Richard Pearse, Jr., Marine Private

Richard Pearse, Jr. According to his widow Candace Pearse’s pension application #W-4308, Richard Pearse was born in 1761. According to genealogical sources, Richard Pearse, Jr. was born in Bristol, RI on 27 October 1762 to Captain Richard Pearse (1737-1809) and Phoebe Munro (1743-1811) who were married two years before on 27 December 1759. According to the pension records, the sixteen or seventeen year old Pearse enlisted for no specific term as a Marine on the frigate Confederacy from February or early March 1779 at New London and served for about fifteen months until his discharge in May of 1780 at Philadelphia. He served on the Confederacy’s maiden voyage to Delaware and on her cruise to Martinique and back. The claim of Richard Pearse for service as Marine on the Confederacy in the amount of $50.03 including interest to 18 May 1780, the presumed precise date of his discharge, was adjusted by the Treasury Department on 1 May 1792. Purser Nathaniel Richards, Surgeon’s Mate Phineas Hyde and Surgeon John Gardiner were declarents for his pension application. One Richard Pearce had previously served as a Marine onboard the sloop Providence under Captain John Paul Jones as early as June 1776 and the prize ship Alexander in September 1777, however it appears unlikely they are the same person. Richard Pearse, Jr. would have been only fourteen at the time, enlisted as a boy rather than a marine and likely would have mentioned this service in his pension application. Richard Pearse, Jr. was married to Candace or Candis Peck on 28 October 1781 by Silvanus Martin in Rehoboth, MA three weeks after their intentions were published on 6 October 1781. It is possible that the Justice of the Peace and Pearse met earlier in December 1776 when Captain Martin led a company of militia from Rehoboth to Bristol in Colonel Thomas Carpenter’s regiment in response to the alarm of her burning by the British. Candace Peck, born on 25 March 1764 in Rehoboth, was the daughter of Jonathan Peck and Ruth Wheeler. At the time of the Pearse wedding, both were residents of Rehoboth; however it appears Pearse lived a short time immediately after his discharge in his hometown of Bristol, RI. The pension application indicates that Pearse left naval service prior to his marriage, suggesting that his service was limited to the frigate Confederacy only. Subsequently the couple resided in Dighton, MA, Middlebury or Middleborough, VT and Sudbury, VT. The location of birth for their first eight children in Dighton indicates that the Pearse family moved there within months of the marriage and lived there between 1782 and 1796. Richard’s occupation as a hatter is revealed in an advertisement published in Rhode Island by the U.S, Chronicle dated 12 March 1789 offering “To Be Sold, Very Cheap for Cash, Final Settlements or Massachusetts Securities- A Small well finished DWELLING HOUSE, HATTER’S-SHOP, and other out Buildings and Three-Quarters of a Acre of excellent Land now appropriated for a Garden, with a good Well of Water on the Premises- situated in Dighton, Massachusetts at Four the Corners.” Still in the trade at Dighton five years later, Pearse advertised in the Herald of the U.S. on 25 October 1794, “WANTED As an Apprentice to the HATTER”S BUSINESS, a LAD, not under 14, nor exceeding 16 Years of Age. Three years later in January 1797, Richard Pearse placed two ads in the same newspaper offering a reward for indentured apprentices John Mason and Nathaniel Smith who “hath disobeyed my orders and absented” themselves from his service. The rewards were to be paid upon their return to him in Middleborough, VT. In Middleborough or Middlebury for less than a year, son Timothy’s testimony in the pension application indicates Richard Pearse, Jr. and his family moved in 1797 to Sudbury where the younger four children were born. Interestingly, Pearse appears to have been involved in a March 1801 Middlebury court case in which he was awarded a considerable judgment against tanner Moses Goddard which was appealed to the Vermont Supreme Court. A short biography of his son Timothy suggests that Richard Pearse engaged in farming in Sudbury after the move. The Pearse children included: Mary born 4 February 1782 who married Daniel Rust (1769-1850) on 6 November 1799 and died in 1872; Jonathan born 7 April 1784 and died in 1802; James born 16 June 1786 and was surviving in 1858; Richard born 29 May 1788 who died prior to 1858; Phebe born 27 June 1790 who married Orren Wright (1783-1846) on 20 September 1810 in Sudbury and died in 1884; Robert Monrow born 24 December 1791and died in 1834; Rufus born 8 June 1794 who died prior to 1858; Emily born 11 March 1796 who died prior to 1858; Harriott born 24 December 1798 and died 17 June 1823; Timothy born 26 May 1801 and died 13 October 1846 at Pittsfield, OH; William Ellery born 20 September 1803 who married Rispah Bisby Newton (1801-1882) on 8 June 1827 in Sudbury and died 29 June 1863 in Oberlin; and lastly, Sylvanus born 21 April 1810 and died 27 March 1867 at South Bend, IN. Continental Navy veteran Richard Pease, Jr. died 6 September 1834 in Rutland, VT. After his death, Richard’s wife moved to Ohio to live with her son Timothy. Timothy Pearse was a farmer, “a man of marked educational attainments, and was, at the time of his death … in comfortable financial circumstances.” The widow Candace Pearse, surviving her caretaker son by two years and her husband by fourteen, lived on in Oberlin, Lorain County, Ohio until her death on 8 August 1848.

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