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In Their Own Words

February 22, 1740

Musgrove Married a Malcontent

William Stephens recorded that Mary Musgrove - held in high esteem by the General (James Oglethorpe) had unfortunately married one of the Malcontents after her first husband’s death. :

“…The Truth is, Matthews’s Wife has always been in great Esteem with the General, and not without good Reason; for being half Indian by Extract, she has a very great Influence upon many of them, particularly the Creek Nation, our next Neighbours; so that there always has been a frequent Resort of these People to her House; and the General would advise with her in many Things, for his better dealing with the Indians; taking her generally for his Interpreter, and using her very kindly on all Occasions. A few Years since, after her late Husband Musgrave’s Death, she thought fit to marry this Man, a hail, lusty, young Fellow, an Englishman, and her Servant: Such a Promotion from Obeying to Commanding, had the usual Effect, which seldom fails; and he soon grew vain, dressing gaily (which ill became him) and began to behave insolently among all he kept Company with, looking on himself at least equal to the best Man in the Colony, from the Substance he was possessed of with his Wife: And Mr. Williams’s Plantation lying contiguous to his on this River, by Degrees there grew an Intimacy betwixt them, as Neighbours; and in Process of Time, when Mr. Williams unhappily with others in Conjunction, began to sow Discord, and draw as many as they could of the People in Town, into a Dislike of their Tenure, with many other supposed Grievances which they wanted the Power to rectify to their Humour; Matthews made one among them: And at that Time our Malecontents so blowed up their new Favourite among them, that he was taught to believe he ought to be distinguished, and gratified in whatever he asked; and that he should look upon himself, as a Man capable of doing great Service to the Colony, or resenting it severely, in Case he found himself slighted, having such a powerful Body of Men to stand by him: But whatever Credit he gave to that, he has several Times experienced that he was sadly mistaken; for when in his drunken Frolicks, he has sometimes attempted any Sort of Authority or Command, over such as came occasionally that Way from the Nation, he seldom has failed of a good Thrashing from them, to convince him of his Error: For though they shew some Regard to Mary (as they call his Wife) they shew none to him: And yet it is supposed, the good Company he came from drunk the other Day, when he did that Exploit, had filled his Head again with some of their former Doctrine, that he was not to be in Awe of any Man he had to do with. From hence some Estimate may be made of what may be at any Time necessary to observe of the future Behaviour of Mr. Matthews.”

Source: Allen D. Candler, ed. The Colonial Records of the State of Georgia, Vol. IV, Stephens’ Journal 1737-1740, Atlanta, GA, 1906, pp. 518-519.