Saturday, September 24, 2016

Surname Saturday ~ PIERCE of Charlestown and Woburn, Massachusetts


Thomas Pierce (1583 – 1666), my 11th great grandfather, is of unknown origin.  He was made a freeman on 6 May 1635 in Charlestown, Massachusetts, and he received a land grant of 4 acres at Charlestown in 1636.  By 1638 he owned 10 lots totaling 97 acres.  He married Elizabeth Unknown , who was admitted to the church at Charlestown on 10 January 1644/5, and Thomas was admitted on February 21st.

In 1643 Thomas Pierce moved his family to Woburn, where he was made a proprietor in 1643.  He made his will in Cambridge in 1665, at the home of Thomas Danforth, the treasurer of Harvard College.  There was a provision for the college, as well as for his wife and children in his will.

Thomas Pierce's Will
Cambridge in New England, Novemb. 7th, 1665

I, Thomas Pierce of Charlestown, aged about 82 years, being throw the goodness of ye Lord of sound judgment & memory, and in some measure of bodily health, do ordaine & hereby declare my last Will and testament, in manner and form following; viz: my soul, which I believe is imortall, I do desire humbley and believeingly to resign it unto the father of spirits, who gave it to mee, and to remit borth body and soul into the everlasting mercyes of God, the father, Sonne, and Holy Ghost. My body I desire it may be decently interred, at the discretion of my loving wife whom I do ordaine and make sole Executrix of this my Will. And for my outward Estate wherewith the Lord hath gratiously blessed me, I do dispose thereof as follows, viz. to Harvard College twenty shillings to be payed within one year after my decease. To Mary Bridge, and Elizabeth Jeffs, two of my grand-children now dwelling with mee I do give ten pounds apiece, to be paid by my Executrix as soon as she can with convenience, but not to be compellable thereto for and during to years after my decease. The residue of my estate, my just debts and funerall expenses being first payed, I do give and bequeath unto my loving wife Elizabeth, to have and to hold the same during her life, and at her pleasure to be helpful to any of my children as shee shall see meet in her discretion, by giveing or lending to them any part thereof: And before he deceased I do give her power to make her will, and by the same to bequeath nay part thereof by gift or legacy as shee shall see meet, and after her decease such part thereof as sahll beby her unexpended, and not disposed of by her before her decease, I do will and bequeath ye same in manner following - viz: To all my grandchildren I do give ten groates apeece, and the remainder to be equally divided among my children. My will is that the younger shall have eaquell with the eldest, I have formerly done for them according to my ability. Finally I do nominate my loving friends, Mr. Ri: Russel * Mr. Thomas Danforth*, and my sonne Jno. Pierce overseers of this my will; by whose advise and consent of them or the more part of them I do give my Executrix full power to settle all my lands on such of my sonnes, as shall approve themselves in the feare of God, and duty to their aged mother, and on such conditions as they shall meet also I do nominate Lift. Randall Nicholls (this name is in place if one erased, I think Lowden) to be added to my overseers above named, provided always it is my declared will yt my Executrix shall not alienable or dispose of any of my lands so as to deprive all my sonnes of the same, but I do giver her power by the advice of my overseers as above is expressed to dispose of the whole to any one of my sonnes according to her discretion, but not to divide the same into parcels. In witness whereof I do hereunto sett my hand and seal the day and year first written.

Thomas Pierce is the ancestor of two US Presidents.  He is the ancestor of Barbara Pierce Bush, wife of President George H. Bush and mother of President George H. W. Bush.  He is also the ancestor of President Franklin Pierce.

My PIERCE genealogy:

Generation 1:  Thomas Pierce, born about 1583 in England, died 7 October 1666 in Charlestown, Massachusetts; married Elizabeth Unknown.  She was born about 1595 and died after 22 March 1667 in Woburn, Massachusetts.  Eight children.

Generation 2: Thomas Pierce, Jr., born about 1620 in England, died 6 November 1683 in Woburn; married on 6 May 1635 in Charlestown to Elizabeth Cole, daughter of Rice Cole and Arrald Unknown.  She was born about 1619 and died 5 March 1688 in Woburn. Thirteen children.

Generation 3:  John Pierce, born 7 May 1643 in Woburn, died 25 May 1720 in Woburn; married on 1 July 1663 in Woburn to Deborah Convers, daughter of James Converse and Anna Long.  She was born 25 July 1647 in Woburn.  Ten children.

Generation 4: Ebenezer Pierce, born 1687 and died before 16 May 1766 in Wilmington, Massachusetts.  He married Mary Wilson, daughter of Samuel Wilson and Elizabeth Pierce (no relation).  She was born 10 April 1685 in Woburn, and died 17 January 1747 in Woburn.  Nine children.

Generation 5:  Deborah Pierce, born 4 November 1709 in Woburn, died 1739; married on 11 March 1730 in Woburn to Increase Wyman, son of Nathaniel Wyman and Mary Winn.  He was born 1 March 1707 in Woburn and died 5 September 1739 in Woburn.  Five children.

Generation 6: Increase Wyman, born 4 June 1732 in Burlington, Massachusetts, died before 1776; married to Catherine Unknown.  She died 19 January 1783. Ten children.

Generation 7: Jemima Wyman m. Joshua Burnham
Generation 8: Jemima Burnham m. Romanus Emerson
Generation 9: George Emerson m. Mary Esther Younger
Generation 10:. Mary Katherine Emerson m. George E. Batchelder
Generation 11: Carrie Maude Batchelder m. Joseph Elmer Allen
Generation 12: Stanley Elmer Allen m. Gertrude Matilda Hitchings (my grandparents)

Published under a Creative Commons License

Heather Wilkinson Rojo, " Surname Saturday ~ PIERCE of Charlestown and Woburn, Massachusetts”, Nutfield Genealogy, posted September 24, 2016 ( accessed [access date]). 


  1. I've searched in vain, for 20+ years to find anything I can on my New England Pierce Grandfather- James I. Pierce ca1802-1877. Resident of Connecticut for most/all of his life. Many incorrect parents listed out there. But nothing true or correct. I'm sure he matches up to an old Pierce family, but just can't make the connection. Will keep at it another 20 yrs I guess :)

    1. I'm sorry we didn't make a cousin connection, Nicholas. Maybe someone will see your posted comment and have an answer for you. Fingers crossed!