John Grant Pegg

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John Grant Pegg
Inspector Pegg Examining Measures.jpg
Inspecting measures in 1910
DiedAugust 3, 1916(1916-08-03) (aged 47–48)
OccupationInspector of Weights and Measures
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Mary Page
ReligionAfrican Methodist Episcopal Church

John Grant Pegg (1868-August 3, 1916) was a political and civil leader in Omaha, Nebraska. He was a leader in the local African-American community and was the city inspector of weights and measures from 1906 until his death in 1916.

Personal life[edit]

John Grant Pegg was born in Richmond, Virginia in 1868. As a boy he moved to Kansas where he went to school. He was the oldest child and began work at an early age to help support his family, for a time working on the railroad. Page married Mary Page of Topeka, Kansas in 1899. They had five children: Mary, James, John, Ruth, and Gaitha. Four brothers and a sister survived him after his death: James, Henry, Charles, Bayliss, and Ida.[1] Pegg's brother, Charles T. Pegg, was a Kinkaiderin the colored colony in Cherry County, Nebraska.[2]

In Omaha, he was a Mason and a member of the Rescue Lodge No. 25,[1] and a member of the First African Methodist Church.[2] He was also a leader in the Omaha branch of the Knights of Tabor and Daughters.[3]

In late September 1916 he had a paralytic stroke and he died on August 3, 1916 at his home in Omaha.[1]


Pegg became involved in politics in the late 1880s. While living in Dunlap, Kansas in 1888, Pegg was an officer in an African-American Republican Club.[4]

In 1899, he moved to Omaha, Nebraska where he became involved in local politics and became a leader in the black community there.[1] In the early 1900s, Pegg was president of the Colored Men's Roosevelt Club in Omaha.[5] In 1902, he worked with Thomas P. Mahammitt and to organize black opposition to the reelection of Congressman David Henry Mercer in favor of E. J. Cornish. Mercer's reelection was supported by some of Omaha's black leaders, including Victor B. Walker.[6]

Local government[edit]

He also gained appointed positions in the local government. From 1901 to 1906 he served as a messenger for Republican Omaha Mayor Frank E. Moore.[1] After Moore died in 1906, he was nominated by his successor, James C. Dahlman, a Democrat, to the position of inspector of weights and measures.

His candidacy for inspector of weights and measures was supported by democrats as well,[7] and he was confirmed.[1]

Pegg was very highly regarded in his position of inspector.[8] In 1913, Pegg led an effort to create a state inspector of weights and measures whose jurisdiction would be small towns and villages who otherwise did not have such an officeholder.[9]

Community leadership[edit]

Along with his increased role in city affairs, his role in local leadership increased. In 1907, he was the president of a local branch of the People's Mutual Interest Club, a group which included many prominent black Omahans.[10] The club had branches in Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, and Nebraska and Pegg was named chairman of the executive committee of the association in late 1907.[11] He was also a member of the Lincoln Club.[12]

In the summer of 1908, Pegg attended the 1908 Republican National Convention as a page[13] and doorkeeper.[12] Later in 1908, he was elected president of the Interstate Literary Association of Kansas and the West with S. Joe Brown of Des Moines elected first vice president. Pegg's main position for the position was A. G. Hill of Des Moines, who was supported by Omahan Harrison J. Pinkett, while Pegg was supoprted by Omahan Henry V. Plummer.[14] Pegg and Plummer's relationship later soured, although they appeared to bury the hatched in March of 1909.[15]

In 1911, Pegg was a leading opponent of a Jim Crow bill, HR 512, introduced by representative John William McKissick of Gage County. The bill died in committee after Pegg and a delegation of ten Omaha blacks spoke against the bill in the legislature.[16] Along with Walker and Plummer, another collaborator with Pegg in efforts to increase black representation in local government positions was John Albert Williams, with whom he protested the demotion of black fire patrol captains later in 1911.[17]

Pegg was a leader of the Negro Woman's Christian association and was chairman of a committee in that group which ran a home for the elderly. He was ousted from mthat position in March 1915 after a dispute over how to handle financial difficulties.[18] In 1916, Pegg was elected chairman of the Western States Negro Republican Convention held in Kansas City.[19] He died unexpectedly later that year.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g John G. Pegg, Weights and Measures Inspector, Dead, The Kansas City Sun (Kansas City, Missouri) 12 Aug 1916 page 2, accessed January 19, 2018 at
  2. ^ a b Mr. John Grant Pegg Realizes Fond Dream, Lincoln Journal Star (Lincoln, Nebraska) 8 Aug 1912, page 9, accessed January 20, 2018 at
  3. ^ Sir Knights to Meet in Omaha, Omaha Daily Bee (Omaha, Nebraska) 12 Jul 1910, accessed January 20, 2018 at
  4. ^ Colored Republican Club, The Council Grove Republican (Council Grove, Kansas) 3 Feb 1888, page 1, accessed January 19, 2018 at
  5. ^ John Pegg First Voter, Omaha Daily Bee (Omaha, Nebraska) 9 November 1904, page 2, accessed January 19, 2018 at
  6. ^ Mercer Gets a Hard Blow, Omaha Daily Bee (Omaha, Nebraska) 11 September 1902, page 7, accessed January 19, 2018 at
  7. ^ Dahlman Flees the City, Omaha Daily Bee (Omaha, Nebraska) 3 May 1906, page 10, accessed January 19, 2018 at
  8. ^ Tricks of Short Weights and Dishonest Measures Exposed, Omaha Daily Bee (Omaha, Nebraska) 27, Nov 1910, page 42, accessed January 20, 2018 at
  9. ^ Pegg Asks Aid of Commercial Club. The Lincoln Star (Lincoln, Nebraska) 18 Feb 1913, page 1, accessed January 20, 2018 at
  10. ^ Colored People Form Club, Omaha Daily Bee (Omaha, Nebraska) 22 Feb 1907, page 7, accessed January 19, 2018 at
  11. ^ John Grant Pegg Honored, Omaha Daily Bee (Omaha, Nebraska) 1 Jan 1908, page 11, accessed January 19, 2018 at
  12. ^ a b Lincoln Club has Smoker, Omaha Daily Bee (Omaha, Nebraska) 26 Jul 1908, page 5, accessed January 19, 2018 at
  13. ^ Nebraskans Go to Chicago, Omaha Daily Bee (Omaha, Nebraska) 14 Jun 1908, page 4, accessed January 19, 2018 at
  14. ^ John G. Pegg is President, Omaha Daily Bee (Omaha, Nebraska) 31 Dec 1908, page 5, accessed January 19, 2018 at
  15. ^ Old Warriors Now At Peace, Omaha Daily Bee (Omaha, Nebraska) 10 Mar 1909 Page 5, accessed January 20, 2018 at
  16. ^ McKissick's Bill Killed, The Nebraska State Journal (Lincoln, Nebraska) 3 Mar 1911, page 2, accessed January 1, 2018 at
  17. ^ Negro Firemen are Scored, Omaha Daily Bee (Omaha, Nebraska) 20 Apr 1911, page 7, accessed January 20, 2018 at
  18. ^ Mayor Acts Role of Peacemaker, Omaha Daily Bee (Omaha, Nebraska) 18 Mar 1915, page 12, accessed January 20, 2018 at
  19. ^ Republican Negroes Meet, The Kansas City Sun (Kansas City, Missouri) 26 Feb 1916 page 1, accessed January 20, 2018 at