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.

The Prudence Crandall Museum in 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

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)

The Jewetts and the Pearls

Ever since Hampton was a fledgling community, forming out of the wilderness of northeastern Connecticut, the Pearl and Jewett families have figured prominently. For years families with those last names participated in the life of the community in many capacities, their talents and hard work contributing to the well being and quality of life in the town. No longer are the Pearl and Jewett names prominent here. Families have moved away, children have married and taken on new surnames, old people have died so that gradually the names have disappeared from the consciousness of many now living in Hampton. I suggest that those who are interested take a stroll through the North and South cemetaries. There you will find many stones marking the spot where many with these names slumber beneath the sod.

There are many descendants of these families still living in this area, though their names are no longer Pearl or Jewett. Pride of family is evidenced each year as the Pearl family continues to celebrate its history and its uniqueness by coming together for their annual reunion.

The Jewett and the Pearl families joined together with the marriage of John Porter Pearl to Maria Jennings Jewett in 1847 in Hampton. John Porter Pearl was the great great grandson of John Pearl the immigrant. One of John Porter and Maria Pearl’s 8 children was my great grandfather, Austin Eugene Pearl, born in 1851. Austin and his wife, Mary Weeks Pearl owned a farm across from and a little south of where the Hampton Elementary School is now situated on present day Rte. 97. Their house still sits beside the road.

The first “Hampton” Pearl was Timothy Pearl, born in 1695 in Boxford, MA. He was the son of John Pearl the immigrant. Timothy was a tanner by trade. Sometime around the year 1716, as a bachelor, he moved to Connecticut and bought 100 acres from Ebenezer Jennings on what was then known as Appaquage Hill. That piece of land was near what is now Lewis Rd. in Hampton. His first wife, Elizabeth Stevens from Massachusetts died after giving him 6 children. His second wife, Mary Leach, also from Mass. gave him 9 more. Amazing for the time, all 15 children lived to adulthood.

Austin Pearl was not only a farmer, but also a carpenter, a home builder and a postmaster in Hampton. The Hampton Post Office during Austin Pearl’s tenure as postmaster (1913 – 1921) was located on the east side of Main St., just north of the intersection of Hammond Hill Rd. After he retired, the Post Office moved to the center of town into an addition built onto the Hampton Hill Store. The Pearls found the U.S. Post Office a good source of employment it seems. Besides Austin, his daughter, Evelyn (Pearl) Estabrooks, was the Hampton Postmaster from 1936 to 1964. His sons, Reuben and William Pearl, were mail carriers on Hampton’s rural routes; William serving for 40 years and Reuben for 45. Other family members who worked at the Hampton Post Office, in various capacities and at various times were: Eleanor (Pearl) Moon, Mary (Pearl) Stone, Mary (Pearl) Emmons, Gertrude Pearl, Stella Pearl, Helen Pearl, Will Jewett and Vincent Scarpino. These names will be familiar to many long time Hampton residents.

Austin was a staunch Democrat who served as state representative from 1901 -1902, serving under then Governor, George P. McLean. He was chairman of the Hampton Democratic Party for years and was also a town selectman for 13 years. The fact that my great granddad was a Democrat fascinated me because most of his descendants in my parent’s generation of whom I was aware were avid Republicans. I enjoyed teasing my mother about her ‘Democratic’ roots. She took refuge in denial.

Austin and his son, Arthur E. Pearl, built many structures still standing in Hampton. One was the Grange Hall. One of the ones that Arthur built was the home that my parents, Earl and Dorothy (Pearl) Overbaugh bought on Parsonage Rd. when they retired and moved to town in 1963. That house is a low, one story structure. It was originally built for the Peabodys as a summer home. The land on which it stands was called Petticoat Pastures. I was told that it was modeled after the Little White House of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in Warm Springs, GA. Don’t look for a similarity today, though. The house has much changed over the years. If anybody can tell me of other structures that Austin and Arthur built in Hampton and environs, I would be most grateful.

Chester Jewett, Mrs. Allen Jewett, M. Louise Jewett were among the first officers of Hampton’s Little River Grange #36 when it was organized in 1885. Mrs. Chester (Mary) Jewett was an original charter member and was a member for over 77 years. William W. Pearl was not only Past Master of the Little River Grange and of the Quinebaug Pomona Grange, but also Past Master of the Conn. State Grange. Many Pearls and Jewetts were long time members of the Hampton Grange, holding offices and actively participating in that organization until it closed it doors in 2002.

Dorothy Vander Meulen, Family Historian

Grave Marker for Elisabeth Holmes Pearl (1662-1744) in Boxford, MA

Elizabeth Pearl Grave Marker

I recently located the grave marker for our ancestor, Elisabeth Pearl, at Mt Vernon Cemetery in Boxford, MA. Elisabeth was the wife of John Pearl, the founding member of the Pearl family in America. Her seventh child was Timothy Pearl (1694/5 – 1773), who established the Hampton, CT branch of the family in about 1720.

Elisabeth’s original stone was set into a granite marker at some point. The original inscription reads “Here lies buried the body of Mrs Elisabeth Pearl. Died March 26, 1744, in ye 82nd year of her age.” On the granite below, a note has been added about her husband: “1650 John Pearl 1710”. (The information we have states that John Pearl was born in 1645 or 1646 in Beverley, England and died in 1720 in Boxford, MA.)

Numerous other Pearl stones are in the Mt. Vernon Cemetery, including quite a few from the recent past.

………….Allen Vander Meulen III

 

The Pearl Settlement of Hampton, Connecticut

 

Hampton Congregational Church, Hampton, CT
Hampton Congregational Church, Hampton, CT

Timothy Pearl, the 7th child of John and Elizabeth (Holmes) Pearl, born 23 Feb. 1694/95 in Boxford, MA, moved to eastern Connecticut about 1720. He was a tanner by trade. He bought 100 acres of land on Appaquage Hill in Windham County, Connecticut from Ebenezer Jennings for a sum of 45 pounds. This area was then known as Canada Parish. It is now called Hampton Hill. In 1724 he joined the Congregational Church which met in the first meeting house planned in 1717. Around 1753 a new meeting house was built and in 1762 Timothy was one of twenty five who purchased a pew in the church for his family. *

Timothy had 2 wives. The first was Elizabeth Stevens with whom he had six children. Elizabeth died in 1736 and she is buried in North Cemetery in Hampton. His second marriage was 15 Nov. 1737 to Mary Leach, born in 1709. Timothy and Mary had 9 children. The first was James Pearle, born 24 March 1739 or 1738. It is from James that our Hampton Pearl family is descended. Mary Leach Pearl died 27 Feb. 1790 and Timothy died 9, Oct. 1773. They are both buried in North Cemetery. **

* This information on Timothy Pearle and his settlement in Hampton is from The Family Tree of John Pearl(e) by Norton Lee Bretz.

**This information of Timothy Pearle’s family is from The Pearl & Jewett Family Genealogy & History, 2003 by Dorothy Vander Meulen.