JAMES F. PIERCE
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
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
DEATH OF CAPTAIN PIERCE
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
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
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.
Children of JAMES PIERCE and EDNA HULMES:
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.
FRANCES PIERCE, b. 1879.
Chester Times Newspaper
Chester Rural Cemetery