I have a lot more research to do on this family, but here is what I have thus far…Richard Pierce (often Peirce or sometimes Pearse) was born 15 April 1725 at Middleborough, Plymouth County, Mass., the son of Thomas Pierce and Naomi Booth. He is my seventh great-grandfather on my grandfather Arthur Washburn Davis’ side of the family.
On 12 December 1745 Richard married Mary Simmons at Freetown, Bristol Co., Mass. Mary was born 9 October 1723 at Freetown, the daughter of Abraham Simmons and Ann Lee.
Richard and Mary had three children, first two births recorded Middleborough Vital Records:
Zilphah born 9 June 1746 m. Michael Mosher of Middleborough 30 Oct 1770
Jesse born 12 July 1747
Richard who m. first Lydia Boothe of Middleborough, 29 Aug 1776; 2nd Sarah Boothe of Middleborough, 28 Nov 1789
I descend through Jesse and his wife Ruth Perkins.
Richard was elected one of the deer wards at Freetown in 1752. Richard Peirce appears on the roll of the company of Capt. Job Peirce in service at Rhode Island in 1777, and in Col. Theophilus Cotton's Regiment, but possibly Richard Peirce Jr. According to family, he was a sergeant in Captain Abiel Pierce's company, which marched on the Lexington Alarm, 19 April 1775, to Marshfield. He was a corporal in Captain Levi Rounsevel's company, Colonel David Brewer's Regiment at Roxbury in summer of 1775. His son Richard also served in the Revolution.
Apparently Richard left Mary and lived with another woman, Lois DeMaranville, who is said to have been of Acadian descent. Her name is from family tradition and not from records. He did not divorce Mary, so their co-habitating would have been illegal. Family tradition states that Richard and Lois had 11 children, but I have not confirmed that with records: Abner, Naomi, Russell, Thomas, Eli, Levi, Preserved, Zadoc, Philip, Lois, and Lemuel. If all those children were in fact Richard’s, he would have been 73 when the last was born!
The town authorities of Middleborough in or before 1815, and the Overseers of the Poor of Lakeville recently, denied that Richard and Lois were ever married, or if they were, asserted it to be illegal, as Mary the first wife was alive and she and Richard not divorced while the latter was cohabiting with Lois.
Nothing was done to Richard legally for this breach of order, as people pitied him for the wrongs that he had suffered from the conduct of his wife Mary Simmons. A pauper descendant of this 2d marriage was rejected by Middleborough or Lakeville on the plea that the children of Richard and Lois were all illegitimate.
I haven’t found death information on Richard or Mary and I have not yet researched court records to see what kind of antics Mary was up to. If anyone knows about this or has some resource suggestions, I’d very much like to hear from you.
Sources Not Included Above:
Ebenezer W Peirce, The Peirce Family of The Old Colony, 1870
Ebenezer W. Peirce, The Peirce Family, printed in NEHGR in Jan., April, July 1867and October 1868
William Richard Cutter, editor, Historic Homes and Places and Genealogical and Personal Memoirs Relating to Families of Middlesex County, Mass., Volume 4, 1908,