Jane Crandall, the second of a family of seven children
was born to Edward Wheeler Crandall and Jane Crandall
(Peck) in the city of Oswego New York, September 17,
1884. When her father was three years old, his father
died and left a family of ten children. He was raised by
Daniel and Sallie Metcalf of Albany, New York, who were
devoted friends of his parents.
It was in 1855 that
the Crandall family moved from Oswego, New York to
Joliet, Illinois, and Edward soon became a man of note
and prominence. Having served as City Attorney in 1871
and also as a member of the City Council, and later the
school board, Judge Crandall was highly regarded for his
ability and fearless independence. Death came in 1875.
His wife, Jane Peck, had four brothers and two sisters
and she lived with her brother, James Peck, while
completing her schooling at the Seminary. It was a matter
of family pride that her Grandfather Peck had served in
the War of 1812.
Early Life and
At the early age of 11
years, Margaret Jane moved with her parents to Joliet,
Illinois, and began her education in the public schools.
She excelled in art and later became a very fine painter
in oils and pastels. She also had great talent in
needlecraft. The Civil War was an interruption to many of
her hopes and plans.
Her sweetheart, Isaac
Pearce, of Oswego, Illinois, enrolled on August 22, 1861,
in the 4th Illinois cavalry, Company C and went
immediately to the front where he served his country
until honorably discharged November 3, 1864, at
Springfield, Illinois. He participated in the Battles of
Shiloh, Ft. Henry and Fort Donaldson, besides many
skirmishes. Upon his return to civilian life he engaged
in the boot and shoe business in Joliet,
Margaret Jane Crandall
was married to Isaac Pearce, at the farm home of her
beloved uncle, William Peck, near St. Charles, Illinois,
on September 23, 1866. Four children came to bless their
union: Margaret Elizabeth, known as Libbie Pearce, Edward
Daniel, Frank Ezekiel and Gertrude Irene Pearce. Libbie
was the only one born in Joliet, the other three children
were born in Oswego, Illinois, where the family had later
located on a farm near the village.
The pioneer spirit of
adventure was the reason for selling the Illinois farm
and moving to a farm twelve miles from LeMars,
The family prospered,
land increased in value, but the "Dakota Fever" was in
the air - the old pioneer spirit flared up again, and
this time Mr. Pearce filed on a Homestead and Tree Claim
three miles south of Alpena, in Jerauld County,South
In March, 1883, the
family was located in its little claim shanty. A few
choice pieces of walnut furniture and some treasures were
taken to make the home on the wild prairie as attractive
At this time the
Chicago and Milwaukee Railroad was extending its line
from Mitchell north, and the men were working very near
the Pearce homestead. Mrs. Pearce very cheerfully
consented to board the men while in that vicinity, and
how they did enjoy her good cooking.
After proving up on
the land, they moved into Alpena, where a two-story house
had been built for them. Mr. Pearce became interested in
the grain business, and remained active in the elevator
business during the remainder of his life.
After locating in
Alpena, Margaret Pearce opened wide her doors to board
and room some of the young carpenters engaged in
construction work in the village.
Hardships common to
all Pioneers were suffered and endured by the Jerauld
County settlers. Both the blizzards and the frequent
prairie fires were a great hazard.
"Maggie" Pearce as she
was known in that small community, was truly an "Angel of
Mercy", and was dearly beloved by all who knew her.
Courageous and versatile, as she was beautiful, she
cheerfully gave of herself, whenever and wherever needed.
She frequently officiated at the birth of a baby, and by
the same token of the love and interest in her neighbor,
she was present in sickness and death, to comfort and
assist. Young mothers were taught to sew and how to care
for the little ones; wedding gowns were made to adorn the
young bride, and always a smile and a cheery word for all
with whom she came in contact.
She was interested in
the school and the church, and on Sunday you could hear
her sweet soprano voice in the choir.
It was this type of
Pioneer that made South Dakota the great State that it is
Changes in the
The Pearce children
left the home one by one to work out his or her own
Libbie, the eldest,
found employment in a printing office in Huron, in 1885.
Two years later she married a promising young business
man, John A. Sauer, of Huron, at the home of her parents
Edward D. Pearce
attended the free Methodist College at Wessington
Springs. Later, he became a very successful grain dealer
and married Marian McLean, a teacher, living near
Frank went to Iowa and
became a farmer. He passed on in 1913.
In 1896, Mr. Pearce
moved to Woonsocket in order to give his youngest
daughter better school advantages. Gertrude was graduated
as valedictorian of her class in 1898. After teaching the
Houmes school, three miles west of Alpena, for one year,
she was united in marriage to Dr. E. W. Feige of
Woonsocket, a young physician. After the death of her
husband in 1936, she married Major O. W. Coursey in
Mrs. Pearce was a
member of the Presbyterian Church and a charter member of
Unity Chapter, No. 71 - O.E.S. at Woonsocket. Mr. Pearce
was a member of the McArthur Post, G.A.R., and a
They never regretted
having left the wooded state of Illinois, on the scenic
Fox River, where the Pearce generations had lived since
1833 -- for the plains of Dakota.
Maggie Pearce was a
patient sufferer for over a year, and passed on July 9,
1904 at the age of 60. Most of the time she was cared for
by Gertrude and Dr. Feige at their home in Woonsocket.
Isaac Pearce, grieved and broken in spirit, followed her
six months later, on January 15, 1905. It was their wish
to be buried in Woonsocket rather than to be taken back
to the old Pearce cemetery at Oswego, Illinois. Both were
buried from the Presbyterian church and Mr. Pearce
received military honors, and Masonic rites, and Margaret
Pearce an Eastern Star Service at graveside.
Crandall (Edward Wheeler7, Edward Wheeler6, Joseph5,
John4, Peter3, John2, John1) was born September 17, 1844
in Oswego New York, and died July 09, 1904 in Woonsocket.
She married Isaac Pearce September 23, 1866 in near St.
Charles, Illinois. He was born in Oswego, Ill, and died
January 15, 1905 in Woonsocket.
Margaret Jane Crandall: listed in JCC on page
Crandall: Burial: Pearce cemetery at Oswego, Illinois
Burial: Pearce cemetery at Oswego,
service: 4th Illinois cavalry, Company C
Margaret Crandall and Isaac Pearce are:
13559 i. Libbie9
13560 ii. Edward
13561 iii. Frank
Pearce, died 1913.
Gertrude Pearce. She married E. W. Feige; died 1936.
E. W. Feige: