The present Musgrove Plantation is a modern day estate consisting of 1200 acres situate on the banks of Village Creek. The lands were in part a working plantation during the sea island cotton eras of yesterday. But this tract in its entirety is viewed today as a different entity being comprised of new holdings in 1938 by the R.J. Reynolds family enterprise. The main entrance of Musgrove Plantation is located at the junction of Frederica Road and Lawrence Road.
The Village Cemetery is a private cemetery and only descendants of early slaves are permitted to rest with their ancestors.
The naming of the Musgrove Plantation derives its historic name from Mary Musgrove, a half breed Indian, born Cousaponakeesa, in 1700, in an Indian Village on the Ocmulgee River. Her father was a white trader and her mother was a Creek Indian.
At the age of seven, Cousaponakeesa was sent to South Carolina to be educated in the English schools. During her schooling, she was baptized into the Church of England, was given the name of "Mary", and readily adapted herself to English colonial society.
At the age of sixteen, Mary married an English settler, John Musgrove, and together they established a trading post in the Georgia territory. Due to her knowledge of both Native and English ways, the trading post became highly successful. While Mary earned great respect throughout the territory, John and Mary invested their profits in land.
When James Edward Oglethorpe and the first settlers arrived in the new colony of Georgia in 1733, Mary Musgrove was on hand to greet them, and served as an interpreter. In order for Oglethorpe to secure cooperation of the Creeks, he had to win their agreement to land-settlements and trade. Oglethorpe had to win their support against Spanish and French attempts to acquire land, and he had to be certain that Creek warriors would resist Spanish incursions from the South.
Mary Musgrove was ideally suited for the task to network this task. She was tireless and fearless in the missions she undertook. The same was true of her shrewdness in inter-tribal negotiations and land-grants.
Since 1737, Mary's landholdings increased substantially after her kinsman transferred their own holdings to her. Upon Oglethorpe's return from a trip to England, the trustees for the colony rewarded a grant of 500 acres to John and Mary Musgrove, making them the largest landowners in the colony. They now owned thousands of miles of land along the Savannah River and the islands along the Georgia coast.
Mary died at the age of 63, and is buried on St. Catherine's Island, Georgia.
**Information kindly provided by Miriam Reyburn-Steele from her book compiled on the Village Cemetery located on Musgrove Plantation.
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