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Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs:

Index to All Families | Index to Families by County: Albany, Columbia, Fulton, Greene, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Warren, Washington

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[This information is from Vol. I, pp. 224-227 of Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs, edited by Cuyler Reynolds (New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1911). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 929.1 R45. Some of the formatting of the original, especially in lists of descendants, may have been altered slightly for ease of reading.]

Major John Jermain, of Long Island, New York, was a grandson of Ozcé Jourdain, who was born in La Rochelle, France. He married Elizabeth Coudres, born in the same city. They were Protestant in religion, and after the death of his wife Ozcé Jourdain fled with his son, Jean, to Scotland, about the time of the massacre of the Huguenots on St. Bartholomew's day, 1685. Jean Jourdain, his son, was born in La Rochelle, France, and fled with his father to Scotland; married and lived in Edinburgh. The American history begins with John, son of Jean, and grandson of Ozcé and Elizabeth (Coudres) Jourdain. The name became in the second generation in America, Jermain.

(I) John Jordan was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1729. In 1755 he came to America where he settled at White Plains, Westchester county, New York. In 1757 he married Mary Ann Daniels, of Dutch ancestors, who settled in England, later coming to New York, where Mary Ann was born in 1725. In 1776, at the outbreak of the war of the revolution, John Jordan with his family, excepting his son John, later known as Major John Jermain, removed to Saint John, Nova Scotia (now New Brunswick), where he died in 1799. The graves of John and Mary Ann (Daniels) Jordan are now covered by the cathedral in that city.

(II) Major John (2), son of John and Mary Ann (Daniels) Jordan, was born in Westchester county, New York, May 20, 1758. After the removal of his parents to Nova Scotia, he took the name of Jermain and therefore may be considered the founder of his family in this country. He was a well-educated man, located in Sag Harbor, where he had a successful business career: He removed to Sag Harbor about the time of the family removal to Nova Scotia. He is believed to have served in the Westchester county militia during the war for independence. During the second war with Great Britain, 1812-14, he was in command of the fort at Sag Harbor, one of the most exposed points on Long Island. His title of major was not ornamental, but earned by actual military service. He accumulated a substantial estate at Sag Harbor and gave hearty support to every enterprise that tended to the betterment of his adopted town. He was public-spirited and progressive, and had an extensive acquaintance throughout Suffolk county, where he was held in highest esteem. He died at Sag Harbor, February 17, 1819, leaving a will equitably distributing his property. His "beloved wife," Margaret, and three sons, were named as executors of his estate. He married, August 27, 1781, Margaret, daughter of Sylvanus and Rebecca (Lupton) Pierson, of Bridgehampton, Long Island (see Pierson VI). Children:

  1. Mary, born May 7, 1782, died at Sag Harbor, Long Island, January 28, 1811. She married, at Sag Harbor, February 19, 1800, Daniel Latham, who died at Sag Harbor, November 15, 1830.
  2. Sylvanus Pierson, of whom further.
  3. Rebecca, born October 2, 1787, died at Brooklyn, New York, November 15, 1824. She married, February 24, 1807, Colonel Alden Spooner, died in Brooklyn, November 24, 1848.
  4. Julia Ann, born January 31, 1789, died at White Plains, New York, August 24, 1874. She married, at Sag Harbor, July 8, 1808, Rev. Nathaniel Scudder Prime, D.D., died at White Plains, New York, March 27, 1855.
  5. Alanson, born February 10, 1781, died November 5, 1885. He married, at Albany, New York, January 12, 1820, Sabra Rice, died in New York City, May 13, 1841.
  6. Caroline, born January 25, 1794, died at Geneva, New York, June 18, 1877. She married, at Sag Harbor, June 9, 1812, Rev. Stephen Porter.
  7. John, born March 22, 1796, died at Detroit, Michigan, March 15, 1881. He married, at Ovid, New York, April 13, 1820, Sarah Delevan, died January 14, 1890.
  8. George Washington, born September 29, 1798, died at Geneva, New York, September 21, 1879. He married (first) January 13, 1820, Cornelia Wendell, died at Lockport, New York, September 6, 1857. He married (second) January 9, 1859, at Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Abigail P. Warner.
  9. Margaret Pierson, married Joseph Slocum, of Syracuse, New York. Their daughter, Margaret Olivia Sage (widow of Russell Sage, of New York) in addition to her many generous gifts for philanthropic and educational purposes has not forgotten to pay tribute to the memory of her grandparents in the erection of the Henry Pierson high school and the John Jermain Memorial Library at Sag Harbor, Long Island.

(III) Sylvanus Pierson, eldest son of Major John (2) and Margaret (Pierson) Jermain, was born January 31, 1784, died at Albany, New York, August 20, 1869. He settled in Albany about 1806. He was a man of the highest integrity and of untiring devotion to business, the produce and commission business, at that time so important a feature of Albany's commercial life, and he abundantly prospered. He was one of the first managers of the Albany Savings Bank, organized in 1820, and was its first secretary. With the Mechanics and Farmers Bank he was closely connected, entering its directorate early in the century. He married, at Albany, August 1, 1807, Catherine, daughter of James Barclay and Janet Barker, his wife, natives of Scotland. She died January 24, 1816. Children:

  1. Janet Elizabeth, born May 11, 1808, died July 3, 1808.
  2. James Barclay, August 13, 1809, of whom further.
  3. John Pierson, January 25, 1812, died March 10, 1835, married Frances Mallory at Troy, New York, May 14, 1832; they had one son, Sylvanus P. Jermain, born August 29, 1833; married Emily E. Franklin, of Brooklyn, New York, September 6, 1856; Sylvanus P. Jermain, died January 2, 1857.
  4. William, April 20, 1814, died November 29, 1814.
  5. Infant daughter, October 21, 1815, died three days later.

(IV) James Barclay, son of Sylvanus Pierson and Catherine (Barclay) Jermain, was born in Albany, New York, August 13, 1809. He was deprived of a mother's care when he was but seven years of age and became an inmate of the home of his uncle, Rev. Nathaniel S. Prime, by whom he was prepared for college. He entered Middlebury College in 1824 and later was a student at Yale. Ill health interrupted his studies which were later resumed at Amherst College, whence he was graduated in 1831. He chose the profession of law and was admitted to the New York bar in 1836. He was engaged in the practice of law, especially in connection with his father's estate. In 1869, on the death of his father he inherited his property, and henceforth his life was marked by an unostentatious philanthropy and by the promotion of practical Christianity. His private benefactions were many and only known to a few. He was chief founder and patron of the "Home for Aged Men," and gave the Young Men's Christian Association building, erected on a lot provided by the citizens of Albany. The Fairview Home for Friendless Children near Watervliet owes its existence to his generosity. As a memorial to his only son, he endowed the Barclay Jermain professorship in Williams College. Himself a devoted Christian, he erected for the cause he loved and as an enduring family monument the Jermain Memorial Church at Watervliet, New York, a structure of grace and beauty. His memory is lovingly cherished. Mr. Jermain's interest in these benefactions continued until his death and by will he carefully provided for their continuance. His wisdom and practical humanity were everywhere acknowledged. In 1892 Williams College conferred upon him the degree of LL.D.

He married, in 1842, Catherine Ann Rice, of Cambridge, New York, born February 27, 1823, died April 21, 1873, daughter of Colonel Clark and Ann (Hilton) Rice, both of Washington county, New York. Children of James Barclay and Catherine Ann (Rice) Jermain:

  1. Catherine Barclay, married William H. McClure, of Albany; children:
    1. Julia Jermain, died November 3, 1889, at the age of nineteen years;
    2. Archibald Jermain, married Anna Cassin, of Rensselaer, New York, and has one son, Barclay Jermain McClure, born August 30, 1900.
  2. Ann Rice, married Rev. Frederick B. Savage, of Newburg, who died in 1873. Child, Katharine Jermain, married Frederick de Peyster Townsend and had children:
    1. Marie Jermain, born June 4, 1896;
    2. Elizabeth K., August 20, 1897, died November 7, 1909;
    3. Edith, January 17, 1899;
    4. Frederick de Peyster, April 23, 1900;
    5. Katherine Savage, December 9, 1902;
    6. Marianne, September 24, 1906;
    7. James Barclay, June 12, 1910.
  3. Maria Cumings, unmarried.
  4. Julia Prime, married Robert MacCartee, of New York.
  5. Barclay, the only son, married Katharine Sophia Thayer, of Troy, New York. He died in 1882, at the early age of twenty-nine. He was a young man of fine promise and had already won the respect and confidence of his fellow citizens. He was a charter member of the Committee of Thirteen, one of the commissioners for the new building of the City Hall, and in the town of Watervliet was chairman of the committee of the Taxpayers' Association which carried on a vigorous and successful fight against corrupt administration of the town finances. He was at one time director in the Young Men's Christian Association. While interested in whatever related to Albany's improvement, Mr. Jermain dearly loved his home in the country, the house on the Troy and Albany road, where his father and mother took up their residence in the first year of their marriage and where all their children were born. The original house was built by General Worth.

(The Pierson Line)

Henry Pierson, of Southampton, Long Island, and Rev. Abraham Pierson were brothers, sons of Abraham and Christian (Johnson) Pierson, of Shadwell, parish of Stepney, Middlesex, England. The family were of considerable distinction and had been honored by their sovereign, as shown by their armorial bearings: Arms: Three suns in pale, or, between two palets erminois. Crest: A demi lion proper, holding in the dexter paw a sun, or. Motto: "Mea spes est in Deo." (My hope is in God.)

(I) Abraham Pierson, of Middlesex, England, born 1590, married, July 31, 1615, Christian Johnson, widow, and had children:

  1. Abraham, born 1616, graduate of Trinity College, Cambridge, England, 1632, A.M.; came to New England in 1639; settled first in Lynn, Massachusetts; resident of Southampton, Long Island, 1640-47, Brandford, Connecticut, 1647-66; Newark, New Jersey, 1666. A strong, useful character and a leader among men, of whom much is written.
  2. Henry, of whom further.

(II) Henry, son of Abraham and Christian (Johnson) Pierson, was born in England, in 1618, came to New England with Rev. Abraham Pierson in 1639, settled with him at Lynn, and at Southampton in 1640. He was clerk of Suffolk county, Long Island, 1669, holding the office until 1681. He was, like his brother, a man of deep piety, strong religious convictions and scholarly attainments. They labored together for temporal and spiritual betterment until Rev. Abraham Pierson removed to Brandford in 1647. From that time Henry was the leader in his town and shares the honor of being a founder of the public school system of America. He married Mary, daughter of John Cooper, of Lynn, Massachusetts. John Cooper came from England in the "Hopewell," in 1635, aged forty-one, with his wife, Wibroe, and four children:

  1. Mary, aged thirteen;
  2. John, ten;
  3. Thomas, seven;
  4. Martha, five years of age.

Children of Henry and Mary (Cooper) Pierson:

  1. Abigail, born 1649;
  2. Henry, of whom further;
  3. Joseph, 1656;
  4. Benjamin, removed to New Jersey;
  5. Theodore, born 1669; Sarah.

(III) Colonel Henry (2), son of Henry (1) and Mary (Cooper) Pierson, was born, at Southampton, Long Island, 1652. He was well educated and rose to great prominence in the colony of New York. He was elected to the general assembly of the province of New York, and was successively re-elected for several terms. He served on important committees and did much in shaping legislation and laying the foundations of the colonial and state laws. He was speaker of the house from 1690 to 1695, and the peer of the great public men of his period. He married Susannah, daughter of Major John Howell, and granddaughter of Edward Howell, who came with his family to Boston in 1639; settled on Long Island, 1640, where he was a magistrate and member of the Connecticut general court (Southampton then being under Connecticut jurisdiction). Major John, son of Edward and his wife Frances, was baptized November 22, 1624. He was a man of distinction and was entrusted with the management of much public business. By his wife Susannah he had eleven children, of whom Susannah was the sixth. The Howells were a knightly family of North Wales ancestry. Their coat-of-arms was: "Three towers triple towered, argent." Crest: Out of a ducal coronet or, a rose argent, stalked and leaved vert, between wings endorsed of the last." Children of Colonel Henry (2) and Susannah (Howell) Pierson:

  1. John, born November 30, 1685;
  2. David, 1688;
  3. Hannah;
  4. Theophilus, 1690;
  5. Sarah;
  6. Abraham, 1693;
  7. Josiah, of whom further;
  8. Mary.

(IV) Josiah, son of Colonel Henry (2) and Susannah (Howell) Pierson, was born 1695. He was a farmer with no ambition for public or military life. He had four wives and eleven children: Silas, Matthew, Sylvanus, of whom further, Paul, Timothy, Josiah, Joseph, Benjamin, John, Martha, married Stephen Jagger; Susannah, married David Hodges.

(V) Sylvanus, son of Josiah Pierson, was born March 2, 1725, died at Bridgehampton, Long Island, August 23, 1795. He married Rebecca, daughter of David Lupton, of Boston, Massachusetts. Children: Rebecca, Margaret, Sally, Margaret.

(VI) Margaret, daughter of Sylvanus and Rebecca (Lupton) Pierson, married, August 27, 1781, Major John (2) Jermain (see Jermain II).

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