Polperro Family History
The PEARCE family of Polperro
Generations of the Pearce family lived on the Lansallos side of Polperro during the 17th century, some later settling at Crumplehorn, the hamlet just inland from the harbour. One of these was Joseph Pearce, the son of Joseph and Elizabeth Pearce, born in November 1754. He was a nineteen year old fisherman when he married Susannah Johns in 1774 and, like many other seafaring young men in Polperro at the time, played an active part in the privateering and smuggling activity carried on at the time. He was among the 70-strong crew of the Good Intent, a big three-masted sloop that had been fitted out for privateering voyages, when she captured a valuable Spanish prize vessel in 1781.
Joseph's son John, born in 1792 at Crumplehorn, became a carpenter and, after his marriage to Christian Sleep in 1815 moved with his family to the Plymouth area and later to Surrey. Christian died in January 1829 shortly after giving birth to her fifth but stillborn child and John remarried Philippa Minards, a widow from Polperro.
The couple had a daughter Philippa in 1831 and a second child, Joseph in 1833 before moving back to Crumplehorn with their family. Joseph enlisted in the army at the age of 19, married Emma Moggridge and went off to fight in the Crimea war. When he returned, the couple emigrated to Australia, sailing from Liverpool aboard the Arabian with 377 other emigrants. Three months later they arrived in Melbourne where they settled.
John Pearce (1792-1876) with his daughter Philippa.
Today, several generations and branches of the same Pearce family live in Australia where they continue to proudly commemorate their Polperro ancestry.
Further information on the family would also be welcomed.
Jeremy Rowett Johns, Polperro Heritage Museum © 2000