Facts and Events
Personal History Sketch
James was the youngest of 7 children born to John Pearce and Sarah Salmon in Truro, Cornwall, England. Sometime between 1811 and 1820, when James was very young, his family emigrated from Truro to Petersburg, Virginia. He is probably the 1 under-10 male with the John Pearce household in Petersburg, VA in the 1820 US Census.
A family tree on ancestry.com indicates that he married Hardenia Maury Taylor on 25 Dec 1841.
In the 1850 US Census, he is living in Western District, Henrico, VA, age 39, with wife Hardinia (38), and children Lucy (9), Edward (5), Jane (1), and Sarah (16), and his father John (83).
An amusing anecdote, almost certainly referring to James, concerns his nephew William Holt, of Brooklyn, NY. William had spent a few months in the Virginia mountains for his health in spring 1861, when "his uncle, a rabid secessionist, desired him to stay and join the secession army." William refused, but James persisted, and William eventually had to make up a story to escape.N1
It seems that James and his nearest-in-age sister Jane stayed close, even though she had moved up to Brooklyn and raised several sons who all volunteered for the Union side in the Civil War. He seems too to have reconciled with his nephew after the war, as Jane and William were visiting James in Richmond in 1879 when William died of a heart failure.N1
In the 1880 US Census, he and Hardinia are living in Richmond, apparently with a bunch of boarders in their house. He is listed as a retired clerk.
His gravestone in Doswell, Hanover, Virginia (just north of Richmond), tells that he died in 1886, at age 75, and that his wife Hardinia died a couple years later.