Lieut. Gov. Benjamin Wiley Pearce (deceased). On October 8, 1870, there died at his residence in Bienville parish. Lieut.-Gov. Benjamin W. Pearce, a man possessed of a noble, generous heart, and whose deeds of heroism, generosity and manly fortitude will ever live in the minds of his countrymen.
He was born in Georgia, December 15, 1816, and was the eldest of five children. The parents were natives of Georgia, and were educated in the old common schools. The father was a farmer. Governor Pearce received the rudiments of an education in the common schools, then attended the university at Charlottesville, Va., for about two years, but, on account of failing health, left that institution and entered the college at Tuscaloosa, Ala., finally graduating from the law department. His parents were very wealthy, and he received that culture and refinement for which Southern gentlemen's eons are widely known.
Governor Pearce commenced life as a finely equipped attorney at law at Wetumpka, Ala., in 1840, and on July 21, 1842, was married to Miss Anne H. Hall, a native of Alabama, born on July 11, 1823. Mrs. Pearce had received a finished education in the female academy at Montgomery, Ala., but previously had been educated under a governess. The result of this union was the birth of six children--two sons and four daughters: Sarah H. (resides near Bienville and is the wife of H. K King, who is a cotton planter), Mary Ann (resides in Bienville, and is the wife of Dr. S. B. Du Bose, a practicing physician and surgeon), William J. (is married and resides in Shelby county, Tex., where he is a planter), Julia (died in infancy), Kate T. (resides in Sparta, La., and on April 3, 1873, she was married to B. P. Edwards, one of the legal lights of the parish) and Stephen D. (married and residing in Ruston, La., a thoroughly educated gentleman, an attorney as law, and a journalist of note).
Governor Pearce organized Company C, Ninth Louisiana infantry volunteers, during the Rebellion, and was appointed captain of the same. This was ordered first to Camp Moore, from there to Virginia, arriving a few days after the battle of Bull Run, but Governor Pearce's health gave out finally, and he was honorably discharged, returning home to serve his country in other directions.
He was an enthusiastic, energetic, liberty-worshiping patriot, who loved his country and his people, and who did all in his power to further the interests of all. He was a stalwart democrat and an active politician, using his influence for the general good. He lived in Ouachita county, Ark., 1844-48. He identified himself with the county as representative to the state legislature, and was prominent in the movement for women to secure their property rights. He removed to Franklin parish, La., thence to Alabama, and in 1881 to Bienville parish, and became a planter, ginner and miller near the present site of Bienville.
He represented Bienville parish in the legislature many years and was later a state senator. Early in the war he was elected lieutenant-governor of the state. He was tendered but refused a nomination to the gubernatorial chair and a seat in the United States senate. He was in independent circumstances before the war, but lost most of his fortune before the struggle was over. He lived and died an active and consistent member of the Methodist Episcopal church south, with which he had been connected more than forty years and in which he was a noted Sunday-school worker. Mrs. Pearce, who survives her husband, has also been a member of the same church during a like period, and is a typical Southern lady, genial and hospitable, held in the highest regard by all who know her.
Biographical and Historical Memoires of Louisiana, (vol. 2), pp. 494-495.
Published by the Goodspeed Publishing Company, Chicago, 1892.