Concerning Colonel Musgrave one finds the ensuing account in a publication of the period devoted to biographies of more or less prominent Americans. It is reproduced unchanged, because these memoirs were—in the old days—compiled by the person whom they commemorated. The custom was a worthy one, since the value of an autobiography is determined by the nature of its superfluities and falsehoods.
“Musgrave, Rudolph Vartrey, editor; b. Lichfield, Sill., Mar. 14, 1856; s. William Sebastian and Martha (Allardyce) M; g. s. Theodorick Q.M., gov. of Sill. 1805-8, judge of the General Ct., 1808-11, judge Supreme Ct. of Appeals, 1811-50 and pres. Supreme Ct. of Appeals, 1841-50; grad. King’s Coll. and U. of Sill. Corr. sec. Lichfield Hist. Soc., and editor Sill. Mag. of Biog. since 1890; dir. Traders Nat. Bank, Sill.; mem. Soc. of the Sons of Col. Govs., pres. Sill. Soc. of Protestant Martyrs, comdr. Sill. Mil. Order of Lost Battles, mem. exec. bd. Sill. Hist. Assn. for the Preservation of Ruins. Democrat, Episcopalian, unmarried. Author: Colonial Lichfield, 1892; Right on the Scaffold, 1893; Secession and the South, 1894; Chart of the Descendants of Zenophon Perkins, 1894; Recollections of a Gracious Era, 1895; Notes as to the Vartreys of Westphalia, 1896. Has also written numerous pamphlets on hist., biog. and geneal. subjects. Address: Lichfield, Sill.”
For Colonel Musgrave was by birth the lineal head of all the Musgraves of Matocton, which is in Lichfield, as degrees are counted there, equivalent to what being born a marquis would mean in England. Handsome and trim and affable, he defied chronology by looking ten years younger than he was known to be. For at least a decade he had been invaluable to Lichfield matrons alike against the entertainment of an “out-of-town girl,” the management of a cotillion and the prevention of unpleasant pauses among incongruous dinner companies.
In short, he was by all accounts the social triumph of his generation; and his military title, won by four years of arduous service at receptions and parades while on the staff of a former Governor of the State, this seasoned bachelor carried off with plausibility and distinction.
The story finds him “Librarian and Corresponding Secretary” of the Lichfield Historical Association, which office he had held for some six years. The salary was small, and the colonel had inherited little; but his sister, Miss Agatha Musgrave, who lived with him, was a notable housekeeper. He increased his resources in a gentlemanly fashion by genealogical research, directed mostly toward the rehabilitation of ambiguous pedigrees; and for the rest, no other man could have fulfilled more gracefully the main duty of the Librarian, which was to exhibit the Association’s collection of relics to hurried tourists “doing” Lichfield.