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Photo of Henrietta Henrietta J. Jones [Ellis Peirce Hall]

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Born:
Apr. 10, 1816
Henrietta's tombstone in Germania, Marquette Co., WI, says she was born Apr. 10, 1816. Her obituary says she was born April 10, 1816 in Lunenberg, Worcester Co., Mass. Family notes say she was born Apr. 10, 1817 in Lunenburg, Massachusetts. LDS records online match the 1817 birth year. [SOURCE: familysearch.org] Her Marquette Co., WI, death record said she was born Apr. 10, 1825. I'm inclined to believe the tombstone and obit.
Parents:
Ephraim Jones and
Jemima Barrett
Ephraim Jones and Jemima Barrett were Henrietta's parents. Henrietta's obituary said her father was Maj. Jones. Henrietta's daughter pasted a newspaper clipping dated Sept. 7, 1895 to her 1895 journal that said Ephraim Jones was her grandfather, which would make him Henrietta's father. [SOURCE: Turners Public Spirit, Lunenburg, MA] Angelina wrote in this journal that Maj. Ephram Jones [as spelled] tombstone said he died Dec. 25, 1880 at the age of 88 years and seven months. He was buried next to Jemima Barret [as spelled in the journal], his wife, who died July 7, 1846 at the age of 50.

Also buried in this cemetery were:

  • Captain William Jones, died May 15, 1854 at the age of 89 [notes left by my grandmother say that he was Ephraim's father who was born in 1765 and died July 27, 1854 - family notes and the tombstone date of death have the same year but different date; I think my grandmother confused his date of death with his wife's]
  • Susanna, his wife, died July 27, 1856 at the age of 84 years and four months - [notes left by my grandmother say that Susannah Pollard was William's wife - born in MA in 1772 with a date of death that matches this entry in the journal]
  • William F. Jones, died Jan. 26, 1854 (or 1857?) at the age of 26 years and ten months
  • Charles Gustavus Jones, died Sept. 19, 1859 at the age of 25.
  • Maria L. Mitchel, died Apr. 1870 at the age of 50 -- Angelina wrote next to this that Maria was the wife of Rev. R. Mitchel
  • Lizzie, wife of Geo. E. Jones, died May 16, 1874 at the age of 37
Marriage 1:
Rev. Joseph S. Ellis on Mar. 20, 1836
Family notes say Henrietta's first marriage was to Rev. Joseph S. Ellis. Joseph S. Ellis married Henrietta Jones of Lunenburg, int. Mar. 20, 1836. [SOURCE: Uxbridge Marriages, Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850, pg. 242]. An LDS record online says that Henrietta married Joseph Ellis on Apr. 18, 1836. Her obituary says that she was married to Rev. Joseph Ellis in 1836, who died in 1842.

Joseph's obituary confirms this marriage. He was born in the state of New York, but his family moved to Waterbury, Connecticut, when he was an infant. He attended Wesleyan Academy at Wilbraham, MA, and received a license as a preacher at age 20. He married Henrietta Jones of Lunenburg, Worcester Co., MA, in 1836. He was a preacher in Fitchburg, MA but was too sick for two years to continue preaching. He regained his strength and readmitted into the New England Conference in 1840, was ordained deacon and stationed in Sudbury, MA, and then Harvard, MA. He died on June 19, 1842 at the age of 31 and in his tenth ministry. He died of a "chronic affection of the lungs." [SOURCE: Obituary printed in the Methodist Episcopal Church Annual Conference Minutes in 1843]

Joseph's daughter Angelina wrote in her 1895 journal that she visited the grave of her father Rev. Joseph S. Ellis in Massachusetts; she wrote that he died June 19, 1842.

Marriage 2:
Abraham Peirce in 1847
Family notes say Henrietta's second husband was Major Abraham Peirce. They married on May 18, 1847. Henrietta's obituary confirms their marriage in 1847 and says she returned to Massachusetts after his death in 1853.

His tombstone in the Germania Methodist Church, Marquette Co., WI, said that Abraham was born in Lunenburg, Massachusetts, on May 25, 1800, and died Aug. 21, 1853. An LDS marriage record online confirms his 1800 birth year but says he and Henrietta J. Ellis got married on Apr. 13, 1847 in Lunenburg, Worcester Co., MA (which is about a month off from what family members wrote down). This LDS record says that Abraham Peirce's parents were Abraham Peirce and Ann Going.

Family notes add that Abraham was the grandson of Jonathan Peirce and Sarah Dodge and great-grandson of Ephraim Peirce and Esther Shedd of Lunenburg. When Henrietta married Abraham, he was a widower who had two daughters. His name is spelled as Pierce in some sources.

Another LDS record online confirms the names of his parents and his date of birth of Mar. 25, 1800 in Lunenburg. Abraham Peirce [Sr.] was born Dec. 20, 1765 in Lunenburg, Worcester Co., MA, and married Ann Going on Nov. 1791; his parents were Jonathan Peirce and Sarah Dodge.

Another LDS record online said that Abraham Peirce married Mary Turner on Dec. 6, 1821 [this record also names Abraham Peirce and Ann Going as his parents]. His children with Mary Turner were Mary A. Peirce (b. Nov. 9, 1822 in Lunenburg, Worcester Co., WI) and Martha A. Peirce (b. Mar. 13, 1824, also in Lunenburg). [SOURCE: LDS records online at familysearch.org]

For more Peirce or Pierce records, go to Peirce web page.

Marriage 3:
Benjamin Hall in 1857
Henrietta's obituary says she married Benjamin Hall in Rochester, N.Y., and in 1858 they settled in Shields, Marquette Co., now the village of Germania. Her obit says Benjamin died in 1879.

Family notes say Henrietta married her third husband, Benjamin Hall, on Oct. 28, 1857. Benjamin was born July 12, 1796. He was a preacher in Groton, Massachusetts. When his brother died in England, Benjamin inherited enough money to build a woolen mill in Montello in 1875. He and his wife formed a religious community in Germania - an offshoot of a Millerite-like group from Massachusetts (see Misc. Note below).

The booklet entitled The Community - Groton, Massachusetts: The Story of a Neighborhood (by Edward Adams Richardson in March 1911) said that Henrietta and Benjamin were married in Rochester, NY, "probably in the fall of 1856." It adds that they lived in Rochester in 1858. Her daughter (it didn't say which one) joined them in May 1858, and they moved to Germania in the fall of 1859. For a transcription of this booklet, which includes a great deal of information about Benjamin and the people who moved to Germania from Groton, go to The Community.

Benjamin is buried in Germania, Marquette Co., WI. His tombstone says he died Oct. 30, 1879 at the age of 83 years.

For additional Hall surname records, go to Hall web page.

Child 1 [father Joseph Ellis]:
Angelina Maria Ellis
b. Sept. 18, 1837;
d. Dec. 5, 1901
For more information about Angelina, go to Angelina's web site.
Child 2 [father Joseph Ellis]
Henrietta "Hettie" E. Ellis
b. 1841;
d. Sept. 24, 1864
Family notes say Hettie was born 1841 and died Sept. 24, 1864 at the age of 23. She never married and was buried in the Germania Cemetery, Marquette Co., WI. She is on the 1850 and 1860 census forms living with her mother (see census entries below).
Child 3 [father Abraham Peirce]:
Clarence Eugene Peirce
b. Dec. 25, 1850;
d. Dec. 1924
Family notes say that Clarence was born Dec. 25, 1850 and died Dec. 1924. He was a State Senator and is buried in Madison, WI, near the State Capital. He is on the 1860 and 1870 census, living with his mother and step-father (see census entry below).

An article by Elaine Reetz in the Weekend Northwestern Regional on Feb. 10, 1979 said that Clarence Peirce served as Wisconsin State Senator from 1894-98 in Madison and as Wisconsin assemblyman in 1890-94. She wrote that he was born in a "dugout home on the banks of Comstock Lake, southwest of Neshkoro."


His wife was Annetta S. Wright [as spelled]. [SOURCE: Commemorative & Biographical Record of Columbia, Sauk & Adams Counties, Wisconsin. Chicago: Ogle, 1901 - under biography of Joel Barrett Wright] Confirming this is a wedding notice in the Montello Express on Dec. 2, 1871. The wedding was held at the residence of the bride's father, on the 10th. Rev. O. S. Brown, of Oxford, married Mr. C. E. Peirce, of Germania, and Miss Annette S. Wright [as spelled], of New Chester. [SOURCE: rootsweb.com transcribed entry by Phylis]
The 1900 Federal Census in Shields, Marquette Co., WI, shows:
  • Clarence E. Pierce [as spelled] (age 49, farmer, born Dec. 1850 in Wis., married 28 years, parents born in Massachusetts)
  • wife Nettie S. (age 46, born Sept. 1853, have five children with five living in 1900, born in Mass., parents born in Mass.)
  • daughter Ruth L. (age 22, born Jan. 1878, single, born in Wis., teacher)
  • daughter Mabel H. (age 19, born May 1881 in Wis., single, stenographer)
  • son Howard W. (age 11, born Dec. 1888 in Wis.)
  • daughter Henrietta J. (age 9, born Mar. 1891 in Wis.)
  • servant Amelia Bandt (age 21, born Oct. 1878, single, born in Wis., parents born in Germany)
Clarence's daughter Henrietta J. Peirce is on the Wisconsin Births, 1820-1907, index on ancestry.com. She was born Mar. 3, 1891 in Marquette Co. [Reel 0137; Record 001575]

A news item appeared in the Montello Express on Jan. 26, 1878, saying that Dr. Reinholz of Germania got a postcard saying that Mr. C.E. Pierce is a happy man. On Jan. 23rd, a girl baby arrived at his house. [SOURCE: Transcription on rootsweb.com by Phylis]


Theodore Parker Bakke recalled that Clarence was the first person in Germania to have a car. It was a Pierce Arrow. Everyone else got around on horses or horse-drawn carriages. She remembered that Clarence got so mad once when he car wouldn't start that he kicked the tire and broke his toe. [SOURCE: Marquette County Tribune, article by Joanie Ingraham on Jan. 15, 2004 - from tape recording in Marquette County that Theodore made on July 7, 2002]
Census Record:
1850 Federal Census
Indian Sands, Marquette Co., WI
Henrietta (age 34, born in Massachusetts) appears on the 1850 Federal Census in Indian Sands, Marquette Co., WI.

I believe that Indian Sands is in or near what is now called Germania. Henrietta's son Clarence Peirce was born on Comstock Lake, SW of Neshkoro; this is likely in Indian Sands since he was born in 1850, and he shows up on the Indian Sands census that year.

Others living in the household with Henrietta were:

  • Abram Pierce [as spelled] (age 52 [first digit in age is hard to read, may not be transcribed correctly], farmer, born in Mass.)
  • A. Allice (age 13, born in Massachusetts)
  • Henrietta (age 8, born in Massachusetts)
Census Record:
1860 Federal Census
Shields, Marquette Co., WI
Henrietta (age 44, born in Mass.) was on the 1860 Federal Census in Shields, Marquette Co., WI. She was living with:
  • Benjamin Hall (farmer, age 62, real estate value $15,760, personal estate value $1,941, born in Mass.)
  • Henrietta Ellis (age 18, born in Mass.)
  • Clarence P. (age 9, born in Wis.).
Census Record:
1870 Federal Census
Shields, Marquette Co., WI
Henrietta was on the 1870 Federal Census in Shields, Marquette Co., WI (age 54, born in Massachusetts). She was living with:
  • Benjamin Hall (age 73, personal estate value $12,000, born in Mass.)
  • Claranse Peirce [first name as spelled] (age 19, clerk in store, born in Wis.)
  • Joseph Cushing (age 60, carpenter, born in Vermont, personal estate value $5,700 [hard to read the third digit; could be $5,710 or $5,770].
Census Record:
1880 Federal Census
Village of Germania, Marquette Co., WI
Henrietta Hall was on the 1880 Federal Census in the Village of Germania, Marquette Co., WI (age 64, born in Mass., father born in Mass., mother's birth place given but it is illegible although it is clearly not Mass.). She was living with:
  • boarder [first name illegible] Green (age 66, born in Mass., father born in Mass., mother born in Vermont)
  • boarder [first name illegible but looks something like Roduphs? - this is likely Rhodolphus] Parker (born in Mass., parents born in Mass.)
  • boarder Julia A. Parker (born in Mass., parents born in Mass.) [For more Parker surname records, go to the Parker web page.]
  • boarder [first name illegible] (age 6, born in Wis., parents born in Mass.).
Misc. Note:
Established a religious community in Germania
Several articles have been written about the religious community set up by Henrietta and her third husband, Benjamin Hall in Germania. Benjamin was a preacher in Groton, MA. His religious group shared some beliefs with the Millerites, including the belief in a Second Coming on a particular date. The date came and went, and the believers were not lifted into heaven when they thought they would be. Benjamin was an abolitionist, fighting against slavery. This put him at odds with the Congregational Church in Groton, resulting in a departure of about 12 church families which put together their own church.

It appears that Benjamin and Henrietta shared a passion in their beliefs. One article refers to am 1857 diary written by Henrietta [last known to be in the hands of a descendent Katherine Bradway; I haven't been able to find her]. In this diary Henrietta about beliefs that matched original Millerite thought. She was not a passive follower of her husband; she had mystical experiences and dreams that she interpreted as religious signs.

After things fell apart in Groton (i.e., they weren't swept up into heaven on the expected date), they regrouped in Germania. Richardson's booklet said that people who came in this group were Minot Leighton family (5 people), Rodolphus Parker's family (4), John H. Hartwell's family (5), Joseph Cushing's family (3), Walter Keyes and his wife, Martha Lunt, Serina Perham, Rebecca Green, Jane Howe and Julia Hale. For more Parker records, go to the Parker web page. For more Hartwell records, go to the Hartwell web page.

A very thorough article on this subject appeared in the Wisconsin Magazine of History in Fall 1999 (written by Peggy Sands). Due to copyright law, I can't post this article, but the copyright of Richardson's booklet has expired. You can read my transcription of his article at The Community.

In 1924 Clara Endicott Sears wrote in Days of Delusion (a writeup about a group who believed the end of the world was coming on a particular date): "At Groton, Massachusetts, the tension was at breaking point. This was the home town of Elder Boutelle, but as he, good man, was running with the message all the time, the leadership was in the hands of Benjamin Hall, a fire-eater in fanaticism, who was ostensibly a follower of William Miller, but who in reality disseminated some theories of his own which were wholly at variance with the latter's doctrine, the result being that the confusion of ideas in regard to what was portending was well-nigh distracting to those awaiting the end. Groton had acquired some reputation as a centre of rebellion to orthodox creeds..." Clara Sears wrote that the Richardson family had given away "all their furniture, cows, farming utensils, and money, believing that they would have no more need of anything belonging to life upon this earth." When they weren't lifted to heaven on the expected day, someone from a nearby town asked people to give back what the Richardsons gave them. Some did, but a few refused.


Benjamin Hall was a native of Westford. He moved to Groton around 1840, bought a farm (120 acres along the Shirley Road). He established his "Community", which is the name that the Millerites' neighborhood kept for a few decades after it fell apart. The first place they worshipped was destroyed by fire (Groton Center, Willowdale Road in the "Polliwog Chapel"). In 1856, Benjamin Hall moved to Wisconsin with about 25 Groton Adventists. [SOURCE: Massachusetts Historical Commission - Assessor's Sheets USGS Quad - Farmers Row document]
Died:
Dec. 12, 1893
Henrietta's tombstone in a Germania cemetery, Marquette Co., WI, shows her date of death as Dec. 12, 1893, which matches her obituary. Her death record on file in Marquette Co., said she was born Apr. 10, 1825 [this year does not match other information on her birthdate and is likely incorrect] and died Dec. 12, 1893. The death record said the cause of death was intestinal obstruction. To see more documentation, go to her obituary.

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