BENJAMIN PETUS PEGRAM
Ben's middle name has been found spelled Petis also. He was born January 31, 1856, in Erin, Houston County, Tennessee, the son of William James Pegram and Mary Elizabeth Richardson; grandson of Nathan Petus Pegram and Sarah Lee and great-grandson of Daniel Pegram and wife, Lucy Milam.
According to a grandson, he was a tall, slender man, with a mustache. He married Mary Elizabeth Johnson about 1876 at Cumberland City, in Stewart County, Tennessee. She was daughter of Len Henley Johnson, Junior, and Martha Ann Johnson, and was born in 1855, in Stewart County, Tennessee.
Mary Elizabeth was a school teacher when they married, and teaching at the Elizabeth School, in Mariah Hollow. Mariah Elizabeth's grandmother, Mariah P. son) Turner. The school was named for Elizabeth (Given)Fortner who donated the land for the school. Mariah Hollow was on Big Richland, near where the old Turner Mills were located. A grandson did have in his possession the old school that she used.
After their marriage, Ben and Mary Elizabeth settled on the waters of Wells Creek, in Houston County, Tennessee, where he farmed. James Len, their oldest child, is believed to have been here. He was born in 1878. They were still living here when their son, Benjamin Otis, was born in 1881. The family later moved to Halls Creek, near Big Richland Creek, in Humphreys where their son, Raymond Claude, the father of Dorothy Pegram Roland, was born.
According to a niece, her "Uncle Ben" could play almost any kind of musical instrument, and had a beautiful singing voice. He was "a' man that everyone loved. Uncle Ben was one of the most Christ like men in all that area-when I taught school all the over at Silver Top on White Oak. People there knew of or had of him. I remember him but only after the very last part of his life...He died with TB of the throat-Dad said he caught it from his 2nd wife who was a Fortner..."
1880 Houston Co., Tn. Census
1900 Humphreys Co., Tn.
At the bottom of this census page is written:
An answer to an inquiry to that institution stated that a fire in the year of 1927, had destroyed a major portion of the patient's records, and that a check was made, but no documentation of the hospitalization of Mary E. Pegram could be found. Mary Elizabeth is said to have remained here eight years, until her death, March 19, 1905, at the age of fifty-one.
The inscription on her tombstone in the Turner-Johnson Cemetery reads:
"She was a kind and affectionate wife and mother and friend to all."
The Central State Hospital for the Insane, is now more appropriately named Middle Tennessee Mental Health Institution. According to a granddaughter, Mary Elizabeth was sewing at her sewing machine at a window, when lightning struck the machine. She says that our grandmother was never the same afterwards. However, according to one daughter-in-law, she was sick prior to this time.
Inscription, Turner-Johnson Cemetery.
2. Stewart Co., Tn. Census-1860.
3. Humphreys CO., Tn. Marriages, Roll #2, p.178.
4. As told to Dorothy Pegram Roland by George Fortner, her grandson, Harold Smith, of Humphreys Co.
5. Houston Co., Tn. Birth Records, Vol. 1, Roll No.30, p.1.
6. Davidson Co., Tn. Vital Statistics, Death Certificate.
7. Letter from Clarice Belle (Pegram) Williams
8. Again, the information on the Pegram family in Tennessee is from the book by Dorothy Pegram Roland, Some Pegrams of Middle Tennessee, who has kindly agreed to share her research by allowing us to liberally quote and copy from it.