The First Musgrave in Our Family in America

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 Musgrave

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,.

About Andrea Musgrove Perisho

Genealogy, particularly gathering information about my ancestors, is my new focus. Posts will include information and analysis of information about those ancestors, including the social and economic issues of their time, with some posts tying into current events/life.
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2 Responses to The First Musgrave in Our Family in America

  1. some points john Musgrave was born in Belleniskfrannel, Segoe Parish, County Armagh, Ireland, Belfast is in County Antrim. the Musgrave’s of America that descendants of Oswin are Strath/Clyde Britons in origin not Norman.The border ReiVer DNA project collected a number of samples from Musgrave’s in Northern Ireland England and the United States including some from my family. The majority of these have a common ancestor but the most common recent ancestor which date back before the Norman conquest. Since the Musgrave’s work Umbrian’s they would’ve spoke that branch of Welch before they assimilated the Germanic tongue of the angles, and no doubt their name for themselves was incomprehensible to Germanic speakers. So in all likelihood the name Musgrave relates to a medieval place description such as a mossy grave, a grave mean a flat green place not a cemetery. That would pretty much described the border country except for the Cheviot HIlls. By the time of the writing of the Doomsday book of William the Conqueror the Musgrave’s were already described as established in Cumbria as a martial and warlike family.

    It’s not unlikely the family were named after the place as well. There were Musgrave Peers and there still are, to the best of my knowledge all the Musgrave this except the branching Yorkshire are haplogroup R1b the so-called Atlantic modal. The one in Yorkshire which is probably not related but may be descended from the Norman Knight Musgrose carries the Nordic gene Ia1.

    There is nothing but legend to link Oswin Musgrave to Eden Hall, being a dissenter which was what both Presbyterians and Quakers were his family was likely displaced to Ulster during the plantation. Of 1622 1640 when King James I of England who was also James VI of Scotland scattered the border families. The border Reiver DNA project can still be found on family tree DNA.
    The Musgrave served the crown in military matters that were constantly being accused by their enemies as having loyalty to Scotland as well. Sir Thomas Musgrave himself said that borderers were English at their will and Scottish at their pleasure. Musgrave’s were Reivers and were listed as among the “Devil’s Dozen the 13 families most responsible for raiding in the West March. All the border families carried on long blood feuds with other families either English or Scottish and the Musgrave’s were no exception. There feuds with the Charlton’s and the Dacres lasted for centuries. All of this is well documented in George MacDonald Fraser’s book SteEl Bonnets history of the Border Reivers.

    The Musgrave family that went to Chester Pennsylvania spread to North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, and California. All of this happened between 1790 and 1840.

    • Andrea Musgrove Perisho says:

      Steve,

      Thanks for your great comments. You’ve done a lot research into the family and thanks for sharing. My father is haplogroup R1b1a2, tested at the 37 marker level on FTDNA. Since he was a match at that level to other men descended from Oswin, I haven’t done more testing. Do you know where I could see the information about the Atlantic modal and the Yorkshire line?

      I’ve collected the paper trail evidence to connect my family to Samuel Musgra(o)ve, a DAR Revolutionary War patriot, but have not conducted the research connecting Samuel back to Oswin. Other people have made that connection, but I haven’t seen the sources making that connection. At this point, I’m working on some more recent lines, but have more Musgrove research on my to-do list someday.

      My husband and I were fortunate to be able to travel to Scotland and England in May. In one of the northern England churches, I believe York Minster, I was pleasantly surprised to see an the burial tomb for Archibishop Musgrave, with a coat of arms with 5 balls. I’ll post that picture along with other family names seen on the trip, when I get time to wade through the 600 pictures from the trip. We’ll probably never be able to prove a family connection in England, unless DNA helps tie us to English families.

      If you have information about the DNA testing, please contact me directly at amperisho@gmail.com. I did find the Border Reiver DNA project on FTDNA, with 4 Musgraves listed.

      Warm regards,

      Andrea

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