Here, gathered in our beloved South Dakota, are a few members of our Williamson / Mattson Clan. Charles and Luella are to be blamed (be kind, they didn't know what they were doing). We're generally a happy bunch and somewhat intelligent (notwithstanding our tenuous grasp on reality). I'm also proud to say that most of us still have our teeth.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

More on the Early Pearces of New England (Violet Pierce Line)

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello All,
It is a lovely Saturday in Pleasant Grove. The leaves are turning and the temperatures mild. We're expecting rain later today.

I'm excited about the new information coming in on the Grandma Violet's ancestors. As you know, Grandma's maiden name was Pierce. Up until a few weeks ago we knew her father's and grandfather's names. The line went stone cold after that. Well, thanks to cousin Angie's work, and the extraordinary assistance of Leonard Pierce, a cousin from Minnesota, we can now push that family tree back to the 1600's to Wales.

Today I spent a bit more time on the earliest Pearces (the spelling of the name changed with Violet's grandfather - reasons unknown) and am happy to share information gleaned from various individuals and collective histories of New England.

So, its time to relax and visualize these newly discovered ancestors. Imagine who they were and what they may have looked like. For me, its sobering to realize that these peoples entire lives is summed up with a sentence or two written in some obscure book. This blog is dedicated to our historical past so they will never again be forgotten.



John Pearce. b. 1600 England d. 1660
John Pearce b. 1632 in Wales. d. 1692 Prudence Island. Portsmouth Twp. Newport Co. RI
married Mary Makepeace b. 1636 d. 1711
Daniel Pearce b. 1662 d. 15 March 1730/31. married Elizabeth Tucker. b. 17 Apr. 1677 d. 1728.
Nathan Pearce Sr. b. 22 April 1705 d. 15 March 1789/ 90. married Abigail Spink b. 1704. d. 7 Jan. 1790/91.
Nathan Pearce Jr. b. 17 Jan 1740/41 d. 19 Dec. 1781. married Elizabeth Culver b ? d. 30 March 1832.
Robert Gilbert Livingston Pearce b. 1771 married Eunice Worden b. 1777 d. 20 Jan. 1840.
William Pearce b. 1805 d. 2 Apr. 1889 married Catherine Morse b. 1811 d. 14 Dec. 1885.
Andrew Jackson Pearce b. 1835 New York. d. ? married Isabella Pearce b. 1842 New York
Edwin Sherman Pierce married Eldora Elizabeth Fiddler
Walter Edwin Pierce married Vesta Althea Dennis
Violet Mae Pierce married Walter Albert Mattson
Luella, Linda, John, Marvin

The Pearce's

The earliest Pierce settler in America was our 9th Great Grandfather John. It is believed he came from Wales in 1660. In the minutes of the Portsmouth, Rhode Island town meeting, dated, July 5, 1666, it records:
"John Pearce, admitted this day a free inhabitant of this town"
(of course the spelling was changed by his descendants from Pearce to Pierce). John Pearce may have been one of the Baptist congregation of John Myles, of Swansea, Wales. They came from Wales to Rehoboth, Massachusetts, in 1666-67, as a result of religious persecution. According to one document, it appears John Pearce was born in 1632 and was a mason by trade.

John Pearce was made a freeman of the colony of Portsmouth. On October 31, 1677, John Pearce was included by the general assembly in the list of grantees of the lands at East Greenwich. On August 20, 1691 John Pearce and Mary his wife deeded land to their loving son Daniel. John Pearce Sr. made his will September 23, 1689, and it was proved in Portsmouth, April 26, 1692. In this will he calls himself John Pearce Sr., of Prudence Island. The will makes his wife Mary sole executrix after dividing small legacies between his three children—John Pearce Jr., Daniel Pearce, and Mary, wife of Robert Hill.

The widow Mary Pearce made her will September 17, 1711, and the same was proved October 15, 1711. She left first
"forty shillings to the poor brethren of the Church of Christ to whom I doe belong."
The remainder she divided amongst her three children, John Pearce, Daniel Pearce and Mary Sweet.

The Children of John Pearce and his wife, as far as we known:
  1. John, born about 1658; married Martha Brayton.
  2. Daniel. (More information below) Our 8th Great Grandfather
  3. Mary, born about 1666; married (first) Robert Hill, (second) James Sweet.
John Pearce died about 1692, and his wife Mary passed away in 1711.

Our 8th Great Grandfather Daniel, son of John and Mary Pearce. was born about 1662, and died sometime after 1744. Few family records can be found of him, and the names of his children have been recovered from deeds and other legal papers. The records of his public services are quite full and cover the period from 1694 to 1731.

He was made freeman of the town of Portsmouth on June 6, 1692. He resided there up to 1720. He took up permanent residence at North Kingstown in the summer of 1723. In 1694-5-7 he was constable in Portsmouth. Between 1698-1701 he was deputy to general assembly from Portsmouth. In 1707 he was justice of the peace in Portsmouth. In 1720 he was grand juryman and deputy for Kingston.

On March 16, 1726, Daniel and Elizabeth, sold land to sons Daniel and John, of Prudence Island. On March 17, 1726, Daniel and John Pearce gave a bond to their brothers, our 7th Great Grandfather Nathan and William Pearce, that they would give them a part of their fathers estate when they came of age.

Daniel Pearce was married twice, but the name of his first wife is unknown. His second wife was Elizabeth Tucker, of Prudence Island. The marriage took place on December 13, 1733. His children by first wife:
  1. Daniel Jr.
  2. Margaret, born about 1689; married (first) Ephraim Smith, (second) Immanuel Clark.
  3. John, born about 1691; married Martha Sweet.
  4. Mary, born about 1693; married John Moss, in 1715.
Children by second wife.
  1. Benoni, born about 1704; married Sarah Rhodes.
  2. Nathan, born 1706; married Abigail Spink. (Our 7th Great Grandparents)
  3. William, born about 1709.
The Pearce family has a tradition from their ancestors that the first John Pearce came from Wales to Boston with his family, among whom were three sons. Soon after the vessel arrived, the father fell down the hatchway and broke his neck. The sons afterward separated, one settling in Conn., one in Mass., and one in R. I.

Our 7th Great Grandfather Nathan Pearce was the Great Grandson of this first John Pearce. He was born on Mar. 15, 1706, at Providence, R. I., and had 4 sons.
  1. Benoni. b. , 1730, North Kingston R. I. He was a self-educated man noted for his wit and great learning, particularly in languages and mathematics.
  2. Ephraim. b. , 1733, Providence, R.I was remarkable for great physical strength.
  3. Nathan (Our 6th Great Grandfather) b. , 1739, Pawling, N. Y. Nathan was a Captain in the Revolution and a terror to Tories. He was finally decoyed into an ambush, taken prisoner by Tories and robbers and whipped to death.
  4. William. b. , 1745, Pawling, N. Y.
Our 7th Great Uncle William was angry at the murder of his brother Nathan. He obtained assistance and pursued the gang. He finally succeeded in locating them among the rocks on Quaker Hill. He killed the leader and broke up and dispersed the gang. He afterward raised a company of volunteers and served as captain during the Revolution. He was in the battles of L. I., White Plains, Yorktown, and was present at the surrender of Lord Cornwallis. After the war he returned to Pawling and lived to a good old age, a much respected citizen.

There are other references to our 6th Great Grandfather in other records of the time period. I'll include them here:

Continental Line.

THE first Provincial Congress of New York met May 22, 1775,
in New York City, to devise measures for the general safety,
and to authorize the recruiting of men. County Committees
of Safety were formed and their duties were numerous and important.
The following gentlemen composed the Dutchess Committee: Egbert
Benson (Chairman), John Collen, Samuel Dodge, Elnathan Gregory,
Jacob Grifiin, Herman Hoffman, Frederick Jay, Nathan Pearce, James
Weeks. Precinct Committees were also formed, and one of their first
duties was to visit the Tories in the county, and request in a friendly
manner that they surrender their firearms for the use of the Con-
tinental forces, at a reasonable price. In case of refusal the firearms
were taken forcibly. A considerable number of guns were thus ob-
tained, a total of 431 being delivered to the State by the Committee
of Rombout Precinct alone, in 1776-'77.

The Provincial authorities of New York in 1775, authorized the
organization of four regiments, known as the Continental Line, to
serve for six months, and thus designated: First New York, Second
Albany, Third Ulster, Fourth Dutchess. The regiments were com-
manded respectively by Alexander McDougal, Goose Van Schaick,
James Clinton, and James Holmes. Zephaniah Piatt, Gilbert Liv-
ingston and Melancthon Smith constituted the Military Committee for
Dutchess county, and received the warrants for raising men for the
Fourth or Dutchess regiment, which, when organized, June 30th,
1775, had the following field and company officers:

James Holmes, Col. (from Westchester dounty) ; Philip Court-
landt, Lieut. Col.; Barnabas Tuthill, Major; Benjamin Chapman,

1. C<4.>And this is a more detailed telling of the story of the attack on Nathan Pearce.
The residence of a Quaker by the name of Birch in the south end
of Quaker Hill was robbed during the Autumn of 1778, by some sol-
diers. On his promise not to follow them that night, they offered him
no bodily harm. This promise, though made under duress, he kept
on the honor of a Quaker, but at the hour the time hmit expired he
was on their track with a posse. He traced them to the army lines,
where he recognized the villains, and identified his property on the
person of one of them. The evidence was so conclusive, that the cul-
prit was convicted before court-martial, and hung despite the pro-
tests of Birch, who had no desire to push the matter to that extremity.

Nathan Pearce, Jun., who lived in the house standing, at the time
of the Revolution, but since razed, on the bank nearly opposite the
residence of O. A. Dykeman, was collector of military fines, — an
office that was as distasteful to the public as could well be imagined.
One night some robbers broke into the house, struck him with the
butt of a musket, beat and kicked him into insensibihty, and finally
suspended him, lacerated and bleeding, by his thumbs to the chamber
floor. Then after rummaging the house, they left him to be rescued
by the family. He never saw a well moment thereafter, and survived
the ordeal but six weeks. Some nights subsequent to this, his brother,
Capt. William Pearce, with some followers, surprised this robber gang
at their rendezvous in a cave on Quaker Hill. The robber chief,
Vaughn by name, had on his person the clothes taken from his brother
Nathan, and William had the satisfaction of running a sword through
the body of his enemy in revenge for the murder of his brother.

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