These photos are from the collection of the family of Ruthie Stearns daughter of Rev. Howard Stearns. Ruthie contacted me after reading my blog post on her 2nd great grandparents Joseph Oliver Stearns and Helen Louise “Nell” Dennett of Amesbury, Massachusetts. Photo of Joseph Oliver and Helen Louise below Please keep Checking Back More Photos will be added on the GOULD, SWETT, WELCH, JONES, and EASTMAN lines and the families they married into. Please contact me for permission to republish photos or material. Thank You!
A NOTE FROM RUTHIE STEARNS: About a year and a half ago, I began going through the photographs, notes, papers, diaries, and letters belonging to many of the lines of our family, which were saved by many of my recent ancestors, and organized by my parents, Howard and Barbara Stearns. My goal at that time was to catalog the collection in the family and scan the photos. I happened to be googling family names, and stumbled on Melissa’s blog post on Joseph and Nell, only days after she wrote it. What a surprise, and what a wonderful time we’ve had emailing and calling and visiting since then. I’ve learned so much about local Amesbury/Salisbury history, and have shared many of the photos with Melissa since that time.
Likely the most illuminating and valuable part of the collection, are the diaries of Helen (Nell) and Joseph. Helen’s diaries covered 1858 to around 1870, (she died rather suddenly just before her 31st birthday in 1874) and Joseph’s from 1857 to 1870, and then picking up again in late 1880 and ending with his death in 1917. I am attempting to transcribe them all, a task begun decades early by my late sister Anne. She had done many of the diaries of Helen, along with her “Love Letters” which she wrote to Joseph during his 90 day service during the Civil War. I wanted to continue the effort with Joseph’s diaries, and have transcribed about 15 years of his life thus far. It’s been a fascinating task, and I enjoy sharing bits and pieces of the lives of these two ancestors of mine, whose life together was cut short. Photo above of Ruthie Stearns and her Great Aunt Helen Rachel Stearns. Photo below The Diary of Joseph Oliver Stearns.
Many of the families that the Stearns line married into trace back to original settlers of New England. The POOR/POORE, STICKNEY, PEABODY, GOULD, CHASE, KILLAM, POTTER, EASTMAN, DENNETT, FROST, PERKINS, HALL, MORRILL, PILSBURY, OSGOOD, BROWN, BURBANK, PARKER, & Others. See Genealogy and memoirs of Isaac Stearns and his descendants
- Gr. Grandparents Nettie Florence Gould Stearns and William Dennett Stearns in Haverhill
- 2nd Great Grandparents Joseph Oliver Stearns and Helen Louise Dennett Stearns in Salisbury/Amesbury
- 2nd Nathaniel Gould (husband of Rachel Peabody Gould daughter of Jacob Peabody and Elizabeth Perkins) in Topsfield
- 3rd Great Grandparents Adeline Eastman Stearns and Charles Oliver Stearns in Salisbury/Amesbury
- 3rd John Dennett son of William Dennett and Betsy Morrill and husband of Louisa Frost Dennett daughter of James Frost and Hannah Linscott in Salisbury/Amesbury
- 3rd Mary Ann Potter Gould daughter of Benjamin Potter and Anna Kinsman married Allan Gould son of Nathaniel Gould and Hannah Killam in Topsfield (Parent of Nathaniel Gould)
- 4th Great Grandparents Dorcas Varnum Stearns daughter of Parker Vernum (son of John Varnum and Phoebe Parker) and Dorcas Brown daughter of Timothy Brown and Hannah Osgood . (wife of Oliver Stearns) in Dracut and Amesbury. Parker Vernum married 2nd Abiah Osgood of Andover
- 4th Elizabeth Chase Eastman daughter of Jeremiah Chase and Hannah Pilsbury (wife of Jonathan Eastman son of Jeremiah Eastman and Edna Poore) West Newbury and Amesbury
- John Varnum s. of John Parker (son of Samuel Varnum and Dorathy Prescott)
- Oliver Stearns s.of Josiah Stearns and Marey Corey
- Josiah Stearns s. of Thomas Stearns and Abigail Reed
- William Dennett s. of William Dennett and Mary Greenough
- Besty Morrill d. of Moses Sargent Morrill (s. of Jacob Morrill and Dorothy Bagley) and Abigail Worthen (d. of Jonathan Worthen and Elizabeth Dresser)
- Jeremiah Chase s. of Abel Chase (s.of Thomas Chase and Emma Kent) and Hannah Morse. Abel served in Revolutionary War – Captain Jonathan Poor’s Company from Newbury, Essex, MA.
- Hannah Pilsbury d. of William Pillsbury (s. of Moses Pilsbury and Abigail Rolfe) and Mary Poore (d. of Benjamin Poor and Dorothy Pilsbury)
- Jeremiah Eastman s. of Jonathan Eastman (s.of Joseph Eastman and Abigail Merrill) and Martha Allen
- Edna Poore/Poor d. of John Poor (s. of Samuel Poor and Hannah Morse) and Edna Stickney (d. of John Stickney and Mary Poor)
- Hannah Linscott d. of Theodore Linscott (s.of Jonathan Bane and Sarah Nowell) and Dorcas Bane
- Jacob Peabody s. of Jacob Peabody (s.of Joseph Peabody and Elizabeth Bradstreet) and Sarah Potter (d.of Ezekiel Potter and Mary Cummings)
- JUST ADDED ON MAY 24, 2016
- Fannie Ora Stearns b. March 8, 1854 Youngest (7th) child of Charles Oliver Stearns and Adeline Eastman Stearns m. John Francis Swett son of Timothy Swett (s. of Arron Sweet and Molly Colby) and Polly Osgood (d. of Nathaniel Osgood and Hannah Smith) from Salisbury Point, born December 1, 1849. Fannie and John were married February 9, 1881. Fannie d. July 19, 1948, aged 94. John died October 9, 1915, aged 65. They had four daughters, Florence, Ethel, Mabel and Marian.
- Florence Helen Swett, b. February 15, 1882 m. Roland Carter Chisholm September 20, 1911 m. George Morrill April 1928 Children: Dorothy Varnum Chisholm b. July 25, 1916 d. May 16, 1930 aged 13.
- Ethel Stearns Swett b. June 11, 1885 m. Carl Leslie Williams June 11, 1913. Ethel died November 1, 1935, aged 50. Children: 1. Francis Paul Williams b. February 9, 19162. Ralph Leslie Williams b. August 1, 19173. Kenneth Stearns Williams b. September 2, 1919
- Mabel Francis Swett b. July 1, 1888 d. November 1888 infant.
- Marian Eastman Swett b. February 14, 1895 m. Roy Hugo Richards December 20, 1923 died November 1981 age 86. Children: 1. Robert Eastman Richards b. April 11, 19252. Pauline Swett Richards b. December 9, 19263. Roy Hugo Richards Jr. b. April 23, 1932
- Adeline Eastman Stearns March 12 1813 – July 13 1893 (80 years) Wife of Charles Oliver Stearns, born November 8, 1813. Adeline Eastman born March 12, 1813. They married September 10, 1833. She died July 13, 1893. He died October 19, 1906. They had Eight children1. Sarah Elizabeth Stearns October 16, 1834 – March 31, 1866.2. Susan Adeline Stearns July 3, 1836 – January 7, 1923.3. Joseph Oliver Stearns born June 14, 1838, died September 7, 1917. married Helen Louise Dennett January 1, 1867, who died March 25, 1874. One son, William Dennett Stearns born October 25, 1867, died October 27, 1947.4. Harriet Ann Stearns Feb 2, 1841 – September 12, 1911 (Hattie)5. Mary Augusta Stearns August 18, 1843 – May 1832 (Gustie)6. Ellen Dorcas Stearns October 30, 1845 – Feb 2, 1945 (Nell)7. Fannie Ora Stearns March 8, 1954-Dec 1, 1949 She married John Francis Swett, February 9, 1881. Four daughters, Florence Helen Swett, Ethel Stearns Swett, Mabel Frances Swett, Marion Eastman Swett.8. Laura Ann Stearns, twin to Mary Augusta Stearns, birth recorded at Salisbury but nothing more.
- Charles Oliver Stearns November 8, 1813 – October 19, 1906 (92 years)
- Dorcas Varnum Stearns June 15, 1788- September 18, 1865 (77 years) Married Oliver Stearns March 4, 1786 – June 7, 1826 (40 years)
- Elizabeth Chase Eastman April 2, 1794 – October 9, 1882 (88 years) Married Jonathan Eastman October 23, 1888 – July 6, 1861 (72 years)
- Helen Louise Dennett Stearns March 31, 1843 – March 25, 1874 (30 years)
- Joseph Oliver Stearns June 14, 1838 – September 9, 1917 (79 years)
- John Dennett January 1, 1811 – May 16, 1891 (80 years) husband of Louisa Frost Father of Helen Dennett
- Louisa Frost Dennett August 16, 1818 – March 29, 1897 (78 years) Mother of Helen Dennett
- Mary Ann Potter Gould December 5, 1804 – Feb 26, 1900 (95 years) Married Allen Gould born September 15, 1785 – August 5, 1862 (76 years)
- Nathaniel Gould April 22, 1831 – January 10, 1898 (66 years) Married Rachel Almira Perkins Peabody Gould b. June 10, 1830 – April 6, 1874 (43 years)
- Nettie Florence Gould Stearns July 26, 1863 – September 16, 1948 (85 years)
- William Dennett Stearns October 25, 1867 – October 27, 1947 (80 years)
- “Fanny” Frances Anne Huggins born July 19, 1833 d. of Anne Dorcas Stearns and Freeman Huggins wife of Leonard E Burbank. Her mother Anne was born August 2, 1811 and died January 21, 1838, and was the oldest child of Oliver Stearns and Dorcas Varnum Stearns. See Burbank Collection Photos and Art
- Etta Stearns daughter of William Henry Stearns of Springfield, Mass. She was born Jan 7, 1860; married George Orson Hall of Willimantic, CT. Etta’s father William was the sixth child of Oliver and Dorcas Varnum Stearns.
- May Stearns daughter of William Henry Stearns of Springfield, Mass. William Henry Stearns was the sixth child of Oliver and Dorcas Varnum Stearns. May was born May 21, 1858; she married George Watson Clark of Northampton, Mass.
- Photos of the siblings of Charles Oliver Stearns.Chronology: Oliver Stearns married Dorcas Varnum March 15, 1810 in Dracut (Per Genealogy, however the vital records for Dracut says March 15, 1811).Eight Children
- 1. Anne Dorcas Stearns – married Freeman Huggins, one child, Frances Anne Huggins who married Leonard E Burbank. Anne was born August 2, 1811 and died January 21, 1838. Frances (Fanny) was born July 19, 1833. Freeman died when Fanny was a month old.
- 2. Charles Oliver Stearns Listed above
- 3. Susan Maria Corey Stearns born December 29, 1815, married Joseph Chandler, one son Charles Chandler born May 14, 1849. Susan died April 18, 1862. Lived in Winthrop ME.
- 4. George Parker Stearns born Sept. 22, 1817, manager of the Lowell Journal and Lowell Courier, died April 20, 1845, unmarried.
- 5. Luther Stearns. Born August 17, 1820, died September 17, 1907. Luther lived in Springfield, Mass, an engineer for the railroad. Married Mary Alvord. Six children. George Luther Stearns, Edward Alvord Stearns, Albert Henry Stearns, Mary Stearns, Charles Ashley Stearns, James Parker Stearns, who had two children, Dorothy Nelson Stearns and Scott Monteith Stearns.
- 6. William Henry Stearns, born March 29, 1822, died July 10, 1899. An engineer for the railroad, residing in Springfield, Mass. Wife, Sarah Ann Durant. Three children. Charles Laurens Stearns, wife Ellen C. Foley, one daughter, Grace May Stearns. May Estella Stearns and Georgietta Edwards Stearns.
- 7. Laurens Stearns born January 7, 1825, died May 21, 1896.
- 8. Mary Elizabeth Stearns born January 7, 1825, died November 15, 1900. Married William Harlow Hull, four children, Frank Laurens Hull (he’s buried in Omaha, Nebraska), Fred Stearns Hull, Kate Florence Hull, and Harry Harlow Hull.The only formal portrait I have of any of COS siblings is that of his youngest sister, Mary Elizabeth Stearns Hull, her husband Harlan Hull and her daughter Kate Hull.Included here are pictures of Charles Ashley Stearns and his brother James Parker Stearns, along with the wife of Charles (Carrie Cooley) and the children of James (Dorothy and Scott). Also photos of May Stearns (Clark) and Etta Stearns (Hall)Sources & References:
- The Stearns Family Project
- Stearns Documents & Great Migration Papers from American Ancestors,
- Genealogy and memoirs of Isaac Stearns and his descendants published in 1901 Avis Stearns Van Wagenen
- Genealogy Bank News Clips and News clips Amesbury & Danvers Archival Center
- George Cogswell School Class 1908 Haverhill MA
- Salisbury High School Graduation June 25 1883
- Rocky Hill Meeting House
- Rev Samuel Parris site excavation and sermons transcribed Danvers MA
- Gallows Hill, or Proctors Ledge Memorial
The Charles Oliver Stearns Family Bible copy of a Marriage, Death, and Birth page.
The Stearns Home in Amesbury, Massachusetts before it was moved*The “Shell” picture. Charles, Adeline, Sarah, Susan, Joseph, Hattie, Gustie, Nell and Fannie. Ruthie Stearns notes that her parents always thought the shells came from Salisbury beach, but the diaries of Helen Louise Dennett Stearns provided a possible clue. It’s 1862, and Helen (Nell) writes often of the Stearns girls around her age (Hattie and Gustie and Susan mostly) who seem to be boarding at the Dennett home when they are either in school or working at a hat factory. Ruthie suspects this is how Helen Dennett and Joseph ended up meeting. Helen Dennett’s diary notes that Mr Stearns returned home from California, and that a few days later, she went to visit him with some of the Stearns girls, and he showed her this collection of shells he had brought back from California, after working there over two years. Here’s what Helen wrote, April 16th; “…in the evening Gustie, Hattie and I went down to Rocky Hill; Gustie introduced to Miss Fowler; did not stop there long; it was very dark when we got down to Mr. Stearns’, spent the evening looking at the shells; Mr. Stearns brought home a great many from California; they are the most beautiful shells that ever I saw, we staid till nearly 10 o clock waiting for the moon to rise; came home on the railroad,had a very pleasant walk.”
This photo of the extended Stearns family was taken in 1935, at Nell’s 90th birthday celebration at the Elm Street house. Shown here, first row, Florence Swett Chisholm Morrill, Polly Richards, Ellen Dorcas Stearns, Howard Oliver Stearns, Jr. and Howard Oliver Stearns, Sr. Back row, Roy Richards, Ethel Swett Williams, Roy Richards Jr., Nettie Florence Gould Stearns, Fannie Stearns Swett, Mr. Morrill, Marion Swett Richards, Mr. Williams, William Dennett Stearns. Ethel, 50, in the back row holding Roy Jr., looks in the peak of health, but died four days after the photo was taken.
*Mildred Florence Stearns was born in Jan. 1893 and died of scarlet fever in March 1897.
Family Photo taken October 27, 1935 According to Stearns Family Bible Ethel Stearns passed away November 1, 1935. Aunt Nell’s 90th birthday party, taken at the Stearns home on Elm Street. Front row Ethel Swett WIlliams, Polly Richards (Marian’s daughter), Aunt Nell and Howard Oliver Stearns Jr. Back row, Roy Richards Jr. (Marian’s youngest son) either George Morrill Florence’s husband or Roy Richards, Marian’s husband, Florence Swett Morrill, Nettie Florence Gould Stearns, Fannie Stearns Swett, either George Morrill or Roy Richards, Marian Richards, Carl WIlliams, William Dennett Stearns and Maybelle North Stearns. Florence is holding Roy Jr., and Howard Oliver Stearns Sr. is in the front row next to HOS Jr. I really suspect the man on the far left is George Morrill, and the man next to Fannie and Marian is Roy Richards Sr.
Nettie is on R, with Helen in her lap, and Howard and Mildred in front of her, standing.
“Building new bridge across Merrimack R by Chain Bridge & Salisbury point Nov 11, 1951. Salisbury Pt in distance” labeled by Helen Stearns
Rye Beach, in New Hampshire. Standing is Nettie Florence Gould Stearns. Her daughter Helen Rachel Stearns on the far right. Helen’s father WIlliam Dennett Stearns in the front. Sitting with a coffee cup, is likely Melvin Gould, Nettie’s brother. I don’t know who the couple on the far left is, but the man is not a Gould, making me suspect the woman could be Annie Kinsman Gould Jones, Nettie’s sister, and the man Annie’s husband Forrest Jones of Plaistow, NH. 1920’s.
* Isaac Stearns and Great Migration Papers from American Ancestors
Josiah Stearns of Lunenburg, Massachusetts was an officer in the Revolutionary War, Worcester North District. Hon. Josiah Stearns, Esq. of Lunenburg Tuesday, October 23, 1804 Federal Spy Springfield MA
A clip from “The Parker Family of Andover” By Charlotte Helen Abbott published by The Andover Historical Society on Phebe/Phoebe Parker who married John Varnum.
Varnum Family in New England News Friday, February 26, 1875 St. Albans Advertiser
A Leaf from the Past Tuesday, July 5, 1859 Lowell Daily Citizen and News (Lowell, Massachusetts)
Grave Dorcas Brown Varnum Woodbine Cemetery Lowell, Massachusetts, USA
Children (b. in Dracut, MA)
John, Jan. 12, 1773 – Feb. 20, 1776
Polley, Sept. 30, 1774 – Aug. 17, 1798
Dorcas, Sept. 28, 1776 – Mar. 10, 1787
John, June 25, 1778
Dolley, Mar. 12, 1780 – May 21, 1796
Clarissa, Jan. 27, 1782
Sarah Bowdoin, Jan. 16, 1784
Phebe, Dec. 15, 1785
Dorcus, June 15, 1788
Parker, May 19, 1790 – Dec. 18, 1824
Sukey, May 7, 1792
Charles, Jan. 1796 – Feb. 1, 1796
Charles, Sep. 1797 – Jan. 13, 1798
See “The Varnums of Dracutt (in Massachusetts) a history of George Varnum, his son Samuel who came to Ipswich about 1635, and grandsons Thomas, John and Joseph, who settled in Dracutt, and their descendants” John Marshal Varnum