Monday, May 11, 2015

Musgrove Trivia: Patriot in a Petticoat

Patriot in a Petticoat

At Musgrove Mill State Park in Laurens County, South Carolina, site of The Battle of Musgrove's Mill, there's a monument to Mary Musgrove.

The daughter of Edward Musgrove, our supposed sixth great grand uncle, she's rumored to be our first cousin, seven times removed.



Author: John Pendleton Kennedy
New York: George P. Putnam, 1852
According to Upstate S.C. Information Hub,
"Edward Musgrove himself didn't fight in the (American Revolutionary ed.) war.  At the time of the war he was considered a fairly aged man, about 64 years old, and probably didn't want to have any part in the skirmish.  
But, his home and land was used as a British encampment and his grist mill provided a source of food for the soldiers. 
There have been rumors that his daughter, Mary Musgrove, was a spy for the Patriots and would listen in on the British camped on her father's land and then run to the Patriots camp to relay their plans.   
This was never proven though and there is some speculation that the rumors actually come from a character in a novel called Horseshoe Robinson: A Tale of the Tory Ascendancy published in 1835. "

Sign in front of
Mary Musgrove's monument
The sign in front of the monument at Musgrove Mill State Park reads:

"This monument, erected in the early 20th century, stands as a reminder of the legendary Mary Musgrove. She is remembered as a character in the 19th-century novel 'Horseshoe Robinson' who took great personal risks spying for the Patriots.

While we do know that an actual Mary Musgrove (1755-1795) lived on this site, we do not know what specific role she played in the American Revolution. Her legend does, however, stand as a tribute to the countless women who served as spies, messengers and even combatants during America's fight for independence.

Title page to 'Horseshoe Robinson: A Tale of the Tory Ascendancy.' (slow loading pdf version at link ed.)  Because of the novel's popularity the mostly fictional account of Mary Musgrove persists today. This image (on the sign ed.) was taken from the 1854 revised edition published in New York by George P. Putnam."


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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