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Finding aid to the Pierce Family Letters to William Pierce, 1853-1855, SFH 218
SFH 218  
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  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Related Materials
  • Biography
  • Scope and Contents
  • Arrangement

  • Title: Pierce Family Letters to William Pierce
    Date (inclusive): 1853-1855
    Collection Identifier: SFH 218
    Creator: Pierce family
    Physical Description: 1.0 folder
    Contributing Institution: San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library
    100 Larkin Street
    San Francisco, CA 94102
    (415) 557-4567
    Abstract: Letters to a San Francisco tinsmith from his family in Greenfield, Massachusetts.
    Physical Location: The collection is stored onsite.
    Language of Materials: Collection materials are in English.


    The collection is available for use during San Francisco History Center hours, with photographs available during Photo Desk hours. Collections that are stored offsite should be requested 48 hours in advance.

    Publication Rights

    All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the City Archivist. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the San Francisco Public Library as the owner of the physical items.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Pierce family letters to William Pierce, 1853-1855 (SFH 218), San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library.

    Related Materials

    Researchers are encouraged also to see: Pierce family papers, Henry N. Flynt Library, Historic Deerfield, Deerfield, Massachusetts, 01342.


    The recipient of the letters, William Pierce, was born in Northampton, Massachusetts in 1828, the son of George and Olive Pierce. George had three siblings: John, Phebe, and Samuel. George would later marry Luryan Long, and Phebe Anne was one of two children born to them. John’s daughter, Anna Feron, married Theodore Dehone Judah. Phebe never married, nor did Samuel. The Pierce family was known for their pewter, tin and other metalwork. William went to California during the Gold Rush, and worked as a tinsmith while living in San Francisco 1852-1855. Returning to Greenfield, he married Ellen Coates in 1856 and moved to Iowa in the 1860s. He returned to Greenfield, and died there in 1868.

    Scope and Contents

    Letters to William Pierce, tinsmith, while he lived in San Francisco. The letters relate news of Greenfield, Massachusetts and surrounding areas and discuss family matters and finances. William's stepmother, Luryan, is mistrusted by other family members for her opportunistic ways. There are scattered references to William's work and income in San Francisco, as well as to the possibility that others from Greenfield will join him. The trial of Merrick Billings of Greenfield for forgery is mentioned in two letters. Some letters mention Judah and Ann (Theodore Dehone Judah and his wife): at the time, Judah was employed by the Sacramento Valley Railroad.


    Letters are arranged chronologically within folder.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Judah, Theodore D.(Theodore Dehone), 1826-1863
    Pierce, William, (William E. R.), 1828-1868 -- Correspondence
    Pierce, Luryan, 1812-1871
    Pierce, Phebe, (Phebe Anne), 1844-1897
    Pierce, Phebe, 1796-1858
    Pierce, Samuel, b. 1812
    Greenfield (Mass.)--History--19th century.
    Greenfield (Mass.)--Social life and customs--19th century.