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- Peirson, John
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Name of creator
John Peirson (1839 - 1934), sometimes known as “Pierson”, and Sarah Barkley (March 9, 1838 - September 5, 1916) were married in or around 1862 in Oxford County. After moving to Bruce County in or around 1863, they cleared their homestead near Burgoyne, on lots 2 and 3, River Range B, in Saugeen Township, Bruce County.
John Peirson was a farmer and local politician, being first elected to Saugeen Township Council in 1869. Thereafter, he continued to serve in municipal life for a total of about 22 years in various capacities including township councillor, Reeve and Warden for Bruce County in 1884. He also took an interest in provincial politics and, in 1893, was the Liberal candidate for the riding of North Bruce, being defeated by the Patron of Industry candidate. He was also a veteran of the Fenian Raid of 1866.
Mr. Peirson was trustee of Alexandria Methodist Church, Burgoyne. After its closure, he attended the Burgoyne Presbyterian Church. After the Union, he attended the Port Elgin United Church. Mr. Peirson was also on the executive of the Burgoyne Cheese Company for a period of time in the early 1900s.
John and Sarah had three children:
a) Mary Ann (“Molly”) was born in 1862 and married W. Ross Hilborn, a druggist in Tara, in 1898. After Mr. Hilborn’s death, in 1905, Mary Ann eventually moved to reside in a house on her father’s homestead;
b) Robert married Margaret Lamont in 1894 and moved to St. Catharines as a young man;
c) William married Catherine Black in 1902 and lived near or with his father. William and Catherine had 4 children: Robert Melvin, Margaret Marie, John Duncan, and William Ross. Both William and Catherine died in 1964.
Scope and content
This fonds consists of John Peirson’s diaries with enclosures, for the years: 1888, 1892-1919, 1921-1925, and 1927. His brief daily journal entries include information related to his family, political life, rural life, personal financial information, social engagements, church meetings, weather and farm operations and activities, including ploughing, sowing and the sale of animals. Mr. Peirson also makes mention of world events, including the sinking of the Titanic and the end of the Great War.
Journals after 1919 each continue to have the name “John Peirson” written on the title page, sometimes with the name of the person who gave the diary to him as a gift; however, most entries in those journals appear to have been written either by John’s daughter-in-law, Catherine (Black) Peirson, and/or his daughter, Mary Ann (Peirson) Hilborn, both of whom were living in houses on the homestead with John. These journals include references to “father” and his health. Other topics include social activities, Women’s Institute meetings, social visits, family life, and some financial information.
Enclosures in the diaries, such as invoices, statements and newspaper clippings, reflect some of the businesses in the community, such as W.A. Gerolamy, grocer; J.W. Chittick Burgoyne General Store; and The Tara Creamery. John Peirson’s involvement with the Burgoyne Cheese Company, and family events reported in the newspaper up to 1937 are also reflected in the enclosures.
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