John Musgrave came to American in 1682, when he was 13 or 14 years of age. He was a Quaker and came as indentured servant* with Valentine Hollingsworth, living with Hollingsworth and his family for about four years in Delaware.
John’s father, Oswin Musgrave, most likely made the arrangements for John’s passage to America, planning to follow shortly with the rest of the family.
John was born in Belfast, Ireland in about 1668. His older brother, Moses, and parents, Oswin and Elizabeth, soon joined him in what is now New Castle County, Delaware near the present Pennsylvania-Delaware border. The earliest record is a warrant to John and Moses Musgrave to buy 200 acres of land, dated the November 2, 1689. This was just seven years after William Penn had founded his colony in Pennsylvania.
John went on to become a successful yeoman farmer and a representative of the Township, as well as a provincial representative with William Penn. His family has been extensively researched as has his father Oswin.** Since my direct ancestor is his brother, Moses, I’ll focus on Moses in a later post, after introducing his father and brothers.
Oswin (first name also spelled Owen, Oswyn, Ossman and Oswin and last name also spelled Musgrove or Moosgrave on various documents) was the father of John and Moses. There is a lot of speculation about Oswin’s background. Oswin means “God’s friend”. There is speculation the name may be an adopted name. If so, we may never learn who his parents were. In “The Ejected of 1662: Cumberland & Westmorland; Their Predecessors and Successors” by Benjamin Nightingale there are quite a few references to a grandson of Sir Simon Musgrave who some speculate may be Oswin’s father.
Musgrave is a very old and noble English name with debate on which was first, a Musgrave from Germany via France with William the Conqueror or the English ones who formed the village of Greater Musgrave. Interestingly, Quakerism in Ireland was started by William Edmundson (1627-1712) who was born at Little Musgrave, England. The earliest records of Ireland have been lost by fire, leaving us to speculate on our Oswin Musgrave’s move from England to Ireland, and then on to Pennsylvania. That’s for other historians to research. Here’s what we do know.
Oswin MUSGRAVE was born about 1640 in Cumberland County, England, some say at Eden Hall. He had died by 1687 in Chester County, Pennsylvania at age of 47. Oswin is thought to have moved from England to North Ireland about 1649, with his parents. Oswin married Elizabeth last name unknown in 1665 in Armagh County, Ireland.*** Oswin and Elizabeth were Quakers. Elizabeth was born in 1644 in Armagh County, Ireland and died in 1698 in Chester County, Pennsylvania. Their sons were:
i. Moses Musgrave Sr.-born 1667 in Belfast, Armagh Co., Ireland; died Lancaster Co., PA at age 59.
ii. John Musgrave Sr.-born in 1669 in Belfast, Armagh Co., Ireland; died Chester Co., PA at age 76.
iii. Thomas Musgrave was born in America and buried in Darby, Delaware County, Pennsylvania.
iv. Abraham Musgrave was born in America and buried in Darby, Delaware County, Pennsylvania.
v. Aaron Musgrave was born in America. We have no details on his death.
Oswin and Elizabeth left Belfast, Ireland arriving in port on the Delaware River in 1682.**** In 1683, Oswin bought 100 acres of land near his son John’s 200 acres. By 1687, Elizabeth was referred to as Widow Musgrave. In 1689, Elizabeth Musgrave was one of twelve women impaneled as a jury; in Quaker communities, women served as jurors on trials with women defendants. Elizabeth was still alive on November 28, 1697, when she was asked to bring consent for Moses to marry Patience Hussey.
“John, Aaron, Moses, Thomas and Abraham Musgr(o)ve were the first settlers in the valley of Sadsbury, Lancaster county. Their warrant bears date in the year 1713. They purchased nearly all the land in that rich valley from George and Caleb Pierce, cleared off their land, and erected themselves residences. . . They were members of the society of Friends … The old Musgrove burying ground was expressly reserved by Moses Musgrove… It was kept enclosed …but, it was plowed up long since …”*****
*Indentured servant – the historical practice of contracting to work for a fixed time, typically three to seven years, in exchange for transportation, food, clothing, lodging and other necessities during the term of indenture. Usually the father made the arrangements and signed the paperwork. Both men and women could become indentured servants; most were under the age of 21, and most became helpers on farms or house servants. They were not paid cash. It was a system that provided jobs and transportation for poor young people from the overcrowded European labor markets who wanted to come to the colonies where more workers were needed.
**“A History of the Quaker Branch of the Musgrave Family”, Stanley Musgrave Shartle, 1995.
***Ossman Moosgrave paid one hearth tax in County of Armagh, Ballynegirne, Oneilland, West Ireland, Ireland in 1664. Source: Hearth Money Roll, County Armagh,1664, p.47. This meant that he had one hearth in his home.
****“A History of the Quaker Branch of the Musgrave Family”, Stanley Musgrave Shartle, 1995.
***** History of Lancaster Co, Early Settlers and Eminent Men, Genealogical Publishing Co, Baltimore, 1974. contributed by Isaac Walker,.