by Miriam Reyburn-Steele
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
The Village Cemetery is a private
cemetery and only descendants of early slaves are permitted to rest with
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,
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
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
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
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.