Isaac Pearce 4th Illinois Cavalry

Margaret Jane Crandall; Jerauld County - 1883


Margaret 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 Schooling

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, Illinois.

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.

Moved West

The pioneer spirit of adventure was the reason for selling the Illinois farm and moving to a farm twelve miles from LeMars, Iowa.

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 Dakota.

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 as possible.

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 today.

Changes in the Home

The Pearce children left the home one by one to work out his or her own destiny.

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 in 1887.

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 Woonsocket.

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 October, 1943.

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 Mason.

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.

Death and Burial

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.


1844 1904

Jerauld County Pioneer

Signed--Gertrude Pearce Feige-Coursey.

Isaac Pearce

Margaret Jane(8) 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.

Notes for Margaret Jane Crandall: listed in JCC on page #110.

Margaret Jane Crandall: Burial: Pearce cemetery at Oswego, Illinois

Isaac Pearce: Burial: Pearce cemetery at Oswego, Illinois

Military service: 4th Illinois cavalry, Company C

Children of Margaret Crandall and Isaac Pearce are:

13559 i. Libbie9 Pearce.

13560 ii. Edward D. Pearce.

13561 iii. Frank Pearce, died 1913.

13562 iv. Gertrude Pearce. She married E. W. Feige; died 1936.

E. W. Feige: Occupation: physician