There are certain names that repeat in families, often being passed from father to son and beyond. The Pierponts are no exception. The first names of John/James were passed along for over 400 years.
Generation 1 – James Pierrepont (15??-1664)
James was born in the end of the 1500s in England. He made his fortune in trade between England and Ireland and owned a large estate in Derbyshire. He was also a Puritan, possibly having followed in his father’s footsteps. He remained in England when two of his sons went to America around 1640, but the English Civil War began shortly after their departure and following the war and during the reign of Oliver Cromwell his fortune disappeared. Toward the end of his life he also went to America to join his sons.
Generation 2 – John Pierpont (1617-1682)
John came to America as a young man in his early 20s. He married and made a series of purchases of land and mills. In his later years he was a magistrate so is sometimes referred to as Hon. John Pierpont. He had a large family with five sons bearing “J” names (John, John, James, Jonathan, Joseph), but two died young and two never married, leaving only James to pass on the family “J” name heritage. With his wealth, he paid for James to be educated at Harvard and enter the ministry.
Generation 3 – Rev. James Pierpont (1659-1714)
James became the pastor of the Congregational Church in New Haven, CT. I have written about him extensively before (*1, *2). He had two “J” sons – James and Joseph. Joseph had two “J” sons, James who died young, and Joseph who did not have any sons with “J” names so I will not follow that line any further.
Generation 4 – James Pierpont (1699-1776)
James was educated at Yale (which had been founded by his father), but he chose to go into business and moved back to Boston.
Generation 5 – James Pierpont (1761-1840)
James was born in New Haven, but moved to Litchfield, CT. He owned a mill in Morris, CT.
Generation 6 – Rev. John Pierpont (1785-1866)
John was born in Litchfield (*4, *5). He graduated from Yale in 1804 at the age of 19. He then studied law at the Litchfield Law School in Litchfield (founded by his cousin Tapping Reeve (*3)) and was admitted to the bar in 1809. After a short time in business where his fortunes were greatly impacted by the results of the war of 1812, he went back to school, getting degrees from both Yale and Harvard Divinity School.
John was a poet in addition to a long-time minister. He had six children, of whom three had “J” names, John, James, and Juliet. Each of these lines is discussed below with “a”, “b”, and “c” added to the generation index.
Generation 7a – Rev. John Pierpont Jr. (1819-1879)
Following in his father’s footsteps, John also became a Unitarian minister. In 1852, he was called to minister to a church in Savannah, GA (*6). But the church was struggling financially, and by 1859, with no money to pay his modest salary, he left the ministry to sell insurance. He had no children.
Generation 7b – James Lord Pierpont (1822-1893)
James was never very successful (*7). He married and had children, then left them with his parents and went to California during the gold rush. Unsuccessful there as well, he began writing poetry and playing music and joined his brother, John, in Savannah as the minister of music. When his first wife died, he left their children in the north, remarried, and had more children with his second wife. When his brother John left in 1859, James remained in the south, even writing songs for the confederate. Well known, after his death, for the song Jingle Bells, none of his other compositions are remembered today.
Generation 8b – John Pierpont (1849-1879)
Choosing not to follow in his father’s footsteps, John became an engineer, but he died at the age of only 30.
Generation 7c – Juliet Pierpont (1816-1884)
Although Juliet would not pass on the Pierpont last name when she married Junius Spencer Morgan, they would give their son the Pierpont name as a middle name along with the first name of John, so the John Pierpont name would then be passed along for several more generations.
Generation 8c – John Pierpont (J.P.) Morgan (1837-1913)
John Pierpont Morgan, who preferred to be called Pierpont, was the well-known banker/financier (*8, *9). He was educated based on a plan of his father, including stints in the Hartford Public School, the Cheshire (CT) Academy, the English High School of Boston, Bellerive in Switzerland, and the University of Göttingen in Germany. He had a long and successful career in banking/finance. His name was passed on through the next several generations.
Generation 9c – John Pierpont Morgan Jr. (1867-1943)
John took over the running of his father’s businesses when he passed away, but he was not nearly as successful.
Generation 10c – Junius Spencer Morgan Jr. (1892-1960)
A break in the “Pierpont” naming, but then continued in the following generation.
Generation 11c – John Pierpont Morgan III (1918-2004)
My grandfather was the president of the Pierpont Family Association from 1943-1945 and my mother was the secretary (this was before she was married). She often told me the story of when she wrote the letters of invitation to the annual PFA meeting and that J.P. Morgan actually responded that he was not able to attend. Since this would have been in 1944 or 1945, the response would have come from J P Morgan III.
Generation 12c – John Pierpont Morgan IV (1950-)
There have been continuous James/John Pierponts living for over 400 years!