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According to the 1820 census, James V. Pierce was born in Stokes County, North Carolina in February, 1812. His parents were also born in North Carolina. I do not know his wife's name, but I do know that some of their family roots were in The Dalles, Wasco County, Oregon in 1863. As far as I can remember there were three surviving children born into the Pierce family; Mary, about 1845, Andrew in 1854, and James in 1860. The marriage of his daughter Mary Pierce to William Waters Cox took place in The Dalles in 1863 (documented).

The James V. Pierces were apparently divorced, for when a grandson, John Abner Cox, who was Mary Pierce Cox's son, visited his granddad James V. Pierce in the Canyon City area and asked about his grandmother he was simply told that she had remarried and lived in the area, and had several children by her second marriage, but her new name was not divulged.

James V. Pierce was a circuit riding minister out of The Dalles, Oregon for a period of time. He visited the towns going south on the old Military Road, and stopped at the towns in the John Day and Mt. Vernon area. He was a staunch follower of John Campbell, founder of the Campbellite Faith. He lived with the communal group for some time in Grant County. The Campbellites evolved into what we know today as the First Christian Church. In thumbing through old clippings, newspapers and grocery accounts at the Oliver Historical Museaum I discovered one article that credited James Pierce in setting up the Sunday School in the First Christian Church in the Canyon City area.

Mary Pierce and her husband William Waters Cox homesteaded on the Smith River above Gardiner, Oregon. To them were born three surviving children; Deborah Ann Cox who married Martin Smith; Elizabeth, who became my mother-in-law, married Thomas W. Smith whose homestead was farther up the river; John abner Cox who married Irene Lorrence.

Mary Pierce Cox died suddenly in 1875 before medical aid could be obtained. She was buried on the homestead beside her sister-in-law Rebecca cox. They thought the graves were safely back from the fury of the river but that was not the case and both graves were washed into the river. Many years ago I talked to a woman in the area who told me the graves were marked by huge logs and that she and her sister used to play "Fox and Geese" on them until dark when her mother would say, "Girls, come in now or Aunt Mary and Becky will come out and get you."

The name Cox Landing appears on the Oregon Forestry maps. It marks the site of the homestead and the last stop for the little boats that plied up and down the river.

James V. Pierce, boarder. White ---male, age 88, born in February of 1812 --- in North Carolina, parents born in North Carolina also. He was living with Edwin Hall and Susan, his wife, and their son Edwin L. Hall, age 19.

The above information came from the 1900 Census of the State of Oregon, Grant County, John Day Precinct, John Day City. Enumerated on June 02, 1900 by Charles G. Gaspary, Supervisors District No. 2, page 60A, sheet #2.

James V. Pierce was well into his nineties when he died. I have tried to find the exact date, and burial place. Possibly someone who reads this can fill in some blanks for me.

In Memory of James Valentine Pierce - Contributed by: Florence Smith Orrall.

From the Oliver Museum - Grant County, Oregon

An old Meerschaum pipe owned and smoked by Andrew Pierce. Andy, as he was called, smoked this pipe about thirty years. He always smoked chewing tobacco -- either Star, Climax, or Saw-Log. He would shave it off the plug and roll it in the palm of his hand until quite fine and fill the old pipe and the blue smoke would roll like a locomotive. And it could be smelled for a mile.

Andy Pierce was a good, kind hearted man. Smoked strong tobacco, also chewed, lived to be 94 years old. Had all his teeth never had a tooth brush in his mouth.

Andy operated a pack train in the early mining days, from The Dalles to Canyon City. Later six and eight horse jerk line and 2 and 3 wagons freight outfit. He hauled freight to the merchants of John Day and Canyon City, also from Baker, Oregon. However, before the freight team was used, Andy drove six yoke of oxen, hauling ore at the mines, logs at the saw mills and all kinds of merchandise for the store keeper.

Andy was an expert with what is known as a revolving bull whip. On one of his trips where he went to haul ore with the ox teams at Silver City, Idaho, he claims when he drove his ox team into Silver City he had an occasion to top the bull whip. Andy says you could not hear anything for five minutes after the noise from the whip in that Canyon.

From an old record I find Andrew Pierce attended school in Canyon City during the month of June 1868. The following were some of the scholar or pupils that time.

J.M. McCullum, Arther Mosier, Thos. Moss, Frank McCallum, Anna Maskell, Wm. Whitney, Ellen Whitney, Wm. Maskell, Nora Middlesworth, Matilda Pierce, Clay Luce, Ed Luce, Anna Mosier, Dosia Moiser, Emma Mosier, and Charles Luce.

On April the 15th, 1868 there was no school with notation. "Cold and Stormy, no stove." The end of a story about an old meershaum pipe and the owner.

Ref. Source: #6 - pg. 31 to 32 - Item 3 & 1
Charles W. Brown Inv.

Reprint from the Blue Mt. Eagle - July 24th, 1931

Mr. Pierce is 77, came to The Dalles in 1862, with the grand rush with his father from Iowa. Your gol-darned right, I crossed the plains, and with oxen. We started with seven yoke of oxen and got to the Grande Ronde Valley with two old milk cows. When we got to The Dalles, my father got a job for $2.50 a day. We did not think that there was that much money in the world. You see, back in Iowa father worked in the grain fields with a cradle and got six bits a day, and in the winter he got six bits a day splitting rails, like Abe Lincoln, and 200 rails was figured to be a day's work.

I saw the first locomotive that was put on the rails at The Dalles and that was in 1863. You bet I saw old times, and we came to Canyon City in 1863. These times ain't no fun. We used to have fun in Canyon City.

There was a funny Indian story - down near Mitchell on the trail to The Dalles, and that was in 1863. Elkali Frank built a dug-out on a little hump of a ridge. He dug into the hill, and covered it with Juniper logs and threw an old canvass over it. At the foot of the hill the Indians built a fire and they would sneak up and throw a fire brand onto the house. I don't guess they was on the warparth and they was just having some fun, something we kids used to have back in 1863 in Canyon City. They was just as rough as h---, that's all. Every time they would throw the fire onto the house, it would burn down through the log and old Frank would laugh and throw it out. Alkali Frank was a kind of a Frenchman and married an "Injun", a h--l of a good woman.

I remember in Canyon City when a sack of flour cost 16 dollars or an ounce of gold dust. You may think I'm lying but my dad gave me a dollar and sent me out to buy some taters, and I got 3 for that dollar and they were not big taters either. But we drove four year old steers to The Dalles for $22.50 a head.

Reprint from the Blue Mtn. Eagle
Feb. 10th, 1922

Mr. and Mrs. A.J. Pierce's home in Silvies valley was the scene of a very enjoyable birthday party, Tuesday January 31st. It being in honor of "Grandma" Pierce, who was ---, well, she was a little past 16 years old. Dinner was served at 5 o'clock and it was a real dinner. The table fairly groaned under its weight of good things. Dancing followed the feast and Grandma and her worthy pardner, Granpa, showed us what the older generation is made of by out-dancing and in every way out doing every young couple in the house.

Grandma is a very respected pioneer of this county having come here when quite young. She has had the honor of having six children, five of whom are still living. Four of her children, Mrs. C.C. Hankins, Jim Pierce, Ned Pierce and Leo Pierce were present at her party. Four of her grandchildren, Ralph Hankins, Pearl Hankins, Irene Parks and Frank Pierce were also there.

She is truly loved by everyone who knows her real worth and we all join in hoping she may have many more happy and prosperous birthdays.

Volume 47 - Friday, May 9th, 1947 -John Day Valley Ranger, John Day, Oregon

Funeral Services Held for Andrew Pierce, 93; Came Here in 1864

Funeral services were held from the Driskill Mortuary chapel in John Monday afternoon for Andrew J. Pierce who passed away, Thursday of last week at the age of 93 years. He had been a resident of Grant county for 83 years, having come to Canyon City in 1884.


Andrew J. Pierce the only son and last deceased of five children of Mr. and Mrs. James V. Pierce was born in Harrison County, Iowa, Jan. 08, 1854. When a child he moved with his parents to The Dalles, Oregon and later to Canyon City in 1864 at the age of 14 years and has since resided in Grant county.

He was married to Eliza E. Fry at The Dalles, October 14, 1879. To this union six children were born, two of whom were James V. and Nellie Pierce who preceded their father in death.

Andrew and his family moved to Silvies in 1885 where they have since made their home having celebrated their 67th wedding anniversary October 14 last year. In the early days he drove an ox freight team from The Dalles to Camp Warner, Nevada.

He left this life May 2, 1947 at the age of 93 years and leaves to mourning his passing besides his wife, Eliza, two daughters, Clara Hankins of Silvies and Amy Keeton of Burns; two sons, Ned of Mt. Vernon and Leo who lives on the ranch home at Silvies; 13 grandchildren and 22 great grandchildren. Also, he is survived by a niece, Tilly Hyde of Izee who is the only surviving relative apart from the immediate family.

Page Two - Oct. 22, 1943 - John Day Valley Ranger, John Day, Oregon

Henry Franklin Pierce was born at Huntington, Oregon, March 19, 1885 and passed away at Prairie City, October 14, 1943 at the age of 58 years, six months and 25 days.

Mr. Pierce, who has been a resident of the Prairie City community for about 25 years, spent his early life in Pendleton, and was a graduate of the Pendleton high school, class of 1906. In 1912 he went to Alaska where he engaged in survey work, surveying bound ary from Dawson City to the Arctic Ocean. Upon his return to Oregon, he followed mining and construction work.

He was united in marriage to Christina McKee, May 27, 1922; to this union was born one son, Darrel.

He leaves his wife, son, and step daughter, Mrs. Ione Stanbro of Prairie City, also a brother, George F. Pierce of Portland, Ore., and a nephew, Roger Pierce who is somewhere in the South Pacific.

Funeral services were held Sun day afternoon, October 17, from the Prairie City Methodist church, conducted by the Rev. Wayne Brown. Interment was in the family plot, Mt. Hope cemetery, Baker, Ore., on Monday, October 18 at 2:00 p.m.

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