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Descendants of William (Herns) Hearns

This page last modified on Sunday, 22-Feb-2004 11:03:39 MST

1 William Hearns
.. +Elizabeth Thorp 1708 -

..... 2 Naomi Hearns 1728 -
..... 2 Gilead Herns 1729 -
..... 2 Thomas Hearns 1731 - 1803
......... +Deborah Campbell 1731 - 1822
..... 2 Sarah Hearns 1733 -
..... 2 Naomi Hearns 1735 -
..... 2 Najah Hearns 1737 -

William Hearns

Elizabeth Thorp married William Herns in Fairfield, Connecticut. A record of the date of marriage has not yet been found.

This is the earliest ancestor of the Hearns line that we have been able to trace to date. His parents names are unknown, as is his place of origin.

This couple had their children baptized at the Greenfield Hill Church in Fairfield, Connecticut. The old church records we have show the first child born to this couple to be Naomi, daughter, baptized June 2, 1728. The second child was named Gilead, son, baptized 1729. The third child was named Thomas, son, baptized November 1731. The fourth child was named Sarah, daughter, baptized November 25, 1733. The fifth child is listed as named Naomi, daughter, baptized 1735. As this couple already had a child that they named Naomi in 1728, it can be reasonably assumed that the first may not have survived. The last child listed in the Greenfield Hill Church records as being born to William Hearns is Najah, baptized August 14, 1737.

Looking very closely at the Greenfield Hill Church records, you will note that of all of the children listed as born to William Hearns, Gilead is the only one which shows his fatherís name spelled 'Herns' rather than 'Hearns'. Therefore only in the book The Families of Old Fairfield and the one item in the Greenfield Church Records is the name 'Herns' applied to William.

Although there are no other children listed in the Greenfield Hill Church records for William Hearns, it is possible that more children were born later and elsewhere as this couple were still reasonably young and likely had more.

The childrenís names reflect some of the names found in Elizabeth Thorpís family line. She had siblings by the names John, Hannah, Mary, Eunice, Sarah, Nathan, Naomi, Ebenezer and Peter. We see some of these names follow along down the ancestrial line later on.

The name Najah is rather unusual and one would wonder why this couple would give their child this name. The following, of course, is pure speculation on my part, however, in the list of Patriot Soldiers distinguished in French Indian Wars 1754-1763, we find the name "Adonejah Yarns." To date, we have not linked this name to our line. It is noted, however, that a shortened version of the given name "Adonejah" could very well be "Najah". Adonejah was a common name in the time frame of the 1700s. The surname "Yarns" is repeatedly written as the spelling of the Hearns/Herns name throughout our research. What is even more astounding is that within a single paragraph, the surname has been seen to be spelled both ways. We may find later on that indeed Adonejah Yarns was related to William Hearns and may very well be the son listed in the Greenhill Field Church as "Najah."

A little digging into the history of Fairfield reveals that the townspeople in 1670 extended their bounds on the north by purchase from the Indians of a tract of land six miles in length. The price paid for this tract, which probably included Greenfield Hill, was thirty yards of cloth. The following year, 1671, in town meeting assembled, they voted a 'half-mile of common' extending east and west across the town, and also a common one mile in width extending at right angles from the 'half mile of common' back into the country perhaps even to Redding. Both of these commons were to remain common land forever.

The Northeast Parish of Fairfield, later called Greenfield, was separated from the mother parish of Fairfield by order of the General Assembly on October 14, 1725, and from that date began the settlement of the country village now known as Greenfield Hill, and located about in the center of the original 'mile of common'. This community, in the early days consisted of a church, a school, a tavern, several stores, and many substantial homes, all clustered around or near the 'green.'

The first school house in Greenfield, built in 1703 or soon thereafter, stood on the present school green, but off towards the southwest corner. It was just a one-room affair with fireplace, and was in use until 1845.

It was in this atmosphere that William Hearns and Elizabeth Thorp Hearns lived and were their children were baptized in the Greenfield Hill Church between 1728 and 1737.

The Fairfield County, Connecticut Register of Deeds Volume 5, #216 and #252, and Volume 6, #45 record a land transaction between William Herns and Ebenezer Sturgis. The wording is in archaic script and difficult to read. However, the gist of the transaction shows that William purchased three acres of land for the approximate cost of fifty pounds (more or less) located in the area of where Patterson, New York is located today. The final legal transaction was completed on the 6th day of March, 1736. Elizabeth and William had a son, Najah, baptized in the Greenfield Hill church on August 14, 1737, therefore, we assume that they moved to their newly purchased property after the winter of 1737. It is unlikely that they would move to this property during the winter of 1737.

The location of the land purchased by William Hearns from Ebenezer Sturgis is described as 'a certain parcel of land lying in Fairfield being part of Burrís Swamp, commonly so called being in quantity three acres more or less is bound North Westerly and North Easterly by Common Land, South Westerly by part of Burrís Swamp'.

A little of the history of Putnam County, New York is essential in understanding where William Hearns relocated to. So please bear with me with a little history.

At the time of the early settlement of the colonies, the geography of the area was but little understood, and erroneous descriptions of property and boundaries to endless controversies, not only between individuals but between colonies as well. The boundary between the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam (New York) and the English colony of Connecticut was in the very earliest times a fruitful source of contention.

Luckily for the Hearn family, in 1744, two commissioners, David Hustis and Francis Nelson, were appointed to survey the areas which included present day Patterson, New York. This survey is recorded by Pelletreau in the book the History of Putnam County written in 1880. The following quote pinpoints the exact location of the land purchased by William Hearns from Ebenezer Sturgis:

A highway beginning near Taylorís, so by
marked trees until it meets with ye highway
that comes from ye Great Swamp by William
(page 132)

Further it reads:

A highway by marked trees from Wm.
Herns on ye north side of ye Bear Swamp, ,
So called, until it meets with Madam Britts
(page 132)

And still further:

Wm. Herns was probably where Aikinís
Corners are now, being the east end of the
Road from Patterson village. The road from Wm.
Herns to Madam Britts Line is probably the main
street of Patterson and its continuation.
(page 133)

How fortunate for the Hearn family that this survey was conducted! Although we donít know the exact year that William Hearns moved to the area of Patterson, we do know that he was living there in 1744 and probably had been there since at least 1738.

In Pelletreauís book he describes ye Great Swamp and Bearís Swamp. As indicated earlier, according to the land deed between William Herns and Ebenezer Sturgis, the correct name was 'Burrís Swamp' which is more than likely the correct name as the Burr family was well established in the Fairfield area at the time. This survey pinpoints where William Herns property was, being where Aikenís Corners are today in Patterson, New York. The swamp is still there. Have a look at a map of Patterson and you will see where they lived.

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