78th Annual Pearl Reunion, This July!

You are invited to the 78th annual
PEARL REUNION
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!

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

The Honorable Philip Pearl, Jr. (Part 1 of 3)

This website focuses on the descendants of Austin Eugene Pearl, but there were many other Pearls in Hampton, all descendants of Timothy Pearl (1694-1773, who settled in Hampton in about 1717). These other branches, like our own, lived in Hampton and surrounding communities for many generations.  Although some of Philip Pearl Jr’s own children (including Patrick Henry Pearl) lived in Hampton up until the early 20th century, he is but a distant cousin to our line, as seen in the chart below…

Timothy Pearl (b. 1694, d. 1773)

….Timothy’s 7th child was James Pearl (b. 1739, d. 1831)

……..James 7th Child was Jerome Pearl (b. 1775, d.1825)

…………Jerome’s 6th child was John Porter Pearl (b. 1813, d. 1881)

…………….John’s 3rd child was Austin Eugene Pearl (b. 1851, d. 1927, this is our ancestral line)

….Timothy’s 12th child was Philip Pearl, Sr. (b. 1747, d. 1835)

……..Philip Sr’s 2nd Child was (the Honorable) Philip Pearl, Jr.  (b. 1783, d. 1850, the subject of this posting)

The Honorable Philip Pearl, Jr. was born 19 Aug. 1783 to Philip and Olive Wheeler Farnam Pearl in Hampton, CT and became a member of Hampton Congregational Church in 1804.  He was a wealthy farmer and landowner who lived in Hampton all his life.

Like many of his cousins and descendants, Philip was a prominent man in the public affairs of Windham County and the State of Connecticut.  He represented Hampton as a Senator in the State General Assemblies; and was named Captain of Hampton’s Company of Grenadiers (formed soon after the Revolution by the town’s many Veterans and sustained by the residents “with much enthusiasm” for many decades afterward).  He was also a Deputy Sheriff and a Justice of the Peace.

In the Presidential election in the fall of 1840; Philip Jr., a Whig, was one of eight presidential electors to cast the vote of the State for Wm. Henry Harrison for President, and John Tyler for Vice President.

prudencecrandall
The Prudence Crandall Museum, Canterbury CT

During his tenure as a State Senator, his daughter, Hannah Pearl (b. 1815) was a student at the “Prudence Crandall Female Academy” in nearby Canterbury, CT  for the 1832-3 school year.  The school was established in 1831 with the support of the town to teach young ladies from wealthy families in advanced subjects.  The original school building is now a National Historic Landmark and museum roughly 10 miles South and East of Hampton Center.

Philip was killed 17 May 1850 at age 66 when a building that was being torn down fell on him.   He is buried in Hammond Cemetery (North Cemetery), Hampton.  He left most of his estate to his 7th child, Patrick Henry Pearl (1819-1900) on his death.

In the next article we’ll talk more about the Prudence Crandall Female Academy, the immense controversy that surrounded it, and Philip Pearl’s leading role in it.  We’ll end the series with an article about how this controversy led to his deep involvement with major personalities and formative events in the evolution of the Abolitionist Movement of the mid 1800’s.

We are still looking for additional information on Philip Pearl, Jr., such as: details of his history as a public servant; exactly where he resided in Hampton; more information on the lives of some of his children, especially Hannah Pearl (b. April 7, 1815); and photos or images of him and his family.  If you wish to help us research these questions, are a descendant of Philip Pearl, Jr., or already have some of this information, please let us know!

– Allen Vander Meulen III

Pearl-Brown Room at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts

We toured the Boston Museum of Fine Art’s new “Museum of the Americas” wing shortly after it opened this past fall.  While there, we made a point of visiting the “Brown Pearl Hall”, which is a gallery in the lower level of the new wing. Below is a photo of part of the gallery, which is furnished with examples of colonial craftsmanship from the late 1600’s and early 1700’s.

For more information on this room’s history and connection with the family, go to this earlier posting: The Brown-Pearl Hall on Display at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.

Partial View of the "Pearl Brown Hall" at the Boston MFA

2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads This blog is doing awesome!.

Crunchy numbers

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A helper monkey made this abstract painting, inspired by your stats.

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,600 times in 2010. That’s about 4 full 747s.

 

In 2010, there were 4 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 22 posts. There were 2 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 5mb.

The busiest day of the year was January 7th with 73 views. The most popular post that day was Ideas for Increasing Family Participation.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were en.search.wordpress.com, en.wordpress.com, mail.yahoo.com, delicious.com, and webmail.frontier.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for pearlfamilyreunion, 1938 hurricane, toni pullman mfa, jean marsh, and mfa boston pearl house.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Ideas for Increasing Family Participation July 2009
6 comments

2

The Brown-Pearl Hall at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston October 2009
1 comment

3

Welcome to the Pearls of Hampton (Connecticut) Site May 2009

4

THE RESTLESS PEARLS September 2010
3 comments

5

Pearl Settlement in the West February 2010

The Brown-Pearl Hall on Display at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts

In 1925 the Brown-Pearl House was acquired by the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and dismantled.  The living area was reconstructed as an exhibit hall – an example of colonial architecture and early domestic life.  It was taken down and stored 10 or 11 years ago when the museum began construction of the new Art of the Americas Wing.

On Nov. 20th, 2010, the new wing was opened to the public and the Brown–Pearl Hall is again on display as a gallery in the lowest level of the new wing.

A little bit of history as excerpted from Norton Lee Bretz’ “Family Tree of John Pearl” (with additional comments in italics):

“John’s son Richard (the youngest of John Pearl’s sons) purchased the house, barn, and land from Cornelius Brown in 1737.  (Our ancestor, Timothy Pearl, had left Boxford and moved to what is now Hampton, CT roughly 30 years earlier.)  Mention was made in the deed of 175 acres of this land previously purchased by Richard.  Mr. Brown was allowed to live in the house until May 20 of that year.  It was on a narrow winding road near West Boxford.  Near the time of its purchase, Richard built a grist mill in the rear of the house, the first in the parish.  Major additions were put on the house in 1725 and in 1843 when an abandoned parish church was patched onto the building.  In 1925, the house was bought by the MFA.  It had been abandoned as a dwelling for some years and was rapidly deteriorating.  The structure was made of massive hewn, red oak beams, 12 by 14 inches, hand-fit at the supports.  The fireplace was over seven feet wide with a lintel made of oak.  The architecture was typical of the seventeenth century and one of the best remaining examples of colonial craftsmanship.  The living room, which the family knew as the foreroom, is what is now on display at the museum.  The original room was 19×19 feet and has an 8 foot ceiling.”

We also have this information from the “History of the Pearl Family” by Marian Arlene Pearl:

“John and his wife Elizabeth Pearl undoubtedly spent the remainder of their life on the Pearl Homestead at Boxford as the youngest son, Richard, was said to have been brought there in a bread trough when an infant.  This house stood on a 200 (acre) tract of land laid out originally to John Sandys in 1667.  The acreage passed into the hands of Joseph Dowding a Boston merchant who sold it Sept. 10, 1703 to Cornelius Brown of Reading for seventy pounds.  Mr. Brown built the house of solid hewn oak timber and it stood true and plumb throughout the years.  Alice Heath Fairbank Dow in her Pearl history of Richard’s line states that ‘one of the timbers measures 18 inches and between the inside and outside finish are bricks, larger than modern bricks, solidly laid in mortar and there are two or three wooden latches with the latch string in the house and the one on the south door is very large’  There were no highways when this home was erected and it faced south fronting a field.,  The road when eventually constructed was laid out at the rear of the house.  The Browns lived there many years, the wife Susannah died in 1734 at age 74.  The Pearl family occupied one side of it, and during this period it was known as the Brown-Pearl house.”

The house was built around 1704 and in this room the home’s occupants cooked, ate and slept, illustrating New England domestic life in the first years of the 1700’s.  Furnishings in the room as now displayed in the Museum are from other early homes and illustrate the multipurpose nature of a 17th and early 18th century hall.

– Dorothy Vander Meulen, Pearl Family Historian (with additional material and comments by Allen Vander Meulen III)