Notes from the White County Historical Society

By Charlene Shields

Notes from the White County Historical Society as they appear in "The Carmi Times."

Copyright ©2001 by "The Carmi Times" Permission to reprint granted to Cindy Birk Conley and the ILGenWeb by Tammy Knox, editor, "The Carmi Times."

A Pearce memento found

Recently, Carol Bell, a long-time occupant of an Oak Street house in
Carmi, was enjoying the company of her 11-year-old granddaughter, Kate
Sauls, of Norris City. They decided to do a bit of house cleaning.
Among the stack of tiles which had been left from flooring the front
porch, one didn't seem to stack up right. Upon examination, it was not a
tile, but a small brown stone carved like an open book. It is 4 1/4
inches by 3 inches. Printing on this opened book says "J. A. Pearce born
September 8, 1881; elected States Attorney August 19, 1913." There is a
floral design carved on the back.

Mrs. Bell called the Genealogy Library to see if we might find a
descendant of J. A. Pearce who might like to have this memento.
We were able to come up with his Mr. Pearce's lineage, and an obituary.
Joe A. Pearce was the son of Prince Albert Pearce and Harriett Ellen
Craw. Going back another generation: Prince Albert Pearce was the son of
Russian B. Pearce and Emaline Johnson. Russian B. Pearce was the son of
Hosea Pearce and Nancy O'Neal. Hosea Pearce was the son of James Pearce
and Elizabeth Gomer. And Hosea Pearce came to White County with his
parents, James Pearce and Jemima Robinson Pearce, in 1817. They came
from Orange County, N.C., through Montgomery County, Tenn. on their way
to White County, Ill.. Hosea was a colonel in the Black Hawk War. Hosea
was the sheriff of White Co. for six years. The Pearces have been in
White County for a long time and have played a prominent part in the
running of the county.

Joe A. Pearce's father, Prince Albert Pearce, was an attorney who was
also state's attorney for years and a county judge.

Joe A. Pearce's brother, Roy Eldon Pearce, was an attorney. He was the
father of the late Stewart Albert Pearce, also a Carmi attorney.

With that family background, it seems quite logical that Joe A. Pearce,
too, would become an attorney. We did not attempt to learn how long he
practiced here before moving to Chicago. He died in Chicago Oct. 26,
1946. The body was returned to Big Prairie Cemetery for burial.
The obituary stated Mr. Pearce often expressed his desire to return to
White County to spend his latter days. Survivors included his wife,
Nellie Boyer Winner, and a son by a prior marriage, Kenneth F. Pearce.
He also is buried at Big Prairie.

Someone came up with the statement that Joe A. Pearce was the first
president of the Carmi Kiwanis Club.

At any rate, Carol Bell would be glad to give this keepsake to a Joe A.
Pearce descendant--if one exists. And granddaughter, Kate Sauls, is
developing an interest in family history since her discovery of the
little stone book!

The Genealogy Library is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to
2 p.m.

Address letters to Genealogy, White County Historical Society, PO Box
121, Carmi, IL 62821.

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The Coordinator for the White County, Illinois ILGenWeb page is Cindy Birk Conley

Copyright © 2001 by Cindy Birk Conley, all rights reserved. For personal use only. Commercial use of the information contained in these pages is strictly prohibited without prior permission. If copied, this copyright notice must appear with the information.