Thinking of Peggy Alcorn on James Polk's Birthday
- In 1961 LeGette Blythe and Charles Raven Brockmann published the book "Hornet's Net, the Story of Charlotte and Mecklenburg Country". In one chapter the question of James Polk's exact birthplace is discussed and the following note added:
"We are further informed, and know from evidence that cannot be gain-sayed, that Peggy Alcorn, an Irish girl who came from Ireland with her mother when six years old, people of good character, but very poor, was, when 13 years old, hired by Sam Polk to wait on his wife and nurse the baby, their first child, James K. Polk, Jr.
This girl afterwards married Eli Alexander, who lived four miles southwest of Davidson College, where they raised a family, of which each member proved to be a good citizen. Ezekiel, Martin, Moses and Eli were all staunch Presbyterians, and the two daughters, Malissa married John Bell, and Mary married E. A. McAulay. No people in North Carolina have a better reputation for honesty, integrity and truthfulness, and they say it, and have told their children that their mother often spoke of the time she waited on Mrs. Polk and nursed the baby who afterwards became president. "
My thoughts often return to this note - especially on James Polk's birthday. Each time I think of it, I wonder how much influence on history is exerted by unknown people, whose name we know more or less by accident. Peggy Alcorn is such a person.
Her work as a help for Mummy Jane certainly resulted in a good deal of additional attention for baby James - perhaps coming from a teenage girl who was all nuts about babies and really keen on getting the opportunity of lavishing all her tenderness on such a new little earthling. Babies, it is said, can use such attention to build self-confidence and a positive attitude. And wasn't James Polk noted for amazing self-confidence and subsequent indefatigablity?
Thanks to Peggy, little James may have enjoyed a rather cheerful babyhood whose blessings helped him endure a rather boyhood of strict training in work and doing duties.
Thus,Peggy Alcorn may well have been intrumental in giving James Polk the ability to make the huge impact on history he made.
Or perhaps not. But one may wonder.