William Pearce Munson

b. between 12 June 1860 and 2 August 1861, d. 30 September 1924
William Pearce Munson|b. bt 12 Jun 1860 - 2 Aug 1861\nd. 30 Sep 1924|p2529.htm|Gerard Brandon Munson|b. 20 Sep 1829\nd. 22 Mar 1864|p2548.htm|Ann Elizabeth Westall|b. c 1840\nd. Sep 1867|p2714.htm|Henry W. Munson|b. 15 Jan 1793\nd. 6 Oct 1833|p2528.htm|Ann B. Pearce|b. 17 Apr 1800\nd. 6 Sep 1865|p2532.htm|||||||

1st cousin of George Poindexter Munson Sr.
1st cousin 2 times removed of Laura Jane Munson.
Family Background:
Munson and Allied Families
     William Pearce Munson was born at Oakland Plantation, Gulf Prairie, Brazoria County, Texas, between 12 June 1860 when he doesn't appear with his parents in the census, and 2 August 1861 when he is mentioned in his father's will. He was the son of Gerard Brandon Munson and Ann Elizabeth Westall. He died of heart disease on 30 September 1924 in Columbia, Brazoria County, Texas, at about age 63.1,2 He was buried on 1 October 1924 in Munson Cemetery, Bailey's Prairie, Brazoria County, Texas.3,4,5
     By all accounts, Willie lived his entire life in Brazoria County, yet only on the 1880 census, in the household of Mordello S. Munson, can he be positively identified. It has always been told that Mordello and Sarah Munson raised all of Gerard's children after they were orphaned, but only Lizzie and Mary appear in their household in the 1870 census. Why (approximately) nine year old Willie and six year old Geddie are not listed is a mystery. Every page of the 1870 federal census of Brazoria County has been searched again and again, and they are nowhere to be found. A possible solution to the puzzle may be that Willie and Geddie were living with George P. and Agnes (Davis) Munson in 1870. They are also nowhere to be found in the 1870 census, and considering Gerard named both Mordello and George as guardians of his children in his 1861 will, it is a reasonable guess. It is also interesting that George and Agnes' son George maintained a close relationship with Willie, while Mordello's descendants had little to do with him.

     Writer's note: My father (Joe Munson) had fond memories of 'Marse' Willie who he always said "added a little color" to the family. He lived at Bailey's Prairie, part of the time at the home of his cousin, George P. Munson Sr. (II) (when the family was living in Columbia). He always wore a bandanna around his neck secured by an empty shot shell, and Daddy especially remembered his big bony hands that looked like claws, and the smell of cheap cologne he put on his handkerchief when he went courting a black woman by whom he had children. Daddy said she was a sister of 'Uncle' Burrell Rivers whose father or grandfather was a slave owned by George P. Munson I.

     Cousin Willie hated Yankees, barbed wire and cars, all of which he thought belonged at the bottom of the Brazos River. He was fond of sitting on the porch at Bailey's Prairie sipping strong black coffee, and when the occasional car passed by, he always exclaimed, "Keep on down the road, Blue Belly (Yankee); ain't got nary a cup a coffee for ya today!" (if not exact, a close quote to the best of my recollection as it was related to me). Once when Daddy was about six (c1918), he was riding horseback behind Cousin Willie on the road between East and West Columbia. The river had been on an overflow and the ditches were full of silt and mud, almost indistinguishable from the road. They came across an old man who had wandered off the road and was thoroughly bogged down. Willie called out to him, "Hang on there ol' timer, I'll throw ya a rope." The old man, probably feeling a little embarrassed, lamented that he was old and no count and allowed that he might as well just cut his throat right then and there to put an end to his misery. Willie shot back, "In that case podna, I'll loan ya my pocket knife!" The old man accepted the help.

     A certified affidavit dated July 1948 (documenting several generations of the Munson family) sworn and subscribed to by Milam Stephen Munson, George McCauley Munson, and George Poindexter Munson Jr. (III), states that William P. Munson died before reaching his majority. Whether this misinformation was intentional or simply a mistake is not known, but all, with the possible exception of Cauley who was younger than the others, knew him well. Stephen grew up with him on Ridgely Plantation, and George was the older brother of Joe and could not possibly have avoided knowing him.

     Although it appears that he was a family outcast, it should be noted that Joe's parents George and Louise (Underwood) Munson took Cousin Willie into their home when he became old and sick, and Louise nursed him until his death in about 1925 at their home (the "little house") in Columbia. Some in the family were concerned about how to pay for his funeral, suggesting that perhaps they could sell his horse. Louise told them not to worry; she would take care of it. She and George arranged for and paid for his burial in the Munson Cemetery at Bailey's Prairie. The stone that marks his grave is modern, and the estimated year of death inscribed thereon is inaccurate, it being a year before Joe Munson was born, and therefore, years before Marse Willie died.

Additional Data
William Pearce Munson was mentioned in his father Gerard B. Munson's will dated 2 August 1861 in Brazoria County, Texas."I will and bequeath to my son William Peirce Munson, a Negro girl named Topsey of Mulatto complexion now aged about Ten months." Gerard also bequeathed to his daughter and any future children, a young Negro each, and the remainder of the estate to Mordello and George Munson to be held in trust for the children, the income from which was to be used for their education and support, as well as for the support of their mother so long as she didn't remarry. When the children became of age or married, they were to share equally in the estate.6

W.P. Munson appeared on the 1 June 1880 Federal Census of Brazoria County, Texas, in the household of M.S. and S.K. Munson, his uncle and aunt.7 Click to view image

Will Munson appeared on the 1 June 1900 Federal Census of Brazoria County, Texas, enumerated 23 June 1900.8 Click to view image

Willie Monson appeared on the 1 January 1920 Federal Census of East Columbia, Brazoria County, Texas, enumerated 30 January 1920.9 Click to view image


  1. [S1132] Texas Department of Health, Texas Death Indexes, 1903-2000 (Austin: Texas Department of Health, State Vital Statistics Unit, unknown publish date), William Pierce Munson entry citing Certificate 28603.
  2. [S22] Interview with Joe Munson (Joe U. Munson Sr.; Downing St., Angleton, Texas), by Laura Munson Cooper. Transcript held in 2003 by Cooper (1804 Holm Oak St.; Arlington, TX 76012-5608). location only.
  3. [S1198] William Pierce Munson, death certificate 29579 (16 Oct 1924), Texas Department of Public Health, Austin.
  4. [S22] Interview, Joe U. Munson Sr.
  5. [S17] William P. Munson tombstone, Munson Family Cemetery, Bailey's Prairie, Texas; photographed by the writer on 31 July 1997.
  6. [S426] Gerrard B. Munson will (1861), Brazoria County Will Book D: 227-229, County Clerk's Office, Angleton, Texas.
  7. [S52] M.S. Munson household, 1880 U.S. Census, Brazoria County, Texas, population schedule, Precinct 8, enumeration district (ED) 22, sheet 27C/222, dwelling 274, family 274; National Archives micropublication T9, roll 1292.
  8. [S51] Will Munson household, 1900 U.S. Census, Brazoria County, Texas, population schedule, Precinct 7, enumeration district (ED) 8, sheet 21A/143, dwelling 382, family 382; National Archives micropublication T623, roll 1614.
  9. [S38] Willie Monson household, 1920 U.S. Census, Brazoria County, Texas, population schedule, Precinct 2, East Columbia township, enumeration district (ED) 2, sheet 1A/115, dwelling 6, family 6; National Archives micropublication T625, roll 1774.