Thomas Pearson Chester Co Pa

Two Thomas Pierson (Pearson) Families

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Return to Aaron and Rose Pearson Mendenhall Page (includes information on Aaron's brother John and Rose's sister Susanna.)

There were two Thomas Pierson/Pearson Families in Chester County and there is an enormous amount of erroneous information on both of them, to the extent that they have been pretty thoroughly mixed together. One lived in Marple Township and the other in Caln Township. See the 1780 Map on our Chester County Map Page for the location of Marple as it is not a present day township in Chester County. It was a ways east of the two Caln Townships so records for the two Thomas Pearsons can generally be sorted easily based on location.

Thomas Pierson/Pearson of Caln

This Thomas Pierson/Pearson is of particular interest to us. He came from England to Chester County, Pennsylvania, purportedly with William Penn. He was deputy surveyor to William Penn. From Fiske's Dutch & Quaker Colonies, quoted in the biography of descendant Nereus Mendenhall, comes the following quaint legend: "Turning to his friend and shipmate, Thomas Pearson, he (William Penn) said 'Providence has brought us here safe. Thou hast been the companion of my perils. What wilt thou that I call this place?''Call it Chester,' replied Pearson, who had come from that most quaint and beautiful city of old England."

It is quite simply, a quaint legend! The Mendenhall Web Site contains a copy of a ledger, found in the Historical Society in Pennsylvania, where Pierson documents two trips to America. One was started on the 14th day of 7th month 1676 in company with William Dixon, brother of his future wife Rose, and was on the ship "Joseph and Benjamin". On the 14th day of the 12th month in 1681 he started back for England, and then 25th day of July in 1683 he sailed again in the "Comfort" for America. In other words he never sailed with William Penn.

The Mendenhall Web Site also contains a copy of a document signed by William Penn nominating Thomas Pierson of County NewCastle to perform a survey. Thomas Pierson was Deputy Surveyor for William Penn for many years. That it was this Thomas Pierson is proven by the fact that there were surveying tools in his inventory at his death in Caln. It is not entirely clear why he is given as of County NewCastle in the document. The survey to be performed did eventually separate off the County of NewCastle from Chester but the County was formed in 1673 and called New Amistel County and then the name was changed in 1674. It then was later part of the State of Delaware.

From Immigration of the Irish Quakers into Pennsylvania, 1682-1750, Thomas Pierson married Rachel Sharpley 8th month 1686 at Newark Meeting. She died 7 mo 2nd day, 1687 and is buried at Newark. She probably died in childbirth given the dates. He married (2)Rose Dixon, purportedly daughter of Henry and Rose Harlan Dixon. The marriage took place supposedly in 1690, although that does not fit with the birth of daughter Susannah. Henry and Rose Harlan Dixon supposedly came from Armaugh, Ireland and were probably of the Quakers who fled from England to Ireland, and then immigrated on to America.

  Rose Dixon
born unknown
died Chester Co, Pa
Thomas Pierson
born England
died 9/29/1722 Chester Co, Pa
  Married: Chester County, Pennsylvania, date uncertain

Susannah Pierson born 10/1689 Chester County, Pennsylvania; married John Mendenhall (more information included with Aaron and Rose page below)
Rose Pierson born 6/16/1693 Concord, Chester County, Pennsylvania; married Aaron Mendenhall

More on the Children of Thomas and Rose Dixon Pierson

We have not researched this family extensively. Much of the readily accessible information is so blatantly flawed that one would dare not use it. Thomas Pierson died intestate so we do not know the names of all his descendants for sure. There is a copy of his inventory of personal goods and account upon his estate, taken in the township of Caln in Chester County, on the Mendenhall Web Site. Sons-in-law John and Aaron Mendenhall are mentioned as are his surveying instruments. Since the family of Thomas and Rose Dixon Pierson was very small for the time, it seems possible that Rose died early. This is an abstract of his administration from "Chester County Wills."
Thomas Peirson Decedent Date: 4 Oct 1722 Prove Date: 19 Nov 1722 Remarks: Thomas Peirson (of Caln). October 4, 1722, died 29 September. Adm. to John Mendenhall. Inventory by John Earl and Jos. Cloud, November 19, 1722. £74 :15 :10. Surveying instruments and what belongs thereto. £1.

Some of our information comes from a Quaker biography of a descendant, Nereus Mendenhall, amended from other sources as above. The Nereus Mendenhall biography tells of another daughter, Sarah Pearson, married to John West, but once again it was incorrect. The son of John & Sarah Pearson West, Sir Benjamin West, was a famous artist. In a painting "Elm Tree Treaty" he depicted Thomas Pierson, standing near William Penn. This painting "Elm Tree Treaty" may have led to the error in the Mendenhall biography that Sarah was a daughter of Thomas Pierson, the surveyor, since some have taken the paper in Pierson's hand to be a map. It is proven that she was the daughter of Thomas and Margery Pearson, more below.

Another tempting lead came from Colonial Families of Philadelphia naming Thomas Pearson, with a daughter Susannah, as one of the founders of the Darby Library in 1743. Given our erudite Thomas Pierson, we had hoped to find this Thomas Pearson as a son, but so far can find no connection.

We searched land deed abstracts up through 1753 hoping to find some land transcations for our Thomas Pierson in connection with his estate but found none, although we found many for the Thomas Pearson married to Margery (below). We tend to believe our Thomas then did not have additional children and had settled land on his sons-in-law before his death. One thing notable in the deed search was that the name was seen pretty consistently as Pierson before 1700 and pretty consistently as Pearson after 1700.

Aaron and Rose Pierson Mendenhall

The parent of Nereus Mendenhall was James Mendenhall who immigrated to North Carolina at the same time as Abraham Woodward the subject of this Web Site, and perhaps actually came with Abraham, as they were distantly related. James Mendenhall was son of Aaron & Rose Pierson Mendenhall. James's brother Aaron Mendenhall, Jr. was brother-in-law of Abraham Woodward .

The family of Aaron and Rose Mendenhall is documented further on the Web Page linked under the children above.

John and Susannah Pierson Mendenhall

Susannah Pierson is also connected to our Woodward family. She married John Mendenhall (John & Aaron were brothers), and a descendant of theirs married Abraham Woodward's grandson, Benjamin Woodward.

This family is documented further on the Web Page linked under the children above for Aaron and Rose.

Thomas Pearson/Pierson of Marple

There has been much confusion of our Thomas Pierson with another Thomas Pearson/Pierson of Marple. This confusion has been extended to showing Thomas Pearson of Marple with wives Rachel Sharply and Rose Dixon. Thomas Pearson of Marple had a wife Margery Smith, and died about 1734. His will was proven 25 March 1734, and a copy is posted on the Chester County Will Forum. Merry Anne Pierson kindly set us straight on this matter, and provided the will. She is researching a Samuel Pearson but cannot find a connection to these families. Thomas names Sarah West, wife of John West in his will.
Abstract of Will: Pearson, Thomas. Marple. October 16, 1730. March 25, 1734. A.407. To son John £15. To son in law John West and my daughter Sarah his wife £10. To son in law Nicholas Rogers and my daughter Mary his wife £15. To son in law Peter Thompson and my daughter Margery his wife £15. To son Robert £10 of the money owing by him to me. To 4 sons, viz Robert, Lawrence, Enoch and Abel 5 shillings each. Remainder real and personal estate to wife Margery. Executors: Bartholomew Coppock, Saml. Levis, Jr.

Summary of the Two Thomas Pearsons

An excellent summary of the two Thomas Pearsons is contained in Virginia Genealogies by Rev. Horace Edwin Hayden, M. A., published Wilkes Barre, Pa 1891. In addition to being well educated Rev. Hayden belonged to numerous Pennsylvania Genealogical Societies. His book of Virginia Genealogies includes the descendants of Major John West and his wife, Sarah Pearson, daughter of Thomas Pearson of Marple, and as such he includes information about the Pearsons in Pennsylvania. This is quoted from his book (page 354):
"Thomas Pearson, named in note on p. 342, must not be confounded with Thomas Pierson, who was Deputy Surveyor of Penn’a 1684. There were two of the name in Pa. at the same date, neither of whom gave the name of Chester to Upland, 'on the arrival of Wm. Penn, in 1682,' as the tradition states.

Thomas Pierson, Deputy Surv. Of Pa., has left a paper, in his own neat handwriting showing that he had served his apprenticeship with J. S. Kippin, Bristol, Eng., 12th of 8 mo, 1683, and 'arrived at Upland in Pennsilvania ye 28th of September 1683.' He m. (I.) 1686, Rachel Sharpley, who d. 1687; (II.) 1690, Rose Dixson; had two daus. Susanna and Rose, who m. brothers, John and Aaron Mendenhall. He d. Sep 29, 1722.

He belonged to Newark Monthly Meeting (Friends). He produced his certificate from this meeting to Concord Monthly Meeting, 7 mo. 12, 1709. His 2d wife was pro. The dau. Of Henry Dixson of New Castle. In 1709 his dau. Susanna m. John Mendenhall of Caln Township. Susanna was also the name of his mother, whose death occurred during his first visit to America. In 1715 his dau. Rose m. Aaron Mendenhall, bro. of John, of Caln Township. In 1716 he was appointed an overseer of Caln meeting, whose minutes from 1709 to 1716 are in his handwriting.

In a registry of arrivals in possession of the His. Soc. Of Pa. it is stated that Thomas Pierson, mason, Margaret, his wife, John, his brother, and Mary Smith, his sister, came from Pownall-fee in Cheshire in the Endeavour of London and arrived in Penn’a the 20th of 7th mo, 1683. The Records of the Chester Monthly Meeting show that Thomas Pierson or Pearson and wife Margery lived in Marple, and had ten children, whose records are given. His wife was a Smith. Her sister Mary m. Daniel Williamson, and had issue. Thomas left will dat. Oct 16, 1730; pro. Mar 25, 1734; names wife Margery, sons Robert, Lawrence, Enoch, John, Abel, and daus. Sarah, wife of John West, Mary, wife of Nicholas Rogers, and Margery, wife of Peter Thompson.” This matter is treated of In extenso in Martin’s His. Of Chester, 499-502; also Smith’s His. Delaware Co., Pa. …"