Who is Molly Pegan? (Part 2)

Molly Pegan is my sixth great grandmother and a source of much controversy in my small Nipmuc community.  Some of us believe her to be Nipmuc, especially since her maiden name is Pegan – a known Nipmuc name. Others (including nameless BIA researchers) don’t think she is Nipmuc and that the name is simply coincidence. Now her last name is not the only reason folks believe she was Nipmuc but you can read my previous post for more information on that here.

Molly is our tribal brick wall. We have no documentation on who her parents were. Her granddaughter identified her as a Dudley Indian (Dudley Indians are a band or subset of Nipmuc Indians) slightly more than 100 years after Molly’s alleged birth. But why take the granddaughter’s word for it? I created a research plan to try and crack this brick wall in my previous Molly post. Here’s an update on my progress:

Before I move on to records that I haven’t researched yet, I want to review the ones I’ve already read through. I can’t help but think I’m missing a clue. Molly’s Revolutionary War widow’s pension file is full of detail on Molly’s life. Perhaps reviewing the file here will lead to a new clue. Page 33 of the file is a favorite of mine so I’ll start there. (Yes, I know it would be more orderly to start at page one. But this is my quest!)

I have a paper copy from the National Archive but this .jpg is from Fold3.com. It’s the deposition of Sarah Howe Warren, the granddaughter of Rev. Aaron Brown’s wife, Damaris Cady Howe Brown. Sarah lived in her grandparents’ home during Molly’s teenage years. Below is the transcribed document.
           “I Sarah Warren of Killingly in the County of Windham
           and State of Connecticut aged 73 years & able
           & duly sworn according to law. do testify & say
            that the Rev’d Aaron Brown formerly a Minister in
            said Killingly, was my Grandfather & I was
            frequently at his house & I lived [crossed out word] at
            his house when young & went to school. He
            brought up a coloured [sic] Girl named
            Molly Piggen who I knew very well. when
            Molly was about 18 years old she was courted
            by a black man from Thompson and
            my Grandfather was opposed to having
            Molly marry him & he by means of a ladder
            used to visit her unbeknown to most of
            the family. & it was said in the time
            of it that he married her & went to live with
            him, in Thompson. I well remember I
            was there and enquired [sic] for Molly & was told {by my grandmother}She
            had married a negro & gone off To Thompson.
                 After Molly had her first child she
            made a visit to my Grandfather Browns where
            she was brought up & I was there & saw her &
            her child, & remember of asking to hold the
            child & it was put into my arms & I held it
                 I was not at the wedding & did not
            see them married, but have no doubt of
            the fact.       according to recollection Mollys
            husbands name was Pollock.           Sarah Warren
      State of Connecticut Windham p Killingly. March 12” 1838 then
      Personally appeared Sarah Warren signer of the above deposition
      & made solemn oath to the truth of the same. And I
      further Certify the deponent is a person of Credibility & from
      personal knowledge of the [?] truth & veracity
              Before Simon Davis Justice of the Peace”

So, what clues are in this document?
1. Molly was not raised by her parents.
2. Molly was raised by Rev. Aaron Brown of Killingly, CT.
3.Molly’s race is referred to as “coloured”.
4. Molly’s husband’s race is called “Black” and “Negro”.
5. Molly was 18 when she married.
6. She moved to Thompson (CT) after she married.
7. Rev. Brown was opposed to the union.
8. Molly had more than one child.
9. Her husband’s surname was Pollock.
10. A wedding did take place.

I am curious about a couple of things. Sarah specifically states that her grandfather raised Molly. She doesn’t include her grandmother in the “raising” of Molly. Also, why was the Rev. opposed to the marriage? Molly was already 18. And, of course, why wasn’t Molly with her family? Were they deceased? Was she indentured? Taken from her Native family to be raised “properly”? Also, why the distinction between coloured, Black and Negro?

Until next time-

2 thoughts on “Who is Molly Pegan? (Part 2)

  1. I just wanted to give you an update on Molly. As I mention, I found a DNA match with a descendant of Christopher and Mary (Curless) Vickers. I would argue that we are also related through Molly Pegan (Peegan, Peagan, Peggin, Piggins, etc.). There are two possible connections to my ancestry that I believe you could do further research on. My ancestor, Benjamin Wiser Senior, b. 1743, was the son of Ruth Bowman. Ruth had a sister Martha Bowman who married Joseph Pegan, and when their father, Samuel Bowman (Nipmuc) died about 1747 in Worcester, according to his probate records, his daughter Martha and husband Joseph Pegan were living in Dudley, or Molly Pegan Pollock could be the granddaughter of John Pegan and Mary Rumneymarsh (married 1728). Mary was the daughter of Israel Rumneymarsh who was a son of James Quanahpohkit Rumneymarsh Wiser (he is Benjamin's great grandfather and my direct ancestor). It is also possible that both connections are possible (ie. Joseph Pegan could be a son of John Pegan and Mary Rumneymarsh). I haven't done much research on the Pegan line so not sure how all of them are related but this would definitely explain my DNA connection to the descendants of the Vickers as a 5th to 8th cousin. Sincerely-Ron Wiser

  2. Hi Ron, Thanks for that information. I'd like to know who the DNA match is!! Thomas Pegan, Jr. is also a possible parent of Molly. Thomas Pegan and his father (also Thomas) owned land in Natick and served as assemblymen.

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