Murphy is on Farm Road 544 five miles east of Plano in south central Collin County. Attracted by the offer of land grants from the Peters colony, the first settlers of the community arrived in the area in 1846. The original townsite, located on land owned by C. A. McMillen, was first called Old Decator, after McMillen's hometown, and later, Maxwell's Branch. When the St. Louis Southwestern Railway reached the area in 1888, the residents renamed the town Murphy, in honor of William Murphy, who provided land for the tracks and the construction of a depot. A post office was established there in 1891. From the 1880s until the 1950s Murphy served as a shipping point for area farmers and stock raisers. The Great Depression, the mechanization of farming, and job opportunities in the Dallas metropolitan area contributed to a decline in the population of Murphy. Though the rural community was never very large, its population was reduced to 150 by the mid-1950s and to 135 by 1961. Mail service was discontinued in 1954. Beginning in the mid-1970s, however, the population increased dramatically. The establishment of businesses in nearby Plano and Richardson made Murphy a commuter community for these two cities. In 1970 there were 136 residents reported in Murphy. That figure had risen to 1,500 by 1986, fallen to 1,114 by 1988, and risen again to 1,547 in 1990. In 2000 the population doubled to 3,099.