James H. Pierce Biography


James and Hulda Pierce Family

James Henry Pierce was born Apr. 11, 1847, probably in Hall County, GA.  His parents were Wilson Pierce and Nancy Barton.  Sometime between 1846 and 1849, the family of Wilson Pierce moved from upper Hall County, GA (near Wahoo Bapt. Church) to an area NW of Dahlonega in Lumpkin County.  The creek they located on later became known as Pierce Branch.  Their home was near the confluence of Pierce Branch and the Etowah River, about two miles north of Hightower Church.  James married Hulda Louisa Roberts on July 27, 1865.  Hulda was born December 8, 1846 in Union County, GA, the daughter of Rev. Miles M. Roberts and Sarah Jones.  In 1856, the Roberts family moved from Union County to Lumpkin County and established thier home on Two Run Creek, a little ways NNE of where the Pierce family lived.


The children of James and Hulda Pierce are: 1) Nancy Caroline, b. March 10, 1867, d. November 12, 1874; 2) Wilson Andrew (aka A.J. Pierce), b. August 11, 1869, d. August 1, 1929; 3) Sarah Elizabeth, b. March 18, 1872, d. March 15, 1935; 4) Harriet Levicia, b. cir. 1876, d. November 17, 1899; 5) James Madison, b. December 13, 1877, d. March 8, 1944; 6,7) Siamese Twins, b. and d. on June 11, 1880; 8) Ludelah May, b. May 19, 1881, d. April 2, 1917; 9) Columbus, b. August 28, 1885, d. August 7, 1886; 10) Perry LeRoy, b. March 29, 1887, d. April 1, 1966; 11) L.D. Pierce, b. September 25, 1890, d. October 19, 1890.


In the 1860s, Hulda and her siblings are found in the church records of Mt. Zion Church #1, which is a couple miles NNW of where the Pierce and Roberts families lived.  In 1868, following its dissolution during the Civil War, the Hightower Church was reconstitued, with Wilson and Nancy Pierce being among the initial members.  At the first meeting, the church petitioned Mt. Zion #1 Church for the ministerial services of Bro. M.M. Roberts, who served as one of the primary preachers up until 1885.  In Feb. 1869, the Hightower Church received James H. and Hulda L. Pierce by letter.  They are listed on the 1870 census of Lumpkin County, living close to both their parents and siblings.  In Oct. of 1874, James and Hulda were granted letters of dismission from the Hightower Church.  They are found on the 1880 census of Hall County, GA in Whelchel's District, Hulda shown as being in childbirth (these were siamese twin girls born July 11th, who died at birth).


In about 1886, James and Hulda Pierce, along with the families of James' brother Newton Pierce, and Hulda's brother Columbus Roberts, left Georgia and moved West.  The story, as related by James' grandson Earl Boyd Pierce, is that they first moved to Ft. Gibson, Indian Territory.  However, James wanted land of his own, but couldn't buy land in Indian Territory.  At that time, there was free land to homestead in Kansas, so they went there and built a sod house 3 miles west of Lincoln.  During the blizzard of 1887/88, it snowed all through December and January.  They burned up all the wood and had to chop down the door to burn for heat.  When the snow melted, they left Kansas and returned to Ft. Gibson where they remained to raise their children.  They established a homeplace along the Arkansas River at Anderson Bottoms.  However, in constrast to this story, a letter from Columbus Roberts in 1887 indicates that he went to Kansas first, then the families of James and Newton Pierce moved from Hall Co., GA to join him in Kansas.


James died March 3, 1903 and was buried at Anderson Bottoms cemetery.  Hulda died of Spanish influenza on October 28, 1918 in Checotah and was also buried at Anderson Bottoms cemetery.  Their remains were later moved to a mausoleum at Greenhill Cemetery in Muskogee.


Wilson Andrew (A.J.) Pierce, the oldest son of James and Hulda, married first to Sylvia Rigney.  After her death in 1902, A.J. moved to Checotah where he operated a coal mine on his property.  He married 2nd to Amanda (Collins) Blair, and 3rd to Nanie Lansford.  On August 1, 1929, A.J. had a tragic accident when his head was crushed between the bucket and shaft of his coal mine.  He was taken by wagon to the hospital in Muskogee, where he died.


Sara Elizabeth Pierce married Fred Rigney.  After Fred's death in 1902, she remarried to Newton Woolen and they later settled in Checotah, OK.


Harriet Levicia Pierce married John Hampton.  After Harriet's death in 1899, John remarried to Hulda's neice, Louisa Roberts, and later moved to California.


James Madison Pierce married Nancy Jane Anderson, daughter of Albert Anderson and Louisa Cordray, on August 23 1896.  Nancy was Cherokee on her mother's side.  James' family remained in the Ft. Gibson area where he acquired much land and operated a cotton gin.  James and Nancy had ten children: Gertrude Mae, Mark H., James Clayton, Earl Boyd, Beulah L., Ray M., Elsie, Mabel L., Lois and Jimmye.  Earl Boyd Pierce became a distinguished lawyer and the principal counsel to the Cherokee Nation.


Ludelah May Pierce married Henry Tate Goodman.  They moved to Texas, then back to Oklahoma.  After the early deaths of Ludelah and Tate, their children were taken in and raised by Ludelah's siblings.


Perry LeRoy (Roy) Pierce married Lannie Mae Blair on April 5, 1906.  They lived at the Pierce homeplace with his mother Hulda until about 1911/12, when they moved into a house which has a very interesting history.  Roy's nephew, Earl Boyd Pierce, being Cherokee, was allotted 80 acres of land bordering the Grand River.  This was in the community of McBride--a post office named after Dr. George McBride.  Sometime around 1911/12 there was a great flood, and a house came floating down the river, coming to rest on the land belonging to Earl Boyd.  When the waters receded, some men set the house on a foundation.  Roy and family moved into this house, which is where my father was born.  The property is now under the Ft. Gibson Reservoir.  In about 1917, Roy and Lannie moved to Checotah where they settled and raised their family, then eventually moved to Los Angeles, California in 1936.


  Submitted by: Dan Pierce