A good idea of Z.C.Pearson's life and times can be gleaned from this somewhat obsequious obituary reproduced below. This must have been taken from a local paper at the time of his death but unfortunately I don't know which one, and the copy I have is incomplete, missing the heading and introduction - I believe most of it is here however, but if anyone has access to the missing bit I would be most grateful to receive it.

 

"... and soul of any society in which he might be found. The deceased gentleman, for he was one of nature's truest gentlemen, commenced life in his native town as an apprentice to the sea. It was just the career that suited his adventurous spirit, and he became one of the smartest seamen of the port. By the time he was well out of his teens he had conferred upon him the post of commander, and no captain, either young or old, ever gave greater satisfaction to his employers. There are many living now who will remember those days when, before steamers crossed the Atlantic, sailing ships conveyed passengers from Hull to the New World. These vessels used to load every spring in the Princes Dock, near St John's Church. There was the Aurora, the Meteor, the Halcyon, the Salem, the Amazon, and others. For some time Captain PEARSON had command of the Amazon, and during this time the ship got a name as one of the fleetest vessels that ever plied from Hull to New York or Quebec. Her master was known as one who would make the passage in a little time, if that were at all possible, and it was said of any ship of which he was the master, that she had to either go over or under the water. It must not be supposed from this that Captain PEARSON was at all a reckless man. No more careful navigator ever had command of a vessel, or one that was more attentive, or took greater heed to the changes of weather. He had a stout heart, but he was also possessed of correct judgement, and was known to "crack on" only so long as it was prudent. His command was during the palmy days of British seamanship, before the men had been spoiled by having all their work at sea done for them by steam appliances and the men who sailed with him were always proud to call him captain. It is a common thing, even in these days, for sailors to refer to the captain of a ship, no matter what may be his years, as "the old man," and when Captain PEARSON was in command his crew always entertained for their master that love and respect that sons are at least supposed to have for their fathers. Such a man as Captain PEARSON was sure to make headway in his profession. He entered life as a cabin boy and he quickly rose from that lowly rank to be looked upon as one of the ablest of the able seamen of a day when true sailors were a necessity of our commercial life to a greater extent than they are today. He quickly passed the rank of mate, and his energy and determination as master enabled him in a few years to become a shipowner, and he was an owner and manager of steamers for several years, success crowning all his endeavours until he became a rich man, and was honoured by the citizens of Hull for his urbanity and for the generosity that marked his life, a generosity that culminated in the gift for the people of Hull for ever, of that lovely garden known as the Pearson's Park. He became a member of the Town Council, and to mark their appreciation of his generous gift, the Council bestowed upon him the office of Mayor. No doubt there was much ambition in the composition of this sailor Chief Magistrate, and one of his ambitions, not for any selfish purpose, because no man could be less selfish than Z.C. PEARSON, but in order that he might by wealth do good, was to become rich. Whilst he was doing a steady, and what would now be considered a profitable business as a shipowner, the American civil war broke out, and soon stories were afloat as the fabulous sums being made by adventurous blockade runners. Mr PEARSON was nothing if not adventurous, and with what expedition was possible he went into this blockade running business, very unfortunately for himself. His vessels were not successful, but were captured or destroyed by the Yankees, and the wealth which, through a series of years he had accumulated, very rapidly vanished. Mr PEARSON did not take to the sea again, nor was he in a position to go again into the steamship trade. For many years he has been an Elder Brother of the Hull Trinity House, and has filled the post of Senior Warden of that Incorporation. No man was held in higher esteem by his brethren of the Trinity Board, and no member of that board has ever been more solicitous for the welfare of poor seamen than has Captain PEARSON, whose memory will long be cherished. Success never made him so proud that he had not a kindly word in his most prosperous days for the humblest seaman, and adversity could never quench his even flow of spirits, or destroy the kindliness of his disposition. Of him it may be more truly said than of most men, that to know him was to love him.




 

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