Thursday, October 6, 2016

The Musgroves in Clinch County: 1860


"The people of what is now Clinch County, were not rich. The settlers were plain men, honest and thrifty. Their houses were simple buildings, situated generally near the few roads there were. The people did all their work except those who were fortunate enough to own slaves."
Folks Huxford: History of Clinch County page 17

Our known Musgrove family name history starts in Clinch County, Georgia with David and Betty (Collins) Musgrove, one year before the American Civil War. Only recently converted from the McMurry surname, in the first record of our Musgrove ancestor he is David Collins.


Historical Background

Lincoln's Election, Punch Magazine, December 1, 1860


Political cartoon
"When Abraham Lincoln was elected President of the United States in 1860, it became apparent that the North and the South was hopelessly divided."

Our nation was divided in election year of 1860. The issue was whether the Midwestern territories should enter the Union as Free or Slave States.

We blogged about the Musgrove brothers in Florida who are suspected of helping slaves escape.  It was claimed our missing 'James Walter Musgrove' ancestor was their brother.


The Record Speaks


1860 Federal Census





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On July 27th, 1860 - four months before Lincoln's election - the census taker in Clinch County, Georgia counted the Collins family; John Forbes, his wife, Elizabeth and three boys, David, Charles and James. On a separate Slave Schedule he reported their 18 year old female slave.

John is nine years older than his wife. Their land is worth $3000.00 and their personal property, $2300.00. Elizabeth cannot read and write.

This is the first known record of our Musgrove family line.

Marriage Certificate


In chronological order, our second record shows John Forbes Collins and Elizabeth Musgrove actually married two years after the war on August 27th, 1867.

They had lived on common-law since at least 1860.

Ten years before - on the 1850  census - John Collins was counted in Baker County, Georgia with his first wife, Adelph Butler and their five daughters and infant son.


Clinch County Court Records


"Sometime after James Sr. died, John F. separated from his wife and lived in common law with Elizabeth Bryan Musgrove and her three sons David John, Charles H. and James Walter."
American Family Musgrove by Richard Graham page 734




Clinch County charged them with 'adultery and fornication' and that case was settled in September of 1868. They had married in August of 1867. The story behind this is lost. Folks Huxford relates this event the same summer they married.

"During the summer of 1867 the court-house at Homerville was burned. Like the burning of the court-house at Magnolia in 1856, it was never ascertained how the fire originated, but it was generally thought to be incendiary (ed. arson). It was burned at night, and all the records for the previous ten years were destroyed... ." 
History of Clinch County page 75

By the time their case was heard in a temporary rented courthouse the Collins were married. They had also become grandparents, twice over.

Mary Ann Savannah (aka Molly) Musgrove


David "Collins" Musgrove's first child, known as Molly, was born June 25th, 1867.

She never married. She 'wasn't quite right', according to family, and spent time at a mental asylum in Milledgeville, Georgia.. She lived with family all her life and took care of her siblings children.

One of those children, Katie Wildes, told Richard Musgrove a story from her Aunt Mollie;

"...John F. Collins and Adelph Butler were the parents of Elizabeth Collins. ...
American Family Musgrove page 734
Sometime after John Collins left his family in Baker County;
On a trip back to visit Adelph, John F. Collins picked up his daughter (Elizabeth) for a visit with the Musgroves. Elizabeth and David fell in love and were married
American Family Musgrove  page 734
So our grandfather*(see relationship notes), Betty Collins dad, married our grandmother, David Musgrove's mom.

We'll blog about the next record, the 1870 Federal census, next post.

Election of 1860: A 135-Second Documentary



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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