We recently heard from a distant cousin, Robert Brand, who found our Pearl Website and has communicated with us by email. He is descended from Ebenezer Pearl, born ca. 1778. Ebenezer was the son of James Pearl (1739-1831). One of James Pearl’s other sons, and brother to Ebenezer, was Jerome Pearl born in 1775.  Jerome is our family’s direct ancestor.

The migration patterns of various lines of the Pearl family are fascinating., Some moved to Nova Scotia, at least one moved back to England, many moved west to New York State, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois and eventually on to the west coast before the 20th century dawned. Ebenezer Pearl migrated from Connecticut to New York State.

Below is a brief history and interesting story from Robert Brand’s family, which he shared with us.

“After moving from Connecticut to New York, Ebenezer Pearl married Lucy Cole, born 1786 in Sterling, CT.  She had come with her parents to NY when she was about 6 years old. Ebenezer married her in Fairfield, NY. They had 8 children, one of whom was Ebenezer A. Pearl born 1811 in NY. Ebenezer A. served in the Civil War and was pensioned out early in the war with $8.00 per month, Invalid Pension. In the 1860 and 1870 censuses he is listed as a peddler. He created and sold ‘Ebenezer A. Pearl’s Tincture of Life’*. He married Harriet M. ?? and had 8 children, one of whom was Aurilla Pearl, born 1852 in NY. Aurilla married William Brand, but unfortunately he died young after falling off a ladder, breaking his neck. He was only 29 years of age. He left Aurilla with 4 children (one of whom was Robert Brand’s grandfather) and an insurance policy. The insurance money attracted a scoundrel named Charles Wesley Delrymple who married Aurilla on Jan. 1, 1891. Unfortunately he already had three wives. Aurilla’s sisters filed charges against him to protect the children whom they said were being abused by him. Delrymple was arrested, tried and sent packing. Aurilla then married an English farmer named George Happs and found peace.”
…….Robert Brand, Sept. 2010.

*According to an article found on the web, from the ANTIQUE BOTTLE AND GLASS COLLECTOR MAGAZINE, Antique Medicine Bottles Dr. Cannon’s Medicine Chest: “Ebenezer A. Pearl’s Tincture of Life came in an aqua, rectangular, 7 3/4 inch tall bottle. The product was advertised for coughs, colds, sore throats, etc. in the Boonville Herald, NY Feb 16, 1888.” A fair number of these bottles have been found for sale on the web over the years.

Pearl Settlement in the West

I am fortunate to have recently been loaned the Pearl genealogy/history written by Marian Arlene Pearl. It has been generously shared with me by Marion Emmons who is now in possession of this history of our family. In the process of copying this record I have come across many interesting tales, learned more about the history of our family from the time of John the immigrant,and I have been blessed with more insight into the lives and times of our ancestors. One of the insights I have come to appreciate is the story of the journey of Laura Shellenbarger’s family from Connecticut to the wilds of Ohio. This courageous act typifies the determination and toughness of those who choose to undertake such a dangerous journey.

Laura contacted me after discovering our blog. Her family is descended from Capt. Timothy Pearl, a son of Timothy from whom our Hampton Pearls are descended, and a half brother of James Pearl, our direct ancestor.

Linda Shellenbarger’s great-great-great grandpa, Oliver Pearl, born in Willington, CT in 1788, left Connecticut to pursue opportunities in the west. He had married Mary Sexton in 1811. Oliver was a farmer and he and Mary lived in Ellington, CT  for 8 years after their marriage before “trading his farm for 100 acres of heavily timbered land in what is now Berlin Township, Erie County, Ohio. He also acquired 40 acres at the mouth of the Cuyahoga River, now a part of Cleveland. With true pioneer courage, this family now consisting of a wife and 4 small children, piled their household furniture and farm equipment into wagons, leaving Connecticut in 1819 for weeks of hazardous traveling. When they reached the pioneer farm at Cuyahoga River, malarial conditions forced them to continue on to their tract of land in Berlin. This was through a wilderness so dense that Mr. Pearl had to cut a road through to enable the teams to haul the wagons. According to history they passed through a Huron Indian village, now the site of the city of Milan, some 8 miles from his homestead. Fortunately, the Indians were friendly at that time to white settlers. Mr. Pearl first erected a cabin of round logs, later replacing it with a more spacious home of hewn logs. This couple was known for their kindness and good works. They helped to organize a Methodist church and were regular in attendance. Ten children were born to this union.”

Some of the information that Marian Arlene Pearl found was in Hewson L. Peeke’s “A Standard History of Erie Co. in 2 vols published in 1916., and The Firelands Historical Soc. Norwalk, Ohio Vol. 111 pg 26 Fireland Pioneers. and Huron Co. D.A.R. records Vol. 2 1812-1939 and Pearl/ History from E. Eldridge, Pearl family Bible.

The Fire Lands resource interested me. In looking up what this referred to, I found the following.  The Firelands tract was located at the western end of the Connecticut Western Reserve in what is now the state of Ohio. This land was set aside for people who lived in those Connecticut towns who had lost their homes when the British had burned them during the Revolutionary War. The towns affected were Danbury, Fairfield, Greenwich, Groton, New London, New Haven, Norwalk and Ridgefield. Eventually about 30 towns were established in the Firelands on the southern shore area of Lake Erie. But, apparently not too many people from the above Connecticut towns took advantage of this opportunity, probably because of Indian hostilities around the War of 1812 and the thickly forested land, that was hard to clear for farming.  A number of members of Oliver Pearl’s family did move from northeastern Connecticut to this area of Ohio.

Dorothy Vander Meulen, Pearl Family Historian