Coosaponakeesa (Mary Musgrove) - Creek

By Julia White
Mary was born in Alabama, the original homeland of the Creek Nation, the daughter of another chief who believed in peaceful co-existence with the whites. Mary was sent to South Carolina at age 7 to be educated in the English schools there. During her schooling, she was baptized into the Church of England, and given the name of "Mary".

At the age of 16, Mary married an English settler, John Musgrove, and together they established a trading post between South Carolina and her homeland in Alabama. Because of Mary's fairness, and her knowledge of both Native and English ways, the trading post became highly successful. Mary earned great respect throughout the territory.

When John Oglethorpe arrived in 1733 with a charter from King George II to establish a new English colony, he found Mary, already highly successful and a political force. Forever loyal to the English, Mary taught Oglethorpe how to trade fairly, and assisted him in opening several trading posts throughout the territory. Acting as negotiator, mediator and interpreter for Oglethorpe, Mary became an even more successful political figure.

Mary's reputation was widely known, and she faced increasing pressure from both the French and the Spanish to join forces with their interests, and for the Creek Nation to desert the British. However, Mary stood firm and was able to single-handedly hold the peace in her territory due to her powerful influence with the Creek people, and with the English. With her position, Mary was able to supply information on French and Spanish plans and movements to Oglethorpe and, because of her diplomatic skills, her support and her tireless efforts, Oglethorpe was able to establish his English colony -- now known as the State of Georgia.

Mary died at age 63, and is buried on St. Catharine's Island, Georgia.


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