Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Finished, except the mess to clean up

It is both my blessing and curse to have all of my ancestors in Delaware County, Pennsylvania … least my ancestors from the last 200 or so years. If I’m lucky enough to find a Pierce on a census, church record or newspaper archived article then I ultimately see the surname Van Riper, Jackson, Elliott, Williams or Dalton shimmering on the same page, catching my eye. It’s as if the names are bolded and I think…well, here is my Dalton line and it IS right in front of me so I may as well print this and follow up on it while I have access to this census (Fill in applicable resource). This, naturally, sends me off course.

It’s really hard to ignore unexpected and possibly needed info when you are trying so hard to concentrate on one lineage. So, here we go for the gazillionth time on this resolution……..

1. I am writing up all I have on hand on this line of Pierces and I will get rid of superfluous papers that may be a clue.

2. I will get it in a booklet and send to my cousins who share a common interest in the line.

3. If something in the future surfaces on the Pierce family that does connect, I will immediately make the update and cite the source. Then return to whatever project which I am imbedded.

4. I will make the attempt to have my “lineage so far” research on Pierces in a booklet/ FTM no later than October 30 of this year.

Ok, so it’s more than one resolution but it connects. Goodness knows, in the past I have tried to motivate myself by publicly declaring a completion date. To my shame this has never worked…maybe this time.

And that's it........instead of keeping this journal to research and results only, I ended up writing about life in general, books and food. That was never my intention. But once it's off my list of primary goals I can push it aside, literally and mentally, and just chill out at Squirrel Head Manor, take pictures and start something new and different. Much thanks to everyone who has offered advice, done lookups of census and obits, and been a friend. It was fun :-)

MY forwarding address is here: Please come visit me!

Monday, September 8, 2008

31 Upland Road

My cousin Eileen was gracious enough to share this wonderful photo that shows 4 generations of my family. The only Pierce in the photo is my mother.

The photo was taken at 31 Upland Road in Upland, sometimes the boundaries made it Parkside. The time frame must have been about 1944 because the baby in the photo is my sister Linda.

The beautiful young lady standing on the right is Estelle Pierce Jackson. The woman holding the baby is Margaretta Wynyall (Van Riper) Dalton and the baby, Linda Jeane Jackson, is her great granddaughter. The woman seated behind is Margaretta Wynyall (Dalton) Jackson.

On the left side is William Harvey Jackson (husband of Margaretta), seated is Catharine Wynyall (Dalton) Campion and the cute little girl is her daughter Eileen.

Please click on the photo for a larger view. Thank you Eileen, this photo is a real treasure to me!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

General information

Someone asked me if I could make the posted photos larger. I explained that you just need to click on the photo and it should enlarge quite well on your screen. If you want to print it I am uncertain about the photo just give it a shot.

Yippee ...I am done with merging the Pierce bios! Now I start merging all the unknown Pierce connection information.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Frank Pierce

1879 - 1939

Frances Conway Pierce was born January 25, 1879. He is the youngest of James and Edna Pierce’s children.

1880 Census, Delaware Co., PA.
Chester City, 2nd Precinct 3rd Ward, June 8, 1880
Address: 35 Graham Street

James Pierce age 43/ Laborer / born PA/ father b. PA/ Mother b. ENG
Edna age 38 / keeps house/ born England/ Eng/ Eng
Laura age 18 / born PA works in cotton mill
James age 15/ born PA at school
Amos age 12/ born PA at school
Annie age 10/ born PA at school
George age 9/ born PA at school
Mary E. age 7/ born PA
Frances age 1/ born PA

In 1900 Frank worked as fisherman. The census conveys facts and reading it you have a snapshot of the family unit, their address and their professions. But what you don’t get is a flavor for their personalities, what happiness or anguish they may be experiencing. Fortunately through a series of newspaper articles some of this information came to light regarding the Pierces. Only a few days after the census was enumerated on June 9, Frank’s oldest brother committed suicide. The following was written about Frank in that particular article:

“Frank Pierce, a brother, stood guard, and would not allow the newspapermen to follow the hundreds of people who were taking the last look. The funeral service lasted over one hour.”

While the rest of the family were inside tending to the visitors and funeral, Frank kept reporters from intruding on the family’s personal grief.

1900 census, Delaware Co., PA.
Chester City, 2nd Precinct 3rd Ward, June 9, 1900
Enumerator: Charles Smedley; Supv. District 2; Enum Dist. 147
Address: 35 Graham Street

James F. Pierce HOH b. Feb 1837; age 63; married 38 years PA/ PA/ PA
Edna wife b. Aug or Oct.1841; age 58; Had 8 children, 7 still living ENG/ ENG/ ENG
Annie daughter b. Jan or June 1868; age 31 PA/ PA/ ENG
Frank son b. 1879; age 21
James married Edna when he was 25 years old.
James and Frank's occupation: Fisherman

By 1910 Frank was employed as a carpenter. He is living with his parents, James and Edna, and states he is married with one child. Since he was enumerated with his parents this doesn’t necessarily mean he lives there. He could have been visiting when the census taker came by to collect information. But the question is where are Frank’s wife and child? What are their names, where do they live, etc.? Here is a census that enumerated likely candidates for Frank’s wife and daughter:

1910 Census PA Delaware Co. Chester Ward 6 District 111
918 Barclay St.
Thomas Beaumont head MW 54 M33 PAPAPA Carpenter
Ella Beaumont wife FW 55 9/6 PAPAPA
Mabel Pierce daughter 27 D 1/1 PAPAPA
Sara Pierce gr. daughter 5 S

Mable would be about the right age to be a possibility for Frank’s wife. She states she is divorced. She is obviously living with her parents with her five year old daughter Sara. There isn’t any concrete proof at all that she is Frank’s ex-wife or his daughter. Conjecture only. Another point of speculation is whether the scandal and public knowledge of the murder charges, and subsequent suicide of James Pierce, caused stress in Frank Pierce’s marriage. His older sister Mary Pierce Newton also went through a divorce during the same timeframe. Again, this is speculation.

Around 1920 Frank married Carrie J. Ryser. They lived at Upland Street in Chester in 1918 according to his draft registration card. His physical description on the card is described as medium build, blue eyes and dark brown hair.

1920 Census, Delaware County, PA
Chester, Ward 5, Dist. 127
Address: 625 Upland St.

John Ryser HOH 57 years old, widowed NJ NJ NJ
Carrie Riser daughter aged 20, Single NJ NJ NJ
Viola Riser daugher aged 23, single NJ NJ NJ
Theodore Riser son age 17, single NJ NJ NJ
Frank Pierce, boarder, age 40

1930 Census, Delaware County, Chester, Ward 2, Dist 13
Address: 1139 Upland St

Frank Pierce HOH aged 48, married at age 38, PA PA PA occ: carpenter
Carrie Pierce, wife age 31, married at age 21, NJ NJ NJ
John Ryser father-in-law aged 60, widowed, NJ NJ NJ
Viola Ryser, sister-in-law, age 21, single, PA NJ NJ

Frank died December 11, 1939 at the age of 60. Carrie died July 2, 1960. They are buried at Chester Rural Cemetery in Section D, Lot 121.

Also buried in this section/lot are Carrie’s brother Theodore, her sister Viola and Viola’s husband Clarence Campbell.

1880, 1900, 1910 Census
Draft Registration card dated September 12, 1918.
Cemetery information

Monday, August 11, 2008

Please let summer end......

Geez...where do I start? It's been a hectic month. I know I commented on these things in the July 18 post but here's the full scoop.

July 2 Tristan had an accident. A tractor trailer pulled out in front of him near the truck stop. Tristan tried to brake and control the bike but it was too short a distance; the bike locked up and he went under the semi. Fortunately the only injury sustained was a tear in the armored jacket and cut to the elbow. Conway Trucking's insurance adjuster left his card on our gate and once Tristan started talking to him it seemed everything would be settled quickly. They'd cut him a check for damages and he'd get the bike goes on as usual. Nooooooo.....that would be too simple.

First the driver told the highway patrol officer that he didn't see Tristan. Then he said that he thought Tristan was far enough away. Hmmmm...which story is correct I wonder? Long story short, I had to call the Dept. of Insurance because the adjuster did not return any of my calls after the end of July. The motorcycle was repaired but we couldn't get it picked up because, no insurance check. All is well now....Tristan has his check and picks up his bike tomorrow.

We've had company since August 1. The dogs are adjusting to the new person in the house as a member of the pack and will probably be glad when things go back to normal. They don't get kenneled as much because someone is always home.

While I have not posted anything else on Pierces or the final bio (Frank Pierce) I have been busy with the paper version I'm putting together. Seems I had some info on my home computer and some at work. At present I am merging the information, doing spell checks, etc.

Hope everyone has had a nice summer. We are looking forward to college classes starting up on August 25...yippee!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Mary Pierce Newton and Catch up

The month has gone by fast and I needed a break from the genealogy. We have experienced a motorcycle accident in which, thankfully, no one was seriously injured. I had an allergic reaction to a medication for high cholesterol. And I just got busy with some other things. Here is some of the info on Mary Pierce and Frank Pierce will be on the way.

Mary Emma Pierce
1874 – 1966

Mary was born in July 1874 in Chester, Pennsylvania. She is the youngest daughter of James and Edna Pierce.

1880 Census, Delaware Co., PA.
Chester City, 2nd Precinct 3rd Ward, June 8, 1880
Address: 35 Graham Street

James Pierce age 43/ Laborer / born PA/ father b. PA/ Mother b. ENG
Edna age 38 / keeps house/ born England/ Eng/ Eng
Laura age 18 / born PA works in cotton mill
James age 15/ born PA at school
Amos age 12/ born PA at school
Annie age 10/ born PA at school
George age 9/ born PA at school
Mary E. age 7/ born PA
Frances age 1/ born PA

Around 1894, when Mary was approximately 20 years old, she married Charles Seaman Newton. Charles was born March 1870 in Baltimore, Howard County, Maryland and is the son of George Newton and Elizabeth Gaither.

In September 1895 the Newton family welcomed their first child, a daughter they named Carrie.

Only 8 months later in May 1896 – William Bagshaw Newton is born but he lived only 4 months. He died September 5, 1896 in Chester and is buried at Chester Rural Cemetery.

August 1897 another son is born whom they also name William Bagshaw Newton. (This is always confusing to a researcher when two people have the identical name.) Records indicate Mary gave birth to another daughter, Anna, in January of 1899. Mary must have been happy in the early months of 1899 with three children to love and care for.

Unfortunately Mary’s happiness would be short lived. Baby Anna lived only six months, dying on July 15, 1899. Other stressors, if there could be bigger ones in your life than burying two babies in less than five years, were her brothers’ and mother Edna’s arrests.

In September 1899 Mary’s mother was arrested and charged with “Surety of Peace” and “Abuse” and named in the complaint were members of the Barbour family. This family would figure into Mary’s future…or rather into her husband’s. More later…

Mary’s older brothers, James and Amos, were arrested in January 1900 and charged with the murder of a Chester resident. This had to be extremely upsetting and taxing on Mary, having her family the object of public scandal. Was her husband supportive of her during her brother’s trial? Unknown. Maybe they publicly distanced themselves from the scandal. In newspaper transcripts several of James and Amos’ siblings are noted to have visited the jail or have offered support by appearing in court. There was not a mention of Mary or Charles Newton.

1900 Census - Chester City, Delaware Co., Pa
Enumerated June 14, 1900
Charles Newton, HOH, age 30/ born March 1870/ married 6 years / MD MD MD
Mary E Newton, wife, age 25/ married 6 years/ born July 1874 PA PA ENG
Carrie Newton, daughter / age 4 / born Sept 1995/ PA PA PA
*William B Newton, son / age 1 born August 1898/ PA MD PA*

*The census reports William’s birth year as 1898. I think it’s 1897. His sister Anna was born January of 1899 so she would had to have been born a scant five months after William.

New year’s day, January 1, 1901 Seaman St. Clair Newton was born in Chester. The fourth child of Mary and Charles, with a grand name that had to have come from his paternal side; he died on March 1, 1901 at the tender age of 2 months.

Eight months later, no doubt while they were still grieving for Seaman, William Bagshaw Newton, aged 3 years, died on November 03, 1901 in Chester. He was buried in Chester Rural Cemetery, Section N, grave 5, near his brother of the same name.

May 13, 1905, Franklin Ralph Newton was born. Frank, as he was called, was the only other child besides Carrie who survived into adulthood.

More tragedy hits Mary sometime between 1905 and 1908. Charles Newton takes up with a younger woman – Miss Lillian Barbour. It’s not been established if the aforementioned Barbour family, who were part of Edna Pierce’s arrest, are related to Lillian. It would make sense though that Lillian, who lived in New Jersey with her mother, was visiting family in Chester. This is most likely where Charles met her. They fell in love and Charles, in his late 30s, married very young Lillian. I can’t lay hands on it right now but a cousin says Lillian was early 20s if not 19 years old.

1910 Census - Chester City, Delaware Co., Pa
Enumerated April 20, 1910
Mary Newton, HOH, age 35/ married/ PA PA PA / dressmaker / Home
Carrie Newton, daughter / age 16 / single/ PA PA PA
Frank Newton, son / age 5 / single / PA PA PA

Franklin was baptized April 9, 1911 at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Chester by Pastor Bertolet. Witnesses were John Francis Read and Gertrude Ildelphonse Rice. The relationship may be friends of the parents or godparents to Franklin.

Mary Pierce Newton stated "married" on the census but it appears they were divorced between 1905 - 1908. Charles is on the 1920 Baltimore census married to Lillian L. Barbour. Their first daughter, Mildred, was born 1908 in Pennsylvania and Lillian's mother (Mary Barbour) is living with them. In 1920 Charles is in Baltimore but listed as divorced.

1920 Census - Delaware Co., Pa
Mary E Newton, HOH, age 46/ married/ PA PA ENG / housekeeper for private family
Carrie Newton, daughter / age 25 / single/ PA MD PA / works in cotton mill
Franklin R Newton, son / age 14 / single / PA MD PA

Sometime after 1920 Carrie married a man named Ed Cooper.

1930 Census, Philadelphia, PA
Franklin Newton as head of household and Mary is living with him.

Franklin died in 1964 at age 63.

Mary was long lived. She died December 04, 1966 in Philadelphia at the age of 92. Her burial place is unknown.

There are family stories that depict Mary as a cold and unpleasant woman. But here is something to consider… Did Mary have unresolved grief for the babies she’d buried and possibly postpartum depression in her younger years? Did that affect the relationship with her husband? Did she suffer from depression because of the many unpleasant events in her life? Brothers jailed. One took his life and the cloud of suspicion hung over the family name. Her husband left her for a younger woman. That would be enough to make a good woman bitter.

All of that would be speculation but it may provide a reason for her reported unpleasant personality. She lived a long time, into her nineties, and I can’t think of a bigger punishment than a long lonely life to reflect on what might have been. But again, that is speculation beyond what is recorded in the census and newspapers.


CARRIE G NEWTON, b. September 1895; m. ED COOPER.

WILLIAM BAGSHAW NEWTON, b. May 1896; d. September 05, 1896, Chester, Delaware Co, Pennsylvania.

WILLIAM B NEWTON, b. August 1898; d. November 03, 1901, Chester, Delaware Co, Pennsylvania.

ANNA NEWTON, b. January 1899, Chester, Delaware Co, Pennsylvania; d. July 15, 1899, Chester, Delaware Co, Pennsylvania.

SEAMAN ST. CLAIR NEWTON, b. January 01, 1901, Chester, Delaware Co, Pennsylvania; d. March 01, 1901, Chester, Delaware Co, Pennsylvania.

FRANKLIN RALPH NEWTON, b. May 13, 1905; d. 1964.

Baptized April 9, 1911 at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church.