Sunday, December 9, 2012

Matrilineal Monday - Cora and Grace


Cora Ella Pierce

Cora Ella Pierce was born in Middleboro in 1866. She was the first-born child of Thomas Warren Pierce and Mary Ann Besse.  Cora played the piano and also became a teacher of singing. 

On June 6, 1888 at the age of 22 she married Eben Algar Richmond.  They rented an apartment that her parents owned located just behind their house.  They had one child, a son, Lysandra born on Nov 17, 1892.  For the next 23 years you catch a glimpse of her teaching others to sing.

When Thomas Warren Pierce died, Eben took over managing his father-in-law's business, the Pierce Hardware Store.  Family folklore tells us that Eben became despondent over Thomas' death.  Eben committed suicide on January 11, 1911. 

From this date on we see her very active in her music.  She put on chamber concerts that were reported as being highly pleasing.  Cora moved her studio to the Pierce Co. building where she arranged four concerts.  She put together a series of chamber concerts and sold season tickets.  At one time she conducted a summer concert series in Cotuit, Massachusetts.  In Yarmouth, MA, she had a quartet perform.  She entered the NE Conservatory of Music.  She was offered and accepted a position from a girl’s college in Maryland.   In 1913, she was enjoying teaching at Acadia College, in Nova Scotia.

Grace Gordon Pierce
Her sister, Grace Gordon Pierce, the fifth and last child was born in 1884.    Just as all her siblings before her, she too became involved in the world of music.  She was a vocal teacher and also played piano.  Grace became the Supervisor of Music for the State of Massachusetts.

 Grace was engaged to marry to a Mr. George Howard Ristine of Philadelphia, PA, who worked in a financial firm with his brother.

 A big affair was held at Cushing Hall were sixty women were in attendance. A barn dance was held in a most unusual celebration where half the women dressed in men's attire.  The symbolic pumpkin with burlesque and vines with an engagement ring attached on each leaf.  The bride occupied the first inside leaf.  For whatever the reason, the wedding never took place and Grace remained single for the rest of her life.

Grace went to work with her father in the hardware store and became very involved in the business.  Grace was the only woman at the NE Hardware Convention Association meeting.  From time-to-time she would sing at these conventions. Grace became the son Thomas needed.  His one and only son, Carl, an alcoholic, was unable to fulfill that roll. 

 Being financially able, like the rest of her siblings, she bought herself a roadster.  When her father died in 1910, she was the executor of her father's will.  As sole owner of the Pierce Hardware Store she sold it in January of 1913, but she returned to work there in May of that same year.

One entire summer she sang at the church in Marion, MA. She was a soloist at the Brockton Women's Club. Grace sang at the Bridgewater High School graduation in June of 1914. 

The pictures of the girls you may note are very similar.  The pictures were part of the advertising to promote a Minstrel Show the sisters produced together.

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