Saturday, February 4, 2012


This article is a stub. I am trying to sort out the conflicting information on ships carrying Pearsons to America. I will put source information here and come back and sort it out.
Edward PEARSON was born in 1648 in Wimslow Parish, Pownall Fee, Cheshire, England. He died on 3 Jun 1697 in Bucks Co., Pennsylvania. Edward and his family came to America on the ship "Welcome" in 1687. They presented their credentials at the Quaker Meeting on 4/1/1687.

Edwards' brothers, Thomas and John came to America on the ship "Endeavor" in 1684.

See Pearson Lineage for reference to Endeavor and many other source citations.

Fallsington Monthly Meeting House

Three Pearson brothers, John, Edward and Thomas, left England and arrived in Pennsylvania around 1683 - 1687. My lineal descendant is Edward.

Sources consistently record that Edward, 1651 - 1697, was born in Wilmslow Powell, Cheshire, England and died at "Falls MM, Bucks County, Pennsylvania". Edward married Sarah Burgess, 10 years his junior. She survived his death by 10 years. Source, see citation 1016 and 1017, Family Tree Maker. This source lists the last two children, Phoebe, born 1685 in Morley Meeting House in Pownall Fee, and Martha, born 1687, in Darby Meeting House, Pennsylvania. If true this would date Edward's arrival in America within those two years. Note. The source does not list John Pearson, 1728 - 1790, as a child of Edward and Sarah. this needs to be reconciled.

Fallsington (Falls) Meeting House 1933
The Falls MM referred to where Edward died is a reference to Fallsington Meeting House at 9300 New Falls Road in Meetinghouse Square near the intersection of New Falls and Tyburn Roads, in Fallsington. Today, the area is part of the city of Levittown. It was the first Friends meeting established in Bucks County, which, itself, was established in 1682. As a witness to Friends' testimony for simplicity, no gravestones were used until the 1850's. Image from Some Old Quaker Meeting House in Pennsylvania and part of the original meeting house no longer exists, and what is pictured is a building constructed in 1789. The building today is operated by the Friends as a Day Care Center.

For additional information on the meeting house, see the above source and  Historic Fallsington.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Beginnings of the Pearson Family

Peter was the first Pearson

The Normans introduced the practice of surnames in England, no doubt in order to collect taxes. Later, when the feudal system was abolished and land could be owned outright, surnames took on a legal necessity. Occupational surnames became common, names such as Smith, Chapman, Brewer, Baker, Wright and Taylor. So too, baptismal names, William-son, John-son, David-son, and Peter-son.

The French speaking Normans spelled Peter "Pierre". Thus, we have Pierson, Peersonne, and Pearson. During the First World War, when my grandfather was in France, he chose for a time to revert to the spelling of his last name as Pierson. This is a good lesson for those who follow records. The spelling of names change.

Edward Peersonne

If we have to pick a date and a place, let us choose 1575 when Edward Peersonne was born.The place of his birth is uncertain, a statement which needs some explaining, and some understanding of history.

England in the 1570's

It is England in the 1570's. Pope Pius V excommunicates England's Queen Elizabeth I. Martin Frobisher discovers Frobisher Bay while searching for the Northwest Passage, and Francis Drake leaves Plymouth to begin his circumnavigation of the globe.

William Shakespeare is still a wee lad and England has not yet begun to colonize North America.

St. Bartholemew's Church, Wilmslow Parish

St. Bart's

There is Wilmslow Parish on Mobberley Brook, in Bollin Township, Cheshire, England. Here is the 16th century church of St. Bartholemew's, and its parish records, evidence of the birth of Edward's nine children, many of whom are given Dayne Row as the place of their birth.

Today, there exists a Dane Drive and Dean Row in Wilmslow, with Dean's Row appearing to be the more ancient of the two. It is a dangerous thing, but let us assume that it is Dean Row where Edward's nine children were born. It lies about a mile east of Wilmslow in the midst of fields and from this we may guess again that the Peersonnes were tillers of the fields. The name and the occupation are coincidental of William Langland's Middle English literary creation Piers Plowman.

I said the place was uncertain.

St. Wilfred's

There is the 13th century St. Wilfred's church in Mobberley Parish, built on the remains of an even more ancient Saxon church, lying to the west of Wilmslow.  It is here in the parish cemetery that in 1656 on August the 16th, Robert Pearson was the first person buried at Mobberley Quaker Cemetery.

St. Wilfred's church, image credit churchcrawler

All of this is known from the Wilmslow parish records. I am not taking credit for the information. That credit goes to Wally Garchow and Corinne Diller and others who took the time to look over baptisms, marriages, and deaths and record the information.

Ancestry now provides this information to the public.

Making sense of history

Making sense of a few records is no easy matter.

What happened in Edward Peersonne's life is for the most part unknown and always will be.  Between  Edward's birth in 1575 and Robert's death in 1656, many historical events took place. Kings would come and go, a Commonwealth was for a time the government. William Shakespeare had written all of his plays and was now dead and buried many years. America was a thriving colony that beckoned many Englishmen and women seeking a better life.

And yes, George Fox had a vision that man could directly receive a vision from God. Quakerism, his religion was gaining in popularity and counted among its adherents 60,000 souls. Pennsylvania would call on many Quakers, including some named Pearson.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Elizabeth Janey (Janney) - mother of Edward Pearson

Image of St, Wilfred's from Wikipedia

Elizabeth Janey (Janney), 1620 - 1675, wife of Lawrence Pearson and mother of Edward and Thomas Pearson, is buried in St. Wilfred's Church, Mobberley, England. See Elizabeth Janney.

For an image of the church and other information, visit the website of Craig Thornber.

A thumbnail history of Lawrence and Elizabeth is given by Rootsdigger.

Lawrence was married in the Quaker meeting to Elizabeth Janney, of a very active Quaker family. Elizabeth, wife of Lawrence, was buried 13 Aug 1662 at Mobberly. She was dau[ghter] of Randle Janney and Ellen Allred. In 1657, Lawrence Pearson of Wilmslow Parish refused to pay a tithe, and had a horse worth three pounds confiscated to pay an eight shilling tithe. In 1665 Lawrence Pearson of Pownall Fee was arrested at a Quaker meeting and jailed for two months. In 1650, Lawrence Pearson was imprisoned for testifying in the streets at Highfield, County Derby. In 1660, Robert Pearson, his brother, was put in jail for refusing to take an oath.
The story has a ring of truth. Elizabeth lived until 1662, Lawrence until 1673 or 1674. In his will he identified his profession as mason. His will left "unto my sonne Edward the dishboard, the little plow, and the little pair of plow irons, etc." The other children, including Thomas, received shares of the tiny estate.

Consider that Lawrence and Elizabeth's two sons Edward and Thomas left England about 1683 and settled in Quaker communities in Pennsylvania.

Brothers John, Thomas, and Edward

 * I just found that brother John preceded Thomas and Edward to America. Here is the site. Ancestry

It was Thomas' brother John who made the first move to Pennsylvania. He became one of William Penn's First Purchases in England by receiving the grant of 259 acres of land to be laid out in the Province, the deeds of lease for the end release for the tract being signed by Penn, March 2, and 3, 1681, in his land office, in historic old George Yard in Lombard Street. Thomas accompanied his brother to Pennsylvania. John's grant of land was surveyed for him in Marple Township, October 25, 1683, and there he and Thomas proceeded at once to make their settlement. Later John formally deeded the tract to Thomas and went to live a little further to the North over the line in Newton Township. In 1684. at the Chester County Court, Thomas was made road supervisor, as well as constable of Marple Township. On several occasions he served in the grad Inquest of the court. In 1686 he was brought to the bar for drunkenness and swearing. This backsliding of his young manhood, however, was of short duration, for soon he was participating in other public was well as Quaker meeting service. In 1689, he became tax collector for Marple, and in 1690, overseer of the Springfield Meeting. He died in 1734 on the Marple homestead of his first settlement, and doubtless lies buried in the Springfield graveyard with his wife and others of this family in unmarked graves.

SOURCE: Steve Pearson's Descendants of Edward Peeresonne

Brothers Thomas, 1653 - 1722, and Edward Pearson, 1651 - 1697, came to America to settle in Willima Penn's colony, sailing aboard the Comfort of Bristol in 1683. Thomas would settle in East Cain Township, Pennsylvania acting as Deputy Surveyor for William Penn , while older brother Edward went to Falls Township, Pennsylvania. See Thomas Pierson.

Then again, a different family record has the same brother Thomas "marrying Margery Ellen Smith, daughter of Robert Smith and Ellen Williamson on February 3, 1682 in Cheshire, England;" and, in 1683, the two departing from Liverpool and crossing in the ship "Endeavor". See Pearson. See also Rootsdigger.

Edward and Thomas were sons of Lawrence Pearson and Elizabeth Janey. Father Lawrence was an active Quaker back in the tiny community of Wilmslow, England.
In 1657, Lawrence Pearson of Wilmslow Parish refused to pay a tithe, and had a horse worth three pounds confiscated to pay an eight shilling tithe. In 1665 Lawrence Pearson of Pownall Fee was arrested at a Quaker meeting and jailed for two months. In 1650, Lawrence Pearson was imprisoned for testifying in the streets at Highfield, County Derby. In 1660, Robert Pearson, his brother, was put in jail for refusing to take an oath.

Edward and Thomas' reasons for departing England, thus, seem primarily religious. They were, like their father Quakers. And by 1680 Quakers, in England, were imprisoned and even executed for failing to follow the Anglican faith. The Quakers, formally called Religious Society of Friends, began in England in 1652, based on the teachings of George Fox, 1624-1691. Quakers, so-called because of their ecstatic revelations, were considered radical Puritans, because the Quakers carried to extremes many Puritan convictions. But radicalism would seem a misnomer. Quakers taught a renunciation of violence, freedom of conscience, and a sober deportment which glorified of "plainness." Theologically, they preached an indwelling of the "Light of Christ" in every person, and in their meetings houses shared that light.

The Family Tree - Edward Peeresonne

The Family Tree of Edward Peeresonne 

This is the family tree of Edward Peeresonne as it relates to James Madison Pearson, his father Benjamin Rush Pearson and his father James Madison Pearson, all of Tallapoosa County, Alabama.

The younger James Madison Pearson was my grandfather. He was known to me and my cousins as Daddy Matt. We knew him when he lived in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, after he retired from a career in the Army. It is not unusual that he went by his middle name Matt and not James. It was a custom of tricking the devil, who back in the day took so many children at an early age.  Death could not take James if Matt was his name.

My grandfather had three daughters and a son, Fletcher, who died early in life. The daughters all married (Davis, Fletcher, and Campbell are the names) and now there are cousins everywhere. My cousin George Campbell, like me, has taken an interest in the family name.

What is in a name?

Names are identifiers.

Saying "hey you" gets confusing in a group. So, someone came up with names like Peter, Paul, John, etc. These names all had meanings. Peter meant rock in Hebrew, the French version, Pierre, still means stone, but for most of us names just become names. Incidentally, my name Arthur, could be derived from the Celtic elements artos "bear". I like that, but it is just a guess.


Along came William the Conqueror in 1066, and defeated King Harold for the Kingdom of England. French entered the language.

Edward is a good Anglo-Saxon name. In fact, it was the crown of the childless King Edward the Confessor. Our Edward had a father named Peter or Pierre, and to distinguish father and son, Edward became Edward Pierresonne. It is as likely that Edward could have become Edward Peterson, but he didn't and so the name of Pearson entered history.

Edward Peersonne

 Our Edward Peersonne enters history in 1575.
 Descendants of Edward Peeresonne

Generation No. 1

1. EDWARD1 PEERESONNE was born Abt. 1575 in Bollin Twp., Wilmslow Parish, Cheshire, England, and died July 25, 1648 in Wilmslow, Cheshire, England.

Source: Wilmslow Parish Records
Pierson Family

There are claims that family has its roots in the Vikings of Scandinavia. That is a claim that can't be proven except for the blond hair and blue eyes that occasionally pop up, as it did in me.

The first Edward Peersonne as churchwarden

This first Edward Peersonne is found in the Wilmslow churchwarden's books of 1631.

The Parish priest was assisted each year by at least two churchwardens, one chosen by the priest, one by the parishioners. The churchwarden served for a year and entered in the books transactions on the church and its land holdings. They also wrote Settlement Certificates identifying church goers as members of the parish.

In 1631, Edward transcribed some of these records and was reimbursed for his efforts. One writing lists Edward as a thatcher. Yes, a thatcher is one who places straw on a roof.


Edward Peeresonne lived in Pownall Fee, near the modern city of Manchester, England.

Edward Peeresonne, 1575 – unk., m. unk.

Edward Peeresonne, 1594 – 1648, m. unk.

Lawrence Pearson, 1620 – 1675, m. Elizabeth Janey, 1620 -1701


The first Pearson in America was Edward Pearson, son of Lawrence.

He was born in Wilmslow Powell, Cheshire, England and died in Falls MM, Bucks County, Pennsylvania. (Falls MM refers to Fallsington Monthly Meeting in Falls Township in eastern Pa. near the Susquehanna River. See my later post on Fallsington.) Pennsylvania was created as a colony for English Quakers. It was organized by William Penn. Bucks County was established in 1682, and was a destination for Quaker immigrants.

This section is questionable.
Edward's wife Sarah Burgess came to America in 1683, on a ship from the Barbados. COLDHAM, PETER WILSON. Bonded Passengers to America. 9 vols. in 3. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1983. Vol. 3. London, 1656-1775. 179p. Another source says that Edward and Sarah were married in Pownall Fee, Cheshire England and had several children there before leaving for America. Family Tree Maker.
Edward Pearson, 1651 – 1697, m. Sarah Burgess, 1641 – 1707

Enoch Pearson, 1683 - 1758, m. Margaret Smith.

John Pearson, 1728 – 1790,  m. Sarah Hall, unk.  John Pearson was born in Pennsylvania, married, also in Pa., to Sarah Hall in 1756, and died in Union, South Carolina.

Enoch Pearson, 1757 -1831, m. Diana Head, 1760 -1833. There is a photo of a grave stone for E. Pearson in the Pearson Cemetery in Union, South Carolina.

William Head Pearson, 1780 – 1841, m. Mary White, 1790 – 1883.

James Madison Pearson, 1817 – 1891, m. Elizabeth Ann Brown, 1823 - 1861

Benjamin Rush Pearson, 1849 – 1906, m. Sally Coleman Ferrell, 1852 - 1906