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Reconstruction Period Research Forum

Biography of Reconstruction Leader

Hello,

Below is a short biography of my great-great-great-grandfather John Pierce. He was a leader during and after Reconstruction in Louisiana. The seven of his eleven children who lived to adulthood, all went on to live very productive lives and raise likewise decendants. I have listed sources for all statements made. I hope everyone finds these sources helpful.

THE FAMILY OF JOHN PIERCE

John Pierce, a native of the Greater Washington, DC area, was a slave on Gold Point Plantation, which was owned by the Pickett Family of Bossier Parish, Louisiana. It was there in 1849, he married Hettie Starks of North Carolina. She was born New Year‘s Day, 1829. After the Civil War, he stayed as a paid employee for two years. At that time in 1867, he bagan a series of moves to various places including, Alexandria, VA and Washington, DC. In his travels, at least two of his eleven children were born. The reason he bagan his travels, was because of the fact that in 1867 he was chosen to represent Bossier Parish in the State House as well as the Constitutional Convention of 1867-68. His moves saved him from the hatred of the time. He served until 1870, at that time he moved into a two-story frame home he purchased in Jefferson Parish on Labarre Road. Also, he purchased a large piece of land in Jefferson Parish. He was not done in political office however, he was appointed late in 1872, by his associate Governor P.B.S. Pinchback to serve on the Jefferson Parish Police Jury. He was elected President of the Jury. After three years on the Police Jury, he took the office of Deputy Coroner and Justice of the Peace. He was also the Commissioner of Elections and a leader in the local school. He appointed two of his sons, Benedict and Marlborough Lawrence to the Coroner’s Jury. Benedict went on to become a Jefferson Parish policeman. John died on April 9, 1892 in Jefferson Parish at his home. He is buried in a family plot in Shrewsbury Cemetery. His son Samuel, a Pullman porter for 35 years, later went on to serve as an executive aide to five governors of the State of Wisconsin. His son Marlborough L. Pierce became a minister. His daughter Ida Beena Pierce Caire was a graduate of Straight University and was a teacher and pianist. His daughter Leathe Mary Pierce married the Rev. Burnett Brown of Broadway Baptist Church. His daghter Laura Pierce Bass was a resident of Chicago, Ill. His daughter Ada Pierce Ray was also a Chicago resident. Her son Marcus H. Ray would become a U.S. Army Colonel during World War II and serve as the top official on matters concerning Negro troops to the War Department. Benedict was a railroad porter, a mason, a street layer and a landscaper. Beuregard Pierce died at twenty-six years, unmarried. Three of the eleven Pierce children died in infancy. The family’s matriarch, Hettie Pierce lived to be 115 years old. She died in 1944 in Madison, WI and is buried in Forest Hill Cemetery.

Sources:
Jefferson Parish Police Jury Minutes, Jefferson Parish Library
Succession of John Pierce-1911, Jefferson Parish Courthouse
Black Legislators in Louisiana during Reconstruction, Charles Vincent
Theodore Pierce Papers, Wisconsin Historical Society
Interviews with Various Descendants
New Orleans City Directories


18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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