Serendipity on the Research Trail

One of my primary goals on a recent genealogy research trip to Oklahoma and Texas was to find a book with the genealogy research of Norma Ennis Musgrove Craig, a first cousin 2X removed. Norma’s book summarizes her 40+ years of  genealogy research on our Musgrove/Musgrave family. I learned of the  book, which contained childhood pictures of my grandfather, through a Google search and ordered the microfilm through the Family History Center. 1 I was able to make copies of each page, but the microfilm pictures weren’t very clear. I wanted better copies of the pictures.

As part of preplanning for the trip, I had contacted everyone on who seemed to have good sources for Norma or her sister Beulah, who wrote many of the charming family stories in the book. Beulah had passed away in 2003 and Norma in 2008. Only one person responded. Evidently when Beulah died, another family member got the house and the contents, including the genealogy research and the book. No one had seen any of materials since then.

I planned stops in Holdenville, Ada and the Oklahoma History Center, since Norma and Beulah had connections in each of those places. I researched each of those sites ahead of time to find the hours of operation, days open and any other pertinent information.

The Hughes County Historical Society in Holdenville was listed on-line, but with a disconnected phone number, no other contact information nor hours of operation.2 Since I had no idea what hours the HCHS would be open and since it  was the direction I was traveling, that was my first stop.  After a two and one half hour drive from Tulsa, I was standing in front of the closed doors of the dark HCHS building. My heart sank as I scanned the doors and windows finding no contact information nor hours of operation. As I turned to my car to rethink my next step, a man in a pickup truck stopped at the light called out “Are you trying to get in the museum?” When I answered yes, he continued with “Go to the business two doors down. They’ll have the phone number to reach someone.”

Two doors down, they did give me the name and seven digit phone number of the HCHS coordinator. Back in my car, I dialed the number using what I thought was the most likely area code. No luck, I reached someone in western OK. Next, I tried the other OK area code. Number out of service. Rats! Back to the business two doors down. They reminded me of the third OK area code, which I had forgotten in my sixteen years out of the state, and probably didn’t even need to use any way to reach the number.

Then the woman asked what I was looking for. I told my story about the book, the sister from Holdenville, etc., etc. She stopped me asking “What was the sister’s name?” When I gave her Beulah’s name, she just looked at me and said “You should just talk to her son. He owns the business across the street.”

Across the street, Beulah’s son was busy with customers, but his daughter, who did not typically work with her father, was filling in for the day.  After some discussion about the family, probably to confirm who I really was, the daughter told me the same story about a family member getting Beulah’s house and no one having access to that research any more. Then she told me, Norma’s daughter had all of Norma’s records. She gave me Norma’s daughter’s name and address.3

After a conversation establishing who I was, a meeting with Norma’s daughter was set up for the next Saturday morning. The records had been stored since Norma’s death, with no one else in the family interested in them. Norma had some strokes before her death, but still tried to work with her research, getting it mixed up. It would take a few days for the daughter to get the records organized enough for us to review.

On Saturday morning, I was given an original copy of Norma’s book, with the original picture of my grandfather and his two siblings along with much of Norma’s original research on my family line, including pictures, marriage licenses, wills, etc. In addition, I was able to conduct about two hours of interviews of Norma’s daughter, who remembered my 2nd great grandmother, Myzella Medcalf Musgrove. I was able to take pictures of a quilt made by Myzella.  The quilt was registered with the Oklahoma Historical Society, as being over 100 years old.4

One of the stories during the interview was how Norma got some grief from family members with some of her research results. Norma’s grandfather, William Tate Musgrove, my 2nd great grandfather, had evidently told the family he was Irish and had come to America on a ship.Norma’s research showed a paper trail where William Tate, a Civil War veteran who fought with the 42nd Regiment, Indiana Volunteers was not only born in the United States, but his family had been here since 1747. Norma and Beulah both became DAR members through Samuel Musgrave, William Tate’s great grandfather. I was able to share that my father’s y-DNA test linked him to other descendants of Oswin Musgrave who arrived in Pennsylvania about 1682, confirming Norma’s paper trail.6 By the way, in Norma’s book, she included William Tate’s nickname of Flannel Mouth, earned with the tall tales he was known for telling.7

All the information collected on these two trips will certainly keep me busy until my next genealogy field trip.

1. Craig, Norma Ennis Musgrove and Beulah Musgrove Berryman. Musgrave–Musgrove, 1747-1986, [Self published. Place of publication not indicated.], 1987. Microfilm of typescript (photocopy, 157, [8] leaves) at the Rockport Public Library, Rockport, Indiana. Family History Library, film 1502916 item 9;  ( 12 Aug 2013.)

2. Hughes County Historical Society, Currently open 9:30-1:00 on Saturdays, as of July 2013.

3. Names and identifying information of living persons have not been used to protect their privacy. If you have a specific need to know, please contact me at

4. As of 12 Aug 2013, the Oklahoma History Center website shows a couple of examples of old quilts, but doesn’t list pictures of all the quilts submitted. I’ll post my pictures in a later blog.

5. While the 1880 census shows the father of William Tate Musgrove born in New Jersey and his mother born in Pennsylvania, the 1900 and 1910 schedules indicate his parents were born in Ireland.

1880 U. S. Census, Justice Precinct 3, Collin County, Texas, population schedule (1st enumeration),  enumeration district (ED) 22, p. 32 (penned), line 25, dwelling 211, family 225, W. T. Musgrave; digital image, ( accessed 12 Aug 2013); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm roll 1296, enumeration district (ED) 022, p. 135D; imaged from FHL microfilm 1255296.

1900 U. S. Census, Bates Township, Pottawatomie County, Oklahoma, population schedule  (1st enumeration),  enumeration district (ED) 192, p. 9A (penned), line 15, dwelling 186, family 186, William Musgrove; digital image, ( accessed 12 Aug 2013); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm roll 1342, enumeration district (ED) 0192, p 9A; imaged  from FHL microfilm 1241342.

1910 U. S. Census, Pottawatomie Township, Oklahoma County, Oklahoma,  enumeration district 230, p. 6A (penned), line 3, dwelling 98, family 99, William T. Musgrave; digital image, ( accessed 12 Aug 2013); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm roll T624_1265, enumeration district (ED) 0230, page 6A; imaged from FHL microfilm 1375278.

6.  Musgrave, Duane and Marie Wilson Musgrave, A History of the Moses Musgrave Family, Quakers, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Kansas, and Further West, Evansville Bindery Inc, Evansville, Indiana, 1998.

7.  Craig and Berryman, Musgrave-Musgrove, 1747-1986, p. 43.

 Copyright © 2013 Andrea Musgrove Perisho

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.