Pension File extracted by John C. Carter
Contributed 19 Dec 2013
Phillip Smith Pierce
(U.S.S. Princeton, U.S.S. Crusader, U.S.S. North Carolina)
ITEMS OF INTEREST FROM THE PENSION RECORDS:
Enrolled: 19 Oct 1863 [prob. New York] Admitted: Naval Hospital, Norfolk, VA: 05 Dec 1863 (suffering from Phthisis pulmonalis) [aka Tuberculosis] Discharged: (Naval Hospital, Norfolk, VA): 05 Mar (May?) 1864, U.S. Naval Station, Norfolk, VA. Discharged [from service?]: 03 Dec 1864 Birth Date: [ca. 1838-40] Birth Place: [prob. Hopewell Township], Cumberland County, NJ Death Date: 18 Jul 1902 Death Place: Randolph, Norfolk County, MA Married #1: Susannah Anna Pierce [b. 07 Apr 1844; d. 20 Oct 1930] Marriage #1 Date: 28 Jul 1864 Marriage #1 Place: Cumberland Co, NJ Separated: 1866 (Susannah states that she & Philip lived together for two years of their marriage before he treated me so cruelly that I had to leave him. He threatened my life many times). Divorced: June or July 1885 (Susannah served him for divorce on account of desertion). Children: Per affidavit by Susannah: I had one child by my said husband but it died six weeks after its birth and said childs name was Virginia Pierce. In an affidavit Susannah gives the childs birth date as 14 Jul 1865. Married #2: Margaret Carey [b. ca. 1849; d. aft. Jun 1906, date unknown] Marriage #2 Date: 02 Jul 1873 Marriage #2 Place: Boston, Suffolk Co, MA
Among the affiants/witnesses for Philip and/or Susannah:
William Steward Stephen S. Steward Gideon H. Pierce (second cousin of Susannah Pierce) [his mother Jane Murray and Susannahs maternal grandmother Hannah Murray were sisters] Charles M. Pierce brother of Philip Ann [Gould] Pierce mother of Susannah Joseph P. Pierce age 24 (as of May 1894), of Boston, Suffolk Co, MA (said he knew Philip for 14 years, and that he had lived nearby for 22 years) Mark W. Pierce age 33 (as of May 1894) , of Boston, Suffolk Co, MA (said he knew Philip for 14 years, and that he had lived nearby for 22 years)
1st marriage, Cumberland County, N.J., Phillip Smith Pierce and Anna Pierce, 1864
2nd marriage, Phillip Smith Pierce and Margaret Carey, 1873, Massachusetts (underlined):
Extract from document above:
2nd document, 2nd marriage of Phillip Smith Pierce and Margaret Carey, 1873
Mass. 1902 death cert. of Phillip Smith Pierce:
Mass. 1902 death register entry, Phillip Smith Pierce:
OTHER ITEMS OF NOTE:
In one document dated 20 Dec 1904, the Special Examiner notes the following:
In examining the public record of the administration of the sailors estate I found that the claimant [Margaret] was the administratrix and that Walter Coulson and Anna Coulson were on her bond as sureties. James Pierce, New Brunswick, N.J., Charles Pierce, Brighton [sic], N.J. (brothers) and Louisa and Elizabeth Pierce (sisters), ----------, N.J. were named as the only known relatives of sailor. Mrs. Anna Coulson I found to be a niece of the claimant and her husband Walter Coulson was claimants attorney. On personally interviewing Mr. Coulson at Lawrence, Mass. he informed me that owing to the unsatisfactory data furnished by the claimant as to the whereabouts of sailors relatives notices of administration of the estate was made by publication in the Randolph, Mass. newspapers. [ ] I fail to find a Brighton, N.J. post-office in the 1902 U. S. Postal Guide, the nearest to that name being Bridgeton, Cumberland Co., the latter being noted on the Navy Dept records as sailors birth place.
Upon Philips death, his 2nd wife Margaret attempted to obtain a widows pension. However, a Special Examination could find no record on his having been officially divorced from Susannah (misnamed in the following record as Hannah) prior to his & Margarets marriage in 1873, and therefore Margaret was deemed ineligible for a pension.
It appears Margaret had no idea Philip had been previously married. They had been married for 29 years at the time of his passing. His death left her with a mortgage that she could not pay, and she had no means of supporting herself. A December 1904 letter mentions, She is almost a mental and physical wreck and on account of poor condition mentally she seemed unable to be at all exact as to time or circumstances. Owing to her marriage to sailor who was a colored man she has been practically ostracized by her relatives and people generally. At one point she was receiving assistance from the town of Randolph.
In June 1906 Margaret was evicted from her home and delivered to the Randolph Alms House, complete with all of her belongings and furnishings and 100 chickens (!!). The belongings were determined to be of no value and designated to be burned. The chickens were designated as being worth $20.
Susannah had secured a divorce from Philip in June 1885, and if Philip & Margaret had taken the steps to re-marry after that date, then Margaret would have been his legal widow. But since he & Margarets only marriage was the one in 1873, and since he was not yet divorced from Susannah at that time, the 1873 marriage was declared void.
Interestingly, Susannah later (1920) attempted to claim a widows pension herself, but was rejected on the grounds of her having obtained the divorce from Philip in June 1885:
OTHER ITEMS PERTAINING TO PHILIP S. PIERCE (OR HIS WIVES), NOT FROM THE PENSION RECORDS:
Philip Smith Pierce was a son of Richard Pierce, III and Amelia (Murray) Pierce.
1st wife Susannah Anna Pierce was a daughter of Jonathan Freeman Pierce and Anna (Gould) Pierce.
2nd wife Margaret Carey was an Englishwoman, per their marriage record. (Note: Philips mother is listed in the wedding record as Permelia instead of Amelia)
As stated above, in an affidavit Susannah states I had one child [Virginia] by my said husband but it died six weeks after its birth and gives the date of Virginias birth as 14 Jul 1865. Note: at least one other source (FamilySearch.org, with reference to New Jersey, Births and Christenings, 1660-1980) shows the birth date as: 15 Jul 1865.
There is record of the child being buried at Gouldtown Cemetery with a death date as shown here:
Click here to view Gouldtown Cemetery listings, page M-P, and scroll down to see the lines pictured above.
In the pension records of fellow Civil War veteran Ephraim Pierce (Philips nephew), there is an affidavit from Ephraims uncle (Philips brother) Charles Morgan Pierce, which states the following:
I know that in the early fall of 1863, the date I dont now recall, Ephraim and my brother, Smith Pierce, and I went to New York to go into the service. When we got there Ephraim enlisted in the 48th NY Inf. and my brother and I enlisted in the Navy, where I served until 1864, when I was discharged for disability. The reference to his brother as Smith Pierce indicates that Philip once was known by his middle name rather than his first name. This does not seem to be the case after he moved to Massachusetts, however. His 2nd wife Margaret, to whom he was married for 29 years, stated in an affidavit that she didnt now Philip even had a middle name.
Philip and his future 2nd wife Margaret Carey were both enumerated as domestic servants at a hotel in Boston in the 1870 census.
Philips death record states he was buried in Boston but does not name the cemetery.
1st wife Susannah is buried in Gouldtown Memorial Park, Gouldtown, Cumberland Co, NJ - (for some reason she has two headstonesone shared with her mother, both somewhat difficult to read):
It is unknown when 2nd wife Margaret died, or where she is buried.
1). Among Philips pension records are affidavits from a Joseph P. Pierce and a Mark W. Pierce (see above). Does anyone know who they were? If they were living in Boston and stated they had lived near Philip for 22 years (being themselves only 24 and 33 years old), it would appear theyd grown up there as well. Are they connected to the NJ Pierces?
2). Does anyone know what cemetery Philip is buried in?
3). Does anyone know when 2nd wife Margaret died? Or where she is buried?
For those who may be new to the list, I have posted a few of these Civil War pension extractions previously, as has Paul Johnson and Joseph Romeo. To view some of the other Civil War pension extractions, as well as an explanatory note, please see the following page of the Mitsawokett site:
(Once on the page, scroll down below the Index to see the Overview).
Please let me know if anyone has any questions or corrections.
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