James Pierce

Pioneer Families of Grand Traverse County, Michigan



James Pierce (1790-1873) and Elizabeth Wade (1798-1887)

James Pierce was born on 17 December 1790 in South Lopham, Norfolk, England, son of James and Elizabeth Brodstreet Pierce. Norfolk is on the eastern coast of England. James was a weaver by trade in England. He was married on 1 January 1818 in South Lopham to Elizabeth "Bessie" Wade. Richard Littlehales performed the service and the wedding vows were witnessed by William Wade and Mary Parnett (possibly Parrett). Elizabeth was born on 15 April 1798 in England and she was described as being Aof Bressingham@ on her marriage certificate. The christenings of the six oldest Pierce boys were recorded in the records of South Lopham. James Pierce was a weaver until sometime between 1825 and 1829, when he is listed as a laborer.

The Pierce family emigrated to the United States in 1829 (sometime after July 12 when their last child was baptized), enduring a nine week sail. One son, William, remained behind while three sons came with James and Elizabeth. Another son was born during the voyage.

The Pierces settled in Jefferson County, New York before moving in 1848 to Sheboygan County, Wisconsin. Supposedly, their son William had moved to Wisconsin and they followed him.

James purchased 40 acres in section 25 of Lyndon township from Charles Cole on 21 September 1848 and an adjoining 40 acres from Stephen Marshall on 25 December 1854. They built a log cabin and the Pierces worked as farmers. The family farmhouse, which James built, survived until 1930, when it burned when an oil stove exploded.

piercehome.jpg (238754 bytes)

Pierce Family home in Sheboygan County, Wisconsin. Mahala Daharsh Pierce in foreground.

In 1860, James and Elizabeth lived alone at Onion River in Lyndon. James was a Republican and a Ahighly respected [email protected] In 1870, James and Elizabeth lived with their son Melvin and a boy named Frank Loomis in Lyndon.

The Pierces lived with their son Melvin in their old age. James died on 15 April 1873 in Sheboygan County, Wisconsin. He left wife Elizabeth his property and personal possessions in his will. His son Melvin recived his real estate including the family homestead in Lyndon and two and a half acres of swampland in the town of Sherman. The farm included the home, all of the buildings, equipment, and tools necessary for farming, and all of the animals. The farm was to pass to Melvin at Elizabeth=s death. The remainder of his personal estate was to pass to his living children: William, James, Henry, Robert, George, John and Ellen.

On 1 December 1884, John Pierce petitioned the court to appoint Hanford S. Hutchinson to be the legal guardian of his mother Elizabeth, who was A87 years old and incompetent to manage the farm, property & animals.@ A hearing was held on 26 December 1884 and the guardianship was granted. Elizabeth, who was usually known as Bessie, died there on 25 April 1887. They are buried in the Old Section of Hingham Cemetery.

Children of James and Elizabeth Wade Pierce

i. William J Pierce was born circa 1819 in England.

ii.    James Pierce, Jr. was born in February 1821 in South Lopham, Norfolk, England. He was baptized there on 1 April 1821.

iii. Robert Pierce was born in around 24 October 1824 in South Lopham, Norfolk, England.

iv.    Henry Pierce was born on 12 March 1825 in South Lopham, Norfolk, England. He was baptized there on 19 June 1825.

v. Richard (Elisha?) Pierce was born circa 1826 in South Lopham, Norfolk, England.

vi. John Pierce was born 22 October 1826 in South Lopham, Norfolk, England

vii. Ellen Pierce

viii. Melvin Pierce was born on 10 March 1835 in Jefferson County, New York.

ix. George Pierce

x. Elizabeth Pierce was born circa 1835 in New York.

xi. Female Pierce

Birth dates for the children may be inaccurate- this family has been very difficult to research.


  Pioneer Families of Grand Traverse County