Descendants of Chauncey Sears of Fall River, MA

SEARS (Fall River family). The family bearing this name is one ancient in New England, an early Cape Cod family, the ancestor using the orthography Sares. Says the family historian:

“There is a popular belief that the family of Sears is of Norman origin, and it is noticeable that in the eastern parishes of London, and adjacent villages, which contained many Huguenot, Flemish and Walloon emigrants, the name of Sears or Sares is common about 1600. However, the parentage, place and date of birth of Richard Sares, the first American ancestor of the family considered, are unknown. Marblehead, at which point Richard Sares was found in 1638, was largely settled by people from the islands of Guernsey and Jersey; the names of Sarres and Serres have been represented in Guernsey for several centuries, and are found there today.”

As will be seen in what follows the Fall River family of Sears here considered – to which belongs Chauncey Howe Sears, an extensive mason contractor and builder and one of Fall River’s well-known citizens and substantial men – is one of some two hundred and sixty and more years’ standing in this Commonwealth. The family history and genealogy of the Fall River family follow in chronological order from the immigrant settler.

Richard Sares (name variously spelled, in time taking the form of Sears) is of record at Plymouth as early as March, 1632-33, when taxed. He soon crossed over to Marblehead and was there taxed in 1637. He removed to Yarmouth, where he was a proprietor, 1638. His name was in the list of those able to bear arms in 1643. He became a freeman June 7, 1653. Commissioners were appointed Oct. 26, 1647, to meet at his house on Indian affairs. He died in Yarmouth, and was buried there Aug. 26, 1676. His widow, Dorothy, was buried there March 19, 1678-79. It is not certain that she was his only wife, or the mother of all, if any, of his children. His children were:

  1. Paul, born in 1637-38;
  2. Silas, possibly a twin of Paul, as his age given by Otis at his death would indicate; and
  3. Deborah, born in September, 1639.

(Lieut.) Silas Sears, born as indicated by his age given by Otis at the time of his death, in 1637-38, married Anna, perhaps Bursell, daughter of James Bursell, of Yarmouth. Both died at Yarmouth, Mr. Sears Jan. 13, 1697-98, and Mrs. Sears March 4, 1725-26. Lieutenant Sears lived in the East Precinct of Yarmouth, which later became Dennis. He was commissioned ensign Oct. 28, 1681, and lieutenant July 7, 1682. He was chosen representative to the General Court at Plymouth, 1685-91, selectman, 1680-94, and juryman, 1680-82. He was appointed in 1676 one of the administrators of the estate of James Bursell of Yarmouth. The children of Silas Sears were:

  1. Silas, born in 1661;
  2. Richard (both born in Yarmouth);
  3. Hannah, born in December, 1672, in Eastham;
  4. Joseph and Josiah, both born about 1675 in Yarmouth;
  5. Elizabeth and Dorothy, both born in Yarmouth.

Capt. Joseph Sears, born about 1675 in Yarmouth, married there Sept. 19, 1700, Hannah Hall, of Yarmouth. He lived in the East Precinct of Yarmouth, now East Dennis. He was styled captain and in his will calls himself yeoman. He died May 7, 1750, in his seventy-fifth year. His wife, Hannah, survived him and died July 28, 1753, in her seventy-third year. Their children were:

  1. Priscilla, born July 1, 1701 (married Josiah Gorham);
  2. Hannah, Dec. 10, 1703 (married Peter Blackmore);
  3. Zachariah, April 22, 1706;
  4. Joseph, March 27, 1708; Stephen, July 22, 1710;
  5. Roland, May 17, 1711;
  6. Barnabas, April 5, 1714; Peter, May 20, 1716;
  7. Bethia, March 20, 1718-19 (married Thomas Howes);
  8. Silas, Feb. 11, 1719-20; and
  9. Thankful April 11, 1723 – all born in Yarmouth, Massachusetts.

Joseph Sears, born March 27, 1708, in Yarmouth, Mass., married in Harwich, May 21, 1733, Ruth, born July 4, 1715, daughter of Samuel and Ruth (Merrick) Sears. She died March 27, 1761, and he married (second) in Harwich, Oct. 28, 1761, Thankful Snow, and (third) Dec. 4, 1766, Bashua (Nickerson) Chase,.nee Smalley. Mr. Sears lived in that part of Harwich which became Brewster, Mass. He was admitted to the Second Church in East Yarmouth June 29, 1742. He died Aug. 6, 1779, in his seventy-second year. His children, all except the first of Yarmouth record and born to wife Ruth, were:

  1. Isaac, born Oct. 28, 1734, in Harwich, died March 24, 1759;
  2. Stephen was born Sept. 5, 1736;
  3. Lamed, born Oct. 22, 1738, married Ann Bangs;
  4. Ruth, born Dec. 10, 1740, married James Wing.

Stephen Sears, born Sept. 5, 1736, in Yarmouth, Mass., married Nov. 12, 1758, Elizabeth, daughter of Silas and Elizabeth (Nickerson) Sears. Mr. Sears lived in the ancient Judah Sears’s house at “Punkhorn,” in West Brewster, Mass. He was a soldier of the Revolution, turning out as a member of the Capt. Samuel Berry company, and marching on the alarm at Bedford and Falmouth, Sept. 7, 1778, the company marching one hundred and twelve miles. His children, all baptized in Harwich and on dates specified below, were:

  1. Mary, Ruth and Isaac, all Oct. 19, 1766;
  2. David and Larned, May 3, 1767; Levi, Jan. 22, 1769;
  3. Mary, May 17, 1772;
  4. Stephen;
  5. Elizabeth, June 12, 1774;
  6. Joseph, Oct. 12, 1776;
  7. Lavinia, May 23, 1779;
  8. Washington, Nov. 25, 1781; and
  9. Greene, Nov. 25, 1781.

Isaac Sears, baptized Oct. 19, 1766, in Harwich, Mass., married Nov. 3, 1784, Sarah Eldredge, of Chatham, Mass. Mr. Sears was found dead in the road in March, 1816. His wife was baptized and admitted to the church in Chatham, July 10, 1796. Their children, all born in Dennis, Mass., were:

  1. Mulford, born Nov. 1, 1785;
  2. Patty, born Nov. 1, 1785; and
  3. Eldredge, born Sept. 25, 1790.

Mulford Sears, born Nov. 1, 1785, in Dennis, Mass., and baptized July 10, 1796, married (published Aug. 31, 1811) Patty, daughter of Barnabas Crosby. Mr. Sears died Aug. 4, 1827, in East Dennis, Mass. Their children, all born in Dennis, were:

  1. Solomon, born July 10, 1812 (died May 11, 1821);
  2. Calvin, Dec. 6, 1813;
  3. Isaiah Crosby, Aug. 2, 1816;
  4. Mulford, Sept. 7, 1818 (died May 10, 1821);
  5. Barnabas, Nov. 1, 1820 (died June 20, 1821); and
  6. Mulford (2), March 26, 1823.

Capt. Isaiah Crosby Sears, father of Chauncey Howe Sears, of Fall River, was born Aug. 2, 1816, in Dennis, Mass. He was a sea-faring man, and resided at East Dennis, Mass., where he died March 19, 1882. He was in the coastwise service and commanded a number of different vessels, being part owner in a number of them. He was a member of the Methodist Church, in East Dennis, was active in its affairs, and being the possessor of a good bass voice he for many years led the choir. He was a man much esteemed and respected. He married in Brewster, Mass., Nov. 15, 1838, Jedidah Snow Baker, born Sept. 14, 1810, in Yarmouth, Mass., daughter of Obadiah Baker. Mrs. Sears survived her husband, dying in 1888, and was buried beside him in East Dennis. Their children, all born in Dennis, were:

  1. Obadiah Baker, born Aug. 20, 1839, died April 10, 1841;
  2. Obadiah Baker (2), born July 25, 1842, was a sea captain and spent many years in the Pacific and later in the Atlantic coast trade, and died in Brooklyn, N. Y. (he married Mrs. Lizzie Atkinson);
  3. Isaiah Francis, born Jan. 20, 1844, resides in Fall River and is a bookkeeper in the employ of his brother, Chauncey H. (he married Sarah A. Little);
  4. Herbert Wallace, born July 31, 1848, was a mechanic and died in Taunton, Mass., unmarried;
  5. Horace Augustus, born Nov. 1, 1851, a mason, resided in Fall River, where he and his wife died (he married Carrie Robinson);
  6. Chauncey Howe was born Dec. 5, 1853.

Chauncey Howe Sears was born in East Dennis, Mass., and received his education in the public schools of his native place. He left home while yet a boy, being in his eighteenth year, and coming to Fall River began to learn the trade of mason under Charles Norman. His apprenticeship was to cover a period of three years, all of which he served lacking seven days, which time he bought from his employer. It is interesting to note that the first year of his apprenticeship his wages were thirty-five cents a day and board for the long hours which comprised a clay’s work at that time. In October, 1874, before he was twenty-one, he began business for himself as a contractor and builder, in a small way. Through his superior business skill his patronage has grown to be one of the largest of its kind in the city. He has done a great deal in the way of mill construction as well as work on public buildings. Among the mills he has constructed may be mentioned Hargraves Mill No. 1, the Sanford Spinning Company’s mill, Globe Yarn No. 3, all the mills of the Stevens Manufacturing Company, the Barnard mill, the Lincoln mill, the Luther Manufacturing Company’s mill, Arkwright mill, Davis Mills Nos. 1 and 2, Marshall’s hat factory, Charlton mills, the Corr mill at East Taunton, the Queen City cotton mill at Burlington, Vt., besides large additions to numerous other mills. Among his more important contracts among the public buildings in Fall River may be mentioned the Masonic Hall, the “Mellen House,” the Bradford Durfee Textile School, the E. S. Brown block, the Flint building, and Hudner’s two buildings. Some of his contracts have amounted to several hundred thousand dollars. To facilitate the work on his various contracts, Mr. Sears owns and operates his own stone quarries, and he also conducts a large teaming business. He has also acquired extensive interests outside of his immediate field of operations, being heavily interested in various mills, and is a director of the Stevens Manufacturing Company, Davis Mills, Arkwright Mills, Luther Manufacturing Company, Charlton Mills, and the Corr Manufacturing Company, the latter being an East Taunton concern.

Mr. Sears has never taken any part in public affairs or aspired to office holding, but he is nevertheless one of the leading citizens of Fall River, progressive and public-spirited to a degree that makes his influence sought and valued. He is a self-made man, but though he has worked hard he has retained his genial social qualities and is well known in the local clubs and fraternal bodies. He was made a master Mason in Mount Hope Lodge, A. F. & A. M., and became a charter member of Narragansett Lodge; is a member of Fall River Chapter, R. A. M., of Fall River Council, Godfrey de Bouillon Commandery, K. T., and all the Scottish Rite bodies, having taken the thirty-second degree; he is also a member of Aleppo Temple, A. A. 0. N. M. S., at Boston. He belongs to the Knights of Pythias, the Quequechan Club. Fall River Auto Club, the Wamsutta Club and the Country Club at New Bedford, and to the Fall River and Charles River Driving Clubs (the latter a Boston organization), being an enthusiastic horseman and always owning one or more blooded horses. He is a Republican in politics.

On June 14, 1883, Mr. Sears married, in Fall River, Georgianna Teresa Newell, who was born in Fall River Sept. 3, 1863, daughter of William Newell. They have had two children:

  1. Roy H., who is his father’s business assistant, and
  2. Gladys L., a graduate of the Bennett School, of Millbrook, New York.

Representative Men and Old Families of Southeastern Massachusetts: containing historical sketches of prominent and representative citizens and genealogical records of many of the old families. 3 Volumes. Beers & Chicago. 1912.

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