Family: William Pearce / Elizabeth Massey (F1061)  [1

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  • Father | Male
    William Pearce

    Born  Between 1770-1780   
    Died  Bef 06 Feb 1850   
    Father  Windsor Pearce | F1062 Group Sheet 
    Mother  Mary Searcy | F1062 Group Sheet 

    Mother | Female
    Elizabeth Massey

    Born  Between 1775-1780   
    Died  Between 1840-1850   
    Father  James Massey | F12386 Group Sheet 
    Mother  Jane Poe | F12386 Group Sheet 

    Child 1 | Female
    Margaret Pearce

    Born  1813   

    Child 2 | Female
    + Jane Pearce

    Born  1810   
    Spouse  Jesse Murray | F1068 
    Married  21 Mar 1834  Randolph County, NC Find all individuals with events at this location

    Mary "Polly" PearceChild 3 | Female
    + Mary "Polly" Pearce

    Born  2 Feb 1811   
    Died  10 May 1891   
    Buried    Moore County, NC at Pleasant Hill United Methodist Church Find all individuals with events at this location
    Spouse  Bradley C. "Red Brad" Brady | F10726 
    Spouse  Isaac Maness | F1066 
    Married  19 Feb 1829  Randolph County, NC Find all individuals with events at this location

    Child 4 | Male
    Reuben Pearce

    Born  08 May 1816   
    Died  10 Dec 1888   
    Buried    Randolph County, NC at Old Mount Olivet Cemetery Find all individuals with events at this location
    Spouse  Elizabeth Gatlin | F1067 
    Married  01 Mar 1860  Randolph County, NC Find all individuals with events at this location

    Child 5 | Male
    + Thomas M. Pearce

    Born  1821  Randolph County, NC Find all individuals with events at this location
    Died  c1892   
    Spouse  Edith Griffin | F0122 
    Married  23 Dec 1840  Randolph County, NC Find all individuals with events at this location

  • Sources 
    1. [S1081] Todd Dorsett [], 09 Jun 2010.
      William has always been a mystery. He's like the invisible generation between two very visible ones. I tend to believe the version that William was older, born around 1765, and that he and his first wife, assuming he was married twice, had no surviving issue. The documents pertaining to the estate settlements clearly shows that William left only Jane, Margaret, Mary, Reuben, and Thomas; therefore, if he had had any children to a first wife, they died without issue. The estate papers also indicate that Windsor left surviving him only Mary Spinks, Pharabee Moore, Olive, Keziah, and William. NOW....some researchers seem convinced that Reuben Pearce, of Clarke county, Alabama, was Windsor's son. This would certainly make sense. Reuben is a Searcy name; the one in AL died before Windsor died; and AL Reuben appears to have been childless. is conceivable that when the pleadings regarding the estate of Windsor Pearce were drafted, the scribe deemed it unnecessary to mention Reuben. (Today they would mention him just to set the record straight that his line is extinct.) BUT if Reuben were Windsor's other son, then that would explain the male you discuss from the Census records, living with Windsor.

      Also, if we could determine the date of birth of Reuben, we probably could better determine the date of birth of William, because the eldest son would, without doubt, have been named for William Searcy. So, if Reuben were born in 1770, we could assume that William was born in the 1760s. &c.

      Now, I have found this rule-of-thumb very helpful: You could count on XVIII and XIX century mothers to have borne children till around age 43 or their death, whichever came first. So if we assume that Keziah was the youngest child of Windsor, we can pretty well say that Mary Searcy Pearce was born no earlier than 1737, give or take a year. It is just a fact that during that period, women produced children about every other year from the time they married (or not) until they were roughly 43. It is reasonable to conclude that Mary Searcy Pearce was born around 1737, and that Windsor was easily a few years older, thus making him old enough to be the man in the earliest land records yet not too old to have lived to 1823.

      If we assume that Mary Searcy Pearce was born around 1737, then she could easily have borne children as early as 1757. I'm not so sure that she did, but she certain bore Pharabee in 1769.

      BOTTOM LINE: I suspect that Reuben Pearce, whoever he was, is the younger man in Windsor's household. Don't forget, also, that some of those men in the household could be employees; they didn't need to be family. The four women were probably Mary and the daughters Mary, Olive, and Keziah.

      As far as William's wife, the genealogy regulars around Randolph county have suspected she was a Bennett. Consequently, I had suspected some connection to the William Bennett who purchased Windsor Pearce's SC land in 1786 (which would be, I think, near the present Bennettsville, SC). But it seems very odd that William and his wife (if Molly of 1792 was indeed his wife) had no known children prior to the birth of Janette/Jane (Mrs. Jesse Murray) around 1809.
      Furthermore, I have always suspected a relationship to the Sugg family who lived near William Pearce's family at Erect. The uncommon name Merritt comes down in both families, and there seemed to be a close bond among these family members. I have also wondered why Thomas, the son of William Pearce, was called "Thomas M. Pearce." As you probably know, when several men in a given locality had the same name, some would interpose the initial letter of their mother's maiden names as their own middle initials. So why wasn't our Thomas "Thomas B." (if his mother was Molly Bennett) or "Thomas K." (if his mother was Polly Keane)? Perhaps his middle name was Merritt? Or did his mother's maiden name start with "M"?

      There was a lady a few years ago who asked whether there were any Pearces buried in Old Mount Olivet Cemetery. She specifically mentioned our Reuben and Thomas, and speculated that they were sons of one Elizabeth, daughter of James Massey, of Chatham county, who died in 1818. Apparently, this particular James Massey was the father of none other than Sarah, wife of Joel Sugg, who was the mother of Warren Sugg (Wake county), Merritt A. Sugg, and Russell M. Sugg (the latter two from Erect, Randolph county). And James Massey apparently mentions in his will his daughter Elizabeth PEARCE. James Massey also had children THOMAS, Russell, Margaret, and Mary, the latter two daughters having married Bryans. This is not ready to submit to the jury; however, I believe the circumstantial evidence is convincing. It all certainly answers positively many questions I have had over the years. And the Chatham county connection may explain why we could never before find a marriage we knew was positively our William Pearce. The Chatham records from that period seem sketchy...Apparently James Massey was a substantial citizen of Chatham, and he seems to have married Miss Jane Poe, daughter of one of the Simon Poe fellows who were likewise prominent in Chatham in the late Eighteenth century. Consequently, the Massey and Poe families should not be too difficult to trace.

      When William Pearce got old and could no longer generate income, he deeded everything to his son Reuben, a carpenter, who was the sole bread-winner for the family at that time. So Reuben ended up with around 800 acres of land, and Thomas M. got nothing. Then Reuben married Elizabeth Gatlin but never had children. From all I have seen, Elizabeth was a good wife, daughter, sister, and aunt to the Pearces (I think she had been a teacher.). But when Reuben died and left the choice portion of his estate to Elizabeth, the Pearces were infuriated. Even though Reuben divided the farm fairly equitably amongst his widow, nieces, and nephews, and gave Thomas and Edith life estates on the part of the farm they occupied and cultivated, Thomas and his sisters' families still challenged the will. Of course, they lost, and the portion of the estate which would have come to the Pearces, Manesses, and Murrays, etc., had to be sold to pay the costs of suit, etc.

      Interestingly, Reuben made no mention of Uncle Alex in his will, and Alex was not party to the subsequent nonsense. I have to wonder what my great-grandfather, John, must have been thinking when he joined in that suit. He was comfortably situated in Davidson county, and had, from nothing, amassed a respectable estate of his own (which my grandmother then spent trying to get cured of tuberculosis). Had they not contested the will, they would have inherited small portions of a large farm. And "Aunt Elizabeth" might have looked kindly upon them still. Instead, they got nothing, and Thomas M. died in the process.

      Now back to the Bill of Sale in 1792. We assume that Tommy Pearce was William's youngest child; at least he is the youngest of whom we know anything. He was born around 1820/1821; therefore, if we use the rule that his mother could not have been more than about 43 when he was born, his mother was born no sooner than 1777/1778. If Molly Pearce of the 1792 Bill of Sale was William's wife, she was not likely Tommy's mother; for she would have been but 14 or 15 at the time she signed the Bill of Sale. Not impossible but unlikely.

      At the same time, Janette/Jane Murray is the eldest child of William of whom we know anything, having been born around 1809/1810. Between Jane and Tommy there is a fairly tight succession of siblings:
      1. Jane 1809/1810
      2. Polly 1811
      3. Margaret c1813
      4. Reuben 1817
      5. Tommy 1820/1821

      These five were probably full siblings. If they were not, someone certainly would know that. Thus Jane was probably the first-born or nearly so, making her mother born probably in the 1784-89 range. That is the correct range for Elizabeth, daughter of James and Jane (Poe) Massey; it also comports with the 1830 Census enumeration. (Note that there must have been a daughter about Tommy's age who died young; also that the 1830 Census lists William as born 1770-80, which may or may not be correct. Transactions which would require him to have attained his majority occurred as early as 1788, making him born no later than 1767. That fits perfectly for his being Windsor and Mary's eldest son, born immediately prior to Pharabee.)

      According to "Ancestors of Bonnie Patricia Hackney," by Bonnie Partin, the estate of Mark Sugg, administered in Chatham county, was sued (November 1824) by the following group: John Newton, Burrell Olive, Richard Johnson, Edmund Price, William Lynch, Ann Mitchell, and Joseph and William Pearce. Mark Sugg was a brother of Joel Sugg who married Sarah Massey, sister of Elizabeth, whom I presume to have been the wife of William Pearce.

      Also per Bonnie Partin: On September 26, 1821, land belonging to Russell Massey, deceased, was sold at Pittsboro (county seat of Chatham) by William Pearce, administrator.