Willis and Polly Pegg
What we have discovered is that Willis was born Abt. 1814 in North Carolina. His parents enslaved by the Valentine and Martin Pegg families in Guilford Co., North Carolina.¹ The white Pegg families were members of the Society of Nicholites. In 1766, a visit from the Quaker John Woolman left a lasting effect on the Nicholites. So much so they manumitted all of their slaves, began to promote the message of peace and adopted the Quaker style of wearing undyed clothes.²
Willis and his siblings were born free in the years following John Woolman’s visit. Many of the manumitted slaves remained on the land and continued to work for the Peggs and shared in the harvest and the work.
His wife Polly Johnson was born in 1847 in Bushy Creek, South Carolina. Her Father’s name was Thursday and mother is Elsie Doyle. On the Dunn Rolls, Polly is listed as a Doyle but later in 1899 she is certified as a citizen of the Muskogee Creek Nation and listed on the Creek Nation-Freedman Rolls. By 1880 census records have Willis and Polly living in Kansas where they raised their children working hard to offer them a better life. We find him listed as a farm laborer living in Morris County, Kansas. Willis and Polly did have 8 surviving children.
As in most families, the children sometimes leave the nest for distant lands in hopes of better opportunities. Five of the Pegg children left Kansas in search of their careers and futures.
At age 59 in 1900, we find Polly working as a washerwoman. Polly is working hard along with her two daughters whom as cooks contributed to making ends meet. Her invalid brother Mack Johnson and his two young daughters Alice and Adaline Johnson also lived with her in a large boarding house in Emporia City. Sometime between 1900 and 1903, Mack Johnson has passed, and Polly moved to be closer to her daughter Ida, who had by this time married and was living in Oklahoma. Polly appears to have struggled a great deal, for, in 1899, it was her cousin Sally Roberts who helped her gain land from the Commission of the Five Civilized Tribes. I again found Polly under the Creek Tribal listings in Chickasha, Grady, Oklahoma, where Polly would live until her death in 1917.
Polly Doyle Johnson remained close to all of her children, even though, the distance was at most times an obstacle. During her last illness, she was attended by all but one of her children. Her son John Grant had preceded her in death the year before.
Given more time I hope to uncover more information about all of the children of Willis and Polly.
¹Whitney, R. (2005, September 28). Ancestors of Daniel PEGG. Retrieved April 19, 2015, from http://homepages.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~rwhitney/whitney/5/4068.htm
²Nabb Research Center- Explore the history and culture of the Delmarva Peninsula. (n.d.). Retrieved April 19, 2015, from http://nabbhistory.salisbury.edu/new_website/new_wroten_jnichols.asp