The Peirce family goes back to John Pers of Norwich, Norfolk County, England, who came with his wife and four of his children to Watertown, in New England, in the 1600s. The Peirce name was also spelled Perse, Pierce and sometimes Pearce by some in the family and by census takers and others. It was probably pronounced purse.

John Pers was married in April 1610 in Norwich, Norfolk, England to Elizabeth. John was born about 1588 and Elizabeth about three years later, in 1591. Their eight children were all born in England. Their marriage in April 1610 was recorded in the parish register of St. Edmund's Church in Norwich. The baptisms of all of their children except Anthony and Barbre can be found in the register as well. John, age 49, a weaver, Elizabeth and four of their children, John, Barbre, Elizabeth and Judith, supposedly sailed on either the John and Dorethey of Norwich or the Rose of Yarmouth in 1637. It is thought that some of their other children, Anthony, Esther, Mary and Robert, all emigrated either before or after their parents.

My line of descent comes down through John Pers' son Anthony, and Anthony's descendants Daniel, Joseph and Isaac. Isaac, who died in Waltham, Massachusetts in 1773, and his wife, Susannah Bemis had several children, the oldest being Josiah. My line also comes down through John Pers' son Anthony's son Joseph and his descendants John, Jonas and Abigail Peirce and her daughter Rhoda Darby who married Jarvis Peirce in 1794 in Westminster, Massachusetts.

Josiah, born about 1722, married Sarah Gale, daughter of John and Lydia Gale, 14 March 1744 in Waltham. Sarah Gale Peirce died 18 July 1802 in Worcester and Josiah died 30 October 1806 in Worcester. Their burial place is unknown. Their sixteenth and last child was Jarvis Peirce. Jarvis and his wife Rhoda Darby were married in 1694 in Westminster, Massachusetts. They moved, with some of their eleven children to Illinois, arriving in Springfield between 1815 and 1820. They later moved to Gallatin or White County in southern Illinois.

Related Links:
Baptisms of six of the eight children of John & Elizabeth Pers of Norwich, England, and Watertown, Massachusetts
Pierce family, main page, with an image of the marriage record of John and Elizabeth Pers

Information on John Pers and the early Peirce family of Massachusetts comes from the Peirce Genealogy, Being the Record of the Posterity of John Pers, An Early Inhabitant of Watertown, in New England, Who Came From Norwich, Norfolk County, England..., by Frederick Clifton Peirce, Worcester, Press of chas. Hamilton, 1880, and has not been independently verified. John and Elizabeth's marriage and the baptisms of six of their eight children can be found in the Parish registers for Norwich,1538-1946, Registers of St. Edmund's, Church of England, Norwich, Norfolk, England; FHL MF 993665, item 1, Baptisms 1598-1685 Marriages 1562-1685 Burials 1550-1685.

Anne Healy's Genealogy, Created October 2002
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11 Jan 2009
Updated 19 July 2011