Pearson, born in Rowan County, served as a major general in the War of 1812, and in the House of Commons of the North Carolina General Assembly (1807-1808 and 1812-1815), and North Carolina Senate (1816). Owner of Cooleemee Hill Plantation from 1804, he sold it to Peter Hairston of Stokes County in 1817, and later that year became involved in the Yadkin Navigation Company, attempting to make the Yadkin River navigable for freight and passenger boats with links all the way to Wilmington, North Carolina. Pearson also helped organize the Clinton Town Company in 1818, which mapped out a new town on 327 acres of land in "the Point" where the Yadkin and South Yadkin rivers meet. Plans for the town floundered when the navigation project failed. Pearson also served as a manager of the Jockey Club of Salisbury. He died in 1823 from injuries sustained when thrown by his horse while returning from a funeral in Salisbury. He lies buried in the Pearson graveyard in southern Davie County.