Saturday, November 24, 2012

Surname Saturday ~ Peirce of Watertown


John Pers/Peirce of Watertown was a freeman in Watertown in March of 1637/38 .  He was granted his first lot of land on 10 May 1642, and later bought three more lots.  He was a weaver by trade.
His daughter, Elizabeth, was insane before 1661 and her children were given to John Peirce in guardianship.  His will, and his wife’s will names their children and grandchildren.  For the story of the Ball children, see my Surname Saturday post from last week --------------------------------.

Will of “John Perc” 4 March 1657/8, proven 1 October 1661

In the name of God amen the fourth day of the i mo Anno Dom 1657/8 I John Perse of Watertowne in the County of Midlesex in New England weaver, being through the Lords mercy in good health, Sound mind and of good understanding. do make and ordaine this my last will & Testamt. My poore mortall Soule I do Desire freely and humbly to leave it in the everlasting Armes of the mercies of God the father in Christ Jesus My body I comitt to the earth to be decently buried at the Discreation of my Executrix, And as for my outward estate wch the Lord hath been pleased of his goodness to blesse me with all, and for a short time to make me Steward of, My Will is that (my funeral expences and all other my just debts being first payd and fully Sattisfied) My loveing wife Elizabeth Perse shall freely have and enjoy the same i.e. my dwelling house outhouses and all my lands Cattle, corne, & all other my goods and Chattlells Debts and Dues of what wr or kind soever, out of wch, my will is that shee the said Elizabeth with in one yeare next comeing after my decesae shall pay or cause to be payd unto my Eldest sonne Anthony Perse Twenty shillings and to the rest of my Children ten shillings a peece, to be payd in Country pay, also I Do hereby nominate & Appoynt the above said Elizabeth Sole Executrix of this my last will and Testamt In witness whereof I the said John Perse have here unto put my hand & seale the Day and yeare first above written
John Pers

Watertown, Middlesex County Probate #17450, the will of Elizabeth Peirce

In the name of God Amen I Elizabeth Pearse of wattertowne in the county 
of Middlesex in New England doo make and ordaine this my last will and 
testament in maner and forme following, viz I being aged and sicke of 
body but of good and perfect memory blessed and praysed be God first I 
recommend my soule and spirit into the handes of god that gave it hoping 
through the merits of Jesus Christ to have eternall life: and my body to 
the earth whereof itt was made and to be buried at the discretion of my 
executor hereafter mentioned Imp I give and bequeath to my son Robt 
Pearse all my meadow or sixteene pound Sterling at the liberty of my 
executor: also I give and bequeath to my son John Pearse 2 of my cowes 
now in the hands of John Ball Jur when ther time comes out with him: also 
I give and bequeath to my dauther Ester Moss one of my fether beds wch 
she shall make choice of and one bolster one pillow one covering one 
grene blanket and my yoke of oxen now in the hands of John Ball Jnr when 
ther time comes out with him: also I give and bequeath to my dauther Mary 
Coldum my best green Ruge and one paire of Sheets and my bigest brass 
Keatle and all my wearing clothes and my great looking glass and my cob 
irons: also I give and bequeath to my two grandchildren Mary and Ester 
Ball six pound to each of them to be payd by my executor two yeare after 
my decease and then to be improved for and to ther use by the discretion 
of my executor untill the time of their maridge or the age of eighteene 
yeares and then to come into their hands with the p'duce further I give 
and bequeath to my grandchild John Pearse son to my son Anthony Pearse 
twenty shill also I give and bequeath to my grandchild Mary Pearse 
dauther to my son Anthony twenty shill also I give and bequeath to my 
grandchild Judah Sawen twenty shill: also I give and bequeath to my grand 
child Ester Moss dauther to Joseph twenty shill: also I give and bequeath 
to my grand child Judah Pearse dauther to my son Robt Pearse twenty 
shill: and all the rest of my estate both houses lands goods cattle 
chattles debtes or whatever is mine I do hereby give and bequeath to my 
son Anthony Pearse and I doo hearby make and ordain my Aforesaid son 
Anthony Pearse my full and sole executor of this my last will and 
testament requiring him to perform all and every part hearof according to 
the true intent and meaning thereof in witness wherof I have hearunto 
anexed my hand and seale this 15th of the first month in the yeare 

Some sources for Peirce genealogy include Peirce Genealogy: being the record of the posterity of John Pers, an early inhabitant of Watertown, by Frederick Clifton Pierce,   1880 (available to read at Google Books) and the Pierce Surname Project at

Some famous Peirce descendants include President Franklin Peirce  (1804 – 1869), President Calvin Coolidge (1872 – 1933),  and Barbara Peirce Bush (born 8 June 1925), First Lady and also mother of a president.

My Peirce genealogy:

Generation 1:  John Peirce, born about 1588 in England, died 2 September 1661 in Watertown, Massachusetts; married before 1609 to Elizabeth Unknown, who died on 12 March 1668.  Eight children.

Generation 2: Elizabeth Peirce, born about 1620, died about 3 October 1665 in Lancaster, Massachusetts; married as his first wife to John Ball who died 10 September 1675.   Five children.  Elizabeth’s sister, Judith (1623 – 1650) was the second wife of my 9x great grandfather, Francis Wyman (1617 – 1699).  

Generation 3: John Ball m. Sarah Bullard
Generation 4: Daniel Ball m. Mary Earl
Generation 5: Mary Ball m. Joseph Mixer
Generation 6. Lucy Mixer m. Andrew Munroe
Generation 7: Andrew Munroe m. Ruth Simonds
Generation 8: Luther Simonds Munroe m. Olive Flint
Generation 9: Phebe Cross Munroe m. Robert Wilson Wilkinson
Generation 10: Albert Munroe Wilkinson m. Isabella Lyons Bill
Generation 11: Donald Munroe Wilkinson m. Bertha Louise Roberts (my grandparents)

Click here to read a bit of genealogical serendipity involving the Peirce family and my daughter’s wedding plans

Click here to read about another Peirce connection- the story of Ivory Wilkinson AKA Ivory Peirce

Copyright 2012, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

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