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

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