Friday, November 18, 2016

Henry Pearce and sons

A recent email from the British Newspaper Archive said they'd posted a newspaper called the Cornwall & Devon Post -- so I had a look through with my usual searches of Hurrell and Pearce.  Lo and behold, I found an article all about my Pearce family of Callington/St. Ive!!!

The article refers to a Henry Pearce, son of Henry Pearce.  In reality this is John Carew Pearce. He is one of the 4 sons of Henry Perace -- the others being Thomas Pearce (of Landrake), Samuel Pearce (of New Zealand), and Nathaniel Hurrell Pearce (my Gt Grandfather - of Torquay). 

Initially I couldn't figure out if this was my family -- as the name Henry Pearce and Army Pensioner didn't seem to fit.  But the other sons and father definitely fit with what I knew.  So, I set out to do some searching on John Carew Pearce (aka Henry).

Turns out I had a missing 1881 census for him -- he was in St Ive in 1871 and 1891, but where was he inbetween?  I had a quick look at, and searched the British Army records, as he was listed as a pensioner.  This was most unusual, since most men in the area joined the Royal Navy in Plymouth, if they were going into the military.  

Sure enough, there was a John Pearce, born 1853, joining in Burley!!  A huge file for him, with all the corroborating details -- born in St. Ive, Father Henry Pearce of Callington, etc.  Turns out he had been part of the Royal Marines Artillery Militia initially, and then joined the regular Army 2 years later.  Lots of correspondence regarding this....

From his service record, he served a total of 21 years, with 3 years in India, and some Reserve time in Guernsey (where he must have met his wife), and was discharged in Belfast, due to being medically unfit as he was suffering from Brights Disease.

His discharge said his intended place of residence was St Ive, so he returned home just before the 1891 Census.  This article is in 1892, and essentially the Local Authority wanted him to contribute more towards the maintenance of his Father, but he argued the burden should be shared between the 4 sons.  Henry Pearce died later that year, so the case was probably dropped.

Fascinating to see an article from 1892 talking directly about my Pearce family, and leading me to discover a whole British Army career that I knew nothing about!

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