Pearson's Places and Things
The Story of William “Billy” Pearson of 1761 “A colorful Character"

William Pearson was born April 10th, 1761 Solebury, Bucks County, Pennsylvania.  A Son of Enock Pearson of 1718 and Tibitha, Jacocks of 1734.  He was a brother to Mary of 1753, Thomas, 1754, Margaret 1756, Sarah 1759, Rachel 1763, Tibitha (jr.) 1765, Elizabeth 1767, Hannah 1770, Isaac 1771, and finally Enoch III of 1775 who was born with an infirmity of some kind.

When only four years of age "Billy" moved to Union County, South Carolina in 1765 with his Quaker parents. They settled on a 1000 acre plantation near Sedalia, in Cross Keys Township, near Padgett’s creek.  In l777 at age 16 (which was the normal age at which Quaker girls and boys married) he married a young woman of 19.  Sarah Jones of 1758 had been married earlier to Edmund Jacks, but he had died (killed by Tories), Sarah and Billy had 9 children (One son reportedly had died early).  The remaining children were:  Kindred 1778, Charles 1779, Sally 1780, Lucretia 1782; and then Elizabeth 1784, Thomas 1785, Samuel 1788, and William Jr. 1790.

In late 1777 or early 1778, Billy had a mare stolen from him.  He managed to get hold of a gun (the Quakers or Society of Friends did not believe in force or fighting and were strictly "Pacifist") and went after the horse-thief threatening to use the gun if the occasion required.  On March 23rd, 1778 he was condemned in the meeting for his misconduct.  Having been kicked out of the Quaker Church he joined the Revolutionary army (for the state of Pennsylvania).  He also joined the Baptist church of Padgett's Creek. When his father died in 1780, he inherited 200 acres and 5 sheep.

His mother Tibitha’s mother Mary Stout (Jacocks), had a formula for making whiskey.  Billy improved the formula and began making a very smooth sipping whiskey from a corn-mash, filtered through charcoal made from hard sugar-maple wood, and aged in Oak Barrels.

On August 7th, 1791 the Padgett’s Creek Baptist Church “Met in Church Meeting and Laboured with William Pearson about the principle of falling from Grace ("Making Whiskey") & he held his principle and refused to go with the Church in their standing, and Excommunicated for the same & his hard Spirit with the Church”.

So, after being thrown out of the Quaker Church and now thrown out of the Baptist Church, his mother died in 1811, and his wife Sarah and him were not getting along very well, he organized a wagon train and about 1812 went to Tennessee taking his four oldest children with him.  His strong willed wife Sarah did not go with him but stayed in South Carolina with the four youngest children.  Evidently they divorced.

"Billy" settled at Big Flat Creek near Davey Crockett, and near Lynchburg, TN., and built a log cabin near the Limestone Cave Spring at the foot of Bobo Hill, just a few miles from the present Jack Daniels Distillery near Shelbyville, in Bedford County.  He finally sold his whiskey formula to Alfred Eaton about 1825.  Alfred Eaton and Mr., Tolly operated a “still” in partnership and eventually sold their formula to Jack Daniels.

William "Billy" Pearson finally died October 19th, 1844 at Lynchburg, (County Line) Moore Co, . TN at age 83 years, 6 months and 10 days; and was buried on the William Stone Farm  at the foot of Bobo Hill at Flat Creek, Bedford County, TN., near Lynchburg.
By: Elton E. Pearson SR. of 1926  

Jack Daniels Story