Jonathan K. Pierce & Statira W. Curtis

(Settlers and Migrants, Pierce branch)

* Jonathan K. PIERCE was born on 3 May 1819 in NY; died on 16 Mar 1874 in Batavia, Kane Co., IL; buried in East Batavia Cemetery, Batavia, Kane Co., IL.

He married Statira W. CURTIS on 23 Sep 1843 in Kane Co., IL.
They had the following children: Charles E. PIERCE (b. 1843), ♥ Francis Albert “John” PIERCE (b. 26 Apr 1845), Ellen M. PIERCE (b. 1847).

He also married Cordelia M. CURTIS on 4 Apr 1848 in Batavia, Kane Co., IL.
They had the following children: George K. PIERCE (b. 1851), Ida V. PIERCE (b. ABT 1 Jul 1856), Joseph J. PIERCE (b. 1859), Ira J. PIERCE (b. 1860), Louis PIERCE (b. 1864), Mary E. PIERCE (b. 1867).

Historical Note:  Between 1837 and 1843 the nation was in a 7 year depression. During the 1830s unsound banking practices, overly ambitious infrastructure investment (railroads, canals, etc.) and rampant real estate speculation paved the way for the Panic of 1837. Economic devastation followed in a crisis of major proportions. Stocks crashed. Urban food riots erupted. Stores and warehouses were looted, and banks ceased to honor their notes. Many railroads were simply abandoned. By all accounts it was among the worst economic periods ever, rivaling the 1930s.{D8}

LIVELIHOOD: Jonathan was a mid 1800s farmer.{D6, D7}

Land Purchases: All purchases made when Johnathan was between 22-32 years of age, as follows;
1.  21 May 1841, 160 acres at SE 1/4, Section 19, Twp 39N, Range 07E, Meridian 3, Kane County, IL. The land cost $200.00 or $1.25/ acre. This property is located about 2.5 miles west of Batavia on Main Street. Note: The following properties are located about 1 mile west of the former, most are joining on a
north south axis. A panorama series of photographs were taken out across this slightly sloping land in the late 1980s. It is a very pretty, scenic piece of  property, see drawing and description in my handwritten journals.
2.  24 Feb 1843, 80 acres at E2SW, Section 24, Twp 39N, Range 07E, Meridian 3, Kane County, IL. The land cost $100.00 or $1.25/ acre.
3.  20 April 1844, 80 acres at W2SW, Section 24, Twp 39N, Range 07E, Meridian 3, Kane County, IL. Cost $100.00 or $1.25/acre.
4.  20 April 1844, 80 acres at W2NW, Section 24, Twp 39N, Range 07E, Meridian 3, Kane County, IL. Cost $100.00 or $1.25/acre.
5.  31 May 1845, 40 acres, at NENE, Section 26, Twp 39N, Range 07E, Meridian 3, Kane County, IL. The property was obtained under a Land Grant signed by U.S. President James K. Polk giving the property to Jonathan K. Pierce and his heirs, and dated 1 Feb 1846. The land grant document  is written on sheepskin and in 1993 is in possession of Larry F. Pierce.
6.  26 May 1851, 80 acres, at W2NW, Section 25, Twp 39N, Range 07E, Meridian 3, Kane County, IL. Cost $100.00 or $1.25/acre.
Note: Most of the afore mentioned land purchases were made with Quit Claim Deeds.{D3}

[Photo taken Sept 1989. Looking in a 90 degree panorama across one parcel of acreage owned by Johnathan K. Pierce in the 1840s, rural Batavia, Kane Co. IL. Batavia is east down the road at extreme left. Road at extreme right goes south.]

MARRIAGE:
1.  Married Statira W. Curtis, producing 3 children including my ancestor (paternal Great grandfather)  Francis Albert Pierce. Statira died in 1847 or early 1848 at about 23 years of age.
2. On 5 April 1848(age 28) he married Statira’s younger sister Cordelia (age 19), at a Justice of the Peace {D5}, their family produced another six children. Cordelia raised not only her own children, but the three produced by her sister, Statira, before her untimely death.
My paternal great grandfather Francis Albert Pierce reached adulthood and moved to  Jacksonville, IA.

HOME:  Jonathan K. Pierce lived most of his adult life in Blackberry Twp., about 1.5 miles west of Batavia, Kane County, IL.

In 1860 the members of the Pierce household were: Jonathan, age 40 years; wife Cordelia, 30; Charles A.,17; Francis A., 14; Ellen, 13; George, 11; Ida, 4; Joseph J., (?); Babson Eldrich, 20 a field hand. At this time Jonathan estimates his real-estate to have a $14,000 value and his personal property to be valued at $2500. {D6}

By 1870 Jonathan evaluates his real-estate at $22,320 and his personal property worth $3000. Persons listed in the household are Jonathan, Cordelia, and children:  Francis; Ella; George; Ida; Ira; Louis; Mary; also (?) Anna, a domestic servant from Sweden.{D7} [Internet image above is a Birds eye view of Batavia, IL, 1869.]

EVENT: On 24 Dec 1870, Jonathan signed a marriage affidavit stating that his daughter Ellen M. Pierce was 18 years old and could legally join in marriage with Mr. Charles Snook, age 26 years.  Daughter, Ellen, and Charles Snook were married the next day, 25 Dec 1870.{D2}

BURIAL: Jonathan is buried in the family plot (Lot #53) in the old North Section of East Batavia Cemetery along with second wife Cordelia (Curtis) and daughter Ida J.
Our ancestor, G-grandmother Statira’s (Curtis) Pierce’s resting place is at unknown location in Blackberry Twsp, Kane Cnty.

In an adjoining family plot (Lot #48) are buried George Pierce b 1814, d 1865; wife Elvira b 1819, d 1908;  their son Charles, b 1848, d 1909; Charles wife, Emma, b 1842, d 1908. We have not been able to tie Jonathan and George together, but I wonder if they may have been brothers. {D4}

DOCUMENTS:
1. Original Land Grant, on sheepskin, signed by President James K. Polk and dated 1 Feb 1846, is in
stewardship of the Larry F. Pierce family, 1991.
2. State of Illinois Vital Records, Marriage Affidavit from Kane Co. for marriage of Ellen M. Pierce to Charles Snook.
3. State of Illinois, Archives Division Public Domain Sales Land Tract Record Listings, page 12814. Information from Archives Vol. 684, pages 073, 197, 198.
4. Vital statistics taken from the family marker in East Batavia Cemetery,  Batavia, IL  by LFP in 1989.
5. Marriage Record of Cordelia Curtis and Johnathan K. Pierce, a Certified Copy of Vital Record, County Clerk, Kane County, Geneva, IL.
6. 1860 Federal Census of Blackberry Township, Kane County, IL,  See “dwelling house” no. 4073.
7. 1870 Federal Census of BlackberryTownship,Kane County,IL.
8. The Wall Street Waltz © 1897 by Kenneth Fisher, Contemporary Books.

.

Statira W. CURTIS was born in ABT 1825 in NY; died in BEF 1848 in Batavia, Kane, IL; buried in Blackberry Township, Kane,IL.

TRAVEL: Statira, her younger sister Cordelia and brothers came to Batavia with their parents from New York, in 1835.{D2}

EDUCATION: “When Mrs. Pierce and her family came to this place there were only a few buildings in the vicinity of Batavia and her first years of school were spent when school was held in the homes of the people.”{D2}

MARRIAGE: Statira Curtis (about 18) and prospective husband, Jonathan K. Pierce (age 24) received  permission from the State of Illinois to marry on 23 Sep 1843.{D1}

DEATH: Statira died in 1847 or early 1848 at about 23 years of age, possibly from complications arising from the birth of her daughter, Ellen. Her grave was not located in the East Batavia Cemetery. It is thought she may have been buried at an old rural cemetery west of Batavia.

DOCUMENTS:
1.  Marriage Registration, Certification of Vital Records Form, County Clerk, Kane County, Geneva, IL.
2.  Obituary of Cordelia Curtis Pierce, sister of ancestor Statira W. Curtis Pierce, from the 20 October 1904 issue of the Batavia Hearld newspaper, the article begins stating; “Pioneer Woman Passes Away- Mrs. Cordelia M. Curtis Pierce, one of the oldest residents of Kane County, Died Thursday, Oct 13, 1904…” See following- article about Jonathan’s 2nd wife, sister of ancestor Statira:

Batavia (Illinois) Chronicle, Oct. 20, 1904
“Pioneer Woman Passes Away Mrs. Cordelia M. Curtis Pierce, one of the oldest resident of Kane County, died Thursday, Oct. 13, 1904, at the home of her son, Ira J. Pierce of 171 Elm St. The funeral was held at the home Saturday afternoon, at 1:30 o’clock. Interment in East Batavia cemetery.

Mrs. Pierce was born in New York, April 29, 1829, and at the age of six years came to Batavia where she has since resided with the exception of a few years spent with a daughter in South Dakota. When Mrs. Pierce and her family came to this place there were only a few buildings in the vicinity of Batavia and her first years of school were spent when school was held in the homes of the people.

When nineteen years of age she was married to Jonathan Pierce of Blackberry. Of this marriage eight children were born, of whom four survive her. They are: Mrs. Ellen M. Snook, of Pomona, California; Louis Pierce, Sherman, California; George K. and Ira J. Pierce of this city. During the last year she has been living at the home of her son Ira J. Pierce.”

16 June 1989, Friday, Our family makes “A 150 Year Tour of the Midwestern United States’
Exerpts from my autobiography:
“The itinerary for our vacation included visits to the following:
1) The farm originally settled by my 2-Great grandfather, Jonathan Kane Pierce, ca 1840 near Batavia, Illinois.
2) The Clarence Avenue apartment in Berwyn, Illinois, here I lived until mid-kindergarten.
3) Farms and graves of both my grandparents: Pearl Shafer and Alma Delight Kellogg in Hartford, Michigan  the retirement farm of Glen K. Pierce and Elsie Grubb near Coloma, and their graves in Lawton,Michigan.
4) The Spring Valley, Ohio farm originally settled from the wilderness by my 4-Great grandfather Capt.
John Anderson and home to both his son 3-Great grandfather Pvt. James Anderson and 2-Great grandfather Pvt. Harmon Anderson[1] .

“We were filled with excitement and nervousness for several days before vacation started.
Donna was working long hours in an attempt to put in her forty hour work week early and have more time for vacation. I was at home packing, getting ahead on my lawn mowing, doing some shopping in town and preparing everything for our journey. Plans were made with a neighbor to stop by our house every few days to check the dogs food, and water the house plants. We called the Post Office to have mail delivery stopped until we returned.

On Thursday June 15, Donna went to work early to put in a short, half day’s work. While she was gone, I did the last minute chores of emptying the garbage, washing the last of the dishes, moving all the houseplants onto the sunny kitchen table and watering them…

Donna arrived home around 1PM. No sooner did she park the car, when I began carrying out our suitcases and loading them in. Donna hurriedly changed clothes, while I packed the car. As soon as she was changed, we took a last minute ‘walk through’ the house  inspecting appliances, windows, thermostat and door locks. We climbed in the car, said ‘Good bye’ to the dogs, and at 1:44 PM drove off down the driveway on vacation.

That evening after driving one hundred eighty miles we stopped at Pizza Hut  restaurant in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.
We were both quite tired, having only slept about six hours on each of the previous two nights. After supper we drove another eighty two miles to Tomah, Wisconsin and rented a room at the Rest Well Motel, cost $31.50.

We toted our bags into the room, washed up, changed into our bed clothes and hopped into bed together to watch television. Donna and I shared a canned mixed drink, while Jane ate several Oreo cookies. After a few minutes, I noticed the girls had become very still. Quietly, so not to disturb anyone, I turned off the TV and a small night stand lamp beside the bed. Neither Donna or Jane responded as I wished them a soft, ‘Good Night’. My head dropped back into the pillow…and suddenly it was 3:45 AM.

The family awoke Friday morning with ‘road fever,’ we were rearing to go. Everyone cleaned up and we reloaded our suitcases in the car and before long were back on the road.
As we sped through the  countryside that early morning, the air was chilly and invigorating. The sky was darkly overcast and every now and again we encountered a sprinkle. Listening to the car radio we heard a news report say, that the entire Midwest was experiencing lower than normal temperatures. During the night, Rochester, Minnesota had set a record low temperature for the date with 41°F.

Jonathan Pierce at East Batavia Cemetery
Arriving in Batavia, Illinois late Friday morning, we found the well kept and freshly mown, East Batavia Cemetery on Washington Street.
We located the burial site of Jonathan K. Pierce, my 2-Great grandfather,  on the northern side of the cemetery in the shade of two large, old overhanging Oak trees. In the center of the family plot
stood a six and a half foot high, gray granite monument with family member names and vital dates inscribed.
•  Jonathan first married Statira Curtis who died shortly after giving birth to her daughter, Ellen.
•  After Statira’s death, Jonathan married her younger sister, Cordelia (Curtis) and had a family by her. It was this latter family whose members were buried here.  We chalked and photographed the monument.

While Donna and Jane walked around the cemetery looking for other’s with the Pierce family name, I sat on a nearby gravestone looking about.
It was a windy, chilly day. The sky was mostly cloudy, with small patches of blue, here and there, showing through the gray. From about one hundred fifty feet behind me, I could hear the sounds of busy traffic passing on Washington Street.

Returning my attention to Jonathan’s headstone, I contemplatively asked of our combined nature’s, ‘Who were you, that I am?

My answer was confusion and uncertainty. The generations between Jonathan and myself are not many, yet Jonathan is dissolved to only six percent of myself. His distance in time and family memory have clouded and obscured that past nature. We were unable to identify Jonathan  amongst us, he is quiet and unspeaking amongst our many parts. So, there I sat, like an orphan, without a sense of his identity.
A while later, realizing it was time to leave, I felt tears trying to well up in my eyes. I walked the few paces to Jonathan’s headstone and bent to touch the rock and prayed the words, ‘I love you.’ [2]

Jonathan’s land grant
After lunch at a local restaurant, we drove west out of Batavia  on Main Street. About four miles west of town we found the property that was claimed by Jonathan in May 1845 and officially patented to him by President Polk on February 1, 1846. Driving one and a half miles back toward Batavia through the slightly rolling terrain, we stopped at the first property Jonathan bought. This one hundred sixty acre tract, bought on May 21, 1841 was possibly the site of his first home in Illinois.
The beautiful property set in the southeast corner of Main Street and Nelson Road. A slight hill in that corner sloped down toward the south only to rise again. In the low area could be seen a several acre swamp and a pond. In the south east there lay a forty acre woodland. Donna and I agreed, Jonathan had at the age of twenty two years, purchased a nice and picturesque piece of real-estate.

In a moment of reflection I could see certain similarities between the topography of this property, his son Francis’s prairie farm in Iowa, his son Glen’s retirement farm in Michigan and my own property in Minnesota.
It was as though we had all selected property from a shared internal model or concept,  variations in our immediate environment had brought about slight deviations from that unseen ideal.  Before leaving, I picked up a small piece of limestone from the soil to keep as a memento.

What was it that Chief Seattle said in 1854? “…Even the rocks, which seem to be dumb and dead as they swelter in the sun along the silent shore, thrill with memories of stirring events connected with the lives of my people, and the very dust upon which you now stand responds more lovingly to their footsteps than yours, because it is rich with the blood of our ancestors, and our bare feet are conscious of the sympathetic touch…”


1]  Lt. John Anderson (American Revolution, wintered at Valley Forge), his son  Pvt. James Anderson (served in the War of 1812 helping construct a block house), his son Pvt. Harmon Anderson (Volunteer, Union regimental nurse, captured at The Battle of the Wilderness.)
[2]  The term ‘prayed’ was used here to denote a difference from the commonly used ‘said’. ‘Said’ being the proper term for having simply spoken. ‘Prayed’ referring to a transdimensional communication.
‘Prayed,’ as referring to a feeling of resonance between portions of my past, or future, and present identities. Word-sendiments spoken in a prayerful state reach deeper than merely spoken words.

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