My 3rd great grandmother was Peninah Dean. From a lawsuit against her we know her birth was September 27, 1794.
In a story from Henry “Bud” Scalf I have put corrections to the story in . He writes “Apparently Pernina and her father came by themselves from North Carolina to Johns Creek, Kentucky and built a cabin. They journeyed by horseback, father and daughter, through the wilderness in 1808, a year before the James and Charles families arrived. Pernina was 14 years old. It took time to build a cabin and both labored hurriedly, for the father wanted to bring the rest of the family from North Carolina before winter came along.
He and Pernina talked of the return trip and the decision was made for her to stay at the cabin until he returned. To construct a safe sleeping place, a frame-work was swung to the cabin rafters and food to last for his absence was stored in the swinging haven. At night she climbed in and slept, food lying beside her, safe from prowling animals. She told her descendants, over and over again the story of the terrible nights alone in the swinging bed, of how the wild beasts would scream and she would cry from loneliness and fear until her parent returned.
Around the bend from the family, a couple of years later, Samuel James was tired of being a widower. Of course, no one could replace Sarah, but already they understood the need for help and more farmhands. He must have a wife.
He found one with the friendly and active young Pernina [Peninah] Dean, whose bravery was an inspiration. They were married June 30, 1810. [note: a copy of their marriage license is for July 30, 1811]
She married Samuel James when she was sixteen. He was 31, widowed and already had six children. He and Pernina had ten more children.” She must have been quite a lady.
This couple would be the progenitors of too many present progeny in Pike County to count. Samuel and Pernina raised in addition to rearing Sarah’s six children, 10 children of their own: “Miranda (reported to be one of the most beautiful women ever in early Floyd (Pike) County), Harkins, Malinda Roop, Mahala Priest, Pernina Smith, Sally McCoy, Rachael Ratliff, Tammy Russell, and Hannah Endicott Copley. [missing are David James and Samuel James]
Trace after tract of the primitive wilderness of Johns Creek and on the headwaters of the tributary streams of Tug Fork passed through their hands and the hands of their sons.
“Samuel built a water-mill at the mouth of Brushy Creek, and did custom grinding for his settler friends. The McCoys, Roops, Fraleys, and others came to the primitive mill. Mrs. Smith says her grandmother Pernina [Peninah] told her that Samuel inquired whether his wife would rather have the mill as a gift or the sum of $500.00 he had saved. Pernina [Peninah] took the mill. After her husbands death she and her stalwart sons operated it. “That mill raised my children, several grandchildren and great-grandchildren,” Pernina [Peninah] James told Mrs. Honaker.
Descendants reported that perhaps Samuel James had a premonition of his death, or perhaps he was ill already when he asked his wife Pernina, “Would you rather have the mill as a gift or the sum of $500 I have saved?”
Pernina answered, “I would rather have the mill.”
Samuel was 62 years old when, in a flood, the bed of the stream pushed against the north side of Johns Creek. Somehow, Samuel drowned in 1836. He was buried on the sloping hill near where he met his death.
After her husband’s death, Pernina [Peninah] and her stalwart sons operated the mill “That mill raised my children, several grandchildren, and great-grandchildren,” Pernina [Peninah] James told a Mrs. Honker, who recorded her words for posterity.
He was 62 years old when the flood waters of Johns Creek claimed his life. Both Mrs. Honaker and Mrs. McCoy explained that the bed of the stream back a hundred years ago pushed against the north side of the creek, now near the home of Tom McCoy. It was here that Samuel James was drowned on 15 June 1836. He lies buried on the sloping hill near where he met his death. His will was probated July 15th 1868 in Floyd County.”
Pernina [Peninah] James, with the help of her sons and the water-mill raised the children, and as she said afterwards, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, John and Isaac James, two sons of the marriage of Samuel and Sarah, went west as did Little Samuel, her son, who migrated to Minnesota. The daughters married into the early settler families. Miranda, said to be a beautiful woman by those who remembered her, married Hugh Harkins, of Prestonsburg, Sallie, mother of Mrs. McCoy married William (Billy) McCoy, Pernina Ann, the youngest and mother of Mrs. Honaker, married John Smith, Malinda married John Roop, Rachael married Ira Russell and moved to Big Blaine Creek.
Pernina [Peninah] continued to live on the homestead until her death in 1880 , and was buried at the mouth of Brushy.
To follow this line go to the Samuel James and Peninah Dean section under the James Family