There is some indication that this SEARS line may be connected to either the Richard SAYRES or the Thomas SAYRES settlers of New England. It is possible that the following may be a brother of Thomas SEARS of Orange Co., NC.
Henry SEARS - Will dated Nov. 8, 1768, and proved at May 1774 Court, Orange Co., NC, names wife Rose, and children John, Edward, Harry, Sally, Nancy and Barbry. A number of property transactions are recorded in Orange Co., NC for these names, including the name of Rosey SEARS. A Rosey SEARS is listed in the 1790 Census of Orange Co., NC. With six children living in 1768 and Rosey still living in 1790, the birth of Henry and Rose can be estimated at about the 1720s and their marriage about the 1740s.
Thomas SEARS - b. about 1720; d. after Jun. 1788, probably in Orange Co., NC. His will was dated Jul. 1, 1788, Orange Co., NC, and names his wife and seven children, and suggests that he was a planter of some means. Married about 1740, Elizabeth, and resided in King and Queen Co., VA. The family apparently moved to Orange Co., NC, probably after all the children were born.
Elizabeth - Elizabeth lived her latter years with son William.
Henry SEARS - b. 1760-1770, King and Queen Co., VA; d. 1850, Randolph Co., MO. Son of Thomas SEARS and Elizabeth. Henry had been sheriff of Orange Co., NC, possibly was in prison in Warren Co., KY, and possibly remarried after moving to Randolph Co., MO about 1827-1830. One unverified source reports that Henry married second in Randolph Co., MO Martha Patsy FULLERTON. Married first about 1795, probably in Orange Co., NC.
Elizabeth CHANDLER? - Believed to be first wife of Henry, and the mother of his children. Probably surnamed CHANDLER and related to the CHANDLERs of Caswell Co., NC. Her surname is unproved, but note that son Wiley SEARS named one of his sons John Chandler SEARS. A marriage bond is recorded in Orange Co., NC on 29 Nov 1793 between Henry SEARS and Elizabeth CHANDLER, with bondsman Stephen FOREST and witness A. B. BRUCE. However, there appears to have been at least one other Henry SEARS of about the same age living in the area at the time, namely Harry or Henry SEARS, Jr. Henry SEARS, whose will was dated 8 Nov 1768 and proved May 1774 in Orange Co., NC, names wife Rose, son Harry, and other children.
Note: Apparently there are two men by the name of Wiley SEARS in Randolph Co., MO in the early 1800s. The Wiley who married Elizabeth GROSS is placed as a son of Henry SEARS due to the name of his second son being John Chandler SEARS. The Wiley who married Nancy RYALS is listed as son of Dea. Hardy SEARS in the BEALMER BULLETIN of July 27, 1971, with the information on his family being: Wiley - d. about 1848, Randolph Co., MO. Wiley married Nancy RYALS. His will was dated Nov. 17, 1846, and admitted to probate Mar. 27, 1848, being witnessed by William FORT and Ivison SEARS. Children: Lucinda married her second cousin William RYALS, son of John and Mary (SEARS) RYALS; Lewallen; Juliann; Green W.; Silas Watson married Samantha GRIFFEN; and Lorenzo.
John Joseph SEARS - b. 1798, Orange Co., NC; d. Jul. 1866, near Gifford, Macon Co., MO. Probable son of Henry SEARS and Elizabeth. One unverified family source gives John Joseph's birth as Mar. 11, 1800, NC, and his death as Jul. 13, 1866, near Newburg, Macon Co., MO. Joseph settled on a farm north of Fayette, Richmond Township, Howard Co., MO in 1821. That part of Howard County where John settled became successively Chariton (1820), Randolph (1829) and Macon (1837) County - so it is likely that the county name given for a particular event may be mis-stated. In 1832, John was in Randolph (later Macon) Co., MO, settling on the NE 1/4 of Section 14 of Easley Township, about 1 1/2 miles southeast of the current town of South Gifford and 3 1/2 miles north of Mercyville, but with a Post Office Address of Newburg, Richland Township. John's family is found in the 1850 census of Macon Co., MO, living near his son Chesly. The minutes of a meeting held in Randolph Co., MO were published in The Randolph Citizen on Jun. 28, 1855, indicating that John SEARS, with seven others, was appointed a delegate to the Pro-slavery Convention to be held at Lexington, MO on Jul. 12, 1855. Though the record available is difficult to read, he is also found in the 1860 census of Macon Co., MO. Married Jun. 17, 1821, Howard Co., MO, by Charles MERRYMAN.
Elizabeth KERBY - b. 1804, Warren Co., KY; d. Jul. 1888, near Gifford, Macon Co., MO. After the death of Elizabeth's sister Araminta (KERBY) McDAVITT in 1858, Ara's widower Leo sent the younger children to live with "Aunt Betsy and Uncle John" for a short time. Daughter of Asa KERBY and Martha Elizabeth HIGHSMITH.
Francis Marion Sears, one of the veteran merchants of Macon County and high on the list of the leading citizens of Ethel and White townships, is the son of very early pioneers in this part of the state, and lived himself, in his boyhood and youth, amid the scenes, dangers, hardships and arduous struggles of frontier life. He was born in Easely township, Macon county, on July 25, 1845, and is a son of John Joseph and Elizabeth (Kirby) Sears, the former a native of Kentucky; born in 1800, and the latter of the same state. The father came to Missouri and Macon county in 1821. He took up a tract of wild land and did well his part in redeeming the region from the wilderness, ridding it of its savbage denizens of forest and plain, man and beast, reducing it to productiveness, and founding upon it the forms, governing powers and restraining influences of civilization. He helped to sow in it the seeds of progress, improvement and development, and start it in the career which has resulted in its present high state of cultivation and mercantile and commercial greatness.
John Joseph Sears and his wife were the parents of ten children, only two of whom ae now living, James M., of La Plata, and Francis M., of Ethel. The father died in 1866 and the mother in 1888. But in their long career of usefulness in this region they put forces in motion which have resulted in great good to it and proven to be forceful factors in all that has occurred in it since they laid down their trust. Here is one instance, at least, in which the good done by faithful workers lives after them and not "interred with their bones."
Their son, Francis, enjoyed very meager and irregular opportunities for scholastic training. The schools of his boyhood and youth in this locality were few and it was far between them. And those which were in operation lasted only during the winter months and were primitive and limited in the scope of thier instructions. But such as they were, Mr. Sears attended them as much and as regularly as he could, and made the most of the advantages they fave him. After leaving school he remained at home and assisted his father in the work on the farm for a number of years, and then began farming on his own account. He continued his connection with this occupation until 1898, when he engaged in the furniture trade, with which he has ever since been actively and extensively connected.
At the beginning of the Civil war he enlisted in the army and followed his convictions to the field of carnage, participating in the battle of Lexington and other engagements of greater or less importance. In politics he is a Democrat and always has been. He has served his party faithfully and it has recognized the value of his services, holding him in high esteen as a worker and finding in him capacity for the administration of official duties of delicacy and importance. He has been a justice of the peace for more than seven years and a member of the school board for more than three. In 1902 he was elected mayor of Ethel, and in that capacity he served the town well and wisely until 1906. He is a gentleman of lofty ideal and very progressive views, and he has applied his methods of thought and action to all his official duties and all his efforts for the improvement and progress of the community in which he lives. In fraternal life he is connected with the Order of Odd Fellows, and his lodge in the order highly appreciates his energetic and stimulating membership. The township and county have had the benefit of his breadth of view and his comprehensive enterprise in the promotion of all their designs for the advancement of the region and the enduring welfare of its people.
On April 2, 1865, Mr. Sears ws united in marriage with Miss Catherine Riley, a native of Macon county (who departed this life September 7, 1908), but a daughter of parents who came to this state from Kentucky, where their forefathers helped to redeem the wilds and lay the faoundation of civilized and cultivated life. Of the eight children born to Mr. and Mrs. Sears only three are living: Luetta, the wife of J. W. Ratliff, residing near Goldsberry, this county; James A. who lives at New Boston, Linn county, and William C. who is a resident of Ethel. During the last eleven years the father has been one of the leading merchants of Ethel, and throughout that period he has held the business name of the community up to a high standard of integrity and progressiveness, and has met all the requirements of his position as one of the prominent and representative merchants of the town in a masterly and commendable manner. Macon county has no better or more enterprising citizen, none whose influence and example have done it more good in general and special ways, and none whom the people more universally approve and esteem.
Chesly SEARS - b. Nov. 11, 1824, poss. Howard Co., MO; d. Nov. 15, 1902, Nevada, Vernon Co., MO; bur. Deepwood Cemetery. Son of John Joseph SEARS and Elizabeth KERBY. Chesly's funeral was held at Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Sunday, Nov. 16, 1902, with Rev. H. L. WALKER officiating. At the time of the 1850 census of Macon Co., MO, the SEARS family lived at LaPlata, and moved to Scott County, IL by 1870. The name of C. SEARS appears on the list of 21 voters in the poll books for an election at LaPlata on Monday, May 7, 1860. In the 1870 census of Winchester, Scott Co., IL, Chesly is listed as a Farm laborer with a personal estate of $1000 and family of wife and 5 children. About 1872, they moved to Nevada, Vernon Co., MO. Chesly and Elizabeth celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary in 1898 with their children and grandchildren. Guests included Mr. & Mrs. Thomas GILBERT, Mr. & Mrs. William SEARS, Mrs. C. GATES and son, and Willie Sears [Nevada Daily Mail]. Mrs. C. GATES may be Alice, daughter of Sarah Isabelle (SEARS) GILBERT. Chesly is found in the 1880 census of Vernon Co., MO, and in 1900 he resided in the First Ward, Center Township, Nevada. His address is given as 310 W. Allison, Nevada in the 1898 Vernon County Business Directory. Married Sep. 12, 1848, Macon Co., MO, by S. C. DAVIDSON.
Elizabeth C. McCLANAHAN - b. 1820, Cumberland, TN; d. Oct. 17, 1908, Nevada, Vernon Co., MO; bur. Deepwood Cemetery. Elizabeth, signing with an X, was a co-witness with her brother Enoch of a Bill of Sale for household goods and farm equipment sold by Samuel C. DAVIDSON in 1835 in Jefferson Co., MO. Her funeral was held at Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Sunday, Oct. 18, 1908, with Rev. H. S. McCORD officiating. The Vernon County Directories indicate she lived with her son Robert at 312 W. Allison, Nevada in 1903/4, and with her son William at 429 W. Cherry, Nevada in 1905. Daughter of William McCLANAHAN and Sarah COX.