is a town in and the county seat of Cherokee County, North Carolina, United States. It is situated at the confluence of the Hiwassee and Valley rivers. It is the westernmost county seat in the state of North Carolina, approximately 360 miles (580 km) from the state capital in Raleigh. The population of Murphy was 1,627 at the 2010 census.
This area had long been part of the homelands of the Cherokee people. They knew this site along the Hiwassee River as Tlanusi-yi (the Leech Place). They had a legend about a giant leech named Tlanusi, that lived in the river here. The Trading Path (later called the "Unicoi Turnpike") passed by the future site of Murphy, connecting the Cherokee lands east of the mountains with what were known to European colonists as the "Overhill Towns" of Tennessee.
After European Americans began to settle here, they named the site "Hunnington/ Huntington" after A.R.S. Hunter. He established the first trading post prior to 1828, where he would trade with the Cherokee, early European-American settlers, and U.S. Army soldiers on expeditions, or stationed at nearby Fort Butler. He was also appointed as the settlement's first postmaster, erecting the first Post Office.
European Americans later renamed the settlement as Murphy for North Carolina politician Archibald Murphey.