William Tate Musgrave – Indiana Infantry, Union Army, private.

William Tate Musgrave was born on August 28, 1836 in Lawrenceburg, Dearborn County, Indiana. He married Nancy Catherine Metcalf in Spencer County, Indiana in 1857. They had one daughter, Helen Perthena or Helen Florence. By 1860, he owned a farm and personal property worth $1500. Not bad for the time, for a twenty-four year old. William Tate was called “Flannelmouth” because he was a “teller of tall tales,” according Richard Graham Musgrove in his “The American Family Musgrove.”

William Tate enlisted under Captain Cyrus Winkler Medcalf, Nancy’s brother, on August 25, 1861. He served as a private in Company B, 42nd Regiment, Indiana Infantry. “The American Family Musgrove” states that William Tate fought in the battle of Shiloh on April 6 and 7, 1862. This author (amp) has copies of William Tate’s muster records from the National Archives showing him absent sick at General Hospital, Evansville, Indiana, during March and April 1862. William Tate couldn’t have been in two places at one time, so unless this author (amp) sees evidence to the contrarily, she will assume William Tate was not at Shiloh and his nickname was well-earned.

 His muster records show he was first hospitalized by December 1861. He was honorably discharged on September 12, 1862, with chronic bronchitis after typhoid pneumonia. He was at Evansville General Hospital in Indiana during most of his time of service, serving as a nurse when not convalescing himself. 

 At his discharge, he was twenty-six years old, five feet eight inches tall, with fair complexion, gray eyes and light hair. On other records, his height is variously described as between five feet six inches to five feet eight inches with blue eyes or gray eyes, all with fair hair, which doesn’t really match the hair color in the attached picture, nor other comments I’ve seen about his bright red hair. His occupation is consistently listed as a farmer.

In 1870, while still living in Spencer County with Nancy and their daughter, William owned land and personal property valued at $3500, a nice sized farm for this time.  In 1871, after Nancy died, William married Nancy’s niece, Myzella Jane (Izella) Metcalf. Five of their eight children lived to adulthood. The family moved to Collin County, Texas by 1880, where Ed Enos, William Walker and Benjamin Harris were born joining their older siblings, Lottie and Oliver. I have found no evidence if they owned or rented the Texas land. Sometime before 1900, the family then moved to Pottawatomie County, Oklahoma, where they rented.

William Tate died on April 22, 1919 (age 82 years) in Newalla, Oklahoma County, Oklahoma of “general disabilities of extreme old age.”

William Tate generally used the spelling Musgrave, as did his ancestors. Perthena’s last name was spelled Musgrave.  All the children born from Myzella used the spelling of Musgrove, as did their descendants.  

In his later years, he listed the birthplace of his mother and father as Ireland. From many records, we know his father, Enos, was born in Ohio and his mother, Amanda Lemming (Lemon), was born in New Jersey.  While we have little information on his mother’s family line, his father’s ancestors were in America by 1682 with the country of origin England, though the family was in Ireland briefly before sailing to America. 


  • *Extensive quotes for Enos from “The American Family Musgrove,” by Richard Graham Musgrove.
  • William Tate Musgrave – Certificate of Disability for Discharge and Muster Cards located by Andrea Musgrove Perisho in the National Archives, Washington D.C. The records were filed under William F. Musgrove on Film M540, roll 54 in the Index to Compiled Military Service Records. The old-fashioned “T” would just need a cross-bar to be a perfect F, so the search took all day before I located the correct William Musgrove. Other source records are his Civil War Pension Application, Declaration for Widow’s Pension, death certificate, the 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900 and the 1910 census.

Copyrighted, 2012 by Andrea Musgrove Perisho.

About Andrea Musgrove Perisho

Genealogy research on my own ancestors is a new focus. Posts will include information about those ancestors including the social and economic issues, along with techniques for research.
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