Friday, August 31, 2012

Ivory Wilkinson AKA Ivory Peirce AKA Ivory Moulton Part 2

The sensational headlines!
The Boston Globe, 3 December 1885
Front Page!
Yesterday I outlined the history and the lawsuit of Ivory W. M. Peirce to contest thewill of railroad millionaire Thomas W. Peirce.  What I found most interesting is that the newspapers in 1885 included entire transcripts of the testimony.  This testimony gave me much detail about the family dynamics and the family tree, including some names that did not show up in the Maine vital records. 

The following reads like a bad soap opera, but was actually extremely helpful to me! 

For example:

According to Ivory Wilkinson Moulton Peirce: “I went to my mother and asked her who was my father, and she told me Thomas W. Pierce and it was honorable; I was indignant at that and left her; I did not ask when or where she was married; have had nothing to do with her since; I saw her two years ago in Sanford but never had a word with her about the subject; should think she was married about 1845 by the name Julia Wilkinson; think she went by the name of Peirce before that in Sanford… Took the name of Peirce when 17 years old; after my mother told me about my parentage…” [reported in The Boston Daily Globe, Boston, Massachusetts, 19  November  1885, page 5 “Peirce’s Alleged Son”]  (All records after he left Maine, including his military enlistment in the Civil War, marriage in Massachusetts and his children's birth records all name him as Ivory W. M. Peirce, except for a run in with the law when he used the name "Ivory Sanford".) 

Or more testimony by Ivory W. M. Peirce: “My mother has other children by Mr. Witham; don’t know how many; visited my mother a few weeks ago; I saw a daughter, Georgie, down there. I have seen a son named Charley. I think he is older; have heard of one named Sarah Witham; you know as much as I do about them; have heard others mentioned; another girl; have reason to suppose there are four, but I don’t know but that she had a dozen others; I never heard of any older than myself or any younger except the Witham children; I presume my mother was married to Mr. Witham and know she was to Mr. Thomas W. Pierce; don’t know who my mother lived with in Sanford, Me., except my grandfather; Don’t know that she lived with Reuben J. Wentworth; I don’t know about her marriage to him, and I don’t think anybody ever did but you. Don’t know of mother having any relatives living; don’t know whether she is living or not. I understood she was married.  I understand she had another sister, Lucy Morrison. She had a brother James Wilkinson who died a few months ago. Have seen her sister, Hannah Ricker, in Lynn. Have been at her house in Great Falls, N.H.  Have seen her a great many times.  She visited me once in Lynn. She has no husband. I think he is dead.  I saw her last three years ago. Saw Lucy last in Sanford, Me. some ten or twelve years ago.  I know that Charles Witham is in Charlestown State Prison now.  I think I’ve never heard of James or Stephen Witham.” [The Boston Globe, Boston, Massachusetts, Wednesday, 2 December 1885, page 1, “Latest”] 

I found these children and more listed in the Witham household in census records, and I did also find Julia Wilkinson's marriage and divorce records to Reuben Wentworth, and her Witham marriage. I also found Hannah Wilkinson's marriage to Benjamin Franklin Peirce Ricker, and Lucy Wilkinson's marriage to Joseph Morrison.   I'm wondering if there were any closer kinship ties between the Wilkinsons and the millionaire Peirce family since Benjamin Franklin Peirce Ricker's first wife was a Mercy Peirce! 

There was even some testimony by Jeremiah Moulton, Ivory’s foster father:  “Ivory W. M. Peirce when he came to us, was called Ivory Wilkinson.  He was upon the town at the time, and a small pittance was paid for him awhile, and then we adopted him.  He was a hard boy.  An old gentleman and lady used to come to see Ivory from Farmington. They said their name was Pevey.  A question as to an alleged declaration by the old gentleman that Ivory was his grandchild was ruled out.  Never told Ivory Wilkinson that his name was Peirce.  Never told him that his father’s name was Thomas W. Peirce.  Never had any such conversation with him.  Knew Julia A. Wilkinson.  She use dto visit Ivory when he was with us.  Didn’t know her before that.  Knew she was a woman of bad repute.  Knew she had on child older than Ivory, a daughter, whom she used to go see, and one younger that couldn’t go alone.  Had a conversation with Ivory W. M. Peirce last Friday in Sanford.  He told me that he was the son of Thomas W. Peirce, and talked as if he was the sole heir.  He said that he had commenced to break the will.  That he should not have thought of doing much about it if the lawyers hadn’t put him up to it.  He thought there would be a compromise.  Cross examined:  I was born in 1825.  Kew Julia A. Wilkinson was of bad repute before Ivory was born, after she had the daughter.  First heard of it after the birth of the girl.  Knew the latter was called Sarah Ann Wilkinson.  She married William Wentworth, the son of Rufus Moulton.  They lived together as married people.  Don’t know where she is.  Witness left Sanford in the April he was 20.  Ivory Wilkinson came to the Moulton family when he was five years old…. He was 21 years of age when he first called himself to us Ivory W. M. Peirce.  It was before my father’s death, and he died 15 years ago.  I was told he was living in Lynn under that name by George Hussey and William Stackpole.  Ivory wrote father about his parentage.  Witness never inquired of him why he called himself Peirce.  When he left witness’ place he told him: “Don’t you wear my name any longer.” And he supposed that Ivory picked another one.” [from The Boston Herald, Boston, Massachusetts, 3 December 1885, page 3 “Trying to Break a Will”] (It is rather sad that as a child Ivory Wilkinson was auctioned off to be kept by the Moulton family.  New England town records are full of records of children, elderly spinsters and paupers being auctioned off in the days before Poor Farms and Poor Asylums.  I don't know the relationship with the Peavey family yet, and I haven't found a birth record for the daughter, Sarah Ann,  Julia Wilkinson supposedly had before the birth of Ivory, but I did find Sarah Ann Wilkinson's marriage to William Wentworth.)  

And some testimony from Simon Tebbetts of Sanford, Maine, deputy sheriff: “Knew Julia Wilkinson prior to 1839 and Knew of Such a Child as Ivory Moulton, and knew that she had a girl older than this boy.  She lived at the “brick schoolhouse” between Sanford Corner and Alfred.  She had the reputation when younger of being a very bad girl.  Cross-examined: Have been a trial judge and am now a farmer.  Had known Julia Wilkinson had a bad reputation before she gave birth to a child.  Should not refuse to shake hands with her as she was a pretty girl …..  Heard that Julia Wilkinson had gone to South Berwick or Kittery to work some two years before witness met Thomas W. Peirce.  Tom used to come up to Springvale to do business for his father, who sold liquor to the hotel and also dealt with firms doing business there.  Never heard of his going to the house of Julia Wilkinson’s father, but thought he had heard his name in connection with Julia Wilkinson’s.  Did not hear it in connection with a marriage.  He never married her, in witness’s opinion, but was going with her prior to the birth of a child.” [from The Boston Herald, Boston, Massachusetts, 3 December 1885, page 3 “Trying to Break a Will”]

According to my calculations, Ivory Wilkinson AKA Ivory W. M. Peirce would be my 3rd cousin 3 generations removed. With these newspaper articles, and over two dozen other articles, I was able to also piece together the extended family.  Many of the names were unknown to me before this month, but after finding the names in the newspapers I was able to find them in some Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts vital records.

1.                                                Thomas Wilkinson (abt 1690 - before 1739)
2.                                                James Wilkinson (abt 1730 - abt 1800)
3.       Joseph Wilkinson (1757 - 1842)                         William Wilkinson (? - after 1840)
                       I                                                                          I
4.       James Wilkinson (1786-1860)                            Aaron Wilkinson (1802 - 1879)
                        I                                                                         I
5.       Julia Wilkinson (about 1820 - 1904)                  Robert Wilson Wilkinson (1830 - 1874)
                        I                                                                         I
6.   Ivory Wilkinson AKA Ivory W. M. Peirce             Albert Munroe Wilkinson (1860 - 1908)
7.                                                                                 Donald Munroe Wilkinson (1895 - 1977)
8.                                                                          John Warren Wilkinson (1934 - 2002) my Dad
9.                                                                                       Yours Truly

To find all this nice juicy family information in newspapers I used:   - Free 10 newspaper views per day if you sign in with Facebook   - by subscription or free through your public library  - by subscription or free through your public library 

Chronicling America  Free newspaper search online from the Library of Congress


Click here for the first blog post about Ivory Wilkinson


Copyright 2012, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

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