Monday, April 24, 2017

Wife of George O Pierce Identified!

This blog post answers Richardson family research question number 7: Who is the wife of George O Pierce (grandson of William Richardson)?

I had previously identified George O Richardson as a grandson of William Richardson (d.1877) based on the probate of William Richardson. The petition for proving William's will included the following living children in January 1894: Chester and Hiram, both of Canadice, Ontario County; John of Mendon, Monroe County; George of Harbor Springs, Emmet County, Michigan; Woolsey of Clyde, Washington County, Arkansas; and Polly J Magee of Springwater, Livingston County.  Four grandchildren were also named: George O Pierce of Springwater, Livingston County; and Miles, Oscar, and Lucy Adams of Litchfield, Hillsdale County, Michigan.

Miles, Oscar, and Lucy Adams were the children of Angelina (Richardson) Adams, who died in October 1874.[1] 

Polly (Richardson) Pierce Magee raised George O Pierce, as he is found in her household in the 1865 New York State Census just two years after his birth.[2] That census gives his relationship to the head of the household, Nelson Pierce, husband of Polly, as "nephew." If he was a son of Polly, he would not be listed as a grandchild in the probate of his grandfather since Polly was still living at the time.[3] However, the identity of his mother is still unproven.

George died 21 February 1898 in Canadice, Ontario County, New York.[4]. He died due to a logging accident on his brother Chester's property.[5]

I didn't know the name of George's wife, but I knew when she died: 1 March 1897. Her obituary gave her name as "Mrs. Geo. Richardson" and stated that she left a daughter and husband.[6]

Using the censuses from 1900-1910, that daughter was identified as Nora (Pierce) Wright, born October 1886, probably in Springwater or Canadice, wife of Frank Wright.[7]

Using the microfiche New York State Vital Records Index (via awesome lookup by a librarian at the Onondaga Public Library), there are two entries:

  • Marriages: George O. PIERCE, m. 9 May, 1885, Venice, #5177
  • Deaths: Hattie Pierce, d. 1 March, 1897, Canadice, #9088

The marriage record, alas, did not pertain to my George O Pierce. Since I didn't have the bride's name, and I was using a lookup instead of looking at the microfiche myself since I'm not going to get to New York anytime soon, that is not surprising.

The death record for Hattie Pierce was more helpful. First, the index had given me her first name! The death record included her age at death, place of death, cause of death, place of burial, and the names of both of her parents.[8]

Death Record of Hattie Pierce
Hattie's parents were Seneca Swan and Mary [--?--] Swan. She died of pleurisy.

In quick searching today, Seneca Swan died in the 1880s. Mary was Mary Eliza (Nutt) Swan Watkins, widow of Seneca Swan and Loren Watkins.[9]

So now we know that the mother of Nora (Pierce) Wright and wife of George O Pierce was Hattie (Swan) Pierce. She was the daughter of Seneca Swan and Mary Elizabeth (Nutt) Swan Watkins.

[1] Moses Conant Warren, A Genealogy of One Branch of the Morey Family, 1631-1890, Emily Wilder Leavitt, ed., privately printed (1890), pages 8 and 11.

[2] 1865 New York state census, household of Nelson Pierce, 10 June 1865, Springwater - Second Election District, Livingston Co, New York, page 9, lines 32-35, dwelling no. 60, family no.58, digital image, “New York State Census, 1865,” FamilySearch, : accessed 9 December 2010.

[3] Polly died between 1910 and 1920, when her husband is enumerated as a widower in her brother George Richardson's household. 1920 US census, household of George Richardson, 3 January 1920, Springwater, Livingston Co, New York, ED 65, page 2A (114), lines 14-21, dwelling no. 36, family no. 36, digital image,, : accessed 9 December 2010, citing NARA microfilm publication T625, roll 1118.

[4] Death record, Canadice, Ontario Co, New York, "George O PIerce," 21 February 1898, volume not identified; copy of relevant entry from Town of Canadice, Ontario Co, New York.

[5] “"Rich" to Riz" Obituaries,” Ontario County NY Genealogy, 29 September 2011,, accessed 29 October 2011.

[6] “"Rich" to Riz" Obituaries,” Ontario County NY Genealogy, 29 September 2011,, accessed 29 October 2011.

[7] 1900 US census, household of William MaGee [sic], 27 June 1900, Springwater, Livingston Co, New York, ED 42, page 9B, lines 65-68, dwelling no. 219, family no. 226, digital image,, : accessed 9 December 2010, citing NARA microfilm publication T623, roll 1071.

[8] Death record, Canadice, Ontario County, New York, "Hattie Pierce," 1 March 1897, volume not identified, number 105 (stamped); copy of relevant entry from Town of Canadice, 24 April 2017.

[9] Obituary of Mrs. Mary Eliza Watkins, The Cohocoton Valley Times Index, Wednesday, 28 November 1906, Volume XV, Number 28, page 3, column 2; digital image, Old Fulton New York Postcards,, accessed 24 April 2017.
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