George, Margaret, 1802 -

Margaret George was born circa 1802.  She may have been a sibling of Peter and Peleg George.  Her age certainly made her a contemporary.  As a young woman, in April of 1819, Margaret was a signatory to a petition for the appointment of a new overseer.  She, along with 24 others from the community, petitioned the New London County Court for the appointment of Captain Eneas Morgan.  Over the next two decades, Margaret would put her mark to another four petitions or certifications for various tribal concerns.  1819 was the same year that her daughter Harriet O. Wheeler was born, followed, in 1821, by another daughter, Angelina Wheeler.[1]  
 
In 1825 Margaret George was a signatory on another tribal petition.  She, along with 18 others, petitioned the New London County Court for the discharge of overseer Elisha Crary and for the appointment of Erastus Williams in his stead.   This same year Margaret George appears, for the first time, in the records of the state appointed overseer to the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe as receiving goods and services.  Intermittent entries in these ledgers continue until January of 1835
 
By 1830, Margaret George was likely living with James Pierce, his being one of seven household on the reservation enumerated in the U.S. Federal census for North Groton.  In addition to James Pierce and Margaret, both between the ages of 24 and 36, there were three children, presumably the previously mentioned Harriet and Angelina, as well as a much younger child, quite possibly the infant Sally Nighhe Pierce, born within the year[2].   A bill from Dr. Eleazar Downing for medical services rendered to Margaret on December 16, 1829, roughly corresponds to the birth of Sally.  Several months later, on February 7, 1831, Margaret put her mark to a third tribal petition, this one praying to retain the services of overseer Erastus Williams, he, according to the tribe, being well-suited to the task. 
 
The early 1830’s was a time of religious renewal for many families, with the arrival of the Rev. William Apes on the reservation.  Margaret George became a supporter and added her name to a December 3, 1832 certification allowing Apes to act as agent for the tribe in raising funds to build a house of worship on the reservation.  Together with Lucretia George, Mary George, Lucy Orchard, William Apes, Sr., and Frederick Toby, Margaret agreed that necessary expenses for the Apes family might be drawn from the funds raised for the church.  Apes eventually moved on from the community without having constructed the church.
 
Tragedy struck the George/Pierce family in late summer 1833 as evidenced by the bill from James Fanning to the overseer of the tribe for making a coffin for one of Margaret’s children.  The cost of the casket, $1.00, suggests that the child was an infant.  Preceding this was a bill from Dr. Eleazar Downing itemizing services provided Margaret.  The bill included, among other things, charges stemming from visits, attendance, and medicine provide from May to August of 1833. 
 
By December of 1833, Margaret George was enumerated in an informal census of tribal members living on or nearby the reservation.  Erastus Williams, having just concluded his tenure as overseer, described Margaret, in a letter to William Williams, as a 31-year-old Pequot woman of mixed Indian and white ancestry living in a household with her children Harriet O. Wheeler (age 11), Angelina Wheeler (age 9), and Sally Nighhe Pierce (age 3). As a non-tribal member, her partner James Pierce would not have been included in the list.  He was however still present in the community as evidenced by several criminal cases in which he was a defendant.  
 
In April 1834 Mark Daniels billed the overseer for providing 7 weeks of board for the toddler Sally Pierce.  The circumstances leading to this arrangement are unknown but may be reflective of the legal trouble or medical concerns the family was experiencing.[3]  After January 9, 1835 Margaret George no longer appears in overseer’s records.  Later in February 1835 James Pierce was a defendant in a trespass case accused of breaking and entering into neighbor Betsy Wheeler’s house.  Margaret was involved in this 1835 case, perhaps in the capacity of a witness.  It is unclear how it was resolved or whether any community tensions persisted.  
 
CHS, William Samuel Johnson Papers, III, 100: December 13, 1833 Letter from Erastus Williams to William T. Williams; CSL, NLCC:PbS, Indians, Mashantucket Pequot; U.S. 1830 Federal Census, Groton, CT, Ancestry.com; O’Connell, On Our Own Ground, 247-248; CSL, RG3, NLCCR June 1831, State v. Pierce, Boxes 7and 11, Folders 10 and 33; CSL, RG3, NLCCR November 1831, State v. Pierce, Box 11, Folder 34; CSL, RG3, NLCCR February 1835, Wheeler v. Pierce, Boxes 3 and 7, Folders 20 and 23; CSL, RG3, NLCCR June 1835, Wheeler v. Pierce, Box 3, Folder 20 ; CSL, RG3, NLCCR November 1835, State v. Pierce, Box 7, Folder 26.
 
Sources for this biography also come from the Related Digital Heritage Items listed below.
 

[1] It can be assumed that the father of the children was a man with the surname of Wheeler, however, it is uncertain as to whether Margaret George and Wheeler were wed.
 
[2] The census enumerator may have erroneously recorded the youngest child as a male rather than female, not an uncommon mistake.
[3] James Pierce was a defendant in an 1831 assault case and an 1835 trespass case, both occurring on the reservation.
Born: 
c. 1802
Ethnicity