Back Row: Martha Pierce, Joseph W. Pierce
Middle Row: Mary Jane McRae, Isaac Riley Pierce, Sr., Elenor Thomas (2nd
Front Row: Isaac Riley Pierce, Jr., Margaret Pierce, Angus F. Pierce and
Irene E. Pierce
(Margaret, Angus and Irene, Elenor's children, were raised by their Aunt Mary after
their mother died.)
|On Feb. 1, 1868 my grandfather Isaac Riley Pierce, Sr.
married Mary Jane McRae, my grandmother, in the Endowment House in Salt Lake City, Utah.
She was the daughter of Alexander and Eunice Fitzgerald McRae. Mary Jane was born in
Kanesville (Winter Quarters), Pottawattamie Co., Iowa, September 6, 1848. Her parents
joined the church in 1837. She crossed the plains with her family. They arrived in Salt
Lake City in October of 1852.
Three children were born to Isaac Riley and Mary Jane
Pierce. Two came the first three years of marriage. Martha Adeline born 18 December 1868
in Salt Lake City. Joseph White, born 8th, September 1870. The third child, my father, was
born 4th , September 1883.
My grandmother had two children when she consented that my grandfather take another
wife. The first child of the second wife and my grandmother's third child, my father, were
born less than two months apart. More than once she told me that she felt my father's
birth was the blessing the Lord had given her for accepting the law of polygamy. Thirteen
years had passed between her second and third child.
On September 14, 1882, he took Eleanor Thomas to wife. They were the parents of five
children. Angus Franklin, born 7th August 1883, at Payson, Utah. Margaret Cecelia, 17th
March 1885. Irene Eleanor, born 23 January 1887, in Salt Lake City. Leo, born 11 November
1889, Diaz, Mexico and Isaac Thomas born 2 September 1892.Diaz, Mexico.
He was incarcerated in the Utah Penitentiary for five months (October 1886-february
1887) for "unlawful cohabitation." Elenore's third child, Irene Eleanor Jan 23
1887, would have been born while her father was in the Penitentiary.
Isaac took Elenore and their three children to Mexico, to escape the persecution of
polygamy. We think this journey was made late in 1889. Their fourth child Leo was born
11th October 1889 in Diaz, Mexico. He died when about 10 months of age. The fifth child,
Isaac Thomas, born 2nd of September, 1892 in Diaz, Mexico.
My grandmother stayed in Salem with her three children and looked after the farms and
kept the home fires burning.
Isaac and Eleanor with their four children came back to Salem in the spring of 1893,
stopping on the journey home in Salt Lake City, to attend the dedication of the Salt Lake
Eleanor had heart trouble and was never well after her return from Mexico. My
grandmother helped her with her illness and her family. She died 15th August 1897. Her
youngest child was nearly five years old. My grandmother raised all seven children as her
own. I have heard them say that she was the mother they called Aunt Mary.