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Riley Murray House

This 2 1/2 story home, the largest finely detailed plantation house in the Lake Landing historic district, was built--according to local tradition--for Riley Murray by carpenter Caleb Brooks between 1821-1826. Each gable end is distinguished by an interior chimney with exposed face for utilization of heat to the upper floor when the fireplaces are burning. While there is no wainscoting, molded shelf chair rails appear throughout the plastered interior. An open well three-run staircase rises from the wide center hall. The hardware such as nails, hinges, door locks, and gutter straps, were made on the farm as well as the "horse hair" plaster. All locks, windows, shutters, gutter hangers, floors, doors, chair rails, and mantels are original to this house. Mortar for the chimneys was made from cooked oyster shell powder and sand. An adjoining kitchen attached to the main house by a porch no longer stands. The house was restored by Dr. and Mrs. H.J. Liverman of Engelhard in 1969 when rear shed rooms were added (see black & white photo).

In February 1803, Timothy Murray purchased 75 acres of land from John Carrowan, Jr., Abel Hutson and Susanna Hutson for 200 £. In his 1803 will, Murray devised this tract to his son Riley, "when he shall arrive to the age of 21." Riley Murray was a farmer who served as Hyde County's Clerk of Court and represented the county in the State Senate in 1852. He was married to (1) Nancy Locker Gibbs, (2) Mary Anson Gibbs, and (3) Eleanor Bowen Farrow. Riley died without a will and in March 1899, the plantation was divided between two of his daughters. Eugenia Crittenden Murray and husband Benjamin Blossom Saunderson received two-thirds of the land and Lizzie Lowe Murray and husband Dr. Joseph Allen Mann, received one-third of the property and the house.

In 1909 Dr. Mann defaulted on a mortgage on the property, and the house and land were sold at public auction to William H. Jones for $1,101. In his 1910 will, Jones left a life estate to his third wife, Martha Estelle "Mattie" Tunnell Jones, and after her death, to Lillian Marie Jones, his daughter by his second wife, Sallie Indiana Swindell. (Genealogy note: William H. Jones' first wife was Josephine Saunderson, sister to Benjamin Blossom Saunderson, and daughter of Erasmus H. & Sarah B. Saunderson.)

Mrs. Martha Estelle Tunnell Jones married Milton Donald Boomer in 1927. In December 1930 Lillian Marie Jones Carter sold the property and house to Milton Donald Boomer, subject to the life estate of Mrs. Martha E. Tunnell Jones Boomer.

In 1936, the Boomers sold the western half of the property to Mrs. Thanie Cuthrell and her husband, E.T. Cuthrell. A 1938 deed shows that the Boomers sold their half of the property and the house to his sister, Isabelle Boomer. In the same year the Boomers gave Mrs. Thanie Cuthrell a clear title for the piece she and her husband had purchased in 1936.

In 1944, after Milton Donald Boomer's death, Isabelle Boomer deeded the property back to his widow, Martha Estelle Tunnell Jones Boomer. Apparently there was some question regarding the validity of this deed, so in 1947 Milton Donald Boomer's widow, Mattie, his brother, sisters, and nieces deeded the property and house to George T. Davis, Trustee, to sell.

In March 1947, the Trustee sold the house and property to Mattamuskeet Country Club, Inc. The Club kept the property until December 1961 when it was sold to Coleman Credle Davis. In April 1969, Mr. Davis sold 2.43 acres of the property and the house to Dr. H.J. Liverman and wife, June Long Liverman, the present owners.

(Color photo from Historic Lake Landing Landmarks brochure submitted by Margie Brooks from the Greater Hyde County Chamber of Commerce. Information on the house was taken from High Tides; Fall 1983; pgs. 7-8 and Hyde County History.)

Copyright 1999

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