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Stearns Family History

By: Matthew Bivins Rogers

Open the Family Chart as you read along


Other researchers have traced the lineage of the Stearns family back to around 1512, in Stoke, Cambridge, England. It appears the family origins in America begin in the early seventeenth century, when Shubeal Stearns settled in Charleston, Massachusetts.

In 1620 Shubeal begot Charles. Charles married Rebecca (Gibson). In 1658 Charles and Rebecca begot Isaac in Watertown Massachusetts. He married Hannah Becket. Isaac and Hannah begot John, December 20, 1690 in Salem, Massachusetts. He married Martha (Willard). John and Martha begot John Jr, August 7, 1719 in Salem, Massachusetts. He married Rachel (Pettiplace). John and Rachel begot Isaac, November 21, 1757 in Newport, Rhode Island. He married Phebe (Wait). Isaac and Phebe begot Isaac L, around 1778, someplace in Connecticut. Isaac L. first married an unknown women with whom he begot Tompkins Stearns around 1808 in New York State. Isaac L. then married Jane Shaw (Powers) and they begot Joseph L. Stearns, October 3, 1814 in somewhere in Ohio.

Tompkins Stearns married Harriett (Noe) December 29, 1835 in Delaware County, Ohio. The couple had three sons: Josiah A, Philander and Simon. 

Joseph L. Stearns, first married Elizabeth (McClain). They had three children: Luther I, Pheba and Sarah Jane. Joseph's second wife was Lucinda Dearman. They had three children: William L, Marry E. and Clara C.

The above text was created from the research of other Stearns descendents. We have not had the time or resources to verify or conduct our own research on the Stearns family before the 1850's. What follows are the results of our research. 

Philander Stearns

Philander Stearns was born in 1839. He was the son of Tompkins and Harriett Stearns. Philander met Hester Ann Eastman in 1858, while he was attending College in Hartsville, Indiana. She was 16 and he was 18 years old. They married the following year, November 26, 1859. Hester's brother Matthew Warren married Philander's cousin Sarah Jane Stearns the same year.

Philander and Hester's first child was born, Hattie S. Stearns, May 23 1860. 

In September of 1861 Philander Stearns and Matthew Warren Eastman enlisted in the 33rd Indiana Infantry Co. "I". Philander and Hester's second child Ann M. was born April 1, 1862. 

On March 5, 1863 Philander and Matthew were captured along with most of their regiment near Franklin Tennessee, during the Battle of Thompson's Station. The regiment was paroled from Libby Prison two months later in May. Philander and Matthew made their way back home and reenlisted in January of 1864. Philander Francis Rosecrans was Philander and Hester's final child, he was born the following month on February 10. 

Philander and Hester's first child was born Hattie S. Stearns, May 23 1860. Hattie passed onto a Better Place from Cincinnati, Ohio, two months shy of her 16th birthday, March 8, 1876. 

Ann M. Stearns was born April 1, 1862. She married William A. Hastie the son of John Wilton and Jessie (Hall) Hastie. The couple had four children: Frank Ross, Charles, William R. and John.

William A. Hastie was a Music Teacher and Composer in Cincinnati, Ohio. Ann joined the Angels the day after her 41st birthday, April 2, 1903. William joined Ann in Eternal Peace after being struck by an automobile, May 7, 1948.

Philander Francis Rosecrans Stearns was born February 10, 1864. Family legend says he had twelve middle names, in respect to the generals of the Union Army.  He passed away four months shy of his 20th birthday, October 17, 1883. His burial certificate from Spring Grove Cemetery in Cincinnati only identifies six initials, "P. F. O. E. R. S. Murdock". The Murdock name likely shows he was adopted by his Mother's second husband, George Murdock. During his lifetime it may have been entertaining to believe he was named after the Union Generals. Certainly the 33rd Indiana Infantry was attached to the Army of the Cumberland which was led by General Rosecrans. The General was for a time one of the more popular Union Generals and well liked by his troops, so it's likely Philander Francis did carry his name as his sisters stated. But the other initials are more likely indications of family names: Philander Francis Orren Eastman Rosecrans Stearns Murdock.

Hester was a hardy woman; while Philander was away at war she continued to maintain the farm. She planted and harvested the wheat and corn and would load it into a wagon and take it to the mill to be ground. On one such trip to the mill a neighbor she didn't particularly care for imposed on her for a ride into town. During the trip the neighbor tried to get fresh with her. So when they came upon a river which needed to be forded, Hester picked the man up and heaved him in. She never had any trouble with him again.

Philander was killed at the battle of New Hope Church in Georgia on May 25, 1864. Later after the War Hester married George A. Murdock and the family moved to Cincinnati Ohio.

Matthew Warren & Sarah (Stearns) Eastman

Matthew Warren was born August 20, 1840. He married Sarah Jane Stearns, November 6, 1859.  Matthew enlisted in September, 1861 in the 33rd Indiana Infantry Co. "I". He was killed at the Battle of Peach Tree Creek, July 20, 1864.

Sarah Jane Stearns was born June 21, 1841. She was the daughter of Joseph L. and Elizabeth (McClain) Stearns. She married Matthew Warren Eastman, November 6, 1859. Matthew was the brother of Hester Ann Eastman. He enlisted in September, 1861 in the 33rd Indiana Infantry Co. "I" and was killed at the Battle of Peach Tree Creek, July 20, 1864.

Matthew had only been married to Sarah for 4 1/2 years at the time of his death. Sarah remarried Winfield Richardson, January 3, 1866. She didn't survive to 1870. Careful study of the 1870 and 1880 census shows us two Eastman children who may be orphans of Matthew Warren and Sarah (Stearns) Eastman. Their names were Alta and Joseph M.

Alta Eastman was born in September 1860. After her parents died she was raised by Isaac and Cynthia Stearns. She married Alexander Mills, September 10, 1876. Alexander was 26 and Alta was 16 years old when the couple married. They had three children: Grace, Willard and Warren C.

Joseph M. Eastman was born in 1862. After his parents died, he is shown in the 1870 census living with  William and Mary Stearns. Later in the 1880 census he was enumerated as the ward of Alonzo and Phoebe (Stearns) Wilcox. So far we haven't found any record for Joseph after 1880.

Sarah (Stearns) Eastman/Richardson may have left behind a pair of twins fathered by her second husband, Winfield Richardson. The 1870 census shows two Richardson children age three living in the same household as Winfield. The children born in 1867, are a girl named Emma B. and boy named Worthy L. If these are Winfield and Sarah's children, it may that  Sarah died while giving birth. However other researchers have recorded Sarah passing through the Gates of Heaven, October 11, 1868.

So far we haven't been able to find any records pertaining to Winfield Richardson or Worthy and Emma after 1870.



Much of the information from this history comes from Uncle Will Hastie's interview of Hester Ann (Eastman) Stearns/Murdock transcribed in the Charles' Hastie Letter and internment certificates from the Spring Grove Cemetery in Cincinnati Ohio. Also notes from Margaret Battcher and Hester (Battcher) Coyne.

The One World Family Tree database at Ancestry.com

As we have stated the research continues and you are encouraged to add your facts, speculations or questions e-mail coleman@colemancoyne.com 

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