|       Hillsborough County, Florida History |
1806 - 1874
Levi Pearce was born April 17, 1806 in Washington County, Georgia; son of John and Ann (Cain) Pearce. He lived in Camden County along with other members of his family during the 1820's and settled in Columbia County, Florida in February of 1831. He married on June 13, 1832 Miss Mary Jane Hooker. She was born January 17, 1818, daughter of Stephen and Elizabeth (Brinton) Hooker. Children of Levi and Mary Jane (Hooker) Pearce:
1. John Mizell Pearce, born November 17, 1834; died September 28, 1897; married on February 11, 1858, Martha Ann Lanier, daughter of Luke Pridgen and Mary (Williams) Lanier.
2. James T. Pearce, born March 15, 1836; died single in Confederate States Army.
3. William Howren Pearce, born April 8, 1838; married in Polk County on February 10, 1867, Susan Jane McKinney.
4. Thomas Coke Pearce, born May 8, 1840; died November 27, 1885 at Bartow, Polk County, Florida; married 1st, Elizabeth Catherine Weeks on February 9, 1862 in Polk County mdash; she died July 1, 1873; married 2nd, Susan J. Richardson on February 27, 1877 at Orlando, Orange County, Florida.
5. Peyton S. Pearce, born September 10, 1842; marrried in Polk County on February 2, 1868, Licentia Chandler, daughter of Shadrach M. and Adeline (Tucker) Chandler.
6. Ann Elizabeth Pearce, born April 7, 1844; married 1st, William Carney on December 22, 1859; married 2nd, Edward J. Hilliard.
7. Levi David Pearce, born February 24, 1846.
8. Stephen Irving Pearce, born February 1, 1849; married on December 2, 1875 in Polk County, Wealthy Ann Lewis.
9. Christopher C. Pearce, born January 6, 1851; died April 28, 1923; married Susan Emma Langford. Both buried at Joshua Creek cemetery in DeSoto County.
10. Jasper Glover Pearce, born June 15, 1854; married Mrs. Sallie Young.
Levi Pearce served in various military companies during the Indian Wars. He enrolled May 22, 1836 in Captain Brown's Mounted Florida Militia. The only company muster roll available is dated September 27, 1836 at Fort Lancaster and shows the company's expiration of service as September 22, 1836. This company was recognized as having been in the military service of the United States.
Levi enrolled in James Niblack's Company in Col. Mills Regiment of Florida Volunteers. He served from January 27, 1837 to June 5, 1837 and again from June 16, 1837 to December 18, 1837 when he was discharged at Newnansville, East Florida. Levi served in Pelot's Company from April 6, 1838 to July 22, 1838 and in Stewart's Company from March 6, 1841 to April 9, 1841.
Levi Pearce settled in south Florida about 1842 in Hillsborough County in the Alafia River settlement near present day Pleasant Grove. In 1843 Levi applied for land under the Armed Occupation act. The following is taken from that application:
To the Register of the Land Office at Newnansville, East Florida. Under the provisions of the Act of Congress approved on the 4th day of August, A. D. 1842, entitled "An act to provide for the armed occupation and settlement of the unsettled part of the Peninsula of East Florida."
Other land records provided by the Florida DNR — Bureau of State Lands show that Levi's land was in section 4, township 30 south, range 21 east, just southwest of Durant. The 1850 Hillsborough County census shows Levi Pearce and family living in the Alafia settlement along with these other families: Alderman Carlton, Daniel W. Carlton, Jeremiah M. Hayman and John Pearce.
TO ALL WHOM IT MAY CONCERN: NOTICE is hereby given that under the provisions of the act of Congress above cited, I Levi Pearce do hereby apply to the Register of the proper Land Office for a PERMIT to settle upon One hundred and sixty acres of unappropriated public land, lying south of the line dividing townships numbered nine and ten, south of the base line, and situated as herein described.
I aver that I am a married man, head of family, over eighteen years of age & able to bear arms and that I became a resident of Florida in the month of February in the year one thousand eight hundred & thirty one.
I aver that the settlement herein intended is not "within two miles of any permanent military post of the United States, established and garrisoned," at the time of such settlement, and that the same is not known or believed to interfere with any private claim that has been duly filed with any of the Boards of Commissioners, surveyed or unsurveyed, comfirmed or unconfirmed.
DESCRIPTION OF THE INTENDED SETTLEMENT:
Lying west of the fork of the Alifia River commencing at a blazed pine with the letters L. P. marked on it, running thence due west 160 rods, thence due north 160 rods, thence due east 160 rods, thence due south 160 rods, to the point of beginning, embracing one quarter section of pine land, said land lying about 15 miles from Fort Brooke in an easterly direction.
Given under my hand at Tampa, E. F., this seventeenth day of February 1843.
Mary Jane (Hooker) Pearce died on May 20, 1855 and was buried in Pleasant Grove Cemetery.
By 1860, Levi and his children had settled near Fort Meade in present day Polk County. Some of his neighbors were Mrs. Mary B. Lanier, G. L. Key, Solomon Godwin, William Carney, John McAlly, John & Delila Green, W. R. Hollingsworth and J. L. Skipper. On June 13, 1863, Levi along with John McAuley appraised the inventory of the estate of John Green. On June 29, 1867, Levi Pearce was one of the many buyers at the sale of the property of his son-in-law, William Carney.
Levi Pearce married Louisa (Hollingsworth) Rogers at Pine Level in Manatee County on March 18, 1866. She was the daughter of Stephen and Perlina (Fulford) Hollingsworth and the widow of William Rogers who was killed in the Civil War on December 4, 1864. His name appears in some records as "Rodgers". Levi and Louisa Pearce had two children:
11. Martha J. Pearce, born September 13, 1868; died November 21, 1894; married David Sampson Williams, son of Thomas D. and Matilda (Herndon) Williams.
12. Charles Wesley Pearce, born April 25, 1873; married Annie Bonard, daughter of C. H. and Lula (Coker) Bonard.
Levi Pearce was a Methodist minister and married many couples in pioneer south Florida. Levi died on March 25, 1874 and was buried in Pleasant Grove Cemetery. His stone reads:
"Rev. Levi Pearce 1806 - 1874
Methodist Circuit Rider
Old Hillsborough County"
On June 10, 1899, Louisa applied for a widow's pension based on Levi's military service. She was a resident of Arcadia, DeSoto County at that time. On January 2, 1900, J. S. Hollingsworth, age 52, resident of Brownville, DeSoto County and J. N. Hollingsworth, age 50, post office Arcadia provided supporting information for her claim. On January 22, 1900, John B. Bledsoe, age 39, and William E. Bledsoe, age 37, both residents of Sydney, Hillsborough County provided additional information. Louisa received a pension of $8 per month until her death on June 9, 1907. She was buried in Mount Ephraim Baptist Church Cemetery at Owens, DeSoto County, Florida.
SOURCES: "Levi Pearce" in Pioneers of Wiregrass Georgia, Volume 6, by Folks Huxford; Levi Pearce family Bible; Minute Book "B" and marriages of Polk County; Joshua Creek Cemetery; Levi's Armed Occupation Act land application: pension applications; 1850 Hillsborough County census; 1860 Hillsborough County census; Pleasant Grove Cemetery; DNR land records.
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