Monday, January 12, 2015

James Walter Musgrove and Elizabeth (Bryan) Collins

James Walter Musgrove and Elizabeth (Bryan) Collins

Family tradition has it our third great grandfather, James Walter Musgrove, was born
Baker County sign
(click to enlarge)
about 1823 in what would become 
Baker County, Ga. He married and had three sons with Elizabeth Bryan between 1847 and 1852; our 2nd great grandfather, John David Musgrove (known as David) and our two great grand uncles, Charles and James Musgrove, Jr.  His oldest son, our 2nd great grandfather, wasn't yet a teenager when his father, James Sr., died.

From "The American Family Musgrove" by Richard Graham Musgrove, page 734, comes the story:

"John F. Collins and Adelph Butler were the parents of Elizabeth Collins. 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. On a trip back to visit Adelph, John F. Collins picked up his daughter for a visit with the Musgroves. Elizabeth and David fell in love and were married."
John Collins and Elizabeth Musgrove
marriage license
(click to enlarge)
The federal census of 1860 lists John Collins and Elizabeth (Bryan) Musgrove living in Clinch County, under the Collins family name, with David, 15, Charles, 13 and James, 8 years old. The same year's census lists our third great grandfather's daughter, John David's future wife, Elizabeth (Betty) Collins, 15 years old, living with her mother and seven siblings in Baker County.

Allegedly five years after the census, in 1865, our 2nd great grandparents, David and Betty Musgrove, married. On June 25th, 1867 they had their first child. A month later, on August 27th, 1867, their parents, our 3rd great grandparents twice over, married. John Collins and Elizabeth (Bryan) Musgrove had been living in common-in-law for at least seven years by then. Evidently, someone didn't approve.

John Collins and Elizabeth Musgrove
criminal records index
(click to enlarge)
Although they married in Berrien County, Ga. in 1867, Clinch County, Ga. charged our 3rd great grandparents (twice over) in 1868 for 'Adultery and Fornication'. The case was 'nol prossed' (dismissed) Oct, 1869. There's a story behind this, told on page 38 of the Case Records for Clinch County Superior Court, Book A. Unfortunately, that book is missing. 

After David Musgrove married Betty Collins they had eight children together. Their last, a daughter they named Martha, died in infancy. Our great grandfather, Edward Columbus (Ed), was the the youngest surviving child from this family. He was eleven years old, not yet a teen, when the Saturday, April 7, 1894 edition of the Waycross Herald announced,

Betty Musgrove suicide article
(click to enlarge)
Ill Health Assigned as the Only Cause for the Rash Act.

"Mrs David Musgrove, wife of a well to do farmer, who lives about five miles from the city in an easterly direction, committed suicide last night by taking strychnine.  
Mrs. Musgrove had been an invalid for eighteen months, and recently her health had been very bad. No other cause is given for the act.  
Mrs. Musgrove was about 40 years old, and leaves a husband and several children, some of them are about grown.  
Everything possible was done to counteract the influence of the poison and save the victim's life, but to no avail.  
The remains will be buried at Mount Pleasant tomorrow."
Our great aunt Louise, the youngest and last surviving child of our great grandparents, relayed a family story about her grandmother to us. Some months before Betty Musgrove's death she was bitten by a spider and became very ill.

David Musgrove and Eliza Cox
marriage license
(click to enlarge)
Three years after his wife's death, November 17, 1897, David married Eliza Cox. He  was 50 years old; she, 37. They both had grown children but had no offspring together. On the 1900 census their household consisted of only them. 

About her grandfather great aunt Louise says our 2nd great grandfather accidentally chopped his leg with an ax. It was amputated; he got a wooden leg. (Our great grandfather, Eddie Columbus, told his daughter he could hear his father's wooden leg bump the floor when he walked.)

The crops were in and our 2nd great grandfather asked our great grandfather, his youngest son, to help him harvest them. He offered his son his mule, wagon and violin for the help. Our great grandfather helped but didn't get the mule and wagon. One of his brothers got the violin after their father's death. 

Our 2nd great grandfather died in May of 1905, at 58 years old, of a heart attack. This would become a pattern for men in our family. Our great grandfather, Edward Columbus, died of a heart attack as did our grandfather, Willis Edgar.

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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