George Pearce, BiographyPorter County biographical sketches . . . .

Transcribed biography of George Pearce

GEORGE PEARCE. Exemplifying in a most emphatic way those elements of character that ever make for strong and useful manhood, he to whom this memoir is dedicated exerted a benignant influence in connection with the social and material development of Porter county, Indiana, where he established his home more than sixty years ago and where he continued to reside until his death, which occurred on the 28th of September, 1891. He was a pioneer of this favored section of the state and here his character and services were such as to gain to him unqualified confidence and esteem and to make the record of his life one replete in lesson and incentive. He had much constructive ability and marked initiative power, so that he was well qualified for leadership, though his innate modesty was such that he never cared to become specifically a factor in public affairs. He pursued the even tenor of his way with strong heart and generous impulses, and he made his life count for good in its every relation, so that there is all of consistency in offering in this volume a tribute to his memory and a brief review of his long and useful career as one of the world's productive workers. His life was guided and governed by the highest principles of integrity and honor and he truly left a name unspotted of the world.

England, the fine old mother country of America, has given to us from the beginning to the present time the most numerous and valued elements in our composite citizenship, and from this source has come that contingent which has significantly conserved development and progress in connection with the founding and upbuilding of one of the greatest nations known in the history of the world. Though essentially an American in ideals and loyalty, George Pearce claimed the "right little, tight little isle" as the place of his nativity and was a scion of the staunchest of English stock. He was born in fine old Lincolnshire, England, on the 21st of March, 1828, and thus was sixty-three years of age when he was summoned to the life eternal. He was a son of Ephraim and Charlotte Jane (Lotier) Pearce, the latter of whom was of old woman French lineage. In 1832, when Mr. Pearce was but four years of age, his parents immigrated to America and settled in Maryland, where his father died in 1837, the mother surviving him by several years.

George Pearce early became dependent upon his own resources and not only gained definite success through individual endeavor but also acquired a liberal education through self-discipline, wide and appreciative reading and active association with men and affairs. He continued a great reader of the best in literature and was thoroughly conversant with the German language, which he could both read and write with almost as great facility as his native tongue. He was imbued with distinctive energy and ambition as a young man and he made of success not an accident but a logical result. He reared his children to lives of honor and usefulness and through precept and example left to them a most gracious heritage, the family escutcheon having ever been without blot or stain. While yet in his 'teens Mr. Pearce found employment in cotton mills in the city of Philadelphia and shortly before attaining to his legal majority he went to Williamsville, New York, not far distant from the city of Buffalo, where he formed the acquaintance of the gracious gentlewoman who was later to become his wife, the beautiful park and stately old home of the Long family having been among the finest in that section of the Empire state. At Buffalo, New York, on the 8th of March, 1851, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Pearce to Miss Eliza L. Long, and the young couple came to the west in the following September. They made the trip by lake vessel from Buffalo and from Michigan City, which was then but an obscure port, they came onward to Porter county, where they arrived on the 23d of September. Mrs. Pearce's father, Benjamin F. Long, was a man of wealth and influence in western New York and had purchased a large tract of land in Union township, Porter county, Indiana, where he allotted to each of his nine children an embryonic farm, he himself having finally established a home in this county, where he was revered as a sterling pioneer and loyal and progressive citizen. Mr. and Mrs. Pearce received from him one hundred and sixty acres of land, in Union township, and there they settled in a primitive log cabin in the midst of a practically untrammeled wilderness. In this modest domicile, which was one of peace and happiness, one of their daughters, Mrs. Emma Titus, was born, and many are the hallowed memories which she retains of the old homestead. Mr. Pearce finally sold the farm, which he had reclaimed to productiveness, and he then erected the Pearce mill, a large sawmill, which was operated in connection with the Pearce grist mill, a large brick structure, which still remains one of the landmarks of Union township, although it is not in operation at the present time. This mill was erected in 1865 and Mr. Pearce there conducted a prosperous business for nearly a quarter of a century, the mill having been operated by him for some time after he had established the family home in Valparaiso. During his long identification with the milling industry he was not only successful but also realized fully the stewardship which success involves, so that he was ever ready to lend a helping hand to the poor and needy and to others in any way afflicted. In all such benefactions he had a zealous coadjutor in the person of his cherished and devoted wife, whose gentle and gracious character endeared her to all with whom she came in contact. The names of these noble pioneers will long be cherished by those to whom they extended timely aid and sympathy in the days of the past.

In the autumn of 1871 Mr. Pearce purchased the fine family homestead on Napoleon street in the city of Valparaiso, and the property is now owned by his surviving daughters, Mrs. Laura Stoddard, of Chicago, and Mrs. Emma Titus, who occupies the beautiful old home.

Mr. Pearce was thoroughly en rapport with the laws and institutions of America and as a citizen was liberal and public-spirited, though he had no desire for the activities of politics or for the honors or emoluments of public office. He never was involved in a single litigation in any court, and his tolerance and abiding human sympathy were manifested in his efforts to promote good will and peace under all conditions and circumstances. In his earlier years he held membership in the Methodist Episcopal church, but he later became one of the most prominent and influential factors in the organization of the Mennonite religious body in Valparaiso. He was earnest and sincere as a representative of this noble but unassuming Christian faith and was associated with Benjamin Long, John Pearce and Jacob Lantz in purchasing the old school house which was transformed into the Mennonite church in Valparaiso and which still accommodates a numerous and faithful congregation, the purchase of the building having been effected on the 4th of September, 1874.

On the 8th of March, 1851, as already stated in this context, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Pearce to Miss Eliza L. Long, of Williamsville. Erie county, New York, where she was born on the 5th of April, 1833. She survived her honored husband by more than a decade and was summoned to the life eternal on the 25th of August, 1904. She was reared and educated in her native county, and her lineage is traced back to the fine old Holland Dutch stock which was so prominently identified with the development of the state of New York, where her ancestors settled upon their immigration from the Netherlands. The old Long homestead was in one of the most idyllic spots in western New York, and the daughters of Mr. and Mrs. Pearce treasure a number of fine views which depict the country thereabouts. Mrs. Pearce was one of the noble pioneer women of Porter county, and her kindly deeds and gentle thoughtfulness will not soon pass from the memories of those who knew her in earlier or later years. She made her home the abode of peace and refined hospitality, and the stranger and the needy were never turned empty away.

Mr. and Mrs. Pearce became the parents of five children, all of whom are living except the eldest daughter, Eliza J., who became the wife of George W. Pearce. Mr. Pearce was a successful miller in Union township. Of their three children two are living, -- Benjamin F., who is a resident of Wheaton, Illinois, wedded Miss Alice Flemming and they have one daughter, Carrie; and Mary Ann, who is the wife of Harry Bunting, a successful contractor and builder at East Chicago. They have four children. Lewella May, deceased, the youngest, was the wife of Edgar Galbreth. She died March 4, 1894. She had one daughter, Lewella Niel, now a resident of South Bend, Indiana. Mrs. Eliza J. (Pearce) Pearce died on the 20th of November, 1880, and her remains rest beside those of her father and mother in Maplewood cemetery, Valparaiso.

Susie A., the second daughter of him to whom this memoir is dedicated, is the widow of P. P. Abel and resides at Elkhart, Indiana. Her husband was formerly treasurer of that city and was also a valiant soldier of the Union in the Civil war. He enlisted in Company B, Sixty-third Indiana Volunteer Infantry, and later re-enlisted in the Ninetieth Indiana Infantry, with which he served until the close of the war, when he received his honorable discharge. Mr. and Mrs. Abel became the parents of five children, of whom three are living: George, who resides at Kalispell, Montana; Frederick B., who maintains his home in Alberta, Canada; and Emma L., who is the wife of Archibald Beidler, of Elkhart, Indiana. Mrs. Abel as well as the other children in the Pearce family, was accorded excellent educational advantages in her youth and she is popular in the social circles of her home city, where she has been prominently identified with the Woman's Relief Corps.

Abraham L., the only son, who was for a number of years engaged in the flour and feed business in Valparaiso, later became connected with the police department of the city of Elkhart, where he is now serving as humane officer. He wedded Miss Minnie Peterson and they have three children, -- Edna V., George and Rhoma. Mr. Pearce is affiliated with the Royal Arcanum and is a member of the Baptist church, his wife being identified with the Lutheran church.

Emma M., the next in order of birth of the four children, is the wife of John M. Titus and they reside in the old Pearce homestead in Valparaiso, Mr. Titus being a native of Michigan and a paper manufacturer by vocation. Mrs. Titus attended the parochial and public schools and also received excellent musical training, both vocal and instrumental. For several years she was a successful and popular teacher in the schools of Union township, where she taught for some time in the school in which she had formerly been a pupil. She is prominent in the representative social activities of Valparaiso and has a wide circle of friends in the county that has ever been her home. Mr. and Mrs. Titus have no children.

Laura E., the youngest of the children, is the wife of Jeremiah Stoddard, who is connected with the great University of Chicago, and they reside on East Fifty-seventh street in the western metropolis. Mrs. Stoddard likewise gained an excellent education and has developed her musical talent under effective conditions.

George Pearce and his devoted helpmeet were ever the recipients of the affectionate regard of the people of the county in which they long lived and labored to goodly ends, and it is a distinctive pleasure to the publishers of this work to offer a mark of appreciation and honor within the pages of a work dedicated to Porter county and its people.

Source: Lewis Publishing Company. 1912. History of Porter County, Indiana: A Narrative Account of its Historical Progress, its People and its Principal Interests. Chicago, Illinois: Lewis Publishing Company. 881 p.
Page(s) in Source: 698-706

This biography has been transcribed exactly as it was originally published in the source. Please note that we do not provide photocopies or digital scans of biographies appearing on this website.

Biography transcribed by Steven R. Shook


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