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.