Category: PIERCE

CLIFFORD WAYNE PIERCE a RACE HORSE TRAINER

John and Cliff Pierce
Venus John and Clifford William Pierce
about 1926

A RACE HORSE TRAINER IS BORN

Clifford W. Pierce was born in April, the 24, 1921 at home in Liberty. NE , the second son to Venus and Marie Pierce.  He grew up during the depression when things were scarce, and times were hard and work was the way of living.  As a young 12 year old boy Cliff entered a pony race in the little rural farm community of  Reynolds, Nebraska, and won.  There was a couple, the  Presnells, there from California that had seen the race, and felt that young boy showed promise as a jockey.  His parents agreed to let him go with them, the depression was hard on everyone,  and they took care of him as if he were their own and a race horse trainer was born .  So this young farmer boy left the country life and headed to the unknown for California. Was he excited? Was he nervous? Was he scared?  If he was, he didn’t let it show and he went right to work. The following is a poem written for him by the woman that cared for him and she sent it to his mother.

On your Own Clifford Pierce

by Marie Presnell

You are on your own dear little man
and you know right from wrong:
Quite some time back your tones began
To change from high to strong.
Be guided well while on your own,
Increase the wisdom you have shown.

An honest man receives “the breaks”
That cheaters cry about:
And in temptations Neer forsakes
His mother’s faith devout.
Be guided well while on your own,
Increase discretion you have known.

Dear little lad, in deed and word,
Remember well and long–
“Tis easy to go with the herd”
It urges you to “come along”.
Be guided well while on your own,
If you would profit when you’re grown.

“Protect your honor and your name,”
You mother’s mother said.
She wished for you no blot of shame,
And for good morals plead;
Be guided well while on your own,
That heritage do not disown.

Grandmother Louise Blum’s exact words:
“Whatever you do, preserve and protect your name and honor.”

Marie Presnell

This woman started a scrap book for Clifford to keep track of all of his achievements for his mother, Marie Blum. At the time of Clifford’s death the books were handed down to his brother Cecil

and then to me, and one can see from looking at this scrap books that Clifford had many accomplishments to be proud of from the time he was just a boy. They are caulked full of newspaper clippings and photos of horses that Cliff owned and trained for others and his winnings as a jockey, and then a trainer. His life as a profession horseman has been well documented through pictures and newspaper clippings, and he was known by horsemen all over the US.

Some might think from a public viewpoint that horse racing consist of the excitement of betting, and warm beer in wax paper cups, and are unaware of the long hours,and hard work  They train these big animals, work them and care for them, and hope to achieve a measure of success in the final run for the wire. , are the hopes and dreams of a horseman. This is exactly what Cliff learned right from the start, and it wasn’t long before his face was in the papers and his popularity among the horseman begin to grow. By the time he was 20 years old he had won many races and big purses in races in California and Mexico and had mad attainments way beyond his years.

A POEM by Marie Presnall

written of Cliff

A clean sweet lad in simple faith

decided he would ride

Would taste a jockeys gay renown

From play he turned aside

He left his parents and the farm

He travel oer five states

Observing all with watchful eyes

Avoiding argument and hates

In California he resides

In patience he prevails

He rides those silky mounts each day

In joy each task he hails

His doubtful weakness is his trust

May he not place it wrong

May wisdom take him ‘neath her wing

and make his morals strong.

Cliff Pierce in the Service
Cliff Pierce in the Service

 

 

 

THE COUNTRY CALLS

Clifford was called to the second World War as was his brother John. Clifford W Pierce, Technician Third Grade Medical Detachment, 409 Infantry and served as a medical technician, and was honorably discharged from the military service in February 1946. It has been said that he witnessed   the worst part of the war and that the demons followed him throughout his life. His wife would tell that the only way to wake him up was to stand at the door and throw a shoe at him, as if you would touch him he would come up swinging.

After the war, Cliff returned to the home of his parents, in Belvedere, Nebraska.  His father owned a big building there and Clifford turned it into a restaurant and bar, and he also ran the feed store.  This property was left to him by his father after he died.  Clifford sold the store but before it was paid for, a year later, a tornado went through the town and flattened it.

Cliff took up horse training and was well known and thought of by many horse breeders.  I remember as a child going to Omaha, and Uncle Cliff taking us to the barns and letting us ride around the barns on the horses, and showing us how they were cared for and prepped for the races.  He took a lot of pride in his nieces and nephews, and took every opportunity to show them off.

Clifford married a beautiful young lady by the name of Barbra Dowe when she became pregnant.  She lost the baby and they never had any other, and after many years, I believe it was 26,  of struggling to keep their marriage together, they were divorced.

My brother, Jeff, had to good fortune of spending a summer with Clifford and Barb. Uncle Cliff bought his a shoe shine box and encouraged him to make some extra money shining shoes at the race track. I remember crying as they took off together. I wanted to go so badly but because I was a girl couldn’t go. Jeff brought back many good memories of the time he spent with his Uncle, that lasted his whole lifetime.

 

Clifford Pierce and Barbara Dow
Clifford Pierce and Barbara Dow

 

After Grandma Pierce’s funeral, my sister and I rode with Uncle Cliff from the church in Omaha to the cemetery in Fairbury, NE.  He occupied us on this trip by telling us stories about my father when he was young.  He had a special way of keeping your attention when he told a story.  He would often pause between sentences and you would have to wait patiently for him to begin again.  We were never sure if he was finished or not.

Marie and Barbara Cliff’s mother and wife

 

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A HORSEMAN

In 1968 a young man by the name of Dennis Gottchall spent the day with Cliff to gain an understanding as to just what was involved in the training and caring for the horses.  Cliff was his subject and he wrote: Cliff Pierce, a Reynolds, Nebraska farmer. He is a Veteran horseman having spent three years as a jockey and 27 years as a trainer. All horsemen dream of having a “big” horse, one that is capable of running against the best and winning. These horses are few and far between. In 1962 Cliff had one outstanding horse named Jerry Get up. He was destined to be a great horse, starting eight times that year, winning six and placing second twice. In 1963 he won $64,000. We was below par after that and Cliff was to know the heartbreak of having the horse die in his stall in Chicago. The cause of the death was an incurable liver ailment.  ”

one of Cliffs favorite horses
One outstanding horse

HOW JERRY GET UP GOT HIS NAME

Anyone who knew Cliff, knew about Jerry Get Up. I believe he was among the most favorite of all the horses Cliff owned and trained. He was his most successful horse and was owned by AW Dow, Cliff’s father in law. In 1964 Jerrry Get up started seven races, winning five and placing second twice. The horse also ran in Ak-Sar-Ben’s Princess Stakes and Ambassadors winning $27,329 for the year.

Jerry’s mother’s name was Janey Jump UP!

When the new foal was born they contemplated over a name for him.  At the time, Cliff had a jockey named Jerry that seemed to have trouble getting up in the morning. Every morning Cliff would come to the barn and go to Jerry’s room and yell “Jerry! Get UP!”

Hence the name for the new foal.

PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER

Credit for the pictures below goes to Dennis Gottchall as well as most of the information shared here.

Cliff took care of about 20 thoroughbreds of various ages most of the time. He had two exercise boys and five stable hands to help get the job done.

Foriegn Comet and Cliff 1968
Foriegn Comet and Cliff 1968

There was much work that needed to be done by 10 o’clock when the track is closed in preparation for the races which would be held in the afternoon. This work required a lot of organization. Cliff instilled pride and confidence in his help with is soft outspokenness and quiet manner.  Everyone began at daybreak.

The day begins at sun up
One of the workers with the horse

 

The horses are fed at about 5:30 in the morning. Each horse must be galloped or walked each morning. I remember walking in the barns with the  help as a child when I would get to go with Cliff. At 6 o’clock the horses were taken to the track to be galloped or to an open area to be walked.

Feeding time
Ready for Breakfast

When a horse was taken to the track someone cleans his stall and puts in fresh bedding and hay. When the horse returned he would get a bath. That is a picture that still stands in my memory.was that of the horses getting washed off. They were absolutely breath taking beauties.  After their baths they were cooled down by walking.

Getting a bath
Exercising the horses and then time for a bath

Different trainers use different procedures for exercising their horses. Some walked them two horses at once using a saddle pony.

In 1968 Cliff had a horse by the name of Foreign Comet. He had been injured before in a race and Cliff gave the horse his personal attention. He  took him to the track and worked him there. From the pictures below you will see his concern as he watches for any sign of a recurring injury. The responsibility was great when you have a horse that was valued at over 75,000 dollars.

Exercising Foreign Comet
Exercising Foreign Comet
Watching closely for signs
Watching Foreign Comet exercise.

 

THE MORNING OF THE RACE

FOREIGN COMET was entered in the $15,000 Nebraska Bred Three year old race at a mile and 70 yards. The day was bright and sunny and no trouble was anticipated. Things happen quickly and there is no time for mistakes.  The horses paced nervously in their stalls. You could tell that he sensed he was going to run.

The call comes over the loudspeaker to bring the horses to the paddock within five minutes.. The tension and anxiety begins to build  as the moment of the race draws near.

Heading to the paddock with Foreign Comet
The anticipation is mounting
Taking the horse to the track
Taking the horse to the track

When the horses reach the paddock they are taken to stalls for saddling according to the numbers assigned them on the racing program. Number one had been assigned to Foreign Comet.  A paddock judge checks identification on each horse. Horses are identified by numbers tattooed inside the upper lip.

A man from the  State Racing Commission supervises the saddling so that each horse carries the weight assigned to him. Lead weight in the saddle is used if the jockey”s weight varies from the assigned weight.

Getting Ready
Saddling up the race is about to begin.

LJ Dureusseau  was contracted to ride Foreign Comet in this race. Before leaving the paddock, the trainer gives the jockey instruction on how he would like to have the horse ridden. Once they leave the starting gate, racing strategy sometimes changes abruptly so it pays to have a good, smart jockey aboard. This was something that Cliff knew first hand.

Cliff giving Jockey instruction
A good strategy is KEY

The horses are lead onto the track about fifteen minutes before the start of the race. This gives the public a chance to view the horses in the post parade, the jockeys then have a chance to warm up the horses and get the feel of their mounts.

For this race the starting gate was in position in front of the grandstand. Foreign Comet had the number one post position which meant he would start on the inside.

One by one the horses are put into the starting gate. When they are all quiet the official starter releases them with an electric switch.

Foreign Comet tried to break out on top, but the jockey settled him into second place. He maintained that position unchallenged until they reached the home stretch. Then Dureusseau called on the big horse to go all out. Foreign Comet answered with a burst of speed and won “going away”, leaving his closest competitor four lengths behind.

Foreign Comet "going away"
Foreign Comet “going away”

The horse is then led into the winners circle where pictures are taken of the horse along with the owner, trainer, and jockey by the track photographer. This picture is a symbol of the hard work and the ultimate achievement of all those involved in the effort. A silver plate was awarded to Foreign Comet’s owner, Bart Ford. His horse had just proven himself to be the best three year old Nebraska Bred. It is the big payoff for many long hours of hard work.

The prize money is divided with a percentage going to each of the first four places. In this case, Foreign Comet’s share of the purse was $12, 457. 60 .

Foreign Comet In the Winners Circle
Foreign Comet In the Winners Circle

The tension worry and stress are all gone now as Cliff leaves the winners circle chatting with his jockey.

Leaving the winners circle
Leaving the winners circle

The end of the race does not mark the end of the day for a horseman. There is still much to be done. The track is cleared immediately so it can be conditioned for the next race. All horses are returned to their respective barns for “cooling out”.

The winner of every race at Ak-Sar-Ben must be taken to the test barn which is managed by the Nebraska State Racing commission. Each winning horse is given a saliva test and a urine test to verify that drugs have not been give to the horse.

Being checked for drugs
It’s not easy being a winner.

Now the horse has to be washed, and given an alcohol bath, and cooled out in the test barn area. His appearance after his big run shows the training and effort put forth by this particular horse with his big heart that is so clearly visible. He stands proud of his accomplishment with a winner’s blood pulsing through his veins. He is given only a small drink of water as he would make himself sick if he drank too much.

a drink after the race
a drink after the race

He is then blanketed and taken to his stall to rest. You can see the weariness of finishing the race where he put forth all he had. 

This is just one day in the life of Clifford Pierce, horse trainer. He did it day after day almost every day of his life, and traveled all over the United States participating in races. I have a file cabinet full of pictures from the winning circle to prove that he was a man who knew his trade.

HIS LOVE OF FAMILY SHOWED

I have many wonderful stories of Uncle Cliff but one of my favorites speaks of his love for his family though I don’t think he really got to spend much time with them throughout the years. After a big winning race in which my mother and father witnessed, they got together and celebrated. Cliff gave my mom $900 dollars. One hundred dollars per child and said “It’s amazing that you have all those kids and not an idiot in the bunch!”

While at war he thought of his little sister at home and sent her the then popular Shirley Temple doll for Christmas. This is just a few of the ways that he showed his generosity and love for his family. He saw to it that his mother in her old age was well cared for and did without nothing.

He was visiting our house once when my sister was about three or four and she brought him every stuffed animal and doll she had. He held onto them with care while she would go to retrieve another one until his lap was full

IT TOOK IT’S TOLL

Like most of the Pierce’s, Cliff liked his drink, and as he got older and developed aches and pains he took to self medicating himself with horse drugs. I was told that he was hooked on them, and that at one time he even had his mother taking them. All that hard living took it’s toll on Uncle Cliff and his health started to suffer. He had heart problems and had a couple of small strokes.

While training a horse at the age of 64 he died of a stroke coupled with a  heart attack at Osceola, Nebraska in August of 1985. Though he made a lot of money throughout his life, he died broke, and left his nephew as executor of the estate. Denny Pierce said that it was a night mare.

Though he left a family that loved him dearly, and many friends among the community in which he lived, I think that Uncle Cliff was a lonely man.

He is buried in Fairbury, Nebraska, with his father and mother, and brother Venus John.

I hope you have enjoyed this post. I enjoyed writing it. If so, do leave me a comment in the box below and let me know. If you knew Cliff Pierce or heard of him and have a story to tell. I would LOVE to hear it!

As Always

Happy Hunting

The Pierce Family Historian

Edward Starbuck a founding father of Nantucket

Edward Starbuck 

Edward, our 9th great grandfather, came with Thomas Macy,   and James Coffin, in a small boat from Salsibury, England  in 1635 during the early settlement of the Massachusetts Bay Colonies and was among the founding fathers of  Nantucket Island.

Born in 16 Feb 1604 in Leicester, Derbyshire, England, the son of Edward and Ann Starbuck,  he was a young man when he set sail with other men for the new world landing on the shores of New Hampshire with his wife Katherine Eunice Reynolds of Wales, daughter of Robert.

STARBUCK THE NAME

They settled in Dover, New Hampshire which was probably still Massachusetts at that time and it was he that brought the surname Starbuck to the United States. . This rare name is locational and derives from the Village of Starbeck, near Harrogate in Yorkshire, originally spelled  ‘Starbok’. This original spelling which appears in the 1086 Domesday Book, indicates a Norse-Viking pre 9th Century origin ‘Stor-Bokki’, literally ‘Great River’. The name “Starbuck” is of Scandinavian decent and it’s possible that the family was of Danish origin that settled in England during the Viking invasions.

THE BEGINNINGS

Edward is first found in the records as receiving a land grant in 1643 for 40 acres of land on each side of the Eresh River at Cutchechoe, and a platt of Marsh above Cutchechoe where the brook runs out of the river, discovered by Richard Walderne, Edward Colcord,, Edward Starbuck, and William Furber. This definitely suggest that he was a man of exploration and adventure,

From 1643 to 1650 there are records of his many other grants of land.

In 1643, he was chosen as the first Representative from Dover to the General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and served again in 1647. (This was before New Hampshire existed as a separate colony.)

He and two others were appointed “wearesmen” or official river fishermen for Dover for life and were required to supple the town and the church from their catch.

In 1647 and 1650 he was granted the right to erect a sawmill and went into the timber business with Rich Waldron, and in 1652 he was granted the right to the use of  certain lands.

He sold half of his timber and water rights to Peter Coffin who was his son in law, in 1653.

Edward served on a six man committee to settle a boundary dispute between Dover and Kitter in 1654, and was one of the commoners chosen to lay out the boundary between the towns.

Edward was prosecuted for taking on Baptist beliefs and pronouncing the concept that baptism should not take place until a child was old enough to decide for themselves.  His religious views were disturbing to the colony, though he was a Quaker his religious views were not acceptable to his fellow townsmen.

In ” Provincial Papers of New Hampsbire,” we find the following:

” Oct. 18, 1648. — The Court being informed of great misdemeanor Committed by Edward Starbuck of Dover with profession of Anabaptism for which he is to be proceeded against at the next Court of Assistants if evidence can be prepared by that time & it being very farre for witnesses to travill to Boston at that season of the year, It is therefore ordered by this Court that the Secretary shall give Commission to Capt. Thomas Wiggan & Mr Edw. Smyth to send for such persons as they shall have notice of which are able to testify in the sd. cause & to take their testimony uppon oath & certifie the same to the secretary so soon as may be, that further proceedings may be therein, if the cause shall so require.”

As a result he was heavily fined. There was no separation for church and state then and the puritans who ran the colony were intolerant of people like the Anabaptists.

In 1658 the Congregational minister swore out a peace bod against him due to his religious beliefs. His last official duty in Dover was serving on a coroner’s jury that investigated the accidental death of a man on Nov. 11, 1659.

REMOVAL TO NANTUCKET

Edward could have possibly lived quite comfortably in Dover had it not been for the religious conditions of the colonies.  The strong persecution of religious beliefs was most likely the reason that Edward decided to go to Nantucket. At the age of 55,  Edward, James Coffin and Isaac Coleman arrived on Nantucket Island with Thomas Macy and stayed throughout the winter. They returned to Massachusetts the next spring, and returned in 1660 with his wife and children, except for daughters Sarah and Abigail, and ten other families. More settlers arrived the following year.  Sarah who had married

The white settlers found Nantucket inhabited by about 1600 Wampanoag Indians who were farmers and fisherman and hunters. The arrival of the white man brought disease, alcohol, and debt servitude to the island which  cause a cruel toll on the peaceful people over the next 100 years. By 1763 only 358 Indians survived and that number was reduced later that year when more than 222 died of the plague.

It is not to be wondered at that Edward Starbuck was quite ready to leave Dover under existing conditions. He was fifty-five years of age when he joined Thomas Macy in his voyage from Salisbury to Nantucket; he spent the winter there and in the spring returned to Dover for his family, who accompanied him to the island excepting his daughters Sarah (Aus- tin) and Abigail (Coffin), who had married and settled in Dover.

” Dover lost a good citizen ” and Nantucket gained a much respected one ; ” he was a leading man on the Island and at one time a Magistrate; ”  he is described as ” courageous and persevering.”

EDWARD THE PEACE KEEPER

Edward had great repose among the Indians and was often called upon to settle disputes that came up with the natives in Dover and Nantucket. A deed of land to him from the Indians in 1660 is the oldest original Nantucket document in existence and his name appears on many other documents until his death.

During the 35 years of his life on the Island of Nantucket he was Representative in the General court, and Elder in the Church, and in 1669 he and Peter Coffin were appointed by the town meeting to manage the government among the Indians. Four year later He was chosen one of the town’s five selectmen, was one of the highest ranking government officers.

As a clergyman it is said that Edward was the one that read from the Bible at the funeral of his dear friend Tristram Coffin.

Edward was instrumental in the development of the land and began the development of the whaling company.

It is said that at the time of his death he was the wealthiest man in Nantucket owning a third of the Island in land. He left most of his property to his only living son Nathaniel, as was the tradition at that time.

Nathaniel Starbuck

Nathaniel and Mary Starbuck

Nathaniel went with his father to Nantucket and married Mary there in 1662, the daughter of Tristram Coffin (Edward and Tristram being our 9th Great grandparents making Nathaniel and Mary our 8th)  Their marriage was the first on the Island, and their daughter, Mary was the first white child born there.

The Nantucket Quakers became influential in every area of life including social behaviors, lifestyles, business, and politics and Nathaniel was highly involved in the lucrative whaling industry.

Quakerisn began to take hold in Nantucket  largely due to the influence of Mary Coffin Starbuck, following her conversion to the faith in 1701. Mary (the Great) who eventually became a Quaker preacher, and her husband Nathaniel, led the Quaker movement and the first meetings were held in their home until a meeting house was built in 1711.  Mary “esteemed is judge among them” was the moving force in establishing the Society of Friends, (Quakers) on Island.

Nathaniel was one of the strong men among the Nantucket settlers, and would have received more credit but for the superior intellect of his wife. He is said to have been a man of no mean abilities, but was outshone by the superior capacity of his wife, a woman of uncommon powers of mind.

Great Mary Starbuck

He ran a trading post, where Indians swapped codfish and feathers (used in mattresses) for cloth, hooks, buttons, etc. When Ichabod Paddack of Cape Cod introduced whaling to Nantucket, it was Nathaniel who financed the venture. Due to Nathaniel’s whaling interests, land holdings and store profits, he became one of the wealthiest men–if not the wealthiest man on the Island. So much public business was conducted at this home that it became known as “Parliament House”. It was also there that Quakerism took root on Nantucket thanks mostly to the leadership of his wife, whose importance and fame quite outshone his own not inconsiderable accomplishments. (From James Carlton Starbuck’s book “Starbucks All” published in 1984)

His house was erected near his house lot, but on a spot a short distance southeast which was afterwards set off to him. It was a large house of a capacity sufficient for meetings, both religious and municipal, and was called “Parliament House.” It was located a few feet west of the present Cornish Barn and was placed near the spring. His house lot was on the northwest of the swamp, bounded north by that of James Coffin and south by the swamp and southwest by the lot of Thomas Mayhew. By purchase from Greenleaf and others and by set off, he acquired a large tract around the north head of Hummock Pond. It later was comprised in the Cambridge farm.

Nathaniel and Mary had 10 known children and spread their descendants throughout the US.

Will

He made his will on 14 June 1716 in Sherbourne, Nantucket, Massachusetts. It was probated on 29 August 1719.  The will was written while his wife Mary was still alive; codicil was dated 20 November 1717 after her death. Pecuniary legacies given to daughters Eunice Gardner, Priscilla Coleman, Hepsibah Hathaway, and the children of two deceased daughters, Mary Gardner and Elizabeth Barnard. His real estate was given to his sons Barnabas, Nathaniel and Jethro. Witnesses: Thomas Macy, Thomas Clark, William Stratton, John Macy.

The codicil was written shortly after his wife died and devised the household goods to Barnabase, Eunice, and Hephzibah. The three sons were made joint executors.

At the time of his death, he was one of the wealthiest men (if not individually the wealthiest) on Nantucket. He owned three full shares of land, having purchased a share of Stephen Greenleaf.

THE MOST ASK QUESTION

Are we related to the Starbuck coffee people? That is the most commonly asked question and the answer is no.

Actually the coffee company was not named after anyone. When they were searching for a name for the company they just started throwing out names when someone blurted out the name Starbuck. The name appealed to the literary trio and since characters in Moby Dick and the Rainmaker shared it, and it had a strong ring to it, it was chosen.

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed this, if so please leave a comment in the section below and let me know!

Until next time!

The Pierce Family Historian






The Gardners: Cape Ann Planters as they were called

We learned a bit about the Gardners , namely Richard, Cape Ann Planters as they soon were to be called,  in our previous post but I will now give a bit of our decent from that lineage in this one. The English Gardners came to this country in the days immediately following the landing of the the Pilgrims at Plymouth, as several merchants in South England sent fishing vessels to the shores of New England. The amount of time required by these slow moving vessels to return to the markets of  England and Spain made it too late to dispose of their catch . Therefore a number of men in Dorchester, England, put together the Dorchester Company and came up with the idea of establishing a plantation at Cape Ann. Their thinking was that the fishermen might winter there, make their catch early in the spring, and return to England in season to dispose of the fish to advantage. 

In 1624, The Cape Ann Planters landed at Stage Point on the west side of what is now Gloucester harbor. Col. Charles Edward Banks , “The Planters of the Commonwealth,” records the following in his list of ships arriving in 1624.

Zouch Phenix. She was consort of the Unity, and arrived with her in the spring of this year. It is believed she sailed from Weymouth and brought the following passengers:

Thomas and Mrs. Gardner, George, Richard, Joseph Gardner.

John Balch, Mrs. Agnes Balch, Benjamin, and John Balch,

Thomas Gray

Walter Knight

William Trask

John Tilley

Peter Palfrey

John Woodbury”

THOMAS GARDNER

Thomas was born March 4 1592 to Sir Thomas Gardiner and Elizabeth White in Weymouth, Dorcet, England

Thomas, our 9th great grandfather, was placed in charge of the plantation and John Tilly of the fishing. The selection of the site for a plantation turned out to be unfortunate. The ground was rocky and the soil infertile and made farming impossible.  There disappointment and struggle was great.

The fishing also proved a failure and many of the fisherman turned to agriculture for relief.  The leader of the company in England, heard that Roger Conant was at Nantucket and thought perhaps he might be more successful so invited him to go to Cape Anne and take control. He went there in 1625 and soon realized that the lack of success had been because of the poor soil and that a settlement in this place could not be made profitable.

Conant searched the coast for a better plantation site and finally decided on the mouth of Naumkeag River which is now Salem. In 1626 The Dorchester Company gave  him permission to move the little colony to the new location, though some of the first adventurers went to Virginia or returned to England. A few strong hearts stayed and became the founders of Salem.

Conant said that they stayed “to the hazard of their lives”, and it is a shame  that many  historical writers of old Massachusetts fail to give the due credit for the laying of the foundation of this grand old Commonwealth. They proved that a settlement was possible, and sent one of their spokesman back to England to convince the Reverend John White and his associates that this was a possibility and asked for help and supplies. This resulted in the formation of the London  Company and the sending of John Endicott in the ship “Abigail” in 1628.

Thomas Gardner is thought to be  the first man in authority on the land of what became the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

A meeting of the London company held July 28,  1629,  it was mentioned “one Mr. Gardner, an able and expert man in divers faculties” by Mr. Webb, and he along with others were recommended for employment in the colony.

In 1635 we find that Thomas Gardner also signed his name to the grant of a three hundred a to Thomas Scruggs, and the next month to a grant of the same, to John Blackleech. His signature was  of the town’s representative is appended to the records in the 11th mo, 1636.

In 1637 he was appointed to “survey all the fences between the meeting house westward of the Town, and in 1636 he was made a member of the First Church. 

Massachusetts Bay Colony admitted him as a freeman, in 1637, and he was appointed  deputy to the General Court that same year.  In 1637 he was among the 12 men appointed of the town. He served as juror during 1637 and 1638.

The town voted that every working man should devote the seventh day of the first month in 1638 to labor in repairing the highways, and Thomas Gardner was appointed as one of the three overseers to make sure the work was done and done properly.

He was called “Constable” in the town records in 1639, and various sums were recorded as being paid by him for court expenses. He also served the town as surveyor for the mending and keeper of the roads and was one of the record keepers of such.

Throughout his life Thomas Gardener’s name is found among the records in the the history of the town and he is renowned for his service to the colony. “Ole Mr. Gardener” he became known by amongst the residents of Old Salem.

Thomas first married Margaret Fryer/ Friar and they had nine children:

1. Lieut Thomas Gardner born in England and died in 1693. He first married Hannah and they had Mary, Thomas Eliza, Abigaile, Bethiah, Hannah, and Jonathan.  He then married Elizabeth Horne, daughter of 2. Deacon John Horn, and they had David, Susannah, and Dorcas.

He was a cordwainer by trade. A cordwainer (/ˈkɔːrdˌweɪnər/) is a shoemaker who makes new shoes from new leather. The cordwainer’s trade can be contrasted with the cobbler’s trade, according to a tradition in Britain that restricted cobblers to repairing shoes. He also kept a general merchandise store and owned a ketch, the “John Booneyventure,” which was used in the cod fishing industry. He was prominent in town affairs and served from time to time on the jury. He lived in a house which stood on a lane running along the eastern boundary of the meeting house lot. His second wife, Elizabeth, died in 1695

2. George born in England and was married three times.

Richard Gardner House

3. RICHARD (8th great grandfather) born 1621 Matock, Somerset, England. He  married Sarah Shattuck, Quakeress, (daughter of Samuel and Damaris Shattuck, she being the second wife of Richard’s father Thomas.) Richards first grant of land was in 1642, a ten acre lot near Mackrell Cove, and he had later grants in Salem and at Jeffrey’s Creek. His house was on the eastern side of what is not Central Street, on the site of the present Salem Fraternity building. He had a shop on the same lot. He became a devout Quaker and with others was convicted of “absenting themselves from the public ordinances. ” He moved to Nantucket not long afterward and purchased land there at Wesko, Feb 15 1667. Richard became one of the leading men of the Nantucket Island and the ancestor of many, now distributed all over the country. He served as Chief Magistrate and represented the town at New York. He died March 23, 1688. His widow died in 1724, at the age of 93. She was an energetic and leading Quaker throughout her life. Their children were Joseph, Richard, Sarah, Deborah (7th great grandmother) who married John Macy, Damarice, James. Mariam, Nathaniel, Hope, and Love.

4. Captain John born 1624 married Priscilla Grafton daughter of Joseph. He was called Captain and was a master mariner and surveyor.  He was given permission to build a mill over the South River in 1663. In 1669 he was paid for services as surveyor in the town. He lived in a house which stood near the corner of the present Herbert and Derby Streets in Salem.  He was granted 11 acres and meadow land in Nantucket upon agreement: ” unto Mr. John Gardner of Salem marrener, a seamans accommodation, with all appurtinances belonging unto it as fully as the other seamen and tradesmen have in their former grants, upon condition that come to inhabit and set up the Trade fishing with a sufficient vessel fit for the taking of Codfish.  Captain became very prominent, serving as Chief Magistrate, represetative to the General Court, “Captain and Chief Military Officer of the Foot Company,” and town moderator.

He died in May 1706, at the age of 82, and his gravestone is still preserved in the old Coffin house (horseshoe house), and a new one replacing it in the graveyard. His wife is said to have died in 1717. Their children were, John, Joseph, Priscilla, Benjamin, Rachel, George, Benjamin, Ann, Nathaniel, Mary, Mehitable (?), and Ruth.

5. SAMUEL born 1627 married first Mary White, and then Elizabeth Paine. His name appears in the Town Records in 1649 when he was ordered along with his brothers George, Thomas, and Joseph, to survey and measure from the meeting house to the parcel of meadow upon the great river Westerly from Salem” . He was often hired to survey around the town and colony. He served as appraiser and overseer of estates and had many terms of service on the grand jury and jury of trials. He was coroner, constable, selectman and deputy to the General courts, and was a leader in the affairs of the the First Church. His children were: Mary, Elizabeth, Margaret, Samuel, George, Jonathan, Hannah and Abel. He has numerous descendants who were prominent citizens of Salem, where many of them were merchants and ship owners  during the time of the town’s great maritime prosperity. Many of them had notable records in the wars of the Colony, Province, and commonwealth.  Samuel died Oct 1639.

6. CAPTAIN JOSEPH born about 1628 and died 19 Dec 1675. Joseph married Ann Downing, daughter of Emanuel Downing, “gent” a prominent lawyer in London. He with his brothers John and Samuel was a surveyor and was frequently employed in that capacity. He kept a tavern and was called a vintner in some documents. He became a freeman in 1673 and served several times on the jury. In 1672 he was appointed with Henry Bartholomew, by the General Court on a committee for Essex and Norfolk, with others from Suffolk to settle accounts with Major Pynchon for pork received for the relief of his Majesty’s fleet in the Caribby Islands. In August of 1656 Lucy Downing, with the consent of her husband, Emanuel Downing, granted to him the plot of ground upon which the State Armory was built. As his dowry and marriage portion with Ann. The lot measured “fower acres of ground Intire”.

In the Massachusetts Bay Records May 15, 1672 it was recorded: “it is ordered that Joseph Gardiner be lieutenant to the foote company under the command of Walter Price, captain at Salem”.  They marched with troops from Boston on the 8th. The 15th two of the men were killed and another wounded by Indians. Capt. Joseph Gardner, and others of the town went out immediately and killed an Indian who had slain one of the Salem troops and was wearing his cap.

The forces of Plymouth, Connecticut and Massachusetts attacked the Narragansetts in a swamp. After a three hour battle, the English took the enemy’s place and fired at their wigwams. One thousand of the Indians were killed.  Eighty five of the English soldiers were killed or died of their wounds, and one hundred and forty five were wounded. Among those killed were Captain Gardner and six of his company, and eleven more of them were wounded.

“Major Church spying Capt. Gardner amidst the wigwams in the east end of the Fort made towards him; but  suddenly, while looking at each other, Capt. Gardner settled down. The Major stepped up to him and seeing the blood run down his cheek, lifted his cap and called him by name. He looked up but spoke not a word, being mortally wounded, shot through the head, and observing the wound the Major ordered care to be taken of him.”

His widow, Ann, married, in 1676, Governor Simon Bradstreet. She died April 19, 1713, at the age of 79 years. Captain Joseph Gardner had no children.

7. SARAH born about 1630 and died Apr 5, 1686; married around 1650 to Benjamin Balch, the “Planter,”  born in 1629 and lived in his father’s homestead. In 1930 the house was still standing on the corner of Cabot and Balch Streets in Beverly.  He married two more times after her death.

They had seven sons and four daughters.

8. MIRIAM born about 1632 and died before Aug 1664 married John Hill who was born in Bristol, England around 1635. He was a wheelwright by trade ( a person who makes or repairs wooden wheels.) John and Miriam had two daughters, Miriam and Susanna.

9. SEETH was baptized October 25, 1636 and died the 17th of April, 1707.  There has been some suggestion that her name could be a surname pasted down. She first married Joshua Conant, the son of Roger Conant, the “Planter”. He was a sea captain and lived in Marblehead. They had one child Joshua. Joshua (1) died in England in 1658 and Seeth married John Gratfton son of Joshua and Mary Grafton. After the death of Seeth, Mr. Grafton marriedd Judith Clark in Boston. He was a mariner and they had six children.

 

By now if you have been reading the history of our founding father’s you are starting to see the mention of several surnames that seem to intertwine.  We are cousins of cousins for sure, but what an interesting story we have to tell.

I hope you have enjoyed this issue. If so please leave me a comment in the section below and let me know. If you have something to add I’d love to hear it also!

Happy Hunting!

THE PIERCE FAMILY HISTORIAN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tristram Coffin

Researching Tristram Coffin comes quite easily as much has been written about him through out the history of the United States. Some of which is fact and some assumed so therefore you will find much conflicting information about him.  He was one of the nine purchasers and founders of Nantucket Island and to him much credit is given. There are over 500 family trees on ancestry.com that connect to him so it could be said that he was also monumental in populating the United States from sea to shining sea.

I am proud to say that he is my 9th great grandfather. Our Pierce line descends from his daughter Mary “Great Mary” Coffin Starbuck  who was the wife of  8th great grandfather Nathaniel Starbuck, son of Edward and  Katherine Reynolds Starbuck (also 9th great grandparents) of which I will write at a later date.

WHERE WE BEGIN

The first of the Coffin name  of which there is any record is of Sir Richard Coffin who removed to Normandy, England in 1066 where he entered the English Army and had land granted to him and he was Knighted by the King.  He was of Scandinavian decent like all Nobles of Normandy. The Vikings were settling in Normandy around the 800’s AD through conquest and they were granted the “Duchy of Normandy” by the French King “Charles the Simple” as a defense against other Viking Armies. The First “Duke of Normandy” was Hrolf or Rollo 911AD (an ancestor of “William the Conqueror”).

Sir Richard, as he was called,  fought as a General for “William the Conqueror” (formally “William the Bastard”) at the Battle of Hastings, during the Norman invasion of England and Williams successful claim for the English Crown.

We learn from Prince’s “Worthies of Devonshire” that the ancient family of the name settled at Portledge by the seaside in the Parish of  Alwington, five miles from Biddeford and flourished there from the Conquest  from the time of King Henry I to the age of King Edward the II.  For two hundred years each successive heir of this family bore the name of Richard. (that’s a lot of Richards!)

Coffins are also in the Williams “Doomsday book” (1080) as current inhabitants of England, probably settlers from France at an earlier date. The Coffins spread out to Somerset, Dorset, Wiltshire and Cornwall. By 1252 the name in its different forms (Colvin, Corvin, Cophen and Coffyn) are frequently found in records. The name is disputed in its origins. Welsh “Coffyn” meaning hill top boundary, English and French:  occupational name for a basket maker, from Old French cof(f)in ‘basket’ (Late Latin cophinus, Greek kophinos). The modern English word coffin is a specialized development of this term, not attested until the 16th century.
and the most likely  is  meaning of “Coffer” or treasure box.

A short distance from Fallaise, a town of Normandy, stands the old chateau of Courtition,  the home of the Norman Coffin.

The last Miss Coffin married Le Clerc in the late 18th century and since that time Le Clerc family  occupied the Norman estates.

 

WHAT ABOUT TRISTRAM

Tristram Coffin (Coffyn as was signed by him) was born to Peter and Joanna (Kember) Coffin (10th great grandparents)and baptized in the parish of Brixton near Plymouth, England, on 11 March 1609/10. He married Dionis Stevens in 1630 and they had nine children,  the first five born in England. He was of the the landed gentry, or simply the gentry, which is a largely historical British social class consisting in theory of landowners who could live entirely from rental income, or at least had a country estate.

Charles I inherited the throne of England in 1625 and initiated a long struggle with his parliament, which wanted to abolish bishops from the House of Lords which is an upper house of Parliament,  and limit the king’s powers. Things came to a head when Charles raised his royal standard at Nottingham in August 1642, and England soon descended into Civil War (1642–1651).

Tristram Coffin’s brother John received a mortal wound at Plymouth fort, although it is not known exactly when or  which side he was fighting on. It could be for reasons associated with these political upheavals, Tristram Coffin decided to leave his estates in England and emigrate to the new America though some suggest that it was after the death of his father that he decided to remove.

The Coffin House at Portledge

He bought with him his mother, and  his sisters, Mary and Eunice, as well as his wife and the five children born in England.

Tristram  immigrated to Massachusetts from England in 1642, and lived in Salisbury, Haverhill, and Newbury for sixteen years.  For a short time he ran an inn in Salisbury, Massachusetts. He then moved to the new settlement of Pentucket, now Haverhill, Massachusetts. His children Mary Starbuck and John (the first John having died at the same place in 1642) were born at Salisbury. In 1648 he removed to Newbury, where his youngest son, Stephen was born. His name appears on a deed dated 15 November 1642 recording the sale of the land for the settlement by the local American Indian people.

 

He is said to have used a plow that he had made himself to cultivate the land. In 1648 he left the farm and moved  to Newbury, Massachusetts and he operated a ferry across the Merrimack River .  He and his wife Dionis ran a tavern in Newbury. In 1653 Dionis was “presented” for selling beer above the legal price of two pennies per quart but she was acquitted when it was found that her beer was much stronger than the ordinary. Coffin sold the inn and ferry in 1654 or 1655 and moved to Salisbury, Massachusetts, where he signed himself “Tristram Coffyn, Commissioner of Salisbury”.

Nantucket Island

THE PURCHASE OF NANTUCKET

In 1659, he made a voyage of inquiry and observation to the group of islands off the Massachusetts coast, with a view to this change of residence.  He first visited Matha’s Vineyeard, and taking from there Peter Folger as an interpreter of the Indian language, proceeded to Nantucket.

He along with Thomas Macy led a group of nine investors that bought Nantucket Island from Thomas Mayhew for thirty pounds and two beaver hats made by his son, Tristram JR .  Coffin was among the  prime movers of the enterprise and was given first choice of land. In 1659 he settled near the western end of the island near Capaum pond.It has been supposed that religious persecution was the cause of these frequent changes and of his final departure from the main land.

Soon after settling, Tristram Coffin purchased the thousand-acre Tuckernuck Island at the western end of Nantucket. On 10 May 1660 the sachems conveyed title to a large part of the island to Coffin and his associates for eighty pounds. He became one of the first prominent citizen of the settlement and  was appointed the first chief magistrate of Nantucket on 29 June 1671 being the most respected and wealthy settler on the Island.

He built a corn mill in which he employed many of the local Native Americans, and he employed others on his farm.

In 1671 Coffin and Thomas Macy were selected as spokesmen for the settlers, going to New York to meet with Governor Francis Lovelace and secure their claim to Nantucket. In 1677 he was again appointed chief magistrate for a term of four years and it was said by Benjamin Franklin Folgers, the historian,   that he always exhibited a fair Christian character “in all the varied circumstances and conditions of that infant colony,” both to Indians and white settlers.

TROUBLE AMONG THE COLONY

The first settlers had bought their rights to Nantucket with the intent of using the land for their own benefit. But, as more and more people came to Nantucket to live and work in the late seventeenth century, the newcomers began to resent their limited power and representation in the island’s government.

Led by ambitious newcomer John Gardner (a great uncle of the Pierce line), many of the “half-share men” staged a peaceful revolt against the proprietary government led by Tristram Coffin. Through several appeals to the provincial government in New York, the half-share men eventually succeeded in having the original proprietary transformed in favor of a more democratic, town-meeting-based government, where all men who held property had equal voting rights.

At first Tristram Coffin was the leading spirit politically and little was done without his approval and sanction. And he also had the backing of the Mayhews who still retain their interest. After John Gardner arrived in 1672, who was also of strong and forceful personality, there was trouble. He soon became prominent in the affairs of the Island and was appointed Captain of the Fort Company by Governor Lovelace. Tristram and John Gardner soon locked horns.

In 1673 the freeholders were required to name two men for Chief Magistrate and Edward Starbuck (9th great grandfather) and Richard Gardner (eighth greath grandfather) were submitted The governor chose the latter and named his brother Jim for Captain of the military company. This did not please the Coffins as it made their rivals hold two of the principal offices and so began the long fight whenever there was a meeting held .It was noted on the records, Mr. Tristram Coffin enters his dissent whereupon all the other members of his party followed suit but Tristram has been well called the great dissenter. The Coffins believed that the whole share men should have two votes and the half -share men one vote while the Gardners stood firm for equal power.

Each faction were soon appealing to the authorities in New York and the first round was won by the Coffins.

In 1674 the Gardner faction still being in control fined Stephen Hussey for contempt for telling Captain John to “meddle with his own business”.

In 1676 Thomas Macy, then Chief Magistrate and William Worth sided with the Coffins and they regained control of affairs. William Worth was chosen clerk and Gardner and Folger were arbitrarily disfranchised and refused any participation in the affairs of the town.

On Feb 10, 1677, Peter Folger was arrested for contempt of His Majesty’s authority. He was bound over for 20 pounds to appear in Court and in default was committed to jail where he remained in “durance vile coery vile” according to Peter for the greater part of a year.

Tobias COLEMAN,and Eleazer Folger and his wife Sarah..(Richard Gardner’s daughter) were arrested and fined for criticizing the Court.

Peter Folger refused to deliver up the Courts books. So things went on till August 1677 when Governor Androstook took a stand  and ordered a suspension of all further proceedings and later decided that Gardner and Folger’s disfranchisement was null and void.

Mayhew and Coffin were furious but Captain Gardner had won and the hatchet was soon after buried.

Finally, in June of 1678, everyone gets tired of the in-fighting and a settlement is reached. The Full-Share men will allow other parts of the island to be bought from the Natives and developed while the half-share men agree that it will all involve the town.

Coffin and Gardner  still hate each other, but everyone else is willing to live and let live.Then, in September of that year, Tristram Coffin finds himself in very hot water. A French ship wrecked itself on the shoals and Coffin had supervised the salvage operation. After all the gear was grabbed from the boat, it needed to be stored and guarded. Coffin botched the job and was brought before the Admiralty Court. Faced with possible jail time and a steep fine, Coffin appealed to John Gardener to help him.

Gardner weighed in on the Coffin side and Tristram was set free. One year later, Tristram died.Without Coffin, the compromise began in earnest. The half-share and full-share men began talking and working again. Moreover, the Natives were granted grazing rights for their own horses and all three parties were at peace.The final symbolic closure came in 1686 when Peter Coffin’s son Jethro  married John Gardner’s daughter, Mary. John Gardner gave the new couple land for a new house and Peter Coffin supplied the lumber. They built, atop Sunset Hill, a house now known as the oldest house on Nantucket.

 

 

Tristram Coffin

THE COFFIN FAMILY

He and his wife, Dionis, had five sons who perpetuated the Coffin family name. A great number of his descendants became prominent in North American society, and many were involved in the later history of Nantucket during and after its heyday as a whaling center, though when researching his history little is said about that part of his life.

Several Nantucket families, including the Coffins, Gardners, and the Starbucks (from all we decend), began whaling seriously in the 1690s, and by 1715, the Coffins owned three whalers and a trade vessel.

In 1642 there were only 455 people living in Newbury. The town’s economy was primarily a combination of agriculture and husbandry. There was a limited number of artisans and manufacturers. Some of the earliest were weavers, tanners, and shoemakers.

Tristram Coffin and his sons at one time owned about one-fourth of Nantucket, and the whole of the little island adjacent to it on the west, called Tuckermuck, containing 1,000 acres, which he purchased of the old Sachem Potonet at the time of his visit in 1659.

He appears to have been a leading spirit among the first settlers, and was frequently selected by the inhabitants to transact important public business.  His letters to the Colonial Government of New York (Nantucket was at that time a dependency of New York), are preserved in the Archives of the Department of State at Albany.“At a Court of Sessions held the 29th of November 1681 there granted administration unto me James Coffin, John Coffin and Stephen Coffin on the estate of Mr. Tristram Coffin deceased the 3rd Oct 1681 they having given security according to law.”The body of the Oath was evidently written by Peter Coffin (son of Tristram), the signature is an autograph.

During the years before his death, he had bestowed much of his property on his children and grandchildren.

Tristram Coffin died on 2 October 1681 at the age of 76.He was buried on his property on Nantucket Island

At his death he left seven children, 60 grandchildren and several great-grandchildren.

Nearly all his descendants are enabled, by means of the accurate genealogical records in existence, to trace their linage back to him, although nearly two centuries have elapsed since his death.Almost all notable Americans with roots in Nantucket are descended from Tristram Coffin,

CHILDREN

Their daughter, Mary, married Nathaniel Starbuck and became known as “Great Mary” for her leadership in the early community and her conversion to Quakerism, looking to escape harsh Puritan rule in New England.

Peter,

Tristram,

Elizabeth,

James

John

Deborah

John

Stephen died on 1 Dec 1690 in Drowned off Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada, at age 62 .

 

THE COFFIN HOUSE

As the family grew, they added partitions and lean-tos so that different generations could continue to live together under one roof. In 1785 two Coffin brothers legally divided the structure into two separate dwellings, each with its own kitchen and living spaces. With rooms from the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries, Coffin House depicts the impact of an expanding economy and new concepts, such as the notion of privacy, on architecture and modes of living.
The significance of Coffin House lies partly in the age of the original building but more importantly in the way in which it reveals how a home, built in 1678, grew and changed over the years to accommodate the needs of six generations of one family. The earliest part of the house, the southwest ell, is an example of what is known in New England as First Period or Post-Medieval style.When Tristram Coffin Jr. came to Newbury with his parents, siblings, aunts, and grandmother in 1643, it was a frontier settlement with Indian tribes nearby, wild animals, few roads, and most travel by water.

Most of the occupants of this house are buried across the street in the First Parish Burying Ground. Judith and Tristram JR.  are buried on the left side of the burying ground if you are facing the front gate.

INTERESTING FACTS ON DECENDANTS

From Wikipedia we find this information on some of the Coffin descendants.

 

[6] His sons Peter Coffin, Tristram Coffin Junior and James Coffin also received land on the island.[13] [15][18] .[6] One of his grandchildren calculated that by the year 1728, the number of his descendants was 1582, of whom 1128 were still alive.

[19]Several of his descendants achieved prominence. His daughter Mary Coffyn Starbuck became a leader in introducing Quaker practices into Nantucket.

[20] A grandson, James Coffin, was the first of the Coffins to enter into the whaling business.

[21] A poem by Thomas Worth written in 1763 says six Captains named Coffin were sailing out of Nantucket.[3] Sir Isaac Coffin (1759–1839) served during the American Revolutionary War and the Napoleonic Wars and became an admiral in the British Royal Navy.[22] He founded a school on the island in 1827 to educate descendants of Tristram Coffin – which included almost all the children on the island – with emphasis on nautical skills.[23] Lucretia Coffin Mott (1793–1880) was a Quaker born on Nantucket, who became a prominent abolitionist and women’s rights activist. She helped write the Declaration of Sentiments during the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848, and will be included on the back of the U.S. $10 bill to be newly designed by 2020.

Some branches of the Coffin family were prominent in New England, grouped among the so-called Boston Brahmins.[24] For example, Elizabeth Coffin, daughter of a wealthy merchant from Nantucket, was mother of the prominent Massachusetts industrialists Henry Coffin Nevins and David Nevins Jr..

[25] Charles A. Coffin (1844–1926) born in Somerset, Massachusetts, became co-founder and first President of General Electric corporation.

[26] Some retained the family links to Nantucket after the whaling industry had collapsed and many people had left the island. In the eighth generation, Elizabeth Coffin (1850–1930), an artist, educator and Quaker philanthropist, was known for her paintings of Nantucket and for helping revive Sir Isaac Coffin’s school with a new emphasis on crafts.

[27] Among the ninth generation, Robert P. T. Coffin (1892–1955) was an American poet who won the Pulitzer Prize in 1936 for his book of collected poems called Strange Holiness.

Tristram Coffin Medal

THE MEDALS

After the original struck medals were produced in 1826, the medal was cast and recast for family reunions on Nantucket, perhaps even as late as the first few decades of the 20th century.In the year 1826, Sir Isaac Coffin, a native of Boston (who went to England in early life and became a Baronet, and an Admiral in the British Navy), visited Nantucket and founded the ‘Coffin School’, which is still flourishing.

The Act of Incorporation provides for the establishment of a school by the name of Admiral Sir Isaac Coffin’s Lancasterian School, for the purpose of promoting decency, good order and morality, and for giving a good English education to youth who are descendants of the late Tristram Coffin who emigrated from England” etc.  The act further provided that the Trustees shall all be the descendants of the above mention Tristram Coffin in the male or female line.

 

If you are interested in more history of the Starbuck, Macy, Coffin, Gardner line some great reads are

North American Family Histories

A genealogical History of Clark and Worth Families and other Puritain Settler in MA Bay Colony

Macy Genealogy

Life of Tristram Coffin

Netherlands Genealogy Online

Colonial Families of the USA

The Great Migration Begins

Encyclopedia of American Biographies

As Always thanks for stopping in. Hope you are enjoying our family history…and please leave a comment below! I love hearing from you!

THE PIERCE FAMILY HISTORIAN

happy hunting

.

Nantucket Island and our Quaker Ancestors

As discussed in my last post of our Quaker Ancestors…researching them has been made simple by the wonderful records that were kept, and stretching far back in our history we will find much written of their lives and travels. Following our lineage from the early days in the America’s can sometimes be confusing due to the many uses of like names and the tangling of our ancestors as they traveled together and intermarriage amongst each other. One will find that our lines cross over and over again down through the years.When trying to decipher the DNA matches you will find it difficult to find that common match due to the criss-cross in the lines. Our history from Nantucket Island and our Quaker Ancestors is proof of this for sure.

NANTUCKET ISLAND

In 1659 it is recorded of Thomas Mayhew that the land in Nantucket was sold to nine men namely

Tristen Coffin, Thomas Macy, Christopher Ilussey, Richard Swain, Thomas Bernard, Peter Coffin, Stephen Greeleaf, John Swain, and William Pike.

Still suffering persecution in Massachuttes Thomas Macy and Tristen Coffin, set out to find a place of peace among them. They purchased the land from William Mayhew for 30 pounds and two Beaver Hats, one for William, and one for his wife. Seeing the promise of their plans William Mayhew chose to become a partner in the land also, and bought in his share. By the deed recorded it is observed that a share of the island was retained by Thomas Mayhew and in this way he became one of the proprietors who are said in all histories of the place to have founded the settlement.

Among these men I will discuss in detail those of our direct ancestors in the next few post, though for years the families of these mentioned intermarried and we will find that . we are descended in one way or another by the 16 earliest settlers of the Nantucket area. Just as in researching those Quaker ancestors that migrated to the Sugar Grove, Virginia area it seems we have relations to almost all in the area. You will find that within the migration areas (Gilford, N Carolina, Kentucky, Indiana, Missouri, Iowa and on westward) there are so many times intermingled relationships. Down through the years and a crossed the United States they traveled in families and groups together and married within these groups.

Pay close attention to the names mentioned within the posts, as they will come to play amongst each other.

Until the nineteenth century when more new people begin to come to the island, the very close-knit community was almost all related in one way or another. It is hard to separate the relationships among the early settlers as they each come together at some point.

Among these were men of varied experience and marked executive ability. Men who embraced every opportunity for the advancement of the settlement, and the establishment of an interesting society upon the island.

THOMAS MACY

(EIGHT GREAT GRANDFATHER)

In the Parish of Chilmark, near the town of Salisbury, Wiltshire, England, Thomas Macy resided before his removal for America around 1635. We do not know the name of the ship that brought him to America but he arrived here no later than 1639. He was among the original settlers of the Salisbury, Massachusetts area and is in “The first or Original list of Englishmen of Salisbury” book of records.

It has been recorded that Thomas was “a merchant, a juryman, a preacher and one of the select men of the town. ”

Several people were prosecuted for violating the law of 1637 which prohibited entertaining Quakers. Among these was Thomas Macy, who was fined thirty shilling, and ordered an apology, and it was ordered he be admonished by the governor. It was recorded that he had sheltered Edward Warton, William Robinson, a merchant of London, and Marmaduke Stephenson, of Yorkshire, England. Of those the last two named were hanged in Boston the 27th of October in 1659.

His letter to the Court went like this:

“On a rainy morning there came to my house Edward Warton and three men more, the said Wharton spoke to me saying that they were traveling eastward and desired me to direct them in the way to Hampton, and asked me how far it was to Casco Bay, I never saw any of the men afore, except Wharton neither did I require their names, or who they were, but by their carriage I thought they might be Quakers and told them so, and therefore desired them to pass on their way, saying to them I might possibly give offense in entertaining them, and as soon as the violence of the rain ceased (for it rained very hard) they went away and I never saw them since. The time they stayed in the house was about three quarters of an hour, but I can safely affirm that it was not and hour.”

“They spake not many words in the time, neither was I at leisure to talk with them, for I came home wet to the skin, immediately afore they come to the house and I found my wife sick in bed. If this satisfy not the honored Court I shall be subject to their sentence. ”

“I have not willingly offended. I am ready to serve and obey you in the Lord.”

Thos. Macy

Thomas Macy was a Baptist, and on the Sabbath frequently exhorted (Exhort is a 15th-century coinage. It derives from the Latin verb hortari, meaning “to incite,” and it often implies the ardent urging or admonishing of an orator or preacher.) the people which was also in violation of the Massachusetts Law which prohibited all but the regularly ordained from service.

Tradition says that immediately after his sentence, Thomas Macy, left for Nantucket.

The Macy Genealogy relates that in 1659, Thomas embarked at Salisbury in a small boat with his wife and children and such household goods as he could conveniently carry, and in company with Isaac Coleman and Edward Starbuck, and set sail for Nantucket. ( James Coffin, son of Tristram is said to have accompanied him also).

Thomas basically, had had it with the authority over him, and could no longer submit to the ” tyranny of the clergy and those in authority.”

Having satisfied the requirement of the law, and paid his fine, he undoubtedly felt he could lead a more peaceful and independent life in Nantucket, and voluntarily exiled to the Island.

BEFORE HIS REMOVAL

Before his removal to Nantucket Thomas was commissioner, and representative to the General Court of Salisbury, and the citizens of that testified of their sympathy with him by electing his friend and defender, Robert Pike as his successor.

Apparently, according to records he returned to Salisbury and again at a later date removed to Nantucket which is evident from old records, in which it is found that on October 1, 1675, he was commission chief magistrate of the town.

Thomas was the first recorder appointed on the island, and a portion of the first Book of Records in the office at Nantucket was mostly written by him.

He died April 19, 1682, at the age of 74. His wife, Sarah Hopcott, who had accompanied him from Chilmark, survived for nearly a quarter of a century after.

 

Thanks for stopping by. If you have enjoyed this bit of history or are related in anyway please leave a comment in the box below.

Happy Hunting

The Pierce Family Historian

Our Quaker Ancestors

If you’ve been following the Pierce family history, you will by now have come to the realization that our Pierce Family were mostly Quakers that immigrated in the early days of our country. When researching the Pierce family you will find them among the records of the Quakers, or other wise known as the Religious Society of Friends, and also referred to as the Quaker Movement. It was founded in England in the 17th century by George Fox. He and other early Quakers, or Friends as they were called, were persecuted for their beliefs, which included the idea that the presence of God exists in every person. Quakers rejected elaborate religious ceremonies and didn’t have official clergy. They believed in spiritual equality for men and women. Quaker missionaries first arrived in America in the mid-1650s as did our first Pierce Ancestor, George Pierce. Quakers, who practice pacifism, played a key role in both the abolition and women’s rights movements.

George Fox
In the 1640s, George Fox, a reasonably young man left his home in the English Midlands and traveled around the country on a spiritual quest. It was a time of religious turmoil in England as well as other areas, with people seeking reform in the Church of England or starting their own  churches.

Over the course of his journey, as Fox met others searching for a more direct spiritual experience, he came to believe that the presence of God was found within people rather than in churches. He experienced what he referred to as “openings,” instances in which he felt God was talking directly to him.

Fox shared his beliefs with others and spoke to increasingly larger gatherings. Even though his views were viewed by some as a threat to society and he was jailed for blasphemy in 1650, Fox and other early Quakers continued to share their beliefs. In 1652, he met Margaret Fell, who went on to become another leader in the early Quaker movement. Her home was at Swarthmoor Hall in Northwest England and  served as a gathering place for many of the first Quakers. Fox and Fell married in 1667.

“Quaker” emerged as a nickname for Fox and others who shared his beliefs. The group eventually accepted the term, although their official name became Religious Society of Friends. Members are referred to as Friends or Quakers.

What Is a Quaker?
Quakerism continued to spread across Britain during the 1650s, and by 1660 there were around 50,000 Quakers, according to some estimates.

A number of Quaker beliefs were considered radical, such as the idea that women and men were spiritual equals, and women could speak out during worship. Quakers didn’t have official ministers or religious rituals. They opted not to use honorific titles such as “Your Lordship” and “My Lady.”

Based on their interpretation of the Bible, Quakers were pacifists and refused to take legal oaths. Central to their beliefs was the idea that everyone had the Light of Christ within them.

During the 1680s thousands of Quakers were persecuted and jailed. Fox spent much of the 1660s behind bars.

William Penn

RECORD KEEPERS

The basic unit in the organization of the Society of Friends is the Monthly Meeting, which receives, transfers and dismisses members, provides for the oversight of marriages and funerals, and deals with those who
depart from Friends’ principles and testimonies. The term Monthly Meeting may be applied either to the actual membership or to the monthly business sessions.

The Preparative Meeting is a constituent part of the Monthly Meeting and is subordinate to it. The Preparative Meeting holds business sessions to formulate recommendations to be acted upon by the Monthly Meeting. In the early periods of Quakerism, Monthly Meetings frequently included several congregations scattered over a large area, and the Preparative Meeting included one or more neighboring congregations.

Within these meetings some of the best records have been kept. Having a Quaker ancestor is a God send when researching your ancestors as you have access to some of the best records. George Fox established a rich system of record keeping.

Penn Quakers
Quaker missionaries arrived in North America in the mid-1650s.The first was Elizabeth Harris, who visited Virginia and Maryland. By the early 1660s, more than 50 other Quakers had followed Harris.

However, as they moved throughout the colonies, they continued to face persecution in certain places, such as Massachusetts, where four Quakers were executed.

In 1681, King Charles II gave William Penn, an English Quaker, a large land grant in America to pay off a debt owed to his family.  We know from previous research that our George Pierce purchased land from Penn. Penn, who had been jailed multiple times for his Quaker beliefs, went on to found Pennsylvania as a sanctuary for religious freedom and tolerance.

HUGH ROBERTS

Another of our ancestors, that being Hugh Roberts, (my 7th great grandfather) was among the 2nd Welsh party from Merionethshire, member of the Penllyn Month Meeting, who were purchasers of land in the “Thomas and Jones Tract,” This party is known as the “Hugh Robert’s party”, that came over in the ship Morning Star, of Chester. Thomas Hayes (of our Hayes line??? I’m not yet sure) was the master of the ship, sailing from Mosson, in September of 1683. The voyage took two months, and was described as uneventful with the exception of several burials at sea. They arrived in the Delaware, and at Philadelphia in the mid part of November.

The passenger list was large, outside of the Roberts’ party, in which there were 50 or more persons including servants, Welshmen and their families coming over to settle somewhere in the great Welsh Tract. “Divers of those early Welsh settlers were persons of excellent and worthy character, and several of good education, family, and estate.” as they were descriptively  noted by Proud.

Some noted names in this party were :

Hugh Roberts, Edward Owen, William John, Gainor Roberts (sister of Hugh) Cadwalader Morgan, Hugh John, and Katherin Thomas.

Hugh Roberts of Kiltalgarth, yoeman (meaning freeman), headed the second party of settler’s from Merionethshire bound for the Thomas and Jones tract. In his immediate party, were is mother, his wife, his sister, Gainor Roberts, five children, and four servants.

Hugh was a man of education and an eminent minister among Friends, whom he joined in 1666, and described as a a “pleasant writer”.  Not much is known of his ancestry, except that he was the son of Robert Hugh (eight great grandfather), Or “Robert Pugh, gent” of Llyndedwydd, a leased farm, near Bala, and the Lake, in Penllyn, Merioneth, by his wife Katherine Roberts  (eight great grandmother), who being a widow at the time of the removal, came with her son to Pennsylvania, and is buried at the Merion Meeting, in 1699. Katherine was the daughter of William Owen (9th great grandfather), of Llanvawr parish, in Penllyn where Hugh Roberts lived before he set out for America.

Hugh Roberts, being so prominent and a minister of Friends’, in North Wales, suffered fines, annoyances, and imprisonment. He brought a certificate of membership, for his wife and family as well as for himself from the Men’s Meeting in Penllyn, Merioneth, dated 2 5mo 1688.

Hugh soon became well known in America as a travelling public minister, and in 1688 and 1697 and 98 he made missionary visits to North Wales. On his last trip, he kept and interest journal of his travels, beginning on Feb 15 1697. This trip took him to England and Wales by the way of Maryland and Virginia.

This journal is printed in full in the periodical of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania and begins like this:

“In the year 1697 the 15th of ye mo. I set out from home to visit Friends in England and Wales, Samuel Carpenter and John Ascue accompanying me to Maryland.”

He held meetings along the way and in Maryland visited Mordecai Moor, Samuel Galloway, David Rawlins, and the widow Blackstone, “who was no Friend.”  From her home, where he stayed for two days, he went to the Rapahannock river, alone he walked through the woods to “one Captain Taylor, who was very kind to me.” From there he he traveled “to a friend, George Wilson, a place where I had been before.”

“Here I had a very open Meeting amongst ye people of ye world.”

From there we went on to New Kent county, “Where there is a meeting of Friends,” and the next day to a Monthly Meeting at Curles on James river, “met dear James Dickinson,” “and I went to Edward Thomas at James river, Charles Fleming coming along with me” and attended a Quarterly Meeting at Tenbigh. Then he visited Alexander Llewellyn.

“We traveled that same day 46 miles, besides keeping ye Meeting, and it was not hard for us to do because ye Melting love and power of God was set over all.” 

From this Welsh settlement Hugh went over the James river to Walter Bartlet’s, “and so on the Sevenech, where I had a good meeting at ye Meeting house.”

He visited the homes of Henry Wiges, William Cook, Richard Ratcliff, Daniel Sanburn, and John Coopland, and held a Meeting at Chuckatuck.

He also went to the homes of William Scott, Leven Buffstin, Elizabeth Gallowell, and Elizabeth Hollowell, having Meetings in each house.

“From thence on board ye ship, which was to ye mouth of James river, where ye Fleet met, we stayed on board 15 days before we sailed, and had several Meeting from ship to ship, and upon ye 7th day of ye 3d month we sailed.”

Hugh next saw land on 17 of July and arrived at Plymouth on the 22.

Once again on land Hugh continued his travels in England and at Bristol, “we met our dear friend William Penn, and were not a little glad to see one another.”

Entering Wales, he visited several Meetings, one at “Trefrug, where John Bevan liveth, and glad we were to meet one another.”

Together with his friend they made the rounds of many Meetings, at James Lewis’s Rediston; at Own Bowen’s, near Carmarthin ; at James Preece’s, City Boom.

In Radnorshire he visited Roger Hughes: From North Wales he traveled to many places in South Wales visiting friends Edward Jones, David Powel, and Thomas Gooin near Liwyn-du. “Penllyn where I was born and bred,” and there he visited Lewis Owen, near Dollegelly, then to Bala, and old friend, Robert Vaughn, and then made another trek through Wales.

GATHERING OF THE LAND 

Upon his return he brought with him a large party of people from Merioneth, and North Wales, Many died at sea. He arrived at Philadelphia and settled the surviving emigrants, some in Merion, and others at Gwynedd, which he is considered the founder.

The Pennsylvania land record of his day show that he was a land speculator as well as a minister, to the day of his death. He bought and sold many parcels of land during his years. At one time he had total 1349 3/4 acres in Merion, and tracts of land in the townships of Duffryn Mawr, and Goshen, on Ridley Creek.

It has been said that Hugh Roberts died at the house of John Redman, in Long Island, New York, while on a visit in August 1702 and that his remains were brought over from Long Island and buried at the Merion Meeting House “after a large meeting was held.”

A letter from Judge Isaac Norris to Jonathan Dickinson provides evidence that it is probable that he actually died at home in Merion. The entry in the  Merion Meeting minutes is “Hugh Roberts departed this life 6m 18 1702.” (Aug 18 1702)

In his will  proved 7 December 1702 he names his children, and distributed about 1200 acres in Merion, and 1100 acres in Goshen township, a meadow called “Clean John”. He bequeathed 5 lbs to the Merion Meeting. He mentions his servants, Morris Robert, and John Robert, and boys, Griffth and Morris.  His trustees were John Roberts, Cadwalader Morgan, Griffith Jon, and Griffith Owen.  Witnesses: Samuel Bowne, Griffith Owen, and Samuel Jennings.

Hugh Roberts married twice. His first wife, Jane Owen daughter of Owen Even Robert Lewis, off Fron Goch, in Merioneth. She was the sister of Robert Owen, Of Merion and she came to Merion with him and brought the certificate mentioned above. Jane died September 1, 1686, and was buried at the Merion Meeting House.

His second wife, Elizabeth John or Jones, (some changed the name John to Jones after the move), he married at the Llwyn-y- Braner Meeting in Penllyn, Merionethshire, when on a visit.

Hugh and Jane had six children. Jane was of Royal Descent, and assumed the surname Roberts.

  1. Robert Roberts (my 6th great grandfather) was born 7 Jan 1678
  2. Ellin Roberts born 4 Dec 1675
  3. Owen Roberts born 1 Dec 1677
  4. Edward Roberts born 4 Apr 1680
  5. William Roberts born 26 May
  6.  Elizabeth Robert born 24 Feb 1683

 

Within just a few years, several thousand Friends had moved to Pennsylvania from Britain.

Quakers were heavily involved in Pennsylvania’s new government and held positions of power in the first half of the 18th century, before deciding their political participation was forcing them to compromise some of their beliefs, including pacifism.

KATHERINE ROBERTS

Katherine Roberts, of Llaethgwn, widow, and her daughter, Gaynor (several spellings are found) Roberts, of Kiltalgarth, spinster, both brought Certificates, dated 18, 5mo, 1683 (the 5th mo being July), from the Men’s and Women’s Meeting, Penllyn, and signed by the same Friends, Robert, Ellin, and Jane Owen, Richard Price, Evan Rees, Reece Evan, Elizabeth William, Elizabeth John, Gainor John, Hugh and Edward Griffith, Cadwalader Ellis, Thomas Prichard, William Morgan, Roger Roberts, David, John, Margaret John, Margaret David, and Margaret Cadwalader.

Quaker Beliefs
The Quakers took up the cause of protecting Native Americans’ rights. They also were early abolitionists. In 1758, Quakers in Philadelphia were ordered to stop buying and selling slaves. By the 1780s, all Quakers were barred from owning slaves.

There are several sources for Quaker records. The best-known source is probably William Wade Hinshaw’s Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy. This six-volume work, available on CD-ROM from Genealogical Publishing Co., contains the most complete genealogical data on the Friends.In addition, there are several free online sources for researching your Quaker ancestry. The most comprehensive is The Quaker Corner. Prepare to spend hours exploring this site, which includes links to articles about Quaker history, lookups and archives.

Thanks for showing up! As always if you have any other information you would like to share please do so in the comments below!

Happy Hunting

The Pierce Family Historian

 

 

 

Lonnie John Pierce: From Farm to City

Lonnie John Pierce 

BIRTH 5 JUN 1878  Rockport, Atchison, Missouri

DEATH 2 APR 1963  Squirrell Hill, Pennsylvania

Lonnie John Pierce was born on a steamy day in the hills of Missouri five miles south and east of Rockport, Acthison County, Missouri, to the parents John Franklin and Alice Roena (Johnson) Pierce, the 5th day of June in the year 1878.  He was the second son in a family of eight children.

He grew up on the farm of his parents during a time when life was prosperous for his family. His father being one of the first settlers in the area and a pioneer who homesteaded the land and cleared and improved the farm in which he was proud to call his home.

The family was born of hard work and yet were given all the conveniences of the times.  He attended the country schools of the county and when of age attended the University of Missouri at Columbia. The Pierce family was a promoter of education. It is said of Lonnie’s Grandfather, Samuel Hayes, that if there were no school, he  would build one or hire a teacher himself rather than let his children go without instruction.

Upon graduation from college, Lonnie left the farm and became employed at the  Glass Co.  in Pennsylvania. What took him there I do not know, but I do know many of the Pierce’s remained in the east, and perhaps he had family connections there.  He became the chief engineer of the American Window and Glass company at Pittsburgh, and participated in the development of the cylinder glass processes for drawing window glass. 

Machine drawn cylinder sheet was the first mechanical method for “drawing” window glass. Cylinders of glass 40 feet (12 m) high are drawn vertically from a circular tank. The glass is then annealed and cut into 7 to 10 foot (2 to 3 m) cylinders. These are cut length ways, reheated, and flattened.

This process was invented in the USA in 1903, and this type of glass was manufactured in the early 20th century. He retired from this profession in 1948.

In 1921 Lonnie married the daughter of PF Hughes, Catherine, at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The couple made their final home at 66949 Wood Well St, Squirrel Hill, Pennsylvania. To the union was born two daughters, Barbara Mai and Sara (Sally) Pierce. 

Lonnie left this world on April 2, 1963 at his home leaving behind his wife and two daughters. Catherine died August 19, 1980 in Pennsylvania. They are buried at the Homewood Cemetery in Pittsburgh near their lifetime home.

At the time of his death only his sister, Charlotta Raubach  survived.

Barbara, born 14 Dec 1929, became the wife of Doctor Barrett Cabbage Walker,the son of Thomas and Clara Walker,  and they had two sons, Barrett Pierce Walker, and Phillip S. Walker.

Barrett married Margaret Carlson and they had a son and a daughter, Kiara and Evan.

Barbara and Dr. Barrett Walker we later divorced and he remarried Catherine McDonough.  Barbara died 5 Jan 1910.

Barbara Pierce
Sara Ann Pierce

Sarah Ann never married and died July 15, 1996.

 

Barrett P Walker

 

 

Catherine and Sara (Sally) Pierce
Lonnie with great nephew Billy Raubach
Barbara Walker

 

 

“no copyright infringement is intended”

Charles Samuel Pierce: Son of a Pioneer

Charles Samuel Pierce

1876- 1938

Charles Samuel Pierce was born on the farm near Rockport in Atchison County Missouri to John Franklin  and Alice Roena Johnson Pierce, February 22, 1874.

The son of a prosperous farmer and Missouri pioneer, he learned at an early age the importance of hard work. Growing up in the 1880s was a time when many pioneers were migrating to the Missouri territory. His father being among the first in the Rockport area.

His parents strongly beleived that schooling was an important aspect of his upbringing and he attended the gradeschools of the county and later became a student at the Stanberry Normal School, near St. Joseph, Missouri.

A normal school is the historical term for an institution created to train high school graduates to be teachers by educating them in the norms of pedagogy, (the method and practice of teaching, especially as an academic subject or theoretical concept) and curriculum. Most such schools, where they still exist, are now denominated “teacher-training colleges” or “teachers’ colleges”.Stanberry Normal SchoolStanberry Normal School

Stanberry Normal was founded by Professor Charles Morris in 1881.  In its almost 25 years of existence, it became the largest school in Northwest Missouri.  In The State of Missouri  Walter Williams lists an enrollment of 250 in 1904, but History of Daviess and Gentry Counties says that at times enrollment approached 500.  While the Topeka Tribune describes SNBC as “a school for Farmers’ sons and daughters,” it drew students from 27 states, territories and foreign countries.  It is quite evident that at the time that Charles attended most of the Missouri territory was made up of farmers.

Advertising itself as the “oldest independent normal school in Missouri,” it also saw itself as “the best commercial and shorthand college west of the Alleghenies.”  Other departments included music, fine arts, and elocution (the skill of clear and expressive speech), especially of distinct pronunciation and articulation.  Ads stated that students could enter at any time and select their own course of studies.  As a school for “Young Ladies and Gentlemen  of small means,” it advertised room, board and tuition for only $134 per year in  1902.That small amount at the time time was not something that came so easily to the farmer. To be able to send a child to college then was something only the elite were able to afford.

Commencement was a week-long affair beginning with a baccalaureate sermon on Sunday.  Business, Normal, and Scientific students graduated on different nights, with each student giving an oration.  One night was given to the annual musical program and another to the alumni banquet.

BACK TO THE FARM

Charles following in the footsteps of his father went into the business of farming from the time he reached his adulthood,  living in the vicinity of his birth throughout his life.

He was the eldest of a family of eight children.

He married Amma Ruth Bartholomew on the 29th of January 1902. Amma was the daughter of Samuel Dawson and Angeline (Adams) Bartholmew.

Charles and Amma became the parents of their only child Donald Wayne Pierce, 31 JAN 1909. He too, was born and raised on the farm south of Rockport.

Charles suffered a stroke which left him almost helpless for some time before he died at his home on August 3rd, 1938.

It is said that he was a man who attended strictly to his own affairs. He took no particularly active part in public affairs but looked after his home and farm. Living there, as he did, all the days of his life, he was well known to everyone in the community, who respected him and looked upon him as a good neighbor.

Amma followed him in death barely six months later the 9th of April, 1939. They are buried together in the family plot at the Hunter Cemetery south of Rockport, Missouri.

Donald Wayne, served in the Sea Bees during World War II and played part in construction of the Navy airport in Guam. He enlisted on the 1st of May 1942 and was discharged 22 Dec, 1944. Donald was a truck driver by trade.

He married Dorothy Elizabeth Miller, daughter of Edward and Elizabeth (Gerking) Miller, 12 Oct, 1945, and they settled in the Omaha, Nebraska area. They had two children, Donna Louise (2 Aug 1946) and Donald Keith Pierce (1950).

Dorothy died of luekemia 9 Nov 1957, leaving Donald to raise two young children. His son Donald remembers being sent off to his Great Aunt Lottie’s in Valentine, Nebraska for visits, and he also remembers going to his Dad’s cousin Johnny Pierce”s as he had sons his age. He mostly recalls Johnny’s son Dennis as they were to closest in age.

 

Donald then married Marion Jane Green, 10 Oct 1958. Marion was the daughter of  Otto and Albertine Green.

 

As always thanks for stopping in. I do hope if you have any memories or stories to share that you will do so in the comments below.

Happy Hunting!

The Pierce Family Historian

George Peirce: America’s Founding Father’s

GEORGE PEARCE

My Pierce family lineage in America begins with George Pierce my seventh great grandfather (Pearce as the name appears to have been written by him) who was born in Winscombe, Somerset, England in February 1654, son of George Gilbert Pierce and Margaret Pierce.

There is no doubt that George was among America’s founding father’s of this great nation when you look at the history and see how many thousands of people connect through this line to him and his wife Ann.  What a remarkable heritage he has given us.

George first married Ann Gainer (Gayner), a native of Thornbury, in the county of Gloucester, England, at a Quaker Meeting.  Ann was the daughter of William and Ann (Jones) Gayner.  Ann was born about 1663, at Oldbury on Sever, Thornbury, Gloucestershire, England. They were married the 1st day of February, 1679. (date prior to the Georgian calendar).

George and Ann emigrated with their three small children from Bristol, the seaport nearest his residence, in 1684, and had a tract of 490 acres of land surveyed for him in what is now Thornbury Township prior to leaving England.

George was one of the earliest and most influential inhabitants of this township named in memory of the Thornbury district of the country from which his wife Ann was born and raised.  It was a desire on his part to keep up the associations most dear to him.  From all the research I have found he appeared to have great affection for his wife and his family.

Thornbury township, Chester County was organized in 1687 by the appointment of Hugh Durborrow as constable, when not more than five or six families had settled within its limits.  It was surveyed in right of the first purchasers. This township along with Birmingham and Westtown, were the only townships within the limits of Chester County which were organized before 1704. Prior to its founding, the Delaware Indians traveled the beautiful rolling landscape. Both branches of Chester Creek wind through Thornbury and flow to join the Delaware river. The Battle of Brandywine during the Revolutionary War was partially fought in Thornbury Township and George Pearce was most likely among the Militia. It was one of Thornbury’s citizens, Squire Thomas Cheyney, who informed Washington of the approach of the British.

ARRIVAL IN AMERICA

George arrived at Philadelphia prior to Nov 4, 1684 (this being the calendar prior to the use of the Georgian Calendar,  then Feb. being the twelfth month), , which that day he presented two certificates to a meeting of Friends (Quaker) held at the Governor’s house.  One of these certificates was from the Monthly meeting at Frenshay, in the County of Gloucester. The other was from the Thornbury Meeting.

It is believed that he settled on his newly purchased land in 1865, but his name first appears as an active member of Chichester Friends Meeting in 1686. Shortly after which meetings were sometimes held at his house. He obtained a patent for this land September 22, 1685 and settled just two miles down the road from William Brinton of two of his daughters married his sons .

George was strict in his attention to his religious duties. He gave a share of his time to civil affairs and was dutiful to the improvement of the country.  He was amongst the first to be appointed an overseer in the meeting and afterwards became an elder. He represented Chester County in the Provincial Assembly in 1706 and was released of this duty in 1722 “by reason of his age and he being thick of hearing” per his request. This is documented in the records of the Meetings.

CHESTER COUNTY PA

Concord Township, Pennsylvania was formed in 1683. Originally located in Chester County, the township became part of Delaware County when Chester County was partitioned in 1789. “Concord Township encompasses four villages [Concordville, Elam, Markham and Ward] whose past tells the story of Pennsylvania and early America’s development. Located at a vital transportation hub, the Township’s development has always reflected major national and regional economic and demographic trends.”

“Modern Concordville occupies the junction of two of the earliest public roads in the English colonies: Baltimore Pike or U.S. Route One, and Concord Road, laid out by William Penn’s surveyors. The original path of Baltimore Pike lay roughly along the driveway that separates today’s Concord Friends’ Meeting house from “the Grange” building . The buildings on Concord Road at the intersection of Thornton Road and the Friend’s driveway constitute the Concordville National Register Historic District. Many of these buildings qualify for inclusion on the National Register.

“Elam, on Smithbridge Road at Route 202, the next north-south road, and the link between the Lower Counties (Delaware) and the western Pa. counties was home to a thriving tavern and inn industry as early as the mid-18th century.”

“The village of Markham, named for the first governor of the colony of Pennsylvania (where the Friends meetings were held and George attended), lies in the valley of the West Branch of Chester Creek where the present Cheyney Road crosses Baltimore Pike. The village encompasses the Newlin Mill Historic District (Newlin Mill and its buildings, Markham Railroad Station and Post Office, and the William Trimble House and property (of more I will elaborate later), including the only operating Colonial mill remaining open to the public in the United States.”

“Ward covers the old Concord Creek Bridge (also called Ward Run) at Concord Road, near the intersections of Creamery Road, Station Road and Spring Valley. The earliest Pennsylvania mushroom farms and canneries were established there, near the mill complex on Concord Road, and the product called “Philadelphia Brand Cream Cheese” was first produced at the dairy on Creamery Road.”

“Concord Township was also the site of the Willcox (family) Ivy Mills, one of the most significant paper mills in the country that produced the paper used for the first currency printed by the Continental Congress. The family mansion also served as the beginnings of St. Thomas the Apostle Parish (est. 1729), the oldest parish in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.”

(Bibliography: Quoted text from Concord Township Historic Commission. “The Four Villages of Concord.”)

George was one of a company who erected “the Concord Mill”, the first mill erected in his neighborhood, and he acquired  more land. George Peirce did well in America. He was a faithful Friend, a member of the Assembly, a founder of a school at Thornbury, and he owned a good share of the Concord Mill. He tried to do well by all his children. When William Penn came over in 1699(?) George bought 400 acres beyond the Brandywine and divided it between his son Joshua and his daughter, Betty Peirce Caldwell and her husband Vincent Caldwell at the time of his death.

 

THE PIERCE GARDENS

Joshua (my 6th great grandfather) built a log cabin on his part and raised a family. In 1722 he married his second wife, Rachel Gilpin (my sixth great grandmother) 15 Feb 1696- 20 May 1776, daughter of Joseph, who had been born in a cave. In 1730 they built this fine red brick house, at least the western part, with their initials and the date up under the ridge.

Joshua died in 1752, leaving the property to all his children, but the home place went to Caleb, Rachel’s third son, on condition that he permit his mother to “Possess and Enjoy the Chamber above stairs and likewise below, and one Sellar in the west end of my Present Dwelling House. Caleb was “to fetch and carry as much firewood (fit for the Chimney) as his said Mother will burn in moderation.” She was also to have the use of a mare and a cow. There is good inventory of all the furniture in the house but the only books mentioned are the bible and Sewell’s History of Friends. (from  Joshua’s will).

JOSHUA PEIRCE’S HOME, NOW LONGWOOD GARDENS

Caleb soon afterwards married Hannah Greave, a descendant of Dr. Thomas Wynne, who had come over from Wales with William Penn. Among Caleb and Hannah’s children were the twins, Joshua and Samuel, who began bringing fine trees and shrubs here about 1800, planting them around the house. They made the grounds as fine as Mount Vernon or Monticello. They were probably influenced by Humphry Marshall, who lived some miles up the Brandywine.

Many generations of the Peirce family lived here until 1906. It was bought by the late Pierre du Pont in 1915. Finding the old house as steady as a rock, he built a modern counterpart in the back. Always interested in the Peirce’s, he carried on Joshua’s and Samuel’s original interest, and added the gardens, the conservatory and the fountains which are now world famous. He left it all to the Longwood Foundation, so that the place might be enjoyed forever.

George and Ann Gaynor were the parents to ten children.

1. Betty Pierce,   b. 18 Nov 1680, Thornbury Township, Chester, Pennsylvania d. 27 Oct 1757. Betty married Vincent Caldwell

2. George Pierce,   b. 23 Apr 1682, Thornbury Township, Chester, Pennsylvania   d. 1690

3. Joshua Pierce,   b. 5 Mar 1684, Thornbury Township, Chester, Pennsylvania   d. 15 Sep 1752, Kennett Mm, Chester, Pennsylvania. Joshua married Ann Mercer in 1713, and second, Rachel Gilpin, 1722. They were settled in Marlborough, Chester County, and had nine children,  among those were those who planted the well known Aboretum.  Their son George Joshua Pierce is my 5th great grandfather

4. Ann Gainor Pierce,   b. 8 June 1686, Thornbury Township, Chester,  d. 1753, East Caln, Chester, Pennsylvania

Ann married James Gibbons and they settled in Westtown on 600 acres of land, which through his son James, JR., and grandson, also James, was sold about 1708 to Friends for the establishment of the well known Westown Friends Boarding School.

5. Margaret Pierce,   b. 11 July 1689, Thornbury Township, Chester, Pennsylvania  d. 1689

6. Mary Pierce,   b. 25 Dec 1690, Thornbury Township, Chester, Pennsylvania   d. Aft 1766, Birmingham Township, Chester, she married Joseph Brinton (son of the afore mentioned William Brinton neighbor of Geroge)

7. Caleb Pierce,   b. 21 Feb 1692, Thornbury Township, Chester, Pennsylvania   d. 22 Jan 1779, Thornbury Township, Chester, Pennsylvania. Cableb married Mary Walter, Apr 15 1724, daughter of Goodwin and Elizabeth (Sanguist) Walter, emmigrants. Mary was born Jan 5 1698 and died Dec 1753. They resided on a portion of the ancestral acres, where he died Mar 22, 1770

8. Gainer Pierce,   b. 1 Apr 1695, Thornbury Township, Chester, Pennsylvania d. 1746 Gainer married Sarah Walter.

9. Hannah Pierce,   b. 21 Apr 1696, Thornbury Township, Chester, Pennsylvania  d. 1753, East Caln, Chester, Pennsylvania. Hannah married Edward Brinton (son of William)

10. John Pierce,   b. 15 Feb 1704, Thornbury Township, Chester, died in his minority.

GEORGE REMARRIES

Ann died 1725 in Thornbury Township, Chester County PA.

After her death George again married widow Ann Webb. From his will it appears that he had great affection for her. They moved then to East Marlborough, Chester, Pennsylvania. This is the land which included the Pierces Park, or “Evergreen Glade”, as it was named by the owner. This is the property in which George conveyed to his son Joshua in 1725, who willed to his son Caleb in 1752, and this is where Samuel and Joshua, established the botanical garden Aboretum. They were succeed by the late George W Peirce, son of Joshua and grandson of George.

The land that was willed to George’s daughter Betty and her husband Vincent Caldwell,consisted of 200 acres adjoining. After their deaths it was purchased by Caleb Peirce in 1758 and then became possession of his great grandchildren of the Cox family. Longwood meeting house and cemetery are situated on a part of it.

George died 19 Jan 1733 in East Marlborough, Chester, Pennsylvania. Below is a copy of his will. I tried to type it as it was written.

THE WILL OF GEORGE PEARCE

Pennsylvaina, Wills and Probate Records

Chester Will Books A-C, Vol, 1-3,1713-1755

 George Pierce

  • Be it Remembered that I George Pierce of the Township of East Marlborough in the County of Chester in the province of Pensilvania yoman being weak of body but of sound and disposing mind and memory Blessed be the Lord for the same do make this my last will and Testament in maner and form following that is to say first and principally I committ my soul into the hands of my Blessed Saviour and Redeemer Jesus Christ and my Body I Committ to the earth to be buried in a Christian and decent manner by my exe. herein after named and as to the disposing of such temporall estate which it hath pleased God to bestow upon me I do give devise and dispose there of in manner following that is to say IMP my will is that all my just debts and funerall expense be paid as soon as may be after my decease. Item I give and bequeath unto my loving wife Ann Pierce the sum of one hundred pounds lawfull money of this province to be paid to her within one year next after my decease together with all the goods of what kind soever she brought with her at my intermarriage with her as also all the rents and arrearages of rents ariseing off and from any interest rights or claims belonging to the said Ann before my intermarriage (by either of her former husbands with all the property belonging to her of what nature or kind soever. ITEM: I  give and bequeath unto my son Joshua Pierce the sum of fifty pounds, forty whereof is due to me I order to be acquited and discharged and that the remaining sum of ten pounds to compleat the afores sum of fifty to be paid unto him within one year after my decease as also to him  and Joshua Pierce his heirs and assign one full and compleat third part of any share and interest in the ground and will and all the utensills there unto belonging in Concord called the society mill to him his heirs and assigns forever. Item: I give to my son Caleb Pierce his heirs and assigns forever one other equall and third part of my share and interest in the ground and will and all the utensills thereunto belonging in Concord Called the society mill to him his heirs and assigns forever. Item: I give to my son Gainer Pierce his heirs and assigns the full and compleat remaining one third part of my share and Interest in the ground and mill and utensils thereunto belonging in Concord Called the society mill to him his heirs and assigns forever as also my part and share in Thornbury Schoolhouse with the Land thereunto belonging to him his heirs and assigns forever. I likewise give unto my sons Joshua, Caleb, and Gayner all my wearing apparell both Linnen and woolen to be equally divided between them. Item: I give unto my daughter Betty Caldwell the sum of fifty pounds to be paid to her within one year after my decease. Item: I give unto my daughter Ann Gibbons the sum of thirty pounds to be paid to her within one year after my decease. Item: I give to my daughter Mary the wife of Joseph Brinton the sum of fifty pounds to be paid to her within one year after my decease. Item: I give unto my daughter Hannah the wife of Edward Brinton the sum of Fifty pounds to be paid to her within one year after my decease. Item: I give unto my grandson George Pierce the son of Gainer Pierce the sum of Fifty pounds to be paid to him with it’s lawful interest from one year after my decease when he shall arrive to the age of twenty one years and if my grandson George dye before he arrive to the age afore that then the said sum of fifty pounds with the interest thereon arising be paid to his four sister to witt  Elizabeth, Ann, Sarah and Susanna or so many of them as is then living to attain the age of eighteen years. I also give all my books to be equally divided between my seven children and that all my household good be equally divided between my four daughter to wit Betty, Ann, Mary, and Hannah within one year after my decease and I give all the rest and residue of my estate of what nature or kind soever to be equally divided between my grand children to be paid to them that are arrived to the age of eighteen years within one year after my decease and those of my grand children not arrived to the age of eighteen years that their share and dividend of the surplusage of my estate (after all my just debts and legacies be fully paid) shall be put out to interest for the use and benefitt of them and shall in like manner be paid unto them at the age aforesaid with the lawfull interest thereon arising from one year after my decease and if any of my grand children dye before the age of eighteen then I order that the survivors under the age aforsaid shall enjoy and equall dividend of the share of him or her so dying notwithstanding all my former dispositions I only give out of the same my block and case together with my steel mault mill to my son Gainer during his life and then to decend to his son George and in case of his death to his four sisters or so many of them as is then living. Lastly I constitute nominate and appoint my dear and loving wife Ann Pierce exectrix and my two sons Joshua and Caleb Pierce Executors of my last will and testament hereby revoking all other will and wills by me made Declaring this and no other to be my Last will and Testament. In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this nineteenth day of January in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and thirty three-four.

George Pierce

 

 

Sources

Chester County, Pennsylvania Wills, 1713-1825

Colonial Families of the USA, 1607-1775

Family Data Collection – Individual Records

  •  North America, Family Histories, 1500-2000
  •  Pennsylvania, Tax and Exoneration, 1768-1801
  • U.S. and International Marriage Records, 1560-1900
  • U.S. and International Marriage Records, 1560-1900
  • U.S. Census Reconstructed Records, 1660-1820
  • U.S., Quaker Meeting Records, 1681-1935

Thanks for taking the time to share my journey. I hope you enjoyed it! If ya did…please leave me a message in the comments below!

 

Happy Hunting!

The Pierce Family Historian

Susan Holmes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

John Franklin Pierce An Early Pioneer Settler

John Franklin Pierce was born January 1, 1843, at Sugar Grove, Smith county, Virginia. He was the eldest son of  Alexander and Nancy K (Shaver) Pierce, pioneer settlers of Rye Valley, VA.

1840 to 1860 was a time of prosperity for Smyth Co. VA. Smyth County is a land of rivers and valleys. These river bottom areas provided rich soil deposits that make Smyth County a historically significant agricultural area.  The names of the valleys reflect the agricultural use of the county. Rich Valley to the north is so named for it’s rich soil and the Rye Valley to the south is named for the abundant rye grasses found growing there.  Plainly stated “the oldest and most important industry of Smyth County is farming and grazing”, of which John’s upbringing was clearly engrained.

Agriculturally, Smyth County was established more as family farms than as part of the plantation system prominent in other parts of Virginia. Smyth Country was outside the limits of the “major tobacco producing district” in Virginia. This would account for the relatively low slave population of the 1860 census. Tobacco was grown before the establishment of the County but declined after the creation of Smyth.

 

 

EDUCATION

Education in this frontier was the private responsibility of the family. The wealthier families usually employed private tutors thus John’s early education was received from private instruction by tutors who were employed by the planters of the Valley.

THE CIVIL WAR

John’s school days were limited, owing to the breaking out of the Civil War. Every boy large enough to carry a musket was armed in defense of the Old Dominion. and he enlisted in the Home Guards of Virginia.

The Home Guard was any of several loosely organized militias in various states that were under the direction and authority of the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War.

Confederate Home Guard units worked in coordination with the Confederate Army, and were tasked with both the defense of the Confederate home front during the American Civil War, as well as to help track down and capture Confederate Army deserters. The Home Guard was a type of militia for the Confederacy. It had a rank structure and did have certain regulations, whether those were enforced or not.

Home Guard units were, essentially, to be a last defense against any invading Union forces. They also were used at times to gather information about invading Union forces troop movements, as well as to identify and control any local civilians who were considered sympathetic to the Union cause. They received no military training, and although they could be drafted into the Confederate service if need be, there are only a few cases in which that happened. The Home Guard was recognized as a type of service to the Confederacy. It was often made up of older planters or others exempted from front line service. What John’s reason for exemption was can only be queried as the true reason is not known. My belief is that it could have been due to his religious beliefs as the Pierce family was mostly Quaker.

The Home Guard of Rye Valley was established in December of 1860 to patrorl and keep order in the county.  Various volunteer companies immediately began to form, including the “Smyth Blues” from Marion, the “Smyth Greys” from Rich Valley, “Jackson’s Old Division” from Seven Mile Ford, and the “Smyth Dragoons” from Marion to name a few. At this point is only my guess that John was in the “Jackson’s Old Division”.

Smyth County became and important strategic point during the war because the saltworks were the primary source of salt supply open to the Confederate Army. Salt production was carefully rationed and each state in the Confederacy had it’s own furnace.

AFTER THE WAR

At the close of the war John went west to Illinois and was engaged in handling live stock for an English syndicate. In the 1870 Census John’s address is listed to be Cartwright, Sangamon, Illinois shortly after he was transferred to Missouri, where he built up a ranch system for his company, but, owing to the rapid settling up of the country, the ranches were sold to settlers and he moved to Clay, Atchison county, Missouri where he completed his energetic and useful life. Many acres of land he reclaimed from the wilderness and his was the hand that hewed, and broke and planted to crops much of the fertile soil he owned. He was a pioneer whose sword was beaten to a plow- share and who aided and witnessed the marvelous up-building of his commonwealth since the war between the States.

As a general farmer and stock-man he succeeded well, for he had ambition, energy and boundless industry, added to good judgment and perseverance. His broad acres, spacious farm buildings, number of farm conveniences and prosperous condition all bespeak a man of no mean ability.

John Franklin Pierce Family about 1882

He reared a large family giving them many advantages. Every comfort and convenience that could be procured was obtained for the happiness of his wife Alice. He was married, January 18, 1874, at Rockport, Missouri to Miss Alice Roena Johnson the only daughter of Daniel and Sarah (Hays) Johnson. To this union were born five sons and three daughters namely: Chas. S: Lon J., of Pittsburg, Pa; Mrs. Geneva A. Vogel of Valentine, Neb.; Venus V., Zane F., Reno M., Mrs. Charlotte M Raubach, of Valentine, Neb., and Sallie D.

John was among  those sterling men who came west in an early day, virile and strong in mind and body, and built up the country by developing its God-given resource-a direct opposite of so many young men of today, full of schemes for easy living, regardless of their work in the world.

In character he was kind, sympathetic and nearly always cheerful, with and honor that was unimpeachable. Truly, his greatest legacy to his children was what he was and not what he possessed.

At the time of his death he was the grandfather to two grandchildren – Donald W. Pierce and Iva Mae Vogel. Several more were to follow namely: Barbara Mai, and Sara Ann Pierce, Venus John, Clifford Wayne, Cecil Lon, and Jaunita “Carol” Marie Pierce, Thelma Maxine and Reno Eugene, Pierce, Pierce Raubach, Charles, Harold, and Alice Buell.

The Family and Friends of John F. Pierce were shocked to learn of his sudden passing away on the afternoon of August 11, 1910. He had been sick only a few hours for this reason the flow fell heavily upon them.

Elder D.M. Philippi conducted the funeral  services and interment at the  Hunter cemetery south of Rockport, Missouri.

 

If you are a relative or just have more information on John Franklin Pierce to add to this post please leave me a comment in the comment section below.

Happy Hunting!

The Pierce Family Historian

 

RSS
Follow by Email
Facebook
Facebook
YouTube
Pinterest
Pinterest
LinkedIn
Instagram
The Pierce Family Historian