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“It is a revered thing to see an ancient castle not in decay; how much more to behold an ancient family which has stood against the waves and weathers of time!” – Francis Bacon

Each day I wake with renewed energy to bring to life the accomplishments and lives of our people who walked before us.

My goal is to have an interactive website that blogs about my historical and genealogical research. Mainly, I want to draw attention to the rich legacy that our ancestors worked so hard to leave for us and future generations.

Dr. Khadijah Matin, my younger sister, has been the family historian for years. The research focus for her doctoral thesis centered on our grandfather the Hon. John G. Pegg. I took from that it was time for me to begin my quest to find out about the rest of the family.  There are some gaps in our historical timeline due to the lack of record-keeping, lost bibles, lost photographs, and limited oral folklore. I don’t think many of our ancestors realized they were making history. I believe that many were just too busy trying to make a living, keeping their families together and out of harm’s way.  

The theme of my research is:

 You cannot know where you are going until you know who you are, you cannot know who you are until you know who came before…It is only then you will find your true direction and reason for being…   

                                                    J. Gray ©

The Buxton, Ontario, Canada pictures were taken by my husband, Kenneth Gray Sr.
 logo2 Logo designed by Yolanda J. Edwards
Copyright and Information
©Joyceann Gray & Sterling Bay, LLC. 2014-2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission of Joyceann Gray & Sterling Bay, LLC. The author/owner of this blog is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Joyceann Gray & Sterling Bay with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Dr. Jerome R. Riley

2-Jerome R. Riley 1843-1929

Medical Doctor, Author, and Political and Civil Rights Activist.

Second son of Issac  and Catherine Riley (the first settlers of the Elgin Settlement in Buxton, Ontario, Canada). 

His father and mother were runaway slaves that made their way from Perry County, Missouri, stopping in Michigan; then crossing over to Windsor and on to St Catherine’s. In 1849, the Riley’s read in a bulletin  of the colored settlement to be built at Buxton, Township of Raleigh, Kent County, Canada by Rev. William King. At four years old Riley along with his family were the first settlers in Buxton.  Years after their arrival, his mother is quoted as saying “There we were in darkness here we are in the light” (Drew, 1855).

Ten Years later, to his parents’ delight;   Jerome was among the first four graduates of the Buxton Mission School, gaining a classical education including latin and mathematics in an integrated setting in 1856. He attended Knox College, University of Toronto and in 1861, Riley received his licence to practise medicine in Canada West.

While serving with the Union Army as an assistant surgeon.during the War between the States, Dr. Riley along with Dr. Anderson Abbott and  Dr. T. Rapier founded the Freedman’s Hospital in Washington D.C.  

After the war, Riley furthered his medical education  and graduated from the Trinity with honours in Chicago,  and Howard University College of Medicine in Washington, D.C., (G) (1873). He graduated with a degree in Allopath – (A practitioner of traditional/mainstream or “Western” medicine; the term Allopathic is largely of historical interest and was used in the 19th century to differentiate the practitioner from a homeopath).

Jerome became an active ‘Redeemer’ Democrat and participated in the 1874 Constitutional Convention in Arkansas. The Democrats made a point of retaining the controversial civil rights provisions of their predecessors. New York Herald reporter Charles Nordhoff visited Arkansas in 1875,  Dr. Jerome R. Riley, County Physician and Coroner, boasted that “more colored men were elected and commissioned to offices of trust and pay” than under the Republicans.  A black reporter from the Indianapolis Freedman was so impressed with the situation he found in Arkansas that he dubbed the state the “Negro Paradise.”   That didn’t settle well with  many and Dr. Riley soon lost favor within the white community. He was encouraged to  move back to Washington D.C.

(Note *Jim Crow laws were put in place in Arkansas  by 1890. No black man served in public office again until the 1960’s Civil Rights legislation.)

In Aug of 1877, Jerome Riley married the beautiful former Agnes M. Nalle of Virginia   Until he could get his medical practice up and running Riley took the position as Capital Hill Watchman for $900 per annum.

Dr. Riley  authored “The Philosophy of Negro Suffrage” a written work on the race problem in 1895.. Later by 1896, Dr. Riley was the 2nd term President of “The William J. Bryan Club,” which just changed its name from the “John M. Palmer Colored Democratic Club.”  He remained politically involved and continued to write. In 1901 he wrote; “Evolution or Racial Development” (published by J.S. Ogilvie, New York, 1901). In 1903 The Byrd Printing Co. (Atlanta) published his third book “Reach the Reached Negro”.

Dr. Riley was also a member of the “National Negro Anti-Expansion, Anti-Imperialist, Anti-Trust, and Anti-Lynching League” or the “National Negro League.” 



Read what Jerome Riley wrote about living in Buxton on pages 77, 78, and 79.

Jerome R. Riley  (\

The Buxton Museum webpage

African Canadians in Union Blue: Volunteering for the Cause in America’s Civil War (Studies in Canadian Military History). (n.d.). Retrieved February 3, 2015, from

Accomplishments of Our Ancestors


Hamilton Hatter        Hamilton Hatter Part 2

It is a revered thing to see an ancient castle, not in decay; how much more to behold an ancient family which has stood against the waves and weathers of time!” – Francis Bacon

   3-Hatter,_Hamilton-2000.14.150   Hamilton Hatter 

       Hamilton Hatter  ( 1856-1942)

Son of Franklin And Rebecca McCord Hatter

A graduate of Storer College in 1878, then Nichols Latin School at Lewistown, Maine.

Graduated Second Honor in Psychology, from Bates College in 1888

Professor at Storer College teaching Latin, Greek, and Mathematics

Started the Industrial Department of Storer College and erection of the main building

 In 1893, Hatter received the patent for an intricate machine that improves the harvesting of Indian corn.

 President of Bluefield College (1896-1906) The originally named the Bluefield Colored Institute

Bluefield College renamed their President house to Hatter house in 1999 in honor of Hamilton Hatter, which is now on the Historical Register.

Deeded land to Storer College

During the Spanish-American war, he was active as a Four Minute Man authorized by President Woodrow Wilson. (During the 4-minute intermission at theaters these men would stand before the audience and speak in support of the president’s policies.)

John Grant Pegg (1868-1916)     Hon John Grant Pegg   John Pegg Sr in the office 1914

Graduate of Freeman’s Academy at Dunlap, Kansas

Porter on the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad passenger dining cars.

While working out of Chicago, John was an active and aggressive political figure, debating and sharing ideas with the likes of Edward Morris, (a prominent Black Chicago Attorney and politician) and the infamous Clarence Darrow (abolitionist and lifelong champion for the rights of Blacks in and out of the courts). John learned the finer points of political arguments and became prepared for the political life that awaited him in Omaha.

32nd degree Mason and a Shriner

Pegg was the Leading Colored Republican of the Western States Meet in Conference.

In 1906, he was appointment as the City Weights and Measures Inspector by J.C. Dalhman, Mayor of Omaha 1910.

Encouraged and Sponsored many of the  black settlers who went by wagon out to Cherry County, Nebraska to homestead benefiting from The Kincaid Homestead Act of 1904

James Augustus Page (1867-1917)  – No photo available –

Graduate of Howard University Medical School 1906

Gaitha Adolphus Page (1879-1970)   Prof Gaitha Page

Graduate of Kansas Normal School (1899) which later became  Emporia State University

Field of study was the historiography and historical method

Teacher at Buchanan High School  (1901-)

Professor of the Quindaro School System

President of City  Athletic Tournament, Topeka, KS

Helped to maintain his father’s Shoe & Bootmaking business in Kansas City, MO


William WalkerWILLIAM PARKER WALKERWilliam P Walker and 1st wife Sarah Kersey(2)  William Parker Walker  (1836-1931)

Sailor on Great Lake Steamers – helped runaway slaves  reach Canada

Postmaster of Buxton-Kent, Ontario, Canada and Farmer

Walker was Superintendent of the Sunday School and leader in the prayer meeting services. An important thing about this church was the fact that there were many denominations represented, but all joined in the services and supported the one church.  

Homesteader, in Nebraska in the 1860’s – Purchased 160 acres under the Scrip Warrant Act of 1855 (BOLM # 29117) Purchased 1,920 more acres in 1913 & 14. He became the Community Veterinarian with a special touch for the horses.

 Forrest Muriel Stith (1910-1986)     Rev. Forrest Muriel Stith

U.S. Army chaplain

Retired United Methodist Bishop Forrest Stith discusses his role in producing “Songs of Zion,” an African-American hymnal of the United Methodist Church. He spoke weeks before a Dec. 2011 dinner in Washington, D.C., honoring his 53 years of ministry and celebrating the 10th anniversary of the African-American Methodist Heritage Center.  Author of “Sunrises and Sunsets toward Freedom” and “Orange Morgan’s 38,325 Mornings

Watch and listen to him on

Goldie Glyola (Walker) Hayes (1897-1956)  Goldie Walker-Hayes

Kearney State Normal in Kearney County, Nebraska and Black Hills Teachers College (Spearfish Normal) at Spearfish, S.D.   

Wife of William Roy Hayes, Veteran of WWII

Audacious, Cherry County, Nebraska Teaching school in District 164 – her brother George A. Riley  was the Director

Valentine, Cherry, Nebraska, Elected as the Cherry Co. Rural Teachers Delegate to the General Assembly.

Norris, Nebraska, Principal of School – (4 room building! A kitchen, her office, two classrooms.) 

John Gilbert Pegg (1904-1979)      Family photo copies 37

Army Ordinance Training Officer,

Served on the Cleveland · Cuyahoga County Port Authority in 1971, a member of Tau Boule ( a professional Minority Business Men’s Association)

Original Director of the First National Bank Association

Co-Author of  Lina Derritt, Petitioner, v. State Board of Real Estate Examiners. U.S. Supreme Court Transcript of Record with Supporting Pleadings

Where our Ancestors Once Lived

Bluefield, WV                                      Bushy Creek, SC                       Port Royal, TE

Charles Town, WV                              Dawson County, NE                 Loganville, Ky

Rippon, WV                                         Omaha, NE                                Lexington, KY

Loudoun County VA                           Russia, Lorain, OH                  Chillicothe, OH

Richmond, VA                                    Buxton, Ontario, Canada        Toledo, OH

Chatham, Canada                               Niagra Falls, Canada               Topeka, KS

Chariton County, MO                       Kansas, MO                               Brunswick, MO

Kansas city, KS                                 Eskridge, KS                              Chickasha, Grady, Ok

Kalamazoo,​ MI                                 Grand Rapids,  MI                     Itawamba, MS

Brookhaven, MS                               Nettleton, MS                          Tupelo, MS

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