Early Days of Greenbush: Alexander willard



Line Divider

Amos Pierce was born in Vermont, July 31, 1784, where he spent his boyhood days. Removing from Vermont, he settled in western New York, where he was engaged in blacksmithing, proving himself an expert in making the first bolts and iron-work on the New York and Erie canal.

In 1811, he was married to Miss Mary Sanford. She was born in 1790, and died September 30, 1845. His second marriage was to Mrs. Evaline Woods.

Mr. Pierce removed from New York to Ashtabula county, Ohio. He came to Illinois in 1834, and bought a quarter section of land in Knox county. The village of Altona is located on this same quarter.

After he had bought it, he became dissatisfied, as there was no timber on the land. He then sold it and went to St. Augustine, where he met with some old settlers who went with him to Greenfield (now Greenbush), where he bought land south of the village, on section 7.

Here he built his log house of three rooms, and here he spent the remainder of his days, farming blacksmithing, and running a sawmill on Nigger creek, a short distance south of his residence.

This mill was built by Cornelius clover, who then resided near St. Augustine. It was run by water-power, and had an up-and-down saw. The log was drawn against the saw with a wheel, having notched segments on the outer circle and wood pins on the side. When the board was sawed, the sawyer stepped on the pins to return the log. This action was called "treading back the ragwheel."

Many of the old settlers procurred lumber here to use in the construction of their houses, and for other purposes. The onld mill played its part in the early days, and then passed into decay.

It is said that at the home of Amos Pierce strangers and friends were welcome alike, and that his home was a refuge for the colored man on his way to Canada for freedom. He was industrious, and stood for temperance, education, progression, and a liberal religion; and was a member of the Universalist church. In politics her was a republican. He died July 20, 1872.

Amos Pierce, the subject of this sketch, was the seventh in descent from Thomas Pierce, the emigrant ancestor of this branch of the Pierce family. Thomas Pierce came from England to this country, in 1633, with his wife Elizabeth, and settled in Charlestown, Mass. He was born in England in 1583, and died October 7, 1666. His wife Elizabeth was born in England, in 1595. The genealogy of this branch of the Pierce family, commencing with the emigrant ancestor, is: Thomas1, Thomas 2, Thomas 3, Thomas 4, Amos 5, Phineau 6, Amos 7.

Franklin Pierce was the seventh in descent from this same emigrant ancestor. He was born November 23, 1804; married Jane M. Appleton, November 10, 1834. She was born in 1806; and died December 2, 1863. He died October 8, 1869, in Concord, New Hampshire. He was inaugurated President of the United States, March 4, 1853.

Phineaus Pierce, the father of Amos Pierce, the subject of this sketch, was born January 24, 1751; married, October 10, 1771, Ruth Gaines. She was born in 1751, and died November 9, 1802. His second marriage, January 13, 1803, was to Ruth BeeBe. He died October 1 1808. To them were born the following-named children:

Keziah, born July 1, 1773; married ----Austin.
Candice, born October 14, 1775; died September 13, 1777
Huldah, born August 6, 1777; died October 7, 1777
Rhoda, born August 4, 17779; married John Ramson. She died September 2, 1862. their children were: John P., born August 4, 1801; died in 1863. Julia, Hiram, Horace, Stephen (beter known as "Col." Ramson), born March 4, 1811; and died June 11, 1873. Mary, born October 2, 1812; married C. P. Van Ness.

Phineas, born August 6, 1781; married Anna Kellogg.
Elizabeth, born May 1, 1783; died May 5, 1783.
Amos, born July 31, 1784; married Mary Sanford, and Evaline Woods.
Abiram, born May 20, 1786; married Sarah Satterlee, January 8, 1809.
William, born April 20, 1788; died May 9, 1788.
Lucy, born May 20, 1789; married Asbel Smith, and J. D. Webster. She died September 24, 1864. and was buried in the Bond graveyard. She was the mother of Phineas Pierce Smith, who died in Avon, Illinois, July 18, 1898; and was also the mother of Laura Roberts, who died in Swan Township, February 3, 1877.

Horace, born November 16, 1803; married Mary Perkins.
Ruth, born October 12, 1805; married Luke Perkins.
Harry, born February 20, 1808; married Alma Phelps.
To Amos Pierce and his wife Mary were born the following named children:

Clement, born in Poultney, Rutland county, Vermont, September 24, 1813. He was married to Nancy Farr, March 6, 1834. She was born in Essex county, New York, January 13, 1814. He came with his father to Greenbush township, Warren county, Illinois, in 1834. They purchased 160 acres of land on section 7. Clement settled on a tract of land adjoining, where he resided until March, 1845, when he purchased the southwest quarter of section 35; in Roseville township, and moved upon it. Here he resided until June, 1864, when her moved to the village of Roseville, where he was engaged with Dr. B. Ragon in the mercantile business for about two years. He then bought Dr. Ragon's interest in the stock and continued in the business for about seven years, when he sold out.

In 1873 her retired from active labor. He was justice of the peace from 1872 to 1885. He also filled the office of supervisor in Roseville township.

To Clement Pierce and wife were born the following-named children:

Mary M., born August 2, 1835; married Solomon Emberling.
Laura A., born January 26, 1837; married Alexander Bramhall, and Charles Strand.
Amos. born December 10, 1843; married Mary J. Barr. They reside in Belleville, Kansas.
Phebe J., born October 10, 1845; married Thomas J. Newburn.
Zachariah T., born April 23, 1848; died September 23, 1860.
In religion Clement Pierce was a member of the Universalist church. In politics he was a republican. He died December 25, 1890.

William Henry, born January 23, 1816; came to Greenbush, Illinois, in 1836. Shortly after his arrival he taught school in a log-cabin located in the woods, a short distance west of the village, then called Greenfield. He was also engaged in shoemaking with Julius Hill.

William H. Pierce was married to Angeline Waldron, September 10, 1837. She was born April 17, 1819; and died July 9, 1842. In 1840. he opened up a farm of two quarter-sections, one on the southwest corner of Berwick township and the other on the southeast corner of Roseville township. He built his house about one mile west of the village of Greenbush.

It was here that his wife Angline died. She was buried a few rods west of the house. This was a lone grave until 1845, when Mary, wife of Amos Pierce, was buried there. This was afterwards used as the Pierce burying-ground; and about the year 1885, the land was deeded to Warren county, to be used as a public burying ground.

Wm. H. Pierce was justice of the peace for several years. He moved to Monmouth, Illinois, in 1858, where he served as deputy sheriff under Deacon John Brown for about 10 years; was county superintendent of schools; was also postmaster in Monmouth, Illinois, in 1861 to 1865.

He helped with his money and influence in the establishment of the Galesburg Liberal institute which finally became the Lombard University. He was a member of the Universalist church. In politics he was an old-line whig up to 1856, when he voted for John C. Fremont and was a republican thereager.

In the early '40's, he was associated with David Mather and Dr. B. Ragon in the manufacture and sale of medicine for fever and ague which was then a prevalent disease. While engaged in the sale of this medicine, he was in Carthage, Illinois, on Sunday, June 27, 1844. and witnessed the killing of Joseph Smith, the Mormon.

Wm. H. Pierce moved from Monmouth to Galesburg, where he died February 25, 1880, and was buried in Hope cemetery, at Galesburg, Illinois.

To Wm. H. Pierce and wife Angline were born the follosing-named children:

Almiron G., born July 4, 1838, in the first house that was built in the village of Greenfield, which name was changed to Greenbush, in 1843. This house was knkown in afteryears as the Karns cooper-shop. He received his first schooling at the old Downey schoolhouse, west of Greenbush. Frederic H. Merrill was his teacher. His second teacher was James C. Stice. The third was Miss Julia Root, at Woodville (now Avon).

In 1855, he attended school at Lombard University, at Galesburg, Illinois. In 1856, he clerked in a store at Avon, Illinois, for J. M. Churchill. In 1858, he taught school in the Sisson school dirstrict at Swan Creek. He was also clerk and salesman for S. J. Buzan in Greenbush, at one time.

He was married, in 1860, to Caroline Sanford. She was a daughter of Alba and Minerva (Rust) Sanford. Alba Sanford was born in Vermont, September 22, 1807. He was a Baptist minister and school-teacher, resided in Greenbush for several years, and was engaged for some time in carrying the mail from Greenbush to Monmouth. He died in Greenbush, August 28, 1871, and was buried in the Pierce burying ground. Later his body was removed and placed by the side of his wife's in the family lot of A. G. Pierce, in Monmouth cemetery.

A. G. Pierce took charge of the old home farm during 1861 and 1862; removed to Monmouth, August 20, 1862, to act as duputy-postmaster under his father; and was city collector one term, 1865-6. February 5, 1866, her entered the railway mail service on the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy railroad. Commencing when the railway service was in its infancy, her remained in the service until April 1, 1887, during which time he saw and helped to develop the system to a high grade of perfection. He cast his maiden vote November 6, 1860, in Berwick, Illinois for Abraham Lincoln, and has been a republican ever since.

Almiron and Albert N. Snapp were intimate friends in their younger days. They were often together and generally attended public gatherings together. In the fall of 1858, they concluded to go to Galesburg and hear the joint discussion between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas. So they started and walked to Abingdon. Here they got a chance to ride in a farm wagon to Galesburg.

During the campaign they concluded to make a wager on the election. They went to Osborn & Merrill's store and selected two gentleman's shawls. These shawls were all wool, large size, and very fashionable at the time. The loser was to pay for both shawls. Almiron bet on Lincoln and lost. His shawl cost him twenty-eight dollars, that being the price of the two.

Almiron remembers that Al. Snapp and he attended the meeting at the academy in Greenbush when Alexander Campbell preached there.

Since 1889, Almiron has been in the employ of the Mapel city soap works at Monmouth Illinois as traveling salesman.

Charles H., born in Warren county, Illinois, February 1, 1840; married elizabeth Long, February 1, 1862. She was born in Jackson County, Ohio, June 16, 1838. To this union the following-named children were born;

Maud A., born December 31, 1862; married Henry Baumgardner, August 17, 1904. They reside in Oklahoma.
William H., born December 16, 1864. He was a soldier in the Spanish-American war.
Blanche M., born February 24, 1866; married G. G. collett. They now live in Kansas.
Grace H., born June 26, 1871; married Giles C. Osborn, November 18, 1892. He was born June 15, 1864, and was a son of Alfred Osborn who was engaged in the mercantile business in Greenbush in the early days. Giles C. is now engaged in selling drugs and musical instruments, at Avon, Illinois.
Nealy A., born June 17, 1873; died November 15, 1876.
Charles H. Pierce has been engaged in farming during the greater part of his life. In 1861 and 1862, he was clerk in the postoffice at Monmouth, Illinois. He now resides on the old home place in Berwick township. In politics he is a republican.

The second marriage of Wm. H. Pierce was to Harriet Woods, March 22, 1846. She was born February 27, 1826. To this union were born the follwing-named children;

Marietta L., born March 28, 1847; married Dr. B. A. Griffith.
Julia P., born May 10, 1849; died in 1851.
Emma J., born May 11, 1851; married W. E. Day. He died June 27, 1905.
Frank A., born August 3, 1853; died August 1, 1854.
Harriet L., born June 22, 1856; died Her first marriage was to Joseph Fosdeck; second marriage to John F. Perry; and third marriage to John C. Ryan.
Flora A., born April 9, 1858; died October 13, 1862.
Effie, born October 7, 1860; died September 11, 1862
Perlie, born September 21, 1863; died August 16, 1864.
Marietta, daughter of Amos Pierce, was born in 1818. She married Henry Kelsey:

Stephen Pierce, who was a son of Amos, was born September 24, 1820. His first marriage was to Elizabeth Hanon, December 23, 1847. She was born September 17, 1829; and died April 3, 1855. To them one child was born:

Sarah Ellen, born December 25, 1851. She married J. Henry Sailer, in March, 1869. She died October 13, 1883.

Stephen Pierce's second marriage was to Lottie Johnson, December 24, 1857. She was born in Jackson county, Ohio, June 28, 1834. To this union the following-named children were born:

Ada A., born October 26, 1858; died January 24, 1863.
Cassious E., born April 1, 1860; died March 21, 1865.
Brownlow, born February 10, 1862; died February 4, 1865
Herbert O., born July 6, 1864; married Sarah E. Drake, April 1, 1885. she was born August 3, 1863.
Jennie I., born December 11, 1865; married Albert A. Adams, November 23, 1892.
Stephen B., born July 11, 1867; died January 1, 1872.
Clara R., born September 2, 1870; married Francis M. Simmons, March 8, 1894.
Mary A., born September 2, 1870; died July 7. 1871.
Jesse Carl, born March 29, 1875; resides with his mother on the old home place.
Daisy L., born April 12, 1877; is engaged in teaching school.

By occupation Stephen Pierce was a farmer; he was also engaged at one time in running a water-power sawmill, south of the village of Greenbush, on Nigger creek. He was a strong believer in the doctrines of the Universalist church. In politics he was a republican. He died at his farm home in Roseville township, Warren county, Illinois, October 15, 1895.

Phebe J., daughter of Amos Pierce, was born March 7, 1823; married charles W. H. Chapin. She died January 26, 1888.
Eliza B., daughter of Amos Pierce. born March 10, 1825; died December 19, 1845.
Phineaus Pierce, the father of Amos Pierce, the subject of this sketch, was in the Revolutionary war, in captain Zebediah Orwey's company, for service in the alarm at Castleton, Vermont, June 10, 1781, in obedience to orders by Major Isaac Clark.

Amos Pierce, the grandfather of Amos Pierce, the subject of this sketch, was also in the Revolutionary war, and was with captain James Blakeslee's company in the service of the state of Vermont, from the beginning of the campaign of 1781 to the 30th day of June, the same year, inclusive.

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