Pierce

by Cecil Pierce

The Pierce family was one of the early English families that came to this country, settling in New England. The Marion County Pierce families are the descendants of James H. Pierce, a native of New Hampshire, who was a soldier in the Revolutionary War. Later he migrated to South Carolina where he reared his family of eight children.

Reuben Harrison Pierce was born October 13, 1812, at Edgefield District, South Carolina. He married Sarah Baker, who was born October 6, 1815. Shortly after their marriage they moved to Georgia. They were the parents of four boys and four girls: Robinson Jasper (Dr.) Pierce; William Lafayette Pierce; Martha B. Pierce; Levi R. (Bud) Pierce; Mary Jane Pierce; Sarah E. (Betty) Pierce; Reuben H. Pierce, Jr.; and Nancy A. (Sue) Pierce.

Robinson J. married Mary McAfee, daughter of Hugh and Mary Roe McAfee of South Carolina. To them the following children were born: Frances B., who married Lee Brookshire; Adonis; Ella, who married Travis Cotton; and Roy.

William Lafayette married Scynthia Bell in 1865 at Dawsonville, Georgia. Their children were: Charles W., born in Georgia in 1866 and married Sarah Malinda Langwell; Robert 0. (Bob), born in Georgia in 1868. He married Malinda Belle Thompson; Augustus G., born in Marion County in 1877, married Minnie Tuttle; Eula D., born in Georgia in 1870 shortly before the family left for Marion County, died in 1874 or 1875 and was buried in the Patton Cemetery near Pyatt; George H. was born in Marion County in 1873. He married Deshia Richey. They moved to Texas where he resided for several years before returning to Marion County where he died a short time thereafter. He was buried in the Georges Creek Cemetery; Nellie Bellzora was born near Pyatt in 1875. She married Joseph Chapman and they moved to Washington County near Fayetteville where she died; Sarah Lou Vesta was born in Marion County in 1878. She died in 1893 and was buried near the Arkansas-Oklahoma line between Lincoln, Arkansas, and Westville, Oklahoma; Ottie was born in Marion County in 1885. She married Mack Collins and they moved to Texas and made their home there. We have no record of their children.

Martha B., daughter of Reuben H. and Sarah Baker Pierce, married George Villard and they came to Marion County in 1870. We have no record of their children.

Levi R. (Bud) was born in Georgia and married Mary E. (Mollie) Bell, a sister of Scynthia Bell who married William L. Pierce. They were married in Georgia before coming to Marion County in the latter part of 1870.

Mary Jane Pierce married Robert T. Croy and we have no record of their children.

Sarah E. married John B. Allman of Atkins, Arkansas, and they resided in Pope County.

Reuben H. Jr. moved to Texas at an early age and was a farmer of Hamilton, Texas. We have no record of his family.

Nancy A. (Sue) married Thomas Bell of Pottsville and made her home in Pope County.

Robinson J. Pierce, oldest son of Reuben H. and Sarah Baker Pierce, was a pioneer doctor and the first member of the Pierce family of Hall and Dawson Counties in Georgia to locate in Marion County in the latter part of 1869. He settled on a 320-acre farm near Pyatt in what is now known as the Cedar Grove Community. Dr. R. J. Pierce attended the common schools of Georgia and in 1856 he began the study of medicine under a Dr. Russell, a graduate of the old Philadelphia Medical College. He pursued the study of medicine for two years but due to lack of funds for continuing his study, he went West with a company of thirteen to Colorado. They settled a piece of land on which the City of Denver is now located. During the three years he lived in the vicinity of Denver, he was a successful miner but continued his medical studies. In a region in which there were few doctors, he frequently assisted in many cases that required the services of a surgeon and gained much practical experience. While in Colorado, Dr. Pierce was a part-owner of the famous Russell's Gulch Mine. In 1860 he returned to Georgia and engaged in farming until 1862 when he enlisted in the Confederate Army as a member of the 52nd Georgia Regiment. He was appointed hospital steward and for the last two years of the war, he was assistant surgeon. He was a skillful surgeon and had many experiences on the battlefields. He was at Vicksburg, was with Hood at Nashville, was with Johnston's Army when it surrendered at Greensboro, North Carolina.

After the surrender, he returned to Georgia where he made one crop before moving to Arkansas in 1869.

Dr. Pierce was one of the best educated men among the early doctors in the county. He was a member of the Marion County Medical Association and kept abreast of the latest medical and surgical practices. In 1871 Dr. Pierce built a house on his farm near Cedar Grove about six miles west of Yellville where he lived and practiced medicine for forty years until his death in 1911. He was noted for his promptness in making calls, his generosity, his earnest desire to alleviate pain and cure the afflicted. He was greatly loved by all who knew him.

In 1870 Reuben H. Pierce and Sarah Baker Pierce, his wife, moved from Georgia and located on a farm near the home of his son, Dr. R. J. Pierce. He had served in the 52nd Georgia Regiment of the Confederate Army during the Civil War. He was well educated and was recognized as one of the leading educators of his day and a firm disciplinarian.

Other members of the Reuben H. Pierce family of Hall and Dawson Counties, Georgia, that came to Marion County in 1870 were the following children: William L., Martha B., Mary Jane, Levi R. (Bud), and Reuben H., Jr. Two of the daughters, Sarah E., wife of John B. Allman, and Nancy A., wife of Thomas Bell, settled with their families in Pope County near Atkins.

The Pierce families came by train from Dalton, Georgia, to Memphis, Tennessee, transferred to a steamboat on the Mississippi and down the Mississippi to the Arkansas River and thence by steamboat to Argenta (North Little Rock) where they spent a few weeks before boarding another boat that would take them to Norristown, a village across the river from Dardanelle. The families resided there for a while before beginning the long trip across the Boston Mountains by wagon to Marion County. As mentioned above, two daughters remained in this area.

The remaining part of this history of the Pierce family is devoted for the most part to the history of the descendants of William Lafayette Pierce and Cynthia Bell Pierce, who remained in and made Marion County their home and where a great many of these descendants still live.

Charles W. Pierce was born in Hall County, Georgia, on December 10, 1866. He came to Marion County late in 1870 and died November 28, 1955. He married Sarah Malinda Langwell on October 19, 1892. Sarah Malinda Langwell was born on September 12, 1871, in Boone County and died April 14, 1932. Both are buried in the Georges Creek Cemetery. Born to them were five children, one boy and four girls. They are: Ernest L. Pierce, born July 13, 1893; Essie Pierce, born February 13, 1896; Elfie Pierce, born May 14, 1900; Minnie May Pierce, born May 16, 1903; Edith Pierce, born February 27, 1910. Ernest married Virginia Simmons in 1941; Essie married Charles R. Narramore in 1917; Elfie married Worth M. Briggs in 1921; Minnie M. married Levy L. Briggs in 1921; and Edith married Jacob A. Scholl in 1953. The children of Ernest and Virginia Simmons Pierce are: Eugenia, Cloteal and Charles Franklin. The children of Essie and Charles Narramore are: Edwina (died when 3); Sibyl; Charles A.; Jack E.; and Franklyn P. The children of Elfie and Worth Briggs were: LaRue; Worth, Jr.; Mary and Jessie Lee. Minnie and Levy Briggs had five children: Edward (killed in WW II); Edith May; Harold; Keith; and Levy, Jr. Edith and Jacob Scholl have no children.

Charles W. Pierce taught several subscription schools in Marion County before the public school districts were formed in 1876 or 1877. Then he taught in the public schools for 41 years, mostly in Marion and Boone Counties. He also taught three years in Texas. In 1889 his salary was $25.00 per month and, when he retired at the end of his school term in 1931, his salary was $122.50 per month. About 1915 he and his family operated a large boarding house at the Bear Hill mines, near Dodd City. He built a house at Dodd City; later tore it down numbering each piece of lumber and moved it to Georges Creek Community and rebuilt it exactly as it was originally built. The house, now know as The Pierce House is still standing in good repair about one mile west of Georges Creek, near Highway 62.

Robert 0. (Bob) Pierce was born in Hall County, Georgia, February 18, 1868, and came to Marion County late in 1870. He died at Yellville, Arkansas, August 21, 1950. He was married to Malinda Belle Thompson in July 1890. Malinda Belle Thompson Pierce was born in Marion County, October 10, 1868, and died August 10, 1952. Both were buried in the Layton Cemetery at Yellville. Their children, three girls and four boys, were living at the time of their deaths. They are: Auda E. (1891); Walter E. (1893); Earl L. (1895); Versel S. (1898); Pearl V. (1901); Cecil L. (1903); Howard L. (1907). Auda E. married in 1915 Edd Osborn and their children were: Alma; Carl; Madge; Vernon; and Imogene. Walter married Moatte Wolfe in 1919 and their children were: Lucille and Louise (twins) (1920); and Rex (1927). Earl married Rena Murry in 1921. They lived together ten years and were divorced. They had no children. Later, he married Helen McConnell in 1936 and their children were: Carol Ann (1937); and Stephen Earl (1940). Versel Pierce married Enos James in 1919 and they had one son, Eugene (1923). Pearl Pierce married Roy Johnson in 1930 and they have one girl, Mildred (1932); Cecil married Erma Jo Elam in 1931 and they have one girl, Roberta Jo (1943). Howard married Audra Laffoon in 1932 and they have no children.

At this writing all the children of Robert 0. and Malinda Belle Pierce are living, except Earl who died in 1964 and was buried at Nixa, Missouri, where his wife's people live.

Robert 0. (Bob) was a farmer, a builder, stone and concrete mason. He did much stone and concrete work in and around Yellville -- some of which is still standing.

Walter was a farmer and is retired and lives in Yellville. Earl was a telegraph operator and a cashier for the Missouri Pacific Railroad when he died at Batesville, Arkansas. Cecil was a telegraph operator and station agent for the Missouri Pacific Railroad for about 45 years and is now retired. He lives in Yellville. Howard Pierce was also a telegraph operator and station agent for the Missouri Pacific Railroad for about 42 years and is now retired. Pearl Pierce Johnson taught school for a few years before her marriage in 1930. Versel and Auda were housewives.

Augustus Garland (Gus) Pierce was born in Marion County in 1877 and died in 1960. He married Minnie Tuttle on December 10, 1899. Minnie Tuttle was born January 25,1880, in Louisville, Kentucky, and died February 10, 1960. Both were buried in the Georges Creek Cemetery. They were the parents of a daughter, Eula Cynthis (1906). She married James Oliver Ledbetter in 1928 and they had one daughter, Peggy Jean (1931). Peggy Jean married William Joseph Blake in December 1952 and they are the parents of one boy and two girls -- Michael Joseph (1953), Rachael Katherine (1955) and Susanne Marie (1958).

Gus Pierce was a station agent and telegraph operator for the Missouri Pacific Railroad and was station agent at Pyatt for more than 40 years.

Minnie Tuttle Pierce came to Marion County from Louisville, Kentucky. Her parents were William Tom Tuttle and Rebecca Ingle Tuttle.

Eula Pierce Ledbetter taught in the public schools of Marion County for 39 years -- four years at No. 1 near Flippin; six years at Pyatt; 29 years at Yellville-Summit, the longest period of time any teacher has ever taught in this school.


Reprinted with permission from History of Marion County edited by Earl Berry, copyright 1977.