The family bearing this name in New Bedford, where it is one of nearly one hundred years’ standing one, too, of prominence and wealth, is a branch of the ancient Knowles family of the town of Eastham, Barnstable county, this Commonwealth. Reference is made to some of the descendants of the brothers Thomas and James H. Knowles of Eastham, several of whose sons – at least two of the former and one of the latter – in their earlier manhood cast their lot with the people of New Bedford. The firm of Thomas Knowles & Co. for many years was one of the greatest engaged in the whale fishery business in New Bedford; and its members in turn have been succeeded in business by younger generations who have most worthily worn the family name and sustained its reputation; and today the name continues of record in and about the city of their birth connected prominently with many of the most extensive commercial establishments and banking institutions of the locality.
As will be seen in what follows the Fall River family of Sears here considered – to which belongs Chauncey Howe Sears, an extensive mason contractor and builder and one of Fall River’s well-known citizens and substantial men – is one of some two hundred and sixty and more years’ standing in this Commonwealth. The family history and genealogy of the Fall River family follow in chronological order from the immigrant settler.
Being a history of the descendants of Richard Dexter of Malden, Massachusetts, from the notes of John Haven Dexter and original researches. Richard Dexter, who was admitted an inhabitant of Boston (New England), Feb. 28, 1642, came from within ten miles of the town of Slane, Co. Meath, Ireland, and belonged to a branch of that family of Dexter who were descendants of Richard de Excester, the Lord Justice of Ireland. He, with his wife Bridget, and three or more children, fled to England from the great Irish Massacre of the Protestants which commenced Oct. 27, 1641. When Richard Dexter and family left England and by what vessel, we are unable to state, but he could not have remained there long, as we know he was living at Boston prior to Feb. 28, 1642.
From the pioneer days at the settlement at Hingham and Taunton the Lincoln family has been a continuous one in that region of Massachusetts; one of prominence in the start, it has maintained itself both here and in the country at large and in both has long since become numerous. It has been claimed by the late Hon. Solomon Lincoln that all the Lincolns in Massachusetts are descendants of the Lincolns who settled in Hingham in 1636 and 1638. He says: “We have evidence of authentic records that the early settlers of Hingham of the name of Lincoln were four, bearing the name of Thomas, distinguished from each other by their occupations, as miller, weaver, cooper and husbandman; Stephen (brother of the husbandman); Daniel, and Samuel (brother of the weaver).” He adds “our claim is that the early settlers of Hingham above enumerated were the progenitors of all the Lincolns of the country. From Hingham the Lincolns trace their early home to Norfolk County, England.”
This article is to treat particularly of the John Haward/Howard branch of the family to which belonged the late Daniel S. Howard, who was one of Brockton’s foremost citizens and most successful shoe manufacturers; his brother, Gorham B. Howard, now retired, who for a number of years was one of that city’s successful merchants, engaged in the dry goods business; and the former’s sons, Warren A. Howard, now deceased, who for years was extensively engaged in the manufacture of shoes, and Daniel S. Howard, Jr., who is president of the Emerson Shoe Company, of Rockland, Massachusetts.
Matrimonies solemnized and confirmed at St. Catherine, Jamaica previous to 1680.
At the anniversary meeting of the Seneca County Medical Society held at Waterloo, July 23, 1885, a resolution was introduced by Dr. S. R. Welles, and adopted by the Society, that a committee be appointed which should prepare biographical sketches of members of the Society from its earliest history to the present time. As a result, this manuscript was published which includes 75 biographies of the early pioneers of the Seneca County Medical Society.