Tuesday, August 13, 2019
52 ANCESTORS IN 52 WEEKS 2019 WEEK 32: THOMAS PIERCE SR. OF CHARLESTON AND WOBURN, MA.
Thomas Pierce/Peirce was my 9x great grandfather and another of my colonial immigrant ancestors. I've found his probate file at AmericanAncestors.org and while his will is fairly easy to read, the inventory was written on both sides of another sheet of paper and the ink leaked through, so it's difficult to make out the items of his estate.
Ellery Bickford Crane wrote this brief biographical sketch about Thomas:
Thomas Pierce came from England in 1633 or 1634 with his wife Elizabeth and settled in Charlestown, Massachusetts. His wife Elizabeth was admitted to the church January 10, 1634, and he was admitted February 21, 1634-35. He was admitted a freeman May 6, 1635. He was one of the twentyone commissioners appointed September 27, 1642, "to see that salt peter heaps were made by the farmers of the colony." He removed to Woburn and was a proprietor there in 1643 and was elected to town offices. His wife Elizabeth was born in England, 1595-96. She stated'her age as seventy-one 1n 1667. He died October 7, 1666. His will was dated November 7, 1665, aged about eighty-two years. He bequeathed to wIfe Elizabeth, grandchildren Mary Bridge and Elizabeth Jeffs now dwelling with him; to all grandchildren; to Harvard College. The widow deposed to the inventory March 22, 1666-67, aged seventy-one years. The children: John, mariner, admitted to church at Charlestown, 1652; Samuel,married Mary ;Thomas, Jr., see forward; Robert, married, February 18, 1657, Sarah Eyre;Mary, married Peter Jeffs and had Elizabeth; Elizabeth, married Randall and Nichols; Persis, married William Bridge and had child Mary; married (second) John Harrison; she was admitted to the church at Charlestown November 30, 1643; Abigail, born June 17, 1639.-p449
Historic Homes and Institutions and Genealogical and Personal Memoirs of Worcester County, Massachusetts: With a History of Worcester Society of Antiquity, Volume 1 Lewis Publishing Company, New York, N.Y.1907
The reference to a salt peter commission reflects the importance to the colonists of making their own gunpowder because of the conflicts with Indians and the French to the north,