Sunday, March 29, 2015

The Bryan Sisters: We Are Family!

The Bryan Sisters

Every family genealogist and historian runs into it somewhere; an ancestral brick wall. It's the point beyond which we are unable to confidently trace our lineage. Our Musgrove surname 'brick wall' is James Walter Musgrove and Elizabeth Bryan.

Although it's believed he came from Baker County, Georgia, James Walter hasn't been connected to any Musgrove family there. About his wife, Elizabeth Bryan, we know a little more. 

Born about 1826, she married James Walter Musgrove, Sr. and they had three sons, J David, Charles H and James W. Jr., together between 1847 and 1852.

Elizabeth had a younger sister, Ellender (known as Ellen), born in 1828. Ellen and William Leverette had two daughters between 1848 and 1850; Sarah Elizabeth (known as Betty) and Mary Ann.


Federal census of 1860
Before 1860, our maternal third great grandfather,
John Forbes Collins, left his wife, Aleph (Butler) Collins, and eight children (including our second great grandmother, Betty Collins) in Baker County and moved to Clinch County, Ga. 

According to the federal census of 1860., our paternal third great grandmother Elizabeth (Bryan) Musgrove and her three sons live with him there that year, under the Collins family surname. Grandpa* James Walter Musgrove had died a few years before.


Federal census 1870
By 1870 our third great grand aunt Ellen and her two daughters, twenty-one year old Elizabeth and Mary, nineteen,  are living with our paternal third great grandmother, Elizabeth Bryan-Musgrove, and her new husband, our maternal third great grandfather, John Collins.

Also living in the home are two of grandma Bryan-Musgrove's sons, Charles and James Musgrove, twenty and eighteen years old, respectively. By this time our grandparents* David Musgrove and Betty Collins had two daughters of their own and were living elsewhere.

Counted in the same house in 1870 is a seven year old mulatto boy named Joe Collins. We know the Collins were slave owners and the Civil War ended five years before, in 1865. 


Was this boy a 'love-child' of John Collins and a former slave or was this the child of a different Collins relative? Although we can't know, chances are good we're somehow related to this boy. 

And we're definitely related to the one year old J W Leverette; by marriage or by blood or both. Born from wedlock of twenty-one year old Elizabeth, John W Leverette would marry Lucy Williams, the mother of our great grandmother, Macie Carol Williams.



So, on June 8, 1870, at a house in Clinch County lived our third great grandmother, Elizabeth Bryan and her sister, our third great grand aunt, Ellen. Our third great grand uncles, Charles and James Musgrove, lived with them. 

Aunt Ellen's daughters are our cousins but Elizabeth Leverette is also the mother of our maternal second great grandfather, John Leverette, making her, her mother Ellen, and her aunt Elizabeth all our grandmothers.

And it doesn't stop there, as we'll see in the next post.

This family page represents the most current state of our research. It will be updated as new or conflicting information becomes known. If you have any information on this family, please contact me or add a comment to this page.


NoteRelationships are expressed from the perspective of the grandchildren of Willis Edgar and Carrie (known as) Mae (Merritt) Musgrove. 

*Terms of relationship - grandmother, uncle, aunt, cousin, etc.  - are used here generically to include  relatives such as fourth great grandfathers, great grand uncles, second cousins twice removed, etc.

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