James Pearsall, Sr.

This information is contributed by Carroll Pearsall

James Pearsall, Sr. Revolutionary War Patriot

James Pearsall was born in 1750 in New Hanover County on the banks of Lewis’ Creek 
a western tributary of the N. E. Cape Fear River near present day Watha.  His father, 
Edward Pearsall died in 1762.  The widow Catharine married Thomas Routledge and the 
family moved to Golden Grove, the present site of Kenansville.  

James Pearsall served in the North Carolina Militia (voucher number 1007), Wilmington 
District, during the Revolutionary War. He was with his step-father, Col. Thomas Rutledge 
in the "Battle of Moore's Creek," and saw duty as a Lieutenant at the “Big Bridge” in New 
Hanover County on the northwest side of the N. E. Cape Fear River in 1781.  Other 
historical accounts reflect that he was a Captain in the Militia.

Continuing with public service, James Pearsall was the auditor for public claims for 
Wilmington District in 1782; one of three special tax commissioners for Duplin County 
in 1785. In a deed he gave to the County Commissioners of Duplin County, a tract of 
land containing five acres square, in which the county commissioners appointed to build 
the court house and prison. The present, 1977, court house is located on the same tract 
of land in the center of Kenansville, North Carolina. It is dated 17 January 1785, Duplin 
County, North Carolina; Deed Book 1, page 114.) He was Sheriff of Duplin County in 
1784, 1788, 1789. He was a member from Duplin County to the State Constitutional 
Conventional at Fayetteville, North Carolina on 21 November 1789. He was a member of 
the House of Commons from Duplin County in 1791 and 1793. He was a member of the 
Justices of Duplin County for a number of years, an inn keeper, and a coroner. 

James Pearsall was first married to Zilphia Uzzell of Lenior County, daughter of Thomas 
Uzzell.  Four children were born of this marriage.  His second marriage was to Feraby 
Whitfield, daughter of Constantine Whitfield and Barbara Williams.  There were no children 
of the second marriage.  Lastly, he married Anna Dickson, daughter of Joseph Dickson 
and Jane Moulton.  Seven children were born of this marriage.  James Pearsall died on 
November 12, 1812 and is buried in the Routledge Cemetery, Kenansville, NC.

The four children of the first marriage were:  Elizabeth, thought to have married an Edward 
McGowan; Edward Pearsall (1780 – 1836), who married Ann Guy; James Pearsall 
(1785 – 1859), who married Ann Carr; and Mary Pearsall who married William McGowan 
(1772 – 1860).

The children of the third marriage were:  His third wife was Anna Dickson 23 July 1775-4 
November 1837).  Her parents were Joseph Dickson and Jane Moulton, who died in 
Dickson County, Tennessee.  Anna is buried in the James Pearsall cemetery near 
Pearsall Chapel.  By her, he had Feraby Pearsall (1809-21 August 1859), who married 
1 May 1854, Dr. David Gillespie, widower of her sister, Lucy Jane Pearsall, and died in 
Leon County, Texas; Anne Pearsall (19 August 1797-14 August 1873) who married John 
Oliver 15 June 1817; Jeremiah Pearsall (21 January 1800-7 August 1871), who first married 
10 July 1821, Katherine Middleton, then 10 February 1857, Jemina Haywood Middleton;
Joseph Dickson Pearsall (1803-28 August 1828); Hugh Pearsall (1805-15 August 1839), 
who married Margaret E. Maxwell; Lucy Jane Pearsall (1808-8 November 1848), who 
married, 18 February 1835, Dr. David Gillespie; and William Dickson Pearsall 
(12 November 1812-2 April 1892), who married 26 January 1841, Sarah Whitaker.

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