Regular visitors to this weblog know that Robert’s great grandfather was the man who was shot by the man who was shot by Billie the Kid. This week Carole Pierce Gardner unearthed another Pierce family brush with greatness.
Eliphalet Pierce was Robert’s great-great-great grandfather. Was, that is, until he was struck in the forehead “with a certain board of the value of six cents” by one Peter Parker. Peter confessed, and, after witness testimony, inquests and jury verdicts in Menard County, Illinois, was found guilty of manslaughter. He was sentenced to 60 days in jail. Later he won a pardon.
This bit of history is interesting for at least two reasons.
1. Peter Parker was defended by a lawyer named Harris who was a member of Abraham Lincoln’s law firm.
2. A man named Alanson Pierce testified in the case. This is the first we have heard of Alanson Pierce. It is suspected that he is a son of Eliphalet Pierce.
Note that any relation between the defendant and Spider Man is conjecture at this point.
If you are wondering about the name Eliphalet, note that the boy’s name Eliphalet is of Hebrew origin, and its meaning is “God delivers me.” Eliphalet was one of David’s sons.
Here’s a transcription of the court papers.
Manslaughter trial of Peter Parker who killed Eliphalet Pierce
Trial of Peter Parker for the murder of Eliphalet Pierce
August 1845 – June 1846
Subpoena ID 12910State of Illinois, Menard Countyss
The People of the Sated of Illinois to the Sheriff of said County, greeting.
We command you to summon Dabney Hall, William Hall, and John N. Hall if they can be found in your county, to be and appear before the Circuit Court of said county, on the first day of the next Term thereof, to be holden at Petersburg in the County aforesaid, commencing on the 2nd Monday of June next, then and there to give evidence and the truth to say in behalf of the Defendant in a certain matter of controversy pending in said Court wherein the People of the State of Illinois are Plaintiff and Peter Parker is Defendant; and this you are not to omit under the penalty of the law: and of this writ make legal service and due return.Witness Nathan Drysn? Clerk of our said court at Petersburg this 12 day of May 1845, the seal of said court being hereto affixed.
Judges Criminal Docket ID 12918
The People vs Peter Parker, indict. For manslaughter
Harris [Abraham Lincoln’s name appears faintly under Harris name on this entry]
Inquest Jury verdict ID 12912
State of Illinois Menard County
We the undersigned Jury of inquest called upon by the coroner to which the body of Eliphalet Purse found dead in this county on the 28th day of August 1845 do find the following verdict to wit that the said Purse did come to his death by blows inflicted upon his head by Peter Parker of the same county with a board about 4 feet long 6 inches wide 2 inches thick at one edge and 1 inch on the other Given under our hands this 29th day of August A D 1845
Harry Riggin –
Foreman, Nicholas Tice, John Tice, Henry Miller, Wm. Turner, Thomas Gilman, David Bagadnoll ? Wm. H. McLenore, Charles B. Hall, Alexander Page?, A. ?, J. C. Leonard
Writ of capias ad satisfaciendum ID 12913
State of Illinois, County of Menard }}ss
The People of the State of Illinois to and constable of said county and to the keeper of the common jail of said county.
Whereas Peter Parker has this day come before the undissigned, a justice of the peace within for the county and sate aforesaid, and confessed that he yesterday the 28th day of August AD 1845, he struck Pierce with a clapboard, of which blow he is informed the said Pierce has since died; and the said Peter Parker has also surrendered himself in custody to be dealt with according to law. These are therefore to command you the said constable to convey the said Peter Parker to the common jail of said county & deliver him to the keeper thereof: and you the said keeper are herby required to receive and safely keep the said Peter Parker in your custod in said jail for further examination, and until he shall be discharged by due course of law
Given under the hand and seal of said justice this 29th day of August AD 1845, Nathan Drysn, justice of the peace
Witness Recognizance Bond ID 12915
State of Illinois, County of Menard }}ssBe it remembered that on the 30th day of Aug AD 1845 John N. Hall and Alba Hartwell came before Nathan Drysn a justice of the peace of said county and each of them acknowledged himself to owe to the People of the State of Illinois the sum of fifty dollars, to be made and levied of his goods and chattels, lands and instruments, to the use of the said People if default shall be made in the condition following: The condition of this recognizance is such that if the said John N. Hall and Alba Hartwell shall severally appear at the next term of the circuit court to be held in and for the county of Menard to give evidence in behalf of the said People against Peter Parker for manslaughter committed upon the body of Eliphalet Pierce at will to the grand jury unto the petit jury, and do not depart the court without leave then this recognizance to be void, otherwise to remain in full force.
Taken & Subscribed before the undersigned, the day & year first above written, Nathan Drysn, J.P.John N. HallAlba [his mark] HartwellClerks Docket ID 134383rd day – cause continued – Defendant with Solomon Parker, John N. Hall, & Cornelius McCarty as surietes notarized in the sum of $300.
To appear at next term.
Indictment ID 12916
Of the November Term of the Menard Circuit Court in the year of our Lord Eighteen hundred and forty fiveState of IllinoisMenard County}} The — Jurors chosen — and sworn in and for the County of Menard in the name and by the authority of the people of the State of Illinois upon then on the present that on the twenty eighth day of August in the year foresaid at the County and Sate aforesaid Peter Parker then and there not having the fear of God before his eyes, but having moved and seduced by the instigations of the Devil [? ] and arms in the County aforesaid in and upon one Eliphalet Pierce in the peace of the people then and there being feloniously and willfully and unlawfully did make and assault and that the said Peter Parker with a certain board of the value of six cents which he the said Peter Parker in his right hand then and there had and held the said Eliphalet Pierce in and upon the forehead of him the said Eliphalet Pierce, then and there feloniously and willfully and unlawfully did strike giving to the said Eliphalet Pierce then and there with the board a foresaid upon the forehead of him the said Eliphalet Pierce one mortal wound of the breadth of three inches and of the depth of one inch of which said mortal wound the said Eliphalet Pierce from the said twenty eighth day of August in the year aforesaid until the twenty ninth of the same month of August in the year aforesaid at the county and sate aforesaid did languish and languishing did live on which said twenty ninth day of August in the year aforesaid at the county aforesaid Eliphalet Pierce of the said mortal wound died and so the Jury aforesaid in the name and by the authority by aforesaid upon their oaths aforesaid do say that the said Peter Parker the said Eliphalet Pierce in manner and form foresaid feloniously willfully and unlawfully did kill, contrary to the form of the statute in such case made and from and against the peace and dignity of the said people of the state of Illinois: Campbell, atty.Indictment Cover:Menard CircuitPeople } Indict Peter Parker for Manslaughter – A True BillMorley Whipple – Forman of the grand jury Witness names:Nelson HallAlanson Pierce [unknown relationship, he may be a missing son ] – – Hartwell [no doubt is Alba Hartwell]Dabney HallWm. HallCordelia Pierce [Eliphalet Pierce’s daughter]Jno. N. HallDort.
Eaty Clerks Criminal Docket ID 12917
No. 11, The People vs. Peter ParkerIndict. For manslaughter Order ID 12919
Petersburg, Wednesday Nov 5th, 1845The People of the State of Illinois vs. Peter ParkerIndictment for ManslaughterThis day came the People by the Attorney General and the Defendant in proper person, and by consent this cause is continued: and therefore the Defendant, and Soloman Parker, John A. [N.] Hall and Cornelius McCarty, as his sureties, in open court, jointly and severally acknowledge themselves to owe and be indebted to the People in the sum of three hundred dollars, to be levied of their respective goods and chattels, lands and instruments if default be made in this condition, which is that said Defendant shall personally appear on the first day of the next term of this court to answer to the indictment proferred against him in this cause, and abide the order of the court thereon, then this recognizance to be void, otherwise in full force –
Petition for Pardon ID 89428
To Thomas Ford, Governor of the Sate of IllinoisThe undersigned ask for the interference of your Excellency to pardon Peter Parker who was on the 9th day of June 1846 at the county of Menard found guilty of manslaughter – we are strongly of opinion that it is one of those cases where execution clemency can be interposed with the greatest propriety – he has been sentenced by the judge of this court to 60 days imprisonment in the county jail – from this sentence we hope your Excellency will grant a liberation & and as in duty bound your petitioners will [our ?? y].Minnas L. Harris – Attorney [Lincoln’s office], Nathan Drysn – Clerk of court, A. A. Rankin – Sheriff, T. M. Reed?, Shon. S. Elmons?, John T. Stuart,
Amos Ritter Juror, James Moore, Wm. Moore, Jacob Williams, Wm. H. Duncan, Jonathan Lounesberry?, John A. Walker, Wm C. Barnet,
C. W. Ballard – juror, C. Pimf, Ten?A. Annett, E. Potter, David Waldridge – juror, Charles Carmon – juror.
Subpoena order ID 12911
The People vs. P. Parker}Indict for ManslaughterThe clerk of Menard Cir. Co. will please issue sub[poena] for Dabney Hll, Wm. Hall, and John N. Hall [?] witnesses and [?] to the
sheriff of said co[unty]. – Harris M. L [attorney]Subpoena ID 12914State of Illinois, Menard County}}The People of the Sated of Illinois to the Sheriff of said County, greeting.We command you to summon Dabney Hall, William Hall, John N. Hall and Cordelia Pierce if they can be found in your county, to be and appear before the Circuit Court of said county, on the first day of the next Term thereof, to be holden at Petersburg in the County aforesaid, commencing on the 2nd Monday of June next, then and there to give evidence and the truth to say in behalf of the Defendant in a certain matter of controversy pending in said Court wherein the People of the State of Illinois are Plaintiff and Peter Parker is Defendant; and this you are not to omit under the penalty of the law: and of this writ make legal service and due return.Witness Nathan Drysn Clerk of our said court at Petersburg this 14th day of May 1846, the seal of said court being hereto affixed.
Clerks Docket ID 15270
The People vs Peter ParkerIndict for ManslaughterJury:Gregory Lukins, David Waldridge, Charles Carman, John Watkins, A. W. Goodpasture, C. W. Ballard, J. A. Powell, A. K. Riggin,
Anno Ritter, John A. Walker, Wm. Legg, Sam’l. WebbVerdict – GuiltySentence – 60 days imprisonment in the county jail.
Order ID 12920
The People of the State of Illinois vs. Peter ParkerIndictment for manslaughter
This day came the People by the Attorney General pro. Tem. and the said Defendant in proper person and by his attorney and the Defendant having been furnished with a copy of the indictment herein and a list of the jurors and witnesses, and being arraigned for plea to the indictment, says he is not guilty as charged therein, and for his trial puts himself upon the country and the People by the Attorney General pro. Tem. do the like and thereupon came a jury to wit, Gregory Lukins, David Waldridge, Charles Carman, John Watkins, A. W. Goodpasture, W. C. Ballard, J. A. Powell, A. K. Riggin, Anno Ritter, John M. Walker, William Legg, and Samuel Webb, who being elected tried and sworn will and truly to try the issue joined herein and after hearing the evidence adduced as well on the part of the People as on the said Defendant, and the arguments of counsel, for verdict say, we the jury find the Defendant guilty as charged in the indictment: and it appearing to the satisfaction of the court the said Defendant is under the age of eighteen years, It is ordered and adjudged by the Court that the said Defendant, Peter Parker, be imprisoned in the common jail of said county for the period of sixty days, and that he pay the costs of this prosecution –Petersburg, Tuesday June 9th, 1846.
Order ID 12921
The People of the State of Illinois vs. Peter Parker
Indictment for manslaughterThis day the Grand Jury returned into court an indictment in the above cause, endorsed a true bill – Wesley Whipp, foreman.