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.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Christy and Bagshaw info - Nice surprise!

This week has gone by so incredibly fast. Vacations always do.... I started reading The English American and it's a good read so far. I really have to recommend this one to my friend Barb in Pennsylvania.

Other nice things that happened was the unexpected arrival of family documents from the Archives in Media. That really surprised me. Although it isn't Pierce information, it is related to the Christy side of my family, it was a great surprise! I have a newly found Christy cousin in South Carolina who will get a copy of the arrest data.

Someone one said well behaved ancestors don't make history and I am thankful for some of the wild ones in the family tree. They get documented and lead you on to lots of other info.

Also I received a much welcomed email to an inquiry on the Bagshaws. We know Annie Pierce worked for William Bagshaw at his shop on Edgemont Avenue. Poor William was caught up in the arrest of Annie's mother in September 1899. More than likely he was a witness to the "affray and disturbance of the peace" between Edna Pierce and her accuser. But who knows. The connection between the two families had to been more than employer for one of the Pierce daughters. William must have been a close family friend or Mary wouldn't have named two sons after him.

Other than some genealogy I have been playing Guild Wars until I dream about it. Better take a break!! Doug grilled tuna last night and we paired it with an Alice White Cabernet Sauvignon. He's off riding right now. Tristan is supposed to return tonight for the car and leave his bike. And of course, it's hot. So mostly we stay in except to walk the shibas.

Monday, June 23, 2008


I'm on vacation and it's great. Sleeping in, no alarm, doing whatever...
We decided to skip St. George Island because of gas prices and the heat.

This morning's mail drop gave me a moment of suspense and hopefulness that was dashed almost instantly upon opening the large yellow envelope from NARA. It was just thick enough to contain the Navy pension record I sent for. Well, it was indeed a Navy pension record and it was for a James Pierce from Pennsylvania...but it's not our James. I swore a storm like a longshoreman with Touretts as I had paid $25 for this pension. First of all, I specifically stated his address, where he'd lived almost all of his life. Date of death in 1911, and the name of his wife being Edna as a first or middle name. I even gave them exact dates he served.

What I got was a pension for James F Pierce married to Sarah Robinson of Delaware and that he died while in the Navy in 1877. Also our James died in Chester and this James died in NC. So, I don' think I can get my money back and if that's the case, maybe I'll see if there are descendants of this James and pass the paperwork on to them. I did something like that with an old photo I got at an antique shop. Found the descendant by looking at city directories and census - they were tickled to have the old photo and it was lots of fun for me.

Anyway, I guess we are back to square one on James military record. How frustrating!

I finished the Picoult book - really a good read - and am waiting on a reserve from the library so I haven't started anything new yet.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Project Update and Anniversary

Last night Doug and I went to the Melting Pot for our 24th anniversary dinner. It's a very nice fondue restaurant with a wonderfully intimate atmosphere. The restaurant is very dark; when you enter through the stone flanked foyer it takes a few moments for your eyes to adjust to the low lighting. There is a very large oak wine cabinet which blends gracefully and elegantly with the decor. We were escorted back to a table with a C shaped leather booth tucked into the wall. The table top was tiled and the mounted fondue pot was well within reach for both of us. You couldn't see anyone else dining which gave the illusion of being alone except for the hushed murmurs of others' conversation. They have all the tables set up this way so each dining couple has total privacy. Very cool and totally relaxing.

We had a cheese fondue made with white wine, Fontina, Buttermilk Bleu and Butterkase cheeses. The dippers were slices of apple, various breads and veggies. Then they bring a salad. Wow...I could have made a meal of that alone. My salad was piled with spinach, portebella mushrooms, shallots and bacon. This was served with a warmed Burgundy shallot vinaigrette. Doug had the house salad with greens, Swiss Emmenthaller cheese, cucumber and eggs.

The main part of the meal consisted of a large tray of teriyaki marinated sirloin, fillet Mignon, chicken, shrimp and pieces of Mahi. Also a tray of vegetables, most notable were the mushrooms which you stuff with a creamy Boursin type cheese then batter....mmmmmmmmm. There were various sauces to dip all the meats and seafood in after they had about 2 minutes time in the hot oil. Sadly, we were too full to get the chocolate fondue for dessert but plan to go on our vacation. We'll just get coffee and the chocolate fondue. It definitely is a celebration place - not a restaurant that you'd frequent on a regular basis. But it was a special night and I am so happy we went there. Just like at home when we have wine with dinner, we sat, talked and nibbled for an hour and half. Relaxing.

As for the project, I have been diligently merging the finished biographies into one big document. I read it over this morning and it bothers me that we thought we had Edward's last days all figured out but in actuality...we do not. There were a few Edward Pierces around the late 1850s and 60s. I may leave his information the way it's written up and just asterisk it, give a detailed theory in the end notes.

Another section I have is called Unknown Connections is just a collection of Pierce data from old newspapers. The Pierces mentioned are not, as of yet, a known connection to the line being worked on. However some may be cousins and having it at the end of the bios can't hurt. Maybe in 5 years I'll look at it and slap my forehead, immediately seeing a family connection.

Nothing else new here....Got a few packages off in the mail yesterday afternoon. Tristan rode his bike out yesterday and stayed gone quite awhile. He had fun riding with friends and saw a movie. He loves that Triumph. Tristan and Doug will trade insults about each other's bikes - something about a Harley and Triumph rivalry. But I think Tristan would like to ride his Dad's bike and try it out.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


It's been incredibly hot here and most of my activities have been indoors. The Ruth Reichel book was good and there are some cool recipes in it. As soon as I get copies of the chocolate cake and roasted leg of lamb recipes, I will pass this one on to someone else. I just started reading a Jodi Picoult book entitled Plain Truth. It's about an Amish family and so far most of the plot seems to take place around Paradise.

Just reading the beginning two chapters, when she mentions Philly and the Lancaster county makes me smile. I loved going to Blue Ball, Epherta and other places in the Lancaster area when I was a kid. My father always drove. The car would be packed with my mom, my two grandmothers (Pierce and Jackson)and me. Occasionally it would just be me, Mom, Dad and Nana Jackson .......but the trips were always the same theme. We'd go to some outlets and shop; we'd stop at the Akron restaurant and eat the most amazing honey fried chicken and red velvet chocolate cake....I'm salivating just thinking of it! Dad would kindly pull off and stop near a farm so I could look at the pigs. I would run to the fencing and as the smell grew stronger, enveloping me in a funk so sour that I would be gagging, I'd soldier on so I could see the enormous hogs furrowing around the mud. Ok, it doesn't sound like fun but to a 10 year old who loved animals it was quite a treat. There was actually another motive to pull over at this farm. The family sold eggs and vegetables. They were just sitting there on a table with a box for the money. It was the honor system, something I'd bet doesn't still exist in that area today. My father would put a few dollars in the box and take the goods he selected.

But I digress...the Picoult book is just started and it's the third one I've read by this author. They certainly aren't "feel good" or chick lit books but she has a great descriptions of what life is really like.

I sent a package to a Navy guy in Afghanistan and recently learned he's been out of touch for over 60 days so they removed him from the list on AnySailor website. So now I have a female soldier stationed in Iraq that is requesting magazines, lotion, etc. The flat rate boxes at the post office are great for shipping lots of heavy books and magazines. I will get that out this weekend.
Also this weekend I will surprise my lovely cousin Char with a package I'd meant to send out two weeks ago.

Tristan is enjoying his motorcycle very much. He already has over 725 miles on it. He bought me Guild wars expansion pack for my birthday...he's a thoughtful young man :o) So now we all have that game loaded on our computers. And we can play together so that's a lot of fun. I gave Doug my software and loaded the expansion pack Tristan got me. So far I have 4 characters created and you wouldn't believe how much fun it is just trying to get an original name. We all sat around laughing when we tried every Monty Python character name and saw they were taken. I mean, even "huge tracts of land" was taken so that's a real fan..As were names like Zoot of Anthrax, Dingo of Anthrax, Tim the Enchanter....the list goes on. It was as much fun seeing the names as it was playing. To my chagrin "Anthony Bourdain" was taken...

Next up on the Pierce project is Mary E. Pierce Newton's bio. She isn't the next sibling after Annie, but I did it out of order and wrote up George Pierce's bio on the January 28th entry. I need to contact cousin Mark and see if he has any additional info on Mary as he is her direct descendant. After Mary I just have to work on Frank Pierce. That's it for that generation. I sure wish i had some photos of these people.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Annie Pierce

Annie Pierce
1868 – Died between 1900 and 1910

Annie was born in January 1868 to James and Edna Pierce. At this date I do not know if her given name is Ann, Annie or Hannah. Annie grew up in Chester and lived at 35 West Graham Street for all of her life.

1870 Census, Delaware Co., PA. 197th District, Middle Ward Chester
Post Office: Chester, PA.
Enumerated July 7, 1870, page 31
231 dwelling; 239 family

James Pierce age 33/ Laborer / born PA
Edna age 28 / keeps house/ born England
Laura age 8 / born PA
James age 6/ born PA
Amos age 3/ born PA
Annie age 1/ born PA

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

Annie is listed on the 1888-89 Chester city directory as a Saleslady. She worked at Bagshaw’s Confectionary shop on Edgemont Avenue. The newspaper depicts her to be a warm and generous woman who was devoted to her family.

She was very vocal regarding her brothers James and Amos innocence during their incarceration and subsequent trial. After her brother James’ suicide it was reported she ordered over $300 worth of flowers to be arranged at his funeral service. This was a good sum of money in the year 1900. Other items stated she nursed her brother Amos when he was ill with fever brought on by the stress of the arrest and accusations. “You are killing him,” she stated to the Chester Times reporters. “He is innocent, he has done nothing!”

Sadly all the information I have for Annie is limited to census records and the few mentions of her in the newspapers. There has not been evidence that she ever married. Searches for an obituary have been fruitless but the pursuit continues.

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 1868; age 31 PA/ PA/ ENG
Frank son b. 1879; age 21
Annie's occupation: Confectioner

The 1900 census is the last one which Annie appears. She died between June 1900 and before the 1910 census was taken. The name Annie Pierce does not appear in the grave listings with her family. Perhaps her name was Hannah. There are three Annas and three Hannahs in Chester Rural Cemetery but none seem to match up with her parents and other siblings who are all buried together. The permit numbers are way off for a possible death date however, the permits are issued when bodies are moved to another plot or another cemetery. Just to list them, in case one is our Annie Pierce, here goes:

1. Anna E. Pierce buried Section F lot 167, permit #24590 which means the permit was a burial between (1951 – 1956).
2. Ann Pierce died between 1880 – 1884
3. Anna May Pierce, Section B107, permit 26066 (1961 – 1966)
4. Hannah A. Pierce, Section B107, no permit number
5. Hannah Martin Pierce, Section B107, permit 787 (1866- 1869)
6. Hannah R. Pierce, Single Grave Row 40, permit 12855 (1910 – 1913)

The only good possibility is Hannah R Pierce as she died close to when the 1910 census was enumerated and our Annie was dead by the time it was taken. But if this is her, why would she be in a single grave instead of with her parents or siblings? That doesn’t make sense.

I hope I find more on Annie. She sounded like a good person and someone who would be fun to know.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Hair color, books and cycles

Wow - I'm posting twice today. Amos is posted but I'll have jpg files to add to the actual biography when it gets tossed together.

I finally finished reading the Rebels of Ireland. It's a good followup to Princes of Ireland. I love Rutherfurd's books. Looking forward to the next Diana Gabaldon book in the Jamie and Claire series but that will be awhile from what I've read recently. One of the latest authors that I have been enjoying is Ruth Reichl. She is a food and restaurant critic and her descriptions are wonderful. Recipes are in the book too!

Yesterday I got my hair cut and dyed. It's the first time I have ever had color done professionally. My sister would color my hair now and then but this was an amazing treat. Also I have bangs again and I think, if I may so myself, that it looks much better. Much neater than before.

Tristan is enjoying his motorcycle and riding in to work now. He plans to get the body armor that has extra protection but breathes. It's a nice jacket. He wants to tow me as the first experiment in whether he can do it. I guess that makes me the red shirt...but he assures me I am not. Haha.
Doug has bike fever now and I think he's torn between the Kawasaki Vulcan and a BMW that he can get at an excellent price. Totally different bikes though. It will be interesting to see which he picks. Of the Vulcans I like is the cream colored - not just for visibility but because most of what you see on the road are black bikes.

Found a use for all the bananas that seem to go almost black days after I purchase them. Break them up in a several pieces and put in a baggie and freeze. Later toss in a blender with two thirds cup milk (per banana), some malt powder, some instant espresso granules (I use Bustelo) and it makes a killer smoothie. Next time I'm adding strawberries.

Amos Pierce 1867 - 1940

1867 - 1940

Amos Edward Pierce was born November 23, 1867 in Pennsylvania, and died February 17, 1940 in Chester, Delaware Co, Pennsylvania.

Amos grew up in Chester and spent a good deal of time on the Delaware River. He spent much of his childhood years gunning and fishing with his brothers and his father. He became a fisherman like his father James and his grandfather Edward Pierce, catching sturgeon and shad from the river and selling them at the local marketplace.

At the age of sixteen Amos became a member and trustee of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows , Upland Lodge. The following article appeared in the Chester Times announcing the lodge’s election results:

September 26, 1883 Chester Times
Officers of Upland Lodge

An election of officers was held at the meeting of Upland Lodge, No. 2?3 (253 or 233), I.O.O.F. last night, with the following result:

N.G. - Hugh Crooks
V.G. - Thomas B. Robinson
Treasurer - James Z. Taylor
Trustees - Amos PIERCE and John Smith.
Representatives to Grand Lodge - M.L. Taylor

When Amos was about 24 years old, approximately 1891, he married Elizabeth A. Greenhalgh. She was born May 1871 in England.

March 1892
Amos and Elizabeth had a daughter whom they named Sarah. January 28, 1897 Amos and Elizabeth had a son, Amos Edward Pierce Jr. According to information reported on the 1900 census in Delaware County, PA., they had another child but it evidently did not survive. The beginning of this year was not a good one for the Pierce family. Amos and his brother James were arrested January 24, 1900 for the murder of their friend George Eyre, a wealthy Chester resident.

After he was arrested, Amos, also known as “Pinny”, was given a chance “to tell his side” of the story regarding what police called damaging evidence. He denied having anything to do with the murder and stated he had not been gunning with George Eyre on Thursday, the day Eyre was killed. Amos was put in a cell on the second floor of the jail away from his brother James. He was given the only bed, along with a pillow and blankets to keep him warm as he had been on “the sick list”. Both brothers were reportedly ill with consumption.

January 26th a preliminary hearing took place at 10 o’clock in the Chester courthouse. Amos reportedly walked into the courtroom ahead of his brother, shrinking back from the gaze of spectators and lawyers. James on the other hand had a “nonchalant air which characterized him throughout all of the varied scenes of the now celebrated case.” Joseph H. Hinkson was counsel for the accused brothers. A shocking turn events came when a woman named Mary Cowan implicated Amos in disposing of George Eyre’s body. She testified that she was James’ sweetheart and that James confessed to her that Amos tied stones to the murdered man’s legs to sink the body.

Several days later in his confinement Amos became ill. He was visited by his wife, sisters and father, bringing him medicine and clothing. Upon seeing his wife Elizabeth and family standing at his cell door he exclaimed, “My, am I glad you came” and greeted them, clearly happy to have their support and devotion.

In this time period many extended family members shared the same household. The Pierce family was no exception to this and Elizabeth’s younger brothers lived with them at 23 Graham Street, just down the street from Amos’ parents. At such a stressful time in her life, with her husband incarcerated, it must have given her comfort to have her brothers in the household, taking care of things Amos normally handled.

Months of testimony passed. In June, just prior to the scheduled courtroom verdict, James Pierce committed suicide. This halted the trial as James had left a note claiming his innocence and exonerating Amos from the crime.

September 25, 1900 Amos was acquitted of the murder of George Eyre and released from jail. Evidence was not sufficient to warrant a conviction.

Elizabeth and Amos may have split up after his release from jail as she is enumerated as the head of the household on the 1910 census. Living with her at 402 Eighth Street is their daughter Sarah, son Amos Jr. and her brother William Greenhalgh. Amos does not appear in their household or on the 1910 Delaware county census. Elizabeth states she is married and her profession is sewing at a print mill. Her brother William also works at a print mill. Sarah is 18 years old and working as a comber in the cotton mill.

Amos was still absent from the Pierce household in the 1920 census. Elizabeth is 49, head of household and maintains she is a widow. Living with her is son Amos Jr., a 23 year old single man; her widowed son-in-law David MacAvany; and Leonard and Mary Leary. Interestingly enough David MacAvany and the Leonards are reported as boarders in her home rather than the true relationships. David had been married to Amos and Elizabeth’s only daughter Sarah who died in 1919. Mary and Leonard Leary are Elizabeth’s sister and brother-in-law.

Amos went back to his profession as fisherman and lived the rest of his days in Chester. His final address is 3rd and Penn Street. He went under the care of Dr. F.H. Murray for illness and died in the Delaware County Home Hospital in Middleton on February 17, 1940 from stomach cancer. E. F. White undertakers on W Third Street handled the funeral services. He is buried in Chester Rural Cemetery, Section U, Lot 371.

Children of Amos and Elizabeth Pierce:

Sarah Pierce born March 1892, Pennsylvania
Died 1919
Married David MacAvany

Amos E. Pierce Jr. born January 1897, Pennsylvania
Died November 1963
Married Sarah Mildred Smith
Married second wife Nina A. Eggleson

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Tristan's motorcycle

Well.....he did it. Tristan handled his insurance and loan yesterday. The bike was delivered in the afternoon. He drove 55 miles the first time and seems to be enjoying it immensely. This will be a fun bike for riding the country roads around our home.

Here are a few shots in our field. Our driveway is dirt but it's hard packed and he didn't have any trouble riding it there or bumping across the field a few times.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Lazy Sunday

We went camping last weekend and had a very good time. The week and a half before we had been determined to trade our truck and camper for a more fuel efficient car. After driving the two choices (Matrix and Scion) we decided the truck was much more comfortable and we really enjoy camping. So...we took off for Lake Seminole State Park in Georgia.

The park is very nice and the campsites are large. Most likely this is accommodate a camper and a boat. We were among the very few campers without a boat. The water was close to the campsites and it was great weather to sit outside and watch people ride by in their boats or on jet skis. Saturday night the campground host came by to tell us to bring in the awning as a big storm was headed our way. Evidently it caused tornadoes and hail. Other campers were almost panicking in their efforts to pack up and drive away. Some left without emptying their black and gray water tanks! One family left the dog stake tie down in their site. Thankfully they took the dog.

Since it was so late, and since we'd had a bottle of nice Cotes du Rhone with dinner, and we made storm preparations such as bringing in all the chairs, awning, etc...we stayed the night. Nothing happened. Despite the weather map that showed all red in the way of a mother of a storm headed into us...we had maybe 4 drops of rain. Literally. So many people left in panic that by Sunday morning we were only 1 of 4 families left in the entire campground. Wild!

Tristan is now in day two of a motorcycle safety course. He had a good time yesterday and got a little sunburned. He should have his bike by the end of this week. The Triumph came in and after he gets his insurance handled they'll deliver the bike to the house.

Today I am trying to figure out a game called Guild Wars and I have a pile of Amos Pierce information to type. We'll have pastisio for dinner (Greek ziti)and just enjoy the good weather we are having.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

James H. Pierce 1864 - 1900

James H. Pierce

James Pierce was born January 1864 in Chester, Delaware Co, Pennsylvania. Like his brothers he grew up along the Delaware river, learning to fish and hunt with his father.

Chester Times: 26 March 1883
A Good Haul
James Pierce, son of Captain Pierce, caught a five pound shad, a big rock fish and two mammose on Saturday. He was down the bay last week and brought home thirty-five pairs of ducks as trophies of his trip.

In 1886 James married Margaret Moore Simpson. She was born May 1866. On James and Maggie’s application for marriage license the following information was reported:

James H. Pierce age 22 years, residence 35 Graham St. Chester, occupation is fisherman. Parent's names are James F. Pierce and Edna Pierce.

Maggie Simpson, age 21 years, residence Upland Borough, Delaware Co. Parents names Howard Simpson and Mary Simpson.

1889-90 Chester City Directory: James H. Pierce was living at 112 Penn St. in Chester. The address is significant as a Mrs. S. Pierce living at Penn Street in Chester was named as a witness on James’ mother’s arrest warrant. There is no record of a woman living at the Penn Street address with the first initial of “S”.

1900 Census: Delaware County, Chester City, Pa.
Enumerated June 1, 1900, district 148

James Pierce, HOH, born Jan 1864, 36 years old, married 14 years, fisherman
Maggie Pierce, wife, born May 1866, age 34, married 14 years
Edna Pierce, daughter, born Aug 1889, age 10, at school
Charlie Pierce, son, born April 1891, age 9, at school
Helen Pierce, daughter, born Sept 1893, age 6, at school
All born in Pennsylvania. They rent their home.

James is also enumerated on the 1900 census in Media and listed as a prisoner at the Delaware County jail. January 2, 1900 a warrant for James’ arrest was issued by Mayor D.W. Jefferis. Police officers O’Toole and Leary arrived at 35 Graham Street to arrest James.

Jim,” said Officer O’Toole, “we want you to go along with us to City Hall. We have a warrant for your arrest.”

“Alright,” said Pierce. “I’ll go along with you right away.”

Pierce did not appear to be at all surprised to receive the visit of the officers. In fact, his demeanor indicated that he anticipated such a move. The two officers placed James in a cell. His arrest was made quietly and it was an hour or more before it became generally known. When news leaked out it spread like wildfire, and crowds began to gather about City Hall. The Pierce brothers had quite a bit of support from their neighbors and fellow fishermen.

James was to be charged later in the disappearance of Chester millionaire George Eyre. His brother Amos was also arrested and taken to the Delaware County prison in Media. You can read the news transcripts in chronological order and come up with different conclusions regarding the innocence or guilt of the Pierce brothers. There are several incidences and circumstances involving the Eyre murder trial that seem odd.

Prior to the arrest, James had broken into the Alpha boat club and stolen a skiff belonging to Bonsall Ladomus. This was the reason the police had arrived to arrest him. The circumstances when James was arrested and his demeanor state he was not overly concerned. As the newspaper states, he seemed to be expecting the officers to come by his father's home. His calmness suggests he was concerned about the theft of the boat, however, while stealing is obviously a serious crime...he wasn't exhibiting the panic of man that committed a murder.

From the Philadelphia Inquirer, January 2, 1900:
“The Inquirer has already told how, early last Wednesday morning, the skiff, stripped of everything was found floating in the river near the boathouse. It had evidently been put afloat at the Consumers’ Ice Company’s wharf but a short time before being recovered. The boat was stolen a few days before the disappearance of George Eyre, and the opinion prevails that the party or parties who took the skiff, realized that they might be charged with the more serious crime of murder….”

Here is an important statement in this article, aside from the suppositions and ambiguous terms “evidently” “opinion prevails” “might be” and “possibly,” that is important. Within the same paragraph of this news article is the following:

“However, there is no evidence so far as the police authorities will admit, that the robbers of the boathouse were guilty in the murder of George Eyre and the arrest of Jim Pierce is simply on the charge of forcible entry and the stealing of Ladomus boat.”

For a very condensed history of the events it is known that James and Amos went gunning with George Eyre on a regular basis. George was a friend of the Pierce family and often gave the family clothing. The day George Eyre disappeared it was reported that he was scheduled to go gunning for ducks with James.

George’s body was found washed up near Raccoon Island close to New Jersey. Part of the back of his head was blown off by a shotgun and pieces of shot were still embedded in his head. His hands and feet were tied in a manner that the newspaper suggested were skilled fishermen knots. His boat was never recovered.

James had a lady friend named Mary Cowan. She contacted the police and stated James had confessed to her that he had killed Eyre. According to Mary Cowan, Amos Pierce helped tie the body up and they dumped it far out in the Delaware river.

The newspapers refer to Mary Cowan as James "sweetheart" and printed sensational headlines regarding Mary’s testimony. Whether it was true what Cowan stated, or whether she was a woman scorned will never be known. Perhaps James wouldn't leave his wife for her. Another factor which police considered when weighing Mary’s statements was revenge. Mary helped "other parties" in having James' mother arrested for slander just a few months prior to the murder charge. Police questioned whether she was coming forward with information on James because of revenge.

By April, the prosecutions star “witness,” Mary Cowan, is in jail in New Castle for disorderly conduct. Reading through the many news articles there are several that state when questioned where James took her shopping, Cowan could not recall the names of the streets and was very vague. This was strange as she had grown up in Wilmington and the city was familiar to her. There are many inconsistencies with Cowan’s statements and accusations.

Next in the mysterious events is a woman named Myrtle Sheetz. Miss Sheetz was a close friend of Mary Cowan and Miss Alice Dawson. Miss Sheetz also came forward and gave damaging statements regarding James and his possession of a ring and watch that looked like it may have belonged to George Eyre which she had seen in the possession of Alice Dawson. Shortly after this, in early February in Wilmington, Myrtle Sheetz attempted suicide. Police wondered if was related to the accusations against James and Amos. It was stated that Myrtle lived in Chester prior to moving to Delaware and was an intimate friend of Mary Cowan.

Next, Myrtle Sheetz' relative, Pete Sheetz (I'm not making the names up!) was a man who supposedly found part of George Eyre's boat or a paddle. He was in the courtroom watching as the judge decided on bail for James. He was reported as standing on a chair for a better view of the arraignment .

The Sheetz name continues to weave in and out of this story. Standing next to James, it was reported as flanking him in support, was his brother George and Eddie Sheetz. Eddie was a fellow fisherman and good friend. He stood up for James. Just four years later Eddie and another fisherman went missing and their boat turned up but no sign of them. Maybe that is a coincidence as well but with sister Myrtle trying to take her life after offering damaging evidence against James and then Eddie disappears...they are certainly strange coincidences.

James’ parents, his wife Maggie and his sister Annie were faithful and regular visitors at the Media jail. Their support never wavered and they proclaimed the brothers’ innocence without doubt. Accusations and some unfounded statements blazed across the newspaper headlines. This most likely made James feel there would be no recovery of his reputation.

Whether it was too much scandal for James to bear or whether it was true guilt, James Pierce hanged himself on June 11, 1900 with the twine he was given to make nets and while away the time in his cell. Another prisoner in a cell near James reported that James said he did not feel well the night before. By morning he was hanging yet still alive. All efforts to save him failed and he died shortly after his condition was discovered in the morning.

Goodbye Notes

Among the letters in James' cell were the following:
"Mr. Fields, Please give this to my wife. Please write it off to this card and give it to my dear loving wife. Good-bye all. My god! Please do not worry over me. I am going to heaven with the angels. God bless you all. I know that it is hard on you. Please do not worry over me, God bless you. Good-bye all. I never killed George. I am innocent. Don't know nothing about it. I can't stand the pain, it broke my heart. Good-bye Maggie. God bless you all. God bless my children. They told me they were going to hang me and it broke my heart. Please God take care of my wife and children, my father, mother, sisters and brothers. God forgive me."

Another note: May God forgive me. I am innocent and my heart is broke. To think that I have to die for somebody else! Good-bye. God bless you Pinney. You don't know nothing about it, you are innocent. Because we were gunning that night, that is why we got blamed for it. I picked that boat up on December 12 and you never seen it. I put that boat in the ice house myself and I did not rob that boat house. And I think if they try the party who had the fuss over his boat they will get the right one. I heard him say he would get square with him one day."

Another Note: "My dear Maggie. For you were good to me, God bless you. I hope you the best of luck and please take care of my poor children. Goodbye all."

A newspaper article dated June 23, 1905 reported a finding of a rusted, hammerless, double barreled gun in the Delaware river near Raccoon creek. It started a rumor that it was the gun belonging to George Eyre. Eyre’s body had been found in January 1900 near where the gun was fished out of the water. Police examined the gun and despite the declaration of an Alpha Boat Club member that the weapon belonged to Eyre, it was revealed that it was not the same.
“Eyre had two guns, Nos. 8 and 10 with hammers while this is a No. 12 hammerless,” stated Detective Berry.

“It is alleged at the time of Pierce’s arrest that he pawned the weapon in Philadelphia. Had the gun been found during the time the case was being aired in court and entirely different aspect might have been placed on it. The skiff in which Eyre went gunning on the river has never been found and it is said search for it will be renewed in the vicinity of the place where this gun was found.”

At this writing it is unknown if the skiff was ever found.

Newspapers have the power to convict a person before they are tried when suppositions are made in print. This has happened in the past and certainly occurs today with the rush to be first to report an event. That being said, here are my theories:

James may well have killed George Eyre but it is my humble opinion that IF he did, it was an accidental shooting and he panicked to dispose of the body. A fisherman of low income causes the death of a millionaire. Who would believe that was an accident. I'll bet that may have gone through James mind if that was the scenario.

Another theory is the Pierce brothers had absolutely nothing to do with George Eyre’s death. True, James was guilty of infidelity and theft, however, nothing in the history of the reported friendship of the Pierce brothers and Eyre suggested there was anything but friendship between the men. Statements from neighbors and family made it clear they enjoyed gunning and fishing together.

A few people mentioned that Eyre was a benefactor in giving the family clothing and other goods. Surely if the motive for the friendship was only monetary gain, Eyre would be worth more to the men alive than dead. Hopefully more information can be uncovered to settle the unsolved murder. If James was innocent he deserves to be exonerated …even though it’s 108 years too late.


EDNA PIERCE, b. August 1889

CHARLES FORWOOD PIERCE, b. October 17, 1889; d. November 10, 1967, Cape May, New Jersey; m. SARAH MILES; b. January 14, 1893, Chester County, Pa; d. December 14, 1960, Cape May, New Jersey.

HELEN PIERCE, b. September 1893.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Mary Edna??

The documents on Edna's arrest arrived. She is referred to as Mrs. M. Pierce and dog gone it, I wish they had put her full legal name. BUT, the fact that a news article in 1900 refered to James' mother being arrested some 6 months earlier and the address on the warrant states her address is 35 Graham's our GG Grandmother Edna. Perhaps the M stands for Mary...that would be my best guess.

Anyone interested in these documents please contact me as I have them saved in PDF format. Mrs. M. Pierce was charged with Abuse and Surety of Peace. Lizzie Moseley is the complainant.

The other names listed are William Flynn, John Barbour and William Barbour and all live at 2nd and Edgemont Avenue.

William Bagshaw of 804 Edgemont Avenue is also being accused of something as he is listed with Edna/ Mrs. M. Pierce and each had to put up $50 bond. Maybe I should now request the arrest info on William Bagwell in hopes it has more information. Goodness, I sure wish I lived closer to the archives in Media.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Still waiting on Edna's court documents

To start with - I am working on James' bio and hope to post it tomorrow.

The info regarding Mrs. M. Pierce's arrest and court disposition has not arrived. I was told it would be sent on Friday, April 18th. It is still within a reasonable time frame for arrival, however, I had mailbox problems so that has me wondering. Tristan got home from work on Thursday (April 24th) and our mailbox was open and mail was scattered near the gate. My luck the court info was among the scattered mail so I'll kindly request it again.

The weekend was shot for any personal computer work I wanted to do. We have been tied up with reviewing different vehicles that get good gas mileage and went to a dealership to do a few test drives. We hate to get rid of the truck and camper but gas prices are crazy. If all works out we may be in a Toyota within the next few days. If it doesn't work out, then we'll just keep the truck and do what we're doing now - fewer trips and economizing.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Edna Pierce

In a newspaper transcript dated January 1, 1900 the following was written about James Pierce's former "sweetheart" Mary Cowan:

“It is a matter of record on the docket of Alderman Scott, of this city, that six months ago Mary Cowan was a witness in behalf of certain parties who had the mother of the Pierce boys arrested on the charge of slander. The case was dismissed"

Logic dictates that Edna Pierce would have been arrested sometime between May and July 1899. Well, the Delaware County Archives has a Criminal Transcript from Alderman A L Scott for a Mrs. M. Pierce for Abuse and Surety of Peace on September 1899. That is all the information they have for any Pierce during that time period.

My opinion is this must be James and Amos' mother Edna based on the report of the newspaper, the time frame and then the month of September in 1899 for the court info. Alas, I can not lay hands on the transcript but it is being mailed to me. As soon as it arrives it may have clues to Edna's full name. If, of course, it is indeed Edna Pierce and not another Mrs. Pierce.

The initial M intrigues me and I'm wondering if Edna's full name is Mary Edna. This speculation regarding her name has been brought up by cousins. Hopefully the transcript will reveal more clues. It will also be interesting to see the names of the parties who leveled charges against Edna.

On a personal note - Tristan arrived back from his vacation and loved Indiana. The weather was very nice but cool and he had some good times and met lots of people.

I made a good chicken carbonara dish last night that's a definate keeper. We plan to grill steak or fish this evening, walk the shibas and relax. Nigella's book Domestic Goddess has great recipes for cake that I have to try. My plan is to ask for Nigella's Express cookbook for my birthday unless I break down and buy it beforehand.

We were going to go to the Highland Games tomorrow but in keeping with saving gas, we may give it a pass instead of running the truck out to the fairgrounds. Gas is $3.58 for regular as of this morning and Doug's truck runs on midgrade (Ouch)at $3.67 per gallon.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Idyls of Old South Ward

It's hard to believe that we're half through the month of April. Tristan will be back tonight, at midnight, from his vacation in Indiana. I'm really looking forward to seeing him. We've had very nice weather this weekend - the exception is one small fast storm that blew in - and all the windows are open now. What a gorgeous Sunday.

I bought a new book. Cousin Mark turned me on to The Idyls of Old South Ward by John McDonough. This is a book that I have tried getting inter library loaned to me without success. Well, it's evidently being reprinted and I couldn't be happier. This book was originally printed by The Chester Times, copyright 1932. McDonough wrote his recollections of the people in the Upland and Chester area. There is mention of some relatives in the book so this will be fun reading.

First off, page 291 offers a chapter entitled Crossing the Delaware and the names George Eyre, Pinney Pierce and Tom Berry are under this header. The author gives a colorful description of the homes near Seventh and Barclay streets as well as a description of the Eyre family. George Eyre and his younger sister Helen. Then goes on to describe Jim Pierce and family. In his words:

"Heretofore I have dealt with some of the piquant characters among the many fishermen of the village, and in at least one of these sketches appears the name Jim Pierce. He was one of the most creditable citizens of this city and the first among fishermen to permit himself to be assimilated into the more methodical life and conventions of the village. He was the father of five children of whom I knew Jim, Amos, George and a daughter Mary.

There was nothing but good in the background of these humble people. They were honest, sober, industrious, kind and friendly folks, and as such they were respected, honored and beloved by all who knew them."

Well....we know Jim Pierce had 7 children but this is the recollection of a man from 1932. A full 32 years after Jim Jr took his life. By 1932 we know Annie and Laura were dead. Frank was still alive but no mention of him in this book - not even as one of Jim Pierce Sr.'s sons.

The interesting thing about this chapter is the tone of sympathy. In my humble opinion, it sounds like the author felt the Pierce family were very good people and that if Jim did kill Eyre, it was an accident. Evidently many of the fishermen of the community as well as "South Warders" were supportive of Pierce.

Remember, McDonough is writing from his recollections and that he was a friend of District Attorney Josiah Smith who was prosecuting the case. Maybe I misunderstood his reference to Smith and the statement that followed, but it sounds to me like McDonough believed in Pierce and thought it was an accident. He further brought up a few other cases which I need to look into. He states:

"Accidents of that type frequently happened. The tragic experience of Judge Clayton and Ben Heacock is familiar to all the South Warders.....but Pierce, poor boy, did not have the poise of Judge Clayton. In the panic of the tragedy that followed he must have lost his head."

Ok, so if the author is comparing the situation between our Jim Pierce with an accident Judge Clayton experienced....what did happen with Clayton? Goodness...if Jim and Amos Pierce were innocent, expect that of an accidental death, their names really do need to cleared. What an awful thing to spiral out of control.

More later...

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Update - What I'm missing

Can't believe I've made 35 posts since the resolution to get this Pierce family documented. Sometimes it feels like overload and I have to read or cook or do something else.

Anyway......... this is an update of what I did, a list of what I'm missing for each potential biographical candidate and what the plan is for the project.

What I did:
1) Printed out a genealogy report from Family Tree Maker with Edward as the oldest generation and his descendants following all the way down to my mother.

2)Looked through my electronic files on this laptop to see what info I actually have that I never entered in FTM.

3) Entered said missing info in FTM.

4) Made a list of what I am missing for each person and what theories I'd like to check on.

5) Subscribed to for the monthly trial for only $10. Found LOTS of articles that have been useful; neglected work (I mean work that I'm paid to do!); got burnt out searching and printing news clips.

What I am Missing:

Laura Pierce Slawter (1862 - after 1900)
I have information about the 1900 census she is on in NJ but do not have a copy.
Obituary: She was alive in 1900 but dead by 1910 - so I wish I had her obit. Need to check NJ and PA newspapers.
Cemetery info: I do not have cemetery information for Laura or husband George.

James Pierce (1864 - 1900)
1900 census- that is all I am missing. Since he died in June and I don't know when they did the census that year, he may still be listed with wife Maggie. This will be the big bio - I have sooooo much on the murder trial, census from years when he was with his parents, marriage info...but not the 1900 census.

Amos Pierce (1867 - 1940)
Census: Missing 1910, 1920 and 1930. I have the census where his wife and children are enumerated but he was off the grid.
Obituary - I could check the Delaware Co. Historical Society.

Annie Pierce (1868 - ?)
Obituary: She died after the 1900 census and before the 1910.
Cemetery info: Why can't I find her with the Pierces in the many grave plots they have? Was her name Hannah? There are three Annas and three Hannahs in Chester Rural but none seem to match up. Permit numbers are off and the date of burial would be way off.

George T Pierce ( 1871 - 1946)
Missing the 1930 census. Really I did think I had that, but can't find it.

Mary E Pierce ( 1874 - 1960s)
Census for 1930. Yes, I have a copy but it's a bad copy and I can't read it. Just looks like Franklin as head of the household.
Cemetery Info

Frank Pierce ( 1879 - between 1939 and 1943)
Obituary - The permit numbers at Chester Rural indicate he died between 1939 and 1943. I'll see if I can get someone to go look at the grave stone.

Edward Pierce (abt. 1805 - ?)
This is the brick wall. I don't know when he died or where he is buried.

The Plan!

As I shape the info up I have been putting it into a Word document. The entries are in birth order. I have editing to do, taking William Peirce out and placing him under the section titled UNKNOWN CONNECTIONS. There are many obits and mortuary notices that mention Pierces and Peirces that will be placed in that file.

Edward Pierce's bio is done but now I have to take a bit out because I can't prove he was moved to Mt. Hope in Aston. I am adding Laura and all the rest with what I have so far. If I can get the missing info, I will happily add it in.

Murder Trial - It is too much to transcribe but I want a synopsis of some of the procedures, accusations and results. Also, I will add the copies of the newspaper prints to a section about this trial, all on it's own. It's too much good info to leave out. It would be great to have as many cousins as we can get to read over the information and form a conclusion. That might make a nice addendum about what the descendants think. I have some theories I'll share this weekend.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Laura Pierce

It's bare bones for the Laura Pierce information. I'm trying to keep track and add census, birth and death info into my FTM...but there isn't anything for poor Laura. Here is the little bit I have in front of me. I should wait until I sort through everything, but I felt bad not posting...

Laura Pierce, born October 1862. Daughter of James and Edna Pierce.

1870 Census, Delaware Co., PA.
197th District, Middle Ward Chester
Post Office: Chester, PA.
Enumerated July 7, 1870, page 31
231 dwelling; 239 family

James Pierce age 33/ Laborer / born PA
Edna age 28 / keeps house/ born England
Laura age 8 / born PA
James age 6/ born PA
Amos age 3/ born PA
Annie age 1/ born PA

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

Laura married George Slawter around 1882. They had a daughter, Mary Edna Slawter, but she died in infancy on February 17, 1883.

Mary Edna is buried at Chester Rural in Section M, lot 116, grave 5.

1900 census states George was a ship's joiner by profession. George and Laura were living in Camden NJ. Laura states that she had given birth to 1 child but it was no longer living.

More to come.............

Friday, March 21, 2008

Murder on the Delaware River

I'm not slacking...I am printing many pages of newspaper articles covering the murder trial of James Pierce Jr. and his brother Amos. There is so much more to it than I originally thought. After reading it over, and seeing new information (as the press reported)I have come to a conclusion that Amos is totally innocent. James...well...I'm still swaying back and forth on that one. It was either an accident that George Eyre was killed and he panicked OR someone else did it. If you pressed me for a verdict right this minute I'd say James was innocent too. Yes, he was having an adulterous affair but I don't think he's a murderer. Cousin Char was so right - you can read and mentally convict them, then turn around and think they were framed.

James was fooling around with a crazy woman...that much is clear in the articles. But I think her testimony was vengeful and that she was just a bad person. Mary Cowan was less than credible. Everything fell apart when she turned up to testify against him. Hell, she couldn't keep herself out of jail (arrested and held for disorderly conduct) while she was in Chester waiting for further testimony. She'd helped other parties have James and Amos' mother arrested for slander only 6 months prior to the Pierce brothers arrest.

The next set of goals is to shape up the information on James and Edna's children. The 1910 census reports Edna had 8 children. The seven we know about are Laura, Mary, George, James, Amos, Annie and Frank. To take a break from James and Amos I think I'll start with one of the girls. More later......

Monday, March 17, 2008

James Pierce Sr., 1837 - 1911

1837 - 1911

James Pierce was born February 1837 in Marcus Hook, Delaware co, Pennsylvania. He was the fourth child of Edward Pierce and Jane Forsythe Pierce. James had three older siblings: William, Mary and Emma and a younger brother Thomas.

For generations, Pierce families lived in Marcus Hook. Most of the men were fishermen or rivermen by trade. Edward Pierce, James father, was no exception, and made his living fishing from the Delaware River. According to a newspaper article, James spent a good deal of his time “gunning and fishing along the waters of the Delaware River.”

The family was enumerated on the 1850 census, living in Marcus Hook Borough. Sometime after the 1850 census was taken, Edward moved his family to Chester.

1850 CENSUS Delaware Co., Pa.
Marcus Hook Borough
Edward Pierce Age: 45 Occupation: Waterman born PA
Jane 38 born in Ireland
Mary 15 at school
Emma 14
James 12
Thomas 10

In 1862, James married Edna Hulmes. She was born 1841 in England. The same year they had their first child, a daughter named Laura. 1865 their first son, James Jr. was born, followed by babies Amos and Annie.

By 1870, James, Edna and family lived in the 197th District, Middle Ward Chester. James’ reported occupation is a laborer. They have four children ranging in age from 8 to 1. Within the next ten years James moved to 35 Graham Street in the 2nd Precinct 3rd Ward, of Chester.

By 1880 the family increased with seven children in the household. The oldest, Laura, was working in the cotton mill. James Jr., Amos, Annie and George were in school. Mary and baby Frances (Frank) stayed home and kept Edna company. Later census reports indicate Edna had another child but it is unknown when the child was born and died.

In 1900 James was making his living as a fisherman. Most of his children had married and moved close by in Chester. His youngest son Frank was a fisherman also and most likely worked with his father on the Delaware River. James, Edna, daughter Annie and Frank still lived at 35 Graham Street. Annie was a confectioner and baked and sold her pastries and cakes in Chester.

The year 1900 brought tragedy to the Pierce household when sons James Jr and Amos were arrested and accused of murdering George Eyre, a resident of Chester. The family visited James and Amos in the Chester jail as much as they were allowed and publicly proclaimed their support and belief in their innocence.

Chester Times, January 25, 1900
There was a heart-rending scene at the door of the old lockup this morning early, when the father of the boys left them. He first spent some time with Amos who was on the second floor with tears in his eyes, a scene that brought tears to the eyes of some of the spectators. He said, “Goodbye, my boy, I will be with you again early in the morning.” He then turned his attention to James who was in one of the lower cells and gave him an affectionate farewell.

James was allowed to have rope to mend and weave fishing nets to pass the time. On June 11th James used the rope to hang himself, leaving behind a note for his family expressing his innocence as well as his brother Amos, and professing his love for his family.

1910 CENSUS, PA, Delaware, Chester, e.d. 103, 5-A, (T624-1338, p. 207) April 20, 1910, 35 Graham Street, HH 85/85
James Pierce, head, M, W, 73, m1, 45 yrs, PA, PA, PA, riverman, fisherman
Edna Pierce, wife, F, W, 69, m1, 45 yrs, 8 children, 4 living, ENG, Eng, Eng
Frank Pierce, son, 31, m2, 1 yr, no children, carpenter

Note: Only four children still living. Frank, George, Mary and Amos.

James died January 07, 1911 in Chester, Delaware Co, Pennsylvania.

Chester Times- Chester, Pa.,
Tuesday, January 10, 1911
DEATHS - Page 5

PIERCE--On January 7th, 1911,
James Pierce, aged 74 years.
The relatives and friends, also Post Wilde, No. 25, G.A.R., are invited to attend the funeral services, on Wednesday afternoon at 2:30 o'clock, at his late residence, No. 35 Graham St. Interment Chester Rural Cemetery.

Chester Times- Chester, Pa.,
Monday, January 9, 1911
Page 1.

Old Fisherman and Veteran of the Civil War Succumbs to an Operation.

The death of Captain James F. Pierce late Saturday night following an operation in the Chester hospital, came as a surprise and shock for the many friends and aquaintainces of the veteran
fisherman and soldier.
Captain Pierce located in this city when a mere boy, he having been born in Marcus Hook. Most of his life was spent gunning and fishing along the waters of the Delaware river and bay and he ranked among the oldest fishermen of this section.
Deceased served his country in the great struggle of the Civil War and was a member of Wilde Post, No. 25, G.A.R.. which organization will attend his funeral. His illness was somewhat protracted, but it
was only a few days ago that he was taken to the hospital in the hope that an operation would benefit him, but it proved too late.

Death certificate info:
James F. Pierce
35 W. Graham Street, Chester, PA
date of birth: July 1828 83 years old
born in Marcus Hook, PA
occupation: fisherman
died January 7, 1911
attended by Dr. Forwood from April 6, 1910 to January 7, 1911

Father: Edward Pierce birthplace America
Mother: Jane Forsythe birthplace America

Funeral director: N.W. Fairlamb, Chester
buried Jan. 11, 1911

1920 CENSUS, Chester City, Delaware Co., PA
Sheet 2B, Enumeration date January 2, 1920
Address: Graham Street

Edna Pierce HOH Age 79 / Widowed/ Naturalized 1861 or 1898/ Able to read and write/ Born England
Margaret F. Cloud grandchild / age 10 / single/ born PA/ father born New York/ mother born PA

Chester Times- Chester, Pa.,
Monday, July 2, 1923
Obituary - Page 12.

Mrs, Edna Pierce, who died on June 30, was the widow of James F. Pierce, and was well known in the section of the city where she had lived for years. She was 81 years old.
The deceased will be buried from the home of her son, George T. Pierce, 113 Penn St. friends and relatives may view the remains this evening.
The services will be held at two o'clock Tuesday afternoon. Interment will be at the Chester Rural Cemetery.

LAURA PIERCE, b. Abt. 1862.
JAMES PIERCE, b. January 1864.
AMOS PIERCE, b. November 23, 1867
ANNIE PIERCE, b. January 1868. died after 1900 before 1910
GEORGE TERRELL PIERCE, b. April 08, 1871
MARY E PIERCE, b. 1873.

1850 Census
1870 Census
1880 Census
1910 Census
1920 Census
Death Certificates
Chester Times Newspaper
Chester Rural Cemetery
Char Clark

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Update on William Pierce

A big shout out to my Jackson cousin, Chuck Phillips, who is very talented when deciphering old writing. Thanks Chuck! The earlier posts for William Pierce/Peirce, dated February 13th and 15th, had a few mysteries regarding the writing. The frow or froe (listed as part of William's property that was sold off) is a cutting tool. Chuck tells me it could be used to cut barrel staves or shingles among other things. And the notation VC after a few articles is actually an ampersand. Like a VC = the word "and" for "cups and" or "corks and ....". The V is an &.

Cousin Char has met another Pierce cousin who lives in Boston. We'll have to share all our info and see where we are on brick walls. Today the plan is to add to James Pierce's information and get it formatted to post tomorrow. After James we can move on to his children and the murder trial. Lots of good reading in those old newspapers. Stay tuned.....

Later today the Shibas will need a ride to the pet store for more food, new bowl and good walk around the lake.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

1870 Census Emma Pierce Gartside

1870 Census - Chester, Pa.
Amos Gartside 39 MW Manufacturer ENG
Emma Gartside 33 FW Keeps House PA
Lizzie Gartside 9 FW PA
Mary Gartside 4 FW PA
Alice Johnson 21 FW Domestic Servant PA

This census and the one for 1900 was missing from the research. Thanks Char for the 1870 census info!
I was totally sidetracked with new research databases to try. First I started with the 7 day free trial of It has many good features and if you need pension info or military records it's fabulous. Unfortunately I could only access it for a few days. The reader wouldn't load up so I canceled the trial early before I was charged. Next one I am currently trying is called Genealogy Bank. It's 30 days for 10 bucks and it's a bargain. I have printed so much from other lines and I'm afraid I've gotten rather distracted from the Pierces. So, I am back to listing my goals for each Pierce generation.

Books - I finished Chocolate and Zucchini and it was a good recipe book. Didn't get too many out of it but it was great to read. Geraldine Brooks novel The People of the Book was very good in my opinion. One of the reasons I like old used books is the mystery of where they've been. Still plugging away at The Rebels of Ireland by Rutherfurd. I love Ireland. Maybe one day Doug and I can go back and see where his Culbertsons lived in the north.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Emma Pierce

This will be a two-parter as my "Emma info folder" is divided between my desk at work and my file cabinet at home. That's what I get for trying to review info during down time at work. Ha... Here are some of the basics and I'll add to this info tomorrow.

Emma Pierce
1835 - 1892

Emma Pierce was born February 25, 1835 in Chester, Pennsylvania to Edward and Jane Pierce.

She married Amos Gartside around 1855.

1860 Census - PA Delaware Co. South Ward p232 2nd St.
Amos Gartside 39 MW manufacturer ENG
Emma Gartside 24 FW PA
Kate Gartside 02 FW PA

*John Gartside was born October 1856 but he is missing in the 1860 census. Must have died young.

1880 Census - PA Delaware Co. Chester ED18 p338 2nd St.
Amos Gartside self M MW 52 Mfg ENG ENG ENG
Emma Gartside wife M FW 46 PA PA PA
Bessie Gartside dau S FW 19 PA ENG PA
Mary Gartside dau S FW 14 PA ENG PA
Bertie Gartside dau S FW 02 PA ENG PA

Emma died April 28, 1892 in Chester, Pennsylvania and was buried May 01, 1892 in Chester Rural Cemetery.

Amos died May 05, 1895 in Chester, Pennsylvania. He is buried in Chester Rural Cemetery.


JOHN GARTSIDE, b. October 1856

Other notes on Emma provided by Char Clark:
On July 7, 1870 James Pierce bought lot N116 at Chester Rural Cemetery. Emma Gartside
bought lot N117, evidently to bury Henry Pierce who died 7/5/1870. Thomas and Jane were moved to this lot from another cemetery 5/15/1876.

The Gartside family owned most of section N, lots 4,5,6,29,30,and 31.
Emma and Amos are buried in one of those lots. Her residence at time of death
as 2nd and Fulton St. Chester, PA.

Friday, March 7, 2008

The latest

It's been awhile since I could post anything. I got side tracked with a cool website that I just discovered called Find-A-Grave. Evidently it's been around awhile but it's new to me. So I posted some of my families burial information at Lawn Croft Cem. in Linwood, Upland Baptist Church cem. in Upland and Chester Rural cemetery. Some of the sites I was able to successfully upload photos and others I evidently didn't follow directions and got a nicely worded rejection email from Find-A-Grave. Oh well...I'll figure it out.

Then I discovered and have been going crazy trying to get as much info as possible within my 7 day free trial. Today the "reader" wouldn't load so I couldn't get anything.

Also, we've had some really rotten weather here lately and have been under flood watch for quite some time. Lots of limbs down in the yard...not tiny branches but big limbs. Last but not least - the past weekend Doug and I went over and over the pros and cons of buying this very nice house in Tallahassee. It has a huge kitchen and many amenities that we longed for. But in the end, we looked around our home and's home. So, Squirrel Head Manor is secure for the time being. Maybe we'll want to move in years to come or when we retire..but we just aren't ready now.

As for the Pierce documentation I am still going ahead with rounding off the bios fro Edward's children. I have Emma and James to finish up that generation. On the plus side, the printed info is coming out nicely and I've added scans of many of the original (copies of the originals) documents. Once Emma and James are done I'll mail a draft off to Cousin Char. We make a good team.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Mary Jane Pierce

The following info is what's on file for Mary. I wondered if Lewis Collison, age 12 on the 1860 census, is the son of Isaac and Mary. But that would mean she gave birth at age 13. Possible ... yet hard to believe. Further investigation on Mary and Isaac's wedding date and later censuses is in order.
** Addition - cousin Char sent the 1880 census info. It has been added below. Thanks Char!

Mary Jane Pierce
1834 - 1907

Mary was born in 1834. She is the daughter of Edward Pierce and Jane Forsythe.
About 1847 Mary married Isaac Collison. Isaac was born in 1829.

The Collison family is enumerated on the 1860 census in Chester, Pa.

1860 Census - Chester
Isaac Collison 31
Mary Collison 25
Joseph Collison 26
Lewis Collison 12
Henriettta Collison 56 (Isaac's mother?)
Martha Farrell 75 (grandmother?)

1880 Chester, Del Co p 355A shows

Isaac Collison self M WM50 Painter PA PA PA
Mary Collison wife M WF58 PA PA PA
Jos. Collison other S WM48 House Painter PA PA PA
Pauline McLean other S WF cotton mill PA NY NY

Pension Roll of 1883
Delaware County, PA
Isaac Collison was enumerated on this census which lists US Civil War pensions granted by the government. Certificate # 119,424 . The roll states he lives in Chester. Pension was granted because he was paralyzed on the left side. His monthly allowance was $24 per month which started October 1872.

Mary died March 4, 1907 and is buried at Chester Rural Cemetery, Section N, Lot 116, grave 1.

Also buried in Section N, Lot 116 is Martha Farrell, died 10/16/1877

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Rain, dogs, food, books.....

I got sidetracked doing other things and couldn't add any Pierce info this week. But I thought I'd do an update as it keeps me motivated. It's been a hectic week. We had LOTS of rain and some roads in the area are closed due to flooding. When Doug and I ride in to work we can see the river is so high it almost touches the bridge we drive over.

Tonight it's going down to 38 and tomorrow the prediction is a low of 24. Brrrr. Hopefully we won't get anymore rain though. Our driveway looks like hell.

Tuesday morning we were awakened by Kobe and Aja yelping about a stray dog roaming around the house. It was a large pit bull with a surprisingly sweet disposition. This poor guy just wanted in the house. You could tell he was used to being indoors - he kept trying to come in. He'd walk around the house and stare up through the windows. By Tuesday evening when we returned from work he was still there. We'd hoped the owner would come around and call for the old guy but alas.... so I had to take him to an animal hospital and hope he gets a home. Doug walked Kobe and Aja and I drove the dog to Tallahassee. I told Doug I felt like a real redneck girl - driving down I-10 in his big pickup truck, blasting country music with a pit bull in the back seat. Ha!

Monday evening I made chicken burritos and we had the leftovers last night.
Oh, and I made more chicken noodle soup and added sweet potatoes to this batch.
The only goals/plans I have for this week are to write out what I have on Edward Pierce's other children, watch Lost Thursday evening and make chicken Marsala tonight or Friday. I'm almost done with Chocolate & Zucchini and am only a few chapters in The Rebels of Ireland. When I'm done with Rebels I want to start a new book by Geraldine Brooks called The People of the Book. It sounds good. The subject matter is one of the reasons I love used books so much. It is about all the people who have had this old old book; all the people who had hidden it over the ages and what their lives were like in their time period. Small artifacts in the spine of this book like a drop of wine stain, an insect wing or a piece of hair are discovered by a librarian. The librarian (Hannah)researches this cool book.

Anyway...that's all I've accomplished and here is the burrito recipe.

Chicken Burritos
16 oz canned black beans
16 oz canned refried black beans
2 or 3 boneless chicken breasts
6 medium or large flour tortillas
2 1/2 cups cheddar, Kraft Mexican style cheddar or Montery Jack combination of cheese
2 cups cooked white rice
8 oz can tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
abt. a teaspoon each of cumin, chili powder and garlic powder

Cook the chicken breasts and chop in small pieces. Or get a rotisserie chicken or precooked chicken and shred it up into small pieces. Roughly 2+ cups for the amount needed.

Mix tomato sauce with 1/2 cup water and add spices. Heat but not to boiling. In a separate bowl mix the two cans of black beans. (I can't always find the refried black beans but when I do it's in the Mexican food section of the grocery aisles and it really does make a diffidence in the texture. You can still use regular black beans but you'll need to drain and discard the juice of one of the cans.)

Line up your assembly line for the burritos with your pan of tomato sauce, pan of rice, black bean mix, bowl of cheese and the chicken. Now put a few tablespoons of sauce in the bottom of a 9x12 glass baking dish.
Put one tortilla on a plate and a tiny bit of sauce in the center of tortilla. Now place some rice, bean mix, some cheese and then chicken.

Roll up the burrito and place in the dish. Repeat for the other 5 tortillas. Cover the burritos with the rest of the tomato sauce mixture then top generously with cheese.

Cover with foil. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove foil gently and bake another 5 or 10 minutes so the cheese is gooey. I get the burritos out of the pan with two spatulas and sometimes they even stay together. One is very filling and a salad goes well with it.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Estelle Pierce Jackson

This is totally out of order regarding the time period I'm working on.
I'm working on the generation that was born in the 1830 time period. But..... my son scanned these great shots of my mother and I wanted to put them up now.

The top photo is my mom Stella with Aunt Estelle Clark. Mom was named after Aunt Stelle. This is taken at the Clark household on Edgemont Avenue, right across from Chester Park. It was a cool house. My Uncle Samuel had a large yard and a Toulouse goose that followed him around. The goose hated everyone except my Uncle Sam.

The picture of Mom with my brother and sister, Linda and Jimmy, holding the new puppy Fritz. The other photo captures my mother when she was a teenager standing on a Chester street - maybe outside her family home.

More on William Pierce (Peirce)

One of the very cool benefits of putting research on the Internet is the instant gratification of input. Collaborating in this effort is my beautiful cousin Char whom I am indebted for her copious collection of census information on the many Pierces of Delaware County.

The following is info she had about William Henry Pierce and I'm happy to add to his profile. The end result of neatly written biographical accounts, accompanied by sources for information, will make a nice booklet.

Willam Henry is listed on the 1850 census living with his uncle Thomas Forsythe.

1850 PA Delaware Co. Borough of Chester p64

Thomas Forsythe 31 M Painter PA
Susannah Forsythe 24 F PA
Anna J. Forsythe 8 F PA
Eliza Forsythe 7 F PA
Thomas Forsythe 5 F PA
Henry Pearce 17 M Painter PA

On the 1860 he is listed in the household of his Mother in law Arcadia Harris

1860 PA Delaware Co. Chester Twp. PO: Chester p106

Arcadia Harris 56 F NJ
Susannah Harris 27 F PA
Zilby? Harris 20 M PA
Wm Harris 18 M PA
Louisa Harris 15 F PA
Joshua F Harris 7 M PA
Wm. H. Peirce 27 M House Painter PA

Arcadia Harris died in 1869......

Delaware Co. Republican
Dec. 3, 1869

Death on the 30th ult. Arcadia Harris, 70 yrs, at the home of her son in law Wm H. Pierce Front St. between Fulton and Parker.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Monday, February 18, 2008

Thomas F Pierce

1850 CENSUS Delaware Co., Pa.
Marcus Hook Borough

Edward Pierce 45 occ: Waterman born PA
Jane 38
Mary 15 at school
Emma 14
James 12
Thomas 10

Thomas is also enumerated on the 1860 census. At age 19, he was recorded in the household of Martha Kerlin. Occupation is Apprentice plasterer/ born PA.

August 30, 1861
Delaware County Republican
Death Notice

Death of a Returned Volunteer - Thomas F. Peirce, a member of the Union Blues, died in this borough on Tuesday morning last of typhoid fever. He was a young man of irreproachable character, and a good soldier, always prompt to obey the commands of his commanding officers. On hearing of his demise, his companions in arms assembled in public meeting at the town hall in this borough, at which a committe was appointed consisting of Lieut. J.G. Stacey, Sergeants William B. Stevenson and William Eves, Corporal Chas. Story and Private Reece L. Weaver, who offered the following preamble and resolutions, which were unanimously adopted by the Company presnt. The funeral of the deceased took place on Thursday afternoon. The hearse was draped in mourning and over it and the coffin was placed the American flag. The Union Blues, accompanied by the Chester Brass Band, escorted the remains of their comrade to the grave, and interred them with the honors of war. It was the first military funeral in our midst for several years, and the slow measured tread of the soldiers, as they marched with reverse arms, the band playing a dirge for the dead, amde the occasion solemn and imposing.

Buried Chester Rural Cemetery, Section N, Lot 117, grave 4