Updated: April 2010
JEREMIAH and MARY PIERSOL
Jeremiah Piersol lived
in Chester County, Pa., during the eighteenth century. (1)
Married Mary Jerman,
the daughter of Jeremiah and Mary Jerman of Chester County. (2)
At least one daughter.
John, born about 1735.
Jacob, born about 1740.
David, born about 1740.
Abraham, born about
Isaac, born about 1741.
Possibly William, possibly
born in 1748. (7)
The names of Jeremiah’s
parents and his place of origin are not known at this point. Secondary sources
from the late 19th and early 20th centuries offer conflicting information about the family. (8)
An examination of contemporary
records shows only four Piersol men living in southeastern Pennsylvania during the early 18th century – Jeremiah,
John, Richard and Edward. Jeremiah was closely associated with John and Richard,
and it seems likely that they were brothers. The fourth man – Edward –
mentioned that Richard was his brother and that they co-owned property in Radnor Township, Chester County, when he wrote his
will in June 1717. Edward’s will was proved in August 1717. A few months after Edward’s death, Richard and Jeremiah received a warrant for 300 acres in Chester
County, indicating a similar partnership and possibly a similar relationship. On
the same day, John Piersol received a warrant for 200 acres in Chester County. In
very early tax lists, John, Richard and Jeremiah appear to have been taxed as a unit.
The close relationship continued throughout their lives, with John and Jeremiah witnessing Richard’s will and
John and Jeremiah naming children after each other. (9)
If Edward was his brother,
Jeremiah’s mother was probably Elizabeth Pearsall, who is listed as Edward’s mother in the 1717 will. Since Edward’s will does not name his father, it seems likely that the man had already died. It also seems unlikely that he ever lived in southeastern Pennsylvania. I have found only one reference to a Piersol in Pennsylvania records before 1716. A 1706 deed lists Edward Pearsal as a witness but it seems very likely that
this man was the same Edward who died in 1717. (10)
The family may have
emigrated from Wales. This is stated in several early accounts, including a biographical note on Lewis Piersol of Tredyfrin Township – a descendant of
Jeremiah. His item in the 1893 “Biographical and Portrait Cyclopedia of
Chester County, Pennsylvania” says: “The Piersol family originally came from Wales, but have been natives of Pennsylvania
for many generations.” Contemporary records tend to support the idea that
the family was Walsh – or at least associated a great deal with Welshmen. Edward
and Richard lived in Radnor Township, and it appears very likely that John also lived there before moving in 1717 to what
later became West Nantmeal Township. (11) Radnor was part of the “Welsh
Tract,” an area set aside for Welsh Quakers during the early days of the Pennsylvania colony. However, by the early 1700s many non-Quaker Welshmen, as well as Germans and Scotch-Irish had settled in
the area. Many documents that mention the Piersols involve Welsh families. In addition, both Edward and Jeremiah appear to have married into Welsh families –
the Davises and Jermans.
Jeremiah makes his
first appearance in records in 1717, when he and Richard received a warrant from the proprietary government of Pennsylvania
for 300 acres in Chester County. In the 1719, 1720 and 1721 county tax indexes,
the Piersols seem to be listed as a single property owner. In 1719, Richard and
John Persalls appear together “in Highest District From Skoolkill to Brandywine.”
In 1720, Richard, Jeremiah and John Peircell appear together “Near ye Branches of the ffrench Creek & Brandywine.” And in 1721, Richard, John and Jeremiah Peircel appear “at Skoolkill.” In 1722, Jeremiah Pearsal appears separately and the area is finally given the name
“Nantmeal.” A 1737 deed mentions that Jeremiah owned property “on
a branch of the Brandywine Creek.” Jeremiah appears in Chester County tax
lists for Nantmeal – and West Nantmeal, when it was formed – until 1760. (12)
detailed explanation of the family’s arrival in Nantmeal appears in “Seventh Day Baptists in Europe and America.”
(13) Amid a description of the denomination’s activities in the early 1700s,
it states that “revivals were held among the English and Welsh Seventh Day Baptists who had settled in the French Creek
Valley, in Nantmeal, Chester County, Pennsylvania. This settlement of Sabbath-keepers
dates back to the first quarter of the eighteenth century, and was the results of a desire on the part of the Providence Seventh
Day Baptists for a community of their own, where they could live undisturbed and exercise the dictates of their own consciences
according to their own laws. For this purpose, a number of families of the Providence
(Newtown, Delaware County) Church had surveyed to them, in the year 1717, large tracts of land on the north branch of the
Brandywine, and French Creek. Prominent among those who settled upon their lands
here were the following: Lewis David, William David, William Iddings, John James, Mordecai Lincoln, Simon Meridith, Samuel
Nutt, Jeremiah Peircell (Piersol), John Peircell (Piersol), Richard Peircell (Piersol), William Phillips, David Roberts, Owen
Roberts, Philip Roger, and John Williams.”
Piersols were, indeed, among the families who moved from the Newtown area to French Creek, it would explain their sudden appearance
in northern Chester County in 1717.
The Seven Day Baptist history contains a second description of the move,
which states: “It was about the same time as the German revival movement, which has just been described, that the English
Sabbath-keepers in Newtown, Providence, Easttown, and Tredyffrin townships of Chester County became more or less restless,
on account of persecutions from their more orthodox neighbours, and migrated to the upper end of the county, where they took
up land at the falls of the French Creek in Nantmeal Township, and there founded a settlement and congregation, destined for
years to come to be the largest and most influential body of Seventh Day Baptists in the Province. Among the names of these early pioneers, who were mainly Welsh, are to be found a considerable number who
in later years appear on the Ephrata register, and whose remains await the general resurrections in the old burying-ground
at Ephrata. Following is a partial list of these early Seventh Day Baptists:
Owen Roberts, William Iddings (Hiddings); Richard, Jeremiah, and John Piercell (Piersoll); John Williams; William David; Philip
Roger (Rogers); Lewis David; and Simon Meredith.”
The Nantmeal congregation was affiliated with the German-speaking community
in Ephrata, which consisted of celibate men and women. The history states: “In
after years the cordial and fraternal feeling between the Ephrata Celibates and the English Seventh Day Baptists at Nantmeal
was an unbroken one.” This continuing connection is confirmed by records
of the Ephrata community that list the death of the “helpmate” of Brother Jerimais Pirsel in 1755. This indicates the death of Jeremiah’s wife, probably the former Mary Jerman. (14)
to determine when Jeremiah married and starting having children. An unnamed daughter
is mentioned in the will of his mother-in-law, Mary Jerman, in 1741. And most
of the men who appear to be his sons seem to have been born in the late 1730s or the 1740s.
If that was the case, it seems that Jeremiah waited until he developed his farm before getting married and starting
a family. This seems to match the pattern of Richard and John Piersol. Richard’s son, also named Richard, was probably born about 1737.
John was born in 1677 and his oldest child appears to have been John Piersol Jr., who was probably born in the mid-1720s,
when the elder John was in his mid-40s. (15)
acquiring land, receiving the following warrants for land in Chester County: 50 acres on Feb. 12, 1734; 257 acres on Jan.
27, 1738; 150 acres on Aug. 21, 1744; and, possibly, 100 acres on Oct. 29, 1750. (16)
In 1749, Jeremiah seems
to have had a problem with a thief. The Pennsylvania Gazette of Philadelphia
ran the following: “Philadelphia, May 25, 1749. Whereas the house of Jeremiah Piersal, of West Nantmeal, Chester county,
was robbon the 19th inst of a small trunk, with a considerable sum of money, and writings of value; the said robbery
is supposto have been committed by one Patrick Higgins, who us a short well set man, of sandy complexion, and wears a beaver
hat, and a worsted cap, a light colored cloth jockey coat, with cross pockets, a white linnen jacket, and check trowsers. Whoever takes up the said man, and brings him to Dennis Wellen, at the Three tuns,
in Nantmeal township, or James Way, tavernkeeper, in the township of Caln, or secures him so as he may be brought to justice,
shall have Five Pounds reward, and reasonable charges, paid by Jeremiah Piersal. N.B. ‘Tis supposed he may be between
25 and 30 years of age, and hath two blue letters on one of his hands.” (17)
In 1753, Jeremiah Piersoll
Sen’r and John Piersoll Sen’r witnessed the will of Richard Piersol of West Nantmeal Township, yeoman. It is the last document that lists the three possible brothers together. Each of the three made his mark,
rather than leaving a signature, which would normally indicate that they were illiterate.
This would explain why Jeremiah identified the thief as having “two blue letters on one of his hands” but
didn’t state what the letters were. (18)
As noted above, Jeremiah’s wife died in 1755. It seems likely that this reference
is to Mary, although it’s difficult to tell since she is mentioned so rarely.
It’s conceivable that she had died previously and Jeremiah had remarried.
Jeremiah makes what is probably his last appearance in West Nantmeal tax records. (19)
It seems very likely that between 1760 and 1762, Jeremiah transferred most of his property to his sons. Jeremiah obviously still controlled his property in 1760 because he appears on the tax list. Additionally, Jacob and David are listed in the same township as “inmates,” which indicates
that they were married men living on someone else’s property – almost certainly their father’s. The next
tax list – 1762 – reveals a very different picture. Jacob appears
in West Caln Township, the home of his father-in-law, Peter Babb. David remains
in West Nantmeal. Abraham and Isaac Piersol appear for the first time. And Jeremiah isn’t listed at all. It appears that Abraham
received the lion’s share of the property because he was taxed 11 shillings, David was taxed 4 and Isaac only 2. The 1766 tax list shows that Abraham controlled 200 acres, David 100 and Isaac 50. By that point, Jacob had returned to West Nantmeal and controlled 50, too.
point, it’s hard to say exactly how Jeremiah conveyed his property to his sons.
Although he accumulated about 750 acres over the course of his life, Chester County records show only one sale of property
by Jeremiah. The sale occurred on March 3, 1762 – which is probably when
Jeremiah conveyed his other property to his sons. Jeremiah Peirsol, yeoman, sold
50 acres, 36 perches, to Jason Cloud, who already owned adjoining property. (20)
simply gave his land to his sons before his death, it would explain the lack of a will.
Although most other families recorded such transactions with county officials, the Piersols and their close friends
sometimes conveyed property without that formality –
at least until some need was seen. For example, the
1762 sale to Jason Cloud wasn’t recorded until 1769; a transaction between Cloud and Jeremiah’s son Jacob was
never really recorded, only alluded to in later deeds; and a 1772 sale of land by Jason Cloud and Jacob Piersol to Peter Hunter
wasn’t recorded until 1808. It’s also possible that Jeremiah lost
his proof of ownership when the thief stole the “small trunk, with a considerable sum of money, and writings
of value.” (21)
Jeremiah may have gotten
involved in some sort of legal dispute in the mid-1760s. A notice in The Pennsylvania
Gazette stated: “Philadelphia, October 18, 1766. Some time ago, a Bond of Jeremiah and Isaac
Pearsol, to William McCune, and another of Stoffel Seigman, to Edward Bleamy, were put into my Hands to be sued. The Debts
are recovered; and as I have not heard from the Plaintiffs, for more than a Year past, and know not the Places of their Residence,
I think myself obliged to give his Notices, that they or, in Case of their Death, their Representatives may receive the Money.
John Dickinson.” (22)
appearance in Chester County tax records occurs in 1766 so it seems likely that he moved or died during that year. However, it’s uncertain why the attorney could not find Jeremiah.
Perhaps he didn’t know where Jeremiah lived to begin with. However,
it’s also conceivable that Jeremiah had joined the religious community in Ephrata after distributing his land to his
Isaac is only the first of Jeremiah’s sons to disappear from Chester County during this
period. David also makes his last appearance in Chester County tax lists in 1766. Abraham goes from owning 200 acres in 1768 to being listed as a “freeman”
in 1769, which would normally indicate that he owned no property and that he had never been married. He doesn’t appear at all in 1771. Jacob disappears after
selling his property in 1772, which is probably when he moved to western Pennsylvania.
Interestingly, the younger Jeremiah seems to start appearing in records about this time.
until at least June 26, 1769, when the 1762 property sale was recorded in Chester County deed books at the request of “the above mentioned Jeremiah Peirsoll.” However, it’s uncertain exactly when the references to Jeremiah switch from father to son. When Jacob Piersol and Jason Cloud sold their land in 1772, one of the adjoining property owners was Jeremiah
Piersoll. In 1774, Jeremiah Piersoll is listed
among property owners in West Nantmeal Township, according to “History of Chester County, Pennsylvania.” However, Jeremiah does not appear on the West Nantmeal tax list for 1774 in the Chester
County tax index or in “Pennsylvania Archives.” (23) Finally, starting
in 1779, the references definitely pertain to the younger Jeremiah, who then appears in an unbroken string of records until
his death in 1813.
surname is spelled a variety of ways. I have chosen “Piersol” for
most references because it seems to be among the more prevalent versions among members of the Chester County clan. Jeremiah is profiled in Chapter 45, Section 22, of “History and Genealogy of The Pearsall Family
in England and America,” edited by Clarence E. Pearsall. The history links
the Chester County Piersols to the Pearsall family of Long Island. The problem
is that contemporary documents don’t reveal any link between the two families.
In addition, the Pearsall history claims that Jeremiah’s father was a John Pearsoll. However, that name doesn’t appear in the records of southeastern Pennsylvania or adjoining Cecil
County, Md., until 1716 – and, at that point, it definitely applies to someone else.
In addition, the man listed as Jeremiah’s grandfather, George, fails to appear in Pennsylvania records. It seems very likely that George never moved to Pennsylvania and John never existed. The Pearsall history implies that the family doesn’t appear in Pennsylvania
records because it sided with Maryland in a border dispute between the two colonies.
However, if that were the case, their names would certainly appear in Cecil County records or Maryland’s colonial
records, but they don’t. (2) Chester County, Pa., Deed Book P2, pages 444-452. In the Pearsall history, Jeremiah’s profile identifies Mary Jerman as his mother,
which seems to agree with her will, which appears in Chester County Estate File 762.
Her will seems to indicate that she had four sons, each with a different surname – among them Jeremiah Peirsol. However, the matter is clarified in Chester County deeds recording land transactions
that followed the death of Jeremiah Jerman. A deed from 1735 and one from 1737
each indicate that it was Mary Piersol, not Jeremiah, who was the child of Mary Jerman, and of her late husband Jeremiah. Since Mary’s will was written in 1741 and her daughter was still alive, it seem
likely that the younger Mary was the mother of most – and possibly all – of Jeremiah’s children. (3) Jeremiah left no will and no other record that has turned up so far has listed his heirs. However, it appears that Jeremiah had at least one daughter and several sons. The Pearsall history states that he had only a daughter named Mary.
An unnamed daughter of Jeremiah and Mary Piersols is mentioned in the will of Mary Jerman and this is probably the
origin of the statement in the Pearsall history. However, the statement in the
will does not mean that Jeremiah Piersol didn’t have any other children. In
fact, the only other grandchildren who appear in Mary Jerman’s will appear to be the children of “Roger Evens
and Margaret,” who appear in the property records related to Jeremiah Jerman but not in Mary Jerman’s will. It seems certain that the only reason these grandchildren are listed in Mary’s
will is became their parents died before 1741. It’s unreasonable to believe
that the unnamed daughter of Jeremiah Piersol and the Evens children were Mary Jerman’s only grandchildren just because
they are the only ones listed in her will. In fact, it appears that Jeremiah
might have had at least seven sons. During the late 1750s and early 1760s, Chester
County records show five Piersols who suddenly appear “out of nowhere.”
These men – John, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and David – were probably born in the 1730s and 1740s. Only three Piersols appear in the records of southeastern Pennsylvania during that time – John, Richard
and Jeremiah. John and Richard left wills identifying their children and grandchildren,
which leaves only Jeremiah as a possible father for these mystery men. As mentioned
above, Jeremiah didn’t leave a will so there is no list of his heirs. However,
there are several indications – in addition to the process of elimination – that point to Jeremiah being the father
of these men. First, each of the men makes his initial appearance in Chester
County tax records in West Nantmeal Township, where Jeremiah lived. In addition,
at least one – Jacob – lived on property adjoining Jeremiah’s, according to Chester County, Pa., Deed Book
L3, page 246. Also, Jacob and David make their first appearance in the tax records
as “inmates” in 1760, indicating that they had married since the previous tax assessment and lived on property
controlled by someone else – probably their father. Abraham and Isaac were
the last of these men to appear, surfacing in 1762. Interestingly, Jeremiah drops
out of the tax records in that year. However, Jeremiah does not appear to have
died. In 1762, Jeremiah sold land to Jason Cloud, according to Chester County,
Pa., Deed Book Q, page 172. This record mentions that the 50 acres he sold was
part of a tract of 307 acres granted him in 1738. The deed was not actually recorded
until 1769, when it was entered into the deed books at the request of “the above mentioned Jeremiah Peirsoll.” This indicates that the same Jeremiah who sold the land in 1762 was still alive in
1769. He probably didn’t appear in the tax records during this time because
he had transferred control of his property to his sons. Since Chester County
deed books show the sale of only one small tract, he must have transferred control without using deeds. Pennsylvania taxed a property’s occupants, not its owners.
So, even if Jeremiah still officially “owned” the land, his sons would appear on the tax lists. Jeremiah must have completed this process by 1762, when he pretty much drops out of the tax lists. This also would explain why he didn’t leave a will. In addition to the five already mentioned, Jeremiah probably had a son named Jeremiah and might have had
a son named William, both of whom will be discussed in separate footnotes. Finally,
there’s one more possible son who should be mentioned. The Pearsall history
links Job Pearsall of Hampshire County, Va., to Chester County and says that Job’s father was the John Piersol who was
actually the son of Jeremiah. (See the next footnote.) However, that is impossible and it is far more likely Job was the son of Jeremiah – if Job had any
connection to Chester County at all. The argument once again would be that there
are simply no other candidates to be Job’s father. However, there are no
documents that show any connection between Job and Pennsylvania. (4) The Pearsall
history (Chapter 45, Section 35) links John to a Richard who never existed and states that John had three sons – Abraham
and Jeremiah, who were actually his brothers, and Job Pearsall of Hampshire County, Va.
However, there is no record of this John before he appears in Chester County tax records in 1756. Since Chester County started taxing men once they turned 21 or started owning property, it’s virtually
certain that John was about 20 in 1756, which makes it impossible for him to be the father of anyone who appears in tax records
before about 1776. In addition, John probably had no children since no heirs
are listed in his estate papers, which appear in Chester County, Pa., Estate File 1694, and there is no mention of him or
Piersol children in the orphans court records for the 1750s or 1760s. As noted
above, if Job was actually born in Chester County, he was probably another son of Jeremiah.
(5) Although David first appears in Chester County tax records in 1760, the name appears among witnesses to a property
transaction involving the heirs of Jeremiah Jerman in 1735, according to Chester County, Pa., Deed Book P2, pages 444-452. It is uncertain whether this is the same David who appears in the tax records 25 years
later. Presumably, he would had to have been at least 21 to serve as a witness,
which means that he was probably born before 1715. Chester County normally started
taxing men at age 21 but that practice wasn’t always consistent until the 1750s.
It’s possible that David lived on his father’s farm and wasn’t taxed for 25 years but that seems
very unlikely. Another possibility is that he was an older son of Jeremiah and
that he died young, and that the second David was given his deceased older brother’s name. The timeline would permit that since the “second David” would probably have been born about
1740. However, none of Jeremiah’s other suspected children was born as
early as the “first David.” A possible explanation for that problem
is that Jeremiah might have been married to another woman before he married Mary Jerman and the first wife gave birth to David. Another possibility is that David might have been a son of John or Richard Piersol
and that he died soon thereafter, which would explain why he doesn’t appear in any other records. However, John’s other children seem to have been born in the 1720s and Richard’s in the 1730s
– so we appear to be left with the same problems that plague a link between David and Jeremiah. A final possibility is that the entry could have been a mistake.
Many of the family members appear to have been illiterate and simply used their marks on important documents, which
means that other had to write their names for them. Names were occasionally confused in later documents pertaining to the
family so it’s possible that it happened here, too. (6) The younger Jeremiah
seems to start appearing in Chester County records in the 1770s, although it’s a bit difficult to tell exactly when
his father stops appearing and when he starts. Even though he seems to appear
about a decade after the others, the elder Jeremiah is the only Piersol who could have been having children who aren’t
already accounted for in wills. The Pearsall history describes the younger Jeremiah
(Chapter 45, Section 26) as the son of John. However, as noted above, John probably
died childless and actually appears to have been Jeremiah’s older brother. (7)
It’s also possible that Jeremiah had a son named William. William was born
in 1748 and lived to be 100 years old, according to the “Genealogical and Personal History of Fayette County, Pennsylvania,”
John W. Jordan, page 835, and several other sources, including the Pearsall history, Chapter 47, Section 2. If he really was born in 1748, it’s pretty certain that Jeremiah was his father because there are
no other viable candidates. However, William doesn’t actually appear in
Chester County records until 1781. Normally, this would indicate that William
was born about 1760 – unless he was too poor to be listed in the tax rolls or lived outside
the county during the 1770s. If William were actually born about 1760, one of
Jeremiah’s sons could have been his father. (8) Most of the sources that
describe the Piersols’ history are biographical notes in county histories, which can be unreliable since the publishers
typically printed whatever information the source provided without checking into it.
A biographical note on Lewis Piersol, a descendant of Jeremiah Piersol, states: “The Piersol family originally
came form Wales, but have been natives of Pennsylvania for many generations.”
It appears in the 1893 “Biographical and Portrait Cyclopedia of Chester County, Pennsylvania,” by Winfield
S. Garner, page 704. A history of the Seventh-Day Baptists mentions the congregation
in Nantmeal, Chester County, and states: “Among the names of these early pioneers, who were mainly Welsh, are to be
found a considerable number who in later years appear on the Ephrata register … Following is a partial list of these
early Seventh Day Baptists: … Richard, Jeremiah, and John Piercell (Piersoll).”
This appears in the 1910 “Seventh Day Baptists in Europe and America,”
Vol. II, pages 980 and 981. A 1912 account of the family of William Peirsol of
Fayette County, Pa., states: “This family, originally of France, and Protestant in religion, fled from their native
country with thousands of persecuted Huguenots, and in the seventeenth century settled in Wales. In 1717 three of the family came to the province of Pennsylvania, settling in Chester county.” It appears in “Genealogical and
Personal History of Fayette County, Pennsylvania,” by John W. Jordan, page 848.
An account of the Davis family of Lancaster County, Pa., which intermarried with the Piersols several times, states:
“Dinah, the second daughter of Jenkins Davis, named above, married John Piersol.
We have not been able to go farther back in the Piersol line, which we think is Welsh, though we are unable to fix
it with certainty. It may be Scotch-Irish or Huguenot.” It appears in “Biographical Annals of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania,” by J.H. Beers &
Co., pages 1519 and 1520. A 1884 biographical note on John C. Peirsol of Monroe
County, Mo., who descends from Jeremiah, states: “His father’s great-great-grandfather Peirsol was one of three
brothers who came from England to America in 1683 and settled in Pennsylvania, whence the name has radiated into different
States.” This appears in “History of Monroe County [Missouri].” However, the last account is highly unreliable because it contains several glaring
errors in other statements about the family. (9) Edward’s will appears
in Philadelphia County Will Book D, page 77. The warrants appear in “Pennsylvania
Archives,” Series 2, Vol. 19, page 626. (10) The 1706 deed appears in “Abstracts
of Chester County, Pennsylvania, Land Records, Vol. 4,” by Carol Bryant, page 68.
In addition, a Robert Piercal appears in 1700 court records. However,
a second reference to the same matter lists Robert Pennel. Since Robert Pennel
appears in many records from Chester County and no other record from southeastern Pennsylvania refers to a Robert Piercal,
Pearsall or Piersol during this era, it seem to be very unlikely that this record actually refers to a Piersol. See “Records of the Courts Chester County, Pennsylvania, 1697-1710,” transcribed by Dorothy
B. Lapp and Franes B. Dunlap, pages 67, 69 and 70. Chester County tax list and
indexes to tax lists are available at the county archives. (11) It seems likely
that John lived in or near Radnor Township because executors for the estate of Richard Moore of Radnor Township, Chester County,
Pa., paid a debt owed to Jno Pearsall, according to an account filed Nov. 8, 1716. The
account is mentioned in “Genealogies of Pennsylvania Families from The Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine,” Vol.
II, page 254-255. (12) In addition to the tax lists and indexes at the Chester
County archives, the information on the 1720-1722 taxes is available in “History of Chester County, Pennsylvania,”
by J. Smith Futhey and Gilbert Cope,” 1881, page 186. The 1737 deed is
listed in “Abstracts of Chester County, Pennsylvania, Land Records, Vol. 4,” by Carol Bryant, page 141. Jeremiah is similarly listed in deeds recorded in May 1751, Vol. 3, page 115. (13) “Seventh Day Baptists in Europe and America,” Vol. II, 1910. The first passage is from page 1111 and the second is from 980 and 981.
(14) “The Registers of the Ephrata Community,” by Julius F. Sachse, in “Pennsylvania Vital Records:
from the Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine and the Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography,” Volume 1, pp. 163-178. A footnote states: “Wife of Jeremiah Piersal, from Nantmeal, Chester County,
Chron. Eph., p. 197, et seq.” (15) John’s age is indicated in a photocopy
of a page from a family Bible in “Piersol” folder at the Chester County Historical Society in West Chester, Pa. His will, which mentions the already-deceased John Jr., is in Chester County, Pa.,
Estate File 3145. John Jr. first appears in the Chester County tax indexes in
1747, which would normally indicate that he was born about 20 years before. The
younger Richard doesn’t appear in the tax lists until 1758. One problem
with this discussion is the appearance of David’s name in 1735, which is mentioned in footnote 5. Since he hasn’t turned up in any other records, it is unknown whether David was the son of Jeremiah,
John or Richard, yet another brother or some sort of mistaken entry. If David
was a real person, he was probably born before 1714 and probably died soon signing the document since the name doesn’t
appear on any other documents for another 25 years. (16) “Pennsylvania
Archives,” Series 3, Vol. XXIV, pages 92-4. The final warrant actually
might have been granted to “Jeremiah Pierols Jr.,” who was the son of John Piersol. Jeremiah Jr. starts appearing in the tax lists in 1749. (17)
The Pennsylvania Gazette of Philadelphia, May 25, 1749, as recorded by Accessible Archives, Inc, at the Electronic Text Center
of the University of Virginia Library. Although John’s son Jeremiah started
appearing in the tax records in 1749, this item probably refers to the elder Jeremiah.
It seems very unlikely that the younger man would have had a considerable sum of money, and writings of value at that
point. (18) Chester County, Pa., Estate File 1485. (19) Jeremiah is absent from the 1762 list. It is unclear
who actually appears in the 1763 tax lists. In most years from 1749 to 1760,
two Jeremiah’s are listed and at least one is usually identified as “Jr.” or “Sr.,” or the younger
man’s occupation – miller – is mentioned. However, the 1763
tax list for West Nantmeal names only one Jeremiah and it doesn’t contain any such designators. Complicating the matter is the fact that the younger Jeremiah bought property in East Caln Township in
1762 (Chester County, Pa., Deed Book O, page 330) and he appears in that township’s tax list for 1763. The question is whether he appears on both lists or the West Nantmeal reference is to the elder Jeremiah. Since Chester County normally taxed the occupant rather than the owner of a property,
it would seem likely that the younger man would have been taxed only for the East Caln property. However, in this case, it seems very likely that the tax collectors saw him as occupying both properties,
perhaps living on one and operating the mill on the other. The 1763 list
is the only one for East Caln that includes the younger Jeremiah and he continues to appear in West Nantmeal until his death
in 1771. It seems very unlikely that he would have suspended his milling operations
for a year, moved to East Caln and then returned to West Nantmeal – all while the elder Jeremiah just happened to reappear
in the tax lists for just one year. (20) Chester County, Pa., Deed Book Q, page
172. (21) At some point, Jason Cloud sold the property he had purchased from
Jeremiah and additional land to Jeremiah’s son Jacob. However, Cloud did
not actually convey the property to Jacob, which probably indicates that Jacob was paying for it over time. Both men sold the property in 1772, according to Chester County, Pa., Deed Book L3, page 244-246. It seems certain that the transaction between Jacob and Cloud occurred in 1769 because
Jacob’s holdings jump from 0 acres in 1768 to 130 in 1769. This transaction
was probably what prompted Jeremiah to request that the original sale be entered into the deed books in 1769. The original sale from Jeremiah to Jason Cloud is the only piece of this entire chain of events that was
entered into Chester County records before 1808. In that year, the younger Jeremiah
purchased the property from the heirs of the man who bought it from Jacob and Cloud.
This may indicate that all of those involved were close relatives – or at least very close friends – and
they didn’t feel the need to have their transactions officially recorded. Such
feelings may also be the reason why there are no records showing Jeremiah conveying property to his sons. (22) The Pennsylvania Gazette of Philadelphia, Oct. 23, 1766, as recorded by Accessible Archives, Inc, at the Electronic
Text Center of the University of Virginia Library. This might pertain to the
Jeremiah who lived c1727-1771. However, that seems less likely since Isaac appears
to have been the elder Jeremiah’s son. Also, it seems likely that the attorney
would have been able to locate a miller from Chester County without much difficulty if the reference were actually to the
younger Jeremiah. (23) “History of Chester County, Pennsylvania,”
by J. Smith Futhey and Gilbert Cope,” Philadelphia, 1881, page 187. “Pennsylvania
Archives,” Series 3, Vol. 12, page 53. (24) “Pennsylvania Archives,”
Series 3, Vol. 12, page 142.
JACOB and ANN PIERSOL
Jacob Piersol was probably
born before 1740 in Chester County, Pa. His father probably was Jeremiah Piersol,
who lived in West Nantmeal Township. (1)
Probably married Ann
Babb about 1760. Ann was the daughter of Peter and Mary Babb of West Caln Township,
Chester County, Pa. (2)
John, born between
1760 and 1763.
Sampson, born June
Jacob, born about 1769.
Peter, born about 1780.
Possibly some daughters,
It seems certain that
Jacob married Ann Babb. She was the daughter of Peter Babb, who lists her as
Ann Peirsoll in his will. Peter was a Quaker
who lived in West Caln Township and Jacob is found in that township’s tax records in 1762 and 1763. When Ann married, she wed outside the Quaker meeting and was disowned as a result. According to the records of the Bradford Monthly Meeting, the members took testimony against Ann Piershall on the 15th day of the second month of 1760.
Then, on the 18th day of the fourth month, Ann Piershal was disowned for being married by a priest –
probably an Episcopal priest since some of the Peirsols in the area attended Episcopal churches. (4)
From 1760 to 1771,
Jacob appears in Chester County tax records. Unlike others around him, his status
and amount of property seem to have changed dramatically from year to year. In
1760, Jacob is listed in West Nantmeal Township as an inmate, indicating that he lived on property that was owned or rented
by someone else. In all likelihood he was establishing his first household on
his father’s property. In 1762 and 1763, as noted above, he lived in West
Caln Township. In 1765, Jacob appears with very modest holdings, owning 50 acres,
one horse and two cattle. In 1766, he owned 50 acres, one horse, two cattle and
six sheep. However, about this time, Jacob seems to have suffered some sort of
financial setback. In 1767, he is again listed as an inmate in West Nantmeal. In 1768, he owned no land, but possessed two horses and one cow. By 1769, Jacob’s fortunes appear to have improved dramatically because
he is listed as owning 130 acres, two horses and two cattle. In 1771, Jacob owned
100 acres, one horse, two cattle and 10 sheep. (5)
that Jacob held in 1769 appears to have been acquired from Jason Cloud, who was a neighbor of Jeremiah Peirsol in West Nantmeal. It seems that Cloud allowed Jacob to pay for two tracts of land over time, and that
Jacob never fully paid off the debt. On May 18, 1772, the pair sold both properties,
totally about 265 acres, to Peter Hunter. The deed noted that Cloud had originally
sold, but had not conveyed the land to Jacob. (5a)
After the 1772 land transaction, Jacob disappears from Chester County records, an indication that
he probably moved out of the area. This is supported by a note in the final account
of Peter Babb’s estate, which state that there was “a legacy yet due to Ann Peirsoll … 5 [shillings].”
This would indicate that Ann was still alive in 1773 but didn’t live close enough to allow
for easy distribution of the legacy.
Jacob and his family
apparently moved to the Pittsburgh area. (6) Jacob appears in Virginia military
records so it seems very likely that that Jacob staked a land claim through that colony.
That colony claimed the area that is now southwestern Pennsylvania and set up its own county government and courts. The boundary dispute between the two colonies wasn’t resolved until the early
1780s, when Pennsylvania received the area around Pittsburgh and Virginia received the area that’s now northern West
If Jacob did file a
claim through Virginia, it would explain why he didn’t appear in western Pennsylvania records until after the boundary
dispute had been resolved, which was after his death in 1780.
On March 22, 1777,
Jacob enlisted to serve in the army for three years during the Revolutionary War. He
first appears in the muster rolls of Capt. James O’Hara’s Independent Company of Regulars, which was raised by
Virginia in the Pittsburgh area. Jacob is listed as an “artificer”
in muster rolls for Sept. 16 and Dec. 28, 1777, at Fort Pitt. On the muster roll
for Oct. 1, he is listed as “at the S.P. Hospital.” There is no other
mention of Jacob in military records at the National Archives until June 1779, when he starts appearing in records of the
9th Virginia Regiment. It seems likely that Jacob remained in O’Hara’s
company until joining the 9th Virginia about mid-1779. (7)
O’Hara later became the quartermaster at Fort Pitt and eventually rose to prominence
as a businessman in Pittsburgh. Following is a brief description of O’Hara’s
unit from “Fort Pitt and Letters from the Frontier,” which was published in 1892: “[O’Hara] raised
and equipped a company of volunteers. The equipment of soldiers at that time
was their usual dress, hunting shirt, buckskin breeches and the rifle which always hung on the wall ready for use. The equipment supplied them would be little more than ammunition; but in this case boats were supplied,
which carried besides the company of volunteers such articles as were of use in trading with the Indians. The fort at Canhawa, now Kanawha, to which they were sent, was erected by the State of Virginia, and was
protected and provisioned by the efforts of Captain O’Hara’s company until 1779.” (7a) From this account,
it cannot be determined exactly when O’Hara’s company was deployed to Kanawha. However, it seems that the move
was made in 1778 since O’Hara’s unit is listed at Fort Pitt in October and December of 1777. As will be explained later, Jacob appears in a merchant’s records in June 1778, but is then absent
until February 1779. His absence might correspond to his unit’s deployment
A muster roll of a
O’Hara’s company from Oct. 1, 1777 states that the unit contained 54 sergeants, corporals and privates. It also notes that two soldiers “were killed in Foreman’s defeat, Sept. 27th.”
In a letter to Gen. Horatio Gates on April 24, 1778, Gen. Edward Hand states: “I am preparing
to send Capt. O’Hara with a detachment to the Arkansas with provisions for Capt. Willing.” (7c) The account in “Fort Pitt and Letters from the Frontier” appears to pick up at this point,
describing an attack led by Major George Rogers Clark on areas where attacks by Native America originated. Clark set out in early 1778. “On arriving at the Kanawha
River, he was joined by Captain O’Hara’s company, then on its way to the Ozark.
General Clark was successful and took possession of the town of Kaskaskia, which was situated on the river of that
name, seven miles from its junction with the Mississippi. Also Vincennes on the
Wabash River. This fort was called by the English Fort Sackville. … The
march to Vincennes was long, the season inclement, the road passed through an untrodden wilderness. He could only muster one hundred and thirty men; but inspiring this handful with his own heroic spirits
he resolved to strike the enemy in the citadel of his strength. For days his
route lay through the drowned lands of Illinois. One plain, called Horseshoe
Plain, about four miles long, was covered with water breast-high. The men, holding
their rifles above their heads, plunged in among the floating ice and reached the high land beyond safely. In a few days after the surrender an amazing number of savages flocked into the towns to treat for peace,
and soon the enlisted companies returned to their former stations.”
The following winter,
O’Hara’s company was station at Fort Randolph, another remote post. In
a letter to the Board of War from Fort Pitt on Jan. 11, 1779, Gen. Lachlan McIntosh reports on the status of his forces, saying,
“the remains of a company late O’Hara’s with 15 men more of the 13th Regt Va, at Fort Randolph,
for the conveniency of getting small supplies in the country.” (7d)
The account in “Fort
Pitt and Letters from the Frontier” picks up again at this point. “In
1779, Captain O’Hara’s company, having had the greater part of the soldiers killed by the Indians while hunting
about Canhawa and other parts of the country, was reduced to twenty-nine, which was too small a garrison to answer any purpose,
or protect the inhabitants living in the vicinity of the post. The fort was evacuated
and the garrison, cattle and horses removed to Pittsburgh. The few surviving
men were annexed to the Ninth Virginia Regiment, by General Broadhead, December 13, 1779.”
The December date for
the annexation doesn’t agree with that recorded in a letter to Gen. George Washington.
On Oct. 9, 1779, Col. Daniel Broadhead provided a rundown of the units at Fort Pitt, including the independent companies. He said: “O’Hara’s, annexed to Ninth Virginia.” (7e)
However, Jacob appears
to have already been a member of the 9th Virginia by October. Muster
rolls covering June to December 1779 show Pvt. Jacob Persal serving in Col. John Gibson’s
company, 9th Virginia Regiment at Fort Pitt. (7f) The regiment
had originally been designated the 13th Virginia and the bulk of it had been attached to Washington’s army
during the Philadelphia campaigns of 1777 are early 1778. It was reassigned to
the Western Department in 1778 to protect the frontier from raids by Native Americans.
That’s also when Col. Gibson was transferred to the unit. After
the return to Pittsburgh, elements of the regiment served at Fort McIntosh, which was built in the autumn of 1778 where the
city of Beaver, Pa, now stands.
While the war was being
waged between British and American armies in the east, the frontier units fought against Native Americans who were supported
by Britain and its sympathizers. It is very likely that Jacob was killed in a
raid by Native Americans, apparently after he was discharged from the army since his death is not recorded on the muster rolls. The descendants of both Sampson and Peter hold traditions that their ancestor’s
father was slain by Native Americans. (8) Details in the accounts conflict, listing
different children as witnesses, different time periods for the attacks and even different victims. The only constant is that a Peirsol died at the hands of Native Americans near Pittsburgh. Despite these discrepancies, its seems pretty certain that the victim of these attacks was actually Jacob. First, all contemporary evidence indicates that Jacob was probably the father of both
Sampson and Peter. Second, he is the only Peirsol to appear in estate or orphan’s
court records in western Pennsylvania or Virginia between 1769 and 1790.
It seems most
likely that the attack occurred in 1780, at the height of the war waged between the American settlers and the Native Americans
along the Ohio River. The best indication of that is found in Jacob’s estate administration papers, which were filed in Washington County
in 1783. Among the papers is a record of Jacob’s account with Jacob
Bausman, who seems to have been a merchant. The first entry is from June 1778
for sundries. Entries then run each month from February to October 1779 and from
February to April 1780. The final entry is for “Whisky for Burial.” Since these entries suddenly stop in April 1780, it seems most likely that Jacob died
in April or May of that year. However, the administration papers indicate that
John didn’t pay for his father’s coffin until April 1781. It’s
possible that John simply didn’t have the money to pay for the coffin immediately.
A date of 1780 is supported by an account provided by Jacob’s grandson, Joel, in a brief narrative in the history
of Fulton County, Ill., which was published in 1871. It reads: “Petter Peirsol was the father of Joel Peirsol, the subject of this sketch, and was born in Pennsylvania in the
year 1780 … His [Joel’s] grandfather Peirsol was killed by the Indians in the year 1780, within eleven miles of
Pittsburg.” Another account offered by Joel’s brother, John, indicates
that Peter was born after Jacob was slain. (9)
April and May of 1780 brought several attacks on the Pittsburgh area settlement, according
to “The Indian Wars of Pennsylvania,” by C. Hale Sipe. It states:
“Indian raids continued into Southwestern Pennsylvania throughout the month of April.
On April 27, 1780, Colonel Broadhead wrote President Reed as follows: ‘Between 40 and 50 men, women and children
have been killed or taken from what are now called the counties of Yohogania [Washington], Monogalia and Ohio, but no damage
is done yet in Westmoreland.’ (Pa. Archives, Vol. 8, page 210)” (10)
accounts of the attack exist, but both contain serious errors that must be explained. (11)
The biggest problem with both is that they identify the victim – Sampson Piersol’s father – as Benjamin, the son of Job Pearsall of Hampshire County,
Va. The error appears in “The History and Genealogy of the Pearsall Family
in England and America,” edited by Clarence Pearsall, in Chapter 49, Section 1. The incorrect identification could have been made by the editors of the 1928 history or by the editors’
correspondents who descended from Sampson, John or Jacob. As is shown in the
footnotes, John was definitely the son of Jacob and Sampson, Jacob and Peter were almost certainly sons of Jacob. Benjamin was too young to be their father, lived in a different part of the county and actually lived until
1824. (12) The second account echoes this error, probably because it used the
Pearsall history for some of its information. This account was written sometime
after 1941 and the Pearsall history was widely available by that time. Two other
errors occur in the Pearsall history’s account. It
says the attack occurred during Lord Dunmore’s War, a conflict between the colony of Virginia and Native Americans in
1774. It also says the younger Jacob was the son of John and, thus, the grandson
of the victim. It seems very likely that each of these errors was added by the
editors of the Pearsall history or their correspondents. Despite these problems,
it seems very likely that the basic accounts contain family traditions that are based on truth.
The account in the
Pearsall history states: “Hence one day when Benjamin Pearsall was working in the field with his grandson, Jacob, a
band of Indians came suddenly upon them from the cover of the underbrush and while Jacob hurried to the house for assistance
his grandfather stood his ground against the red men. Although he killed several
of them they were too many for him and before his sons could come to his relief he had bee killed and scalped. The family tradition is that his granddaughter, Anne, rode bareback with her hair streaming down her back
to warn the neighbors of the Indian outbreak.”
It must be remembered
that this account likely refers to Jacob and that the young Jacob and Anne mentioned in the narrative were probably his children,
not his grandchildren.
account is in the Piersol files at the Beaver County Genealogical Society. It
states: “SAMPSON PIERSOL and his brother John watched six Indians burne there father Benjaman Piersol at the stake. They was hid in a thicket after a surprise by the band of red skins. The had onley one gun betwin them and if they would of tryed to rescue there father they would have all
been killed or captured. This took place at home where neer Fort Pitt –
now were Pittsburgh, Pa, now standes. Then after that Sampson Piersol killed every Indian he could as long as he lived.”
Although these accounts differ, it is possible that both accounts are basically true –
aside from the victim’s name. Jacob may have run to get John and Sampson,
who then hid in a thicket with one gun. Meanwhile, Anne may have ridden to warn
the attacks would certainly explain by John and Sampson appear in numerous militia records from this date on, including the
muster lists for the ill-fated campaign led by Col. William
Crawford against the Native American villages near Sandusky, Ohio, in 1782.
On April 17, 1783, John Pearcil was appointed administrator for the estate of Jacob Pearcil
in Washington County. The late date of the appointment probably can be attributed
to the fact that Washington County didn’t exist when Jacob was killed and new papers had to be filed in the new county. The papers mention fees paid “for schooling & clothing for one of the deceased[’s]
children” and to “Patrick Dugan for Boarding a Boy of Said Dec’d.”
They also mention that John “Paid funeral Expences (towit) 2 Gallons
While the estate papers
don’t mention where Jacob lived, it seems that he was from the area that became Peters Township. Jacob Bausman, Benjamin Kirkendol and others mentioned in the papers lived in that township. In addition, John might be listed there in the 1781 tax lists. Actually,
no “Peirsols” appear on the list but that might be because of clerical errors, either by those who created the
records or by those who transcribed them for “The Pennsylvania Archives.”
A John Person appears in Peters Township near many of the people who would appear near John and Sampson Peirsol in
the 1791 tax lists (which were recorded after Allegheny County was created out of part of Washington County) No other John with the surname Person – or any variation of Pearson – appears in the militia
Ann died sometime before
May 1781. In that month, John Pearcil paid “for making my Mother’s
(1) Jacob first appears in tax records in 1760
in West Nantmeal Township, Chester County, according to “Pennsylvania Archives,” Series 3, Vol. 11, page 45. He is listed as an “inmate,” which means that he lived on someone else’s
property, probably his father’s. He probably had just reached the age of
majority, which would indicate that he was born in the late 1730s. Pennsylvania
records list only three Piersols who would have been old enough in the 1730s or 1740s to be Jacob’s father. Two of the three – Richard and John – left wills listing their children and many of their grandchildren,
which rules them out as potential fathers. The only other Piersol to appear in
Pennsylvania records during these years is Jeremiah Piersol, who lived in Chester County from at least 1717 until the 1760s. Jeremiah didn’t leave a will and property records don’t seem to contain
a list of his heirs. However, after his death, portions of his property in West
Nantmeal came into the possession of Jacob and a younger Jeremiah, according to Chester County, Pa., Deed Book L3, pages 244-246. These two men were probably sons of Jeremiah.
In addition to Jacob and Jeremiah, several other “unaccounted for” Piersols appear in West Nantmeal tax
records about the same time. They were John (who first appears in 1756), David
(1760), Isaac (1762) and Abraham (1762). It seems very likely that each of these
men was a son of Jeremiah and started appearing in tax records as they reached the age or majority or when Jeremiah died –
probably in 1761 o 1762. [NOTE: “The History and Genealogy of the Pearsall
Family in England and America,” edited by Clarence Pearsall, indicates on pages 1358 and 1372 that Jeremiah had one
daughter and no sons. This supposition appears to be based on the 1741 will of
Mary Jerman (Chester County, Pa., Estate File 762), which bequeaths a feather bed to an unnamed daughter of Jeremiah and doesn’t
mention any other Piersol children. However, this does not indicate Jeremiah
didn’t have any other children. In fact, the only other grandchildren of
Mary mentioned in the will were the orphaned children of Roger and Margaret Evans so it’s very likely that Jeremiah’s
daughter was mentioned only because she was a favored grandchild.] (2) Ann’s
approximate wedding year can be determined by records of the Quaker’s Bradford Monthly Meeting. In early 1760, Ann Piershall was disowned for being married by a priest, according to “Early Church
Records of Chester County, Pennsylvania, Vol. 1, Quaker Records of Bradford Monthly Meeting,” by Martha Reamy, pages
149-150. The case for identifying Ann as Jacob’s wife is more complex. First, Peter Babb mentions in his 1773 will that Ann Peirsoll was one of his daughters,
according to Chester County, Pa., Estate File 2797. The Babbs lived in West Caln
Township and Jacob is found in that township’s tax records in 1762 and 1763, according to Chester County tax indexes
at the county archives. Also, West Caln was beside West Nantmeal Township, where
all of the Chester County Peirsols lived at this time. Additionally, when the
accounts for Peter Babb’s estate were settled in 1774, it was noted that there was “a legacy yet due to Ann Peirsoll
… 5 [shillings].” This indicates that Ann was still alive but probably
had moved away from the area. That corresponds very closely with Jacob’s
sale of his Chester County property in 1772, which is recorded in Chester County, Pa., Deed Book L3, pages 244 and 245. Next, the names of the wives of most of Chester County’s Piersol men are known
from other records, leaving Jacob, Abraham, Isaac and David as the only Chester County Piersols with “unknown wives.” Finally, the names that Jacob appears to have given his sons match names used in the
Babb family – but not in the Piersol family. As will be explained in Footnote
3, Jacob’s sons were probably John, Sampson, Jacob and Peter. Sampson was
the name of a brother of Ann and Peter was the name of her father and another brother.
However, no Sampson appears in eastern Pennsylvania records and the only Peter Piersol to appear there was another
grandson of Peter Babb, through his daughter Bathsheba. It seems certain that
that the names Sampson and Peter originated in the Babb family. [NOTE: The book
“Babb Families of America,” by Jean A. Sargent, only says that Ann married a “Piersol – perhaps Nathaniel.” However, no Nathaniel appears among Chester County Pierols in the 18th
century.] (3) John is the only one of these men whom original records identify
as a son of Jacob. In Jacob’s estate papers – Washington County,
Pa., Accounts, File P, No. 5 – John was named administrator and he paid “Wm Richmond for Making a coffin for father”
in April 1781. Identifying the other Piersols as Jacob’s sons is a more
complex task. First, it’s unlikely that anyone else could be their father
since no other candidate appears in records from western Pennsylvania. The only
other Pittsburgh-area Piersol at this time – Benjamin Pearsall – wasn’t old enough to be their father. He was born in 1753, according to his Revolutionary War Pension
– S40251 – which means that he was too young to be the father of Sampson and Jacob. Sampson was born in 1764 and Jacob was born in 1769. Next,
Sampson’s Revolutionary War pension application – S.22937 – says he was born in June or July 1764 in Chester
County, Pa. Jacob is the only Peirsol who appears in Chester County records in
1764 and later in western Pennsylvania. In fact, Jacob is the only Piersol who
appears in the records of both areas until the arrival of William Piersol in Fayette County in the 1790s. Finally, Sampson and Jacob’s son John frequently appear near each other in tax, militia and census
records – often an indication of close relationship. During this era, family
members often lived near each other and joined the same militia units. Peter
can be linked to Jacob through a more-roundabout method. We know that Jacob died
about 1780, as will be explained later. Next, “The 1871 Atlas Map of Fulton
County, Illinois,” by Andreas, Lyter, and Co., contains an item on Peter’s son Joel Peirsol, which states, “His
grandfather Peirsol was killed by the Indians in the year 1780, within eleven miles of Pittsburg.” (Page 35) This account of an unnamed grandfather matches the
probable death date of Jacob. And both this source and the 1850 Census of Lee,
Fulton County, Ill., agree that Peter was born in 1780. Peter first appears in
western Pennsylvania records – as a single man in 1802, probably about age 22.
This Beaver County tax record highlights another factor pointing to a close relationship among Sampson, Jacob and Peter:
They seem to have lived beside each other, a common practice among frontier families in the 18th century. Indeed, at first glance, it would appear likely that Peter was the son of Sampson
or Jacob. However, since he does not appear in either of their wills –
even though he outlived them – it seems certain that he was their younger brother who lived with them after his parents’
deaths. In fact, the 1790 and 1800 censuses give Sampson credit for one more
son than he actually had – probably an indication that Peter was living in his household. Finally, we come to the younger Jacob. He is identified in
the Pearsall family history as the son of John but that’s impossible because they were probably born less than 10 years
apart. John was certainly born in or after 1760 if Ann Babb married the older
Jacob, which seems pretty certain. The younger Jacob was born in 1769, according
to the 1850 Census of New Sewickley Township, Beaver County, Pa. Jacob also is
closely linked to Sampson in various records. Jacob moved to Beaver County with
Sampson and lived very close to him. Jacob also named one of his children Sampson
and Sampson named one of his children Jacob. It seems pretty certain that they
were close relatives and judging from their 5-year separation in age and the fact that no other possibly father lived in the
area, they must have been brothers. As noted above, “The History and Genealogy
of the Pearsall Family in England and America” lists different parents for these men.
Please see footnote 12 for a brief explanation of some of the problems or the footnotes under each man’s narrative
for a detailed explanation of why these links can’t be trusted. (4) “Early
Church Records of Chester County, Pennsylvania, Vol. 1, Quaker Records of Bradford Monthly Meeting,” by Martha Reamy,
pages 149-150. The only Peirsol family that appears in Chester County Quaker
records is that of Jeremiah, who married Ann’s sister Bathsheba Babb. Most
of the earliest Peirsols in Chester County – John, Jeremiah and Richard – were affiliated with a congregation
of the Seventh Day Baptists in Nantmeal, according to “Seventh Day Baptists
in Europe and America,” Vol. II, pages 980, 981 and 1111. The other early
Peirsol – Edward – was married in an Episcopal church – Christ Church in Philadelphia, Pa. – according
to “Pennsylvania Archives,” Series 2, Vol. 8, page 75. Many later
Peirsols in Chester County were Episcopalians. (5) The information for 1760,
1762 and 1763 comes from the index to country tax available on microfilm at the Chester County Archives. The other tax records appear in “Pennsylvania Archives,” Series 3, Vol. 11, as follows: 1765
is on page 45, 1766, page 174; 1767, page 339; 1768, page 481; 1769, page 609; and 1771, page 737. (5a) Chester County, Pa., Deed Book L3, pages 244-246. (6)
There is no record that specifically states Jacob moved from Chester County to the Pittsburgh area. However, the Jacob in Chester County disappears from the records just a few years before a Jacob appears
in the Pittsburgh area, which was part of Washington County at the time. In addition,
Sampson Peirsol’s Revolutionary War pension application states that he was born in Chester County in 1764 and served
in the Washington County militia in the 1780s, so it’s certain that one Peirsol family did make that move. This has to have been Jacob’s family because he was the only Peirsol who appears in contemporary
Pittsburgh-area records who was old enough to have had adult children in the 1780s.
As note above, the only other Peirsol to appear in records from this time and place was Benjamin, who was born in 1753
and, thus, was too young to be the father of John and Sampson. (7) Service in
O’Hara’s company appears in Compiled Service Records of Soldiers Who Served in the American Army During the Revolutionary
War,” microfilm M881, roll 1089. This service is also listed in “Historical
Register of Virginians in the Revolution,” by John H. Gwathmey, page 612. Jacob’s
enlistment date is recorded in “Compiled Service Records of Soldiers Who Served in the American Army During the Revolutionary
War: Virginia 9th Regiment,” microfilm M881, roll 1060, National Archives.
(7a) “Frontier Defense of the Upper Ohio, 1777-1778,” edited by Reuben G. Thwaites and Louise P. Kellogg,
page302. (7b) “Fort Pitt and Letters from the Frontier,” edited by March C. Darlington, 1892, pages 201-203.
(7c) “Frontier Defense,” page 278. (7d) “Frontier Advance on the Upper Ohio, 1778-1779,” edited by Louise
P. Kellogg, pages 197-198. (7e) “Frontier Retreat on the Upper Ohio, 1779-1781,”
edited by Louise P. Kellogg, page 94. (7f) Service in Gibson’s company
appears in “Compiled Service Records of Soldiers Who Served in the American Army During the Revolutionary War: Virginia
9th Regiment,” microfilm M881, roll 1060, National Archives. This
service is also mentioned in connection with Fort McIntosh in “Fort McIntosh: The Story of Its History of Its and Restoration
of the Site,” by Frank F. Carver, from http://www.bchistory.org/beavercounty/BAHF/FortMc.Carver/Carver.Main.html. History of the 13th Virginia Regiment at www.myrevolutionarywar.com/states/va/va-13.htm (8) For detailed
discussion about which Peirsol was actually killed in a raid by Native Americans, see the special section titled “Accounts
of Peirsols Killed By Native Americans.” In short, “The History and
Genealogy of the Pearsall Family in England and America” states that Benjamin Pearsall – the son of Job Pearsall
of Hampshire County, Va. – was the father of John and Sampson and was killed in 1774.
However, as indicated above, Jacob was almost certainly their father. Also,
as will be explained elsewhere, Benjamin actually lived until 1824. (See footnote
12 for additional information on Benjamin.) The Pearsall history also states
that Peter’s father was killed, but it identifies him as another Benjamin – the son of the first Benjamin –
and says the attack probably occurred in the 1790s. As was explained above, Peter’s
links to Sampson and Jacob are pretty solid, so their father was his father. Additionally,
the Benjamin who lived until 1824 was the only Benjamin to appear in western Pennsylvania records, which means that he could
not have been Peter’s father. (9) The first account appears in “The
1871 Atlas Map of Fulton County, Illinois,” by Andreas, Lyter, and Co., Page 35.
The second account mentioned appears in a biographical item on Joel’s son, John C. Peirsol, in “History
of Monroe County, [Missouri],” which was published in 1884. This account
says Peter’s father also was named Peter and was killed at Fort Duquesne in 1753, all of which is incorrect. However, it does support the tradition that Peter’s father died at the hands of Native Americans
near Pittsburgh. One other account comes down to us through Joel’s family. It appears in the Pearsall history and is provided by Joel’s son Joel. He wrote to Clarence Pearsall in 1917, saying: “My Father told me that my Great-Grandfather
as killed by the Indians at old Fort Duquesne, the present site of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.” However, the history’s editors misidentified Peter’s father and suggested that the attack occurred
in the 1790s. (10) “The Indian Wars of Pennsylvania,” by C. Hale
Sipe, page 608. The brackets and parenthesis are in the book. The counties Broadhead mentions were established by Virginia in the area that was also claimed by Pennsylvania. Although it seems most likely that Jacob died in 1780, several attacks did occur in
nearby Westmoreland County in April 1781. It’s possible that a raiding
part happened to pass through Jacob’s farm on their way to their target. See
pages 634 and 635. (11) The first account is in the Pearsall history, page 1443. The second account is in the Peirsol family file in the Beaver County Genealogical
Society at the Carnegie Library in Beaver Falls, Pa. It was written after 1941
since it mentions alterations to Sampson’s gravesite in that year. This
account, which is signed by Mr. E.E. Nye, was “told by his [Sampson Piersol’s] grand sons and grand daughters
Joseph Piersol and Susie Grimm and others that could remember there fathers and mothers telling of there pioneer line.”
(12) It is pretty certain that the Benjamin Pearsall actually lived until 1824. The Pearsall history correctly identifies Benjamin as the son of Job Pearsall of Hampshire
County, Va., but it appears to be mistaken when it indicates he died a premature death.
Job’s other son, John, wrote his will in 1809. Since he didn’t
have any children of his own, he left his estate to his brother, sisters, nieces and nephews.
It mentions Benjamin and later mentions that he had children, although it doesn’t list their names. It does not seem likely that John would list Benjamin separately if he had died 35 years earlier. The will is abstracted in “Early Records of Hampshire County, Virginia (Now
West Virginia),” compiled by Clara McCormack Sage and Laura Sage Jones, page 129.
I also have checked the will – Will Book 5, page 233 – at the courthouse in Romney. Since Benjamin continued to appear in Pennsylvania and, later, in Ohio records, the Pearsall history “created”
nonexistent Benjamins to account for the listings. One was supposedly a son of
the real Benjamin and the father of Peter. The profile of this fictitious Benjamin
is where we find the other account of a Peirsol killed by Native Americans near Pittsburgh.
This is why we find the account of the death of Peter’s father separated from that of Sampson’s father. (13 Washington County, Pa., Accounts, File P, No. 5.
John Pearcel, “Administrator of Jacob Pearcel Deceased” submitted his account papers on May 1, 1787, according
to Washington County, Pa., Court Records, Page 50, Vol. A-C, 1781-1836. (14) “The Pennsylvania Archives,” Series 3, Vol. 22, pages 760. The 1791 listing is on page 649.
SAMPSON and SUSANNAH PIERSOL
Sampson Piersol was
born in 1764 in Chester County, Pa., probably to Jacob and Ann (Babb) Piersol. (1)
Married Susannah Custard,
daughter of Benjamin and Ruth Custard – sometimes spelled Castor – who lived in what is now Allegheny County,
Jacob Scudder, born
Oct. 16, 1785.
Ruth. Married David
M. Ann, born in 1787. Married Michael Nye.
Susannah. Married William
At the time of the
Revolutionary War, Sampson lived on Peters Creek in what is now Allegheny County, according to his Revolutionary War pension
During the Revolution,
Sampson served as a private in the militia and an “Indian spy.” Sampson’s Revolutionary War pension application
says: “That he entered the service of the United States as a private soldier a volunteer in March in the year 1781 under
Captain Joseph Sipeney in a company of Indian Spies. That he served in said company
under said Captain Sipeney during the summer of the year 1781 six months and the summer of 1782 from March until sometime
in June when he volunteered and joined the company commanded by Captain Andrew Hood under Colonel Crawford in his campaign
against the Indians at Sanduskey. That he marched under said officers to Sanduskey
and was in the battle at the time of Crawford’s defeat. That he returned
with the remnant of Colonel Crawford’s army after his defeat at Sanduskey and joined his former company under said Captain
Sipeney after being absent in Crawford’s campaign about six weeks. That
he continued under said Sipeney until the first of October A.D. 1782 making in all eleven months under Captain Sipeney and
six weeks or a month and a half in Crawford’s Campaign against the Indians at Sanduskey along the frontier up and down
the Ohio River partly in the counties now called Allegheny and Beaver and partly on the north side of said river and after
pursued and chased the Indians from the frontier settlements.” (4)
Sampson was probably
only 16 years old when he started serving as an Indian spy in 1781. Although
every male who could carry a gun was expected to join the militia, Sampson may have had additional incentive. According to the Pearsall genealogy, Sampson’s father was killed by Indians around 1774. However, I have not located a primary source that confirms this.
Archives” also lists Sampson among the privates in Capt. Andrew Hood’s company on the ill-fated campaign led by
Col. William Crawford in June 1782. (5) Crawford’s force was sent against
the Indian villages near Sandusky, Ohio, believed to be the source of attacks on the settlements in western Pennsylvania. However, the Indians received word of the troops’ approach and were able to
evacuate the villages. A battle did erupt and the militia held its own during
fighting on June 4. But the next day, the Indians were re-enforced and Crawford
decided to withdraw. While the militiamen prepared to retreat, the Indians attacked
and scattered them. Many were captured and killed. Col. Crawford was captured, scalped and burned at the stake. (6)
The Revolution on the
frontier was far different from that in the East. Instead of English soldiers,
the primary foes were native Americans stirred to action by the British and their sympathizers. These raids meant scalpings, kidnap and torture. The settlers
often replied with equal savagery. The Indians were seen as a threat until 1794,
when they were vanquished by troops under Gen. Anthony Wayne. (7)
Sampson continued his
participation in the militia into the 1790s. “History and Genealogy of
the Pearsall Family in England and America” states that he was listed as a lieutenant in the 4th Company of the First
Regiment of the Allegheny County militia on May 1, 1792.
On Aug. 19, 1793, Sampson
was elected captain of the First Regiment’s 4th company. (7a) During his
tenure as a company commander, his unit was called to duty in the Whiskey Insurrection.
The rebellion erupted when farmers in western Pennsylvania protested taxes on whiskey.
Since it was easier to transport whiskey than raw grain to eastern markets, it was a major product of frontier farmers
and high taxes hurt them economically. The most dramatic encounter of the Whiskey
Insurrection was on July 15, 1794, when rebels burned some buildings at the farm of the man responsible for collecting the
tax, Gen. John Neville. “Whiskey Rebels: The Story of a Frontier Uprising”
describes the skirmish. It tells of the main group sent to face the rebels and
adds, “Another party of eight men under Captain Pearsol was sent to Coal Hill, overlooking Pittsburgh, to intercept
the marshal in case he was missed by the main force.” The main force didn’t
miss the rebels and the resulting fight killed one of the rebels. (7b)
Records show Sampson
paid taxes in 1791 in Mifflin Township, Allegheny County, which had been formed from part of Washington County. (8) In 1796, he moved to what is now Beaver County, about 40 miles to the north, according to his pension application. In 1800, Beaver County was established. Sampson
appears on the tax lists of the new county’s Sewickley Township in 1802. At
that time he owned two 200-acre parcels, two horses and two cows. (9) In 1815,
he is listed as owning 200 acres, two horse, two cows and an ox in what was by then North Sewickley Township. (10)
On Feb. 8, 1799, the
governor appointed and commissioned a number of men to government offices. Among them was Sampson Pearcall, who was named
a justice of the peace for the District of Pitt in Allegheny County. (11)
After the formation
of Beaver County, Sampson took an active role in its government. On Aug. 15,1803,
he was appointed as one of the first two justices for the county’s fifth district, which was north of the Connoquenessing
and east of the Big Beaver, population 116. (12) He also served as county commissioner
from 1831 to 1834. He was a Democrat. (13)
In 1805, tax records
state that Sampson Persole was a magistrate living in North Sewickley Township and owning a sawmill and a gristmill. (14)
The 1810 Census for
Beaver County indicates that Sampson Persoll’s household contained one male age 45
or older, two females under 10 and one female age 45 or older.
According to the Pearsall
genealogy, Sampson was not only a leader among his fellow frontiersmen, he was
like the “lord of the manner.” He acted as attorney for Eastern proprietors
who owned huge tracts of land in Western Pennsylvania. He conducted their business
on the frontier and represented them in disputes.
This history –
which tends to paint rather flattering portraits of its subjects – states: “No doubt there were many men who under
similar circumstances could have directed the settlement of a wilderness, but there are very few who could have retained the
friendship and confidence of the settlers to the same extent as Sampson Peirsol. For
as long as he lived he was father, counselor and advisor to the whole community which radiated from his farm. In a well-worn book found among his papers he records the names of over fifty of his neighbors for whom
he was practically transacted all their business. Sampson Peirsol performed this
duty for very little remuneration, in fact it seems to have been thrust upon him by the insistence both of great landed proprietors
and by those who they sold their lands.”
The Beaver County appearance
dockets contain several dozen lawsuits brought by Sampson from the 1810s onward, probably an indication of his efforts in
contributions listed in the Pearsall history is the foundation of a small church. On
March 20, 1830, Sampson was among the original members of the Mount Pleasant Bible Class, according to the history. His will does state that he was “to be interred in the graveyard or burying ground of Mt. Pleasant
Church situated on my farm.” (15) The Piersols and many of their children
and grandchildren are buried at Mount Pleasant Cemetery in North Sewickley Township, Beaver County, outside Ellwood City.
Sampson died Aug. 8,
1842. The date given for Susannah’s death is Feb. 15, 1837. (16)
application for a pension for his Revolutionary War service – S22937 – says he was born “in Chester County
in Pennsylvania. I think in the year 1764 in June or July. I have now no record of my age.” The application was
filed March 6, 1834 in Beaver County, Pa., and Samson said he was 69 years old. Sampson’s
tombstone at Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Beaver County says he was 78 years old at the time of his death in 1842. Some secondary sources list other dates. The “Daughters
of the American Revolution Patriot Index,” page 522, says he was born June 7, 1764.
“Daughters of the American Revolution Lineage Book, Vol. 98,” page 288, lists his year of birth as 1764. It is listed as 1765 in “The Genealogical and Personal History of Beaver County,”
by John W. Jordan, page 506, and “Inventory of the County Archives of Pennsylvania, Beaver County, No. 4,” page
375. It is listed as “circa 1764” in “History and Genealogy
of the Pearsall Family in England and America, Vol. III,” edited by Clarenece E. Pearsall, page 1452. This source identifies Sampson’s parents as Benjamin and Rebecca (Babb) Pearsall, but that doesn’t
appear to be the case. Another source for this tradition is a photocopied document
in the Peirsol family file in the Beaver County Genealogical Society at the Carnegie Library in Beaver Falls, Pa. The information
in this document, which is signed by Mr. E.E. Nye and can be dated after 1941, was “told by his [Sampson Piersol’s]
grand sons and grand daughters Joseph Piersol and Susie Grimm and others that could remember there fathers and mothers telling
of there pioneer line.” However, it seems very likely that this connection
to Benjamin actually relies on the highly unreliable Pearsall history, which was available well before 1941. It appears that Sampson was actually the son of Jacob Piersol, who died in 1780. First,
the Pearsall history says Sampson’s father, Benjamin, was the son of Job Pearsall of Hampshire County, Va. It also says Benjamin was killed by Native Americans during Lord Dunmore’s War in 1774. However, I have found no record supporting this. In fact, the
will of Job Pearsall’s son John indicates that his brother Benjamin was still alive in 1809. [“Early Records of Hampshire County, Virginia (Now West Virginia),” compiled by Clara McCormack
Sage and Laura Sage Jones, page 129.] Also, according to Benjamin’s Revolutionary
War pension application, he was born in 1752, far too late to be the father of Sampson, who was born in 1764. [Pension S40251, also listed in “Genealogical Abstracts of Revolutionary War Pension Files,”
Vol. III: N-Z, abstracted by Virgil D. White, page 2633.] Benjamin did move to
the Pittsburgh area and lived there from about 1780 to 1810, before moving to Ohio.
The only other Piersol who appears in Pittsburgh-area records during this time is Jacob. This is significant because Jacob lived in Chester County, Pa., in 1764, which would put him in the right
place at the right time to be Sampson’s father. As noted above, Sampson’s
Revolutionary War pension application states he was born in June or July 1764 in Chester County. Jacob is the only Peirsol who appears in Chester County records in 1764 and later in the Pittsburgh area. Finally, Sampson and Jacob’s son John frequently appear near each other in tax,
militia and census records – often an indication of close relationship. During
this era, family members often lived near each other and joined the same militia units.
(2) Susannah is listed as daughter of Benjamin and Ruth Castor of Mifflin Township in “Will Abstracts
of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, Will Books I Through V,” compiled by Hellen L. Harris and Elizabeth Wall, page 63. Benjamin’s will is in Book 3, page 119.
(3) Children and spouses of daughters identified in Sampson’s will in Beaver County Will Book B, page 303. Jacob’s birthday is listed in Jordan’s history of Beaver County and the
Pearsall family history but no primary sources have yet been located to confirm this.
“History of the Pearsall Family in England and America” also lists Tobias S. as a son who died unmarried. However, he doesn’t appear in any other source.
(4) Pension application. I have corrected spelling and punctuation. (5) “Pennsylvania Archives,” Series 6, Vol. 2, page 392. (6) “A History of Northwestern Ohio,” by Nevin O. Winter, pages 29 to 42. (7) “The Indian Wars of Pennsylvania,” by C. Hale Sipe.
(7a) “Pennsylvania Archives,” Series 6, Vol. 4, page 246; Series 6, Vol. 5, page 50; and Series 9, Vol.
1, page 642. (7b) “Whiskey Rebels: The Story of a Frontier Uprising,”
by Leland D. Baldwin, page 115. (8) “Pennsylvania Archives,” Series
3, Vol. 22, page 649. (9) “Complete Index of Remaining Tax Records, Beaver
County, Pa., 1802-1840,” compiled by Publishers of Beaver County Records, page 6.
(10) “Gleanings,” Vol. XV, No. 2, by the Beaver County Genealogical Society, Dec. 1990. (11) “Pennsylvania Archives,” Series 9, Vol. 1, page 1484.
(12) “History of Beaver County, Pa.,” page 123. The action
also is listed in Beaver County Deed Book, A, page 34, but indicates that it occurred on Aug. 10, 1803. (13) “Inventory of County Archives of Pennsylvania, Beaver County, No. 4,” by the Pennsylvania
Historical Society, page 375. (14) “Beaver County’s Earliest Residents,”
compiled by Helen G. Clear and Mae H. Winne, page 42. (15) Beaver County Will
Book B, page 303. (16) Sampson’s date is on his tombstone. No date is left on Susannah’s tombstone, which appears to be missing its bottom half. The date here is from “Beaver County Cemeteries,” Vol. 1, page 69, by Bob and Mary Closson. I do not know the source of their information.
JACOB and RACHEL PIERSOL
Jacob Scudder Piersol
was born Oct. 16, 1785 in Allegheny County, Pa. His parents were Sampson and
Susannah (Castor) Piersol. (1)
Married Rachel in 1810. She was probably the daughter of Tobias Stilly. She was born about 1796. (2)
born Dec. 16, 1813, died Aug. 8, 1814.
born March 26, 1815. Married George W. Alleman.
born Dec. 4, 1816. Married Sampson S. Nye.
born March 24, 1818.
Stille, born July 4, 1820, died 1842.
born Aug. 15, 1821. Possibly married Michael Nye.
born March 17, 1823. Married Edward Sweesey.
born May 2, 1824. Possibly married a man named Walker.
born Oct. 19, 1825.
born March 13, 1827.
H., born, Jan. 1, 1828.
Shaner, born Aug. 23, 1830, died Dec. 7, 1836.
born Feb. 18, 1832.
born March 15, 1835.
born Oct. 29, 1836.
Anna, born Sept. 28, 1838, died Aug. 2, 1847.
Two Jacob Peirsols
appear in Beaver County records of this period. A Pearsall family history says
that the other Jacob was the son of Sampson’s brother John. Because of
the presence of two Jacobs, one must be very careful with the records.
Jacob probably married
Rachel in 1810. He is listed as a single male in the tax returns for that year
but the 1810 Census indicates that his household included him and one female who was between 10 and 16 years old. If Rachel was born in 1796, as later records indicate, she would have been about 14 years old when the
couple married in 1810.
Our Jacob was a farmer
in Sewickley Township. “Jacob Scudder Piersol all his life followed the
occupation of a farmer, a skillful and successful husbandman, tilling his acres with profitable results. He married Rachel Stilley; children, all born in Sewickley township …” (4)
tax lists for 1802 say a Jacob owned 150 acres, one horse and two cows. In 1815, a Jacob owned 150 acres, two horses and two
cows in North Sewickley Township and a Jacob Peirsol Junr. is listed as having 50 acres, a horse and a cow. It is most likely that only the 1815 tax list includes our Jacob because he would have been only 17 in
1802, if his supposed birth date is correct. (5)
During the War of 1812,
a Jacob served as a private in the militia. The Beaver County militia was called
into service only once during the war, when the British threatened Lake Erie in 1814.
Jacob served in Capt. Armstrong Drennan’s company, First Battalion, 26th Regiment. The expedition lasted from Feb. 16 to March 22. It is likely
that this record relates to our Jacob because his brother-in-law Michael Nye was a sergeant in the same unit and he, being
a younger man, may have been more likely to participate in such an expedition. (6)
Beaver County records
show a Jacob paying taxes in the newly formed Marion Township in 1846 to 1848 but not for 1849 and 1850. When his heirs sold his land, the parcel was listed as being in that township. (7)
The 1850 Census of
North Sewickley Township indicates that Jacob owned property valued at $8,500, which was an unusually large sum at that time.
Jacob died in 1851
and Rachel died March 23, 1860. Rachel died after falling down some stairs. (8) They are buried in Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Beaver County, near Ellwood City.
(1) Jacob is named
as the son of Sampson Piersol in Sampson’s will in Beaver County Will Book B, page 303.
His tombstone at Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Beaver County states he is the “son of Samson and Susannah Peirsol.”
Date comes from “History and Genealogy of the Pearsall Family in England and America Vol. III,” by Clarence Pearsall,
page 1455, and “Genealogical and Personal History of Beaver County,” by John W. Jordan, page 506, but no primary
source have yet been located that would confirm this. The 1850 Census of North
Sewickley Township, Beaver County, Pa., lists Jacob as being 65 years old. Although
I have not seen the middle name “Scudder” in any primary sources, it appears in most secondary sources, including
the Pearsall history and Jordan’s history. (2) Jordan’s Beaver County
history, the Pearsall history and the International Genealogical Index of the Latter Day Saints indicate that Jacob’s
wife was a Stilly although I have yet to uncover documents confirming this. However,
one good indication of this link is the names that their daughter Ruth Nye gave to her children. Most of her children were named after grandparents and great-grandparents and Sampson Piersol and Tobias
Stilly are among the names. The IGI says the marriage of Jacob and Rachel occurred
on June 21, 1810 at Peters Creek in Allegheny County, Pa. It also states
that Rachel was born Nov. 14, 1785 in Allegheny County to Tobias and Ruth (Piersol) Stilly.
“1860 Mortality Schedule of Beaver County, Pennsylvania” says Rachel was 64 when she died, which would
put her birth date around 1796. (3) Most of the children are listed in the sale
of property by Jacob’s heirs in Beaver County Deed Book 35, page 109, and Book 37, page 137, as well as the 1850 Census. Names of husbands come from this source unless designated with “possibly,”
in which case they were listed in the Pearsall history. The first Ruth, Tobias and David appear in “Beaver County Cemeteries,”
Vol. 1, by Bob and Mary Closson, pages 68 and 69. The approximate birth date
for the first Ruth and the exact birth date for the second Ruth appear in the cemetery records. The exact birth date for the first Ruth and the rest of the birth dates are listed in the Pearsall history
with the years echoed in Jordan’s history. Since these two agree on names
and birth dates – except for Uriah, as noted below – it appears likely that these two had access to a source that
is no longer available, such as a family Bible. There is a conflict between the
death dates listed for Tobias. The cemetery records say he died in 1842 while
Clarence Pearsall says that he died Aug. 9, 1847. Anna does not appear in Jacob’s
will or the family cemetery but she is listed in both the Pearsall history and Jordan’s history. In addition to the children cited here, Pearsall also lists a Uriah.
However, this identification has to be looked at with skepticism for several reasons: he is not listed in the land
sale that records the names of other children and does not appear in the cemetery where those who died you were buried; he
is not listed in the account in Jordan’s history; and he is the only child who appears on Pearsall’s list without
a birth date, which makes it unlikely that he was listed in the same source as the others.
As mentioned above, the 1850 Census lists most of Jacob’s children. However,
the ages don’t fit perfectly with the other sources I’ve cited. According
to the census, the children were: Jeremiah, age 24, farmer; Scudder, 22, student; Samuel, 19, farmer; Joseph, 16, farmer;
Benjamin, 14; Rachel, 29; Rebecca, 26; and Elizabeth Sweazey, 28. In addition, Elizabeth’s three children – John,
5; Rachel 3; and Jacob, 4 months – and Josiah Robinson are listed in the household.
Sampson’s family is listed two households before Jacob’s in the census.
Sampson was a 31-year-old miller, according to the census. (4) Jordan’s
“Genealogical and Personal History of Beaver County.” (5) 1802 comes
from “Complete Index of Remaining Tax Records, Beaver County, Pa. 1802-1840,” page 6. 1815 comes from the North Sewickley Tax Lists , 1815 as posted on the Beaver County Genealogical Society’s
Internet site. (6) “Pennsylvania Archives, Series 6, Vol. X,” page 132.
Although another Jacob Peirsol lived in Beaver County around this time, it seems most likely that the Jacob who served
is ours because of the presence of his brother-in-law Michael Nye as a sergeant in the same unit, indicating that it drew
from his immediate neighborhood. (7) “Tax Records 1841-1850, Beaver County,”
by Helen G. Clear and Mae H. Winne, page 3. (8) Beaver County Register’s Docket No. 1, page 262, records the deaths
of two Jacob Piersols (November 1851 and November 1857). I prefer the earlier
date for Jacob because it is closer to that in the Pearsall genealogy, which says 1850.
Rachel’s date comes from her tombstone. Jacob’s tombstone
appears to have been broken and no dates are listed. Rachel’s cause of
death comes from “1860 Mortality Schedule of Beaver County, Pennsylvania.”