James Tandy Musgrove was sheriff of the Cooweescoowee District of the Cherokee Nation in the early 1890s.
On June 3, 1895, Sheriff Musgrove and Deputy J.F. Flippin approached a house on Bird Creek north of Catoosa to serve a writ on Frog Davis who had been charged with illegally driving and selling cattle and horses to the Osage Nation.
Davis had been recently released from the penitentiary in Detroit, Michigan and had no intention of being arrested again.
When Musgrove and Flippin announced their intent, Davis began firing through the cracks in the wall of an outbuilding he was taking cover in. Sheriff Musgrove was shot by Davis in the abdomen.
Davis escaped and Musgrove died shortly thereafter. The following week Davis was arrested near Tulsa. He was tried, convicted, and sentenced to death for the murder of James Musgrove.
Frog Davis was a nephew of Deputy U.S. Marshal John Davis. James Musgrove, a nephew of Clem Vann Rogers and first cousin of then-15-year-old Will Rogers, is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in Claremore.
Musgrove was carrying a Colt Single Action Army revolver at the time of his murder.
His family has kept this revolver and passed it down through the generations. According to the certified letter from the Colt Archives, this originally nickel finished revolver in .44-40 cartridge was shipped to the E.C. Meacham Arms Company of St. Louis, Missouri on May 13, 1893.
Over the years, someone has re-plated the frame and barrel and blued the cylinder.
In 2011, Musgrove’s great-nephews, Andy and Steven Mutzig donated this pistol to the J.M. Davis Arms & Historical Museum to honor and preserve the history of Sheriff James Tandy Musgrove.
Sheriff Musgrove’s Colt revolver is on exhibit in the Outlaws & Lawmen gallery, so come see it in person and learn a bit more of Oklahoma History during our 50th Anniversary celebration of the J.M. Davis Arms & Historical Museum on Route 66 in Claremore.