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Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999. Virtualology.com warns that these 19th Century biographies contain errors and bias. We rely on volunteers to edit the historic biographies on a continual basis. If you would like to edit this biography please submit a rewritten biography in text form . If acceptable, the new biography will be published above the 19th Century Appleton's Cyclopedia Biography citing the volunteer editor

 



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Thomas Bosomworth

BOSOMWORTH, Thomas, clergyman. He came to America with General Oglethorpe's regiment of Highlanders in 1736. About 1749 he married Mary Musgrove, or Mathews, a woman of the Creek nation, who had been twice widowed of white husbands. When the English first arrived, she had no especial influence with the Indians, but gradually came to be recognized by them as their queen. Governor Oglethorpe gave her a yearly allowance of $500, in payment for her services as interpreter, and in order to retain her good-will. Bosom worth and his wife settled upon a tract of land granted him by the crown, and ran heavily in debt to the surrounding planters for live stock and supplies. In the hope, apparently, of retrieving his fortunes, he persuaded his wife to assert her right at first to some of the coast islands, and afterward as hereditary sovereign to a large part of the Creek territory. The ambition of the claimants seemingly grew with their demands, and the "queen," prompted no doubt by her husband, assumed the title of an independent empress, disavowing all relations with Great Britain save such as might subsist between two sovereigns. She incited the powerful Creek nation to revolt, sent a messenger to Governor Oglethorpe to notify him that she was coming to reclaim her own, and marched toward Savannah with a large body of armed Indians. The authorities could muster fewer than two hundred men in the town, but sent with haste for all available re-enforcements. A troop of horse, under Capto Jones, met the savages outside the town and made them lay down their arms before entering the place. Then Bosomworth, in his canonical robes, with his queen by his side, marched to the parade, followed by the chiefs in order of rank, and a great number of warriors. They were received with distinguished courtesy, the militia firing a salute, and a long consultation was held by the authorities and the chiefs, the Bosomworths being excluded. By some means the Indians regained possession of their arms, and for a time the settlement was in imminent peril. But the authorities were able to seize and confine the Bosomworths, and employed agents to spread rumors among the Indians that the whole affair was a plot on the chaplain's part to secure means to pay his own personal debts. This course was for a time successful, and the watch upon the queen and her husband was imprudently relaxed, whereupon the mercurial savages were again stirred up to revolt, and seemingly a Massachusettsacre of the whites might have begun at any moment. In this manner several days passed, and the English settlers were well-nigh worn out with constant guard-duty, while their women were in a state of distraction with the ceaseless terror of Indians yelling through the streets. More than once both sides grasped their arms, but some trifle turned the tide, and at last diplomacy and presents prevailed, and Mary was locked up under strict guard. Bosomworth was brought before the council, with a view to appealing to his reason, but he seized the opportunity to make an abusive speech, and had in turn to be removed by force. When the leaders were thus disposed of, the Indians were with difficulty persuaded to leave the town. After a period of confinement, Bosomworth perceived the folly of attempting to enforce his wife's claim, and, having made suitable apologies and promises for her as well as for himself, he was liberated.

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