The Honorable Philip Pearl, Jr. (Part 2 of 3)

This is the second installment of a three part series about the life of Philip Pearl Jr., his daughter Hannah, and their involvement in the early years of the Abolition Movement.  The first installment can be found at this link.

The crisis began in January of 1833, but its roots go back many years before that.

Prudence Crandall (1803-1890),x Portrait painted in 1834 by Francis Alexander

A year and a half earlier, the families of Canterbury, Connecticut invited a teacher, Prudence Crandall, to establish a “Boarding School for Girls” in The town.  One reason for such a school was very obvious to many at the time.

The Erie Canal had opened in 1825, providing the first portage-free route from Albany New York to the Great Lakes.  The Ohio and Erie Canal soon followed, traversing Ohio from the Ohio River north to Lake Erie, entering the lake not far from the Erie Canal’s terminus in Erie, PA. Many of the young men and families in New England, faced with a shortage of sufficient land, and with soil exhausted from a century or more of farming, were taking advantage of the new canals to move west to Ohio and beyond.  During these decades, large population drops are recorded throughout the region.

Continue reading “The Honorable Philip Pearl, Jr. (Part 2 of 3)”

80th Pearl Reunion: Sunday, July 28 2019




Eastford, Connecticut

Sunday, July 28, 2019

12:30 pm – 5:00 pm

Janet Atwood has gracefully offered to host our 80thAnnual Pearl Reunion at her home in Eastford, CT.

Bring a pot luck dish to share along with any serving utensils.  Please also bring your own plates, utensils and napkins.  Hot dogs and punch will be provided.   Bring your favorite outdoor chair.  The lake is a fun place for children and adults to play and swim so don’t forget your bathing suits, and toys/games for the children to play with.

The reunion will begin with a potluck luncheon followed by a brief business meeting.  In addition there will be plenty of time to relax, swim and visit.   There will be an opportunity to share your family news and we will be taking a family photo.

If you have any questions you may contact Janet at home.  Please let Neal Moon know know how many are coming so we can plan on the amount of meat to have available.

Bring any updates of family history so we can pass these on to our family historian, Deb Macha.  Better yet, send them to her in advance.  Deb’s mailing address is:  PO Box 192, North Windham, CT 06256-0192.

Alma Graham is trying to capture as many email addresses so that future invitation may be emailed instead of sending paper notifications.

Be sure to check out the Pearl website at and our Facebook page: “The Pearls of Hampton” (

If you have any questions or don’t know who to contact, email-oriented contact pages are available at both sites.

See you on July 28th!

The Pearl’s Mayflower Connection

Our family can claim a Mayflower connection through James Chilton.  Much of the following information was provided to us by Marion Emmons.  Her information comes from Volume Two of the Mayflower Families Through Five Generations, published 1978.  Additional information was found in Volume 15 of the Mayflower Families Through Five Generations:  James Chilton – Richard More, published 1997.

JAMES CHILTON was the oldest passenger on the Mayflower. He was born about 1556 in Canterbury, Kent County, England.  He was a tailor by trade and was listed as a freeman of Canterbury in 1583.  Sometime before 1587 he was married, possibly to Susanna Furner, daughter of his step-mother and her first husband, Francis Furner.  James and his wife had 10 children.  Baptismal records list seven of those children as being baptized in Canterbury, England.  About 1600 the family moved to Sandwich, England where the last three of his children were baptized.  It was in Sandwich where he met other Pilgrims who later went to Holland, and he was drawn into the Separatist movement.

Our descent from James Chilton has been proved through only his eldest child, Isabella.  Governor Bradford wrote that among those on the MAYFLOWER, were James Chilton and his wife, and Mary his daughter.  (They had another daughter that was married who came to Plymouth afterward.  It is this ‘other’ daughter, Isabella, from whom the Pearls descend.)  In 1650 Gov. Bradford wrote “James Chilton and his wife also died in the first infection, but their daughter Mary is still living and hath nine children; and one daughter is married and hath a child.  So their increase is ten.”  James died on 18 December 1620, scarcely a month after signing the Mayflower Compact. He was the only signer who died at Cape Cod, while the MAYFLOWER was docked in Provincetown Harbor.  His wife died soon after, sometime after 21 January 1620/1.

Continue reading “The Pearl’s Mayflower Connection”

The 79th Annual Pearl Family Reunion

79th Annual


Hampton, Connecticut

12:30 pm – 5:00 pm

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Neal and Mary Ann Moon will host this year’s annual Pearl reunion at their home in Hampton.

The reunion will begin at 12:30 PM with a pot luck luncheon and will last until about 5:00 PM.  A brief business meeting will be held after lunch.  Neal and Mary Ann will be supplying all of the paper products, plastic ware, and beverages.

Bring your favorite outdoor chair and a pot luck dish to share.  There is plenty of space outside so bring along any games or activities you wish to play.

There will be an opportunity to share family news and take a family photo.

The reunion will be held rain or shine.

Bring any updates of family history so we can pass these on to our family historian, Deborah Macha.

Alma Graham is trying to capture as many email addresses so that future invitations may be emailed instead of sending paper notifications.

Feel free to pass this on to other family members that we may not have addresses for.

For more information; or to send us updates on contact information, family news, family history, etc.; please contact us at

…And please be sure to check out our Facebook page!

See you on July 29th!

A Letter from Camp Devens, 1918

Earl Overbaugh (in uniform) and his mother, Janet Overbaugh: Waterbury, CT; 1919.

The following is a letter that my grandfather, Earl Hunter Overbaugh (1895-1983, husband of Dorothy Pearl Overbaugh), sent to his mother, Janet Hunter Overbaugh, while he was a recruit at Camp Devens near Ayer, Massachusetts, shortly before his deployment to France.  I have edited the letter for spelling and punctuation and added annotations to give some background for the people, places, and dates he mentions.

The above image is of Earl (in uniform) with his mother possibly at their home in Waterbury, CT, in 1919.  It is one of the few images we have of him with a full head of hair!  

I believe Earl preserved most of the letters that he wrote to his mother during his time as a soldier.  I saw them tied together in a bundle in the basement of Earl and Dorothy Overbaugh’s “new” home on Old Parsonage Rd in Hampton, in the late 1970’s or early 1980’s.  Their location is currently unknown.  If found, I will endeavor to post some more of them here.

– Allen Vander Meulen III

Camp Devens

July 3, 1918[1]

Dear Mother[2]:

I received your letter today and was more than pleased to receive it.  I am praying and living in hope that I might be able to come home Sunday.  I seem to be rather unfortunate largely due to the fact that Waterbury is such a hard place to get in and out of.  We have had the opportunity to go, but even though the time was thirty some odd hours off it was at a time when I could not make connection to Waterbury.  Sunday that happened, it also happens for tomorrow that the same thing is true.  So you see that the fellows who live in Mass. And New Hampshire & Vermont have golden opportunities while I have none or few.  I will not let a good chance go by to see you folks however and I hope to be able to get a pass Sat. God willing.

Well Mother, I was out to the range today and had a very nice time.  The range is located on a high hill overlooking Still River Valley the view is superb and Miss Clara Sears[3] a rich Boston Society woman has a home on the road to the range which is magnificent.  The view is wonderfully beautiful.  Her estate covers a length of about 1-1/4 miles along the road running high up on the hillside.  For over ¾ of a mile she has a very old but splendid stone wall fence the top of which is formed of jagged rocks standing on end in cement.  The roadway is lined with a large number of wild flowers.  Was a state game and bird reserve here and you see almost all kinds of birds flying around.

One of the oddest things I have seen in all my travels is four blackberry trees each over 12” in dia. and about 20 ft. high.  I am not bluffing it is a fact, and they can easily be seen any day in the week.

Today we had sort of whirlwind around the barracks it picked up the dust and whirled it around in a column about 6 ft in dia. And 30 ft. high it came about 5:20p.m. and as we were still outside when it came near as we beat it until it wasted itself against the barracks.

On the way out to the range I was riding on the cannon and it fell away from the limber[4] twice and believe me I got some shaking up.  But it is all in the game and I had to go in to the work just the same.  Believe me we sweat some to when we are working at those guns.

I am pleased to hear that all the Hummels were home on Sunday.  It certainly must have been a pleasure to the Mother as well as the boys.  I would have liked to have seen them and been present at the Church[5] service.  I received Mable’s package.  It was a pleasant surprise to taste those chocolates.  Tell her I thank her very very much.  I am glad Helen[6] will (?????) of night duty soon.  I am surprised to hear that Bill Dallywater[7] has been injured.

Well Mother I will have to close now as the lights will soon go out.  With Love to all I remain just the same as ever.


[1] Camp Devens was soon to become “Ground Zero” in what was later known as The Great Influenza or the pandemic of 1918, which killed tens of millions of people around the world.  It first hit Devens in late August, just a few weeks after Earl wrote this letter.  By September 23rd over 10,000 of the nearly 50,000 recruits then at Devens were ill, and it had begun to spread into the surrounding communities.  Its spread was soon accelerated worldwide by the American soldiers deploying to Europe at a rate of 5,000 to 10,000 men per day.  Death rates at Devens exceeded 100 per day, many dying within a few hours of the onset of symptoms.

Also, the Battle of Balleau Wood (June 1-26, 1918) had just ended.  “…One of the bloodiest and most ferocious battles the U.S. would fight in the War…”  The victorious U.S. Forces suffered 1,811 deaths in the battle.

[2] Earl’s mother was Janet M. (Hunter) Overbaugh (1875-1962)

[3] Clara Endicott Sears (1863-1960) was the daughter of a wealthy Boston family.  She was an author and also wrote the lyrics for some popular WWI songs.  In 1910 she purchased a Farmhouse and land in Harvard MA that was once part of the Fruitlands Transcendentalist community (associated with the father of Louisa May Alcott).  In 1914 she opened the Fruitlands historic farmhouse to the public as a museum, as it still is.

[4] A “Limber” is a two wheeled cart designed to support one end of a military piece (such as a cannon) while in transit from one location to another.  It was generally connected to another cart or wagon, horse, or mule.

[5] Earl, and presumably his entire family, were members of what was then an American Baptist church on Piedmont St in Waterbury. It became a Congregational Church and eventually joined the United Church of Christ when that denomination was formed in the late 1950’s. It is the church my mother and her brother Bob Overbaugh grew up in, and is where my parents, Allen (Jr.) and Dorothy Vander Meulen, were married.  The church is now known as South Congregational Church, UCC.

[6] Helen Overbaugh Carder (1897-1970), Earl’s sister, buried in All Saints Cemetery, Waterbury CT.

[7] Possibly Joseph William Dalleywater (1897-1987), who is listed in “State of Connecticut Report of the Adjutant General (September 2018)” as a Private from the town of Waterbury in Company G of the 2nd Regiment of the Connecticut Infantry.  He died in Waterbury and is buried in the Prospect, CT Town Cemetery.

Letter Text and the image of Earl Hunter Overbaugh and his mother are Copyright (c) 2018 Dorothy Vander Meulen, all rights reserved

Remembering Eva Maria Pearl

Introduction (by Dorothy Overbaugh Vander Meulen)…

Eva Marie Pearl (1876-1901)
Eva Marie Pearl (1876-1901)

The following is a transcript of an old, typewritten letter sent to me by our cousins, James and Ann Estabrooks.  Jim has given permission for this to be published on Pearl sites and for this, I thank him for sharing this treasure, not only for myself, but also for our family.  

This letter dates from 1901 and was sent by Frank C. Lummis to Elmer C. Jewett.  It is a testimony of the appreciation and love, that those who knew her, had for Eva Maria Pearl who had died the 8th of July 1901, unmarried, at age 25.  Eva was a school teacher and had taught in one room school houses in Hampton and in Chaplin.  There is reference in the letter to her failing health.  My mother told me that Eva died of tuberculosis and, in the last days or weeks of her illness, had been nursed at home by her family, till her death.  She is buried in Hampton’s North Cemetery.

My Mom’s middle name is Eva, after her aunt.  Eva Pearl was the oldest child of seven.  Her parents were Austin Eugene Pearl and Mary Emma Weeks.  In chronological order, the children were:  Eva, Arthur, William (my grandfather), Reuben, Mary, Florence and Evelyn (Jim Estabrook’s Mom.)

The photographs of Eva Marie Peal and her school handbell were contributed by Carolyn Stone.  We do not have a group photograph of Eva and her family; but will happily share one here if  found, as well as other images and mementos of her.  As always we are eager to share family stories, images, and information through this site.  

Chaplin, Conn.,
Oct. 12, 1901

Mr. Elmer C. Jewett,
Clark’s Corner, Conn.

My Dear Sir:-

I gladly comply with your request and have sent you a copy of our town report for the past school year.  It came within the province of our acting school visitor to report concerning the death of Miss Eva M. Pearl, and to officially express the sense love felt by all who had an interest in the welfare of our public schools.  But the scope and limits of an official report do not permit of an adequate testimony to her character and worth, and although it may seem somewhat presumptuous for one who had known her but two short years, to express to her friends and associates from infancy, so imperfect an estimate of the qualities of mind and heart, which endeared her to those with whom she came in contact, in her line of duty as a teacher.  I would beg leave to add to the tribute which Mr. Frary has so fitly borne to her memory in the funeral address and in his official report, my personal view of one of the best and most successful teachers we have had for many years.

Continue reading “Remembering Eva Maria Pearl”

Austin Eugene Pearl’s State Legislator Bio

I recently came across this short biography of Austin, my great great grandfather, in “Taylor’s Legislative History and Souvenir of Connecticut, 1901-1902; Portraits and sketches of State Officials, Senators, Representatives, etc. (Volume 3)” By William Harrison Taylor, copyright 1901, as found on Google Books.

content-2Austin Eugene Pearl, of Hampton, is a native of the town he has the honor to represent in the General Assembly. He is the son of John P. and Maria (Jewett) Pearl and was born January 11, 1852. He received his education in the common schools of his town. He has always lived in Hampton, except three years, 1871 to 1874 in South Manchester. He is a successful carpenter and builder and is also engaged in farming. He is a staunch Democrat and has been honored many times by his townsmen. He has been a Selectman for thirteen years, Grand Juror, Justice of the Peace, School Visitor, Assessor, Constable, member of the Board of Relief, etc. He has held all these offices in a pleasing and efficient manner. He is a member of Little River Grange, has been Master two years and Overseer two years in the Grange and is a member of the United Order of Pilgrim Fathers.

On July 25, 1875 he married Mary E. daughter of Sylvanus Weeks. Seven children have blessed the union: Eva M., born June 30, 1876, died July 8, 1901; Arthur E., born May 28, 1878; William A., born May 15, 1880; Reuben E., born November 30, 1885; Mary A. born October 20, 1888, Flora B., born April 30, 1891; Evelyn M., born April 13, 1899.

Austin is just one of the many Pearls from Hampton who have served in the Connecticut State Legislature and other Statewide and local offices.  His Father in Law was Sylvanus Weeks, of whom we have a portrait that can be seen in this earlier posting

78th Annual Pearl Reunion, This July!

You are invited to the 78th annual
to be held at the home of Russell and Sue Gray

12:30 pm – 5:00 pm on Sunday, July 30, 2017

Russell and Sue Gray will be hosting our 78th Annual Pearl reunion at their home and farm overlooking the rolling hills of Sterling, Connecticut. They will be supplying all of the paper products, plastic ware, beverages, hotdogs and rolls. Bring your favorite outdoor chair and a pot luck dish to share.

There is plenty of space outside so bring along any games or activities you wish to play. The Grays have offered two sets of “Cornhole”, Volleyball and a Slip & slide (kids might need a change of clothes). They also have several pedal tractors for the little ones, croquet, soccer balls, etc.

The reunion will begin at 12:30 PM and will last until about 5:00 PM. In addition to plenty of time to relax and visit, there will be a potluck lunch and a brief business meeting. After the business meeting there will be an opportunity to share family news and take a family photo.

The reunion will be held rain or shine.

This year we are asking anyone who would like to, to bring along any photos that are special to them of past reunions to share.

You can contact us through this website’s Contact Page for…

  • Questions, or directions
  • Updates of family history (or contact our family historian, Deb Macha at the reunion)
  • To supply us with your new or changed email address (saving on mailing costs for future reunion invitations

Feel free to pass this on to other family members that we may not have addresses for.

Be sure to check out our Facebook page, The Pearls of Hampton.

We thank the Gray family for their generous offer to host our family gathering this year!

See you on July 30th!

The William Pearl House in Hampton

Sitting at the curve of old Route 6 where it meets Main Street in Hampton, Conn. is a unique house that has stood as witness to Hampton events and history for some 80 years.  It is an amazing house which reigns large in my memories from childhood.

William Austin Pearl, 1880-1971
William Austin Pearl, 1880-1971

My mother, Dorothy Pearl Overbaugh grew up in Hampton with her 2 sisters and brother in a farmhouse at the foot of Hammond Hill.  My Grandpa William A. and Grandma Mabel Pearl farmed there for many years.  After her death in 1929 and their daughters marrying and moving away, Grandpa, who avidly read the National Geographic magazines he subscribed to, took a train trip to fulfill a dream of traveling to some of those marvelous places he’d read about.  On that train trip, he met a widow, Elizabeth McDuffee Fero.  They fell in love and soon married.  In the early 1930’s, Will and Elizabeth sold the farm to Will’s son, Bill, and moved to the top of Hampton Hill into a newly built home on Main Street and Route 6.

I grew up in Waterbury, Conn.  Our family made summer pilgrimages to Hampton to escape the city and revel in the clean air and loveliness of the old village of Hampton.  For Mom it was a coming home.  For me, as a child, Hampton was a new world of freedom, family and fun.  We often stayed with Grandpa and Grandma Elizabeth in that big house on Hampton hill.  Entering the house from the big front porch one was immediately aware of the sweet, fresh smell of wood.  Even today, most of the beautiful wood trim in the house is unpainted and the wood smell is still detectable.  The rooms were large and filled with light, the large, open kitchen where Grandma made the most delectable pancakes, fried chicken, baked beans and pies, always smelled inviting.  I am sure that she was a star at church pot luck suppers!

William Austin and Elizabeth (McDuffee Fero) Pearl
William Austin and Elizabeth (McDuffee Fero) Pearl

Immediately upon entering my grandparents home, I would first stop to enjoy a winter scene of miniature people skiing and iceskating in the little landscape of a snow covered hill and pond.  It sat in a glassed-in book cabinet directly opposite the front door.  I would then make my way into the kitchen where there was an old secretary desk with space underneath covered by a little curtain that held an old wooden box of blocks and toys.  That toy box was brought up to one of the front bedrooms on the 2nd floor for me and set on the wood floor at the foot of a bed where I was free to create imaginary cities, towns, castles, etc. to my heart’s content.

The Pearl House, Front View
The Pearl House, Front View

To me as a child, this house was a marvel, and it evoked wonder, pleasure and memories that I have never experienced from any other place.  It struck me, when I had a wonderful opportunity in recent years to revisit this special place, that as an adult it still seemed very large and still held a kind of magic for me.

The Pearl House of Hampton, Rear View
The Pearl House of Hampton, Rear View

As a child visiting there, I had the run of the house.  Large, easy to climb stairs linked the different floors of the home. I explored everywhere and developed definite feelings for certain special spots.   One was the sun room on the 2nd floor where Grandma had a day bed, wicker chairs and many flowering plants.  It was open and bright and had gorgeous views of the valley and her perennial garden below.  The attic was floored and held all sorts of treasures  stored there.  At each end of the attic were large windows which at the front overlooked the street and at the back overlooked the back yard and the valley.  The large basement also had windows and was well lit.  Grandpa had his workshop there and Grandma had shelves filled with her preserves and canned goods.

This house is an inviting and well designed treasure, very well constructed, and handily withstood the Hurricane of 1938 despite major wind damage to neighboring homes and structures.  When we retired back to New England, had it been offered for sale, we would likely have purchased it. To me, this place in the heart of the beautiful village of  Hampton, has a warm and embracing aura.

Haying In Hampton, A Family Affair

My cousin, Jim, has provided me with a wealth of stories of his growing up years in Hampton.  These stories have appeared in the Family Newsletter and in this blog.  Here is another one.

“Sometimes I would help my cousin, Arthur (Pearl), with his farm work, free – just as a friend.  One time I was riding on the old single side sickle bar mowing machine while he pulled it with his old tractor made from an old car.  For a bush stalk too big to cut, pulling the lever would raise the bar to pass over the stalk.  I failed to see a thick one.  It jammed the blades.  Without the blades moving, the force goes somewhere else which, in that case, made the seat flip forward like a catapult.  I was sent flying forward, through the air, landing on Arthur’s back.  Once we learned that each other was OK, we had a good laugh.”

Arthur’s daughter, Alma, wrote to me well over a year ago, and added memories of her own about her Dad’s tractor.

“I do remember that tractor which my dad drove.  It was a cut down car that was converted into a tractor.  I thought that I had a photo of it, but I could not find it.  I remember my dad driving the tractor and my mom on the back apparatus either cutting or raking the hay.  I believe that my mom also drove the tractor so my dad could do the cutting in the back.  I also remember when we got a machine that would rake up the hay and place it in the wagon so we did not have to pitchfork it in.  As a kid we got to ride on the top of the wagon full of hay as he brought it over to the barn.  Actually all of the neighborhood kids would show up when my dad was haying and we all would ride on top of the wagon.  He had this big claw that would be lowered from the barn and it would pick up the whole wagon full of hay to put it into the barn.”

Some of my memories:

I spent many an idyllic vacation in Hampton and was very close to my cousin, Joyce Pearl.  She lived on the farm near the foot of Hammond Hill Rd.  She and I had the barn, the pastures, in fact the whole of the valley below as our playground.  Growing up on a farm, Joyce had responsibilities that I, as a city child, only had a vague idea about.  One summer day when I was visiting in Hampton, I gained a new perspective of what was expected of a farmer’s child.  I arrived at the farm as Joyce was helping her Dad, so I stood by watching her, waiting till she could be free to play.  To my amazement and with total admiration, I watched her clamber up onto the big tractor and she drove it!!!!  I am guessing we were around 10 years old.  The hay wagon, piled high with hay, was parked next to the barn, directly under the hayloft opening on the top floor of that old structure.  Joyce’s job was to get the hay up to that opening.  A rope tied to the front of the tractor was strung up and over a pulley above the opening.  The other end hung down to the ground with a large claw  or tongs at the end.  This claw bit into the mound of hay; Joyce carefully reversed the gears and backed the tractor up and the mound of hay slowly rose to the top of the barn directly in front of the opening where their handyman, Bert, swung it into the loft.  Watching her working that big, old tractor, was an eye-opener for me in many ways,  and certainly gave me an appreciation that life on the farm was not all play!

….Dot Vander Meulen