Updated: Feb 5, 2019
Dea. John Pearson was born in England about 1616. In early records, the name was often spelled Pierson, Person or Peirson. He came to America with his wife, Dorcas, in 1643.
According to the informative book written in his memory, "Four generations of the descendants of John and Dorcus Pearson of Rowley, Massachusetts in 1643", by Noreen C. Pramberg, 1994, "some references give his English home as the Parish of Essex, while others maintain he came to England from Picardy, France."
John Pearson's genealogy is included in "Thurston Genealogies", written by Brown Thurston, 1892, because John's son, Benjamin, born Feb. 1658, married Hannah Thurston, daughter of Daniel Thurston. In the book, the following information about John Pearson is given on pages 12-13:
John and Dorcas first settled at Ipswich, Massachusetts, but removed to Rowley, which had been founded by Rev. Ezekiel Rogers and about twenty families who came from Hull, England in 1639. John's family came with fifteen other families who arrived at Rowley soon after. John Pearson's family was among them. He took the Freeman's Oath on May 26, 1647.
John Pearson brought with him from England the machinery for a mill and cedar posts for the mill dam. He probably found the Mill River, a branch of the Rowley River, in Rowley to a better location for his mill dam than Ipswich. He established his mill near Philip Nelson's grist mill. Pearson's mill spun a high quality dressing cloth which his account ledgers from 1672 to 1688 show he sold or traded his cloth to all but one of the 104 families in Rowley at the time. His sons and grandsons established mills along the tidal waters of Essex County for the next century.
Today, the site of John Pearson's mill is a historic site marked with a sign you can see on Google Maps that reads:
FIRST FULLING MILL - TEN RODS WEST IS THE SITE OF THE FIRST FULLING MILL IN THE ENGLISH COLONIES, BUILD ABOUT THE YEAR 1643 BY JOHN PEARSON.
Massachusetts Bay Colony, Tercentenary Commission.
"His business acumen was recognized by his neighbors, and John Pearson was chosen to represent the town at many sessions of the General Court, beginning in 1678. He also served many times as Selectman and was ordained a deacon of his church 24 October 1686."
Four generations of the descendants of John and Dorcus Pearson of Rowley, Massachusetts in 1643, by Noreen C. Pramberg, 1994.
John died in Rowley on December 22, 1693, at the age of about 77 years, and Dorcas died on January 12, 1702/3, in the same place.