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.
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.
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.
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!