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Peirce family English background miscellany

Creation: 1968
Accession: 1095


The five generation of the Peirce family owned farmland in Kennet Square, Pennsylvania. Over time the family added recreational facilities and opened the land to the public as "Peirce's Park" now Longwood Gardens. This small collection consists of photocopies of correspondence related the genealogy of the Peirce family.


  • Creation: 1968



5 item(s)

Biographical Note

George Peirce (1659-1734) emigrated from England to Pennsylvania with his wife Ann Gainer (Gayner) (1663-1725) and three children, settling in Thornbury Township, Pennsylvania where he acquired a patent for land in 1685. In 1700, George purchased an additional 400 acres that were divided between his son Joshua Peirce (1684-1752) and daughter Betty Peirce Caldwell (1681-1757) upon his death.

Joshua Peirce (1684-1752) built homes and raised two families on his portion of land. In 1730 with his second wife Rachael Gilpin (1696-1776) Joshua built a home that still stands. It is located on the grounds of present day Longwood Gardens. When Joshua died his land and property was divided among his children, with Caleb Peirce (1727-1815) being given the home.

Caleb Peirce (1727-1815) married Hannah Greaves (1732-1790) during May of 1740, in Chester County, Pennsylvania. They had many children, of which were twins Samuel Peirce (1766-1838) and Joshua Peirce (1766-1851). The twins began planting quality trees and shrubs on the property in the early 1800’s.

George Peirce ( -1880) continued to operate the property as working farm, adding recreational facilities, and opening the area to the public. It was known as Peirce’s Park.

Early in 1906, a lumber mill was intending on cutting down several hundred acres of trees in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania. This prompted industrialist, entrepreneur, and philanthropist, Pierre Samuel "P.S." du Pont (1870-1954) to purchase 200 acres of former farmland with the intention of saving the trees. The farm had belonged to five generations of the Peirce family before falling into disrepair and off to a non-familial ownership. In 1914, du Pont completed the Peirce-du Pont house or Longwood Mansion.

In 1954, du Pont established a foundation for the arboretum and botanical gardens. American botanist Russell J. Seibert (1914-2004) was the first director of Longwood Gardens and served from 1955 until 1979.

A full Peirce lineage can be found in The Baltimore Sun (Baltimore, Maryland) Sunday, May 27, 1906.

Scope and Contents

This is a small collection of five items regarding genealogy of the Peirce family of Chester County, Pennsylvania.

Existence and Location of Originals

Originals are held in a private collection.

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Reproductions are not permitted.

Language of Materials


Related Names


Finding Aid & Administrative Information

Peirce family English background miscellany
Description rules:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description:
Script of description:

Revision Statements

  • 2020: Marsha Mills

Repository Details

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

PO Box 3630
Wilmington Delaware 19807 USA