George West Musgrave (1877 - 1947)

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Nicknames: "Last of the old-time Outlaws", "Robert Stewart", "Jeff Davis", "Jesse Miller", "Jesse Johnson", "Jesse Williams"
Birthdate:
Birthplace: St. Rocky's Ranch, Atascosa, Texas, United States
Death: Died in Asunción, Cochabamba, Bolivia
Occupation: Cattleman, robber, card shark, and all around bad guy
Managed by: Erica Howton, (c)
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About George West Musgrave

George West Musgrave, aka: Jeff Davis, Jesse Miller, Jesse Johnson, Jesse Williams  (1874-1947) - Born in Texas and raised in New Mexico, Musgrave, a cheerful and soft-spoken man, would nonetheless grow up to be a cattle rustler, robber, and all around outlaw. One of the first members of Will "Black Jack" Christian's High Fives Gang, the outlaws were responsible for Arizona's first robbery, the largest Santa Fe Railroad heist in history, and numerous post office and stagecoach robberies. Following a betrayal by fellow cowboy and ex-Texas Ranger, George T. Parker, Musgrave was charged with cattle rustling and fled. He would later kill Parker in October, 1896 southwest of Roswell, New Mexico. When Will "Black Jack" Christian was killed, Musgrave continued to ride with Black Jack's brother, Bob Christian, for a short time until the pair were arrested at Fronteras, Senora, Mexico for "shooting up the town." When they were released, Musgrave disappeared for a dozen years. Still wanted for the murder of George T. Parker, Musgrave remained free until he made the mistake of visiting Colorado, where he was recognized. Fleeing once again, he was arrested in North Platte, Nebraska in December, 1909 and returned to Roswell, New Mexico for trial. However, in June, 1910, he was acquitted. He then headed for South America, where he became a "legend"  as a leading Gringo rustler. Ill health finally ended his infamous outlaw career and he died on August 15, 1947. (1)

Musgrove was also known as a card shark and a dead shot. There was one early murder rap from 1894 in Roswell that finally saw him stand trial under his real name.  At the time of his court appearance, Musgrave was said to look “more like a senator than a cattle rustler.” For the trial, he shrewdly assumed the identity of an honest family man, bringing his wife from across state lines with a new baby in tow. Arguing self-defense in a classic western discussion over who drew first ...  and swaying public opinion in the local newspapers, Musgrave miraculously received a “not-guilty” verdict. For his performance, one townsperson remarked, “If I’d been on that jury I’d’ve give George Musgrave a medal.” 

To celebrate the acquittal, Musgrave promptly left town and single-handedly robbed a train on his way back to Texas. (2) (3)

Sources

  1. Old West Outlaws
  2. Above the Law:The exploits of a little known but infamous Old West outlaw.  Franzi, Emil. book review, "Tucson Weekly."  Web. 18 May 2012. <http://www.tucsonweekly.com/tucson/above-the-law/Content?oid=1071422>.
  3. http://pomona.edu/Magazine/PCMSP03/DEBookshelf3.shtml
  4. Karen Holliday Tanner; John D. Tanner, Jr. Last of the Old-Time Outlaws: The George West Musgrave Story. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman. 2002
  5. [http://search.ancestry.com/iexec?htx=View&r=an&dbid=6742&iid=4244669-00228&fn=George+W.&ln=Musgrave&st=r&ssrc=&pid=6506210 1880 - United States Federal Census.  Name: George W. Musgrave .Age: 2. Birth Year: abt 1878. Birthplace: Texas. Home in 1880: Atascosa, Texas. Race: White. Gender: Male. Marital Status:Single. Father's Birthplace: Tennessee. Mother's Birthplace: Texas.:Household Members: (Name Age).   Benett, 43;  Prudence, 34; Calvin V., 14; Addana, 12; Julia, 7; Fannie M., 4; George W., 2. Year: 1880; Census Place,  Atascosa,  Texas; Roll: 1289; Family History Film: 1255289; Page:  300B; Enumeration District:  003.
  6. http://search.ancestry.com/iexec?htx=View&r=an&dbid=7884&iid=31111_4330936-00725&fn=George&ln=Margrave&st=r&ssrc=&pid=16844688 1910 - United States Federal Census. Name: George Margrave (George Musgrave) (George Murgrave) Age in 1910: 30. Birth Year: 1880. Birthplace: Texas. Home in 1910: Roswell Ward 4, Chaves, New Mexico. Race: White. Gender:Male. Relation to Head of House: Head. Marital Status: Married. Spouse's Name: Geonelle Margrave. Father's Birthplace: Ireland. Mother's Birthplace: Texas. Occupation: Cattleman.  Household Members (Name Age): George Margrave, 30; Geonelle Margrave, 21. Year: 1910; Census Place:  Roswell Ward 4,  Chaves,  New Mexico; Roll:  T624_913; Page:  4B; Enumeration District:  0024; Image:  725; FHL microfilm:  1374926.
  7. http://www.jcs-group.com/oldwest/outlaws/musgrave.html
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George Musgrave's Timeline

1877
May 27, 1877
Atascosa, Texas, United States
1908
November 2, 1908
Age 31
Denver, Denver, Colorado, United States
1926
September 10, 1926
Age 49
1947
August 15, 1947
Age 70
Asunción, Cochabamba, Bolivia
August 16, 1947
Age 70
Asunción, Cochabamba, Bolivia