Keziah Hall (Musgrove)

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Keziah Hall (Musgrove) 1782

In her father’s Will of 1794, Keziah, his youngest child, was given ‘one Negroe Girl named Patt at my wifes death Likewise one Feather Bed & Cow & Calf.’ Since her mother lived to 1833, it is problematical that she ever received her slave. She may have received the bedding and livestock as wedding presents.

Keziah, named for her aunt Keziah (Banks) Hall wife of Hezekiah, d. 1811, was married to Benjamin Barton Musgrove 15 December, 1796 at the age of 14. In spite of her youthful marriage, Keziah, according to a family descendant, ‘was quite a woman!’ She was to have a family of twelve children, to live and maintain the family ‘plantation’ for nearly a quarter-century following her husband’s death, to look after other family members and live through most of the Civil War. ^

According to one of his descendants, Benjamin B. Musgrove came to Virginia from Maryland and settled down on the Staunton River. ^^ He had a number of full brothers and sisters in Bedford county and a number of half-brothers, some of whom settled in the Shenandoah Valley. The Musgrove family for many years was prominent in the affairs at the southern edge of Bedford county and Benjamin Musgrove acquired much land, many slaves and numerous relatives through his large family.


It was commonly said among the old-timers of Bedford county that, ‘the Musgroves were so doubled and twisted that you couldn’t unravel them!’ This homey reference to the family and yarn is literally true, as was revealed by this study into family as regards the Hall – Musgrove – Wilkerson – and other family combinations. As late as 1980, correspondents to the author have discovered relationships that they did not know existed. As in case of many southern families that resided for long periods of time in an isolated, rural area there were many ‘cousin’ marriages extending through the first to third generations and later. This was the result of limited contacts among the younger family members and in some cases they were made to keep ownership of properties intact in the families.

The family can be ‘unraveled’ but it takes a bit of doing. This job has been left to family descendants, which are numerous and widely scattered, although considerable numbers of them still are to be found in Virginia. Of especial interest to this volume is the fact that as time went on, descendants of the Musgrove family were marrying into the families of Keziah’s brothers, especially those of Mathew, d. 1855, and Elisha, d. 1840, because they had remained in the Rockcastle Creek area of Bedford county – the home base of the John Hall, d. 1794, family.


By inheritance and purchase, the Musgroves until the Civil War and for a generation or so afterwards owned large amounts of land in the Staunton River area. Farming on this bottom land was hard and frequently crops were lost in the Spring floods. The Musgrove men as a group were especially noted for their of horses and were exceptionally kind in their treatment and care of the animals. So much so, that many of their horses became blind from a diabetic condition brought about by overfeeding them with corn. One of the Musgroves’, known as “Big Ben” (Benjamin B. Musgrove Jr., 1822 – 1902), was found dead in his barn from dropsy, where he had spent many hours with his horses.


In his delightful book, Cause and Effect, in which he reminisces about Bedford county, D. Claytor Brooks has this to say about the Hall – Musgrove – Wilkerson relationships:

“Up the River (the Staunton) from Anthony’s Ford — was the Musgrove land – quite a large estate.”Somewhere among the Musgroves’ land lived some Wilkersons. In those days all the Wilkerson men married Musgrove women. Someone said that the Wilkersons were lazy and the Musgroves were hard workers, so they married Musgrove women so that they would wait upon them. Be that as it may, they have become so well blended by now that there isn’t much discernible difference. There were not enough Wilkerson men to marry all the Musgrove women, so there is Musgrove blood in folks of many names around here (including mine).

“Somewhere alongside the Musgroves lived a family of Halls … the Halls owned several hundred acres across the head waters of Mill Creek …” (Mill Creek is a later name for Rockcastle Creek, possibly a tributary to the main stream.)


The patriarch of the group was of course, Benjamin B. Musgrove, 1774 – 1840, who had married Keziah Hall in 1796. We learn of him again in 1833. In that year Magdalene, Keziah’s mother, died and Musgrove was appointed by the Bedford county court as Executor. Being a man of property he could qualify with a proper bond. Other Hall family members were involved in the settlement and a complete record of the proceedings is in the records. Since Magdalene had lived nearly thirty years after the death of her husband, John Hall, d. 1794, the settlement was complicated.

The settlement of Musgrove’s estate which extended through the year 1842 lists fourteen slaves and we know their names and valuations placed on each of them. The total for them was about $5,000 of which slaves to the value of over $1600 were allotted to the widows dowry. There are some interesting side-lights to this procedure and they will be discussed in the section: The Hall Family and Slavery, in the appendix.

The widow, Keziah, received 137 acres of land for her share and a remaining two hundred fifty-six acres was allotted to the twelve children. All told by the sale of some land and a few of the negroes and when the expenses of probate were deducted, each of the children, as heirs, along with their mother received $397.07 each.


It will be impossible to give all the known details on this family. They were deeply involved in slavery and in the Civil War – some incidents to be given in the special sections devoted to those subjects.

In order to ‘unravel’ a large chart on the family has been prepared and will be place in the files of the Illinois State Historical Library at Springfield. In addition, important correspondence by other researchers of the family will be filed.

To conclude this section the children of Benjamin B. and Keziah (Hall) Musgrove will be listed giving synoptic form some information about each of them:

The Musgrove Family of Bedford County Virginia
(compiled from marriage, estate and other legal records, family
correspondence, etc.

1. Musgrove, Christopher, 1798-1870, m.1, 1826, Elizabeth Best Jones: m.2 Harriet Ashworth. Slave story in family. Cousin marriages into the Elisha Hall family. Elisha, brother of Christopher’s mother, Keziah.
2. Musgrove, Rev. Henry, 1800-1869, m. Elizabeth Craig in 1816. Ran away from home; lived in Ohio, Ill. and Ia. Died in Ia. Cousin marriages in this family.
3. Musgrove, Magdalean, 1804 – , m. 1827 William Wilkerson. ^*^
4. Musgrove, Rebekah Hall, 1805 – , m. Hal L. Pearson, 1824
5. Musgrove, John Hall, 1806 – 1888; m. 1 Lucy Lazenby, m.2 Lucy Cunningham.
6. Musgrove, Rachel, 1808 – 1889, m. 1830, Owen Wilkerson
7. Musgrove, Keziah Stover, 1811 – 1892; m. 1828 Wm Lockett Wilkerson.
Slave story in this family. Civil War. Cousin marriages.
8. Musgrove, Minerva, 1822 – ; m. 1. 1837, Harrison W. Baker; m. 2. ________ Swain.
9. Musgrove, Benjamin B. Jr., 1822 – 1902; m. 1842, Sarah (Sally) Ann English.
10. Musgrove, Demetrious P., 1826 – 1865; m. 1846 Martha H. Watson.
11. Musgrove, Millicent, 1827 – ; m. 1, 1843, Henry B. Anthony; m. 2. Thomas Mitchell
12. Musgrove, Tabitha, 1832, ; m. 1 1836, John Sun Gill; m. 2, Parmaris English. Cousin marriage in family.

Some tracing in this family through the seventh generation from William Hall, d. 1757.

The English and Anthony families were considered by some residents of southern Bedford county as leading families – above average.

Benjamin B. Musgrove, Sr., had ancestors who fought in the American Revolution.

Elizabeth Craig, wife of Rev. Henry Musgrove was born in Germany

Typical cousin marriages – (not all accounted for)

When Dr. Hugh Brown Wilkerson, 1856-1929, son of Keziah (#7 on list married Ellen Rebecca Mount, 1859-1940, he was marrying a grand-daughter of Rev. Henry Musgrove(#2 on list.).

The marriage of Christopher Musgrove (#1 on list) to Elizabeth Best Jones was a marriage of two persons who were first cousins to the children of Elisha Hall, d. 1840. Christopher through his mother and Elizabeth or Eliza through Elisha’s wife who was a Best.

John Henry Gill, son of Tabitha Musgrove (#12 on list) married Mary Rebecca Wilkerson, daughter of Keziah Musgrove (#7 on list) he was marrying a first cousin.

Many of the Musgrove family marriages were performed by Rev. Abner Anthony. Here is what D.C. Brooks said about him in Cause and Effect, p. 19.

“Rev. Abner Anthony licensed to preach in 1826, was active 50 years until 1876 he performed his first marriage on May 28, 1827. He performed 999 ceremonies. Anthony had a large estate and owned many slaves.”

+The author thinks, but does not know, that the John Hall, Jr., was a son of a John Hall, brother to William Hall, d. 1757. In 1794, John Hall, Jr., became a licensed Baptist preacher in Bedford county and died in 1799. He was a carpenter. Our Hezekiah, d. 1811, then the oldest of the Bedford Hall clan was the Executor of John Jr.’s modest estate.
++using the order of names as given by a grandson of John, d. 1794.
+++William Hall may have lived in Franklin Co. Va. prior to 1818.
++++Other Civil War stories will be told later in this section.
+++++also Matthew
*see section on William Hall d. 1757
**From the History of the Morgan Church, Bedford Co., Va.
***James P. Marshall, a descendant, was Sheriff of Bedford Co., Va. for twenty-seven years.
****The name Elisha was the most common given name for males in all branches of the Hall family. Unless carefully noted, the name can cause much confusion in patterning out the history of the group.
*****Comments: Elisha had 10 children, one not shown, Magdalena, who may be dead in 1840. The writer believes that this is a good listing of the family in birth order, as the Commissioners likely took them in order of age. No wife is listed for Elisha, Jr., nor for Banks B. in 1840, although he is known to have married later. The names in parentheses indicate family name of respective spouses.
Only information on daughter not given land:
22 Jan 1827 Greer (Green), Jas. & Magdalena Hall
dau. Elisha
Jas. K. Shaver, Surety
Mar. by Rev. Wm. Leftwich
^and marrying off her daughters
^^he may not have lived in Maryland but his ancestors did.
^^^D.(Dabney) Claytor Brooks, Cause and Effect, Carleton Press, NYC, 1972. A Bedford county, Va., historian, visited by the author and voluminous correspondence between them. As result, he is somewhat of a clearing house for other family searchers.
^^^^At the time Brooks wrote his book, he didn’t know of the exact family relationships. Recently, he has discovered a closer relationship with the Halls in his own line – I warned him!
^^^^^The writer does not accept the 1774 birthdate for Musgrove. He thinks it was 1780. Keziah and Benjamin married – he believes – almost as children; 14 and 16 years of age respectively. Their first child was not born until two years after the marriage – unusual for those times. Using the 1774 date causes some confusion among those studying the Musgrove family line.
^*^Wilkersons related; Wm. L. and Owen – half-brothers sons of a Joseph Wilkerson. Wm. grandson of Joseph.

  1. “Hall-Overstreet: Section VI,Chapter 21,Page 225,”
Use of [the above] Text Material

COPYRIGHT. —the material in Vols. I and II of THE GRANDFATHERS is not copyrighted, except as the term is understood in common law.

Therefore, the reader(s) of these volumes is free to copy, steal and lift for his or her own personal use any of the contents. In fact, the author will feel greatly complimented if by chance anyone would read it and honored if its contents were worth borrowing without pay.

Works such as THE GRANDFATHERS are for personal satisfaction not money — although they are among the most valuable writings that can be left for future generations. They are the true histories of a people.

The material in these volumes was obtained by relentless searching, voluminous correspondence, library haunting, travel, expenditure of money and lifting from others’ works. Most of all, by the graciousness and forebearance of those who were contacted in person or by letter. The greatest factor of all was TIME of which un-godly amounts were used in its composition.

Carrol Carman Hall, Springfield, IL, USA 1981

1. Carrol Carman Hall, “The Grandfathers Hall-Overstreet Families,” The Grandfathers, n.d.,