JOHN PEIRCE, retired, Xenia. In 1696, one Thomas Peirce came from England and settled in Portsmouth, N. H., where his descendants continued to reside for 140 years without straying away from the native State. The old mansion built by Thomas Peirce soon after his arrival yet remains and in an excellent state of preservation, and had remained in the family till 1863, when it passed into the hands of John R. Holbrook, a gentleman who was reared in the family. The Peirce family, from as far back as their history is known to the present date, has had a John and a Thomas in the family, and Thomas Peirce, the father of our subject, was born in Portsmouth, N. H., April 19, 1777, and was married, in 1802, to Abigail Moulton, born in Portsmouth January 29, 1773, and was a descendant of Joseph Moulton. The Moulton history in New Hampshire dates back to 1680. This union was blessed with the following children: Sarah, Nathaniel, Thomas, John and Abigail. Only the two youngest now survive, viz.: Our subject and his maiden sister Abigail, she being a resident of Portsmouth, N. H. Thomas Peirce died October 24, 1838, and his wife July 13, 1826. Our subject was born December 4, 1811, and in 1835 came West and settled in Iowa, and was clerk of the first election ever held in the Territory after it was struck off from Wisconsin. By trade, our subject is a printer, and had followed printing till coming West, when he began farming. June 21, 1837, he was married to Miss Jane C. Davenport, a descendant of the Davenports of Virginia. She was the mother of the three following-named children: Thomas O., born July 8, 1838; John A., born March 12, 1843; and Laura, born December 26, 1846, died October 23, 1875. These two sons and Mrs. Lewis G. Davis, of Portsmouth, N. H., a daughter of Nathaniel Pierce, are the only grandchildren of Thomas and Abigail (Moulton) Peirce now living. In 1837, Mr. Pierce moved to Clay County, Ill., and has continued to reside here since, and from December, 1846, to the present time, has lived on his present place. October 22, 1855, his wife died, at the age of thirty-seven years seven months nine days. January 1, 1857, he was united in marriage to Mrs. Barbara (Shelley) Bond, a native of Pennsylvania, and widow of Nichodemus Bond, of Clinton County, Ill. Mr. Peirce is a member of the Orphan's Hope Lodge, I. O. O. F., No. 213, at Xenia. He and wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. In politics, he is Republican. He is one of the oldest settlers in Xenia Township, and has done much to advance the interests of the township and village. The depot at Xenia was laid out on his land, and for about two and a half years he was station agent. He has an heirloom which has been handed down for several generations. It is a Bible which was printed in 1608, and brought to America in 1696 by Thomas Peirce.
Extracted 28 Dec 2017 by Norma Hass from 1884 History of Wayne and Clay Counties, Illinois, Part IV, Xenia Township, pages 164-165.