John Pearsley 1839 -1915
Born the youngest of six brothers into what was probably a poor family, John, nevertheless appeared to grow strong and adversity made him stronger. Their father died first in 1847, and then their mother went six years afterward. John would have been only 13 at the time. Two of his older brothers, Joseph, nearly 20, and James (age unknown) decided to emigrate in 1853, taking John along. They came to the New England states where John grew to manhood.
"According to the Adjutant General's report, Joseph's company arrived at Pittsburg Landing [Shiloh], April 6, 1862, and was hotly engaged in that battle through April 7, 1862 losing Major Levanway and 15 men killed and 112 men wounded." Joseph was one killed on 7 Apr 1862 as stated in the proving of the will. Thus John lost what must have been the only father figure in his life since he was seven. However, by then he was nearing twenty-two, strong and hard-working. He must have maintained himself as a good citizen, for in January of 1868, he applied for and was granted U. S. Citizenship.
In 1870, while still living in Illinois, John and Susan had a little girl, Martha, always called Mattie. Before Mattie was very old, John and Susan left Illinois to take up lands near the town of Vesta in Johnson County, Nebraska. There a son, Adolphus Orison, was born on August 10, 1872.
Widowhood and Remarriage:
According to a family story, Arthur and Mattie did not get along with their step-mother and went for a time to live with relatives out of the area. The two must have returned shortly after this move, for Mattie met Peter J. Becker and married him in 1893 in Cass County, and Arthur married (1896) Ravina Etta Pell, a resident of Cass County.
In the late winter of 1915, John became ill with a recurring stomach ailment. After heart trouble entered the picture, John knew the end was near and expressed as much. He was a devout Christian man and stated that he "was fully prepared and anxious for the end to come." During his last days, John's jovial nature showed itself when he requested that his friends be admitted to his room to greet him. John wanted no display after his death, and in deference to his wishes, there was no funeral service. On a Sunday evening, his remains were taken to the train depot and relatives accompanied them to the village of Vesta where he was laid to rest beside his beloved first wife, Susan.
It was said of John that he was "one of the most highly esteemed citizens whose motto was to do right at all times and in all things and wrong nobody. People who knew him, said that he'd always strictly followed that policy and that he'd used his influence always for the betterment of his associates.
By Julia Pearsley Ryden