Ashland Daily Independent Sunday Morning May 14,1961

"Aunt Emma " Musgrave, 92, Recalls Early Days In Carter

Four Generations Resided In Original Log House

By Estelle S. Rizk

There is a great, old lilac bush near the gate, older than anyone can remember–perhaps 
a century of years old–and the sweet fragrance of its violet-hued blossoms hang as a 
hale of old memories about the yard.

Inside the gate, shading an old house that has sheltered four generations of a family, 
an old gnarled apple tree spreads its branches of new leaves and heavenly pink blooms. 
This great old tree grew from the roots of the mother tree that was blown down by a 
high wind nearly 90 years ago.

Inside the house–the large main room of which is log that is covered now – near little 
grandmother, Emily Chapman Musgrave, who will be 93-years -old in July, sat and rocked 
ad remembered the years that have passed, with a remarkable memory. Yet no one would 
know her as Emily, she smiled, as she has always been called Emma. And all through 
the neighborhood as for the past many years she has been known affectionately as Aunt 
Emma. Logs burned in the great old fireplace in this room, for there was a chilliness 
despite the warmth of a late spring sun outside, where low hills were lovely with the 
wild dogwood in bloom and the new leaves on the trees gave a pale green haze to the 

This was all a great wilderness of tall trees, Emily said, when her father and mother, 
Jacob Chapman and his wife, The former Mary Jane Bonzo, bought the place there by the 
gravel road off the highway between Olive Hill and Carter City in 1860 and started 
housekeeping. They had been married in Scioto Co.,Ohio. The large log room was already 
on this tract of land which consisted of a 115 acres, but little clearing had been done. 
This awaited the hand of Jacob Chapman. But in a few years, many acres about the house 
had been cleared for the raising of corn, wheat and a garden, and a great barn was built, 
and a two story log smoke house and storage place for the tools. And the old hand made 
wooden shingles are still there on this smaller building. And Jacob had bought more land, 
adjoining his place.

However, most of this work had been done later, as the Civil War was upon the land and 
in October of 1862 this Unionist family fled from their home as the Confederate raids 
became more ad more frequent. The Rebels were also taking the men from this neighborhood 
to serve in their army, and Jacob did not believe in the Southern cause and did not want 
to join against his own people.

He found a neighbor who would take care of his place and he and Mary Jane took their 
six-months-old first born, John Louis, who had been born there in their first home on 
May 23, and fled on foot, taking only what they could carry. They laid out in the woods 
that night, and early 

the next morning they walked on to what was then known as Nigger Hill, stopping only to 
rest and to eat a bit of food from their provisions. They walked on to Boon’s Landing, 
below Portsmouth, where they spent the night with the Blake Woods family. 

The next morning they got on a boat and went to Portsmouth, where they left the boat and 
walked out to Grandfather Bonzo’s. Mary Jane’s father. They stayed there for the winter 
and the next Spring when Jacob was taken to serve in the Scioto County Home Guards, Mary 
Jane and their small son stayed on. Later, Jacob had work that his brother was dying in 
Beaver County, Pa. And he came for his wife and baby and went to the bedside of his brother. 
There they remained for the next five years, and the second of their children Alice Jane, 
was born there Nov. 22, 1864.

When the great and bitter War was over, the Chapmans’ returned to their home in Carter 
County, taking up the task again of establishing a home. And if was there on July 31, 1869 
that Aunt Emma Chapman was born. As she rocked and looked at the logs burning away in the 
wide fireplace, she remembered for the events of her own lifetime.

Emily, whose full name is Nancy Emily, is the only living child of the Chapmans, and has 
lived all of her life on this home place. She told of her father’s work, beside his farming, 
of his long years at the old Boone Furnace, and his working with tools and his hands as a 
carpenter. He helped to build the General Refactories at Olive Hill, which is the oldest 
and largest of the refactories, and was known then simply as a brick factory. In an old 
photograph of that first factory, she tried to identify her father among the workers 
standing and sitting about the front of the building. She pointed to the man pictured halfway 
up the large smoke stack this old picture that was still clear. This was Ryan Darby, she said, 
who had been one of her teachers at school.

Her father has also made the casket for the first person to have been buried in the old 
historic Bethel Church House graveyard–and the old church can be seen from the yard of this home. 
The body of Grannie Ilet lay in this hand-made casket, in the first grave there in the church yard.

We looked at a yellowed newspaper clipping, dated 1905, with the picture of Aunt Emma’s mother, 
Mrs Mary Chapman and her twin brother, John Bonzo taken when they were 67 years old. Claiming 
at that time to being the oldest twins in Carter County, they had been born in Beaver County , Pa. 
On June 5, 1838, locating with their parentsw in the Madison Township.

The years passed swiftly for Emma as a girl, and then a tall lad came from Madison County, Ohio, 
who was soon to be her husband. This was Napoleon Bonaparte Musgrave, whose photograph at that 
time shows him to be tall and fair, with long hair reaching to his waist.

He was a member of a traveling show with " Kentucky Frank" an old showman, and though he left 
the show after coming to Carter County, he continued to wear his hair long for several years, 
plaiting it into braids. He and Emily Chapman were united in marriage in 1899, and took up their 
married life with Emily’s family in the old family home, where several rooms had long since been 
added on to the original one-log room. There they continued to live throughout their lives, with 
her son John, and his family. 

Emily’s memory is bright and alert, only her eyes have failed somewhat to serve her. Though she 
can still read, she cannot see to crochet as she loves to do, nor to piece gay quilt patterns and 
quilt, as she has for so many years. Yet it has been only a few years ago , four or five , since 
she pieced a number of quilt tops during the winter.

Three children were born to this union of Napoleon Musgrave and Emily Chapman. Myrtle Jordan of 
New Jersey, and John on the home place. Another son, Henry Lee, lies buried in the Bethel Church House 
graveyard, there on a low knoll. Napoleon is also buried there, having passed away on March 19, 1957, 
the date of their wedding anniversary, and just a few days before his 91st birthday. And Emily Chapman 
Musgrave has remembered all of these dates and events well, though the great old Chapman Family Bible 
is there in the home for reference, if need be.

The ancestry of Napoloeon Musgrave is an interesting one. From an interview by C.S. Dean published 
in the Pike County Republican, Waverly, Ohio, June 13, 1872, we find that his that his paternal 
grandfather, James Musgrave was born near Lincoln, July 10, 1794, the son of son of Simon, a 
well-to-do farmer and miller. He was reared in the Church of England and schooled in the parish 
school for seven years, with his father paying tuition, as was the custom.

He worked on his father’s farm until he was 22 years-old, then was given a grist mill by his father, 
which he operated for over four years. He was married to Winifred Clayworth on April 9, 1815, and 
three sons were born to this union, James, William and Simon.

Gleaning the highlights from this interesting old interview, we find that James Musgrave and his 
brother-in-law , Francis Cottom, who was married to James sister, came to America in 1820, sailing 
from Liverpool in June of that year on the ship "Jane", whose captain was Captain Ferguson, 
because they yearned for more freedom and room for growth. The two families bought horses and 
wagons in Philadelphia, with which to ;move westward to Richland County, Ohio, where they had 
friends. They settled instead in Beaver County, Pa., on the Ohio river near to Pittsburgh and 
only a mile from the little village of Economy, where they were pleased with the country and the 
cheapness of the land. 

The two men at once bought 206 acres of land there, in partnership at $5,50 per acre, and went 
to work clearing the wilderness–"an entirely new work to the Englishmen." He recalled that soon 
after settling in Beaver County, there waw a "little gathering near where Economy now stands, 
consisting of two Englishmen, besides myself, two colored men and a good Dutch woman in a prayer 
meeting."This was also a new experience for James Musgrave, but from this meeting he became a 
member of the Methodist Episcopal Church and continued in this faith the rest of his life.

The years passed, 26 of them, with James Musgrave buying more and more land, making improvements, 
becoming prosperous–and seven more children were born, among them a son Joseph, who became the 
father of Napoleon. Finally, James Musgrave sold his holdings in Pennsylvania and moved to 
Scioto County, Ohio where he bought two farms in the Marion Township and settled. There he and 
his wife lived out their years pleasantly with his daughter, Sarah, and her husband, 
Thomas Kirkpatrick, living with them.

Joseph Musgrave married Mary Allison around 1855, and Napoleon was one of six children born 
to this union.

A pattern of unity and closeness has been followed in this old family home that there sheltered 
the four generation of this family. When John - son of Emily and Napoleon –was married to the 
former Lena McComas, he brought her and her one small daughter, Audra, to his home place, to 
keep house with his parents. And it was fitting, since he has worked the land and helped to 
make the living since he was 14 years old, on this rich old land that is in reality the Chapman 
farm but has been known as the Musgrave farm for many years now.

We looked at the picture of Audra’s children–the fifth generation–who are David, a tall teen-age 
son, and then at the twins, Keith and Kevin, who are six, and see the family resemblance in these 
young faces. Audra comes often from Olive Hill, where her husband is associated with the 
General Refractories as a machinist, to the home of her youth. And she tells of a prize possession, 
given to her recently by her Grandmother Emma, a 1902 edition of the Sears, Roebuck catalogue. 
It will be displayed among other old mementoes in Olive Hill during the week-long Civil War Centennial.

We stood for a while outside, before leaving, looking at the old, old flowers in bloom, 
bleeding hearts and the old lilac bush, planted there so long ago that no one now remembers 
the date. And the equally old peonies will soon be blooming. Stretching away over the low hills 
that are lovely with the wild blooming dogwood, are parcels of land blocked off into squares by 
the old worm or rail fences, built there almost a hundred years ago by Emily’s father, and repaired 
and extended by her husband, and now being repaired and replaced, in part , by her son.

Today is Mother’s Day and with a gladness of heart that we have met and known these three mothers 
even so briefly–we have written this story of Grandmother Emily Chapman Musgrave, 
Lena McComas Musgrave, and Audra McComas Hall, as a tribute to all mothers, everywhere.

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