- William Pierce (politician)
William Leigh Pierce (c. 1740 –
December 10, 1789) was an army officer during the American Revolutionary Warand a member of the United States Constitutional Convention of 1787.
Little is known about Pierce's early life or background. He usually identified himself as a
Virginian, although he may have been born in Georgia. He served in the Continental Armythrough most of the War of Independence. He was commissioned a captain in the 1st Continental Artillery Regimenton November 30, 1776. He left the artillery to serve as an aide-de-campto General John Sullivanduring Sullivan's expedition against the Iroquois in 1779.
He returned to Virginia and attended the
College of William and Mary, but in December 1780 he became an aide-de-camp to General Nathanael Greene. He served with Greene throughout the tumultuous southern campaign, and was recognized by Congress for his bravery at the Battle of Eutaw Springson September 8, 1781. He received brevet promotion to major at the end of the war.
After his military service, Pierce sought to establish himself as a merchant in the Caribbean. He eventually settled in
Savannah, Georgia, and partnered with fellow officers Richard Call and Anthony Walton White. In 1783, he married Charlotte Fenwick, the daughter of a wealthy South Carolina planter, with whom he had a son, noted author William Pierce.
Pierce represented Chatham County in the
Georgia State Legislature, which in 1786 elected him to the Continental Congressand the Constitutional Convention the following year. At the Convention he kept notes on the proceedings and, more importantly, wrote character sketches of his fellow delegates. It is these sketches for which he is remembered. Pierce left the Convention in July to attend business matters and did not sign the Constitution.
Pierce had business troubles and substantial debts, and sought but did not receive appointment to a position in the federal government. He was unsuccessful in a bid for the
United States House of Representativesin 1789. He was an original member and vice president of the Georgia chapter of the Society of the Cincinnati, and served as a trustee of the Chatham County Academy until his death.
*Purcell, L. Edward. "Who Was Who in the American Revolution". New York: Facts on File, 1993. ISBN 0-8160-2107-4.
*Weir, Robert M. "Pierce, William Leigh". "
American National Biography Online" Feb. 2000.
* [http://www.archives.gov/national-archives-experience/charters/constitution_founding_fathers_georgia.html#Pierce William Leigh Pierce at the National Archives]
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