The Pierce family that settled in Embden had their roots in Weston, Massachusetts where Benjamin Pierce (born in 1725) and Mary Lamson were landowners. Benjamin served in the Revolutionary War in Lexington. Their son, Lieut. John Pierce is known to have been living in Sidney, Maine in 1789 with his wife Mary Webb when their oldest son was born. They established themselves in the Seven Mile Brook settlement, on what at the time was one of the areas best farms.
The elder son, John, Jr. established a homestead nearby, on land that was originally owned by the Cleveland family. The price of $4.50 an acre was relatively high when Embden land had been selling for $2.00 and under but the farm was fertile and deemed to be worth it. On John's farm in 1838 was erected a stone house, which is still a landmark along the New Portland Road. The West Embden post office was at the stone house several years before it was moved to the Cragin home up the road.
The younger son of John, Sr. and Mary Webb was Benjamin (born in 1795). He was first married to Hannah Cragin, one of the daughters of Simeon Cragin, with whom he joined in an unsuccessful fight for a division of Embden from his home on Gordon Hill. Hannah died in 1838 and two years later Benjamin married Lois H. Bartlett.
Benjamin and Lois' only child was a son, John Bartlett Pierce. Following the death of his father in 1845 he left the area, living first in Norridgewock. He graduated from Westbrook Seminary, and then moved to New Hampshire where he was a clerk in a hardware store. From there he went to Massachusetts, and on to Buffalo, New York. Throughout this time he was gaining experience in the installation of steam and hot water heating plants and gaining expertise that eventually resulted in him building a small factory at Buffalo in 1880 making steel boilers and two years later acquired a cast iron radiator manufacturing facility in Westfield, Mass.
His businesses grew rapidly and by 1892, The Pierce Steam Heating Company, established in 1884, was consolidated with other interests to become the American Radiator Company. He was the first vice-president of the larger corporation. His residence with its estate of 800 acres and 300,000 trees became a showplace in Lynnfield, Mass.
John B. Pierce died in 1917 leaving vast wealth. $1,000,000 in common stock in American Radiator was distributed to over 400 of his business associates and employees. His estate was used to create a foundation to promote educational, technical, and scientific research into the field of heating, ventilation and sanitation. John B. Pierce had no children. His half-siblings and their descendants were generously remembered in his will. He is buried at Cedar Grove Cemetery in Dorchester, Mass.
John Bartlett Pierce