Home  |  Purpose  |  Historical Society History  |  Join Us  |  Contact Us    

banner
Programs
newsletter
map
Pioneers
Pineapple Patch Gift Shop
Florida Historical Society beach
St. Lucie County Regional History Center
Port St. Lucie Historical Society
Fort Pierce Historic Preservation Board
St Lucie Logo
St. Lucie FLGenWeb Project
Seminole Wars Historic Foundation
White City Improvement Club

Other Links:
Zora Neale Hurston
Indian River Community College Treasure Coast Genealogical Society



Become a Fan of Saint Lucie Historical Society

Lt. Col. Benjamin K. Pierce


Miley's Memos
by
Charles S. Miley
News Tribune Editor Emeritus

This article first Published 5/7/1978


How much do we know about Lt. Col. Benjamin K. Pierce, U.S.A.?

For most of us, nothing except that- perhaps- he was commanding officer of old Fort Pierce, one of a string of forts which the army erected in Florida during the Seminole Indians wars.

And, possibly, that Fort Pierce was named in his honor.

Well, there's a lot about his distinguished career that we can learn now, and that without much trouble or effort.

The Indian River Community College Historical Data Center has published a biographicl book about him.

Its name is "Our Worthy Commander - The Life and Times of Benjamin K. Pierce, in whose honor Fort Pierce Was Named."

The book, an 82 page volume containing many drawings of forts, maps, pictures and copies of original letters and documents pertaining to Lt. Col. Pierce's life and career, is on sale at the college bookstore in Koblegard Student Union, Indian River Community College, and the price is $7.95.

The volume is by Louis H. Burbey, a retired newspaperman-historian from Birmingham, Mich., who became interested in Pierce when he began writing a series of articles on the origin of the street names of his home town. There was a Pierce street and a nearby Pierce school. A frequent visitor to Florida since 1913 and knowing of Fort Pierce, he wondered if there might be any connection between Pierce in Michigan and Fort Pierce in Florida. Further inquiries led him to James Halbe, a Fort Pierce boy, son of L.W. Halbe, who had also done extensive research on Benjamin K. Pierce. "An exchange of information, references and documents resulting in an exceptionally detailed accumulation of facts which were extended into this complete and authentic biography," according to the preface of Burbey's book.

And extensive research it must have been, for the book carries a world of such information.

Pierce came from a distinguished family, dating back to the original immigrants. His father, Benjamin II, participating in the battle of Bunker Hill and other engagements, remaining in service eight years.

There was a sister from the elder Pierce's first marriage, four sons, of whom Benjamin K. was the first, and three daughters from the second marriage, to Anna Kendrick.

The elder Pierce was a member of the New Hampshire Legislature for 13 years, later governor for two terms, and a colonel in Hillsborough County militia. The second of Benjamin brothers, Franklin, served in Congress as a representative, then senator, as a brigadier-general in the U.S. Mexican War, and became the 14th president of the United States.

Benjamin Kendrick Pierce was born in Hillsborough, N. H., Aug 29, 1790.

He entered Dartmouth college at the age of 17 and continued in that institution for three years, after which he began the study of law. After two years and with the imminent outbreak of the War of 1812 with Great Britain he enlisted in the regular army as a lieutenant of artillery.

From that time on during the 38 years of his military career, he participated in several engagements, served as commanding officer of various forts, and was assigned to other responsible duties, in all of which he served with distinction. He died in New York City April 1, 1850, at the age of 59 years and six months.

Col. Pierce's personal life was to a considerable extent one of tragedy and anxiety. He was married three times, each of his wives dying after a few years of marriage. His first marriage was in 1816 to Josephine La Framboise, of Mackinac Island, Mich., daughter of wealthy and prominent fur-traders. He was 26, she 21. Two children, a daughter and son, were born to them. Mrs. Pierce died in childbirth in November, of 1820, at the age of 25, and the son died a few days later.

Three years later, the then Capt. Pierce married Amanda Boykin in Shasta, Alabama. A son and three daughters were born to this union. The second Mrs. Pierce died in January, of 1831. And thus, at the age of 41, Pierce, who meantime had been promoted to major, found himself a widower with a motherless family of five children.

The third marriage was to Louisa A. Read, in Baltimore, Md., which took place in 1838, seven years after the death of his second wife, when Pierce was 48. She died in January of 1840, apparently while Col. Pierce was stationed at Plattsburg.

The welfare of his motherless children and his inability to care for them properly as he was shifted srom place to place, and financial problems that seemed to have beset him in his later years were all a source of constant anxiety to Pierce.

So much for the personal life of Lieut. Col. Benjamin Kendrick Pierce, for whom Fort Pierce was named.

As to his 38-year military career, it was distinguished, and is recounted in some detail in "Our Worthy Commander," but we shall not endeavor to go into it.

Few, if any of us, were aware that during the course of his career he had three different assignments in Florida, of which the Fort Pierce assignment was third.

The first assignment was to Fort San Carlos de Barrancas, Pensacola, in the late fall of 1821 following ratification of the treaty in 1819 whereby the United States purchased Florida from Spain. That and other forts were established to protect the new land and the many miles of gulf coastline. It apparently was while he was stationed there that he married his second wife, Amanda Boykin.

His second Florida assignment was to Fort Defiance, near Micanopy, in August of 1836. The Indians, under the leadership of Osceola, were on the war trail again and had massacred Major Frances L. Dade and his command. At nearby Fort Drane, Pirce's command engaged and routed a considerable force under the leadership of Osceola.

There was also a lively engagement in the Wahoo Swamp region south of the Withlacoochee River Cove, in which Florida's governor, General Richard K. Call, was the commanding officer. The Indians were routed and Col. Pierce was highly commended bt Gen. Call.

Then followed other assignments, one of which was to inspect military roads in Michigan.

The third Florida assignment- the one in which we are most involved and interested- came the latter part of 1837, at a time when Indians who refused to be banished from their beloved native land to the West were again threatening trouble.

To quote from "Our Worthy Commander":

"On Dec. 28, Lt. Powell, commander of a naval detachment, sailed south on the Indian River (from the Haulover) to select eligble sites for depots. On the eve of Dec. 29, Col. Pierce issued orders that the regiment should be in readiness to embark at 2 in the morning. By daylight we were all aboard, " quoting the journal of Dr. Jacob R. Motte, army surgeon accompanying the expedition, to whom we owe further accounts of the expedition and the history of our old Fort.

"After quietly gliding all night down the river, they joined Lt. Powell at the Indian River Inlet on the afternoon of Dec. 31. On Jan. 2, the blockhouse of palmetto logs was erected and dubbed Fort Pierce, after "Our worthy commander" (from which the title of our book), Lt. Col. Benjamin Kendrick Pierce, commander of the First Regiment of Artillery."

It would hardly be fair to the publishers of our book to go into further details of the doings at and from the fort of Fort Pierce. They are most interesting and certainly of great local historical significance. We suggest that you get a copy of the book and read it for yourself.

At any rate, Mr. Burbey is to be highly commended for gathering and writing the biography of our Lt. Col. Pierce, and Indian River Community College Historical Data Center for publishing it in book form.

("Our Worthy Commander" is copyrighted and extracts and references in this article are used by permission of the publishers).


Reprinted by permission of the Tribune.
"Miley's Memos" is the property of the Tribune and reproduction of this material is expressly forbidden without the prior written permission of the Tribune 2002.

BACK TO TOP


The St. Lucie Historical Society, Inc. is a nonprofit 501c3 corporation dedicated to encouraging the study and preservation of the history and artifacts of the region.

michael kors bags Seahawks Jerseys cheap foamposites aqua foamposites aqua michael kors metallic silver 5s jordan 4 teal foamposites mirror Tom Brady Jersey lady liberty 10s jordan 7 marvin the martian foamposites red october chicago 10s foamposites aqua for the love of the game 7s jordan 7 marvin the martian lebron 12 all star jordan 4 teal lebron 12 court vision jordan 4 oreo Seahawks Jerseys New England Patriots jersey sale jordan 4 laster jordan 5 metallic silver jordan 7 for the love of the game metallic silver 5s ftlog 7s marvin the martian 7s lebron 12 all star foamposites red october chicago 10s jordan 4 laster Russell Wilson Jersey Seattle Seahawks New England Patriots Jersey cheap jordan 7 marvin the martian Tom Brady Jersey jordan 10 chicago jordan 7 for the love of the game New England Patriots Jersey cheap Tom Brady Jersey New England Patriots jersey jordan 7 for the love of the game foamposites all star jordan 7 ftlog foamposites all star jordan retro 3 for the love of the game 7s Russell Wilson Jersey youth lebron 12 all star metallic silver 5s ftlog 7s nike kd 7 aunt pearl ftlog 7s foamposites red october jordan 7 ftlog Russell Wilson Jersey Seahawks Jerseys cheap metallic silver 5s jordan 7 marvin the martian New England Patriots jersey sale jordan 7 marvin the martian laster 4s jordan 7 for the love of the game nike free run ftlog 7s Seahawks Jerseys jordan 4 laster jordan 4 oreo New England Patriots Jersey michael kors bags michael kors jordan 4 teal foamposites mirror jordan 7 marvin the martian jordan retro 3 jordan 10 lady liberty Seahawks Jerseys cheap jordan 10 lady liberty New England Patriots jersey sale louis vuitton outlet bulls over broadway 10s jordan 5 metallic silver lebron 12 all star jordan 10 chicago seahawks super bowl jerseys nike kd 7 wings michael kors bags chicago 10s chicago 10s patriots super bowl jersey jordan 5 metallic silver jordan 7 for the love of the game marvin the martian 7s laster 4s foamposites dark obsidian metallic silver 5s nike kd 7 wings foamposites dark obsidian jordan 10 chicago jordan 3 foamposites aqua foamposites aqua jordan 10 chicago for the love of the game 7s oreo 4s Seahawks Jerseys cheap marvin the martian 7s louis vuitton outlet foamposites all star laster 4s chicago 10s foamposites metallic gold louis vuitton outlet jordan 4 laster jordan 4 laster jordan 4 teal lady liberty 10s lebron 12 court vision jordan 4 oreo New England Patriots jersey nike kd 7 aunt pearl metallic silver 5s Rob Gronkowski Jersey jordan 10 chicago foamposites all star Seahawks Jerseys cheap lady liberty 10s New England Patriots jersey sale michael kors outlet New England Patriots Jersey louis vuitton outlet jordan 10 chicago New England Patriots louis vuitton outlet jordan 7 ftlog Tom Brady Jersey youth ftlog 7s nike free run jordan 10 lady liberty jordan 5 metallic silver metallic silver 5s jordan 4 oreo metallic silver 5s jordan 10 lady liberty marvin the martian 7s foamposites metallic gold foamposites red october Seahawks Jerseys cheap jordan 7 marvin the martian jordan 7 marvin the martian teal 4s jordan 4 laster jordan 4 oreo Tom Brady Jersey marvin the martian 7s jordan 10 chicago jordan 3 for the love of the game 7s foamposites red october jordan retro 7 coach outlet jordan 7 jordan retro 7 legend blue 11s canada goose retro jordans legend blue 11s coach outlet beats by dre cheap jordan retro 7 nike nike canada goose outlet canada goose outlet retro jordans jordan 7 canada goose outlet retro jordans Michael Kors outlet louis vuitton outlet nike free run moncler jackets louis vuitton outlet moncler jackets moncler jackets jordan retro 12 sac louis vuitton coach outlet louis vuitton outlet beats by dre cheap coach outlet beats by dre cheap jordan retro 12 louis vuitton louis vuitton sac beats by dre cheap beats by dre cheap nike free run louis vuitton outlet canada goose jordan retro 7 Michael Kors outlet jordan 7 canada goose canada goose outlet air jordans Michael Kors outlet legend blue 11s coach factory canada goose legend blue 11s jordan retro 7 canada goose outlet Michael Kors outlet coach outlet legend blue 11s jordan retro 11 jordan retro 7 nike moncler jackets coach outlet moncler jackets louis vuitton sac louis vuitton outlet louis vuitton nike free run jordan 12 jordan 12 jordan retro 12 moncler jackets nike air max beats by dre cheap uggs outlet beats by dre cheap beats by dre cheap jordan retro 12 jordan retro 12 uggs outlet jordan retro 12 Michael Kors outlet Michael Kors outlet canada goose outlet Michael Kors outlet nike Michael Kors outlet beats by dre canada goose canada goose outlet jordan retro 11 coach factory canada goose outlet Michael Kors outlet canada goose nike canada goose outlet canada goose outlet jordan retro 7 beats by dre cheap canada goose outlet louis vuitton sac nike air max coach outlet louis vuitton outlet coach outlet louis vuitton outlet nike air max moncler jackets nike free run uggs outlet beats by dre cheap uggs jordan retro 12 louis vuitton outlet nike free run sac louis vuitton louis vuitton outlet louis vuitton outlet nike air max beats by dre cheap michael kors outlet jordan retro 4 jordan 4 michael kors outlet jordan 4 jordan 4 air jordan 4 legend blue 11s air jordans jordan 4 jordan 11 michael kors outlet michael kors outlet uggs outlet michael kors outlet michael kors outlet jordan 11 legend blue jordan retro 4 jordan retro 11 canada goose uggs outlet jordan 11 legend blue jordan 7 french blue michael kors outlet red cements 10s louis vuitton outlet uggs on sale jordan 7 french blue jordan 11 legend blue louis vuitton outlet louis vuitton jordan retro 11 louis vuitton outlet jordan retro 11 michael kors outlet uggs outlet jordan 11 michael kors outlet michael kors outlet michael kors outlet jordan 11 jordan 7 french blue jordan 11 air jordan 4 michael kors outlet louis vuitton outlet michael kors outlet uggs on sale jordan retro 11 louis vuitton outlet jordan retro 11 jordan retro 11 jordan 11 jordan retro 4 legend blue 11s jordan retro 13 jordan retro 11 jordan 11 jordan retro 4 air jordan 4 canada goose sale michael kors outlet jordan 11 legend blue legend blue 11s jordan 11 jordan retro 11 louis vuitton outlet canada goose sale michael kors outlet michael kors outlet michael kors outlet uggs outlet jordan 13 louis vuitton outlet jordan 11 jordan retro 4 michael kors outlet michael kors outlet canada goose sale jordan retro 4 oreo 4s jordan 11 air jordan 4 jordan 11 jordan 10 red cements air jordan 11 jordan 4 jordan 4 jordan retro 11 uggs on sale french blue 7s michael kors outlet louis vuitton outlet air jordan 4 jordan retro 11 michael kors outlet jordan 11 jordan 4 jordan retro 4 jordan retro 7 michael kors outlet uggs outlet air jordans jordan retro 11 louis vuitton outlet michael kors outlet louis vuitton outlet jordan 4 oreo jordan 4 michael kors outlet jordan retro 11 french blue 7s michael kors outlet jordan 11 louis vuitton outlet jordan 7 french blue michael kors outlet jordan retro 11 jordan retro 4 jordan 11