Pine Barrens Witch, Margaret "Peggy" Clevenger


New Member
Jun 10, 2024
Margaret "Peggy" Clevenger...Pine Barrens Witch
There was a good amount of posting from "Jerseyman" on here about Peggy being the Pine Barrens Witch. Thats fine, HOWEVER, I don't believe MY 4th generation Great Grandmother, was a witch. People don't just go around turning themselves into rabbits and dogs. I do believe however, that stories get stretched out and embellished from time to time. Back in the time from when she was born in 1786 until around 1850 people back then would use roots and plants from the woods for all sorts of healings. Such as the TEABERRY bush was used for making tea (and it still is today), there are all sorts of plants in the woods to use illnesses. The native American would use the green moss on their wounds for healing. My Grandmother married and had children, she helped run a stagecoach stop. There is even the CLEVENGER GLASS WORKS in the area where she lived that she used the mason jars from there. So all these "WITCH POTIONS" that she probably used I'm sure were handed down from all the family members before her for medicine. Her son from time to time would go to her home to check on his mother because she lived alone after her husband William (MY 4th generation Grandfather) had died. She lived alone there because that was HER HOME with him and where she raised their children. She didn't want to leave her home. And the fire that burnt down her home, probably started at her fireplace as thought, that was her source of heat and of course cooking.
Now I can see where the folklore gets started like all stories do, makes for good story telling. Like The Jersey Devil...OK some people believe in that as do they believe in the Pine Barrens Witch. And that's ok too. I just don't see this 13th child sprouting wings and flying out the window. But to each their own. I just wanted to kind of put the story straight about my g'grandmother.

Here is what the "Jerseyman" had posted on June 15, 2012, if no-one had seen this about Peggy.
With all of the misinformation provided in the other thread regarding Margaret “Peggy” Clevenger, I think it is time that we conduct documentary research with due diligence to find the facts about Mrs. Clevenger. She was born circa 1786 as Margaret Blake, the daughter of Thomas and Sarah Blake. Sometime during the first decade of the nineteenth century, she married William Dothey Clevenger. Based on the children that I can identify, it appears the marriage occurred during 1806 or 1807. The oldest surviving child that I can find is John R. Clevenger, born about 1807. Two years later, the couple had Sarah Blake Clevenger, born 27 December 1810. Son Thomas Blake Clevenger was born circa 1818 and son Samuel Clevenger born about 1825. I suspect that William and Margaret had other children, but I have not yet identified them. On 8 October 1830, Sarah B. Clevenger married Reuben Woodmansee Chamberlin at Forked River, Monmouth County, New Jersey. This is the son-in-law mentioned in the Cox letter above, which states, “The testimony of her son-in-law, who brought her from Forked River, the day previous….” The 1849 Otley and Whiteford map of Burlington County properly identifies the house as lying within Pemberton Township at that time: A year later, the federal government’s 1850 Seventh Decennial Census enumerates William D. Clevenger and his wife, Margaret, living in Pemberton Township residing near two of their sons (as stated above in the article and letter):
Sometime between 1850 and 1857, William D. Clevenger died, as the article and the letter above both indicate that she lived alone at the time of her death. She was about 71 years of age at her demise. Peggy’s daughter, Sarah Chamberlin, following her own husband’s death, moved to Port Norris, Cumberland County, New Jersey, where she resided with her daughter, Elizabeth Liber, the wife of oysterman Jacob Liber. Sarah died there on 27 January 1886 and the family interred her remains in the Port Norris Methodist Episcopal Church Cemetery.
Most folk tales contain a modicum of truth and I suspect that the derangement she suffered from her addiction to opiates and, perhaps, just the effects of a hard life and old age, made Peggy babble and say things that others thought to be crazy and even exhibiting the behavior of a witch. So, I think that a tall tale arose around Peggy, but, in actuality, I think Mrs. Clevenger was just a woman who married, raised a family, and live out in the woods until her husband died. Then, she continued her life alone in the cabin and used opiates and liquor to numb her grief and the effects of living a hard life in the Pines of Burlington County.
Best regards,
Like Reactions: Ben Ruset"""

No hurt feelings on my part. Hope no-one was offended., not my intentions.
Thank You, Debbie.
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Reactions: Teegate and rc911

If you read my postings carefully, you will find that I sought to refute the identifier of "witch" when discussing Peggy Clevenger. I often find myself exploding myths (read fakelore) with historical truth and informed opinions. Your opening paragraph mischaracterizes what I wrote about Peggy Clevenger. While others might describe her as being the Pine Barrens witch, I sought to dispel that story.

No offense taken; just setting the record straight and keeping it real.

Best regards,