Hughes' Views & News

Wedding Certificate of Adolphus Peirce and Etta Bailey

Posted in Breland, Genealogy, Peirce, Uncategorized by tahughesnc on May 28, 2019

Adolphus Peirce and Etta Bailey Wedding Cerificate

Recently I learned through DNA testing that I have a match named Raymond Pierce. Raymond and I are both descendants of my maternal great grandparents, Adolphus Elliott Peirce (1868-1910) and Etta Pearl Bailey (1873-1952), and thus we are second cousins.

Raymond was kind enough to send me a digital image of the wedding certificate for Adolphus and Etta, which I had never seen before. It’s dated August 31, 1890, and it has three signatures at the bottom:  W.G. Breland, C.B. Pierce and C.H. Bailey. It appears to me that the two first two signed as witnesses while the third signed as the minister or celebrant.

I believe that the first signature was from William G. Breland (1839-1890), who was a 3rd great uncle to me. His father, John Robertson Breland (1794-1875), was my 3rd great grandfather, and he was also the grandfather of Etta Bailey, whose mother was Martha Ann Breland. William G. Breland was appointed U.S. Postmaster for Breland, Louisiana, on September 6, 1890, about a week after the date on this wedding certificate.  He died a few months later, in December 1890. Adolphus’ stepmother, Salissa Painter Peirce (1858-1940), was then appointed postmaster for Breland on March 28, 1891. Adolphus Peirce was later appointed as U.S. Postmaster for Breland, Louisiana, on August 5, 1904.

The next signature, I think, was from Charles Buchanan Pierce (1866-1938), who was an uncle of Adolphus. (Some members of this line spell the last name as “Peirce” and some spell it as “Pierce.” This continues to be the case now; both spellings are represented among my DNA matches from this line.)

The third signature, I think, was from Caldwell Houston Bailey (Abt. 1854-Abt. 1919, who was appointed U.S. Postmaster for Bailey, Louisiana on October 18, 1890. I haven’t been able to determine if he was related to Etta Bailey or not. However, I am related to him through the line of his mother, Melissa Bankston Bailey (1819-Abt. 1915).

A place called Breland, Louisiana

Posted in Genealogy by tahughesnc on December 17, 2014
This map is from 1900.

This map is from 1900. Click to enlarge.

Recently I learned that my mother’s mother, whose maiden name was Cora Esther Peirce, was born in a place called Breland, Louisiana.  In fact, when Cora was born in May 1891, the U.S. post office for Breland was located on the property of her grandfather, John Ticknor Peirce, and her grandfather’s second wife, Salissa E. “Dora” Peirce, was the U.S. postmaster for Breland.

Cora’s father, Adolphus Elliot Peirce, was later appointed U.S. postmaster for Breland, in August 1904. According to family lore, Cora worked in that post office before her family moved to the nearby community of Sunny Hill in 1905, when she was 14 years old. When she began attending school in Sunny Hill, Cora was assigned to the same class as Robert Milton Breland, my grandfather, whom she married in Baton Rouge five years later.

This railroad map is from 1914. Click to enlarge.

This railroad map is from 1914. Click to enlarge.

This story is interesting to me for several reasons. First, Cora was born in a place called Breland. Then she moved away from there to Sunny Hill — where she met a boy named Breland, who later became her husband.

It also raises these questions for me:  Where was Breland? Why was it called Breland? And, does the community of Breland still exist?

My brother, Brian Hughes, answered the first question by finding maps from 1900, 1906 and 1914 showing Breland located roughly half way between Franklinton and Kentwood. These maps also show Breland’s proximity to Sunny Hill.

As for why the place was called Breland, the earliest record I can find shows that William G. Breland (1839-1890), who was a 2nd great grand uncle to me, was appointed U.S. postmaster for Breland in September 1890. He died just a few months later, in December 1890. (The next person to be appointed postmaster for Breland after him was Salissa E. Peirce, in March 1891.)

Sibila it later came to be called Breland. Click to enlarge.

Sibila, shown on this map from the 1840s, later came to be called Breland. Click to enlarge.

The place was called “Sibila” before it was called “Breland.” My guess, and this is purely a guess, is that it came to be called “Breland” simply because the first person appointed to be postmaster for the place happened to be named Breland.

Does Breland, Louisiana still exist? To the best of my knowledge, it does not. Records indicate that the post office at Breland was discontinued, i.e., closed for good, in 1906. And, although the location of Sunny Hill can still be found via Google Maps, I have not been able to find any mention of Breland, Louisiana, on any current maps of the area.

Do you know any additional details about Breland, Louisiana? If so, I’d love to hear from you!