John Pearson

John PEARSON (1610 – 1693) was Alex’s 10th Great Grandfather twice, two of 2,048 in this generation of the Shaw line.

John Pearson - Coat of Arms

John Pearson was born 17 Feb 1609/10 in Bradford, West Riding, Yorkshire, England.   His father was Nicholas PEARSON and Elizabeth BRETT.  He married Dorcas PICKARD c. 1643 in, Rowley MA.  John was in Rowley, MA, as early as 1643. He then set up the earliest fulling mill in America. Fulling is a step in woollen clothmaking which involves the cleansing of cloth  to eliminate oils, dirt, and other impurities, and making it thicker.  In the Colonial record the name of the representative is more commonly given Peirson, but the descendants have spelled the name as Pearson.  John died 22 Dec 1693 in Rowley.

John Pearson - First Fulling Mill

Dorcas Pickard was born c. 1621  in Holme-On-Spaulding Moor, Yorkshire.  Dorcas’s parents were  John PICKARD and Ann LUME.    Dorcas died 12 Jan 1701/02 in Rowley MA.

Children of John and Dorcas:

Name Born Married Departed
1. Mary Pearson 26 May 1643 Rowley, Mass Before 1652
2. John Pearson 27 MAY 1644 Rowley Mary Pickard
(Daughter of John PICKARD Jr.)
12 MAR 1721/22 Rowley
3. Elizabeth Pearson 17 OCT 1646 Rowley John Hopkinson
8 JUN 1670 Rowley, Mass
Daniel Wood
15 Nov 1715,
Rowley, Mass.
9 MAR 1714/15 Rowley
4. Samuel Pearson 29 JUL 1648 Rowley Mary Poore
6 DEC 1670 Newbury
Dorcas Johnson,
16 Apr 1672
Haverhill, Mass.
4 DEC 1721 Lyme, CT
5. Dorcas Pearson 25 APR 1650 Rowley John Eaton
26 Nov 1674 Reading MA
Abraham Bryant
28 Dec 1693
Reading, MA
8 Dec 1728
Wakefield, MA
6. Mary Pearson 17 Dec 1651 Rowley Deacon Samuel Palmer
20 DEC 1671 Rowley
7 Jul 1716
7. Jeremiah Pearson 25 Oct 1653 Rowley Priscilla Hazen
(daughter of Edward HAZEN)
21 Jul 1681
23 Feb 1736/37 Newbury
9. Joseph Pearson 21 Aug 1656 Rowley 25 Aug 1675
10. Benjamin PEARSON 6 Apr 1658 Rowley Hannah THURSTON
20 Jan 1679/80 in Rowley
16 Jun 1731 Newbury
11. Phebe Pearson 13 APR 1660 Rowley Deacon Timothy Harris
24 AUG 1682 Rowley
15 OCT 1732 Rowley
12. Stephen Pearson ca 1662 in Rowley, MA Mary French
11 Nov 1684
25 Jan 1705/6 in Rowley
13. Sarah Pearson 6 MAY 1666 Rowley 16 NOV 1666 Rowley

Dea. John Pearson and wife Dorcas came from England to Ipswich, then to Rowley, Mass., in 1643, bringing witli him machinery for a fulling mill, which was the first in this country. Supposing America had no wood that would stand water, he brought cedar posts also. Some of those posts were taken up about 1800, and found in a good state of preservation. He leased a grist mill of P. Nelson, which his son John subsequently bought.

John Pearson’s mill did not supersede the wheel and loom at home. It was simply a mill to which the homespun cloth was brought to be rudely finished. The mill added compactness to the cloth, making it warmer, more durable, and finer in appearance. Johnson’s “Wonder-Working Providence” says of Mr. Pearson and his neighbor: “These….were the first people that set upon making of cloth in this western world.”

He  was sent to the general court in 1678, and eight times after; was also selectman. In 1660 his  tax was £1, 5s., 7d., and in 1691 it was £7, 15s., the highest but one in Rowley. He died 1693; Dorcas died 1703

Fulling Mill

1643 – Fulling-mill was built  by John Pearson, in the parish of Byfield, which then belonged to Rowley.

1644 – On the “tenth of the eleventh Anno Dni 1643, Thomas Nelson, Edward Carlton, Humphrey Reynon & Francis Parrot made a survey of the town and a register of the several house lots of from 1 1/2 to 6 acres then laid out to the settlers including John Pearson.

10 of our ancestor families (underlined in red) had plots in Rowley in this 1642 map. John Pearson's lot is on Holme Street near Nicholas Jackson

Here is today’s approximate location of John’s lot on Google Maps.

1647 – John becomes freeman

1648 – After the death of Mr. Nelson, John Pearson made improvements in the mill. The first grist-mill in town was erected by Thomas Nelson, anterior to 1645, on Mill River. Ten acres of land were granted to him the preceding year, “for encouragement towards building the mill.”

In accordance with an order made in the year 1650, the fences of the common fields of the town of Rowley were divided according to the proportion of land held by individual proprietors, and a number was assigned to each man’s portion; the comparative length of
the fence to be maintained by Edward Hazen and some of his neighbors who became ancestors of many Hazen descendants is of interest as indicating their relative holdings at this time: “the hundred and fort Rod of the feild fence which they who have gats in the ox pastur are to make and mainetaine its thus numbered as followeth

VI frances Parrat six rale Length
VII Mr Shewell Twelue rale Length
VIII William Asee six rale Lengths
VIII Mr Carlton six Rale Lengths
X Thomas Teney six rale Length
XI Thomas Crosbee six rale Length
XII Richard Swane nine rale Length
XIIII Edward HASEN three Rale Length
XV Mr Ezekiell Rogers nineteene rale Lengths
XVIII Mr Thomas Nellson Thirty one rale Lengths

The fence between the ox pasture and the medow which is a two Rale fence at further sid of the ox pasture to ye mill ward thos are the severall proportions as folleth every ox gate Two rale lengths and euer aker of medow foure and a half–
II frances Parrat foure rale Lengths
XVI Mr Ezekiell Rogers twelue rail Length
XVII Edward HASEN Twol rale Lengths
XVIII John Smith foure rale Lengths
XVIIII John PEARSON [also our ancestor] eighteen rale Lengths
XX Mr Edward Carlton Thirty rale Lengths
XXI Robert Swane foure rale Length & halfe and Richard Swane suenteene and half of length
XXII William BOYNTON [also our ancestor] nine rale Lengths
XXIII Will Teny and Thomas Teny nine Lengths

1653 – The earliest mention of a meeting-house bell is in 1653. It was hung in a frame, as it was called, near the meeting-house. During the ministry of Mr. Phillips, Samuel Brocklebank, William Tenney, John Pearson, and Ezekiel Jewett were appointed deacons.

1678 – Representative

1680 – The number of families in the town was 129, and to oversee these families, eleven tithingmen were appointed; viz., John Palmer, Abel Longley, Thomas Tenney, Thomas Wood, Daniel Wicom, John Dresser, Joseph Chaplin, Ivory Kilborn, and John Pearson.

24 Oct 1686 – Becomes Deacon after the overthrow of Andros and the anxious ones before his command.

Who was Andros?

Sir Edmund Andros (pronounced Andrews) was a tough, take-charge kind of man. When he arrived in Boston in 1686, he was determined to make big changes.

At that time, Massachusetts was one of 6 separate colonies in the region of New England. The other five were Maine, New Hampshire, Plymouth, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. Andros’s boss, King James II, believed that these colonies were far too independent of the king’s control. Both Andros and James wanted New England colonists to pay more attention to the king’s laws. They also worried that unless the six colonies were united under one government, they would not be able to defend themselves if an enemy attacked them.

Andros had orders from James II to get rid of the 6 different governments and replace them with one new government called the “Dominion of New England.” To do that, he had to take away each colony’s individual charter, the legal document that gave each colony its borders and specified how it would be governed.

King James revoked, or took back, the charters of Massachusetts,  Plymouth, New Hampshire, and Maine before Andros left England. James gave the new governor authority to set up a united government. Connecticut and Rhode Island still held their charters, but Andros and one of his officials, Edward Randolph, tried to carry out the king’s orders by demanding that the colonies hand them over. Both colonies eventually joined the Dominion of New England, but Connecticut managed to do so without giving up its charter.

Andros took harsh measures to carry out King James’s new laws. He imposed new taxes. He tried to take away from property owners the documents called titles that gave them a right to their land. Those who turned over their titles could not receive new ones unless they promised to pay a fee called a quitrent to King James each year. Andros refused to allow leaders of towns to meet more than once a year to take care of important business. He arrested and fined many leaders who tried to oppose him.

Colonists all over New England hated Sir Edmund Andros. They looked for an opportunity to get rid of him. In 1689, they finally got their chance. News came from England that leaders in Parliament had forced Andros’s boss, James II, to leave the throne. They invited James’s Protestant daughter Mary and her Dutch husband William to become rulers in James’s place.

Andros tried to prevent colonists from spreading the news and rising up against him. He failed. On April 18, 1689, colonists in Boston grabbed their guns and took to the streets to demand Andros’s resignation. A prominent preacher, Cotton Mather, read the crowd a statement that called Andros a tyrant, or oppressive ruler. Mather also said that Andros was a traitor to the new rulers, William and Mary, and warned that he might try to get French colonists from Canada to attack Massachusetts.

Andros had no intention to betray New England to the French. He planned to serve William and Mary as faithfully as he believed he had served James II. In fact, Andros had been a boyhood companion of King William. He believed that the changes he had made were good for the new rulers and for New England. William and Mary even intended to send letters ordering the colonists to accept Andros’s government, but those orders were delayed.

Still, Andros knew that the angry mob would not listen to him. He had little choice but to wait in Boston’s fort while rebellious colonial leaders went about the city arresting the officials he had appointed. An old legend says that he eventually disguised himself as a woman and tried sneak out of town, but was arrested when a colonist spotted the heavy boots he was wearing. In fact, Andros acted much more bravely. On the afternoon of the April 18 he left the fort and walked through streets lined with armed colonists to Boston’s Town Hall, where colonial leaders arrested him.

The New England colonists soon shipped Andros back to England. There he tried to convince William and Mary and the English authorities that he had done nothing wrong. He only partly succeeded. William and Mary gave Massachusetts a new charter that restored many of the colonists’ rights. But the king and queen continued to insist on appointing governors for the colony.

Andros did persuade the rulers that he was a loyal subject. King William eventually rewarded his old boyhood playmate by sending him back to America as governor of Virginia.


2. John Pearson

John’s wife Mary Pickard was born 1651 Rowley, Mass.  She was John’s first cousin.  Her parents were John PICKARD Jr. and Jane CROSBY.  Mary died 13 APR 1728 Rowley.

John was a Miller, Clothdresser, and Farmer.

3. Elizabeth Pearson

Elizabeth’s first husband John Hopkinson was born 7 Nov 1646 in Rowley, Essex, Mass. His parents were Michael Hopkinson and Ann [__?__]. John died 29 May 1704 in Rowley, Essex, Mass.

Elizabeth’s second husband John Wood was born 1646 in Mass.  On 15 Nov 1715 when Elizabeth was 69, she second married Daniel Wood in Rowley, Mass.

4. Samuel Pearson

Samuel’s first wife Mary Poore was born on 12 Dec 1654 in Newbury, MA. Mary died in Rowley, MA, on 27 Oct 1671; she was 16 from the birth of her first child Mary.

Samuel’s second wife Dorcas Johnson was born 1645 in Hampton, Rockingham, New Hampshire. Her parents were Edmund Johnson and Mary [__?__]. Dorcas died 12 Jan 1703 in Hampton, Rockingham, New Hampshire

Samuel removed from Haverhill to Newbury after the Indians destroyed the town.

5. Dorcas Pearson

Dorcas’ first husband John Eaton was born 10 Oct 1645 in Reading, Mass. His parents were Jonas Eaton and Grace Eaton. John died in Reading, MA, on 25 May 1691; he was 45.

Dorcas’ second husband Abraham Bryant was born about 1640 in England. Abraham died on 6 Jul 1720 in Reading, Mass. Abraham was a blacksmith. He lived on Elm Street. He married 2nd Ruth (who d. 1693), widow of Samuel Frothingham, of Charlestown.

6. Mary Pearson

Mary’s husband Deacon Samuel Palmer was born 20 Aug 1644 in Rowley, Essex, Mass. His parents were Thomas Palmer and Ann [__?__]. Samuel died 21 Jun 1719 in Rowley, Essex, Mass

7. Jeremiah Pearson

Jeremiah’s wife Priscilla Hazen was born 25 NOV 1664 Rowley.  Her parents were Edward HAZEN  and Hannah GRANT.  Priscilla died 25 Apr 1752 in Newbury, Mass.

Jeremiah and Priscilla were dismissed 15 Jan 1710 from the Rowley Church to the Newbury Church. Priscilla returned to Rowley sometime after Jeremiah’s death.

10. Benjamin PEARSON (See his page)

11. Phebe Pearson

Phebe’s husband Deacon Timothy Harris was born 1 Nov 1657 in Rowley, Essex, Mass. His parents were John Harris and Bridget Angier. Timothy died 24 Mar 1723 in Rowley, Essex, Mass

12. Stephen Pearson

Stephen’s wife Mary French was born 1664 in Topsfield, Essex, Mass. Her parents were John French and Phebe Keyes. Mary died 27 Sep 1730 in Rowley, Essex, Mass.


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13 Responses to John Pearson

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  13. Michael Tuck says:

    Just a “minor” question,. You have Elizabeth, 3rd child of John & Dorcas (Pickard) Pearson, having died on 9 Mar 1714 in Rowley. However, her 2nd marr to Daniel Wood is 15 Nov 1715 in Rowley, at age 69. Her death date must surely be after 15 Nov 1715?

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