STOUGHTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY
APRIL 19, 1899,
DEDICATION OF THE MEMORIAL STONE
MARKING THE LOCATION
FIRST HOUSE BUILT STOUGHTON.
RECORD JOB PRINT.
At the meeting of the Stoughton Historical Society, held in March, 1899, it was proposed that the Society should celebrate "Patriot's Day" in a manner that would permanently perpetuate some event that makes a part of the history of our town.
After consultation, it was voted, to hold such a celebration, leaving the entire arrangements with the Government of the Society.
At the meeting of the government they made themselves a committee, and added to their number Eliot A. Curtis, Marcus M. Porter and Henry W. Britton. In carrying out the wishes of the Society the Committee decided to mark, by a suitable memorial, the site of the first house built in our town. To Mr. Charles W. Long one of our citizens, was intrusted the work of preparing and setting the monument. Mr. William L. Hodges, also a citizen, and the present owner of the land where the house was built, generously offered to the Society so much of his land as needed for its purpose ; but it was deemed bettor, after due consideration, to place the stone on the town road directly in front of the old "Cellar hole" over which the house was originally built, as shown by the engraving preceding the title page.
OFFICERS OF THE STOUGHTON HISTORICAL SOCIETY.
NEWTON TALBOT, President. HENRI L. JOHNSON, Vice-President.
RICHARD B. WARD, Treasurer. MISS AMELIA M. CLIFTON, Secretary.
Mrs. Abbie F. French,
Mrs. Azubah G. Capen,
A. Augustus Lamb,
Leonard A. Thayer,
Harry C. Southworth.
Mrs. H. Augusta Atherton.
DEDICATION OF THE ISAAC STEARNSMONUMENT.
The afternoon of the nineteenth of April, was all that could be desired for an out door celebration, and at one o'clock the interested members and friends of the Society occupying not only several barges but numerous private carriages, and many on bicycles, were ready to start from the Town House to the place of dedication.
A ride of about two miles towards the westerly part of the town, brought the Company to the old "Cellar hole" located on the west side of West Street, between Water and Elm streets. The monument of polished granite about three feet high and two feet wide was found to be in place.
The assembled company, including many who had arrived by more direct routes from their homes, having been called to order by the President of the Society, the exercises for the celebration as prepared by the committee begun by singing, under the direction of Mr. Edwin A. Jones, by members of the Musical Society in Stoughton, to the tune of Old Hundred written in 1554, two verses of the old familiar hymn :
"Be thou, O God, exalted high, And as thy glory fills the sky, So let it be on earth displayed Till thou art here as there obeyed...O God, our hearts are fixed and bent Their thankful tribute to present; And with the hearts the voice we'll raise. To thee, O God, in songs of praise."
It was expected that the Rev. Charles Macomber Smith, D. D. of Somerville, a descendant in sixth the generation from Dea. Isaac Stearns, would be present and conduct the religious services, but illness preventing his attendance, Rev. Arthur W. Grose, pastor of the Stoughton Parish occupied his place, reading selections from the Scriptures not alone appropriate to the occasion ; but also to the events that make the nineteenth of April a day hallowed in all our memories.
Under the direction of Mr. Jones the choir sung to the tune of St. Ann's, written in 1687, two verses of the hymn written by Henry Kirk White :
"The Lord our God is full of might, The winds obey his will ; He speaks, and on his Heavenly height, The rolling sun stands still. Rebel, ye waves ! and o'er the land With threatening aspect roar ! The Lord uplifts His awful hand, And chains you to the shore."
Both of the tunes were selected in the belief that they were familiar to the occupants of the old farm, where we were assembled, and had been used many times in religious and family devotions around the hearth stone of the "first house." there is an almost unknown old cellar, with the remains of an orchard, just north of the South Stoughton Station, on the east side of the railroad. A blue slate stone in our old burial place, on which is inscribed the deaths of four persons, who died as follows : January 20 ; January 26 ; February 6, and February 8, 1743.
The observer will at once note that it is not a grave stone, but a cenotaph, recording deaths that occurred more than four years before the burial place was established, as shown by the deed of Capt. George Talbot.
Again, on the west side of the Bay road just before passing into Easton, on the face of a great rock are chiseled certain letters and figures, and also what are supposed to be the initials of the person who made the inscription. I commend these and other events to the members of the society for investigation, so that if in the near future, as I hope will be the case, the town will be ready to print its own history, our society will have gathered and preserved material that will aid the historian in the performance of the work.
What has been said, is not in criticism of our want of interest in the purposes of the society, for this would not be just or true.
Since our organization, we have done one thing that gives us a right to exist, - if we never do another, - in marking with monument and inscription the south east corner of the "Ponkapoag Reservation" of 1657, which fortunately falls within the limits of Stoughton.
Today we meet to mark in the same manner, the site of the first house erected in what is now the town of Stoughton. The society expects in the future to mark other historical places or events; but in doing this work it must take time and care, so that what is done may be historically correct, as well as permanent.
In 1637, the General Court granted to Dorchester, that is, those persons who owned the land in Dorchester, all the land south of the "great blue hills " between the Plymouth Colony and the Dedham line. This territory afterwards became known as the "New Grant." The first division of ur. land in the new grant to the original proprietors, their descendants or assigns, in severalty, was made in 1696 and called the "twelve division lots," giving each proprietor twelve acres for one acre which he had in the first division, the first division being the land at South Boston. The lot upon which we are now assembled is the seventieth of the twelve division lots, and was laid out to the right of John Glover, a descendant of Mr. Glover, who came to Dorchester in 1630.
It is possible with care to fix the boundaries of this lot, as related to other fixed monuments, plot the roads, locate the cellars and houses, and thereby add to the historical knowledge of the town, and also aid those who are interested in such matters in their investigation in this direction. Mr. Glover's right was 368 acres ; but he, and all others had their lots enlarged for land to be used for roads, and also for bad land, so that when it was sold by John Glover, his descendant, it was rated as 451 acres, and subsequent deeds probably increase the area to over 500 acres. This sale was made to Isaac Stearns of Lexington, May 12, 1715, and the deed is recorded at the Registry in Boston, Volume 34, page 46. Mr. Stearns sold his farm in Lexington, April 3, 1716, so that it is fair to assume that during the fall and winter of 1715 some progress was made by him in preparing the materials for his new house, if he did not begin to build it. This he could well do as his twin sons who were about eighteen years old could aid him in his work. His neighbors were nearly two miles and a half distant in three directions Henry Bailey and John Wentworth just north of Beaver Brook at Springdale railroad station ; Joseph Tucker and others at South Canton and Richard Hixon and Joseph Hewins where their descendants now live in Sharon. Mr. Stearns may have resided with some of these families or he may have built a shelter or his barn and brought his eldest daughter, who was about twenty years old, to take care of his temporary home.
Whether the house he built was the one taken down about 1840, and which Mr. S. W. Curtis, Mr. Eliphalet Gay, myself and perhaps others who are with us today can easily remember, was the one described as one and half stories high covering 1008 square feet of land, 11 windows 52 ft. of glass with a barn 30 x 40 feet, by Jabez Talbot, Esq. when he made the valuation of the town for the United States direct tax of 1798, is not absolutely known.
In 1734, Mr. Stearns in his deed of one half of it to his son Nathaniel, describes it as a "double house." Mr. Stearns without doubt had considerable financial mean at the time he purchased his farm ; and coming from a town where large houses were a rule rather than the exception, and also bringing with him a large family, it seems more than probable that the house described was the one he originally built.
In 1733 the first road laid out in our part of Stoughton, after its incorporation as a town, begun at the north end of Simon Stearns' farm and run northerly by Deacon Stearns', one bound being a large rock in front of his door, to Edward Bailey's whose house was on the road from Canton corner to Dorchester swamp. The latter road is now known in Canton as Pleasant street and in Stoughton as Pearl, Park and Sumner streets.
The road by Deacon Stearns' was laid out, largely, over the existing "path," where he and his family had for many years, guided by "blazed trees," traveled to and from their Sunday home at the first parish meeting house at Canton Corner, or Pecunit plain as it was then called.
Mr. Stearns was elected moderator at a parish meeting, held September 30, 1717, which is the only public office, so far as the records show, that he ever held. He was one of the founders of the church in the South precinct in Dorchester (Canton Corner) which was organized October 30, 1717, and he was elected one of its Deacons February 26, 1720.
He got into difficulty with Mr. Morse, the minister, of sufficient importance to make it necessary for the Church to interfere in the matter, and, at a meeting held August 29, 1723, according to the records as made by Mr. Morse "it was proposed whether the church was dissatisfied about the matter relating to Mr. Morse not paying of money by the time he had engaged it to several persons, which Deacon Stearns made so much objection about, and the church signified that they did not remain dissatisfied about that matter.
"It was proposed to the church whether they were dissatisfied about what Deacon Stearns did object against Mr. Morse as to his preaching false doctrine from the text I Chronicles, Chapter 28, verse 9, "And thou Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind : for the Lord searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts ; if thou seek him he will find thee ; but if thou forsake him he will cast the off forever."
"The church by a vote signified that they were not dissatisfied with Mr. Morse about that matter.
''After very considerable treaty with Deacon Stearns, he manifested himself so to the church that they charitably voted him into their favor again.
"Then Hewins proposed to the church whether or no all those matters of uneasiness that had happened between Mr. Morse and Deacon should be buried in one grave of oblivion and forgetful ness, and it was voted in the affirmative, that they should."
The family that Mr. Stearns brought with him consisted of five sons, Isaac, Simon, Jonathan, Nathaniel and Ebenezer, and four daughters Elizabeth, Hannah, Martha and Abigail.
As his sons became of age and married, as was usual with large land owners at that time, the father set them up in life by giving them a farm. The consideration being "the entire love" or "the love and good will I bear" etc.
To Simon, whose deed bears the earliest date, he gave ninety acres at the South or South east corner, it being the same farm upon which the late John E. Drake [Note: 808 West Street - site now of Camp Westwoods] lived for so many years. It is presumed that the house now standing is near the site of the original house. Mr. Simon Stearns is the only one of the sons who continued to reside in the town so long as he lived. He was one of the selectmen and held other public office. He died suddenly, in the road near his house in April 1776. The farm of his twin brother Isaac was at the east or north east corner, and consisted of one hundred acres, a part of which is now the homestead of our respected townsman, Mr. Joshua Britton, while farther west on the same lot is the town farm. To Nathaniel, he gave ninety acres at the north or northwest corner and on the west side of the brook that comes out of Muddy Pond. Nathaniel did not occupy the farm" many years, selling it to the widow of Zachariah Lyon, after she sold the "Lyon farm" to the Drakes. The old cellar hole over which his house stood is easily found, it being quite near the road, and on the east of it, that leads to Muddy Pond. In 1734, Nathaniel Stearns bought the old homestead, consisting of seventy three acres, but leaving one half the house and part of the barn still belonging to his father.
He sold it, after the death of his mother, to Ralph Morgan of Dorchester, who a few years later sold it to Capt. Preserved Capen. It is not many years since the ownership passed from the descendants of Capt. Capen. It is on this part of the original farm that we have today erected the memorial stone.
To his son Jonathan he also deeded ninety acres running nearly across the lot from east to west, leaving the homestead to the north and bounding on Simon Stearns south.
The location of the house after many attempts on my part to find it was pointed out to us by Mr. Horace E. Britton on Labor Day last year.
This farm so far as I can follow the boundaries in the deeds, and there are many sales recorded, contained the water power, dam and iron works, and was repeatedly sold to persons who desired to embark in the business of making iron, none of whom so far as appears were successful. It bears the name of Jones and in the the lists as the Ruddick's farm. Mr. Ruddick took it by foreclosure of his mortgage, and held it many years. It was, about 1790, sold to Capt. James Pope and added to the Capt. Capen Farm. There is no record of any sale to Ebenezer, and there could not have been any large quantity sold him, as besides what has been mentioned the original owner held nearly fifty acres at the time of his death. If Ebenezer had any part of the farm, it must have been at the southwest corner,at which point the seventieth lot crossed the Bay road, and joining the hundred and fifty acres that Ebenezer owned on both sides of the road, the central point being the site of the "Savage tavern," for many years before his time kept by Parker, Noyes and others, and now the residence of Mr. Isaac Smith.
All of the daughters married in Stoughton and three of them always remained residents of the town. Elizabeth the eldest, by the age of her eldest son at the time of his death, married Edward Esty, probably in 1718, but no record has been found of her marriage. Their residence for many years was opposite the old burial place, and later, on the Bay road near the Dry Pond Cemetery.
Hannah married Ezekiel Upham whose house I suppose to have been where our town house stands. They soon after their marriage removed from the town.
Martha's husband was Daniel Talbot, and his residence at first was in he same house that Mr. Upham occupied. Some years later he built at Gill's Corner where he passed the remainder of his life.
Mr. Samuel Brackett and Abigail Stearns were married August 27, 1737, and settled at Dry Pond, but, after the death of Dr. Bucknam at Belcher's Corner, he bought that place which he ever after made his home, and his descendants, through John Belcher who married their daughter Abigail, still continue to own and occupy a part of the old farm.
There are with us today the descendants of Ebenezer, Martha and Abigail, and if his health had permitted the Rev. Charles M. Smith, D. D., a descendant from Elizabeth, would have been with us and conducted the religious services.
Deacon Isaac Stearns died April 9, I741,and his wife Elizabeth (Stone) June 7, 1749. Of the place of their burial I have no knowledge.
ADDRESS OF DR. L. W. PUFFER,
OF BROCKTON. a descendant of Deacon Stearns.
Mr. President :
I have been asked to say something about the Stearns family from the fact that I am a descendant from the first of this name, but more immediately from the son of the third Isaac, whose name was Ebenezer. This was an ancient family in England, there known by the name of Sterne. To do this subject justice would call for the expenditure of a life time in labor, the briefest index to the men and subjects, calling for a large volume. One of the most prolific families, they became numerous before large families became unfashionable, and have filled all the public offices known to the people and filled them creditably. They have been laborers, as, when the country was first settled, they in common with about ninety-nine out of every hundred were farmers, trying to wrest a living, in most cases, out of a sterile soil. Yet innumerable have been the number that have been clergymen, lawyers, judges, sheriffs, physicians, presidents of institutions of learning, governors, engineers in every variety, and in short they have held about all offices known to the inhabitants of the United States.
It was an extensive family fifty years ago, and today ranks among the largest in America. It is a common name in at least six counties in England, and no doubt in many others. It was the third Isaac in America whose house was built on the lot where we now stand.
The first four children of Isaac were born in Cambridge, and the rest in Lexington, none being in Stoughton as some have supposed. Ebenezer the eighth child, was baptised July 8, 1711, his birth probably ante-dateing that period but a few days. As he came here with the other eight children when but five years old, and being next to the youngest, it may not be uninteresting to note what Deacon Isaac, his wife and little flock saw and found on their arrival in what is now Stoughton. The two oldest sons, Isaac and Simon were nineteen years of age, and the next two Jabesh and Jonathan were seventeen and sixteen years. Of the four girls, Hannah the oldest was thirteen, Mary ten, Martha seven and little Abigail was three years old.
Let us go in imagination and see how they probably came to Stoughton. It was from twenty-five to thirty miles from Lexington to Stoughton, or what was then the South precinct of Dorchester. They came probably by the Bay Path to what is now Canton, and through a blazed or an Indian trail to the locality where we now are. It was the forest primeval, an unbroken wilderness, peopled by Indians and savage beasts. My grandmother, who was a grand daughter of Rev. Ebenezer, remembered that there were bears in the woods of Easton as late as 1780 to 1790.
Think of it ye fathers and mothers of today 1899, there were no roads worth the name, when Isaac Stearns came, not a mill in town of any kind, the first one being built about 1717 at what is now known as South Canton. Flour was almost entirely unknown. Corn and rye with barley and oats furnished materials for bread. Pine knots and tallow candles were used for lights. Neighbors were three miles away and none in Stoughton, while the howl of the wolf stimulated the steps of the belated traveler. The very crudest kind of a flint lock gun guarded the home. Fruit there was none except what was found in the woods and meadows, and no known method of preserving it except by drying. There were no stores nearer than Boston, and no doctors except at a distance almost unavailable. And here Isaac Stearns and his boys commenced the foundation of building the town of Stoughton. A town that stands second to none in the number and quality of distinguished men she has produced, who have state, national and a world wide reputation, for piety, purity and patriotism, and among the names may well be numbered that of Stearns. To this wilderness came Isaac Stearns and his family. The hill or moraines confronted him crowned by monster trees, two, four and six feet in diameter and more than one hundred feet high. What timber, plank and boards they suggested. He felt the inspiration of the pioneer, he saw the beauties of nature, and for the moment possibly, recognized the grandest empire the world had yet seen, that he and his children were to help build, undeterred by the forest, the-red men or the savage beasts. Everything was crude, - land, tools, methods. Projected with other pioneers on the most barren soil of the American continent, whose fertility had for ages been washed away, its products to sustain life were to be forced in order to develop that manhood that has always been a characteristic of New England and her sons, and never more exhibited than during the past year.
From the earliest settlement up to 1800, church and state were almost synonymous.
Possibly one of the most noted in the line of Isaac Stearns, our first settler, in a professional way, through the Esty and Smith families was the Rev. Isaac Smith who was born in Milton, Mass., March 5, 1809. He was a man of considerable note, with fair ability, but like many young men of his time handicapped by poverty and its evils. He was versatile from necessity. Born on a farm, he persued various occupations and at nineteen commenced to study for the ministry. He was first settled as pastor at the age of twenty-two, over the East Stoughton Baptist Church in what is now Avon. That he was not wanting in assurance, his age and his employment would deem to indicate, yet his pastorate lasting twenty-three years should show that he was not wanting in tact. During his residence in Stoughton, the town elected him representative to the general court and kept him on, the school board many years. It will be observed that he had a fair standing in the community where he lived. In 1854 he moved to Foxboro, Mass., and for twelve years was pastor of the Baptist Church in that place. It is stated that Dartmouth College granted him the degree of A. M., and that he also received the degree of M. D. from the University of Vermont. He had two children, who have received degrees from respectable colleges, Charles M. and Isaac Jr. For the past twenty-five or thirty years of his life Isaac Smith preached and practiced both of his professions in Foxboro and adjoining towns.
As one bearing the honored name of Stearns, I now briefly mention the name of Rev. William L. Stearns, who was not a descendant of Isaac Stearns but of one Charles Stearns of Watertown, a contemporary of the first Isaac Stearns of Watertown and no doubt a relative. We first get information of this point from the following vote. "At a regular meeting of the First Church of Christ in Stoughton on Oct. 28th, 1827, it was voted unanimously that we invite the Rev. William L. Stearns to become our pastor." On Nov. 25th the same year, he was examined, and, having been found regular on all points, was ordained. It is interesting to note that the following churches participated. First Church of Concord, E. Ripley D. D., pastor : First Church of Dorchester, T. M. Harris, D. D., pastor; First Church of Dedham, Rev. Alvin Lamson pastor, Hon. John Endicott, delegate : Third Church of Dedham, Rev. I. White, pastor; First Church of Canton, Rev. Benjamin Huntoon, pastor, Gen. E. Crane, delegate; First Church of Walpole, Rev. J. P. B. Storer, pastor ; Second Church of Bridgewater, Rev. Mr. Goldsbury.
The pastoral relations between Mr. Stearns and the Parish ended March 30, 1831, in accordance with the terms of the settlement.
Mr. Stearns after leaving Stoughton had pastorates at Rowe, Mass., and at Pembroke, Mass., where he labored until a few months before his death. When his health failed he gave up his parish and removed to Chicopee where he died, May 23, 1857, probably at the residence of his son the late Hon. George M. Stearns, the brilliant lawyer, who was born in Stoughton.
My own descent from Deacon Isaac Stearns of Stoughton, the grandson of the Emigrant, is through his son Ebenezer, who did not long remain in Stoughton after he grew up to manhood, but, somewhere not now known, studied for the Baptist ministry. One of his early settlements was at Easton. His youngest daughter Sarah, born in 1746, married Job Hewett of Easton, Dec. 27, 1764. Their daughter Lucy, born April 10, 1773, married Jedidiah Southworth, Jr. of Stoughton, Feb., 1792. Their daughter Lucy Hewett, born Sept. 2, 1804: married Loring Puffer of Lancaster, who died leaving as his only heir Loring W. Puffer, who joins with you today in dedicating the memorial to his ancestors.
After Dr. Puffer had concluded, his remarks, the President called upon George H. Goward, Esq., one of the selectmen of the town, who, in a few well chosen words presented the congratulations of the town to the society for their labors in preserving the location of places of historic interest in our town.
The prayer of Dedication was then offered by the Rev. Arthur W. Grose.
Almighty God, thou who art our Father, and the Father of those who were before us, we need thy presence at all times. Especially do we ask for thy benediction upon us at this time and in this place, that we may rightly appreciate the extent of our obligation to the past, and that we may be helped to consecrate our lives to the same noble service which we reverence to-day in our forefathers.
Truly, other men have labored and we are entered into their labors. We gladly remember before thee how great is our debt to those brave men and those noble women who in the day of small things here made the beginning of what is now our beloved town. We thank thee for the courage with which they faced the dangers and difficulties of the wilderness, and for the patience with which they labored to make it blossom as the rose. We bless thee that they did not complain at hardship and suffering, but that they could sing the songs of thanksgiving in a strange land in the midst of privation and want. We are glad for their love of thee, and for their devotion to the cause of truth and righteousness as they understood it.
Especially are we grateful that they laid so broad and deep the foundations of all that is best in our government and civilization. We remember also on this Patriots' Day our fathers of a later time, who fired the shot heard round the world that they might freely exercise the inalienable rights of life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness. For every peril that they faced and for every sacrifice which they made, for every drop of blood which they freely poured out in our behalf, for every example of hardy valor, of wise leadership and faithful loyalty to that leadership, we render grateful homage to thee, the giver of all good.
And now that the few have become a great multitude, and the little vine which our fathers planted with their tears and watered with their heart's blood has spread from sea to sea and even beyond the seas, we ask that we may still have somewhat of their spirit. May we meet the problems and difficulties of our times with the courage and patience which distinguished them in their day and generation. May we not shrink from hardship or from suffering when duty demands it of us. May we be as eager to enrich and bless those who are to come after us as they were eager to enrich and bless us.
As we come to-day to dedicate this simple token of our appreciation and gratitude for the glorious heritage we have received, we would remember- that this ceremony of dedication will be but a meaningless form unless we are ourselves dedicated to all that we respect in them. Grant, we pray thee, our Heavenly Father, who holdeth the affairs of men and of nations in thy hands, that we may this day be dedicated, to a better citizenship, a more vigorous life, a larger measure of Christian sacrifice and Christian service. May our devotion to the welfare of our town, our commonwealth and our nation show that we have learned the lesson of our inheritance. May the institutions which those pilgrims of an earlier time established here prosper in larger and yet larger degree as the years go by. And may our children and our children's children rise up to bless us as we now bless those who have gone before us. We ask it in the name of him who is always the Master of men, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.
The singing of America by the assembly closed the exercises.
After posing for a photograph, the company left the roadside for the grassy slopes of the cellar, and partook of a lunch which was much enjoyed, especially the hot coffee prepared by Mr. Henry W. Britton. Mr. Samuel W. Curtis, Mr. Eliphalet Gay and Mrs. Joshua Britton related to interested groups incidents of visits made by them to the house in the days of their youth, and events connected with the lives of its occupants.
Guests were present from Brockton, Canton and Randolph. All who wished bore away a brick from the old chimney or a sprig of juniper from the cellar, and all carried away the memory of a highly enjoyable afternoon.
From "Bond's history of Watertown families" we learn that Isaac Stearns and his wife Mary arrived in New England in 1630 in one of the vessels that brought the Massachusetts Colonists under Winthrop, and probably in the same ship with Winthrop. Mr. Stearns settled in Watertown, was made a "freeman" May 18, 1631; became a large land owner in-Watertown, where he died in 1671 ; his widow died in 1677.
Their son Isaac, born January 6, 1633, married June 1660, Sarah Beers and removed to "Cambridge farms" now Lexington, where he died August, 1676, his widow marrying for her second husband Thomas Wheeler of Concord.
Isaac, later of Stoughton, grandson of the emigrant and son of Isaac and Sarah, was born August 26, 1665.
His wife was Elizabeth Stone, born October 9, 1670, daughter of Deacon Simon and Mary (Whipple) Stone of Watertown.
The parents of Deacon Simon Stone, were Simon and Joan (Clarke) Stearns. They were married in England in 1616 and with their children came to New England before 1636, that being the year he was made a "freeman." They settled in Watertown and his farm makes a part of Mount Auburn Cemetery.
The date when Isaac Stearns and Elizabeth Stone were married is unknown. The information relating to the Stone family is taken from an article written by David H. Brown Esq. for the "[New England Historical] and Genealogical Register" and printed in the July number for 1899.
Dr. Puffer in his remarks uses "Bonds" account of Deacon Stearns family; but it is certain from various public records in Stoughton and elsewhere, that "Bonds" account is not correct, he giving as children Jabesh and Mary of which nothing is known beyond his record, and wholly omits Elizabeth and Nathaniel, both of whom are much in evidence in Stoughton.
While the record of the birth of Elizabeth is not found, it is fair to assume that she was the eldest of the family. Her marriage to Edward Esty must have been soon after, if not before, the family came to Stoughton. They had a son Isaac who died in February 1738 at the age of 19, which would carry their marriage back to as early as 1718, the year Mr. Esty bought his farm m Stoughton. Isaac and Simon are recorded as twin brothers.
Isaac Stearns Jr. and Rachel Randall were married June 14. 1,722.; Hannah Stearns married Ezekiel Upham November 17, 1726; Simon Stearns married Margaret Hixson, of now Sharon, December 13, 1726; Jonathan Stearns and Experience Lincoln were married May 24, 1827; Martha Stearns and Daniel Talbot November 1, 1734.
The intention of marriage between Ebenezer Stearns and Thankful Clap of Walpole, is recorded February 9, 1734 ; it being the same date that Martha Stearns and Daniel Talbot's intention was recorded, and the intention of Abigail Stearns and Samuel Bracket to marry was entered August 27, 1757. There are numerous descendants in Stoughton and vicinity of Martha Talbot, Ebenezer Stearns and Abigail Brackett. In the first tax list made by the town of Stoughton, 1727, the names Isaac, Isaac Jr., Simon and Nathaniel appear, but not until 1733 is the name of Ebenezer upon the list, his father being taxed for two polls 1732.
THE STEARNS FARM IN STOUGHTON
Was the seventeenth lot in the twelve division lots. The deeds of all the lots that follow are a part of this lot and are copied from Suffolk Deeds. The figures at the top on the left, giving the volume and page of the record.
[34:146] John Glover of Dorchester and Susanna his wife for one hundred pounds lawful public bills of credit sell to Isaac Stearns of Lexington all that my certain tract or parcel of upland and swamp containing by estimation four hundred and fifty one acres be the same more or less situate and lying and being within the Township of Dorchester, aforesaid in twelfth division of land in the said town so called and is bounded south easterly south westerly and north westerly by common, land and north easterly by [Mathers] lot so called, Deed dated May 12, 1715.
[127.151] Isaac Stearns for that paternal love and good will that we do bear towards our well beloved son Simon Stearns convey to him and his heirs and assigns forever ninety acres of land lying at the south corner of the lot bounded with the land of John White on the south east and south on the twenty five divisions westerly and northerly on my own land or land of the said Isaac Stearns above mentioned. Deed dated June 27, 1723.
[56:22] Isaac Stearns and Elizabeth his wife in consideration of the love and good will and entire affection which we have and do bear towards our beloved son Jonathan Stearns convey to him and his heirs and assigns forever ninety acres of land bounded beginning at the east corner bounds and runs southerly with my own land to Simon Stearns' land then going westerly on my own land again to another bound then turning a corner and running northerly with a straight line to a bound on my own land and lastly turns the corner and runs eastwardly on my own land to the first mentioned except two and a quarter acres of cedar swamp towards the lower-end of said swamp which lyeth within the ninety acres. Deed dated March 20, 1728.
[46:3] Isaac Stearns and Elizabeth his wife for and in consideration of the love and good will and entire affection which we have and do bear towards our beloved son Isaac Stearns convey to him his heirs and assigns forever our tract of land being one hundred acres with a dwelling house on it bounded beginning at the north east corner of the lot and running southerly or south easterly on land belonging to the heirs of John White (afterwards Isaac Paul and Nathaniel Holmes) to a bound an the line of said lot then turning south westerly on my own land to another bound then turning square on land again of my own to a bound to the original line of the lot and running with land of Mr. Joseph Weeks (Mather lands) to the first mentioned bond. Deed dated May 6, 1720.
[74.111] Isaac Stearns and Elizabeth his wife for that paternal love and good will which we do bear towards our well beloved son Nathaniel Stearns convey to him and his heirs and assigns forever ninety acres of land lying on the north east end of the land bounded west by Zachariah Lyons' land in part and Ebenezer Mawdsley and John Hixson southerly upon Isaac Stearns east on land of Jonathan Stearns is part and Isaac Stearns' and north on land of Humphrey Atherton. Deed dated June 30, 1730.
[67.179] Isaac Stearns and Elizabeth his wife in consideration of Four hundred and forty pounds conveys to Nathaniel Stearns his heirs and assigns forever seventy three acres of land with half part of a double dwelling house bounded beginning at a bound in the meadow from Nathaniel Stearns line to the west corner of said house so taking in one half the house divided by the chimney and so to a rock in the highway by the south east side of said house so running straight south east from that rock to a rock at Isaac Stearns Jr's. line and then south east to his corner and then turning a square corner and so runs to Mr. White's land to Simon Stearns' and thence turning square and running north east upon Jonathan Stearns land to Nathaniel Stearns land and thence to the first mentioned bound one half the barn excepted. Deed dated Sept. 5, 1734.
ESTATE OF DEACON ISAAC STEARNS
Deacon Stearns died April 5, 1741, and his estate was appraised June 25, 1741. The invent[ory] is as follows:
Cash, books and apparel, £ 32-09-06
Beds and furniture, 21-10-00 Half of a dwelling house with a small orchard, 105-00-00
15 acres of land within the fence, 225-00-00
25 acres [unimporved] land, 100-00-00
2 1/4 acres cedar swamp, 15-00-00
Utensels of husbandry, 7-19-00
Brass, pewter and within door utensils, 25-12
1 horse, 3 cows, 3 sheep, 2 swine, 52-12
Total, £ 585-02-06
This valuation is presumed to have been made in paper money at three dollars and thirty three cents for a pound, which had-then depreciated about 400 per cent, making the valuation in silver to be £ 146-5-7-2 or about four hundred and eighty seven silver dollars.
The coin in circulation at that date was almost entirely Spanish silver dollars, with its divisions into half, quarter, eighth and sixteenths of a dollar.
THE OLD HUNDREDTH PSALM
The following account of the origin of Old Hundred, taken from the Boston Transcript, shows that the Tate and Brady version of the one hundredth psalm which was sung at the opening service had been in use many years before Mr. Stearns came to Stoughton, and must have been familiar to him and his family.
"Old Hundredth," or "Old Hundred," was a popular psalm-tune first published in the "Genevan Psalter," about 1551-52, edited by Louis Bourgeoise. It was originally adapted to Beza's version of the 134th Psalm, but when adopted in England wassetto Kethe's version of the 100th Psalm. It was at first known as the "Hundredth," but in 1696 when Tate and Brady published their "New Version," the word "Old" was used to show that the tune was the one which had been in used in the previous Psalter (Sternhoki and Hopkins). A. T. C.
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