The spirits of our ancestors live in us. Our family reunions are not about one family. We gather to honor five distinct families and their branches. We celebrate and honor the Peterson, Jackson, Mack, Wakefield, and Connor families and their branches. Each family is woven into a common quilt and each has a story and a history that is worth knowing and sharing.
The threads that drew our families together formed in and around Calhoun County, Georgia. At that time, the five families lived in close proximity to each other and so it is no wonder that sons from the Jackson, Wakefield, Mack, and Connor families grew up to marry daughters from the Peterson family.
The Peterson, Jackson, Wakefield, Connor, and Mack families are bind with many threads with one of the strongest is made up of the daughters of Henry and Mollie Peterson. Henry and Mollie Peterson had 11 children including daughters Ellie, Mattie, Clarey, Tempy, and Polly. Four of these daughters grew up to marry sons of the Jackson, Wakefield, Connor, and Mack families.
A. Ellie Peterson’s first marriage was to Jimmie Knighton. Her second married was to Amster Connors. Graphic from 1920 Census Calhoun County Georgia:
B. Tempy Peterson married Gene Wakefield the son of Warren and Winnie Wakefield. Graphic from 1920 Census Calhoun County Georgia:
C. Mattie Peterson married Jessie Jackson the son of John and Lena Jackson. Graphic from 1930 Census Calhoun County Georgia:
D. Polly Peterson married Will Mack.
The U.S. Federal Census may be used to trace the threads of our common family quilt. As we do so, it is important to understand a little history. Before 1865 most southern blacks were in slavery and were treated as the property of white landowners. Because slaves were considered property, the earlier censuses did not itemize their names. After the 1860 census, our country fell into a bloody civil war. The Civil War lasted from 1861 to 1865. In 1863, President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. The Proclamation freed some slaves but it was in 1865 that the 13th Amendment to the US Constitution abolished slavery. So it is the 1870 Census that we began to see the names of former slaves and blacks itemized. Tragically, the 1890 Census was destroyed by a fire at the Commerce Department in Washington, DC on January 1921. With it, a lot of valuable information was lost. The small amount of Census information presented here is mainly to illustrate how the five families are connected. Be aware that each Census record contains more information than what is discussed or presented here.
A. Peterson Family on the US Federal Census Calhoun County Georgia
When George and Martha Peterson were interviewed for the 1870 Census, they were 32 and 29 years old, respectively. They had four children: Mour??? (illegible) age 10, Harriet age 7, Henry age 5, and George age 1. From their ages, we can guess that George and Martha and their two oldest children were probably born slaves. According to the Census, George and Martha were born in South Carolina. George was a farm laborer and Martha stayed at home. It would be 5-year old Henry who would grow up to marry Molly Ingram and father the children that later married into the Jackson, Connor, Wakefield, and Mack families.
When George Peterson appeared on the 1870 Census he was married to Martha. But on the 1880 Census he is married to Mary. It appears that in the intervening years, Martha Peterson had died. When George and Mary Peterson were interviewed for the 1880 Census they were 45 and 17 years old, respectively. Three of George’s four children from the 1870 census were still living at home. George’s oldest child Ma????? was no longer living at home. In addition to a new wife, this census lists a new child named Moses. We can speculate that Mary at age 17 probably was not the mother of 9-year old Moses. George is listed as a farmer and everyone else in the family as farm laborers.
When George and Mary Peterson were interviewed for the 1900 Census they were 60 and 39 years old, respectively. They had 8 children living at home: Spank 19, Marjorie 16, Watson 13, Lora 10, Shellman 8, Martha 6, Hattie 4, and Easterly 2. According to the Census they had been married for 22 years and they lived on a farm that they owned. George was a farmer and Mary, Spank, and Watson were farm laborers. None of them could read nor write. Marjorie and Lori were listed as being in school. Some of George’s adult children from his first marriage lived nearby with young families of their own.
George Jr. (Unmarried):
Family of Moses Peterson:
Family of Henry and Molly Peterson: When Henry and Molly Peterson were interviewed for the 1900 Census they were 33 and 32 years old, respectively. They had been married for 13 years. They had seven children: Ellie (13), Tempy (11), Mattie (8), Clarey (6), George (5), Henry (3), and Allison (1). Henry Sr. was a farmer and Molly, Ellie, and Tempy were farm laborers. The family lived on a farm and probably did so as sharecroppers. None of them could read nor write. Daughter Ellie would marry into the Knighton family then into the Connor family. Daughter Mattie would marry into the Jackson family. Daughter Tempy would marry into the Wakefield family.
The 1910 US Census list George and Mary Peterson as being 65 and 50 respectively. Three of their children were still at home: Shellman (18), Hattie (14), and Easterly (13). A young Wakefield family were boarders. This is interesting since one of George's granddaughters (Ellie) would later marry into the Wakefield family.
Listed directly above George Sr.on the 1910 Census were his sons, Spain and George Jr., and their families.
Henry and Mollie: By the 1910 US Federal Census, Henry was widowed. Molly Peterson had died. She was probably no older than 40 at the time of her death and had given birth to at least 11 children. All of their children were still at home. They were Ellie age 23, Tempy age 21, Mattie age 19, Clara age 17, George age 16, Henry age 13, Addicus age 11, Polly age 9, Keith age 3, Kenny age 5, and Wesley age 2. The Peterson's oldest daughter Ellie was widowed and the mother of 4-year-old Jimmie Knighton.
By the 1920 Census Henry Peterson had remarried:
By the 1930 Census George Peterson Sr. had died. His wife Mary was living with their son Easter and his wife Annie. Also living with Easter was 24 year old Polly Peterson.
B. Jackson Family on the US Federal Census Calhoun County Georgia
When John and Angelena Jackson were interviewed for the 1880 Census, they were 26 and 22 years old, respectively. They had 1 child who was listed as 1 year old Babe. From their ages, we can guess that John and Angelena were probably born slaves. According to the census, John and Angelina were born in Georgia but, their parents were born in South Carolina. John was a farm laborer and Angelina kept house. John could not read nor write. Angelina could read but could not write.
When John and Ella (aka Angelena) Jackson were interviewed for the 1900 Census they were 50 and 45 years old, respectively. They had been married for 35 years. They had three children living at home: Jessie age 12, Oscar age 6, and Pearl age 5. The Census suggests that Ella had given birth to 14 children and that 6 of them were still alive. It would be Jessie, age 12, who would grow up to marry Mattie Peterson.
The 1910 Census found 68 year old Angelena Jackson widowed. Her husband, John, had died. The handwriting is difficult to read but it appears that two of her children still lived with her: Jessie age 19 and Clara age 16. There were also two grandchildren living with her: William age 18 and Mamie age 12.
When Jesse and Mattie Jackson were interviewed for the 1930 Census, they were 45 and 34 years old, respectively. The had five children: Mary age 13, John age 9, Mattie age 8, Jessie Mae age 7, and Willie (known today as Jack or Cousin Willie) age 4. Also living with them were a stepson, J Denson age 18 and a boarder, Kenneth Peterson (a.k.a. Uncle Kenny).
The 1880 Census found Hiram and Sophie as the patriarch and matriarch of the very large and extended Wakefield family. According to the census, Hiram and Sophie were 54 and 46 years old, respectively. Their ages and the ages of their adult children suggest that they were probably born slaves. They were both born in South Carolina but all of their children were born in Georgia. Seven of their children were living at home: Sidney (20), Evans (15), Laura (14), Caffy (10), John (8), Herbert (6), and Hun (4). Hiram and Sophie also had at least three grown children living close by with families of their own: Warren 39, Bradford 35, and Nancy Davis 33. Most of the family worked as either farmers or farm laborers. Some of the women kept house. Some of the family members could read and or write.
Family of Warren Wakefield:
Family of Bradford Wakefield:
Family of Fred Davis (Wife, Jane, is daughter of Hiram and Sophie Wakefield):
When Warren and Winnie Wakefield were interviewed for the 1900 Census, they were 40 and 37 years old, respectively. At the time, they had six children: Tenna age 19, Hiram age 16, Laura age 14, Scrapp age 12, Florsell age 10 and James (aka Gene) age 9. It would be 9 year old James (a.k.a. Gene) who would grow up to marry Tempy Peterson.
When Gene and Tempy Wakefield were interviewed for the 1920 Census, they were 27 and 25 years old, respectively. They had 1 child, 6 year old Mary. Today (2005), we know Mary as the 92 year old Mary King (a.k.a. Mother King) of Orange, New Jersey.
When James (a.k.a. Gene) and Tempy Wakefield were interviewed for the 1930 Census, they were both 38 years old. Their only child, Mary (known today as Mother King) was recently widowed and was back living with them. Also living with then was Mary’s young child, Charlie Harris, and a niece named Ollie Foster.
C. Mack Family on the US Federal Census Calhoun County Georgia
It is likely that the family displayed on the census record below from the 7th district of Calhoun Georgia are the ancestors of Will Mack who married the former Polly Peterson. Will and Polly had one daughter named Ollie. Note below that there is a daughter named Oallie and a son named William. Of course I need confirmation from family members.
When they were interviewed for the 1920 Census, Amster and Ellie Connor were 45 and 36 years old, respectively. They had four children living with them: Jimmie age 12, Johnnie age 6, and Willie and Ester who both appear to be under 1 year old. We can assume that the child listed as Jimmie age 12 is Jimmie Knighton who was the child from Ellie's first marriage. Amster was listed as a farmer and the rest of the family was listed as having no occupation. The Census stated that Amster and Ellie could not read nor write. It stated that Jimmie and John attended school.
When Amster and Ellie Connor were interviewed for the 1930 Census, they were listed as being 60 and 30 years old, respectively. Based on previous information it appears that that their ages are listed incorrectly. Ellie is probably closer to age 44. They had four of their children living with them: Johnnie (12), Willie (10), Esther (8), and Irene (5).
The Knighton name is prominently woven into our family quilt. It is carried on by the descendents of Jimmie Knighton, the son of the former Ellie Peterson. When Jimmy and his wife, the former Armetta Owens, were interviewed for the 1930 Census, they were 24 and 17 years old, respectively. At the time, they had one child: 5 month old Jimmie Jr.
The Breedlove family is one of the many other threads that run through our family quilt. At this printing, I’ve been able to ascertain that the Breedlove family is one of the branches of the Knighton – Owen family tree. When Eli and Patsey Breedlove were interviewed for the 1900 Census they were 43 and 40, respectively. Their ages suggest that they may have been born slaves. At the time they had 7 children living at home: Anna (17), Jonas (13), Emma (11), Jim (9), Eli (5), Walter (4), and Tom (2). It would be 11-year-old Emma that would marry into the Henry family and be the mother of Georgia Owens. As information is provided we will expand upon the Breedlove connection.