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More on Mary and Thomas Bosomworth

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In 1742 Mary Musgrove married her third husband was the Reverend Thomas Bosomworth, the couple probably met though her work as an interpreter. Thomas Bosomworth was a Christian missionary sent to the young colony.

When the marriage was announced, however, few Georgians chose to believe it! Musgrove's marriage was a significant rise in status in a traditonal stratified society. Musgrove's, earlier marriages were lowly in the then colonial order, but now "respectable" society was forced to recognise the daughter of an Indian trader and a Creek mother. Her marriageto Thomas had bought her entry into the upper echelon of colonial society.

Thomas Bosomworth's status paired with Musgrove's skills proved to be a powerful combination. Together they travelled into Creek villages with messages from General James Edward Oglethorpe (founder of the colony of Georgia) and King George II. They returned with messages from the various Creek leaders, and hosted Creek and American visitors at their home. They would on occasion teach Christian missionaries the Muskogee language, and worked to mediate between the Creeks and the colonists.

Controversial Land Claim

Despite her central role in Georgia's Indian affairs, Musgrove is more often remembered for her controversial land claims in Georgia. The controversy began in 1737 when Yamacraw chief Tomochichi granted her a plot of land near Savannah. The claim was unsettled when Musgrove married Bosomworth.

In the following years Lower Creek chief Malatchi granted the Bosomworth’s three of the Sea Islands that the Indians claimed as their own—Ossabaw, Sapelo, and St. Catherines. British officials, however, refused these claims on the grounds that a nation can cede or grant land only to a nation, not to individuals.

Musgrove pursued her claims to the lands for the next decade. In 1749 more than 200 Creeks accompanied her to Savannah to support her claim. With Georgia officials unwilling to accept the grant, Musgrove eventually traveled to England to plead her case. In 1754 the Board of Trade heard her case and referred it to the Georgia courts. When she returned to Georgia, the disputed land had come under Georgia control. In 1760 a compromise was finally reached—in return for the right to St. Catherines Island and £2,100, Musgrove relinquished her claims to the other lands. Afterward Musgrove ceased to play a central role in Georgia-Creek relations. She died on St. Catherines Island sometime after 1763.