Miniature pewter porringer attributed to Samuel Pierce (1767-1840) of Greenfield. Born in Middletown, Connecticut, Samuel Pierce was apprenticed to the Danforths, a well-known family of pewterers in Middletown, probably mostly with Joseph Danforth (1758-1788). Pierce completed his training about 1789 and married Anne Joyce (1769-1843) in 1790; he moved his family to Greenfield in 1792 or early 1793, where he had began to work for Col. William Moore (b.1762), a successful Greenfield businessman, in his mill, and made pewter and other white metal products on his own account. By 1799, Pierce was in partnership with blacksmith Ambrose Ames shipping commodities on the river; however, after an outbreak of dysentary in Greefield in 1802 killed three of their five children, the Pierces moved to Colrain, Massachusetts, where he titled himself as a cooper in a deed of 1804 and mainly farmed until returning to Greenfield about 1807. He then went into partnership with merchant Hart Leavitt (1765-1836) as Pierce & Leavitt, and by 1810, was the 6th most prominent men in Greenfield. After President Thomas Jefferson's Trade Embargo in 1807 and the War of 1812 destroyed New England's commerce, Pierce went back to the forge and again he was succesful as a whitesmith, selling a wide range of pewter, tin and lead products. In 1821, Samuel turned the business over to his son John Joyce Pierce (1793-1878) although Samuel's accounts show that he continued to work in metals into the ealy 1830s. According to Philip Zea (2/3/2010), probably most of Pierce's own commerical pewter production found in HD's collection can be dated between 1795-1810.
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