Grandfather of congressman/state senator, John James Pearson and father of state representative Bevan Pearson, John Pearson was born on August 17, 1740, the son of Thomas and Hanna Blunston Pearson of Darby, Delaware County. The family’s progenitor, Benjamin Pearson of Derbyshire, Yorkshire, England, settled in Darby Township in 1703. Although prominent in their own right, the family claimed familial ties to provincial secretary John Blunston and William Warner – noted as the first judge in the colony under Charles II. Settling on a small farm, Senator Pearson married (1763) Anne Bevan of Darby, who died about 1778. The union produced six children. His second marriage to Sarah Johnson produced another four children. Although John observed a devout Quaker path while growing up, he nonetheless eschewed the Society of Friends’ pledge of pacifism at the outbreak of the Revolution. He received a lieutenant’s commission in the 11th Pennsylvania Line, serving through the surrender at Yorktown. After hostilities, Thomas Mifflin appointed John, justice of the Delaware Common Pleas Court in 1789, and in 1793, he became an important solicitor for the Delaware County yellow-fever relief fund.
Senator Pearson served in the upper house from 1800 through 1804. Widely considered a committed Republican, John often voted as a Tertium Quid. While seated in the Senate, August 1803, he and son George “left home to tour” Western Pennsylvania. Enamored with the area, John and his son acquired a substantial tract of “donation land” (land granted to Revolutionary War veterans), the family subsequently settling in New Castle, Mercer County in 1806. John’s “tour to the westward” required the use of a “four-wheeled wagon,” so unusual to the residents of Beaver, that “a number of women examined the strange vehicle with greatest interests.” Apparently satisfied with the group’s consensus regarding its origin, a spokesperson declared, “Well it must be one of them damned French things.” The Honorable John Pearson passed away in New Castle, Mercer County at age 89, January 26, 1829. His son Bevan Pearson represented Mercer County in the state House of Representatives.