The Story of One Pearl Family During the Time of the American Revolution

It was recently suggested to me that it would be interesting to know about our Pearl ancestors and their involvement in the American Revolution. I have been unable to discover any of our particular Pearl line who did serve in that war. (I would be very interested if any of our readers could provide information to the contrary.) Whether or not they fought in the Revolution, Pearl families were impacted by that war. I did find an interesting story illustrating this in Marian Arlene Pearl’s History which I will relate here. This story is about David Pearl who is the grandson of John the immigrant and the son of Timothy, both our direct ancestors.  He was a younger brother of James, our direct ancestor.

David Pearl was born 9 Feb. 1743 in Hampton to Timothy and Mary (Leach) Pearl.  He married on 20 March 1769 to Eunice Allen in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.  She was born in April 1751 in Manchester, MA.  She and her parents had moved to Kelley’s Cove, Nova Scotia in 1766.  David arrived in 1764 from Saybrook, CT and he settled at the mouth of Broad Brook on 458 acres.  Other families were arriving from Connecticut at this time.  Eight children were born to David and Eunice in Yarmouth.

In about 1780 David returned to Windham, CT to settle some affairs relating to the will of his father (Timothy) who had died in 1773.  Since the Revolution had ended only a few years before, the colonies were somewhat sensitive to the comings and goings of its citizens living on British soil.  David had to petition the Boston General Assembly to return to Yarmouth.  In this petition (quoted below) he asks the court to grant his petition because he is going to return with his family to New England. The following is copied from ‘The Family Tree of John Pearl’, by Norton Lee Bretz:

“To the Council at Boston and General Assembly May 31, 1780, the petition of David Pearl of Yarmouth, in the Province of Nova Scotia, Humbly Sheweth,

“That your Petitioners late father Timothy Pearl of Windham, now deceased, by his last Will and testament left you Petitioner one hundred pounds of good and lawful money, hearing of which he left Nova Scotia to see about his affairs and arrived in Salem about 5 weeks ago:  from thence he went to Windham and settled with the executors of his said father’s late Will, of whom he received a small part and left the remainder in the hands of his executor, vizt, his brother Phillip Pearl.  And as your Petitioner intended to return from Nova Scotia with all his other effects and settle in New England as soon as he can settle his business there, which he supposes he will be able to do in the course of the ensuing summer, if he can obtain the leave of this Honorable Court

“Your Petitioner humbly prays you Honor would be pleased to grant him a permit to go to Yarmouth aforesaid and settle his private affairs there and that he may be allowed to carry with him one cask of rum, one cask of molasses, one cask of sugar, and sixteen of eighteen bushels of corn which he has lately purchased in Boston, and your Petitioner will engage to bring up 180 lbs of good Beaver which shall be devoted to the board of War; this your Petitioner is informed that the Officers of this State’s Line in Camp are in great want of hats, he flatters himself, this Honorable Court will indulge him the articles requested as that he may be enabled to get the furs which he assures you Honor is already engaged by him, and that the necessities petitioned for will about discharge the residue of the Debt which he has contracted for the Beaver and bear his other family expenses.  Your Petitioner being ready to give bond that the Board of War shall have the quality of fur (which by sundry Persons intimations they are very desirious of procuring) and any other articles of his property they may want.

“Your Petitioner would beg leave to further inform this Honorable Court, that his family consists of six persons and that the stores requested after paying his arreages for the fur will be but very little more than sufficient to supply them up  and himself down.

“And as in duty Bound shall Pray

David Pearl”

The following is quoted from Marian A. Pearl’s History of the Pearls:

“Boston June 1, 1780

“State of Massachusetts By, In the House of Representatives, June 7, 1780 ‘On the Petition of David Pearl, praying that he may have liberty to go to Yarmouth in Nova Scotia and carry certain effects with him, and return with his family into this State.

“Resolved, that the prayer and Petition be so granted that the said David Pearl have liberty to go to Yarmouth aforesaid, and to carry with him provisions necessary for his passage there and bring off his family and effects to this State.  And all armed vessels of this State are required and the armed vessels of the U.S. of American (sic) are requested not to molest said David Pearl in going to and returning from Yarmouth with aforesaid with his family and effects’

“Sent up for Concurrence in Council June 7, 1780.

Nath. Gorham, Spkr. Pro Tem.

“David Pearl of Yarmouth in Nova Scotia shewing to the Assembly that he is a native of the town of Windham in this State about 15 years removed where he resided without becoming subject to his Majesty Government and desired to return with his family and effects consisting of salt, codfish and bail goods, etc.

“Resolved by Assembly he be given permission to return from Nova Scotia to this State with his family and effects aforesaid residence in the State.”

According to Norton lee Bretz:  “David’s request was granted in the State of Massachusetts House of Representatives June 1, 1780.  However, he was apparently in no hurry about returning to New England because he was listed in Yarmouth in 1785 and 1791.  There is no record of his returning to New England, nor is there a record of the War Board receiving the promised beaver.  This is probably the same David who shows up in 1796 in New York City as a shipwright at First St. Bowery in 1797-1800 at Division St. and in 1803 at Cherry St. where he remains until 1812 running a boarding house.  David died Jan 10, 1818 in NYC”.

……..D. Vander Meulen,  Family Historian

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