Joshua Pearce1

b. circa 1735, d. 17 April 1810
Joshua Pearce|b. c 1735\nd. 17 Apr 1810|p2700.htm|Stephen Pearce||p2707.htm|Miss Lanier||p2708.htm|||||||||||||

2nd great-grandfather of George Poindexter Munson Sr.
4th great-grandfather of Laura Jane Munson.
Family Background:
Munson and Allied Families
Appears on charts:
Pedigree for George Poindexter Munson II
     Joshua Pearce was born circa 1735 in North Carolina.2,1 He was the son of Stephen Pearce and Miss Lanier.1 He married Hannah Green circa 1752 in North Carolina.1,2 He died on 17 April 1810 in Screven County, Georgia.3 His will was probated in 1816 in Screven County, Georgia.1
GEOGRAPHICAL NOTE: Effingham was an original Georgia county. Part of the Creek cession of 20 May 1733, it was organized in 1758 as the Parishes of St. Matthew and St. Philip, and re-organized by the Act of 5 February 1777 as Effingham. When Screven County was created from Effingham and Burke counties on 14 December 1793, the Pearce land fell into Screven.

     Joshua Pearce's name first appeared in Georgia records in July 1768 when he applied for 150 acres of land on Buck Creek, in St. Matthews Parish. Effingham County. In his application he deposed "That he had been in the Province of Georgia four months from North Carolina, had no lands granted to him previously in Georgia and had a wife, six children and negroes." He received a Royal grant from King George III in St. Matthews Parish in 1769. On that land the original Pearce home was built.1 He was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church and a leader in his community.2 In 1777 he was appointed Surveyor of Roads for Effingham County, and in 1778 when the Georgia Legislature passed an act under the provision of which five commissioners were appointed from each county as representatives for the colony, one of the commissioners from Effingham county was Joshua Pearce, Sr.1

     George Washington spent the night at the Joshua Pearce homestead in 1791, but there is considerable confusion over who exactly was host to the President on that memorable occasion. On 16 May 1791, Washington wrote in his diary, "Breakfasted at Russells--15 Miles from Spencers. Dined at Garnets 19 further & lodged at Pierces 8 miles more in all, 42 Miles to day." (Pierce and Pearce are synonymous.) The original diaries are at the LIbrary of Congress and are published in six volumes with annotations. The following note appears after the diary entry:
Joshua Pearce (Pierce), Jr. (d. 1810), of Effingham County was GW's host for the night. Although his father was a Loyalist during the Revolution, Pearce and two of his brothers fought with the Patriots.4
The story in print evidently originated with Agnes Tedcastle, a Pearce descendant who in her book published in 1917, The Beville family of Virginia, Georgia and Florida, related the story as told her by her maternal grandfather who was told the story by his grandfather.
One of the chiefest of these [family] traditions was how the old Joshua Pearce homestead, on the original grant from King George the Third, in St. George's [sic] Parish, now Screven County, Georgia, had been made historic and doubly dear by the visit of President Washington in the course of his memorable ride from Savannah to Augusta in 1791. Later, in 1825, Stephen Pearce, son of Joshua, entertained General Lafayette on his return visit to the South he had served so well in the closing years of the Revolution.5
The story, almost word for word and citing Tedcastle, is retold in at least two later books. While not stated specifically by Tedcastle, or in sources citing her, it is implied that old Joshua Pearce was the host, not Joshua Jr. as claimed in the annotation. Furthermore, there is some doubt that Joshua Sr. was a Tory.
In 1782, when the Assembly met in Augusta, Georgia, a sweeping act of Attainder and Amercement was passed. Many who were found named in this list aspersed as Tories were men who had positions of trust during the early years of the Revolutionary War, and were leading men in the State. Joshua Pearce, Sr., appears in this list; his property was not confiscated and after three years' military service, he was restored to citizenship. In many cases where the father was a Loyalist, the sons were Whigs, and many in these lists were not Tories or Loyalists.6
Another source, an historical marker in Screven County near the location, adds to the confusion:

"Monday, May 16th, 1791" wrote President George
Washington in his diary as he recorded the
date of his lodging in the Inn of Stephen
Calfrey Pearce, 200 yards [direction stricken from marker] of this marker.
Being forewarned, the Pearces had made lavish
preparation for the entertainment of their
distinguished guest and his party. Mrs. Pearce
was famous for her cooking and Mr. Pearce
for his story telling. The President enjoyed both
immensely and praised gratefully the hospital-
ity of the Inn Keepers who would accept no
payment from the President of the United

Stephen Calfrey Pearce was the third and youngest son of old Joshua. Both he and Joshua Jr., the second son, were old enough in 1791 to be the proprietor of an inn, but because the location was the Joshua Pearce homestead, because the elder Joshua was then a man in his fifties who lived nineteen more years, and was therefore probably the proprietor in 1791, and taking all else into consideration, it seems probable that it was the father who was host to our first President.

     Joshua Pearce made a will on 10 November 1807 in Screven County, Georgia. He mentions his wife Hannah and four children, William, Joshua, Stephen and Sarah. 1 Two children, names unknown, had apparently died between 1769 when he applied for land and 1807 when he signed his will.

Children of Joshua Pearce and Hannah Green


  1. [S418] George Mason Graham Stafford, Three Pioneer Rapides Families (Baton Rouge: Claitor's Publishing Division, 1968).
  2. [S421] Ettie Tidwell McCall, McCall-Tidwell and Allied Families (Atlanta: Walter W. Brown Publishing Co., 1931), 480.
  3. [S418] George Mason Graham Stafford, Three Pioneer Rapides Families, citing the family bible of his son Stephen.
  4. [S423] Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds., The Diaries of George Washington, Vol. VI. January 1790-December 1799 (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1979), 140. George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress, 1741-1799: The Diaries of George Washington.
  5. [S422] Agnes Beville Vaughan Tedcastle, The Beville family of Virginia, Georgia and Florida : and several allied families, north and south (Boston: Privately printed, 1917), 3.
  6. [S421] Ettie Tidwell McCall, McCall-Tidwell and Allied Families, 480, citing Vol. 1, page 332, Revolutionary Records of Georgia, 1769-1782; pages 103-105, Smith's History of Georgia.
  7. [S421] Ettie Tidwell McCall, McCall-Tidwell and Allied Families, 481.