Misleading Pedigo Information

Rumors have also circulated for years that our immigrant ancestor Joseph Peregois was a scion of French nobility, a relative of the notorious Talleyrand, who was born 90 years later. There is also a specific castle in France that Americans have visited. 

This information cannot be true, since there is no extant document that says anything about Joseph before his arrival in Baltimore:

  • A List of Emigrants from England to America, 1682-1692, Michael Ghirelli, p. 64: “Joseph Peregois, a frenchman being of full age, bound to Robert Burman for 5 years in MD, 21 Jul 1685.”

Three later records show his continued residence in Baltimore and identify his wife:

  • In 1688, “Joseph Perrgo” was named in the will of Matthew Hudson, associating him with “Joansis Range”, a part of a larger tract called “Burman’s Forest.” This land lay on the Patapsco Neck Peninsula, also known as “North Point.” 
  • A Chancery Court Record Liber P.L., folio 103 gives a deposition of Joseph Peregoy December 4, 1714. He is age 49 years and says that his father-in-law 22 years ago (alleged) that if Upper Spring Neck was run out it would take in William Williams orchard and kitchen, and that his father-in-law had been one to carry the chain when the surveying was done.
  • And on 9 August 1720, his widow, Sarah was made administratix of his estate. 

See http://homepages.rootsweb.com/~odyssey/pedigo/peregois.htm.

The source of his French nobility claims was a letter from Katie Reynolds Taylor to her cousin Leona Arnett Murray, 1904. Her letter is full of unsubstantiated claims and clearly wrong misstatements. It is also the source of the spurrious claim that our Elkins family were Jewish. 

I also have a copy of a monograph entitled “Peregoy-Perrigo-Pedigo (Possibilities and Probabilities).” The author is unknown, but I was sent a copy by John Paul Grady about 1967, that I handcopied.

At some time since my original correspondence with John Paul Grady, the simple given names of the Elkins sisters, Mary who married Robert Pedigo, and Hannah, who married Edward, became twisted with middle names—pretty much unknown in the 1730s when they were born—confusion over which sister married which brother, and even a scenario where one was named Hannah Mary and the other Mary Hannah. There are no documents with those names, and I do not know who started changing the names about.

In the mid-1980s several statements about my ancestor, Elijah Pedigo, were circulating as though proven facts. They may have had the same source and stated:

  1. That the wife of Elijah Pedigo was named Frances W Hall.
  2. That Elijah himself lived to be over a hundred, possibly dying in 1926, at the age of 106. And that he had a third wife named Heldermon.
  3. That Elijah and Frances had an oldest son named George Washington Pedigo, the father of two sons who were living with Elijah’s daughter, Amanda Frances (Pedigo) Bishop in the 1860 census.

A 1988 letter from Ramona Kane cleared up the first issue. She wrote that she wasn’t sure which of her great-grandmothers was named Hall and which was Harper, so she just wrote Hall. The W comes from an awkwardly written H in her second marriage certificate, “Frances H Meredith.”

I traced the two “nephews’ from the Bishops’ 1860 census and determined they were more distant relatives than that. George Walter Pedigo and his brother Samuel were sons of Levi E and Emma Gertrude (Duvall) Pedigo. This Levi E was the youngest known son of Elijah’s brother, Levi E Pedigo Sr.

And I located a family connection in Missouri, not a Pedigo, who was named Heldermon and died in 1906; he was the grandfather of the husband of Vanada Kessler, a granddaughter of Berry Rowlett Pedigo.

Published in: on April 26, 2023 at 7:43 pm  Leave a Comment  

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