A Letter from Cousin Paul Sears
Paul Sears writes to Henry from Mt. Carmel, Illinois, in the Fall of 1853. Paul is Henry’s first cousin: his father Nathan was Achsah Sears Ranney’s younger brother. Paul was born 1820 or 1821 in Zanesville Ohio, not in Ashfield, and followed his father into Medicine. He is the cousin that Lyman visited and wanted to study with, but who turned him away and suggested he go to Arkansas. So it’s interesting that he asks how Harrison is doing in Tahlequah, but doesn’t ask about Lyman.
Paul asks several questions about Henry’s extended family, and then gives a little information of his own. He mentions he is glad Henry did not go to California, and in general seems to feel himself a bit above those who grub for money. Of course, Paul is a successful physician with the widest “ride” in his area, so he has the luxury of not having to worry. As he says, “It is quite healthy here at this time, but I get all the business I want.”
Paul is very interested in genealogy, and includes a list of ancestors that goes back to the Mayflower. Paul says one of his Sears cousins is preparing a book on the family’s history in America, and he would like both to prove that he is of the Mayflower stock, and to contribute the details of his own descent. I haven’t been able to locate this book, which may never have been published, but the Sears family website claims Richard Sears has about 200,000 members now living in America. And in an interesting note in the genealogy, Paul mentions that some of the Sears ancestors relocated to St. John, New Brunswick, in 1783. This would make them Royalists — members of a group we never hear enough about in Early American history.
Mt Carmel Oct 26 1853
Some time has elapsed since I have had the pleasure of hearing from you in person. I recd a letter from sister last mail and regret to hear of your illness. I hope you have entirely recovered. I hear Harry is still in Talequo (or some such savage name) and feel much pleased that you are both held in esteem. When did you hear from Aunt (your Mother) and how was the Family and when do you expect to visit home and what does Harry think of the natives? I would like to see you both very much, yet it’s best for you to persevere and accumulate all you can.
Mother is still on the farm and gets along about as usual. Zech is looking out for the dimes and making money. He went on a visit to Ohio last fall and wanted to make a show, and had a 50$ Gold Piece stolen out of his pocket. Says it served him right. Ought not to make such a display on a steam boat.
It is quite healthy here at this time, but I get all the business I want. John my Brother in Law is attending lectures at Jefferson Medical College Phliadel. this winter. The young man I sent to California has returned. He does very well. He is now staying with me, don’t know what he will do yet.
My children are going to school and learning very well. The youngest is learning Dutch, reads very well that language. I anticipated the pleasure of taking a camp hunt but presume I will not get to go. The Illinois Methodist Conference meets here and are now in session. We have our quota of Preachers.
I am very glad you did not go to California. It’s but few in proportion to the number that goes that makes it big. Remember me kindly to Harrison. I would write often, but sparsity of news & business is my apology.
You or Harry told me that we had a maiden Aunt and that she knew our genealogy. I do not know her address and I want you or Harry to write her and get all the information you can on the subject. Robert Sears is going to publish a work on the Sears Family, and if we are of his branch I want to give him all the information I can on the subject. I give you his genealogy which you can send on to her. My father said he knew we were of the same stock and I want to know anyhow. Anything pertaining to our ancestors will be interesting. Please write her or your Mother.
Genealogy of Robert Sears of N. York.
Richard Sears, the Pilgrim, landed at Plymouth May 1630
Paul Sears (son of Richard) Joshua (son of Paul) Nathaniel (son of Joshua) (Brother to Col. Isaac Sears the Leader of the Liberty Boys) Thatcher Sears (son of Nathaniel) (Robert) Parent & Born at Norwalk Ct. 1753 Went to St. John N.B. May 1783 Robert Sears seventh son of Thatcher born June 28 1810. The above is correct & confirmed by the Record of Harwick Mass. & The Town of Norwalk (or Norwich) Fairfield Co Connecticut.