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.
Murphy was named for North Carolina politician Archibald Murphey. He was influential in educational advances for the people of North Carolina in the early 19th Century. The original spelling of the town was to be "Murphey" but the "e" was lost, or dropped at some point in history. Before the town name was changed to Murphy, the settlement was named "Hunnington/ Huntington" after A.R.S. Hunter. He established the first Trading Post prior to 1828, where he would trade with the Cherokee, Early Settlers, and U.S. Army Soldiers on expeditions, or stationed at nearby Fort Butler. He was also the settlement's first Post Master, erecting the first Post Office.
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.
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.
In 1836, during the Cherokee removal known as the Trail of Tears, the United States army built Fort Butler in what is today Murphy.