Daguerreotype of Mary Pierce
June 22, 1863
Mary Pierce was born in Litchfield, CT in August 1780. Her parents were John Pierce and his second wife Mary Goodman Pierce. Mary's sister Sarah founded the Litchfield Female Academy in 1792. Although she never attended the Female Academy as a student, Mary assisted Sarah in running the school by managing the boarders who stayed in the Pierce house and keeping the financial records for the institution. Living her whole life in Litchfield, Mary died on June 22, 1863 and is buried in the East Cemetery.
Ca. 1815, Mary wrote Charles Loring about Anna Pierce Brace's fear for her heartbroken friend, James Johnston, a Litchfield Law School student. Johnston had been rebuffed by Litchfield Female Academy student Euphemia Blanch "after having given him by the pleasure with which she received his attentions before his declaration great encouragement to be accepted."
The rejection devastated Johnston who, according to Mary Pierce, was "a foolish unprincipled youth" who "threatened to kill himself."
Johnston's classmates sat up with him all night to prevent his suicide and he left Litchfield the next morning. He then wrote his Litchfield friends, including Anna, "frenzied letters." He asked Anna to show the letter to Euphemia, "thinking that if there were a spark of affection ...[more]
Mary and her sister Sarah very frequently entertained Litchfield Law School students and Sarah supervised the social events. If displeased by a student's behavior, she would ban him from calling at the house. It was said that "to be denied admission to Miss Sally Pierce's parlor was the deepest disgrace which could befall a young man."
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