William M. Pierce and Mary (Unknown) Pierce of Russell Co., KY



That this William Pierce has a middle initial M. is shown by his witnessing of a will in 1828:

     In the name of God Amen, I Richard Wooldridge, Sr. of Russell Co., KY. being sick and weak in body but sound of mind and disposing memory (for which I thank God) & calling to mind the uncertainty of human life and being desirous to dispose of all such worldly estate as it has pleased God to bless me with, I give and bequeath the same in manner following, that is to say
     I give and first desire that all the perishable part of my estate be immediately sold after my demise and out of the monies arising there from, all my just debts and funeral expenses be paid.  Should the perishable part of my estate prove insufficient for the above purpose then I desire that my executors, hereinafter named may sell a part of my real-estate to pay and satisfy such debts remaining.
     Secondly, I desire to have my estate, both real and personal to be divided equally between my several sons and daughters and to be enjoyed by them forever; James Wooldridge, Fanny Vance, John Wooldridge, Richard Wooldridge, Elizabeth Smith, William Wooldridge, Polly Miller, Sally Long, Patsey Perkins and Jesse Wooldridge.
     Thirdly I give to my daughter Jane Wilson, her executors and administrators, five dollars.
     Fourth, All the rest of my estate both real and personal of whatever nature or kind so-ever it may be not herein before particularly disposed of I desire may be equally divided among my several children hereinbefore named which I give to them their heirs, executors, administrators and assign forever.
     Lastly, I hereby appoint my son-in-law William Vance and my son James Wooldridge executors of this my last will and Testament, hereby revoking all former wills or testaments by me heretofore made.
     In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and seal this 4 March 1828, in the presence of: John Ballenger, William M. Pierce, John Hartley His Richard X Wooldridge Mark

       At a County Court held at Jamestown, Russell County, Kentucky on 17 March 1828 this last will and testament of Richard Wooldridge, Decd. was produced in Court and proven by the oaths of John Ballenger, William M. Pierce and John Hartley, subscribing witnesses thereto and ordered to be recorded. It is ordered that leave be given the named executors, to qualify at the next term of Court on their executing and acknowledging bond as required by law, and afterwards (To Wit) at a County Court held at Jamestown, Russell Co., on Monday, April 21, 1828, James Wooldridge, one of the executors named in the will came into Court and took the several oaths as required by law and executed Bond in the penal sum of $1,000 as the law directs, therefore the execution of said will is Granted him with John Lane his security.

Test; Will S. Patterson, C.R.C.C.


     William's son, Tarlton had a son also named William M., apparently named after his grandfather.  This observes the common tradition that 1st sons are named after their paternal grandfather.  If the elder William M. Pierce had been named after his paternal grandfather, he should have been named Francis, based on the assumptions made in the web page for Francis Pierce.


Birth Date:

     William Pierce first appears in the Madison Co., KY tax records in 1787 (the first year of Madison Co. taxes) with 1 poll, 2 horses and 4 cattle (land not listed. No previous tax records for him are known, but could exist.  He was 22-27 years old at the time. 

     This is unfortunate - if we could be sure that he did not appear in any tithe lists in 1785 and then appeared in 1787, we would have known that his was born approximately 21 years earlier, namely 1766.  The county from which Madison was made was Lincoln Co., KY.  When William came to Kentucky, he came to the Lincoln-Madison Co. area because his uncle, Jeremiah Pierce, brother of William Pierce of Orange and Wythe Co.'s, VA had already come to the area about 1783.

Master Index of Virginia Surveys & Grants 1774-1791 by Joan E. Brookes-Smith; KY Hist Soc, 1976 (975.5 R22); p. 174: KHS Vol 24, Orig. Survey #5847: Pierce, Jeremiah, 260 acres in Lincoln Co on the Dicks River, surveyed 24 May 1784; Original suvey book 7 p. 288; grantee: same & heirs; grant date 10 Feb 1787, original grant book 2, p. 507-508.

Va Patents in KY, film 0,272,810, vol. 2, p. 507-8: Presumptive Treasury Warrent #947, issued 28 Jun 1780. Jeremiah Pierce, assignee of William Rowin; 260 acres, survey 24 May 1784 in Lincoln Co., on Dick's River, between the path which leads from Benjamin Logans to Boonesborough and Hawkin's Branch (Benj. Logan's is referred to a land surveyed under Benj. Logan's Patent). The land intersects Dick's River [same as above only different source]. Jeremiah's grand-daughter, Sarah (Sally), in a biography of her husband, Parish Garner, stated that she was born in Boyle Co., KY - actually in that part of Lincoln Co. which would become Boyle Co. in 1842. Assuming that her father (and son of Jeremiah) was living on the land his father patented, this warrent would have been in the northern half of Lincoln Co.

Lincoln Co. Court Orders in book: Records of Lincoln Co.:
p. 47: Jeremiah Pierce on a jury 18 Jun 1783
p. 60: J. Pierce appraised the estate of John Miller, decd 16 Sep 1783
p. 126: Indenture from Benjamin Logan and Ann Logan his wife to Jeremiah Pierce, approx. 1785, was acknowledged and dower relinquished.
p. 331: 21 Oct 1788 John Hall is appointed guardian to Joseph Langford, orphan of Joseph Langford, decd; he entered into a bond with John Lapsley and Jeremiah Pierce (note: a Lapsley Hall posted bond for the marriage of Jeremiah S. Pierce, son of William Pierce, nephew of Jeremiah, and Jane A. Hall, dau. John Hall in Wayne Co., KY in 1816, and John Lapsley was the original owner of the land in Garrard Co., KY on which William Pierce, nephew of Jeremiah, settled.)

      As it is, all we can say is that he was born no later than 1765, and probably between 1760 and 1765.

      He was born in Culpeper Co., VA, before his parents moved to Montgomery Co., VA in 1770-1773.


     No marriage record for William Pierce and Mary (or Polly in some records).  They were probably married before arriving in Kentucky, because their first child, Mary (or Polly) Pierce, herself married Ralph Kerns (or Carnes) on 10 Oct 1805, Garrard Co., KY.  Assuming that she was 18-20, she would have been born 1785-1787.  William and Mary were married, then, about 1785 while they were still in Wythe Co., VA.  Note that daughter Mary and Ralph Kerns's marriage is recorded in Garrard Co., KY, not Madison Co., KY.  It is not that they moved, but rather, they lived in that part of Madison Co. which later became Garrard Co. in 1797.


Move to Adair/Russell Co., KY

     In about 1807, William and family moved from their land in the Madison/Garrard Co., KY area to land in a part of Adair Co., KY which would become Russell Co., KY.  This is not east to establish.

 That the William Pierce  of Russell Co. is the same one that lived in Madison and Garrard Co.'s is proved by three items:
     1) That a William Pierce paid taxes in Madison Co. from 1787-1796, in Garrard Co., KY 1797-1807 then disappeared; that a William Pierce started paying taxes in Adair in 1808 and continued in Adair or Russell until his death.
     2) In William's Garrard household, a white male 16-21 first appears in 1807, so would have been born 1790/1. Joel, William's eldest, is listed in the 1850 census as 60 years old and born in KY, so would be the right age to be that 16 year old male.
     3) William's will mentions (deceased) daughters Polly Kerns and Elizabeth Kerns. A Polly Pierce married Ralph Kerns 10 Oct 1805 in Garrard Co., KY, and Ralph Kerns is on the Garrard Co. Tax Rolls 1802-1804. Elizabeth Pierce married Alexander Kerns 12 May 1811 in Adair Co., KY, and Alexander Kerns is also on the Garrard Co. Taxes 1800-1801. Alexander and Ralph are too uncommon names for these not to be the same people in both counties.

      As stated above William first appears in tax records in Madison Co., KY in 1787.  He continued to pay taxes in Madison through 1796.

     From 1797 through 1807, William paid taxes in Garrard Co., KY

 Madison Co. tax records, film 0,008,126: 1st year of taxes 1787 William Pierce 1002 on Michael McNeely's list; through 1792 no land; 1793 no book; 1794 1005 75 ac 2nd rate; 1796 50 ac on Sugar Cr. ent. Chas. Campbell, pat. Chas. Campbell 1003; last appearance is 1796.

Garrard Co. tax records, film 0,007,988: 1st year of county 1797 William Pierce 50 ac 2nd rate Sugar Cr. Campbell 10005; through 1802 same; 1803 100 ac Dicks R.; 1804 same; 1805 100 ac Sugar Cr 10004; 1806 back to Dicks R.; 1807 now Sugar Cr. (the assessor obviously can't make up his mind which watercourse it is on) 11004 (note one of the sons is now 16-21); last appearance was 1807.

     He lived on land between Sugar Creek and the Dix (Dick's) River, in Garrard Tax Dist. 1 - Upper Garrard Co., at about the headwaters of the north fork of Gilbert Cr. (called Turkey Cr. on current topo maps) and just south of Lancaster. This was only about 10 miles from the location of old Jeremiah Pierce in Lincoln Co. (between Hanging Fork Cr. and Logan's Creek right on the Dix River). William's land was next to land entered by John Lapsley, and in fact, signed over to Charles Campbell by Lapsley. The marriage bond for William's son Jeremiah Stanton Pierce (born 1798-1800 - died between 1737 and 1 Sep 1840) was posted by a Lapsley Hall, who was this Jeremiah's brother-in-law. John Lapsley also knew Jeremiah Pierce of Lincoln Co., having entered into a bond with him. All this merely points to the connection between Jeremiah Pierce of Lincoln Co. and his nephew William Pierce of Garrard. The bond between uncle Jeremiah Pierce and John Lapsley was in a settlement that John Lapsley was given for proving that a crop of corn had been raised in 1781 and therefore he could patent it.  He later signed the land it over to Charles Campbell, who later signed it over to our subject, William M. Pierce.

     His last year of taxes in Garrard Co., KY was 1807.  In 1808, he was in Adair Co., KY, quite a way further south, yet a newer area of settlement than he had been living in.  He was living in that part of Adair Co. which would become Russell Co., KY in 1826, since his last year of Adair taxes was 1825 and he started paying taxes in Russell Co. in 1826.

     The Adair/Russell Co. land was 250 acres in the Cumberland River Valley, an increase from the 100 acres he had in Madison/Garrard Co.


     William M. Pierce died in 1840, leaving a will:

Russell Co., KY Will Book 1, p. 200:
In the name of god amen I William Pierce of the County of Russell and State of Kentucky being sick and weak in body but sound mind and disposing memory (for which I thank god) and calling to mind the uncertainty of human life and being desirious to dispose of all such worldly estate as it hath pleased god to bless me with. I give and bequeth the same in manner following, that is to say:

Item 1st: I give unto my son Franklin Pierce one hundred acres of land lying on the creek Little Indian in the county of Russell commencing at the mouth thereof and extending up the same; also fifty acres on the Ridge on the north side of said creek and near the jumping off place each patented in my name to him and his heirs forever.

Item 2nd: I give unto son Joel Pierce fifty acres of land on said creek in the county aforesaid and adjoining the hundred afforesaid and extending to the upper end of the upper improvements, including both sides of the creek; also fifty acres of land lying on the south side of said creek and adjoining the old mill seat patented in my name to him and his heirs forever. As it relates to Tarlton Pierce who is living on the first named fifty acres, he the said Joel Pierce is at liberty to him the sd Tarlton Pierce live and remain on said land as long as he Joel Pierce may think proper but to make him no title thereto.

Item 3rd: I give to my son Tarlton Pierce thirty dollars in money to him and his heirs forever.

Item 4th: I give unto the children of Polly Carnes Decd Five dollars to be equally divided among them.

Item 5th: I give unto the children of Elizabeth Carnes Decd five dollars to be equally divided among them.

Item 6th: I give unto the children of Jeremiah Pierce decd five dollars to be equally divided among them.

Item 7th: I give unto my daughter Ann Wilson five dollars to her and her heirs forever.

All the rest of my estate not herein before particular disposed of shall be sold and the money equally divided among the children of Polly Carnes, Elizabeth Carnes, Jeremiah Pierce and Ann Wilson and her heirs forever and lastly I do constitute and appoint my sons Joel and Franklin Pierce executors of this my last will and Testament, hereby revoking all other or former wills or Testaments by me hertofore made in witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and affixed my seal this 1st day of September in the year of our lord one thousand eight hundred and forty.
William Pierce (his mark)
witnesses: William Warrener, Aaron McClure

Russell Co., KY Court Order Book 3 1840-1852, film 0,594,407: p. 22, 12 Oct 1840, the last will and testament of William Pierce decd was produced in open court and upon the motion of William George the proof of the same was continued until the nov. term of this court; p. 24, 12 Oct 1840: the last will and testament of William Pierce decd was produced in open court and partly proven by the oath of William Wariner and ordered to be filed; p. 30, 14 Oct 1840: the last will and testament of William Pierce decd was fully proven by the oaths of Aaron McGuire a subscribing witness thereto and on the motion of Joel Pierce and Franklin Pierce, the executors therein named, the execution thereof was granted to them they having taken the oath as such and executed bond as such in the penal sum of thirteen hundred dollars with James Mekining their security, conditioned as the law directs.

Russell Co., KY Court Order Book 3 1840-1852, film 0,594,407: p. 30, 14 Oct 1840, on the motion of Joel Pierce & Franklin Pierce executors of William Pierce decd it is ordered that William Wariner, Jonadah George, Alexander Carnes (x'ed out), Solomon McKinley, Aaron McLure or any 3 of them after being first duly sworn do appraise the slaves of any and personal estate of William Pierce decd and make report to this court.

Russell Co., KY Will Book 1, p. 199: Inventory returned 14 Dec 1840. included two pairs of mill stones, misc. tools, 5 old books, a trumpet, stock included 4 hogs, 2 cows, 1 calf, 1 heifer, 1 steer, a yoke of oxen, and a wagon.

He was almost 80 when he died, and note that when this will was written (Sept. 1, 1840), William's children, Polly Carnes, Elizabeth Carnes and Jeremiah Stanton Pierce, were already deceased, but that their children receive their share.



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