Richard Sears was born about 1595 in England. Some have written he was the son of John and Marie (Egmond) Sears, but I’m not sure there is proof of that. He was my 9th great-grandfather on my grandmother Milly (Booth) Rollins’ side of the family. The last name is sometimes spelled Sayers, Sares and Seeres.
Richard married Dorothy Jones by 1637. Dorothy was born about 1603, the daughter of George and Agnes Jones of Dinder, Somerset, England.
|Portrait of Richard Sears from the Van Egmont Family (source: wikipedia)|
Richard was first at Plymouth when he is seen on the 1633 tax list (but not on the 1634 list), then by 1637 (as early as 1634) one of the first to live in Marblehead (then part of Salem) and later Richard was one of the founders of Yarmouth, Mass. by 1639. They lived in an area of Yarmouth that became Dennis, on Quivet Neck between Quivet and Sesuit Creeks on land that is now 8 Old County Way.
|Richard's homestead would be at the top of the map near Quivet Neck|
Sears historian Ray Sears wrote that he believes Richard was part of the group of fishermen working for Isaac Allerton who came into Marblehead on the White Angel in 1632. For four years the group had no meeting house, which was scandalous at that time. In 1634 Allerton sent a group to Newburyport and the boat capsized in a tempest. Many were lost, including Anthony and Elizabeth (Jones) Thacher’s children. The couple felt God sent them a message, so must have mended their ways. Elizabeth was Dorothy’s sister.
The couple had three children:
Paul born about 1637
Deborah born September 1639
Silas born about 1641
I descend from Paul who married Deborah Willard. I wrote about that couple here.
Richard was listed on the Salem tax rate list 1 Jan 1637/8. In 1638 he was granted 4 acres that he had formerly planted. In 1639 he accompanied his brother-in-law Anthony Thacher in settling Yarmouth. He took the Oath of Fidelity there in 1639. He was made a freeman there in1652. It is unclear why he didn't apply sooner to be a freeman. To do so a man had to be a respectable member of the Church. Some avoided citizenship to escape petty offenses and court duties, which could be fined if declined.
20 Oct 1647 he entered complaint against 3 Indians.
Richard served on the grand jury in 1652, as tax collector in 1658/59, constable in 1660 and was deputy to Plymouth General Court in 1662. He is on the Yarmouth list of men ages 16-60 able to bear arms in 1643. On 26 October 1647 he served on the commission appointed to meet at his house to discuss Indian affairs. He was appointed 1 March 1568 to a committee to levy church tax. He signed complaint with 14 others against Nicholas Nickerson for slander of Rev. Thomas Thornton dated 30 June 1667. Same date court with 17 others against John Crow, William Nickerson and Lieut. William Palmer for trespass.
In 1664, Richard Sears, husbandman, purchased land at Sesuit from Alice Bradford, Governor William's widow, for 20 pounds. It adjoined land of Nicholas Snow and Peter Worden.
HG Somerby's manuscript in the NEHGS Library mentions Richard was in the militia and lost his right arm after being shot in a fight with Indians. This can't be confirmed through records.
In 1676 several prominent citizens including Richard Sears paid debt from King Philip's War.
Richard died 5 September 1676 at Yarmouth. He was age 81 years, 4 months. King Philip’s War had just ended and there was an unnamed sickness taking many Yarmouth residents. A descendent erected a large monument to the family at the Ancient Cemetery at Yarmouth. His exact burial location isn’t known as the early settlers marked their graves with boulders. It is likely his remains are buried at the Ancient Cemetery as his house was just 200 yards away and the monument is at the location of his son Paul’s grave, so quite possible he would be buried near his son in a family plot.
Richard’s will was dated 10 May 1667, codicil 3 Feb 1676, both signed with his mark. (Plymouth Records Book 3, Part 2, p. 53-55) Land valued at 220 pounds. Mentions wife, 3 children, son-in-law Zachary Paddock, brother Thacher, grandson Ichabod Paddock. Wife named Exec. Witnessed by John Thacher, Anthony Frey. Codicil witnessed by Anthony and Judah Thacher. Inventory 8 Oct 1676, includes house, land, cows, bed and furniture, 2 pairs sheets, 1 table cloth, 1 pillow, britches and hat, coat and cloak, stockings and shoes, 1 great Bible and other books, pewter and tin, brass, 1 pr stilliyars, iron furniture for the fire, rugg, 2 chests, 1 beer barrell, 1 earthen pot, 3 chairs, bees, two waitcoats, mare and colt, 1 pound plus in debts, 2 Indian trays. Total should be 269 pounds, 06 06.
Dorothy died in March 1678/79 at Yarmouth. Yarmouth records state she was buried the 19th of March 1678/79.
John W. Sears' speech in the Essex Genealogist, Nov 1986, contains inaccuracies about noble family connections.
L. Ray Sears is a great resource for Sears genealogists. He has a website where he has posted a .pdf of his book, The Sears Genealogical Catalogue. http://www.searsr.com/member/searscat.pdf
Sources Not Listed Above:
L. Ray Sears, Sears Genealogical Catalogue, 1992
Samuel Pearce May, The Descendants of Richard Sares (Sears) of Yarmouth, Mass., 1638-1888, 1890
Samuel Pearce May, Some Doubts Concerning the Sears Pedigree, NEHGR vol. 40, 1886.
Charles Swift, History of Old Yarmouth, 1884
Robert Charles Anderson, The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England, 1620-1633, 1995