Alexander Pearce, Co D
Lieutenant and later Captain Alexander Pearce of Company D was born on February 1, 1828 in Hillsboro, Highland County, Ohio as the oldest son of James M. Pearce. On October 28, 1857, he married Amanda Ward. Together, they had seven children although two of the children did not live to reach their fifth birthday.
Alexander Pearce was a member of the original 18th Ohio, which was enlisted for a period of 3 months. He enlisted on April 18, 1861 as a private at the age of 33. He was mustered into Company D of the18th Ohio Volunteer Militia on April 24th. The same day he was made a 2nd Lieutenant and again promoted to 1st Lieutenant and Adjutant on June 1, 1861 and assigned to the Field and Staff roster. He was mustered out on August 28, 1861 at Columbus, Ohio. At the end of their time in the service, many of the men chose to go to other units since their skills were needed to train the new recruits. Alexander chose to remain with the 18th and enlisted for 3 years. He was made a 2nd Lieutenant on the 18th of September, 1861 in Company D and was promoted to Captain on September 18, 1862. He was to remain with the unit through the engagements at Stones River, Davis Crossroads, Chickamauga, as well as the breakout of the siege of Chattanooga. He was mustered out of the service with the other surviving members of the 18th who chose not to re-enlist on November 9, 1864 at Camp Chase, Ohio.
After the war, he became interested in politics. Offices held were as Justice of the Peace and County Recorder for Vinton County, Ohio.
(Information provided by Ken Wiltz.)
[As quoted from, "A Family History- The Pearces," prepared by Anna Darby in September, 1963 and transcribed with additonal research notations by James Bohannan, June 22, 2010.]
The Pearces lived near New Petersburg, Ohio, and were industrious and prosperous. They were farmers, merchants, shoemakers and tanners. They have a record of good citizenship. James Madison and Rebecca were the parents of eight children, three daughters, Sarah Jane, Alice, Ann Mary, and five sons, Alexander, George W., William H., John Richard, and James. One son, Worth, died in infancy.
Alexander, the oldest, born February 1, 1828, who was destined to become the grandfather of this writer. As a youth Alexander showed promise as a writer and wished to become an editor. He was apprenticed to a printer. After his apprenticeship, as a young journeyman printer, he was looking for a place to start his own newspaper, when he came in contact with Moses Cleaveland, for whom the city of Cleaveland (now spelled Cleveland) was named. He advised the young printer to start his business in Portsmouth, Ohio pointing out that Portsmouth was the southern terminus of theOhioand Erie Canaland was destined to become a great city. In due time, Alexander became the publisher of the first daily paper in that thriving town. It was called the DAILY DISPATCH. The enthusiasm over canals did not last long, for the first railroad in Ohio was completed in 1848, and by 1850, the Ohio River and Lake Erie were connected for a new kind of transportation. In 1856, the young editor made a change.
In 1850, there came into being a brand new county in Ohio by the name of Vinton. The new county seat, now called McArthur, seemed to offer new opportunities. Here came Alexander Pearce, already a newspaper publisher of seven years experience, to publish THE DEMOCRAT.
Shortly after his arrival in McArthur, a young lady captured his attention. Near the location of the newspaper office on East Main Street was a vacant lot. There stood a well where a young girl came to draw water. Like Isaac of old, Alexander inquired about her, and was told that his Rachel was little Amanda Ward, who was helping her aunt, Mrs. James Allen, who lived in the first house on the left. She was the only daughter of Samantha Pilcher Ward, widow of Benjamin Ward, who had recently died, leaving her pregnant and with four children. Alexander immediately started plans for a picnic, so he could invite that girl as his special guest. Thus started a romance. Amanda was only fifteen, hardly a marriageable age by todays standard, but she was capable and mature for her age. Anyway it was a good marriage for a girl, even though the editor was fourteen years her senior; so it was on October 23, 1857 they were married. A Methodist preacher, S.C. Frampton officiated.
Alexander had been in Vinton County for three years, he was sent
to the state legislature. While he was there the Civil War
began. He immediately enlisted in the Eighteenth Volunteer
Infantry, to save the
Alexander and Amanda were parents of two sons, Lewis, who died at
the age of two years, and George Walcott. On May 8, 1862,
the first daughter, Minnie Caldwell, was born, at which time
Lieutenant Pearce was in
Company D 18th Ohio Volunteer Infantry was a quartermasters outfit, and it was their duty to get out lumber to make bridges and corduroy roads which were sorely needed so that the armies could make their way through the water and swamps of the South. All this beside skirmishes with the enemy and several battles, made the going rough, and all suffered from th4e dampness and exposure. Captain Pearce became disabled by rheumatism and was unable to perform his duties. Later in connection with his claim for pension number 593462, the following account is given:
He, Captain Pearce, believes that he contracted rheumatism while in the service under the following circumstances:
On the 26th day of November, 1862, his command was ordered to the
front from camp in
After being mustered out, Captain Pearces health was poor even in dry and warm weather, and he was always plagued with a continuation of the disease, which forced him to retire from business. Captain Pearce wrote many wonderful letters while he was in the service. They were saved for he intended to write a book on his war experiences; but after he began such a book, his manuscript and letters were destroyed one night in a fire which destroyed his office. The only letters which survived were a few that made practically no reference to the war.
narrative would scarcely be complete without noting that Captain
Pearces father, James Madison Pearce, and his four
brothers, George W., William H., John Richard, and James all
enlisted in the Union Army. The father came out of the war
as Colonel Pearce; George W. came home safely; William H. was in
Company I, 54th O.V.I., was wounded in the right lung and left
leg, from the results of which he died, April 18, 1879. His
mother and his physician made affidavit, his mother claiming
pension, May 1, 1880. John Richard died in
After the war, four more children were born to Alexander and Amanda, James Benjamin, August 29, 1865; Anna Dana, June 5, 1869; Charles Allen, July 15, 1873; and Milton Lotts, August 9, 1875. As to Captain Pearce after the war, he owned a part interest in a family grocery, and when able helped to conduct it. About 1867, he was appointed Assistant Assessor of Internal Revenue, and held that post until the end of President Johnsons administration. In 1869, he became half owner of a hardware store with George Lantz as partner. After 1875 he became the sole proprietor of it, but his health became so feeble, that he was unable to stand the annoyances and responsibilities of business, so he sold out in 1880. At times he was unable to do any business, except an occasional case which came before him as Justice of the Peace. Later, in 1881, he was part owner and manager of a newspaper, and did some work as editor. It was during this period in 1883 that McArthur had a very destructive fire, destroying his letters and manuscript that he was writing concerning the war. He was very discouraged and gave up the struggle.
must have been at this time that my Grandmother Amanda entered
the business world, putting out her shingle as Mrs. A. Pearce,
The Pearce home, 312 W. Mill Street is owned by Ben L. Pearce, a grandson, was originally purchased, as nearly as I can tell, about 1858, from a Nelson Richmond. To this property was added two rooms on the west for Alexanders mother-in-law, Samantha Pilcher Ward, who came there with her young son to live. Judson Caldwell Ward, the son, was born after his fathers death in 1857. There my great grandmother continued to live and carry on her business of carpet weaving. Although I was only four years old when she died, February 4, 1896, I remember some things about her very well her jovial disposition (her name for me was old stick in the mud), the sound of her loom which fascinated me so much I have always wanted one, and the sight and smell of her old corn-cob pipe, still in the hollow of an apple tree which grew outside her door, found long after she was gone.