Sunday, December 06, 2015


My 9x great grandfather Isaac Stearns, the subject of Week 49 of the 2015 52 Ancestors in 52
Weeks Challenge, was a Winthrop Fleet immigrant and a prominent citizen in the early days of
Watertown, Ma. I've been lucky enough to find his probate file and will at
I've also found a Stearns family genealogy by one of his descendants, Avis Stearns Van Wagenen.
Here's what she has to say about Isaac:   

Early in the morning of April 8, 1630, Isaac Stearns and family, Sir Richard Staltonstall and family, Rev. George Phillips, Gov. Winthrop and many others embarked at Yarmouth, England, in the good ship Arrabella and arrived in Salem, Mass., on the 12th of June. The ship Jewell arrived on the 13th. The ship Ambrose on the 18th. The Talbot on July 2. The passengers not being satisfied with Salem as possessing the desirable advantages for a permanent settlement soon proceeded from Salem to Charlestown and were among the first settlers of Watertown, near Mount Auburn, Mass. In 1642 we find his homestall bounded on the north by the land of John Warren; west by the highway; south by the land of John Biscoe; east by Pecjussett Meadow, a part of which meadow he owned. In the distribution of the estate of his son, Samuel, in 1724, this homestall, "where his grandfather had lived,"was assigned to his eldest son, Nathaniel. "Dec. 4, 1638, Isaack stearns and John Page were fined 5 shillings for turning the way about, (i c, changing the highway), and day was given till the next Courte. This was done at a Quarter Courte, holden at Boston, Mass." He was admitted freeman, May 18, 1631, which is the earliest date of any such admission, and he was Selectman several years. In 1647, he and Mr. Biscoe were appointed by the selectmen, "to consider how the bridge over the river shall be built, and to agree with the workmen for doing it, according to their best discretion," says Dr. Francis, in his history, "This is the first mention of a bridge over the Charles River, at Watertown."

Isaac Stearns' pedigree has not been ascertained, nor is it certainly known from what town he came, but it has been found that his wife was from the Parish of Nayland, in Suffolk, and his first three children were born there. Mr. Somerby obtained the following extract from the parish register of Nayland:

"Baptized, Jan. 6, 1626, Mary, dau. of Isaac Sternes.
"Baptized, Oct. 5, 1628, Anna, dau. of Isaac Sternes."

The names and ages of these two daughters seem to correspond with the supposed ages of the eldest two girls of the first Isaac Stearns, of Watertown; for, in the early records, Anna and Hannah were often used, the one for the other.

Mr. Beedham, of North Wales, England, sends the following items:
"1622, marriage of Isaac Sternes and Mary Barker.
1623, baptism of child of same.
1626, baptism of child of same.
1628, baptism of child of same."


Stearns Genealogy and Memoirs, Volume 1 Courier Press Company, Syracuse, New York 1901
The reference to Mary (Barker) Stearns being from Nayland Parish in Suffolk England is interesting,
since my immigrant ancestor Richard Barker is said to have come from there as well. I'll have to look into that to see if they are related.

I'll discuss Isaac Stearns' will and probate in part 2.
To be continued.

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