Harris & Pearson's Office as depicted in a 97 year old catalogue print
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A History of the Harris & Pearson Families

Kindly Contributed by Steve Pearson

John Pearson, 1808 - 1878

John Pearson was born 1808 in Brierley Hill, almost certainly at his father’s house, ‘The Orchard’, near what is now Wallows Road. It is not known where his education took place, but as his youngest sibling, George, attended university to study mining engineering it can be guessed that John, and his other brothers – for all were involved in the same trade – followed a similar route.

John’s first business venture was as a partner in the firm ‘Hall, Holcroft & Pearson’, a company operating coal mines in the Brierley Hill area. Mr. Hall was probably the Henry Hall who took over one of the ironworks at the 'Old Level' in Brierley Hill, which had been leased from the Earl of Dudley, at the dissolution of the partnership, and the other partner was James Holcroft. Some time later, John became a partner in ‘J & W Pearson’ with his brother William, who had begun his working life as a clerk in his fathers business (‘Parrish & Pearson’) - they also owned and operated mines in the area. In 1860 the two brothers, now very wealthy in their own right, founded another company named after their respective eldest sons, presumably with the intention that these two sons would run, and probably take over the business. This was ‘E J & J Pearson’ named for Edward Jewkes and John Pearson. Surviving documents record payments made to Edward Jewkes Pearson for his work as an agent for the company, although it seems he was also a director of the company, and several other documents eg Trade Directories list both Edward Jewkes Pearson and his cousin John Pearson as proprietors. It seems there was later a problem and Edward Jewkes Pearson later resigned his directorship and his father and uncle retook control of the business, inviting Williams son-in-law, John William Thomas to become a partner.

John, by virtue of his knowledge of the mining industry, seems to have been one of the first people to have realised that the same coal seam which lies under the Black Country reappears near the ground surface in the Clee Hills in Shropshire. An article written by C A G Thomas (a descendant of William Pearson) which appeared in ‘The Blackcountryman’ (the Journal of The Black Country Society) outlines how John and his brother were able to take advantage of this knowledge.

John married Ann, the daughter of Edward Jewkes, another Brierley Hill Coal and Ironmaster, at Sedgley Parish Church in 1830. At this time he was living in Gorsty Bank var. spellings (now Bank Street), Brierley Hill, near to the Methodist Church founded by his father. In later years he lived at ‘Townsend House’, Market Street, Kingswinford (on the junction with Summerhill) – at his death in 1878 this house passed to his son Dr Alfred William Pearson who carried on his medical practice there until his death in 1920.

Methodism stayed with John throughout his life. In addition to being a Trustee of Bank Street Church he was also a Sunday School Teacher there for most of his adult life. In later years he provided a loan to purchase land for the building of another Methodist Church in Moss Grove, Kingswinford. When the Trustees of this new church tried to repay this loan John refused to accept it.

John died in 1878 and was interred in the Parish Churchyard at Wordsley, near to the main doors of the building. His wife, Ann, is buried with him, and their son Dr Alfred William Pearson is in the adjacent grave. He left a vast and valuable estate consisting of mines not just in the Black Country but also in Shropshire. In addition he was a partner and co-owner of ‘E J & J Pearson’ as mentioned above, with the additional fireclay mines etc. associated with this venture. His will, because of it’s extent, took over twenty years to settle, and involved a Lawsuit in Chancery involving his descendants.

A History of Harris & pearson Families

The Early Pearson Family of Kingswinford

The Will of Joseph Pearson(1735-1807)

Joseph Pearson(1776-1840)

The Will of Joseph Pearson

The Parrish Family

John Pearson (1808-1878)

George Pearson (1821-1899)

Stourbridge Industry - E.J & J. Pearson Limited

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