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.


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


  1. History can be so facinating when it comes to your own family history and how you came to be here in this world.  It must be excititng to trace your family roots so far back.  I don’t know much about my own family history and wouldn’t even know where to start.  

    1. You start with what you DO know and work your way back from there. There are so many tools to help you that are easily acessible today that makes it much easier than when I started back 40 years or so ago. Then you wrote a lot of letters and spent money on stamps only to get a few replies. 

  2. Finding and reading this article about the Pierce family was a lovely find! 

    I wonder though what is the significance here between yourself and the Pierce family,  is this the history of your family tree?

    Lots of people seem to be looking up their families past and I would love to do that, I notice on your website there are some other interesting articles so I am going to head over and read them now.

    1. Yes…I am a Pierce, and this IS my family. The Pierce family has been in the United States since the early 1600’s, they were Quakers that immigrated from England. Charles Samuel Pierce was my great Uncle. I’m glad you enjoyed it. If you have any ideas for articles to come please share with me and I will get to work on it. 

  3. Susan,

    This is very fascinating that you are able to find all your ancestors going back into history and what they did growing up!  I love farm life and just can imagine the hard but wonderful life they led having a farm to live on.  Cannot even think about a single father trying to raise children alone back then can you imagine how difficult that would have to be?  Thank you so much for sharing with everyone the family history for your family would be great if others would do the same possibly finding relatives from the past that you did not know about.


    1. ABSOLUTELY! The more people share the less history we would lose, don’t you think. I’m glad you enjoyed the content. I’m an addict! Can’t get enough of it! Yes, we are a bunch of pussies aren’t we…can you imagine living through the depression and drought etc today. They did it because they had too, but we whine and complain when we get a hang nail. We are spoiled. 

  4. If I may, please allow me to provide a general impression of the presentation. There is a lot of empty space in the article throughout the pages. Beside that the stories you share are very instructive. I did not know much when I started reading. When I finished reading, I was loaded with a wealth of information. 

    I learned how Ancestry DNA can help understand the issue of life in connection with a family history. Since it is a personal history, I did not have much to say unless I get to verify the information provided. You did a great job. Thank you. 

    1. I hear you about the empty space. I can’t figure out how to fix that. It looks perfectly fine in the draft but comes out like that when I publish it. I tried all kinds of things and couldn’t straighten it out. I’m glad that you enjoyed the content. Dna is still a learning process for me, but I’m starting to understand it enough that it has helped me fill in some blanks. I appreciate your feed back! Come visit again!

  5. This is the first geneology site I’ve visited, Susan. Very interesting. I love to read about “real people” histories.

    I have a mild interest in genealogy based on a family story about an ancestor who apparently stole from her Irish landowner husband and fled to Canada with her lover. Sadly, I don’t have the free time right now to pursue it.

    My husband’s family has a story about an ancestor who deserted the 7th Cavalry led by General Custer just days before the troops were massacred. One of my sister-in-laws did an extensive search for photos and stories about my husband’s family. She presented all the descendents with a binder full of photos and information. I will send her a link to your page.  

    Do you use any special software to search for family members?

    1. I mostly use The stories are the things that drive me. I love finding the ‘dirt’ lol. Thanks for visiting and I’m glad I stirred something up a bit! You’ve got some great stories…and that is awesome your family shares. Some family’s don’t. 

  6. I pray I get to explore my family in this manner someday soon.  I try to dig deeply for stories and origins of my family each time I return to where I grew up.  

    I’m in my 40’s now and, among my enormous family we’ve lost a lot of our elders. 

    When,I sat down with Aunt she was even able to tell me things about my father I never knew.  I found out he was in the Army BEFOre he was in the Navy!  I didn’t even know that was possible.  You are setting a good example to all of us to explore our history.  I really believe the mysteries you uncover, the good, the bad & the Ugly hold an invaluable education.

    Also, thank you Susan, I appreciate you explaining what Normal schools were.  It’s not that my fingers weren’t poised to hit that google search box before, I read your explanation.  It was that it really adds color to a story you are looking in on and, explaining details like that really give me, as an audience, the ‘feel’ for what things were like in that moment of history.  

    1. Being ‘Wonder Woman” always keeps me on my toes! Don’t wait too long to start or you will soon find that you are the older generation and the stories are long lost! WRITE down the info you gather when you talk to people. You think you will remember it…but most likely you will only remember pieces. It’s so easy to share now…with the web. I’m glad you enjoyed it!

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