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 James Madison Peirce

James Madison Peirce

Rochester, Strafford County, New Hampshire, USA
Death 15 Feb 1896 (aged 81)
Springville, Utah County, Utah, USA
Burial Springville, Utah County, Utah, USA
Plot Blk. 60 Lot 3 Pos. 4
Memorial ID 85201 · View Source
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Son of Andrew Mitchell Peirce and Hannah Goodwin Nason

Married Mary Ann Bowman, 30 Nov 1841, Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts

James Madison Peirce & Mary Ann Bowman, Utah Pioneers

Story by Andrew Peirce

One day when my father, James Madison Pierce, was yet a young married man living in the City of Boston, Massachusetts, he was going along the street from his barber shop (barbering being his vocation, Charles Dickens one of his customers) when he saw a group of men standing about a News Bulletin.

Upon asking them what it was all about, he was informed that Joseph Smith, the Mormon Prophet, had just been killed.

"Well," said my father, "they should have killed him a long time ago."

About a week later one of his customers at the shop happened to ask, "Have you heard the Mormon Elders in town preach?" "No" my father replied. Are you joining up with them?"

"I hope to do that very thing soon," was the answer.

"You ought to go to their meeting and hear them, he said, "their doctrine is very good."

My father did hear them and he and my mother, Mary Ann Bowman, carefully investigated the doctrine, which they found to be strong and truthful, and it was not long before they were converted and became baptized members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

In honor and remembrance of the Prophet Joseph Smith, they named their second child, a boy, Joseph Smith Peirce. Their first child was Annette Louisa Peirce. Joseph Smith Peirce was born 25 May 1845.

As soon as their affairs in Boston had been settled, they moved to Nauvoo, only to be driven out with the rest of the Saints, because of the mob violence. They started the big trek westward in 1846.

The Saints were temporarily quartered in various settlements in Iowa. My father and mother with their two children went with them. It was, however, about six years before they were prepared for the big move to the Great Salt Lake Valley. While they were still in the Iowa settlements, my father found work among the Saints as a cooper, blacksmith, and barber.

In Dubuque, Iowa William Andrew was born on 1 January 1847. Then when they moved to Jackson, Iowa, another son was born whom they named Parley Pratt Peirce in honor of the Great Apostle and leader they knew and loved. He was born 23 July 1848.

*Note James Madison Peirce spelled his last name Peirce. It was Andrew Peirce who changed the last name to Pierce. Once he had a man paint his name on a tool chest and the man spelled his name Andrew Pierce. Gradually Andrew got used to the name and adopted that spelling of his last name. The original spelling was Peirce.

By 1854 while living in Kanesville, Iowa, another son was given them. He was named after his father James Madison. Then finally in the spring of 1853, they were beginning to leave Harrison County, Iowa, and another child named Emily was born on 13 April.

They began the long trek westward with their five children, but little Anette, who they were forced to leave behind as she was taken from them, and was left resting under the sod.

Long weeks of hard travel soon found them in the Valley of the Great Salt Lake, where they made their home. Their home was in the Sugarhouse District where they engaged in farming near Parley's Canyon. Here their family was increased by three more children: Anthony 21 November 1854; Mary 16 January 1856; and Lizzette 4 October 1857.

After living in that district for about six years, they moved with their family first to Cedar Valley, and then Springville, Utah. They settled on a piece of land near the mouth of Hobble Creek Canyon. Finally the last 3 children were born. Elizabeth 3 April 1860; Andrew 9 September 1861; and Jacob 10 May 1863.

My father had the distinction of serving as the first barber, the first tinner, the first dentist and doctor. They came to him to set broken bones. He was the first cooper for the Saints of Springville. He also played a fife for the Marshall band during the Black Hawk War.

His inventive mind and mechanical trend led him to construct a working model of a flying machine, for which he was often called "Crazy" when he predicted that the younger generation would live to see man navigate the air and carry on trade and commerce through that medium.

My mother died in Springville, Utah, August 6, 1894, at the age of 71. She was born in New York City, September 5, 1823, of John Bowman and Martha Gooding.

My father died in Springville, Utah February 15, 1896, at the age of 84. He was born in Rochester, Strafford County, New Hampshire, June 14, 1814 of Andrew Mitchell Peirce and Hannal Goodwin Nason.

*Note: The name Bowman is Italian. In Italy they do not use the letter W. so Mary Ann Bowman was spelled Boman and sometimes Bomi.

Family Members





  • Maintained by: SMSmith
  • Originally Created by: Utah State Historical Society
  • Added: 2 Feb 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 85201
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for James Madison Peirce (14 Jun 1814–15 Feb 1896), Find A Grave Memorial no. 85201, citing Historic Springville Cemetery, Springville, Utah County, Utah, USA ; Maintained by SMSmith (contributor 46491005) .