Daily Archives: July 23, 2012

Bio Sketch: Elizabeth H. (Forrer) Peirce (1827-1874), wife of J. H. Peirce

Elizabeth Hannah Forrer, sometimes called “Lib,” was born February 28, 1827, in Cincinnati, Ohio, the daughter of Samuel Forrer (1793-1874) and Sarah Howard (1807-1887).[1] The only child of Samuel and Sarah known to have two given names, Elizabeth Hannah Forrer seems to have been named after her two grandmothers, Elizabeth (Neidig) Forrer and Hannah (Hastings) Howard.[2]

On June 9, 1846, in Dayton, Elizabeth Hannah Forrer married Jeremiah Hunt Peirce (1818-1889), son of Joseph Peirce and Henrietta Eliza Elliot.[3]

For several years, the J. H. Peirce family resided on Ludlow Street between First and Water (Monument). In the mid-1850s, the family moved to their new home in Harrison Township, Five Oaks. [For more on Five Oaks, see this 12/11/2011 blog post.] Elizabeth lived there until her death.[4]

Jeremiah and Elizabeth had eight children, all of whom were born in Dayton, Ohio:

  1. Samuel Forrer Peirce was born Apr. 24, 1847, and died Jan. 27, 1855.[5]
  2. Henrietta Elliot Peirce was born Nov. 21, 1848, and died Apr. 21, 1919; she married H. Eugene Parrott.[6]
  3. Edward Davies Peirce was born Sept. 19, 1850, and died June 14, 1868.[7]
  4. Sarah Howard Peirce was born Apr. 28, 1853, and died Apr. 9, 1930.[8]
  5. Mary Forrer Peirce, usually called “Mellie,” was born Jan. 1, 1855, and died July 23, 1892.[9]
  6. Elizabeth Forrer Peirce, often called “Bess,” was born Sept. 5, 1857, and died Nov. 19, 1930.[10]
  7. John Elliot Peirce, usually called “Elliot,” was born Apr. 17, 1861, and died June 6, 1940.[11]
  8. Howard Forrer Peirce was born May 4, 1865, and died Apr. 19, 1899.[12]
Elizabeth H. (Forrer) Peirce (maybe)

The woman crouching behind Howard Forrer Peirce in this undated (ca. 1868-1870) photo is believed to be his mother Elizabeth H. (Forrer) Peirce. (Dayton Metro Library, Local History Collection, Oversize Photo # 1924)

Elizabeth was “intellectual and highly cultivated,” with great “strength of character.”[13] She, like her husband, was a member of the Montgomery County Horticultural Society, and she was “more successful than most in the cultivation of flowers.” She kept the parlor at Five Oaks decorated with plants and flowers, even in winter.[14]

On the evening of January 14, 1874, the family attended a concert, and upon returning from it, Elizabeth was quite cheerful and appeared to be in good health. The following morning, she awoke with “intense and agonizing” head pain, like “the brain on fire.” She spent much of the day on January 15 in torturous anguish, until she eventually lost consciousness. Shortly after 1 a.m. on January 16, 1874, Elizabeth died at home at Five Oaks in Dayton, Ohio; she was 46 years old.[15] She was buried on January 19, 1874, in Woodland Cemetery in Dayton, Ohio.[16]

Peirce family plot in Woodland Cemetery, Section 77

Peirce family plot in Woodland Cemetery, Section 77 (Photo by the author, 29 Oct. 2011)

*****

This biographical sketch was originally written by Lisa P. Rickey in April 2012 for the Forrer-Peirce-Wood Collection (MS-018) finding aid at the Dayton Metro Library, 215 E. Third St., Dayton, Ohio, 45402; phone (937) 496-8654.

Additional information about the sketch’s subject can be found in that collection. For more information about the manuscript collection’s contents, please see the original PDF finding aid available in the Local History Room of the Dayton Metro Library, the OhioLINK EAD Repository entry, or the WorldCat record.

Please contact the Dayton Metro Library or this blog’s author for more information about how to access the original finding aid or the manuscript collection.


[1] Forrer Genealogical Data, Forrer-Peirce-Wood Collection (hereafter cited as FPW), 7:12, Dayton Metro Library (Dayton, Ohio); Hannah Howard to Horton Howard, 25 Feb. 1827 and 4 Mar. 1827, FPW, 34:21; Frank Bruen, Christian Forrer, the Clockmaker, and his Descendants (Rutland, VT: Tuttle, 1939), 106; Woodland Cemetery & Arboretum Interment Database, accessed 20 Dec. 2011, http://www.woodlandcemetery.org. See also FPW, Series I: Samuel Forrer Family.

Although Frank Bruen states that Elizabeth was born in Dayton, Ohio, other evidence suggests that Elizabeth was born in Cincinnati. The Woodland Interment Database indicates Elizabeth’s place of birth as Cincinnati. An even more reliable source in the form of a letter from Sarah’s mother to her father indicates Cincinnati as the birthplace as well: Hannah Howard wrote in a letter commenced at Cincinnati on 25 Feb. 1827 and continued on 4 Mar. 1827, describing that Sarah was “taken poorly” and a few days later was delivered of “a fine daughter” (FPW 34:21).

[2] Forrer Genealogical Data, FPW, 7:12.

[3] Forrer Genealogical Data, FPW, 7:12; Bruen, Christian Forrer, 105-106; John F. Edgar, Pioneer Life in Dayton and Vicinity, 1796-1840 (Dayton, OH: United Brethren Publishing House, 1896), 116. See also FPW, Series II, Subseries 1: Jeremiah Hunt Peirce; FPW, Series III, Subseries 3: Joseph Peirce Family; and FPW, Series III, Subseries 4: Elliot Family.

[4] Dayton City Directories; Lisa P. Rickey, “Five Oaks,” Glancing Backwards (blog), 22 Dec. 2011, https://lisarickey.wordpress.com/2011/12/22/five-oaks/.

[5] Bruen, Christian Forrer, 106; Edgar, Pioneer Life in Dayton, 116.

[6] Bruen, Christian Forrer, 106-122; Edgar, Pioneer Life in Dayton, 116. See also FPW, Series II, Subseries 10: Henrietta Elliot (Peirce) Parrott & Family.

[7] Bruen, Christian Forrer, 122. See also FPW, Series II, Subseries 4: Edward Davies Peirce.

[8] Bruen, Christian Forrer, 122-123. See also FPW, Series II, Subseries 5: Sarah Howard Peirce.

[9] Bruen, Christian Forrer, 123. See also FPW, Series II, Subseries 6: Mary “Mellie” Forrer Peirce.

[10] Bruen, Christian Forrer, 123-124. See also FPW, Series II, Subseries 7: Elizabeth “Bess” Forrer Peirce.

[11] Bruen, Christian Forrer, 124-126; Woodland Cemetery & Arboretum Interment Database, accessed 20 Dec. 2011, http://www.woodlandcemetery.org. See also FPW, Series II, Subseries 9: John Elliot Peirce, Sr., & Family.

[12] Bruen, Christian Forrer, 126-129. See also FPW, Series II, Subseries 8: Howard Forrer Peirce.

[13] “Mrs. Elizabeth [H.] Peirce,” undated, Dayton Daily Journal, in Elizabeth H. (Forrer) Peirce: Obituaries, FPW, 11:3.

[14] “Proceedings of the Montgomery County Horticultural Society, Saturday, February 7th, 1874,” undated, Dayton Daily Journal, in Elizabeth H. (Forrer) Peirce: Obituaries, FPW, 11:3.

[15] J. H. Peirce to Dr. Thomas, 20 Jan. 1874, FPW, 8:12; “Death of Mrs. J. H. Peirce,” Dayton Daily Journal, undated, in Elizabeth H. (Forrer) Peirce: Obituaries, FPW, 11:3.

[16] Woodland Cemetery & Arboretum Interment Database, accessed 20 Dec. 2011, http://www.woodlandcemetery.org. Elizabeth is buried in Section 77, Lot 24.

Bio Sketch: Jeremiah H. Peirce (1818-1889), Dayton lumber dealer and founder of Five Oaks

Jeremiah Hunt Peirce, often known simply as J. H. Peirce (or “Jerre” to family), was born September 8, 1818, in Dayton, Ohio, the son of Joseph Peirce (1786-1821) and Henrietta Eliza Elliot (1792-1864).[1] He was named after Jeremiah Hunt, in whose family Henrietta (Elliot) Peirce was raised, and who, being from a prominent family of Cincinnati merchants, may also have been a friend (and perhaps business associate) of Joseph Peirce.[2]

Jeremiah Peirce attended Dayton schools as a child, and then attended Miami University at Oxford, graduating in 1835 at the age of 16.[3] In 1836, Jeremiah joined the engineering corps of the Miami-Erie Canal.[4]

Jeremiah H. Peirce, undated

Jeremiah H. Peirce, undated (Dayton Metro Library, FPW, Box 9, Folder 21)

Though most histories remember Jeremiah H. Peirce as a lumber dealer, his early business interests were as a manufacture of lard oil. Sometime prior to 1850, Jeremiah became associated with the Miami Lard Oil Company, which had been established in 1844. This was Jeremiah’s primary business activity until at least 1870, though he maintained a connection with the company until 1876.[5]

By the early 1870s, Jeremiah had become interested in the business of building materials. From 1873 to 1876, he was engaged in a partnership with David W. Stewart in the operation of a “planing and flooring mill,” as well as in the manufacture of building materials such as sashes, doors, and moldings.[6]

From 1876 until his death, Jeremiah was senior partner in the firm of Peirce & Coleman, manufacturers and dealers in lumber and other building materials, including sashes, doors, blinds, moldings, flooring, and siding.[7]

In addition to his business interests, Jeremiah was also interested in fruits and flowers and was an active member of the Montgomery County Horticultural Society, serving as its president in 1857.[8]

On June 9, 1846, in Dayton, Jeremiah Hunt Peirce married Elizabeth Hannah Forrer (1827-1874), eldest daughter of Samuel Forrer and Sarah Howard.[9]

For several years, the J. H. Peirce family resided on Ludlow Street between First and Water (Monument). In 1854, Jeremiah built a new house in Harrison Township on the west side of what is now Forest Avenue. He named his estate “Five Oaks,” apparently after five oak trees that sat on the property. In 1890, an addition, including a tower, was added to the home. Members of the Peirce family lived at Five Oaks until the 1930s. In 1946, the property was purchased by the city, the house razed, and a park created on the site.[10]

Five Oaks, before the tower was built, undated

Five Oaks, before the tower was built, undated (Dayton Metro Library, FPW, Box 9, Folder 23)

[For more on Five Oaks, see this 12/11/2011 blog post.]

Jeremiah and Elizabeth had eight children, all of whom were born in Dayton, Ohio:

  1. Samuel Forrer Peirce was born Apr. 24, 1847, and died Jan. 27, 1855.[11]
  2. Henrietta Elliot Peirce was born Nov. 21, 1848, and died Apr. 21, 1919; she married H. Eugene Parrott.[12]
  3. Edward Davies Peirce was born Sept. 19, 1850, and died June 14, 1868.[13]
  4. Sarah Howard Peirce was born Apr. 28, 1853, and died Apr. 9, 1930.[14]
  5. Mary Forrer Peirce, usually called “Mellie,” was born Jan. 1, 1855, and died July 23, 1892.[15]
  6. Elizabeth Forrer Peirce, often called “Bess,” was born Sept. 5, 1857, and died Nov. 19, 1930.[16]
  7. John Elliot Peirce, usually called “Elliot,” was born Apr. 17, 1861, and died June 6, 1940.[17]
  8. Howard Forrer Peirce was born May 4, 1865, and died Apr. 19, 1899.[18]

Jeremiah’s first wife Elizabeth died in January 1874. A few years later, on October 5, 1882, Jeremiah married Mary Forrer (1838-1929), his first wife’s sister and youngest daughter of Samuel Forrer and Sarah Howard, apparently despite Sarah’s objections. At the time of their marriage, Jeremiah was 64, and Mary was 44; they had no children.[19]

Jeremiah H. Peirce, undated

Jeremiah H. Peirce, undated (Dayton Metro Library, FPW, Box 9, Folder 21)

Jeremiah was in ill health by April of 1889. He and Mary traveled to Clifton Springs Sanitarium in New York, where he moved about in a wheelchair.[20] Within a few weeks, he became incapable of speech and was brought home from New York in a private car and was transported from the train station lying down in a vehicle.[21]

Jeremiah H. Peirce died on May 6, 1889, at his home Five Oaks in Dayton, Ohio; he was 70 years old.[22] He was buried on May 8, 1889, in Woodland Cemetery in Dayton, Ohio.[23]

Peirce family plot in Woodland Cemetery, Section 77

Peirce family plot in Woodland Cemetery, Section 77 (Photo by the author, 29 Oct. 2011)

*****

This biographical sketch was originally written by Lisa P. Rickey in April 2012 for the Forrer-Peirce-Wood Collection (MS-018) finding aid at the Dayton Metro Library, 215 E. Third St., Dayton, Ohio, 45402; phone (937) 496-8654.

Additional information about the sketch’s subject can be found in that collection. For more information about the manuscript collection’s contents, please see the original PDF finding aid available in the Local History Room of the Dayton Metro Library, the OhioLINK EAD Repository entry, or the WorldCat record.

Please contact the Dayton Metro Library or this blog’s author for more information about how to access the original finding aid or the manuscript collection.


[1] Frank Bruen, Christian Forrer, the Clockmaker, and his Descendants (Rutland, VT: Tuttle, 1939), 106; John F. Edgar, Pioneer Life in Dayton and Vicinity, 1796-1840 (Dayton, OH: United Brethren Publishing House, 1896), 116. See also FPW, Series III, Subseries 3: Joseph Peirce Family; and FPW, Series III, Subseries 4: Elliot Family.

[2] Sarah Schenck Crane, The Crane Family History (Cincinnati, OH: Ebert & Richardson Co., 1911), 55-56; Jeremiah Hunt to Joseph Peirce, 17 June 1811, Forrer-Peirce-Wood Collection (hereafter cited as FPW), 37:8, Dayton Metro Library (Dayton, Ohio).

[3] Edgar, Pioneer Life in Dayton, 116; Bruen, Christian Forrer, 106;

[4] Edgar, Pioneer Life in Dayton, 116.

[5] Frank Conover, Centennial Portrait and Biographical Record of the City of Dayton and Montgomery County, Ohio (Chicago: A. W. Bowen, 1897), 305; Augustus W. Drury, History of the City of Dayton and Montgomery County, Ohio, (Chicago: Clarke Publishing Co., 1909), vol. 2, 663-664; Dayton City Directories, 1850-1889; 1870 United States Federal Census; The Official Railway List (Chicago: The Railway Purchasing Agent Co., 1894), accessed 5 Jan. 2011 on Google Books, http://books.google.com/books?id=o4Q3AAAAIAAJ, 96.

[6] Dayton City Directories, 1873-1876. There is no 1870 directory, and J. H. Peirce is not listed in the 1871-72 directory. Therefore, a gap exists from 1870-1872 during which time his occupation cannot be determined from the directories.

[7] Conover, Centennial Portrait, 305; Drury, History of the City of Dayton, vol. 2, 664; Dayton City Directories, 1877-1889.

[8] Bruen, Christian Forrer, 106; Minutes, 1857, Montgomery County Horticultural Society Collection, 1:1, Dayton Metro Library (Dayton, Ohio);

[9] Forrer Genealogical Data, FPW, 7:12; Bruen, Christian Forrer, 105. See also FPW, Series II, Subseries 2: Elizabeth Hannah (Forrer) Peirce.

[10] Dayton City Directories; Lisa P. Rickey, “Five Oaks,” Glancing Backwards (blog), 22 Dec. 2011, https://lisarickey.wordpress.com/2011/12/22/five-oaks/.

[11] Bruen, Christian Forrer, 106; Edgar, Pioneer Life in Dayton, 116.

[12] Bruen, Christian Forrer, 106-122; Edgar, Pioneer Life in Dayton, 116. See also FPW, Series II, Subseries 10: Henrietta Elliot (Peirce) Parrott & Family.

[13] Bruen, Christian Forrer, 122. See also FPW, Series II, Subseries 4: Edward Davies Peirce.

[14] Bruen, Christian Forrer, 122-123. See also FPW, Series II, Subseries 5: Sarah Howard Peirce.

[15] Bruen, Christian Forrer, 123. See also FPW, Series II, Subseries 6: Mary “Mellie” Forrer Peirce.

[16] Bruen, Christian Forrer, 123-124. See also FPW, Series II, Subseries 7: Elizabeth “Bess” Forrer Peirce.

[17] Bruen, Christian Forrer, 124-126; Woodland Cemetery & Arboretum Interment Database, accessed 20 Dec. 2011, http://www.woodlandcemetery.org. See also FPW, Series II, Subseries 9: John Elliot Peirce, Sr., & Family.

[18] Bruen, Christian Forrer, 126-129. See also FPW, Series II, Subseries 8: Howard Forrer Peirce.

[19] Bruen, Christian Forrer, 136; Sarah Forrer to Jeremiah H. Peirce, 2 Sept. 1877, FPW, 4:9; Jeremiah H. Peirce to Sarah Forrer, undated, FPW, 4:9.

[20] Mellie Peirce to her father J. H. Peirce, 11 Apr. 1889, FPW, 18:13.

[21] Mellie Peirce to her brother Howard Peirce, 16 May 1889, FPW, 18:21.

[22] Bruen, Christian Forrer, 106.

[23] Woodland Cemetery & Arboretum Interment Database, accessed 20 Dec. 2011, http://www.woodlandcemetery.org. Jeremiah is buried in Section 77, Lot 27.