Welcome! I really enjoy exchanging information with people and hope this blog will help with that. I am not an expert and I consider most of my research as a work in progress. Some of the surnames I'm researching:

Many old Cape families including Kelley, Eldredge/idge, Howes, Baker, Mayo, Bangs, Snow, Chase, Ryder/Rider, Freeman, Cole, Sears, Wixon, Nickerson.
Many old Plymouth County families including Washburn, Bumpus, Lucas, Cobb, Benson.
Johnson (England to MA)
Corey (Correia?) (Azores to MA)
Booth, Jones, Taylor, Heatherington (N. Ireland to Quebec)
O'Connor (Ireland to MA)
My Mayflower Ancestors (only first two have been submitted/approved by the Mayflower Society):
Francis Cooke, William Brewster, George Soule, Isaac Allerton, John Billington, Richard Warren, Peter Browne, Francis Eaton, Samuel Fuller, James Chilton, John Tilley, Stephen Hopkins, John Howland.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Paul Sears (ca 1637-1708) and Deborah Willard (ca 1645-1721), Marblehead to Yarmouth, Mass.

Paul Sears was born about 1637 (based on age at death) in Marblehead, Mass., the son of Richard Sears and Dorothy Jones. Sears is spelled in a variety of ways including Seers and Sayers.

Paul married Deborah Willard around 1658, likely in Yarmouth. She was born before 14 September 1645 (date of baptism) in Scituate, the daughter of George Willard and Dorothy Dunster. Paul and Deborah Sears are my 8th great-grandparents on my grandmother Mildred (Booth) Rollins' side.

Deborah and Paul had 10 children, born Yarmouth:

1.      Mercy, born 3 July 1659
2.      Bethia, born 3 January 1661/62, married John Crowell
3.      Samuel, born January 1663/64, married Mercy Mayo, died West Brewster 8 January 1741/42
4.      Lydia, born 24 October 1666, Thomas Snow and Eleazer Hamblen
5.      Paul, born 15 June 1669, married Mercy Freeman, died Yarmouth (now Dennis) 14 February 1739/40
6.      Mary, born 24 October 1672, married John Knowles, died Eastham 7 November 1745
7.      Ann, born 27 March 1675, married John Merrick, died Truro 14 November 1745
8.      John, born 1677, married Priscilla Freeman, died West Brewster 9 April 1738
9.      Richard, born abt. 1680, m. Hope Howes, died Chatham 24 May 1718
10.  Daniel, born abt. 1682, m. Sarah Howes, died Chatham 10 August 1756

I descend from Richard and Hope. I wrote about them here.

He took freeman’s oath in 1657 at Yarmouth, served as a fence viewer, juror, and was an Ensign and Captain in the militia. He was in court litigation for trouble with an Indian called Felix. Paul Sears made claim for a horse lost in the Narragansett War (i.e. King Philip’s War), although there are no records of his service.

In 1679 he was one of five chosen by Yarmouth "to look out, cut up and secure to the town such whales and whale bone as by God's providence" were cast up on land. Payment was five pounds "blubber or oyle" per whale. Shore whaling was a lucrative business.

On the first of March 1676/7, John Wing and John Dillingham, on behalf of themselves and others associated with them (viz., Thomas Clarke, Kenelm Winslow, Paul Sears and Ananias and Joseph Wing) purchased of Robin (Indian), of Mattacheese, of Samson, of Nobscusset, and Panasamust, his wife, and of Ralph, of Nobscusset, and Menetatomust, his wife, other daughters of Nepatian; all that tract of land, both upland and meadow, which they had in common or partnership lying in Saquetucket in the liberties of Yarmouth between the place commonly called Bound Brook on the west, and the middle of Saquetucket river on the east. In this purchase John Wing was to have a third part of four shares. The division was made, and the land was deeded to each April 16, 1677/8. The land lies within the limits of the present township of Brewster.

Paul was one of the original proprietors of land in Harwich between Bound and Stony Brooks, known as Wing's Purchase. The deed from John Wing et al to Paul Sears et al was dated 16 April 1677, recorded at Plymouth.

On the 15th of March 1680, it appears from the town records that an agreement was made with our neighbors, the purchasers or proprietors of the land between Stony Brook and Bound Brook, subsequently signed Ananias Wing, Paul Sears, Kenelm Winslow and John Dillingham, Jun., on the one part, and by John Thacher and others on behalf of the town.

There is a 10 June 1679 deed from Major William Bradford to Paul Sears acknowledging the earlier agreement between their parents for 40 acres of land at Harwich (now Brewster) that Alice Bradford sold to Richard Sears. Alice was the wife of Plymouth Colony and Mayflower passenger Gov. William Bradford. The land was easterly of Quivet Creek his son Samuel Sears spent his adult life on this land.
He was named in his father’s 10 May 1667 will, sharing land with brother Silas and brother-in-law Zachary Paddock. He and his mother presented inventory to the court on 15 Nov 1676, called eldest son of Richard in court document and will.

Paul's 1708 will is recorded Barnstable Co. probate records, Records, Vol. 3, Page 334-7. He left property valued at over 467 pounds to loving wife Deborah and sons Samuel, Paul and John. Mentions land in Harwich left to Samuel where Samuel's house now stands adjacent to Kenelm Winslow’s land and a remarkable rock. He also gave Samuel a pot and kettle and charged him with payment to brothers Richard and Daniel towards their purchase of land at Monamoy, "forty and two pounds." Paul received meadow adjacent to Joseph Sears and Zacchariah Paddock. The rest of the homestead, except 16 acres given given to Samuel, given to John. Moveable estate all given to Deborah to divide among daughters at her death.  Bequests to daughters (no names listed) were only noted as  "such parts or portions as I was able or thought fitt." Son Samuel and wife Deborah named Exec. Bears his mark. Witnessed by John Thacher, Zachariah Paddock, Samuel Howes.

Inventory by Peter Thacher and Kenelm Winslow, total over 445 pounds. Items included apparel, money, four beds, bedstead, curtains and valance with bolsters, pillows, coverlets and sheets, table and chairs, andirons, trammels, iron pots, pot hooks, tongs, fire flue, iron kettles, skillets, frying pans, brass kettle, warming pan, stillyards, chests and boxes, spinning weels, pewter platter, plates cuts and pots, kookers, pails, trays, trenchers and spoons, table linen and towels, saddle, bridle, pilyon, cloth, flax and linen yarn, candlestick lamp, draving knife, axes, sickle and hoes, sifting trough, 5 washing tubs, knife, scissors, looking glass, stal and feathers, iron wedge, iron to cart, plow, spade, and staple, 4 bushels rye, 24 of Indian corn, 3 of wheat, powder horn, bullets and sword, grindstone and tin ware, 2 oxen, 5 cows, 2 steers, 2 yearlings, a bull and one horse, 3 swine, 25 sheep, housing, lands and meadows at value of 350 pounds, 3 acres of English corn upon the ground not appraised. Dated 8 April 1708.

Paul Sears died 20 February 1707/08 in his 70th year, Yarmouth, Mass. He is buried at the Ancient Cemetery in South Yarmouth. His original gravestone survives and there is a large Sears family monument erected by descendants.
Paul Sears' stone at Ancient Cemetery, Yarmouth

His original granite stone is decorated with a skull and wings and other engravings. It reads: "Here lyes the Body of Paul Sears who Departed this life February ye 20th 1707/8 in ye 70th year of his age." Directly behind his stone is the large Sears monument placed there by a descendant. It reads: "Sacred to the memory of Paul Sears, second son of Richard Sears, Born in 1637 married Deborah Willard and died in Yarmouth 1707.” I took photos of both stones in 1999.
Sears monument with Paul's original stone in front

Deborah died Yarmouth 13 May 1721. She is likely buried next to her husband, but there is no surviving stone.

Sources Not Listed Above:

Josiah Paine, A History of Harwich, 1937

Robert Charles Anderson, The Great Migration Begins, 1995

Simeon Deyo, History of Barnstable County, Massachusetts, 1890

L. Ray Sears, Sears Genealogical Catalogue, 1992


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  2. wonderful info - thank you. capt samuel and mercy mayo are my 8th ggparents. after reading through all the info i feel as if i had actually known them.

    1. Glad you found this helpful. Thanks for your kind words, Chris