The recipient of the letters, William Pierce, was born in Northampton, Massachusetts in 1828, the son of George and Olive
Pierce. George had three siblings: John, Phebe, and Samuel. George would later marry Luryan Long, and Phebe Anne was one of
two children born to them. John’s daughter, Anna Feron, married Theodore Dehone Judah. Phebe never married, nor did Samuel.
The Pierce family was known for their pewter, tin and other metalwork. William went to California during the Gold Rush, and
worked as a tinsmith while living in San Francisco 1852-1855. Returning to Greenfield, he married Ellen Coates in 1856 and
moved to Iowa in the 1860s. He returned to Greenfield, and died there in 1868.