Make your own free website on


Josiah L. Pearsall, proprietor of the Orchard House at Roslyn, and superintendent of the poor of Queens County, was born March 4, 1843, in the village of Roslyn, which has always been his home. His father, Jacob Pearsall, was a son of Uriah Pearsall. The latter's father was the founder of the family on Long Island (sic) and an extensive land owner, the village of Pearsall's being named in his honor(sic). The old homestead is now the property of Treadwell Pearsall, a cousin of our subject. After his marriage to Mary Lugar, our subject's father moved to Roslyn and engaged in cabinet making, in company with Henry Wilson, until his death in 1846. He left eight children, namely: Charles H., a harness maker at Roslyn; Frances, wife of Kelsie Kirkpatrick; Huldah, who, after the death of her first husband, John Murphy, was married to David Fenton; George, deceased; Alexander, living in Locust Valley; Jeremiah, deceased; Josiah L., and Mary J., wife of James Travers of Roslyn.

Orphaned by his father's death when he was only three years old, our subject was reared under the supervision of his mother, who was a woman of business ability and good judgment. After attending the common schools for some years, at the age of fourteen he began an apprenticeship under Robert Hegeman, with whom he remained for three years. Afterward he worked at his trade with different contractors. Before he was nineteen he married Mrs. Margaret (Monroe) Reynolds, daughter of Andrew Monroe, and widow of George Reynolds. Soon after his marriage he enlisted, in February, 1862, as a member of the Fifteenth New York Engineers and assisted in laying pontoons at Fredericksburg, remaining in the service until the close of the war, when he was mustered out.

Returning home, Mr. Pearsall resumed work at his trade, which he followed until November, 1875. In 1874 he was elected road master, serving one year, after which he was elected overseer of the poor for the town of North Hempstead. In 1875 he was elected to the office of superintendent of the poor for the county of Queens for three years. At the expiration of that time the office ceasing to be an elective one, he was appointed by the board of supervisors for six consecutive years. The office then became an elective one, and our subject was elected with an overwhelming majority and has repeatedly filled the same position up to the present time. In 1892 he was appointed deputy sheriff and served for three years in that capacity. During his term of office he was the recipient of an elegant gold badge, set with four diamonds, bearing the words "1892-1895. Josiah L. Pearsall, Under Sheriff of Queens County," on one side, while on the other side was inscribed, "Presented to Josiah L. Pearsall by his friends of the town of North Hempstead, January 19, 1892." He was also presented with a badge by the sheriff as a token of appreciation of his services as first deputy sheriff.

As an official Mr. Pearsall has served the public faithfully and well and is entitled to the regard of his acquaintances. Politically a Democrat, he has been a member of the county central committee for twelve years, and has represented his party as delegate to the state convention at Saratoga and other conventions. He was reared in the Methodist faith, but is not directly connected with any church. Socially, he is connected with Protection Lodge No. 151, I. O. O. F., at Roslyn. In 1875 he took charge of the Orchard House, which he has since conducted, with the exception of one year, when he was proprietor of the Mansion House. Having no children of their own, he and his wife adopted the orphan children of his sister, Mrs. Murphy. They are Ida, wife of Joseph Gibson of Brooklyn, and Jennie, who is still at home.

Source: "Portrait and Biographical Record of Queens County (Long Island) New York"
(Copyright 1896 by Chapman Publishing Company)