James Pearse was a Lagos clergyman of the late 19th Century who was tutor to distinguished persons like Ademola II, Alake of Egba, Eric Moore, Adebesin Folarin and J.K. Coker. Pearse was born in Abeokuta on April 3, 1857. He attended St. Peter’s Day School till the Ifole crisis in 1867 when he came over to Lagos with the missionaries.
In 1872 Pearse entered the C.M.S. Training Institution and six years later, he was appointed schoolmaster of Kemta-Igbehin School, Abeokuta. After a year in the school, he was transferred to St. Peter’s Ake Day School where he tutored would-be movers and shakers of regional affairs. He left for Fourah Bay College, Sierra Leone in 1888 and was posted on his return to Abeokuta in charge of Christ Church, Iporo-Ake. In 1894 he was transferred to St. Paul’s Breadfruit under Bishop James Johnson. In 1901, following the great secessions occasioned by the Ethiopianism of members, Pearse had the unenviable distinction of pastoring an almost empty church till he bravely made it into a lively one. James Pearse’s 80th birthday anniversary was celebrated in the Nigerian Daily Times of 1937.