12 January 2016

Memory Eternal: My great grandfather Pierson Still


My great grandfather with my cousins, Ken & Beth.
Today is the day my great grandfather - Pierson George Still – passed away in 1977. I was just shy of eight when he died. I don’t recall how my parents told me of his passing. I don’t remember his funeral service but I do recall his burial. That winter was a frigid winter. I remember people talking about the possibility of postponing the burial until the ground thawed enough to dig.

The Farmer’s Almanac shows the temperature in nearby Coatesville the day of his funeral was just 21.9 degrees. There was a reported three inches of snow on the ground as well. The wind speed that day registered between eight and 11 MPH.

The cold wouldn’t have bothered him though. He and my Uncle Jim (his elder son and my maternal grandfather’s brother) took a farming / ranch job out in Colorado for a few years. Uncle Jim had gone West first as an employee of King’s Ranch. My great grandfather joined him sometime between 1935 and 1940. By 1940, he was a farmer on rented land in Clark, Routt County, Colorado.

Prior to then, he lived in Unionville, East Marlboro, Chester County, where he had raised my grandfather, Lloyd Pierson Still, and my Uncle Jim (James Franklin Still) essentially on his own.  His wife, Mary Kilpatrick, had died in 1916 from complications due to childbirth. That male child was stillborn. They also lost two daughters early on.

Pierson and Mary met outside Philadelphia. He was self employed as a blacksmith and would go down to the Main Line to tend to some customers. She was a domestic who had relatively recently arrived from Ireland. (The 1910 Census shows that she immigrated in 1907.) The two were married in 1908. The next year a daughter – Margaret Nora – was born. Sadly, she died in 1910. In September of 1910, Uncle Jim was born. He would survive his father by two years.
All but my grandfather are buried here together
at Doe Run Presbyterian Cemetery

In February 1913, their second daughter – Dorothy Helen – was born. She died within a month. My grandfather – Lloyd Pierson – was born in 1914. He lived until 1993. On 17 February 1916, the day Mary died, the family suffered the loss of a stillborn son.

He did, as per the 1920 Census, have a housekeeper to help with the boys. My grandfather spoke of her every so often, remembering her fondly. Her name was Edith L Maltby. She was 33 in 1920. While she was born in Pennsylvania, her parents had both been born in England. At that time, my grandfather would have been five and my uncle was nine.

The 1930 Census shows Edith Maltby, 47 now, still the housekeeper. However it also shows she was born in England too, listing her immigration year as 1913. Uncle Jim is not living there in 1930. It is just PG, my grandfather, and Edith. The census also notes that PG is no longer a blacksmith but rather a farmer on a poultry farm.

He was the eldest child of Franklin Still and Sarah Jennie VanHorn. He had five siblings. Born 16 March 1886 in East Fallowfield Township, Chester County, Pierson lived almost a century. He was just shy of his 91st birthday when he died. He was buried at the Old Doe Run Presbyterian Cemetery in East Fallowfield with his wife.

May His Memory Be Eternal.

© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2016
Locations listed are located in Pennsylvania (USA), unless otherwise noted in post.