John Pierce of Watertown

Is your surname Pierce?

Research the Pierce family

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!

John Pierce (Peirce)

Also Known As: "John", "Pearce", "John Pers", "Pearse", "John Peerce", "John Perce", "John Peirce"
Birthplace: Norwich, Norfolk, England (United Kingdom)
Death: August 19, 1661 (73)
Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts Bay Colony, Colonial America
Immediate Family:

Husband of Elizabeth Pierce
Father of Anthony Pierce; Hester Morse; Barbara Pierce; John Pierce, Jr.; Elizabeth Pierce, (died young) and 4 others

Occupation: Weaver - Farmer, weaver/farmer
Immigration: By 1636
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About John Pierce of Watertown

Evidence needed to support as son of Richard Pierce & Marguerite Pierce

John Pierce

  • aka Pers [uncertain]
  • Born 8 Apr 1588 in Norwich, Norfolk, England
  • Died 19 Aug 1661 in Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts Bay Colony
  • Parents unknown
  • Husband of Elizabeth (Trulle) Pierce — married 22 Apr 1610 in Norwich, Norfolk, England

Disputed Origins

The parents of John Pierce of Watertown are unknown, but there is evidence showing that he came from Norwich, co. Norfolk.[1][2]

This John Pierce has been confused with a different John Pierce, a prominent Merchant Adventurer of London, famous for procuring the 1621 Patent for New England. He had business dealings with Plymouth Colony but never left England. It was this other John Pierce of London who was apparently the son of Richard Pierce, with the alleged ancestry back to the Percy family. See this website. link

NOTE: He is not the same as John Pierce of Dorchester, Massachusetts.


John Pierce (aka Pers, Pearce) was born or christened 08 APR 1588 Norwich, Norfolk, England[citation needed]

John Pearse/Peirce was born about 1588, likely in or near Norwich, England. [3]

1614: john Pers apprentice to Thomas Bassingthwayt, worsted weaver, made a freeman. [3] 1633/4: Emigrated to New England [3] 1637: April 8: Examined for passage to Boston: John Pears, weaver Norwich, Norfolk, aged 49, Elizabeth his wife, aged 36, and their children John, Barbara, Elizabeth and Judeth; and their servant John Gedney, aged 19. [1] [3] 1637/8: March: Made a Freeman at Watertown. [3] John Pearse, singleman and Elizabeth Trull were married on April 17, 1610 at St. Edmund, Norwich, County Norfolk. Elizabeth was baptized on April 13, 1590 at St. Augustine's Norwich, daughter of Robert and Marie (Ladyman) Trull. [3]

He emigrated, apparently first in 1633/4 with his older children, Anthony was in Watertown, Massachusetts in 1633 [3], and possibly Esther, Mary, Robert. [4] His wife Elizabeth remained in England as on December 3, 1636, as her husband was in New England, Elizabeth, of Norwich, requested 'a keeper chosen to succeed on Christmas next.' [3] [4]

The Pearse family Registered for passage to Boston on April 8, 1637, with William Andrewes, Master of the ships John and Dorothy, and his son William, Master of the Rose, but is not certain which vessel they were assigned to. Those registering were John Pers weaver of Norwich, aged 49, wife Elizabeth aged 36, children John, Barbara, Elizabeth and Judith, and servant John Gedney, aged 19. [1]

John died on August 19, 1661 at Watertown. [3] [5]

He wrote his will on March 1, 1657/8, naming his wife Elizabeth, eldest son Anthony, and 'the rest of my children.' Wife Elizabeth was named executor. [6] [3]

His October, 1661 estate inventory included the 12 acre homelot with dwelling house, 2 barns and outhousing, 3 meadow lots and 2 upland lots. [6]

Elizabeth died in Watertown, Massachusetts on March 12, 1666/7, aged 79 years. [5] [3]

In Elizabeth's will, written March 16, 1666/7 she names: [7]

  • son Robert
  • son John
  • son Anthony
  • daughter Esther Mose
  • daughter Mary Coldam
  • grandchildren Mary and Esther Ball
  • John and Mary Pearse, children of son Anthony
  • grandchild Judah Sawen
  • Judah Pearse, child of son Robert
  • grandchild Ester Mose, daughter of Joseph Mose [7] [3]


  1. Anthony baptized on April 8, 1611 at St. Edmund; died on May 9, 1678; married Anne ___ by 1632/3. [3]
  2. Hester baptized August 17, 1612; she married Joseph Morse by 1636. [3]
  3. William baptized on February 27, 1613/4; buried on April 6, 1615. [3]
  4. Barbara baptized on February 4, 1615/6; no further record. [3]
  5. John was baptized in March 1617/8; married Elizabeth ___ by 1642. [3]
  6. Elizabeth was baptized on March 6, 1619/20; likely died young. [3]
  7. Robert was baptized on December 21, 1621; died at Woburn, Massachusetts on September 10, 1706; married Mary ___ by 1650. [3]
  8. Elizabeth was baptized on April 11, 1624; died before October 3, 1665 when her husband remarried; married John Ball about 1644. [3]
  9. Mary was baptized on December 26, 1625; married Clement Coldam. [3]
  10. Judeth was baptized on February 8, 1627/8; ?died by October 2, 1650 when her husband remarried; married Francis Wyman in December or January, 1644/5 [3] vs. married John Sawin on February 16, 1667. [5]


From The Ancestry of Hattie E. J. Bruce: The John Ball Family:

John Ball was a tailor. He married Elizabeth Peirce, daughter of John and Elizabeth Peirce, and had four children by her. She was insane in 1660 and probably had been thus some time. In March of 1660-1 John Ball resigned his three children to his father and mother "Peirse" as their own and gave them two oxen and two cows as their own. He also yielded his wife to his inlaws and the use of his house and lands as long as she continued there, and if God took her before she returned to him, the said property to be his children's by his said wife, Elizabeth.[3/3:81] The deed wasn't recorded until 31 Oct 1664, which makes it likely that Elizabeth probably died shortly before that date. John's subsequent marriage a year later helps bear out this probability.

  • 'The Pioneers of Massachusetts, a Descriptive List, Drawn from Records of the ... By Charles Henry Pope
  • Pg. 360
  • John, weaver, ae. 49, of Norwich, R.I., with wife Elizabeth, ae. "36," and children John, 'Barbara', Judith and Elizabeth, and, servant John Gedney, passed exam. to go to Boston, N.E., April 8, 1637. settled at Watertown. The dau. Judith m. At Woburn Jan., 30 or Dec. 30, 1644, Francis Wyman.
  • He d. Aug. 19, 1661. Will dated 7 (1) 1657-8, prob. 1 Oct. 1661, beq. to wife Elizabeth, son Anthony and "the rest of" his children. The widow d. March 12, 1666, ae. about 79 years. Her will names children Anthony, Robert, John, Esther Morse and Mary Coldham; gr. daus. Mary and Esther Ball, ch. of her dau. Elizabeth; John, son of Anthony and Judah, dau. of Robert. [The son] Robert deposed 29 (10) 1658, ae, 38 years; Robert deposed at Ipswich in 1663 ae. about ?? years.
  • _________


  • cites
  • ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 Hotten, John Camden. The Original Lists of Persons of Quality; Emigrants; Religious Exiles; Political Rebels; Serving Men sold for a term of years; apprentices; children stolen; maidens pressed; and others who went from Great Britain to the American Plantations, 1600-1700 : with their ages and the names of the ships in which they embarked, and other interesting particulars; from mss. preserved in the State Paper Department of Her Majesty's Public Record Office, England, London, England, 1874., p. 290
  • ↑ The Peirce Genealogy, p. 18, gives evidence for John's origin in Norwich, co. Norfolk, and traces his descendants. No claims are made for his parentage.
  • ↑ 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 3.15 3.16 3.17 3.18 3.19 3.20 3.21 Hatcher, Patricia Law. The Peirce Family of Norwich, England and Watertown, Massachusetts in: The American Genealogist, Volume 84, New Haven, Connecticut, 2010 p. 177-184 (Online database. New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2009 - .)
  • ↑ 4.0 4.1 Genealogy: a journal of American ancestry, Vol. 2, Weeks, Lyman Horace, ed., p 213, downloaded 3/23/2018, from:
  • ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 Watertown Records Comprising the First and Second Books of Town Proceedings with the Land Grants and Possession, and the First Book and Supplement of Births, Deaths and Marriages, The Historical Society, Press of Fred G. Barker, Watertown, Massachusetts, 1894 p. 23: 28:
  • ↑ 6.0 6.1 Case 17493: p. 1-6: Middlesex County, MA: Probate File Papers, 1648-1871.Online database. New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2014. (From records supplied by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Archives. Digitized mages provided by
  • ↑ 7.0 7.1 Case 17450: p. 1-2: Middlesex County, MA: Probate File Papers, 1648-1871.Online database. New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2014. (From records supplied by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Archives. Digitized mages provided by
  • Genealogy Register XIV 325
  • Savage New England Register, vol. 3
  • John Pierce on Miner Descent, 20 Mar 2011
  • "Genealogies and History of Watertown MA." bond p. 393
  • "Seven Pierce Families" pp. 95 96
  • Hatcher, Patricia Law. The Peirce Family of Norwich, England and Watertown, Massachusetts in: The American Genealogist, Volume 84, New Haven, Connecticut, 2010 p. 177-184 (Online database. New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2009 - .)
view all 37

John Pierce of Watertown's Timeline

April 8, 1588
Norwich, Norfolk, England
April 28, 1611
Norwich, Norfolk, England
August 6, 1612
Norwich, Norfolk, England
February 4, 1616
Norwich, Norfolk, England
March 19, 1617
Age 28
St Edmund,Norwich,Norfolk,ENGLAND
March 12, 1618
Norwich, Norfolk, England
March 6, 1620
Norwich, Norfolk, England, United Kingdom
December 21, 1621
Norwich, Norfolk, England
April 11, 1624
Norwich, Norfolk, England, (Present UK)