Finding Doctor Buck Outlaw Pearce

On Monday, I visited Joe Pearce in Louisburg, North Carolina, to learn more about the Pearce family. He has done considerable research on the Pearce line and was more than eager to share.

Our common ancestors are John Pearce (b 1776, d 1831) and Rebecca Allen (b 1764, d 1869). He’s from son Archibald Washington Pearce Sr. (b 1803, d 1878) and I’m from son Plummer Day Pearce (b 1811, d 1856).

Joe is one of those individuals who can easily memorize and recite hundreds of names and dates. He also has a wealth of historical knowledge and stories, making it difficult for me to keep up. Prepared, Joe took me on field trips to visit nearby Leonard, Gill, and Pearce cemeteries.

Leonard Family Cemetery

Leonard CemeteryOur first stop was to the Leonard Family Cemetery that housed Archibald Columbus Leonard (b 1844, d 1920) and Pattie Sturdivant (b 1862, d 1942), among others. There was a hand drawn map of the cemetery that featured the name Becky Leonard and a blank grave. Joe believes Beck Leonard might be Rebecca Allen (b 1764, d 1869) and the blank grave is John Pearce (b 1776, d 1831), but is uncertain.

Doctor Buck Outlaw Pearce’s Home

pano Doctor Buck Outlaw Pearce's house

Next we visited the former home of Doctor Buck Outlaw Pearce (b 1850, d 1934), my great great grandfather. Abandoned long ago, the house was unsafe to enter but was neat to see.

Doctor Buck Outlaw PearceAbout 150 yards into the woods we found the Pearce Family Cemetery, which featured the graves of both Doctor Buck Outlaw Pearce (b 1850, d 1934) and his wife (my great great grandmother) Carolina Virginia Gupton (b 1854, d 1935).

Gill Family Cemetery

Gill CemeteryThen we were off to visit the small Gill Family Cemetery, which featured only three graves. This graveyard featured the tomb of Elizabeth Ann Pearce (b 1832, d 1910) who is my first cousin four times removed with common ancestors John Pearce and Rebecca Allen.

Archibald Pearce Cemetery

Joe Pearce after visiting Archibald Pearce

Lastly, we visited the family cemetery for Archibald Washington Pearce Sr (b 1803, d 1878). This cemetery was located out in a field and suffered from a lot of overgrowth, making it difficult to get close enough to the headstones that mark their graves. We poked our heads through thorns and brush before giving up. I captured this photo of Joe Pearce walking back from his ancestors’ tomb, which are encased in the cluster of green foliage in the top left-hand corner.

More research

When it comes to genealogical research, it seems it will never end. Meeting Joe Pearce, however, should become a big boost in my knowledge of the Pearce line. If you are a Pearce from the North Carolina area and would like to swap information, please drop me a line. I’m also interested in learning more about Alexander, Booe, Bradley, Cameron, Lentz, Maske, and Rosser lines as well.

1 Comment


  1. Congradulations on your engagement. I’m working on tracking my Pierce ancestry from Gates County, North Carolina. I was priviliged to know my great-grandmother Nancy Caroline Pierce. She was born on Feb. 14, 1891 in Sunbury, Gates County NC and died in VA in 1977. I remember asking her about family history and I distinctly remember her saying she was distantly related to President Pierce. The only old reference I’ve found for her is in the 1900 census where she shows up as 9-year-old Nannie Pierce. The reference gives her parents’ names as William and Dianah J., but I’ve been unable to find anything else about them. I found a little bit on my great-grandfather, Thomas Lassiter Pierce (no relation). He was born in 1878 and dies in 1948. Recent research has shown parents of both were spelled Pearce which only makes it more confusing since I’ve found there are about four different lines. In fact, I figured through census records that Thomas Lassiter’s father was Thomas born 1854 and Mary born 1953.

    Tim Justice Virginia Beach, VA

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