Walter C. Stearns, born in Northfield, Mass., was one of the pioneer fathers of Hinsdale. He married Tryphenia, daughter of Makepeace Shattuck, and was blessed with a family of thirteen children. By dint of industry and frugality, as a farmer, he succeeded in comfortably raising his large family, allowing them fair educational advantages, only one of whom survives, via, Maria (Mrs. Worden), who resides on Canal street, in Hinsdale. Of his five sons, only two settled in town. John Stearns, who died at his home in Hinsdale, December 2, 1884, at the ripe age of eighty-three years, had been a resident of the town nearly all his life, during which time he was one of its most prominent and influential citizens, taking an active interest in all public affairs. Although owning and managing one of the large and fertile farms which skirt the Connecticut, he found time to deal largely in horses and cattle, and was widely known through Northern New England as a man of excellent judgment in all these matters, and also as being upright and honest in all business transactions. He was also interested in real estate. For a time he was owner, with John Kay, of the old American House, at Brattleboro, and the Ashuelot House, at Hinsdale, was more than once his property. In private life Mr. Stearns was a most genial companion, given to hospitality and fond of a good joke and an amusing story. On his part he possessed a fund of quiet. satirical humor, which cropped out spontaneously in his every-day life. He began life without means and with a limited education, but succeeded in accumulating a handsome property. The death of his wife, a few years since, a. most faithful helpmate, was a great blow to him, and after which the infirmities of age crept rapidly over him, and for the last year or two of his life he rarely left his home. Of the contemporaries of Mr. Stearns in Hinsdale, such as ex-Governor Haile, Doctor Boydon. Esquire Todd, Jonathan Brown, Oliver Adams, and others, all have passed away save the venerable Henry Hooker, Lewis Taylor and Lemuel Liscom, who reside upon farms overlooking the Connecticut. Elliot Stearns, who married Betsey Darling, in April, 1836, was a successful farmer and accumulated a handsome property. His only child, a daughter,. resides with her widowed mother in Hinsdale. Elliot died November 14, 1881. Although he took an active interest in the public affairs of his town, he never sought office.
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