Monday, September 17, 2018

Joshua Musgrove: Scalawag

On the morning of December 21, 1862, in camp near Franklin, Virginia, young Confederate soldier William Jordan wrote to his wife - the mother of his five young children,

"I this morning seat myself to inform you that I am well only I got my arm hurt in a row the other day. Hoping these few lines reach you safe and find you and the children all right. 
We got in a fight the other day and the Yankeys got Josh Musgrove, Little Bill Jordan and James Smith, Herman Chain, Elisha Harrison, Abi Dias, Wood Richardson, Albert Gladden all Prisoners. None killed as we know of."   
This post is about Joshua John Musgrove.

We don't know our relationship to Joshua Musgrove. He's a grandson of John Musgrove who fought with his father for the Tories during the Revolutionary War. The younger John's dad was killed and his family's land, taken, after the war. John Edwards, Jr. relocated to Baker County, Georgia.

After the War 

We do know Joshua survived the war and signed the Returns of Qualified Voters & Reconstruction Oath Book on July 18, 1867.

Coincidentally, William B Bailey also signed the oath that day on the opposite page. We'll meet William Bailey again in a future post.

Money Problems

"A fieri facias, usually abbreviated fi. fa. (Latin for that you cause to be made) is a writ of execution after judgment obtained in a legal action for debt or damages for the sheriff to levy on goods of the judgment debtor." 

A Sherriff's sale at the Baker County, Georgia courthouse was advertised in the Georgia Weekly Telegraph and Georgia Journal & Messenger,  on June 7, 1870. For sale was 
" two horse wagon, Levied on as property of J.J. Musgrove to satisfy a fi.fa. from Baker Superior Court in favor of John Atkinson vs. J J Musgrove." 
On October 31, 1871, the same paper announced,
"Will be sold before the courthouse doors in the town of black Horse Mule, about six years old, Levied on as the property of J J Musgrove to satisfy a mortgage fi.fa.  from Baker County superior Court, in favor of John Atkinson vs. J J Musgrove."


"In United States history, scalawags were white Southerners who supported Reconstruction and the Republican Party, after the American Civil War." Wikipedia
From The "loil" legislature of Alabama; its ridiculous doings, and nonsensical sayings (1868) from page 16
The scallawag is the meanest of all earthly creations. Unlike the carpet-bagger, he is native, which is so much the worse. Once he was respected in his circle; his head was level, and he could look his neighbor in the face. 
Now, possessed of the itch of office and the salt rheum (noun - literary - a watery fluid that collects in or drips from the nose or eyes Dictionary.comof radi-calism, he is a mangy dog, shrinking through the alleys, haunting the Governors office, defiling with tobacco juice the steps of the capitol, stretching his lazy carcass in the sun on the square, or the benches of the Mayors Court.
On December 31, 1875, on page eight, the Georgia Weekly Telegraph and Georgia Journal & Messenger ran an article about the former Confederate Prisoner of War entitiled:
Killed in the House of His Friends  
"JJ Musgrove, a white scalawag of this county, was murdered by Jim and Sam Tillman, colored, who lived on H A Tarver's Notchaway plantation. Musgrove had caught them stealing sheep of Hon. James George and had informed Mr. G(eorge ed.)   
Musgrove went on Monday to borrow a foot adz (an axe-like tool, for dressing timbers roughly of the negroes, Jim and Sam, when they had some difficulty, and the negroes knocked him on the head and then cut his throat and buried him in a manure pile on the premises. Jim fled after the deed, but Sam was arrested and is now in jail and confesses the murder." 
This story of a Southern boy murdered by Negroes was picked up by the Atlanta Constitution a few days later. During the contentious 1876 election season, that paper followed his story closely and on March 11, 1876, they ran an article announcing "The negro who murdered Mr. Musgrove in Baker county has been captured".

The May 25, 1876 issue of the Atlanta Constitution announced the conviction of the murderers of J J Musgrove.

"Sam Tillman and Jim Tillman, colored, have been convicted in Baker County of the murder of Col. J J Musgrove last December. They were recommended to Mercy"

Reconstruction and 1876: Crash Course US History

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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