James Rock Perrigo

I was researching Chick Braley’s great-grandfather (our 3g-grandfather) James Rock Perrigo. He was born in New York, migrated through Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky, and Illinois before ending up in southwestern Wisconsin, where his daughter Nancy married Albert Braley. Nancy is, famously, our only ancestor born in the south (in Kentucky, just across the river from Ohio).

I got a hit on James Perrigo in Google Books. Turns out that the year Nancy was born in Kentucky, James was involved in a famous case involving a runaway slave. Perrigo was hired by the slave owner to cross to the Ohio side of the river and trick the man who had helped the slave, a minister named John Mahan, into revealing where the slave was being hidden. Mahan was arrested and jailed in Kentucky, even though his act was committed in Ohio and legal there. (He was eventually acquitted.)

Anyway, old James Rock doesn’t come out smelling too good. A book written about the incident says that he was a notorious gambler, swindler, and horse-racer. in 1834 he and some associates had conducted a series of scams in Sandusky, Ohio, involving transactions on the building of the Milan Canal.

In another scam, the group relieved several Huron County citizens of $20,000. No other details.

Didn’t really need another one in our tree…


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