Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999. Virtualology.com warns that these 19th Century
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PEIRCE, William, ship-master, died in New Providence, Bahama islands, in 1641. He was master of " The Ann " in 1623, afterward of " The Mayflower," and of " The Lyon," and was shipwrecked in Virginia in 1633. In 1638 he carried captive Pequot Indians to the West Indies for sale, and brought back negro slaves from the Tortugas, which was the first slave traffic in New England. He met a violent death. Peirce was the author of the first almanac printed in the English-American colonies (Cambridge, 1639).
PEIRCE, William Shannon, jurist, born in New Castle, Delaware, 3 September, 1815 ; died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 4 April, 1887. He was descended from Abraham Peirce, an early Plymouth colonist. He was educated in his native town and in the high-school at Philadelphia, and engaged in mercantile pursuits. A few years later he studied law with Charles Chauncey, was admitted to the bat' in Philadelphia in 1845, and won reputation in his profession. He was an earnest advocate of emancipation, and was the counsel of the slave in nearly every fugitive-slave case that occurred in Philadelphia under the fugitive-slave act of 1850. The last important case was the great Dangerfield case, in which trial he and his colleagues argued before the court and jury from the opening of the court in the morning until sunrise the next morning. He took an active part in public affairs, and in 1856 was a delegate to the convention that nominated John C. Fremont for the presidency. In 1866 he became a judge of the court of common pleas in Philadelphia, which office he held by subsequent elections until his death. I n 1886 he had been chosen by both parties for a term of ten years. He took an active part in founding the Woman's medical college in Philadelphia.
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