Musgrave - Thomas Bateson Musgrave (1831-1903)


Musgrave - Thomas Bateson Musgrave (1831-1903)

Thomas Bateson Musgrave (1831-1903), or T.B. Musgrave, was born in 1831 to Thomas Musgrave and Martha (Gaunt) Musgrave in Massachusetts. T.B.?s father, Thomas, came from England and settled in Northampton, Massachusetts. He invented a machine for removing burrs and dirt from wool, became an agent for Northampton Woolen Manufacturing Co., apparently made a fortune and was himself involved in controversial dealings as a merchant with, among others, John Brown of Harpers Ferry fame.

T.B. married Frances '"Fannie" Eleanor Jones (1841-1918) on April 18, 1865 at the Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Philadelphia. T.B. and Fannie had one son, Percival "Percy" Musgrave (1872-1922) who graduated from Harvard Medical School, married Edith Elise Porter in 1897 and became a surgeon in Boston.

T.B. became a wealthy banker in New York City. He and Fannie lived at 535 Fifth Avenue and were part of a glittering social scene in the city. They sent their son to St. Marks school to prepare for Harvard, employed musicians to entertain their guests at dinner, and bought themselves every accoutrement for an elegant life.

In 1876 Bret Harte wrote the novel, "Gabriel Conroy" and affectionately dedicated it "To My Friend, Thomas Bateson Musgrave, Esq." T.B. was a financial benefactor to Harte and supported him during Harte's financial difficulties, which had apparently been brought about by his own exaggerated standard of living. Thomas, like his father, also carried on a relationship with John Brown.

The Musgraves built their first cottage, "Edgemere," at Bar Harbor in 1880. They were prominent players on the social scene at Bar Harbor. When President Chester A. Arthur visited the summer colony there on September 14, 1882 it was said that he came on T.B. Musgrave's suggestion. T.B. and Percy went aboard his yacht and were received with much fanfare. President Arthur then went ashore and had breakfast with the Musgraves at "Edgemere." By 1895 the Musgraves had built two more cottages on the property, "Mare Vista" and "Eden Hall."

"In the late 1880s, Thomas faded from the Bar Harbor scene as his business and health failed, but Fannie and their son Percy, a noted Boston surgeon, would live on to enjoy their three cottages.


“Musgrave - Thomas Bateson Musgrave (1831-1903),” Southwest Harbor Public Library, accessed June 26, 2019, 13160