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A Bit of Family History
by John W. Pierce


Our father, Wayne Varney PIERCE, was born and raised on a farm near Ware. He started teaching school in a one-room schoolhouse near there (Log Schoolhouse) in about 1922-23 when he was 17 or 18 years old. We aren't certain how long he taught there, and we believe he may have also taught for a year or so in Pevely about the same time.

In 1956, we were living in Fort Worth, TX when our father got an opportunity to teach again in Pevely (in grade school, though I don't remember which grade). He moved back to MO, and, along with teaching at Pevely, he sold lots part-time at Valle Lake, which had recently been built by Ed LUCAS. I believe Mr LUCAS had been a student of dad's, or possibly it was Mr (Bob?) POTEET, who was the head salesman at the lake. We followed father to MO after school was out in June, 1957. "We" were our mother, Neva (Vernon) PIERCE, my sister Jo Ann, and myself (and the dog - Smokey).

We first lived in a house built on pilings over the flood bed of Joachim Creek, where Mt Olive Church Road intersects Highway "V" (essentially on the boundary of sections 12 and 13 of T39N,R4E). This house was on land owned by a Mr FREIDMEYER (I believe - the spelling is probably wrong), who owned quite a lot of grazing land west of Joachim Creek. The top of the bluff that formed the west bank of the creek was heavily wooded, but covered with cow trails. It finally leveled off (sort of) into lightly wooded meadows a quarter mile or so west of the creek. Mr FREIDMEYER had a barn perhaps half a mile north and west of our house which could be accessed by a track off of Highway "V" that forded the creek. I believe he grew some crops (corn, possibly) around the barn, but I no longer remember for certain.

Our parents and our uncle, Walter Clayton PIERCE, bought lots at the lake, and the following summer we moved into a house our uncle built on one of them. This was (at the time) the second house (on the left) after you crossed the dam and started up the hill. It was quite large, or seemed so then. With a full basement that served as the garage and a partial second story, it was effectively a three-story house. I believe the house was built by Clay WIDEMAN, and some COPELANDs also worked on it (some of whom lived up the hill from us).

I went to the 7th and 8th grade at Sunrise Elementary, which isn't shown on the map but I suspect it's vastly larger than it was. After 40+ years, I can bring up off-hand only a few of the people I went to school with: Doug HENRY (whose mother had been a student of my father's at Brown School), his cousin Jeannie (Jean? - surname forgotten), Timmy and Tommy BECKHAM (twins, but not identical), Vera and David (I believe) HAVERSTICK, Wanda HILDYARD (I believe that's right), John BRADLEY (I believe this family lived on Fox Farm Rd), Eddie MUZZY, Janet CANTRELL (spelling?), and I believe there was a STRICKLAND or two.... The 7th and 8th grade shared a room (I don't remember about the others), and the teacher was also the principal, though again I don't remember her name.

We moved back to TX in the early fall of 1959, and I haven't been back since. I've been a little afraid to go, actually - it must have changed enormously and I remember it as a truly great place for a kid to live. (I lived in Hawaii for a couple of years in the early 1960s, and made the mistake of going back 25 years later... it was depressing.) Uncle Walter kept the house at Valle Lake, and moved into it after he retired from Bell Telephone. He lived there with his second wife, Helen STOVESAND (the widow of Ross BLEIKER), until his death in January, 1978.

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On the Jefferson County maps contained on this site, T40N,R3E holds what we believe to be the first farm owned by our great-grandfather, George W PIERCE. It was described as "The East one-half of the Northwest quarter of Section 23 of Township 40 North of Range 3 East". The short north-south section of Russell Rd in section 23 runs through what looks to be just about the middle of that 80 acre tract. This land was originally registered with the (then) General Land Office by Michael MCKEE on May 10, 1824. We now have the original deed from the GLO, which was presumably given by MCKEE to PIERCE when the latter purchased the land. The year of this transaction is unknown, but we believe it was not later than 1850. Our father, Wayne Varney PIERCE, believed this to be the original farm in Missouri of our branch of the PIERCEs. However, we have recently discovered that on October 4, 1842 George W's father, Washington G PIERCE, purchased 80 acres from Mrs S SCAGGS (widow of Mr Jeremiah SCAGGS) in what looks like (the document is hard to read) sections 28 and 29, T41N,R3E. More research needs to be done to be certain.


John W Pierce -  R2 Systems, San Diego, California - December 12, 1999

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