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
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
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