James L. Pierce, my 3rd great grandfather, was born about 1820 in Nantucket, Massachusetts.
He married Elvira W. Brayman about 1841, most likely in Providence, Rhode Island.
Next, I learned that Elvira re-married to William A Corey on 8 Feb 1849 in Windham County, Connecticut.
On the 1850 US census for Cumberland, Providence, Rhode Island I found William and Elvira Cory, and children of James and Elvira: Marcus M Pierce age 7, Mary L V Pierce age 5, and Ellen T Pierce age 4.
I confirmed that James and Elvira were the parents of the children on Ellen T. Pierce's death record (above).
I spent more than forty years trying to learn what happened to James L Pierce -- did he die or divorce Elvira?
In 2014, I finally discovered a record in the National Archives that shows he enlisted in the US Army and died at Sea on the way to fight in the Mexican-American War in 1847.
Why did James L. Pierce join the Army in 1847
Perhaps the answer is in a family legend my grandmother Bailey told me… she always said we are related to President Franklin Pierce (1804 – 1869). He was the 14th President of the United States (1853–1857). Franklin Pierce became a Brigadier General in the Army during the Mexican–American War.
General Franklin Pierce from the United States Library of Congress
Did James L. Pierce, a farmer from Rhode Island, join the Army to fight in a far away war at the urging of Franklin Pierce a relative? I'll probably never have the answer to that question, but the probability is strong.
The death of James L Pierce was just the beginning of tragedy that followed this family for the next 35 years.
See Cowboy Legacy -- The short, tragic life of Marcus Pierce