Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Ephraim Peers - 1767 - 1843

Birthplace of Ephraim Peers
Ephraim Peers was born to Alexander Peers and Mary Bolding in Dutchess County, New York, British North America in 1767. He was the brother of Jerusha Peers my 7th great grandmother. Along with his father, uncles and brothers, he joined DeLancey's Brigade to fight against the rebels in the American Revolution.  He was just 16 years of age and served under Colonel Gilbert Purdy who would later become his neighbour in Nova Scotia.  In 1797 or thereabouts, Ephraim married Patience Horton, daughter of  Solomon and Susannah Horton and the couple had 8 children: Elizabeth, Ephraim, John Horton, James Bolding, Phoebe, Maria, Ann and William McKimm.  In addition, they raised Abraham Brown, son of their friend and neighbour, John Brown - who had tragically been hit by lightening and killed instantly.

Signature of Ephraim Peers
from one of his daughter's
marriage licenses
Ephraim received Lot #56 in the Remsheg Grant (The Remsheg was the Indian name for the present day Wallace River).  This land was in East Wallace and must have included the land where the schoolhouse and pond are now and also the plaster quarry down by the shore that operated for a time in the last half of the nineteenth century.  So far as is known, he did not live on his grant.  Many preferred some other location to the land assigned them and bought or traded until better pleased.    Ephraim's house was down by the shore of the marsh.  

Patience, his wife died in 1825 and was buried in the old Dotten Cemetery at Wallace Bay.

Grave of Ephraim Peers and
Patience Horton
Dotten Cemetery
Wallace Bay, Nova Scotia
Ephraim was a community minded man and eventually became the town's first school teacher.  In 1841, he first appears on the provincial rolls as a Justice of the Peace but his term of service was relatively short as he dropped dead on the courthouse steps while attending the Session in 1843.

Harry Rufus Brown, author of the 1973 book entitled Valley of the Remsheg or History of Wallace Bay, Nova Scotia, wrote in a personal letter to Lillian Islea (Buffum) Murphy dated 5 October 1971:

Dotten Cemetery Wallace Bay, Nova  Scotia
 "I was interested and amused by your description of Jennie Crawford [Jane Ellen Crawford Buffum, grandmother of Lillian] as tall and slender as it is so typically characteristic of the Peers family. There is a bit of oft-told local folklore. The higher land on each side of the bay [Wallace Bay] closes in to form what used to be called The Narrows. Above The Narrows the land flattens out to form wide stretches of marshland while below, at ebb tide, are shallows. Today the road crosses on an abiteau (abiteau being the Acadian name for a dike or causeway with a gate to allow the fresh water to flow out at low tide and prevent the salt water from flowing up at high tide), but at the time of the tale the crossing was by way of a pole bridge. One day an old man was standing on the bridge watching Ephraim Peers and his sons hard at work cutting and stacking salt hay when a new minister, fresh from the streets of Edinburgh, came along. The old man's eyes were on the men at work, but the minister was looking below the bridge where his attention had been caught by a block of Blue Heron wading about in the shallows. He stopped his horse and without preamble demanded, 'What do you call those long-legged birds?' Without hesitation the old man replied, 'We calls them Ephraimites.'"


  1. Hi, Marilyn. Ephraim and Patience (Horton) Peers were my 3rd great-grandparents. I'm descended through their daughter Phebe, who married Joseph Crawford from Colchester County. Joseph and Phebe had a daughter, Jane Ellen, who left Nova Scotia about 1864, stayed a while in a Boston suburb and then traveled across the continent to California, where she married James Monroe Buffum in 1781. Their youngest son, Cecil Oliver and Lillian (Giswein) Buffum were my maternal grandparents. In fact, Lillian Islea (Buffum) Murphy (1914-2005), to whom Harry Brown directed the above letter, is my mother. Patricia L. (Murphy) Minch pminch@sbcglobal.net.

  2. another nice write up i'm decended also thru ephriam an d patience. i was pleased to learn that her mother was susannah... do you know more about her .. maiden name? (fisher ? maybe )where and when they were married..?was it also new york? i liked your story, my grandmother was also tall !
    again thank you for all your work presently well.