From A Biographical History of Central Kansas, Vol. I, p. 54
published by The Lewis Publishing Co, Chicago & New York, 1902


   William E Pierce, who since 1877 has been a resident of Rice county and for forty-two years has made his home in Kansas, now resides on section 20, Wilson township, where he owns and operates a good farm.  He was born in Greene county, Tennessee, on the 7th of March, 1852, and is a son of Isaac M Pierce, a native of eastern Virginia.  His mother bore the maiden name of Anna Robinson and was a native of Tennessee.  For some time after their marriage the parents resided in the latter state, and then came to Kansas by steamboat and rail, locating first at Leavenworth, in 1859.  A settlement was made in Atchison county, near Pardee, and they were pioneer people of that region.  Subsequently they removed to Springdale, in Leavenworth county, where they remained for two or three years, when they took up their abode in Leavenworth City, Kansas, there residing until January, 1867.  In that year the family returned to Tennessee, and the parents died at Jefferson county, that state, the mother passing away at the age of fifty-one and the father at the age of fifty-four.  He possessed considerable mechanical ingenuity and was a wagon-maker and machinist.  Both he and his wife were members of the Society of Friends and were people of the highest respectability, enjoying the confidence and regard of all who knew them.  They had eleven children, of whom nine are living, namely:  Mrs Mary Russell, of Kansas; Mrs Amanda Battersby, of Saline county; A K, who is living in Saline county and who served as a soldier in the Civil war; Mrs Sarah P Stanley, of Saline; George, who is living in the same county; William E, of this review; Joseph, of Arizona; Charles E, of Ottawa county, Kansas; Nate R, who is a resident of New Mexico; Casper, who died at the age of twenty-two years; and Martha, who died at the age of seventeen years.

   William E Pierce was reared in the city and county of Leavenworth and received his education in the district and city schools.  He entered upon his business career as a cowboy in the western part of the state of Dakota.  In the latter place he was employed by a Mr Powers, a well known cattle dealer and drover of Kansas.  In 1876 Mr Pierce took up his abode in the southeastern portion of Ellsworth county, on Mule creek, where he remained for one year.  He then came to Rice county, locating where the Ira Brothers now reside, there making his home until 1883, when he sold that farm and purchased a tract of land on section 20, Wilson township.  Here he has two hundred and forty acres of land.  This is one of the farms first settled in the county and is a tract of rich land, splendidly improved with all modern accessories and conveniences.  The house is substantial and the outbuildings are kept in good repair.  Corn cribs and granaries are full of grain and everything about the place is neat and thrifty in appearance, indicating the progressive supervision of the owner.  Near the house is a good grove of five acres, for this was a timber claim.  There is also an apple orchard containing three acres.  Mr Pierce follows general farming and stock raising, and his labors are attended with a richly merited success.  He has witnessed the development in the county and has contributed in a large measure to its substantial upbuilding.  At an early day he spent several weeks on Little river, putting up hay on the old Hutchinson cattle ranch.  He also carried the mail for the United States government from Lindsborg to Hutchinson in pioneer days, and while traversing his route he saw many buffaloes on the plains.  He has watched with commendable interest the work of civilization and progress and in every way possible he has aided and abetted in the movements for improvement and upbuilding.

   In 1882 Mr Pierce was united in marriage, in Wilson township, Rice county, to Miss Frances Buckles, who was born in Lee county, Iowa, near Fort Madison, a daughter of Robert and Margaret (Anders) Buckles.  The father is now a resident of Sterling, Kansas, but the mother has passed away.  In the family were two children, - Mrs Frances Pierce and Libby Rye, the latter of Iowa.  The father is a mechanic and harnessmaker by trade, but for a number of years has engaged in farming in Rice county.  The marriage of Mr and Mrs Pierce has been blessed with two children:  Olive E, who was born January 9, 1883; and George H, born March 31, 1885.  Both Mr and Mrs Pierce hold membership in the Wesleyan Methodist church, and they take an active part in the church and Sunday-school work, doing all in their power to promote the cause of Christianity among their fellow men.  Their support is not withheld from educational interests and is given in hearty measure to all movements for the general good.  One of the honored pioneers of the county, Mr Pierce has witnessed its development from the days when this portion of Kansas was upon the frontier, when much of its land was unclaimed and the greater part of it was still in its primitive condition.  As the years have passed, however, the wild prairie has been transformed into richly cultivated fields and the county has become the home of a prosperous and contented people, whose united efforts have gained Rice county a place among the leading counties of the commonwealth.