Early Pegrams in America
ENGLISH SETTLEMENT IN VIRGINIA
On 14 May 1607, a group of roughly 100 members of a joint venture called the "Virginia Company" founded Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in North America, on the banks of the James River. Famine, disease, and conflict with local Native American tribes in the first two years brought Jamestown to the brink of failure before the arrival of a new group of settlers and supplies in 1610. By 1619 the colony had implemented a General Assembly with members elected by Virginia's male landowners. That same year about 50 African men, women, and children arrived as slaves, likely to be utilized in the profitable tobacco export business. The colony gradually expanded during the 1620s into a second town (New Town) to the east of Jamestown. Rebellions later occurred as a result of conflict between the residents of the colony, corrupt governors, declining tobacco prices, higher taxes, and unrest with Native American tribes. In 1676 the Bacon Rebellion burned much of Jamestown to the ground. In 1698 the central statehouse also burned down and it was then decided to abandon Jamestown and build a new capital roughly 5 miles further inland. That new capital would be called Williamsburg and would become one of America's first planned cities.
The following sections will describe the first five sequential generations of PEGRAMs in Colonial Virginia. The symbol <<< will indicate which child in a given family will grow up to sire the next generation. Because there is significant duplication of first names in the PEGRAM lineage, the symbol [Gn] will be used to identify a particular individual. As an example, in the next section George PEGRAM [G2] would be the son of George PEGRAM [G1].
George PEGRAM [G1] is the earliest PEGRAM known to have left descendants in America. Not a lot is known about this individual, but it is likely that he was born about 1660 in Essex County, England. He is reported to have been a surveyor. About 1680 he married Sarah HUNT in York County, Virginia. Court records indicate that he served as a juror in several cases and was sued several times for relatively small debts. George PEGRAM [G1] and his wife would have 4 sons and possibly an unknown number of daughters:
John PEGRAM [G2] Born about 1685. John was likely the eldest of George's children. Died about 1753.
Daniel PEGRAM [G2] Born about 12 Jan 1689 in Williamsburg and died 1726 in Williamsburg. <<<
William PEGRAM [G2] Born about 1691. A brick layer, he and his wife, Sarah, purchased a house and lot (#323) in Williamsburg on 28 January 1745 and then sold it on 16 May 1745, less than 4 months later. That house had been originally built by William Timson about 1715 - 1717 and is still today at 303 Prince George Street, near the Governor's Mansion. Sarah died in 1748 and William died sometime after 1751.
George PEGRAM [G2] Born about 30 Oct 1690 in Williamsburg. Apprenticed to Daniel DuVail on 24 June 1704 as a "joyner" (carpenter) with the approval of his uncle, Robert Hunt. Died about 1726.
George PEGRAM [G1] and his wife would have both died before the apprenticeship contract for their son Daniel was signed in 1703.
Daniel PEGRAM [G2] was born about 12 Jan 1689 in Williamsburg, VA. Both of his parents had died by the time he was 14, so his uncle, Robert Hunt, approved his apprenticeship to Thomas Whitby as a carpenter on 24 Jan 1703. Daniel married Sarah FOESE in 1718. On 15 Jan 1719 Daniel purchased half acre lot #183 in Williamsburg and subsequently built a house in which he lived until his death in 1726. Daniel and Sarah would have 5 children:
Daniel PEGRAM [G3] Born in 1720, he died in 1777 in Warren County, North Carolina.
Edward PEGRAM [G3] Born on 4 Mar 1722, he died in 1795. <<<
Mary PEGRAM [G3] Born about 1724, married William RIVES
Sarah PEGRAM [G3] Born before 1726, married James SCOTT
George PEGRAM [G3] Born in 1727
Daniel PEGRAM [G2] died in 1726 at the age of 37 and was buried in Bruton Parish Episcopal Churchyard in Williamsburg. His will, recorded in York County Court on 18 July 1726, ordered that the house on Lot #183 be sold and that his wife should be sole executor to dispose of his estate "as she sees fit". Sarah then died soon after, with her will recorded in York County Court on 19 June 1727. Her husband's brother, John, was listed as executor. She left Daniel's carpenter tools to her son from a prior marriage, David FOESE. David had previously been apprenticed to Daniel PEGRAM as a carpenter. The remainder of the estate was split amongst the 5 PEGRAM children.
Edward PEGRAM [G3}, born on 4 Mar 1722, would have lost his father when he was 4 and then orphaned when he was only 5 or 6. It is unknown who raised Edward and his siblings, but we know that he was apprenticed to a bricklayer, Matthew Harfield, in April 1736. Unfortunately, many of the records for Dinwiddie County, Virginia during this period were either lost in a fire or later destroyed during the Civil War, so it is not certain whether he completed the apprenticeship as originally recorded. In August 1737 he was listed as a "youth resident in the county", with no mention of him being an apprentice. There were reports that Edward was a surveyor or some sort of law officer. In any case, he met and fell in love with Mary Scott Baker, daughter of Col. Daniel Baker. In 1741 Edward approached Col. Baker to ask for Mary's hand in marriage, Baker and his two sons scorned the engagement and forbade the marriage on the grounds that Edward was socially beneath them. With Mary's approval, Edward returned at a later date, took her from the house, rode off with her to a Parson, and they were married. During the following years, Edward prospered and became a wealthy and influential member of the colony. He eventually owned several plantations and many slaves. The Bakers later attempted to reconcile with Edward and Mary, but Edward never recognized them. Edward and Mary would have 11 children:
William S. PEGRAM [G4], born 18 Jun 1742 in Dinwiddie County, VA, died in 1789.
Mary PEGRAM [G4], born on 6 Mar 1744 in Dinwiddie County, VA
Edward "King" PEGRAM [G4], born on 13 Jan 1745, married 1) Mary LYLE, 2) Ann Harper PARHAM, died on 30 Mar 1816. Edward served as a juror at the trial of Aaron BURR for the slaying of Alexander HAMILTON. His home was known as "Diamond Spring".
John PEGRAM [G4], born on 20 Dec 1748, married Martha STURDIVANT, died 1814
Elizabeth PEGRAM [G4], born on 24 Aug 1750, married John Peter WOODWARD or Samuel SCOTT
Sallie W. (aka Elizabeth) PEGRAM [G4], born on 12 Jan 1753, married Daniel EPPES about 1769
George Scott PEGRAM [G4], born 29 Aug 1755, married Elizabeth WILLIAMSON
Baker PEGRAM [G4], born 27 Jan 1758, married Mary MANSON, died 14 Oct 1830 <<<
Daniel PEGRAM [G4], born 25 Apr 1760, died young
Ann (Nancy) Baker PEGRAM [G4], born 4 Jul 1762, married Thomas MANSON (brother of Baker's wife), died after 1806
Daniel PEGRAM [G4], born 30 Mar 1767, married Nancy HARDAWAY, died on 23 Oct 1832
Edward [G3] and Mary lived with their family on a farm situated 18 miles south of Petersburg, VA. The homestead was called "Bonneville". A battle was later fought on this property during the Civil War, known as the "Battle of the Pegram Farm". On 9 Sep 1780, a representative of the Methodist Church spoke to about 70 guests at Bonneville, implying that Edward was somewhat sympathetic with the then unpopular Methodist religion. Mary died on 30 June 1779 at age 55 and Edward would die in 1795 at age 73
A reproduction of the portion of the records from Daniel Theodore Pegram's bible showing birth dates of Edward Pegram, his wife Mary Scott Baker, and their children.
Baker PEGRAM [G4] was born in Dinwiddie County, Virginia on 27 January 1758, the eighth child of Edward and Mary PEGRAM. On 1 May 1775 Baker joined the 6th Virginia Regiment of Continental Establishment at Williamsburg. He served as a Sergeant in Captain Fox's company. He crossed the Delaware on Christmas Day 1776 with Washington and served in the campaigns of 1776-1777. He was with his regiment at Valley Forge in the winter of 1777-1778 and was mustered out at Valley Forge in February 1778. He spent the rest of the war as a captain in the Dinwiddie County militia and commanded his company when the militia was called out in 1780 to repel Benedict Arnold's raid along the James River. In October 1781 he marched his company to Yorktown about the time of Cornwallis' surrender to Washington. Following the war. Baker PEGRAM remained an officer in the militia, ultimately serving as a Major on one of the battalions of the Dinwiddie County regiment in the 1790s. During his action in the Revolutionary War, he married Mary Manson, daughter of Peter and Susannah HARDAWAY MANSON. They would have 12 children:
Edward PEGRAM [G5], born 14 Jan 1778 , married Rebecca HARPER on 11 July 1799, died in Brunseick County, Virginia on 10 April 1824 <<<
Susan Manson PEGRAM [G5], born in 1780, married Wilkin ANDREWS, died at City Point, Prie County, Virginia
Martha PEGRAM [G5], born in 1782, married William GOODE in 1814, died in 1829
George PEGRAM [G5], born in 1786, died on 13 Dec 1813
Peter PEGRAM [G5], died young
Benjamin PEGRAM [G5], born 18 Nov 1792, died in Tennessee on 13 Jun 1833
Daniel PEGRAM [G5]
William Baker PEGRAM [G5], born on 29 Jan 1797 (twin), married Sarah Elizabeth Mary Jones WALKER on 11 Oct 1821, died in Lincoln, Illinois on 29 Nov 1877
Mary Peter PEGRAM [G5], born on 29 Jan 1797 (twin), married Baker ANDREWS
James PEGRAM [G5], born 1803
Nathaniel James PEGRAM [G5], born 20 Feb 1804, married Nalvinis BRYAN on 26 Dec 1835. died in New Orleans, Louisiana on 31 May 1866
Unnamed PEGRAM [G5], born about 1806, died young
The date of Mary MANSON PEGRAM's death has only been listed as "after 1804". It is very possible that Mary died during childbirth in 1806. In any case, Baker PEGRAM then married a Mrs. Jones. No children resulted from this marriage. Major Baker PEGRAM died 14 Oct 1830.
Edward PEGRAM [G5] was born on 14 Jan 1778 in Dinwiddie County, Virginia. He married Rebecca HARPER on 11 July 1799. Rebecca was the daughter of Nathaniel HARPER of Brunswick County and was born 28 September 1777. Edward and Rebecca would have 7 children (6 girls and 1 boy):
Mary B. PEGRAM [G6], born in Dinwiddie County, Virginia and died unmarried at Athens, Alabama in 1868.
Martha Rebecca PEGRAM [G6], born in Dinwiddie County, Virginia 27 Dec 1806, married John ALLISON, died 21 March 1850.
Nathaniel Harper PEGRAM [G6], born in Brunswick County, Virginia 15 September 1807, married Amanda Elizabeth KING, died Sept 30, 1889. <<<
Louisa PEGRAM [G6], born in Brunswick County, Virginia 1809 or 1810, married Thomas Clarke CALVIN, died 28 Oct 1839.
Julia K PEGRAM [G6], born in Brunswick County, Virginia 27 January 1811, married John ALLISON on 17 Nov 1841 (whose first wife was her sister, Martha), died at Nashville, Tennessee in 1862.
Maria Agnes PEGRAM [G6], born in Brunswick County, Virginia in 1821, married Samuel T. CALVIN, died 5 July 1884.
Rebecca Harper PEGRAM [G6], born in Brunswick County, Virginia in 1824, married John Quincy FIELDS, then married James Madison COOK, died June 1869.
Edward PEGRAM owned a tobacco plantation, with an extensive number of slaves. He was also a prominent member of the local Freemasonry fraternal organization. During an effort to build a new temple for the organization, Edward experienced the loss of a large amount of money through a securities issue. He was forced to sell many of his slaves to cover the loss and died soon afterward. After Edward's death in 1824, Rebecca moved with her children to Mooresville, Limestone County, Alabama to join her brothers. She died there on 6 May 1850.
OPINIONS AND FOOTNOTES
It should be pointed out that the information presented above is available from multiple sources on the internet and has not been independently researched. The only point of theoretical discussion in the literature is whether the adult Edward [G3] was really the son of Daniel [G2] and acquired wealth as an adult or an unrelated wealthy individual who happened to arrive from England at the right time. Since there is no definitive proof of the latter option, this document will assume Edward [G3] was the son of Daniel [G2].
The five generations of "Virginia PEGRAMS" described above represent about 150 years of early American history. George [G1], Daniel [G2], and initially Edward [G3] were employed as tradesmen (carpenter, bricklayer, surveyor, etc.). During his married lifetime, Edward [G3] managed to accrue great wealth and social stature. He ultimately owned multiple tobacco plantations and a large number of slaves utilized on those plantations. That life style then propagated through succeeding PEGRAM generations, but started to become less common by the 19th Century when more "liberal" members of the family decided to move westward to seek their own opportunities and to separate from the slave-based society of the South.