Mary Musgrove, An Introduction

So here we go, Mary Musgrove (1700-1763).

Who was she? Well she was Coosaponakeesa to the Creek/Yamacraw peoples. To the Anglicans of the Georgia colony she was Mary Musgrove Matthews Bosomworth.

She was a born to a Creek mother and an English trader, Edward Griffin. This bi-cultural/biracial gave Mary an interesting approach to her environment. The Creeks were a matriarchal society, so despite her father being English/white, she was still accepted and considered Creek. Stark contrast to what the Colonists often considered “mix/half-breed.”

Mary’s early life was dominated by war. The Tuscora War of 1711-1713 was a violent affair in North Carolina. On one side were the British colonials and their Native allies, on the other was several Native tribes. Well the Anglican and Allies won.

The Yamasee helped the colonial militias, but the relationship soon soured. The Yamasee quickly became indebted to the colonials because of many different reasons. So they began to muster allies with other tribes in the American Southeast. Like literally every tribe. ANd so they then attacked. The war was bloody on both sides. With roughly seven percent of the white population in South Carolina being killed. We of course do not have accurate number on the casualties sustained by slaves and Natives. But through all of the violence, the colonials won a significant number of victories, enough to get the Cherokee to turn against their previous allies and join the colonials.

Mary with her unique place among both colonials and Natives quickly became a mediator between the two sides, especially as a new colony was being started in Georgia. She also claimed to be Empress of the Creeks/Muskogee peoples. Got into several lawsuits and won some. Became a landowner. Successful trader. And much more.

*As this was an introductory post, and a way for me to familiarize myself with this format, I’ve learned quit a bit. As for my sources, the are as follows:

Picture: Benjamin West’s ‘William Penn’s 1701 Treaty with Delaware Indians’ from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts


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