When David Murray — the first Murray of the Princess Anne County, Virginia, Murrays — arrived in the colonies in 1622, he was an indentured servant. But the 650 acres he eventually earned became the seat for a generation of Murrays, including Thomas Murray, whose father Isaac built him a brick gambrel-roofed Dutch Colonia home on the Elizabeth River in 1791.
In fact, he built all three of his sons’ homes on the land that would eventually be part of what would become Virginia Beach, Virginia, likely pressing his initials into a brick in the chimneys of each home, just as he did in the Thomas Murray House. That’s just a guess, though, because of the three homes, Thomas’ is the only one to survive the centuries that grew America.
Thomas’ home almost met the same fate as his brothers’ did — it was slated for demolition in the 1950s before a preservation-minded buyer took it in hand, restoring it the home lovingly. More owners followed adding period-specific recreations of a smokehouse and carriage house in 1988, and maintaining the original working well, and painstakingly updating to include modern amenities like indoor plumbing, electricity, and HVAC, without disrupting too much the historic home.
Isaac built the homes to last, even if ultimately only one did. An interior chimney bookends the central floorplan of the house, and the roof has five dormer windows on each side. A central stairway leads to a second floor.
The exterior walls are solid brick — 18 inches thick and laid in Flemish bond, and inside, the original heart of pine floors have been restored and cared for. The mantels on all five fireplaces are original to the home, too.
And now the home is for sale.
“This is a rare opportunity to own a part of history,” said listing agent Dave Reisch with Rose & Womble Realty. “This wonderful home is nestled on the shores of the Kings Creek branch of the Elizabeth River on a peaceful lot with scenic water and wildlife views.”
Reisch describes a home with all the history that makes it unique, but all the amenities that make it ideal for modern living, too.
The main house had new HVAC installed in 2015, and the separate carriage house has full living quarters with one bedroom, one-and-a-half baths, a two-car garage, and a workshop.
“There is a persimmon tree on the property that will convey as well as historical documents and artwork related to the property,” he said, adding that there is also plenty of room for gardening.
And if you don’t wish to live in Virginia Beach year-round, or are looking for an investment property, Reisch said the property’s historic zoning allows it to be used as a bed and breakfast, residence, business, or even a museum. The carriage house can be used for Airbnb, too.