John T Pierce (1860/61-Oct. 1929), Concord, Randolph County, North Carolina

Long story short, John T Pierce’s father was Simeon Pierce, not John H. “Tinsley” Pierce, as some family trees and Find a Grave shows.

I recently decided to more thoroughly research the family of two Parrish sisters who married into the Gray/Holmes family. I’m still hoping to break through the Gray family brick wall of Catherine Gatsy Wadsworth.

Ansel Parrish (1780-1860) and Winifred Cashett (1785-1870) lived in Davidson County, North Carolina. They were the parents of at least 10 children. Their daughter, Sarah Ann (1821-1900) married Robert Wadsworth Holmes, youngest son of Catherine Gatsy Wadsworth. Their daughter Judah Arena (1823-1864) married William Franklin Gray, middle son of Catherine Gatsy Wadsworth.

I started with Ansel and Winifred’s oldest child, Lucy. We know Lucy Parrish was born in about 1806, and lived her life in North Carolina. She married Redmon Pierce in 1822, and they had at least 7 children. She died sometime after 1870. I was researching her oldest son Simeon Pierce, specifically the children of Simeon and his wife Mary “Polly” Loflin/Laughlin, when I noticed a big problem. His Find A Grave memorial has his father incorrectly as John H. “Tinsley” Pierce.

I had an email conversation with John H. Pierce’s 2x great grandson, who manages his Find A Grave memorial, and found that he is satisfied that his information is correct. He has seen the death certificate for John T. Pierce, which lists his father incorrectly as J. Tinsely Pierce and his mother correctly as Polly Loflin. With that document, he decided that his 2x great grandfather’s middle name was Tinsley and that he was the father of John. He also decided that his 2x great grandmother Sally Loflin also went by Polly. (I suspect Mary “Polly” and Sally are sisters who both married Pierces but I haven’t researched in that direction.) There is nothing to connect a son named John to the family of John H. & Sally Loflin Pierce. No child named John appears on a census with them. Sally’s estate files listing heirs does not name John, though he was alive at the time. There’s also nothing indicating that John H. Pierce’s middle name was Tinsley, though the middle initial H is listed on his tombstone and on assorted documents through his life.

I don’t know why J. Tinsley Pierce is listed as father on John T. Pierce’s death certificate. The informant, Samuel Delk (husband of his daughter Mary), wouldn’t have known John’s father. I have a theory, and I’ll share it at the end.

So while there is nothing to tie John T. Pierce to John H. Pierce and his wife Sally Loflin, there’s plenty to connect him to Simeon Pierce and his wife Mary “Polly” Loflin.

Simeon Parrish and Mary “Polly” Loflin appeared together on the 1860 census in Caldwell County, North Carolina with children James, who died shortly after, and Mary, who was actually Clarissa Miranda. I don’t know why their oldest daughter Rebecca Jane was left off the census. Simeon died sometime between the 1860 census and 1867.

John’s grandfather Redmon Pierce’s 1867 estate records indicate that Redmon was guardian of John and his sister Clarissa Miranda. Again Rebecca Jane isn’t listed, and I don’t know why. She would have been about 12. Redmon’s estate records list the living heirs, and his son Simeon isn’t listed but John and Clarissa Miranda are.

On the 1870 & 1880 census the family was in Concord, Randolph County, North Carolina, where they remain until their deaths. Mary was listed with her three living children, Rebecca Jane, Clarissa Miranda, and John, on both.

We have that big gap in census records due to a fire destroying most of the 1890 census. When the family appears again in 1900, Mary “Polly” Loflin Pierce isn’t found. She likely died but could have remarried. The two sisters, neither of which ever married, lived together in Concord. The next listing on the census form was brother John, with his wife Elizabeth (Skeen) and their children. Also living with John was widowed and childless great aunt Polly Cashett.

In 1910, the sisters were still living in Concord, and two households later was brother John, wife Elizabeth, and their children.

In 1920, the sisters were still living in Concord, and three households later was brother John, wife Elizabeth, and their children.

John died in 1929, which resulted in the confusing death certificate. His Find A Grave memorial is here. While the memorial lists his middle name as Thomas, I can’t find any records to back that up. I only find the letter T. His tombstone reads John T. Pierce, and he’s buried in the Walter’s Grove Baptist Church cemetery.

In 1930, the sisters were still living in Concord, and listed on the next page was John’s widow Elizabeth and a son.

In December of 1932, John’s sister Clarissa Miranda died. Her death certificate, with informant R.H. Small (husband to John’s daughter Eunice), listed her parents as Simeon Pierce and Mary Loflin. Her Find a Grave memorial is here. She too was buried in the Walter’s Grove Baptist Church cemetery.

In October of 1933, John’s sister Rebecca Jane died. Her death certificate, with same informant as her sister. lists her parents as Simeon Pierce and Mary Laughlin. Her Find a Grave memorial is here. She too is buried in the Walter’s Grove Baptist Church cemetery. That wraps up story of John T. Pierce and his family.

Back to Ansel & Winifred Cashett Parrish, their next child, daughter Winifred Parrish, married James Pierce. I’m ready to put the Pierce family tree behind me but I can’t just yet.

I’ve searched for people named Tinsley in North Carolina. There’s not much to be found. But John’s uncle, his father Simeon’s next oldest sibling, was named Redmon Tinsley Pierce. His name appears as Tinsley in his marriage record, and also in his father’s estate files. Since I can’t find record of John with a middle name, just the middle initial T, I suspect his middle name is Tinsley after his uncle. I suspect that the informant put J. Tinsley Pierce as his father thinking that John was a Jr. But it’s just a theory.

Moral of the story … you can’t trust a death certificate to correctly list the parents. And you can’t trust Find a Grave memorials to be accurate.

Hopefully I come across some tidbit of info giving me a clue to the Catherine Gatsy Wadsworth mystery while I’m researching the intermarried Parrish family.

Franklin William Gray (1821-1864) & Judah Arena Parrish (1823-1864)

Updated October 2020.

Franklin & Judah are Todd’s great great great grandparents.

Franklin Judah GrayFranklin William Gray was born May 25, 1821 in North Carolina. His mother was Catherine Gatsey Wadworth and his father is unknown. I wrote about her here.

Judah Arena Parrish was born January 29, 1823 in North Carolina. Her parents were Ansel Parrish and Winifred Cashett.

I haven’t found marriage records, but it is thought that Franklin and Judah married in North Carolina before moving to Missouri. Some report the date of 30 Oct 1846 in Randolph County. Franklin’s brother Robert Wadsworth Holmes married Judah’s sister Sarah Ann Parrish, and it is thought they too married just before leaving North Carolina.

Son William was born in 1848 in Missouri. Son Benjamin was born in 1850.

On the 1850 US Census, Franklin was 29 and Judah was 25. They lived in Buchanan County, Missouri. Son William was 2 and son Benjamin was a newborn. Also living in the house was Franklin’s mother, Catherine Wadsworth, age 27, and Jesse Hill, age 22, born in North Carolina. Franklin and Jesse were farming. In the next household was Franklin’s brother William Wadsworth and his family. Two households after that was Franklin’s brother Robert Holmes and his family.

Son Simeon was born in 1852 and son Alexander was born in 1856.

On the 1860 US Census, Franklin was 38 and Judah was 36. William was 12, Benjamin was 10, Simeon was 8, Alexander was 4. Also living in the home were Martha Wiese, age 17, and William Cooley, age 45, a traveling merchant from York State.

Daughter Sarah Elizabeth was born in 1861 and daughter Mary Jane was born in 1862 and died in 1863.

Franklin died on April 28, 1864 in Buchanan County, Missouri. His Find A Grave memorial is here. Judah died on August 19, 1864 in Buchanan County, Missouri. Her Find A Grave memorial is here.

The children of Franklin William Gray & Judah Arena Parrish:

William Linsey Gray – William was born January 5, 1848 in Buchanan County, Missouri. He was 16 when his parents died, and I don’t know where he spent the next 5 years. He married Mary Ryherd on February 18, 1869 in Buchanan County, Missouri. They had 7 children. He died March 15, 1938 in Buchanan County, Missouri. His Find A Grave memorial is here.

Benjamin Franklin Gray – Benjamin was born on January 15, 1850. He was 14 when his parents died, and I don’t know where he spent the next 10 years. He married Mary Elizabeth Lowrie on September 24, 1874 in Buchanan County, Missouri. They had 7 children. He died on September 15, 1929 in Buchanan County, Missouri. His Find A Grave memorial is here.

Simeon H. Gray – Simeon was born June 29, 1852 in Buchanan County, Missouri. His parents died when he was almost 12, and he was raised, along with his brother Alexander, by his mother’s brother, Dr. Simeon Parrish, in Holt County, Missouri. He married Margaret Ann Synder in 1885. They had 7 children. Simeon worked as a merchant. He died March 14, 1931 in Buchanan County. His Find A Grave memorial is here.

Alexander Gray – Alex is Todd’s great great grandfather. You can read more about him here. Also, I’ve posted many postcards that were sent to him and his family. Find them here.

Sarah Elizabeth Gray – Sarah was born January 20, 1861 in Buchanan County, Missouri. She was 3 years old when her parents died, and was raised by her father’s brother Robert Wadsworth Holmes and his wife Sarah Ann Parrish Holmes, who was her mother’s sister. They farmed in Buchanan County, Missouri. Sarah married Robert Carson on January 26, 1856 in Buchanan County, but he died of consumption on November 6, 1883. They had no children. Sarah married George Robinson Hines on March 27, 1889, and they had 3 children. Two died as infants. They farmed in Buchanan County, Missouri. She died on March 22, 1931 in Buchanan County, Missouri. Her Find A Grave memorial is here.

Mary Jane Gray – According to family records, Mary was born in November of 1862 and died in April of 1863, in Buchanan County, Missouri.