Sunday, January 7, 2018

Laura Musgrove: Wilde's Family Massacre

John and Laura Janet (Musgrove) Wildes
Spencer and Katie Wildes
Laura Janet Musgrove 

The story is Laura Janet Musgrove - born on November 14, 1868, in Ware County, Georgia to John 'David' Musgrove and Elizabeth Arissa Collins - married Phillip Eugene Wildes in 1887. 

Phillip's grandfather survived when his family was massacred in 1838; two years after the last Indian attack in Berrien County, Georgia. 

(This family will fall victim to another wave of carnage in 1918; the Spanish flu.)

Wildes Family Massacre

"The last Indian massacre that occurred in Georgia happened in the northwest corner of the Okefenokee Swamp near Waycross, Georgia on July 22, 1838. ...Four Wildes boys and a neighbor's daughter survived." Our Georgia History
Phillip was the grandson of 
Wilde Family Cabin Museum
Laura Walker Entrance/Okefenokee swamp
John Wildes,  a survivor of the Wildes Family Massacre. Eight family members were slaughtered and buried in their wagon. 

This event is commemorated by a cabin at the Laura Walker entrance  of the Okefenokee Swamp.

The attack was reported in a Letter to the Editor of the Jacksonville Courier:

"Camp Wildes, Geo.
 July 22

Forty-five miles northwest of Centreville, on Sunday morning, a man came full speed into camp, with the cry of Indians. I asked where. He said about five miles off; that he had just removed a family, who heard the report of guns and screams of people. We were in our saddles in moments, and under full speed to the spot where the alarm originated. and O. God! Of all the scenes I ever saw, or wish to see, the most shocking presented itself. 

On reaching the ground, a man, wife and four children of his own, and two of his sister's, had fallen by the Indians. Three of the six were alive when we reached the spot; one, about three years old, had been shot through the abdomen, and lay asleep on the dead mother, another about ten rods from the mother.

But O, horrid to tell, I found a young lady of eighteen shot in two places...and yet she was alive and had her senses perfectly. This was the most trying time I had ever seen. I gave her cold water, which she wished much, and remained with her as long as I could, till obliged to go in search of Indians. We left guard to protect them, and administer to them all they could, but all expired in less than twenty minutes after we left.

The Indians scattered in all directions, and it was sometime before we could find the trail; we followed them about twenty-five miles, and until further pursuit could not be had, having then gone into the Okefenokee as far as white men could well go.  

We left our horses, and waded to our hips in mud for two miles, which was as much as we could stand. We returned that night, found all buried, eight in number to one grave. We returned to camp, now Camp Wildes, that being the named of the murdered family."

Jacksonville Courier 
August 9, 1838

Queen of the Okefenokee
Authors: Lois Barefoot Mays and Richard Mays
Appendix 1: The Wildes Massacre
Pages 84-5

Wildes' Family Cabin

*NoteRelationships, such as grandmother, 2nd great, etc., 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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