I'm just starting to work on my Cabarrus Co, NC Murph side.
The first that I see proof of in Cabarrus County is Jacob Murph in the 1800 NC Census.However, a Mary Murph married John Still in Cabarrus in 1808 and the WorldConnect database says that she was born in Cabarrus in 1788.
However, that may not be her correct birthplace because the only thing that I find resembling Murph/Murf/Murff in the NC 1790 census is Jacob Murph in Mecklenburg Co, NC.
I've studied the migration patterns of early settlers some and it would make sense for someone moving up from South Carolina to be in Mecklenburg before reaching Cabarrus. The settlers generally moved up the south side of the Pee Dee River in a northwest pattern from SC leading towards Salisbury NC and then many went up to the Cumberland gap and into TN and KY.
This conflicts with the Murph family story that my mom's heard which is that they came to NC from Philadelphia down the Great Wagon Road through Virginia.However, I've found that family legends are unfortunately only about 10% fact most of the times.
The next thing that I find after Mary's marriage is a John Murph who served in the NC Militia in the war of 1812.
Andy Blackard (mother Rosa Beatrice Murph) (grandfather William R. Murph, born Cabarrus Co,NC)