What Are You Throwing Away?
John Pigman arrived in what would later become the United States of America sometime prior to 1692. The British colonies in 1690 were “a mere fringe of coastal settlements” (E. James Ferguson, 1974). The population was less than 250,000 settled along the Atlantic coast. I am among the many thousands of descendants of John Pigman now living in the United States. I am the fortunate recipient of the work of four genealogists who compiled information on the Pigman family. The book, John Pigman and His Descendants, leaves much unanswered and some information in question. That is the nature of genealogy. In fact, it is the nature of all historic research. It is always a work in progress while more material is unearthed. Nevertheless, the Pigman history is fascinating. It is a thrill to know that one’s ancestors were among the founders of the country.
Nathaniel Pigman, grandson of John I, son of John II, entered the American Revolution September 12, 1777. He was commissioned a Captain in General John Murdock’s Regiment of the Middle Battalion of the Militia. On Oct. 4, 1777 he led his men in the battle of Germantown. On February 3, 1778 he took the Oath of Fidelity class #1 Officer of the 7th Company, Montgomery Co. Militia. Nathaniel eventually rose to the rank of Lt. Colonel.
While Nathaniel was fighting for freedom it was wife, Nancy, and 12 year old son Joseph Waters Pigman who would tend the farm. Young Joseph was no match for the task at hand. The farm was 191 acres located in part of what is now Washington, D.C. After many years of growing tobacco the land was depleted of nutrients. By the time Nathaniel returned to his farm it was bankrupt.
Almost beyond belief is the fact that this hero of battle and once prosperous farmer now faced debtor’s prison. He did win a lawsuit, with the help of young son Joseph, but did spend time in prison. Nathaniel died in 1801 or 1802. Nancy died in 1810.
As far as I can determine, Pigmans have fought in every war in which the United States has been engaged. Once again, the Pigman family history points to the importance of museums, archives, courthouses and family records to tell us who we are. Are you throwing out something that future generations might find valuable in telling their story?
By Jan Warner, nee Jeanette Pigman
Copyright 2006, Morrison County Historical Society