Biography of Addison H. Pearl
Erie County, OH Biographies

ADDISON H. PEARL. One of the native sons and honored and influential citizens of Erie County to whom it is specially gratifying to accord representation in this publication is Capt. Addison H. Pearl, who is now living virtually retired in the fine little City of Huron and whose is a commanding place in popular confidence and esteem. It was represent his native county as a gallant soldier and officer of the Union in the Civil war, and his entire life has been dominated by the same spirit of loyalty and the same integrity of purpose that thus prompted him to go forth in defense of the integrity of the nation. All of consistency is shown in the following appreciative estimate that has been given by one familiar with the life and services of this sterling citizen: "Captain Pearl is one of those intellectual, reliable citizens whom the public loves to honor and whose good deeds and kind acts are imperishable and will perpetuate his memory in the minds of the people long after his life's work has been finished."

Captain Pearl is not only a representative of one of the fine pioneer families of the historic Western Reserve of Ohio, but is a scion of a family that was founded in New England in the colonial era of our national history, the lineage tracing back to staunch English origin and one of the representatives of the name having been a soldier in the warfare against the great Napoleon.

On a pioneer farm in Berlin Township, Erie County, Ohio, Addison H. Pearl was born on the 24th of March, 1830, and concerning conditions that then obtained in this section of the state it has well been stated that he was born "at a time when not a single railroad crossed this part of the country, when nearly the entire land was covered with dense forests, and the pioneers were engaged in ditching the swamps and felling the giant forest trees, Captain Pearl having become one of the toilers as soon as he was old enough to work."

Captain Pearl is a son of Oliver and Mary (Sexton) Pearl, both natives of Ellington, Tolland County, Connecticut, where the former was born November 10, 1791, and the latter December 5, 1795, their marriage having been solemnized in their native county In the year 1811. There they began their wedded life in a modest home on a typical little New England farm and to the cultivation of the soil Oliver Pearl there continued to give his attention for eight years, at the expiration of which, in 1819, he traded his Connecticut property for 100 acres of heavily timbered land in what is now Berlin Township, Erie County, Ohio, the township having at that time borne the name of Eldridge and Erie County having been still an integral part of Huron County. He obtained also forty acres of land at the mouth of the Cuyahoga River, and this tract is now a part of the City of Cleveland and of immense value.

In the autumn of 1819 Oliver Pearl provided himself with a proper pioneer equipment of teams and wagons and made ready for the long overland journey from Connecticut to his new home in the wilds of Ohio, this primitive means having been employed in the transportation of his wife and three children and the small stock of household goods and minor farm implements. After weary weeks of travel under frequently most onerous conditions, the family arrived at the little pioneer farm at the mouth of the Cuyahoga River, but the prevalence of malarial fever in that locality led the sturdy pioneer, in consonance with the advice of established settlers there, to continue his journey through the forest to his other tract of land, now one of the fine agricultural domains of Erie County. To make his way to this land Mr. Pearl was compelled to fell the timber for a considerable distance, in order to permit the passage of his teams and wagons, and on the journey he and his family had occasion to pass through the Indian village that was established on the site of the present Town of Milan, eight miles distant from his old homestead. Making a small clearing on his land, Mr. Pearl there erected a primitive house of round logs, which was replaced as soon as possible with a more pretentious dwelling of hewed logs, the providing of which caused him to be looked upon in the pioneer community as a citizen of opulence. The Huron Indians in the vicinity were in the main friendly and it was no uncommon thing for them to call at the homes of the white settlers and ask for food or other entertainment. The conditions and exigencies of the pioneer days have been often told in story and historic record, and it is unnecessary in this article to attempt to enlarge upon this topic. With the effective aid of his sturdy sons, Oliver Pearl reclaimed much of his land to cultivation, and here he continued to reside on his old homestead until after the birth of his tenth child, his death having occurred May 25, 1835, and his name meriting enduring place on the roll of the honored and influential pioneers who initiated and carried forward the arduous work of development and progress in Erie County. Mr. Pearl was a consistent member of the Methodist Church, was instant in kindly deeds and good works, and commanded the high regard of all who knew him, both he and his wife having been prominent in the organization of the pioneer congregation that erected the little Methodist chapel of the neighborhood, and Mrs. Pearl, who long survived her honored husband and passed to eternal rest on the 5th of May, 1884, continued a zealous and devoted member of this chapel until the time of her demise. Of the children all attained to years of maturity except Jerome, and concerning them the following brief data are given:

Oliver S. died in 1883 and left a family of children; Ansel H. died in 1832, at the age of twenty two years, he having been a mechanical genius and having been employed as a patterumaker in Cincinnati at the time of his death, his young wife surviving him; Mary A. was a young woman at the time of her death, in 1843; William married and became a farmer in Erie County, whence he later removed to Lorain County, where he continued to be identified with the same vocation until his death, in 1883, his widow having survived him by a number of years and their three sons being still residents of this state; Emeline became the wife of Joseph Ellis and they were residents of Hersey, Osceola County, Michigan, at the time of their death, three children still surviving them and being residents of that state; Albert died while making a trip through the pine forests of northern Michigan, was twice married and is survived by a number of children; Manilla became the wife of Stewart Young, both being now deceased and being survived by children; Addison Ii., of this review, was the next in order of birth; Harriet, whose death occurred in 1907, was the wife of Deforest Simpson, and of their three children one son and one daughter survive them; Jerome died. in early youth.

As previously intimated, Captain Addison H. Pearl early gained in connection with the work of the pioneer farm a full fellowship with arduous toil and endeavor, and after the death of his father he assisted in caring for his widowed mother with all of filial solicitude and devotion. Touching his early educational advantage the following statements have been written: "In winter he attended the subscription schools of the locality and period and his alert mind and close application enabled him to make rapid and assured advancement in scholastic lore, so that by the time he had reached manhood his store of learning was very thorough for his day and has since enabled him to hold his own with the men of intellectual power and broad information."

About the time he attained to his legal majority the construction of the line of the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railroad was being carried forward through this section, and Captain Pearl obtained employment under the overseer of this construction work, in 1852, this executive, Mr. Wackman, having later become general superintendent of the railroad mentioned. Captain Pearl was finally assigned to the supervision of the construction of an eight mile section of the road, and after severing his association with railroad work he resumed his connection with agricultural pursuits. When the Civil war was precipitated he subordinated all personal interests to tender his aid in defense of the Union, and his record as a soldier will inure to the lasting honor of his name, the fortune of war having not left him unscathed, as he lost the sight of his right eye through injury effected by an exploding shell. Concerning his military career and later activities a succinct narrative has been prepared and is well worthy of reproduction, with but slight paraphrase, in this publication, the context being substantially as follows:

"In 1861, on the 4th day of September, his patriotism found dominating manifestation in his enlistment as a private in the Third Ohio Cavalry. Entering the service, he proved to be brave, judicious and skillful in times of danger, and his ability was recognized by his superior officers by consecutive promotions accorded to him. He was first appointed assistant commissary of subsistence, by Colonel M. Paramore, commanding the brigade, and afterward he served on the staff of Colonel Long until he was promoted to the rank of captain, Colonel Long having succeeded to the command of the brigade. With marked distinction Captain Pearl served in command of his company, which he led in many a dangerous and sanguinary conflict. He was twice captured, but on each occasion his coolness, courage and tact enabled him to escape confinement in a Confederate prison. He was once severely wounded by a bursting shell, and the physical infirmity entailed remains as a tangible mark of his gallant service in perpetuating the integrity of the nation. For eight months Captain Pearl was in charge of the fort barracks and supply station at Columbia, Tennessee. He continued for a protracted period a member of the staff of General Long and for two years and nine months was in active service as a commissioned officer in the United States Army, his serious wound having finally incapacitated him and resulted in his honorable discharge, his period of service having covered three and one half years.

"After the close of his distinguished military career Captain Pearl returned to his old home in Berlin township, but it was long after the war before his strength and vitality were sufficiently restored to enable him to return to the labors of civil life. He finally resumed his fruitful activities as an agriculturist and stock grower, and his industry and good management were not denied their reward. He assumed charge of the old home place, where he continued his services until after the death of his loved mother. While thus engaged in the management of the old homestead the Captain took an active interest in political affairs, as a staunch and well fortified advocate of the principles and policies of the Republican party. At that time Erie county claimed a definite Democratic majority and the Republicans had little show for the election of their candidates. In 1879 Captain Pearl reluctantly accepted the Republican nomination for representative of his native county in the State Legislature. He made an aggressive canvass and this effective work, as coupled with his unqualified personal popularity, enabled him to overcome the Democratic majority normally given, his election having been compassed by a majority of 201 votes. During his two years of service as a member of the lower house of the legislature Captain Pearl made a characteristically excellent record, with loyal efforts to promote wise legislation and with assignment to various important committees, including that on fish and game, and he was made chairman of that body."

Since 1906 Captain and Mrs. Pearl have maintained their residence in the fine little City of Huron, and it may with all of consistency he said that in their native state their circles of friends is limited only by that of their acquaintance. In 1898 Captain Pearl erected his present attractive and modern residence, and the home is a center of generous and gracious hospitality, with Mrs. Pearl as its popular chatelaine. The captain is affiliated with the lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons at East Townsend, Huron County, near the old home farm, and at Huron he is one of the most appreciative and honored comrades of Moses Martin Post No. 649, Grand Army of the Republic, of which he is serving as chaplain in 1915. Both he and his wife hold membership in the Presbyterian Church.

In Huron County, on the 19th of September, 1865, Captain Pearl wedded Miss Thirza B. Hyde, who was born in that county on the 11th of December, 1840, and who was a representative of a well known pioneer family. Mrs. Pearl was summoned to the life eternal on the 30th of April, 1892, and of the children of this union all are living except Emily L., who died in early youth; Ada is the wife of Dr. Edward D. Arndt, a representative physician at Mount Vernon, Ohio, and they have three children - Louisa, Loma and Mary; Edwin S. is advertising agent for the Fairbanks Scale Company in the City of St. Louis, Missouri, and his three children are Priscilla, Mary and Edwin S., Jr.; Allen S. is secretary of a company engaged in the manufacture of electrical supplies in the City of Chicago, and his children are Gertrude, Allen S., Jr., and Elizabeth; William H. is a traveling salesman for the Illinois Electric Company and he and his wife maintain their residence in the City of Indianapolis, Indiana; they have no children; and Augusta A. is a professional and graduated nurse.

On June 12, 1894, was solemnized the marriage of Captain Pearl to Mrs. Eliza I. Murphy, widow of Matthew Murphy and a daughter of Capt. Austin A. Kirby, a distinguished and venerable citizen to whom an individual tribute is paid on other pages of this publication. Mrs. Pearl first wedded George Kirby, who though of the same family name was not of even remote kinship, and after his death she became the wife of Matthew Murphy, whose death occurred a number of years ago. Mrs. Pearl's only child, Anna M Kirby, died in infancy.

Captain Pearl has within recent years accorded careful and efficient service in the office of justice of the peace, and he made the same justify its title. He has found also satisfaction and occupation in his service as a pension agent, and his abiding interest in his old comrades in arms has been manifested in the earnest and effective efforts he has put forth in securing pensions for not a few old soldiers meriting such recognition and by obtaining merited increases of pensions for other veterans of the great struggle through which the unity of the nation was preserved. The captain has had no desire for supine ease even in the period of his virtual retirement from active business, and as a notary public he has found much demand for his interposition, besides giving personal attention to the making of collections.

A Standard History of Erie County, Ohio
By: Hewson L. Peeke
Assisted by a Board of Advisory Editors
The Lewis Publishing Company Chicago and New York 1916

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