James Pearsall, Sr

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 Cpunty 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.

Back to NC Patriots Page