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Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs:
Stearns

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[This information is from Vol. IV, pp. 1822-1824 of Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs, edited by Cuyler Reynolds (New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1911). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 929.1 R45. Some of the formatting of the original, especially in lists of descendants, may have been altered slightly for ease of reading.]

The name in England was for centuries Sterne, coming from Germany with the Norman invaders under William the Conqueror. For a brief period in America, the spelling remained the same, but changes soon crept in until we have not only the prevalent form Stearns, but Stearnes, Sternes, Sterns, Starnes and Starns, all simple variations of the old English name.

The ancestors of this family in America came from England in the "Arabella," landing at Salem, Massachusetts, June 12, 1630. O.S. These is a tradition prevalent in Lynn, Massachusetts, that three brothers, Daniel, Shubael and Isaac, came from England in 1630 and settled near Watertown, Massachusetts; that Daniel died unmarried; that Shubael and Isaac brought their families with them; that Shubael and wife died soon after landing, leaving two sons, Charles and Nathaniel, eight and ten years of age, who were reared and cared for by their uncle, Isaac; that these sons married, and each, as well as their uncle Isaac, left a large family, from whom are descended all of the name of Stearns with its variations of spelling, excepting that of Stern, which is distinctly Jewish.

The family crest is formed with a chevron and three crosses on a field of gold, together with various ornamental variations.

(I) Charles Sterne, born in England, date and place uncertain. He was admitted a freeman of Watertown, May 6, 1646 (this shows him to have been of legal age and a church member). "Isaac Sternes" mentions him in his will as "My kinsman, Charles Sternes," showing the first change in the spelling. He was elected constable in 1681, but refused to take the oath; in that year he sold his land in Watertown to his son, Samuel, and moved to Lynn with his son Shubael. He married (first) Hannah ————, who died June 30, 1651, leaving one son, Samuel; (second) Rebecca Gibson, June 22, 1654, daughter of John and Rebecca Gibson, of Cambridge, Massachusetts. Seven children were born to him:

  1. Samuel,
  2. Shubael (of further mention),
  3. John,
  4. Isaac,
  5. Charles, slain in the King's service prior to 1695;
  6. Rebecca and
  7. Martha.

(II) Shubael Sternes, son of Charles and Rebecca (Gibson) Sterne, was born September 20, 1655. He settled in Lynn, Massachusetts, and was a member of the famous Narragansett expedition. His will is dated November 19, 1733, and probated September 2, 1734. There has been discovered no record of his marriage, but "Mary Upton, of Reading, Massachusetts, married Shubael Stearns, of Lynn" (here showing for the first time the present spelling of the name). There were nine children:

  1. Shubael (2d);
  2. Samuel;
  3. Hannah, who married Dr. Charles Stimson;
  4. Mary;
  5. John;
  6. Ebenezer, of further mention;
  7. Martha;
  8. Eleanor, and
  9. Rebecca.

(III) Ebenezer Stearns, son of Shubael and Mary (Upton) Sternes, was born in 1693. He settled in Sutton, Massachusetts, and married Martha Burnap, of Reading, Massachusetts. He had a family of ten children, all born in Sutton: Ebenezer (2d), of further mention; Elizabeth, John, Jonathan, Hannah, David, Mary, Bethia, Thomas and Ruben.

(IV) Ebenezer Stearns (2d), son of Ebenezer and Martha (Burnap) Stearns, was born February 26, 1720, in Sutton, Massachusetts. He was a soldier in the French and Indian war, and died in the garrison at Lake George, New York. He married, in 1742, Jane Stockwell, who was born in 1722, and died July 16, 1808, at Hinsboro, Vermont. After his marriage he settled in Sutton, Massachusetts, where his five children were born:

  1. Ebenezer Isaac, of further mention;
  2. Jonathan, a captain in the revolutionary war;
  3. Rebecca,
  4. Abigail and
  5. a daughter.

(V) Ebenezer Isaac Stearns, son of Ebenezer and Jane (Stockwell) Stearns, born in Sutton, Massachusetts, in 1743. He settled in Northampton, Massachusetts, and married in 1776, Thankful, daughter of Jonathan Alvord, of Northampton. He died in 1801, and was the father of seven children: Olive; Achsah; Ebenezer; Nathaniel Stockwell, of further mention; Erastus, Benoni and Jonathan Alvord.

(VI) Nathaniel Stockwell Stearns, son of Ebenezer Isaac and Thankful (Alvord) Stearns, was born in Northampton, Massachusetts, May 28, 1783, and died June 12, 1861, in Lyden, Massachusetts. He was commonly known as Stockwell Stearns, and lived in Westhampton, Massachusetts. He married, October 31, 1805, Seviah, daughter of Zebulon and Mary (Litchfield) Willcutt, of Goshen, Massachusetts. His wife was born September 23, 1780, in Cohassett, Massachusetts, and died February 22, 1859, in Coleraine, Massachusetts. Her name is variously spelled Zerviah, Serviah and Seviah. There were eight children: Ebenezer, Rev. Joseph Willcutt, of further mention; Minerva, Ursula, Rev. Anson Hooker, Mercy L., and Edwin F.

(VII) Rev. Joseph Willcutt Stearns, son of Nathaniel S. and Seviah (Willcutt) Stearns, was born February 21, 1808, at Westhampton, Massachusetts, and died at South Berlin, New York, April, 1888. He was educated for the ministry and became a leading divine of the Christian church, and was a man of rare ability as an orator and logician. He was a close personal friend of Gerrit Smith, and an uncompromising Abolitionist. His home in West Groton, "The old white house on the corner," was one of the prominent stations on "The Underground Railroad to Canada," where many a runaway slave found refuge by day, and at night was taken north by "that damned Abolitionist, Elder Stearns," in the democrat wagon drawn by "Old Cuff." He married, 1839, Amanda Sellen, daughter of Isaac Allen, a descendant of a brother of General Ethan Allen. There were three sons: Rev. Joseph Wellington, of further mention; Alvin Stuart, and Eugene Allen.

(VIII) Rev. Joseph Wellington Stearns, son of Rev. Joseph W. and Amanda S. (Allen) Stearns, was born July 8, 1840, in West Groton, New York. He was a schoolmaster at sixteen, and entered the ministry early in life. Later he studied theology under Dr. Austin Craig, president of the Union Theological Institute at Stamfordville, New York, from which he graduated. For over fifty years he has been in the pulpits of the Christian church, in the New England States and New York. The keynote of his ministry has been "The Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man." His commanding personal qualities of physique and intellect, together with quick sympathies and pleasing address, have combined to produce upon his congregation an influence both permanent and beneficent. He now lives at South Berlin, New York. He married, September 24, 1867, Mary Jane, of Schenectady, New York, daughter of John Hull and Susannah Waldron, of old Holland Dutch descent. Eight children:

  1. Waldron Allen, of further mention;
  2. Maus Wellington, osteopathic physician, born January 30, 1871, at West Randolph, Vermont, now living in Schenectady, New York;
  3. Joseph Craig, farmer, born December 31, 1873, at Stamfordville, New York, now living at Pittsfield, Massachusetts;
  4. John Stuart, born October 2, 1875, at Danbury, Connecticut, died February 23, 1894, at Starkey Seminary, Eddytown, New York;
  5. Ralph Winne, E. E., Union, '07, born December 12, 1877, at Petersburgh, New York, now living in Schenectady, New York;
  6. Worth Rae, fruit grower, born October 31, 1879, at Petersburgh, New York, now living in Spokane, Washington;
  7. Trueman Bennett, real estate, born April 4, 1881, at Petersburgh, New York, now living in Greater New York;
  8. Mary Elizabeth, born September 17, 1882, at Petersburgh, New York, married Wallace J. Bell, February 14, 1905, now living at Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

(IX) Waldron Allen Stearns, M.D., Union Univ., 1900, son of Rev. Joseph W. and Mary J. (Hull) Stearns, was born in Eastport, Maine, August 21, 1869. After graduating in medicine he secured the appointment on the resident staff to St. Peter's Hospital, Albany, New York. In June, 1901, he removed to Schenectady, where he is now engaged in the practice of his profession. In 1909 he was elected to the common council. He married, September 19, 1897, Frances Hiscox, daughter of Henry Edwin and Jeannette (Lapham) Fuller, of South Berlin, New York. She was born June 1, 1873, and is a direct lineal descendant of Dr. Samuel Fuller, of the "Mayflower." They have three children:

  1. John Waldron, born September 18, 1898, at South Berlin, New York;
  2. Henry Fuller, born December 10, 1901, at Schenectady, New York;
  3. Mary Jeannette, born February 25, 1906, at Schenectady.

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