|Notes for Richard Sears|
|"Born in England, about 1612; died at Yarmouth, Mass., buried 26 Aug 1676; married Dorothy Jones. A strange pedigree, in part at least concoted by that able genealogist but (alas!) occasional fabricator of illustrious pedigrees, the late Horatio G Somerby, was given circulation in 1857 when Rev. E H Sears included it in all innocence in Pictures of the Olden Time. This pedigree was gently but effectively castigated by Samuel Pearce May in 1886 in an article, "Some Doubts concerning the Sears Pedigree" published in The new England Historical and Genealogical Register (Vol 40, pp.261-268) Four years later, Mr May brought out an authoritative genealogy of the Sears family. He was taxed at Plymouth, 25 Mar 1633, but seems to have moved soon to Marblehead, then part of Salem, Mass.,, where his brother-in-law, Rev. Anthony Thacher, settled in 1635. Early in 1639 he was among those who accompanied Thacher in the settlement of Yarmouth. Freeman, 1652; Constable, 1660; Deputy to the Plymouth General Court, 1662. His will makes his 'brother Thacher' a trustee of his estate, and Thacher's son John calls Richard Sears 'uncle.' These terms led formerly to an assumption that his wife Dorothy was a Thacher, but that has been disproved, and it is now accepted that she was a sister of Thacher's second wife, Elizabeth Jones. Their brother, Richard Jones of Dorchester, Mass., died intestate, and his widow in the inventory referred to her brother Thatcher, and also made Anthony Thacher of Yarmouth a trustee of the estate. Samuel Jones, son of Richard, in his will in 1661, made bequests to his six cousins in Yarmouth. Thacher had three children by his second (Jones) wife, and Richard Sears had three children, and that accounts for the six." 579 |
"To sum up briefly: the 'English pedigrees' cannot be proved; - it is doubtful if Richard Sares was ever in Holland, or that his wife was a Thacher; - he never had a son Knyvet, - and Richard and Daniel Sears, of Chatham, were younger sons of Paul, and not 'Head of the American Family'. The claim to estates in England is purely mythical. The 'family papers,' if still in existence, are not now accessible to inquirers." Details about the doubts Samuel May shared about previous Sears pedigrees are to be entered. 591
"Myrtle Steven Hyde, FASG, and I both looked into the purported English ancestry of the Sears family, another Somerby production. We were unable to find any evidence of the existance of the three generations immediately preceding the immigrant. An analysis of this extraordinarily colorful fraud, in which Somerby used similar tactics to those presented in this article, can be found in Samuel Pearce May, 'Some Doubts Concerning the Sears Pedigree,' NEHGR 40 (1886): 261-68. May said that one of the family 'wrote me that he received the material from Mr. Somerby, but had since made investigation and found 'that the details were not only not proven, but also incapable of proof, if not altogether wrong, and opposed to fact.' The author described Somerby's style as 'placing the flesh on the wrong bones.' (p. 268), a phrase that we have adopted in the title of the current article." 592
He was also said to have been buried 19 March 1678-9. 249
RICHARD SEARS, b 1590, member of Robinson's Leyden Congregation, came to Plymouth, Mass., 1630, son of John Bouchier Sayers, or Amsterdam, Holland.
Arms - Gules, a chevron argent between three pewtis proper.
Crest - A dexter arm embowed in armour proper, garnished or, grasping a griffin's head erased or." [black and white picture on file] 407
(Savage, Genealogical Dictionary (1862), Vol 4, p.46, was misled by the pedigree and "family tradition" to the extent of giving Richard a mythical son, Knyvett.) Also New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, Vol 42, pp.77-79.
Ref to CHILDREN-DEATH-BIOGRAPHY: GENEALOGICAL AND
FAMILY HISTORY of SOUTHERN NEW YORK and the HUDSON RIVER VALLEY, Vol II;1640-1913; Lewis Historical Publishing Co, 1913; pp 507-510; Brewster, NY Public Library; The several attempts of genealogists to trace the pre-American ancestry of the Sears immigrant have met with many discouraging obstacles and few satisfactory results; while it seems to be pretty well established that the family is one of great antiquity there has always existed a doubt regarding its origin, and there are those who are disposed to place it among the old Holland families and bring forth Dutch intermarriages in support of their reasoning. In these annals no attempt is made to investigate the subject of the origin of the family of the Sears immigrant, for it is not known when or where he was born, and nothing of his parentage, although there are various traditions and vague conclusions regarding his forbears. The family in America is fully strong enough in every material respect to stand forever without the warrant of distinguished pre-American lineage. But in regard to the apparent lack of earlier data the Sears family is only one in the long list of our best colonial families whose history back of the immigrant is unkown, and the absence of definite knowledge of his ancestors is not to be taken as evidence of doubtful or obscure origin, for the
simple truth is that it has been found impossible to trace his lineage in the mother country.
(I) Richard Sears appears in our New England colonial history with the mention of his name in the records of the Plymouth colony tax list in 1633, when he was one of fourty-four persons there assessed nine shillings in
corn at six shillings per bushel. From Plymouth he soon crossed over to Marblehead, MA, and was taxed there, as shown by the Salem list, in 1637-38. He also had a grant of four acres of land "where he had
formerly planted," from which it appears that he may have been in that plantation at some previous time. In 1639 he joined the colonists under Anthony Thacher and went to Cape Cod and founded the town of
Yarmouth. His first house was built on Quivet Neck, and afterwards he built another house a short distance to the northwest of his first house there. In 1643 the name of Richard Sears appears in the list of inhabitants of Yarmouth "liable to bear arms." He was made freeman in 1652, grand juror in 1652, took the oath of allegiance and fidelity in 1653, was constable in 1660, and representative to the court in Plymouth in 1662. In 1664 Richard Sears, husbandman, purchased for twenty pounds from Allis, widow of Governor
William Bradford, a tract of land at Sesuit. He died in August, 1676, and was buried March 19, 1678-79; but it is not certain that she was his only wife, or the mother of all or even any of his children. Indeed, there is
a presumption that he was previously married and that his children may have been born of his former wife.
There is a RIchard SEARS in the IGI AFN 4JDS-SW (1590-1676) with a daughter listed as Mary???
Contributed by Tom Greene, 4906 Apple Tree Dr, Alexandria, VA 22310243
His birth is also listed as about 1595 based on age at death.318
He was also said to have died 26 Aug 1676 at age 86.243
He was said to have come to America in 1633, resided first in Plymouth, MA, removed to Marblehead, MA by 1637, and to Yarmouth, MA by 1639.318
He is listed as one of the Dennis First Comers:
"by 1643 Sears, Richard B[rewster] #8 Old County Way (NE side) K citing Reg. of Prob. R59, D515" 292
"We find him a member of the Plymouth Colony Court in 1662. His property must have been considerable, as his name appears with the colonists at Plymouth among those who were rated the highest." 364
First Residence: Plymouth
Removes: Marblehead by 1637, Yarmouth by 1639
Freeman: Oath of fidelity at Yarmouth, 1639 [PCR 8:185]. Propounded for freemanship, 3 June 1652 [PCR 3:7]. Admitted a freeman, 7 June 1653 [PCR 3:31]. On the 1658 and 29 May 1670 lists of freemen from Yarmouth [PCR 5:274, 8:200].
Education: His inventory included '1 Great Bible and other books' valued at £1 3s.
Offices: Deputy (from Yarmouth), 3 June 1662 [PCR 4:14]. Grand jury, 7 June 1652 [PCR 3:9]. Tax collector, 1 March 1658/9 [PCR 3:155]. Yarmouth constable, 6 June 1660 [PCR 3:188].
In Yarmouth section of 1643 Plymouth Colony list of men able to bear arms [8:194].
Estate: Assessed 9s. in Plymouth tax list of 25 March 1633 [PCR 1:11]; omitted from list of 27 March 1634.
On 1 January 1637/8 'Richard Seeres' was included in a Salem rate list for the 'inhabitants of Marblehead' [STR 1:63]. On 14 November 1638 'Rich[ard] Sears' was granted four acres at Marblehead 'where he had planted formerly' [STR 1:74].
On 23 November 1664 'Allis Bradford the widow of William Bradford' sold to 'Richard Sares' of Yarmouth, husbandman, two tracts of twenty acres each 'at a place commonly called . . Sasuet,'' one of which had been the lot of William bradford deceased and the other of which had been the lot of Experience Mitchell [MD 34:23, citing PCLR 3:18].
In his will, dated 10 May 1667, with a codicil dated 3 February 1675/6, and proved 5 March 1675/6, 'Richard Sares of Yarmouth' bequeathed to 'Sylas Sares my younger son . . . all my land, that is allthe upland upon the Neck where his house stands in which he now dwells . . . after mine and my wife's decease,' provided that 'my son-in-law Zachery Paddock' shall have the house where he dwells and two acres within the above tract 'during the life of Deborah his now wife'; also to 'the said Sylas Sares' a tract of meadow and half of 'my land called Robins as in undivided'; to 'my elder son Paule Sares all the rest and remains of my lands whatsoever', to 'Dorothy my wife' all lands and goods during her natural life, she to be sole executrix, and 'do entreat my brother Thacher with his two sons as friends in trust' as overseers; to 'my son-in-law Zachery Paddock' two acres from land called Robins before it is divided between Silas and Paul Sears, and this two acres, along with the two acres mentioned above, to go to Ichabod Paddock, son of Zachary, at the death of Zachary's wife; witnessed by Anthony Thacher and Anthony Frey; in the codicil, dated 3 February 1675/6, Richard Sears bequeathed to 'my eldest son Paul Sares .. . the house which I now live in' and various moveables; witnessed by John Thacher and Judah Thacher; on 5 March 1675/6 deposed that he and his brother witnessed the codicil,a nd that when 'my uncle signed this appendix,' he asked him [John Thacher] to redraw the will and 'to leave out of the new draft the legacy of land that is given to Ichabod Paddock, for saith he I have answered it in another way,' but Thacher never did produce this new draft [PCPR 3:2:53-54].
The inventory of the estate of 'Richard Sares,' taken 8 October 1676 and presented at court on 15 November 1676 by 'Dorethy Sares the relict of Richard Sares and Paul Sares his eldest son,' was untotalled and included 'his house and lands,' valued at £220 [PCPR 3:2:55; PCR 5:213].
Birth: About 1595 based on age of death.
Death: Yarmouth 5 September  'age 81 y 4 m' [Yar VR 126].
Marriage: By 1637 Dorothy Jones. She was born about 1603, daughter of George and Agnes (____) Jones of Dinder, Somerset [TAG 58:244-46]. 'Cady [i.e., Goody] Seares was buried the 19th of March 78[/9]' at Yarmouth [YarVR 125]. . .
Comments: Although the earliest record of Richard Sears in Marblehead is in 1637, he may have moved there as early as 1634, since he is in the 1633 Plymouth tax list, but not in the list of 1634. On 2 October 1650, with a large number of other men, 'Richard Seares' brought an action against William Nickerson for slander [PCR 7:50].
Bibliographic Note: Various publications of the middle of the nineteenth century set forth an English pedigree for Richard Sears, and partly on the basis of this pedigree assigned to Richard Sears a son Knyvett Sears. In 1886 Samuel Pearce May carefully examined and analyzed this pedigree, and found it to have no merit; he further demonstrated that the proposed son Knyvett did not exist [NEHGR 40:261-68]. Four years later May published a genealogy of the family [The Descendants of Richard Sares (Sears) of Yarmouth, Mass., 1638-1888 (Albany, 1890)]
In 1948 Donald Lines Jacobus prepared a brief account of the family of Richard Sears [Brainerd anc 257-58]."318, 422 [Note: Pilgrim Migration entry is very similar o entry in Great Migration Begins. Under Education, PM adds reference PCPR 3:2:54].
"Miller's ministry of fourteen years was not an easy one. The community had a proportion of 'scoffers' along with some who had strong Puritan and Pilgrim ties. Four at least had Pilgrim connections: Stephen Hopkins (who was only briefly a resident), his son Giles, Richard Sears, and Anathony Thacher." 272
"This tract on the east was bounded by Kenelm Winslow's land. It extended from Quivet meadow southward to the road leading from the Mill to Yarmouth. Westerly it was bounded by the Yarmouth or Dennis line. It was the tract Richard Sears bought in 1664 of Mrs. Alice Bradford, being the first and second lot laid out by the 'Purchasers or Old Comers' in 1653." 593
"Some students of genealogy place Richard Sears with the Pilgrims in Leyden. His name appears on a tax list for Plymouth town in 1633 but has not been found on a passenger list of any vessel His whereabouts from 1633 to September 1639, when his daughter Deborah was born in Yarmouth, is not known. . . Their homestead was near Bound Brook in what is not East Dennis. The ancient house just across the Brewster line is an early Sears dwelling, and the family burying ground is on the hill in front of the old homestead, overlooking the small pond."293
"In the illustration facing this page, we reproduce an original deed from Major William (2) Bradford (Gov. William 1) of lymouth, to Paul Sears of Yarmouth. By this deed, dated 10 June, 1679, Major Bradford released all his rights in land which his mother, widow Alice Bradford, had sold, on 23 November, 1664, to Richard Sears of Yarmouth, father of Paul Sears". Copy of document is on file.594
He was also said to be buried 26 Aug 1676. 579
"Richard, the Pilgrim
There is no proof that this is a portrait of Richard but I have received it from three different sources. The best is this color
photo from Mrs D R Stone in Florida. We have looked at Sears "characteristics" and many claim the fair hair, high
forehead, widow's peak, detached lobes, and hazel eyes. (I have brown hair and blue eyes. So much for DNA!)
"Copied from a portrait in possesion of the Van Egmont Family""243
"Between the two creeks whose Indian names we have given above, there was a tongue of land called 'Quivet Neck,' made up in part of alluvial deposits, and forming therefore the best and most fertile soil. Richard Sayer purchased the greater part of this neck of land, and built his house upon it. On this gentle swell he could hear the crooning of the two brooks on either side of him s they wound through the meadows, and he could look over the green interval into the broad blue ocean, always sounding with the march and countermarch of its waves. After two hundred years, the house which he built had disappeared; but the precise spot is still to be seen where his household gods found undisturbed repose. . . Nothwithstanding his peace-loving habits, the Pilgrim, as tradition says, head a military office, and lost an arm by a gun-shot would in some conflict with the Indians. He also appears on the records as constable of Yarmouth, and once on some committee in ecclesiastical affairs. . . Richard Sayer lived to be the patriarch of the little colony of Sursuit, and to see his children and his children's children settled aroungd him. . . Richard sayer was once or twice summoned from his seclusion, as Deputy to the Colony Court at Plymouth. . . .He lived to a green and honored old age, and died in 1676. . . His ashes repose in the old Yarmouth churchyard, where one of his descendants, with filial reverence and affection, has erected a costly monument to his memory." 595
"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 tha 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 to-day.' "240
"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 this house on Indian affairs." 240
"In 1668, there was exchanging and buying of upland and meadow abetween Quivet Creek and Sauquatuckett River or as it was now often called 'Stoney Brook.' On January 17, an agreement was made between 'Richard Sears of Yarmouth and John Dillingham about an exchange of meadow lying between Bound brook and Stoney brook.' By this 'agreement' it appears 'Richard Sears fully and readily' accepted 'all right that John Wing and John Dillingham' had 'in all the meadows commonly called the Nooks - for all the right that Richard sears had in that meadow lying and being against Mr. William Bradford's two lots sold to said Richard Sears,' and 'his in the great division of broken meadow.' At the same date Richard Sears sold to 'John Dillingham, his heirs and assigns, all the land lying and being below the path commonly known as the path from Sesuit to the mill, with all the dead timber about the path forever.' 593
He was also said to have been buried Aug. 26, 1676.240
"He is found at Plymouth in 1633, but soon removed to Marblehead, being taxed there 1637, and was granted four acres of land in 1638. Many of the settlers at Marblehead were from Guernsey and Jersey in England. He appears in Yarmouth in 1643, where he served on the Grand Jury and as constable, also was a deputy to the General Court at Plymouth in 1662. His occupation was farming." 249
"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 this house on Indian affairs. He died in Yarmouth, and was buried there Augs. 16, 1676. His widow, Dorothy, was buried there March 19, 1678-79. It is not cerain that she was his only wife, or the mother of all, if any, of his children." 240
"Mr. Richard Sears, who came over with the last of the congregation from Leyden, landed at Plymouth May 8, 1630. [pedigree info of question] . . He had a grant of land at Salem, in 1638, but did not stop there long, if at all. In 1643 he settled in Sesuit, now East Dennis. He was a constable in 1660, Deputy to the court in 1662, but seldom accepted public employment. He died in 1676, aged 86 years, after a life of great purity and devotion to religious duty. His will and codicil were signed with a mark, which has led some writers to state that he was a military officer, and lost his arm by a gun-shot wound in battle with the Indians, in 1650. There seems to be no foundation for such a statement, in any reliable record of the times, and his so writing was doubtless due to the infirmities of age, as frequently occurrred at that period." 261
There is a photo of a coat of arms labelled "Sears of Chatham" listed for The Granary Burying-Grounds, Boston, MA with the motto 'Honor et Fides'. "596
"Just as news of Philip's demise was received, an epidemic of a virulent but unnamed sickness occurred in Yarmouth, which brought more personal suffering and grief than the whole war had done. The record is torn and some names are illegible, but the story is clear.
26 August 1676 ______ Sears was buried [Probably Richard Sears as his will was offered for probate in october of 1676]."293
"Two of the first newcomers were from the Pilgrim Leyden Congretation; Anthony Thacher, a grantee, and Richard Sears who settled in what is now East Dennis" 265
"Richard Sears, born ca. 1595 and died at Yarmouth, 5 Sept. , aged 81 years 4 months (VR, 126). He may have been the Richard Serrie(s), bp. 1605 in Croscombe, Co. Somerset (NEXUS, 5:14).
He married by 1637 Dorothy Jones, born ca. 1603, at Dinder, co. Somerset, England; and as 'Goody Sares' was buried 19 March 1678/9 in Yarmout (VR, 125; Sares, 14-15; TAG, 58 ; NEXUS, 5:14). She was the daughter of George and Agnes (___) Jones.
Called Richard Sears, the Pilgrim, he joined the Separatists at Leyden, Holland. He was taxed in Plymouth Colony in 1633; in Marblehead, Massachusetts, 1637/8; in Yarmouth, Cape Cod, in 1639; and resided on Quivet Neck, between Quivet and Sesreit Creeks. He was admitted a freeman 7 June 1653 at Plymouth (PCR, 3:31). He was a member of the Plymouth Colony Court in 1662 and a member of the Yarmouth Company (Lt. Wm. Palmer).
In his will, dated 10 May 1667, he named his wife Dorothy, his younger son Silas, and his older son Paul. He gave his son-in-law Zachery Paddock a house and four acres for the life of Deborah. For the complete will, see Plymouth Colony Records, 3:2:53-54." 511
"The English home of Richard Sears has not been found but he may have come from Somerset or Wiltshire. (Ref: Savage 4:46 & Pope-406)." 458
"Sears, Richard (____ - ____) of Yarmouth. English home: Unknown, but he m. Dorothy Jones in England, called sister of Richard Jones of Dinder, Somerset. He was taxed in Plymouth in 1632." 458
Large monument in Yarmouth Ancient Cemetery visited and photographed by Barbara Fleming, August, 2001. Photos on file. One side of monument read:
"Sacred to the Memory
John Bourchiere Sears
Mariel van Egmond
In Lineal Descent from
Richard Sears of Colchester
Ann Bourchiere Knyvet
He landed at Plymouth
Married Dorothy Thacher
And Died in Yarmout
The 4th side of the monument is to the (now said to be) mythical son Knyvet and reads:
"Sacred to the Memory
Eldest son of Richard Sears
Born in 1625.
Married Elizabeth Dymoke.
and Died in England.
|Last Modified 18 Nov 2007||Created 18 Jan 2009 using Reunion for Macintosh|
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