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Pierce, Leonard, Jr. (1828–1872)

Florine Pierce Faulk and A. A. Champion Biography

Leonard Pierce, Jr., public servant, son of Ann Laura (Prince) and Leonard Pierce, Sr., was born on September 5, 1828, in Eastport, Maine. He served as a mate aboard the St. Louis in 1853 and then resided a year in Chihuahua, Mexico, where he became proficient in Spanish. On December 25, 1855, he married Sarah Katharine Cushman of Corrine, Maine. They had six children, but two died in infancy. Pierce was assistant paymaster for the United States Army at Fort Davis, when he was commissioned United States Consul at Matamoros, Mexico, on July 20, 1861. After relocating his family to Bangor, Maine, Pierce assumed his charge in Matamoros on January 30, 1862, where he found the consulate destroyed by fire and Mexico torn by civil unrest. His family joined him in Matamoros on January 12, 1864. Pierce's principal responsibilities as consul were the care of refugees from Confederate territory and the military enlistment of Union sympathizers; during this time Pierce relocated about 700 refugees and sent about 300 men to enlist in the Union army. These men formed the nucleus of the cavalry regiment known as the Texas Union Cavalry, which served in Nathaniel P. Banks's Army of the Gulf. Due to the cost of living Pierce requested to be relieved of his duties on August 1, 1864. In October his family moved back to Maine, and his resignation became effective on November 30, 1864. He remained in Matamoros until February 18, 1865, then moved to Buffalo, New York, before resettling his family in Brownsville in late 1865 or early 1866. Because of poor health Pierce moved to Roma, Texas, but he returned to Brownsville in 1870. Leonard Pierce, Jr., died on May 8, 1872, in Brownsville and was buried there in the old city cemetery. His son Frank Cushman Pierce later became a prominent Brownsville attorney and historian.

Frank Cushman Pierce, Texas' Last Frontier: A Brief History of the Lower Rio Grande Valley (Menasha, Wisconsin: Banta, 1917; rpt., Brownsville: Rio Grande Valley Historical Society, 1962). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

Time Periods:

  • Civil War

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Florine Pierce Faulk and A. A. Champion, “Pierce, Leonard, Jr.,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed September 23, 2020,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

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