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Mercer Girls Links

Mercer's Maids
A genealogical & historical sketch of 11 young ladies that traveled from Massachusetts to Washington Territory in 1864
The Voyage West
A description of the voyage west of the Mercer Maids
Asa Mercer's letter to the New York Times
A letter to skeptics describing Asa's reasons for taking women from Massachusetts to Washington Territory

Josie & Georgia Pearson


Josie & Georgia Pearson made the trip to Washington Territory with Asa Mercer accompanied by their father, Daniel Pearson. Daniel had been a supervisor in the Cotton Mills in Lowell, Massachusetts until the on-set of the civil war. In 1864, being unemployed and in ill health, Daniel decided to make the trip west. He took with him his two oldest daughters, Josephine and Georgianna, leaving behind until he was settled, his wife Susan, son Daniel and youngest daughter Flora.

Daniel had a head for business, so when he realized that there were several men scheduled to be on the ship that were gold prospectors going to California, and that they were taking with them not much more than the cloths on their backs, he convinced them to allow him the use of their trunks. He filled the trunks with shoes & boots which he bought in at $2-3 a pair. When he arrived in Washington Territory he peddled the footwear from house to house, up and down the Black, White and Duwamish River valleys. Selling each pair for $10-20. The payments were made in hard money (gold & silver) so after the war, when paper money was worth only about 53 cents on the dollar, he sent the money back east and made a handsome profit.

Susan Josephine "Josie", the second child born to Daniel and Susan (Brown) Pearson, was born December 16, 1843 in Lowell, Massachusetts. After her arrival in Washington Territory she was engaged to teach school in Coupeville, on Whidbey Island. A little over three months after Josieís arrival, on August 24, 1864, she died suddenly one evening, while walking to her home after teaching school. She was buried in the Sunnyside cemetery at Coupeville.

Georgianna, "Georgia", was the fourth child of this family and was born on October 28, 1848 in Salmon Falls, New Hampshire. After her sisterís death, Georgia and her father moved into the Admiralty Head lighthouse on Whidbey Island where he became the lighthouse keeper and she his assistant. On October 2, 1867 Georgia married Charles Townsend Terry (born Feb. 26, 1835 in New York). The wedding took place in the lighthouse parlor. By this time Georgiaís mother, brother and younger sister had joined Georgia and her father on Whidbey Island. (They made the trip to Washington Territory with Asa Mercerís second group in 1866).

Georgianna and Charles Terry had five children, all born in Coupeville. They were; Blanche Clifton born March 18, 1871, Never married William Engle born April 6, 1874, married Kcenia Herrett Belle Lute born January 24, 1876, married Jay Robb Grove Case born September 18, 1877 Inez born August 15, 1879, married S. T. Calhoun Georgia died in Coupeville, Washington Territory, on April 23, 1881 and is buried in the Sunnyside cemetery.

Some Additional Notes on the Pearson Family

Daniel Orlando Pearson, the third child, born on April 11, 1846 in Lowell, Massachusetts, to Daniel and Susan Pearson, fought with the Union army, Sixth Massachusetts Regiment, in the Civil War. In 1867 he sent to Lowell, Massachusetts for his sweetheart, Clara Stanwood. After their marriage they moved to Centerville, Washington Territory where Daniel established a trading post (one of the few that did not have a tavern attached). When, in 1878, postal confusion prompted a name change for the town of Centerville, Daniel named the town "Stanwood," in honor of his wife. Daniel died January 9, 1929 and was buried with military honors in the Lutheran cemetery at Stanwood. Flora Augusta Pearson was the fifth child, born October 20, 1850 in Salmon Falls, New Hampshire, to Daniel and Susan Pearson. She made the trip to Washington Territory in 1866, along with her mother and brother, when Asa Mercer returned east for a second time to bring single ladies to Washington Territory. Flora kept a journal of the voyage and it is now in the possession of her granddaughter, Mrs. Jack "Betty" (Engle)Engstrom of Greenbank, Washington. When Georgianna was married Flora took over as assistant lighthouse keeper and for thirteen years kept the lighthouse reports. During that time Flora dropped the "e" out of the word Coupeville and it wasnít until many years later that the government corrected it to its original spelling. Flora also taught piano to the children in the area having brought her piano around the horn on the voyage from the east. She married William B. Engle on May 8, 1876 in Victoria, BC. After honeymooning in San Francisco they returned to Coupeville where they raised their family. Flora died March 7, 1935 in Coupville and is buried in the Sunnyside cemetery.