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William Musgrave was born on 17th April 1810, the oldest child of Benjamin Musgrave and Elizabeth CAWOOD and was christened in the Holbeck Chapel of the parish of Leeds St. Peters. His father was the son of William Musgrave, gentleman dyer who had been brought up in the Mill Hill Presbyterian Congregation. All of his children were however, christened Church of England. William's mother was the daughter of William Cawood, nailmaker, of Otley Parish a few miles to the north of Leeds.
All of the Musgrave family were in the wool and/or cloth dyeing bussiness in some way.
The second child in the family was a girl named Sarah who died aged 11 months. Next was Benjamin, born in 1815 and lastly another girl - Sarah Elizabeth, born in February 1818. William's mother died shortly after the birth of this child when he was not quite eight years old. Three years later his father married Martha WALKER resulting in two more children - Charlotte born in 1822 and Jane in 1834. In 1835 Sarah Elizabeth died aged 17.
Sometime in 1831 or 32, after he had turned 21,William enlisted as a Private in the 16th Queens Lancers. It is not known if he had the blessing of his father as it seems strange that someone of his social and financial position would not have purchased a commission for his son in the Regiment.
The Lancers were posted to India and the voyage to Calcutta by sailing ship was to take 6 months. Once there the trip up the Ganges to Cawnpore took another 3 months and so,when he arrived in February 1833 William had been travelling for 3/4 of a year. By March of that year William was a Lance Corporal and by April a full Corporal. June 1833 saw him a Lieutenant Serjeant and Acting School Master.
On 7th November 1835 at the age of 25, William Musgrave married for the first time. His bride was Esther Eliza AVERY, aged 14, the daughter of James and Anne Avery. James came from Grittleton in Wiltshire and was a Troop Serjeant Major, also with the 16th Lancers. Esther was born in Maidstone, Kent and arrived in Cawnpore in 1823 with her parents. As William was the School Master is it likely that she was one of his pupils. The marriage produced 3 children. The first, Sarah Elizabeth was born 5 months after her father left with his Regiment on the Afghanistan Campaign. He did not see her for the first time until February 1840 when she was 11 months old. William was now a Serjeant, having been promoted in 1839.
In 1842 he was Troop Serjeant Major, and also in this year his second child, Benjamin William Musgrave was born. William purchased his discharge from the Army in 1843 for the sum of £15. At this time the Regiment was stationed in Meerut ( having transferred from Cawnpore in 1837) and he stayed there, setting himself up as a "Merchant". Charlotte Ann Musgrave, William and Esthers last child was born here in 1845.
Sometime between this date and the end of 1848 Esther died. There is no record of her burial, but that is not at all unusual. Burial had to be carried out quickly and if there was no clergyman available no church record was kept. It is certain however that by January 1849 William was a widower. On the 29th of this month he married Eliza Lambert BARTLETT a widow, in Ferozepore.
Back in the early 1830's in Cawnpore, another girl was probably also one of Williams pupils during his tenure as School Master. Her name was Eliza Lambert and she was the daughter of Charles LAMBERT and Eliza MURPHY.
Eliza was born in Cawnpore in 1823 and so was about 18 months younger than Esther Eliza Avery but it seems unlikely that they did not know each other. After all, their fathers were in the same Regiment. In 1836 at the age of 13, Eliza married James BARTLETT who was a Staff Serjeant in the 16th Lancers and therefore probably knew William Musgrave.
James was a riding master attached to the Govenor General's bodyguard and in this capacity travelled all over India taking Eliza with him. The couple had 7 children, starting in 1837 when Eliza was 14. They were born in Meerut, Moulmein, Agra, Balligung, Meerut again and the last in Dehra Dun. In 1848 James Lambert died.
After their marriage William and Eliza went back to Meerut to live. Their first son, William was born in January 1850 but lived only three and a half months. The second child - Alice Lambert Musgrave was christened on 26th August 1851. Afterwards came:
Alfred, christened in May 1853 and died aged 8.
Agnes, christened in Dec 1854, dying 5 months later.
Adelaide who was christened in September 1856 and went on to marrry Thomas H GOULD, in Calcutta in 1872 and
Frederick, christened in March 1858
To this point Eliza, who was not yet 36 had borne 13 children!. She died in June of 1838 of TB and was buried in Meerut on the 24th of that month. Four months later her youngest child, Frederick also died.
During the last year of her life she and her husband were caught right in the middle of the Great Indian Mutiny which began late in the day of Sunday 10th May 1857.
For the second time in his life William Musgrave found himself a widower but this only remained so for two and a half years. He married a young lady of 28 - Azuba CHAPPELL on 10th May 1860. She was the 7th child of ten born to Non-conformist minister John CHAPPELL and his wife Mary Ann GIBBONS. All their children were christened in Yaxley, Suffolk between 1824 and 1836 and rejoiced in the names of : Jemima, Drusilla, John Theophilus, Tryphena, Julia, Elijah Lucius, Azuba, Joshua Caleb, Eunice and Clement Channing!!.
From this second marriage came two children: Willie George Theophilus Channing Musgrave, christened in December 1861 and Mary, christened in Calcutta in August 1865. Her mother lived for a day after the birth and Mary for 8.
William had moved to Calcutta sometime between 1861 and this date gaining employment with J Anderson & Co, Wine Merchants and General Dealers. There is no furthur mention of Willie Musgrave and no record of his death so it is assumed he died in his youth.
For his last wife William Musgrave married Jemima, the older sister of his previous wife. She was then aged 43 and there were no children. They continued to live in Calcutta where in 1872 William and his son Benjamin were in bussiness together as Wine Merchants at 46 Dhurrumtollah Street.
It is not known why William travelled to Bhagulpore in September 1874 or if he was ill at the time. He died there on September 8th and was most likely a stranger as neither his occupation or cause of death was known at his burial.
Last updated on 24/5/98