Sgt William James Bierce

Sgt William James Bierce

Halifax, Plymouth County, Massachusetts, USA
Death 18 Jan 1835 (aged 81)
Nelson, Portage County, Ohio, USA
Burial Nelson, Portage County, Ohio, USA
Plot R06 G07
Memorial ID 44545340 · View Source
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WILLIAM BIERCE (1753-1835)

Although William Bierce spent much of his life in Cornwall, before migrating to
Ohio, he was not a Connecticut native. He was born on 26 March 1753, at Halifax,
Plymouth Co., Massachusetts. ("Vital Records of Halifax to 1850", published by
New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, p.39 [p.316 or original VR] /
Family Bible 2 transcript - this just shows "Plymouth, Mass." as the
birthplace). He probably came to Cornwall at about 10 years of age, as his
brother James was born in Halifax in 1760, (Vital Records) but the birth of his
brother Hezekiah in 1765 is not recorded there (and FamilySearch Ancestral File
gives Hezekiah's birthplace as Cornwall). It therefore seems likely that this
branch of the Bierce family came to Connecticut from Massachusetts in the early

In April 1775, at the outbreak of the War of Independence, William enlisted in
Col. Heman Swift's Regiment of Connecticut Troops (LV Bierce notes) and was sent
to Ticonderoga, where he was stationed on 20 August 1775 when he engraved his
powder horn with his name, the date, his age and birthdate. This horn passed
into the family of his son Lucius, who says that William fought at the battles
of Monmouth, White Plains, and Fort George, and that he wintered at Valley
Forge. During this time he "clothed himself from home, and laid up his pay and
the amount allowed him for clothing, so that at the close of the was he had a
pile of worthless continental bills. The only use they ever were to him was to
quiet the little ones; and the whole compensation for standing target for
British Soldiers seven years, was given to the children to play with..." (LV
Bierce notes). The Connecticut Archives Index to the Revolutionary War shows
that he served as a Sergeant of the Connecticut Line 1781-82, a tradition also
recorded in the Family Bibles. He was discharged in November 1783 and returned
to Cornwall.

As noted above, he married Abigail Bell in 1787 and they raised their children
in Cornwall. Starr says that he was in the Ecclesiastical Society from 1782 to
1800, and that he was Collector in 1793.
On 6 May 1805 William was granted 100 acres of land in Guernsey Co., Ohio, as
compensation for his war service. The grant was signed by Thomas Jefferson, and
the certificate later passed to the family of his son Lucius. A facsimile, and
details of the grant, can be seen at the
Government Land Office website.
As noted above, his wife died in 1815 and in 1816 he moved with several of his
children to Ohio, where he lived the rest of his life.
On 18 March 1818 he was granted a pension for his war service under an act of
Congress, but this was discontinued on 1 May 1820 by another act. He petitioned
for its continuance on 20 February 1821, but withdrew the petition on 28
February. (US Congressional Documents and Debates, 1774-1873 - Journal of the
House of Representatives of the United States, volume 14, pages 248, 249, 286,
available online at )

William Bierce died at Nelson, Portage Co., Ohio, on 18 January 1835, aged 81.
(Family Bible 2 transcript / Tombstone as reported by his gr-grandson, W.J.
Fuller of Oberlin, Ohio, in a letter to the "Leader", an Ohio newspaper, date of
publication unknown).

Submitted to Genforum by Deborah Hart Stock

Family Members


Aged 81 years; a Soldier of the American Revolution



  • Maintained by: CMC
  • Originally Created by: ProgBase
  • Added: 18 Nov 2009
  • Find a Grave Memorial 44545340
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Sgt William James Bierce (26 Mar 1753–18 Jan 1835), Find a Grave Memorial no. 44545340, citing Prentiss Cemetery, Nelson, Portage County, Ohio, USA ; Maintained by CMC (contributor 47117651) .