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William Hearne, "The Merchant"[1]

Male 1627 - 1691  (64 years)


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  • Name William Hearne  [2, 3
    Suffix "The Merchant" 
    Born 1627  London, England, United Kingdom Find all individuals with events at this location  [2, 3
    Gender Male 
    Alt. Birth 21 Aug 1659  [3
    Immigrated Bef 1691  America Find all individuals with events at this location 
    from St. Kitts 
    Buried 1691  Hearn-Freeney Cemetery, Delmar, Wicomico County, Maryland, United States of America Find all individuals with events at this location  [2, 3, 4
    Died 1 Oct 1691  Princess Anne, Somerset County, Maryland, British Colonial America Find all individuals with events at this location  [2, 3
    Story 1 Oct 2015  Delmar, Wicomico County, Maryland, United States of America Find all individuals with events at this location  [5
    New Information on Hearne Family Origin 
    FindAGrave URL https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/52978128 
    FindAGrave ID 52978128 
    FamilySearch ID LZGP-RX9 
    FamilySearch URL https://www.familysearch.org/tree/person/details/LZGP-RX9 
    Person ID I10803  Main
    Last Modified 18 Mar 2020 

    Family Mary Westcott,   b. 1646, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey, England, United Kingdom Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1719, Somerset County, Maryland, British Colonial America Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 73 years) 
    Married 1687  England, United Kingdom Find all individuals with events at this location  [6
    Children 
    +1. William Hearne,   b. 24 Sep 1688, Marion, Somerset, Maryland County, British Colonial America Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1 Jun 1756, Somerset, Maryland County, British Colonial America Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 67 years)
    +2. Thomas Hearne,   b. 31 May 1691, Princess Anne, Somerset, Maryland, British Colonial America Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1 Mar 1762, Delmar, Somerset County, Maryland, British Colonial America. Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 70 years)
    Documents
    Hearne Family Oak Tree
    Hearne Family Oak Tree
    Very creative and literal "Family Tree" by J.D. Hearne and Edward S. Ebbert 1891 revised by W.T. Hearne 1895.
    Histories
    Hearn / Harn Family History
    Hearn / Harn Family History
    Last Modified 16 Mar 2020 
    Family ID F3903  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsImmigrated - from St. Kitts - Bef 1691 - America Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 

  • Documents
    Hearn - Freeny Cemetery Plot Map
    Hearn - Freeny Cemetery Plot Map
    ** Click on a plot to see details about the individual **

    Very nice plot map by Robert M. Freeny, Jr of the small Hearn - Freeny private cemetery located near Delmar, MD.

    Headstones
    William Hearne and family - Headstone
    William Hearne and family - Headstone
    Inscription: "William Hearne, merchant, born 1627, and Mary, born in London, England. Settled here in 1688. He died October 1691 and she died after him. Thomas Hearne, son of William and Mary, born 31 May 1691; died March 1762. His wife Sally Wingate, died before him. Nehemiah Hearne, son of Thomas and Sally, died March 1760. His wife Bettie, died after him."

  • Notes 
    • The First Hearnes In America notes:

      "...William HEARNE ("The Merchant") is generally credited as founding the HARN line that the 4 HARN boys - the subject of this book - were descended from. He was born in London in 1627.

      As a young man, he joined the forces of Oliver Cromwell, who successfully fought to weaken the power of the aristocracy in England. William rose to the position of captain in Cromwell's army. The fighting, turmoil and bloodshed grew into a full-scale civil war. The king was executed and Cromwell rose to power. After Cromwell's death there was a backlash against his supporters and the monarchy was restored. Possibly due to this (but not confirmed), William HEARNE left England in 1660-80 for St. Kitts in the Caribbean with his first wife. Apparently, she died in the Caribbean and he remarried in London although this is not confirmed.

      It is unknown if he had any children by his first wife, but he certainly did by his second. He operated a large trading company from St. Kitts, shipping sugar and other commodities between the island, England and Virginia/Maryland. In 1688, he left St. Kitts for good and settled permanently near the source of the Wicomico River on the east shore of Chesapeake Bay, near present-day Delmar, Maryland. He was 61 years old, and probably went there to retire. He joined his two brothers, Derby and Ebenezer HEARNE whom he deposited there on a trading visit to Maryland 7 years earlier. William's wife, Mary (likely CUTHBERT) whom he married in England, arrived with him. The first large wave of English settlers arrived in Maryland about 60 years earlier.

      He called his Maryland estate St. Kitts, in memory of his Caribbean home.

      His son, William HEARNE Jr, was born there in 1688. Son Thomas was born in 1691.

      There was some tension with Catholic settlements nearby and some instability caused when Maryland changed from being a landgrant colony under the control of Lord Baltimore to being a royal colony under direct rule of the English monarch. The HEARNEs were Episcopalians and In 1689 William and 239 other colonists signed an oath of loyalty to William and Mary, the new English king and queen at the time Maryland came under direct rule of the king. The oath obligated him to "defend the Protestant religion and your Majesty's title and interests against the French and other Papists."

      William died in 1691, about 5 months after son Thomas' birth, having lived in Maryland only about 3 years. He was buried on his farm, starting the family burial ground. The cemetery was still clearly identifiable in 2008 when John P. HARN visited. The house "The Merchant" built in 1688 was occupied by his descendants for over 200 years. The land was owned in 1907 by the children of Elijah FREENY, lineal descendantsof William HEARNE Sr. William appears to have been an influential, adventurous and financially successful man.


      Hearne History notes:

      William Hearne, the merchant, died Oct, 1691, and was buried on an elevated spot on his farm, that became a family burying ground, and has been nicely kept and preserved to the present time, 1907.  His wife, Mary, and sons, Thomas and Nehemiah, with many otber descendants, are buried there.[1] In 1897 I had erected on a firm foundation a modest granite monument, the cut of which is shown on opposite page, with the inscription "HEARNE" at the base[2], and on the face:

      William Hearne, merchant, born 1627, and wife, Mary, born in London, England. Settled here in 1688. He died October, 1691. and she died after him.

      "Thomas Hearne, son of William and Mary, born May 31, 1691 ; died March, 1762. His wife, Sally Wingate, died before him."

      "Nehemiah Hearne, son of Thomas and Sally, died March, 1760. His wife, Bettie, died after him."

      At the time of the erection of this monument I had a small granite tablet set at Greenville Episcopal Church, some ten miles east of Laurel, Delaware, with the following inscription: "Ebenezer Hearne, son of Thomas and Sally, born May 6. 1717 ; died April, 1785; and Priscilla, his wife, died April. 1796; buried 2 1/2 miles southeast." Greenville Episcopal Church is the same that the acre of ground for it was given by Cement Hearne. The Ebenezer Hearne homestead and burying ground is about 2 1/2 miles south-east of this point, where is buried also George Hearne, second son of Ebenezer, born September 2, 1758; killed in the American Army in New Jersey in 1778.

      The writer has a feeling of gratification that cannot be expressed in words, in knowing that durable markers note the last resting piaces of all his paternal American ancestors in an unbroken line, that can be seen and known as they are visited by the present and all future generations of their descendants; that is, the one for William Heaarne (1691) and son Thomas (1762), near Delmar, but in Somerset County, Maryland; then of Ebenezer, at Greenville Protestant Episcopal Church in Sussex County, Delaware; and lastly, of Clement and Cannon Hearne, at Lexington, Kentucky, where also  

      The Delmar Historical Arts Society notes:

      Thursday, October 1, 2015

      New Information on Hearne Family Origin

      In 1907 William T. Hearne published his "Brief History and Genealogy of the Hearne Family"  A classic for people looking for information on the Hearne family. The beginning of the book is heavy on Hearnes on the Eastern shore including the Delmar area. While visiting and gathering information on the Hearne family he also hit them up for a contribution to a memorial he intended to put in Delmar for the Hearne family.  It is felt those who did not contribute were left out of the book.  A version of the book is on the internet at http://www.cragun.com/brian/hearne/history/

      At the Freeney -Hearne cemetery outside of Delmar is the monument.  Dedicated to William Hearne the merchant

      James (Jay) Batson Hearne has had the chance to do additional research on William Hearne.  He wrote the Delmar Historical and Arts Society the following message.  We hope to have Mr. Hearne speak to DHAS in the upcoming months about his research.  Below is what he wrote;

      During the last year (winter 2014 & spring 2015) I have made several "discoveries" about the above William Hearne, his wife Mary and their parents and relatives in England.  This was made possible by collaborating with the book "Brief History & Genealogy of the Hearne Family," written by Wm. T. Hearne in 1895 & updated in 1907, plus the old Ledger & Daybook belonging to William Hearne, Merchant (1684-1688).  In comparing these two volumes with a recent work published in 2002 by the London Record Society entitled "The Letters of William Freeman, London Merchant 1678-1685," edited by David Hancock, currently Professor of History at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI. many missing pieces of his life have fallen into place!  To me this is very exciting, especially after nearly 40 some years of genealogical research into his family and those of the various Hearn(e)s of the Eastern Shore!

      In brief, speculation over the years since W.T. Hearne wrote his treatise on the Hearne family have been that Nicholas Hearne (Hern) was the father of William Hearne, London Merchant, although no proof was ever given or available to attest to this fact!   Further none of the children or grandchildren of William Hearne were ever named Nicholas…  Then there is the fact that William Hearne (London Merchant) was supposedly born in London in 1627.  This information was a supposed fact by W.T. Hearne who wrote "Brief History…" because he believed he could read the date 1627 on the back page of the old Ledger, although that date he stated was very faded!  This would make William 61 years of age when his first son was born in Delmar!  It has also been speculated that William Hearne married twice, both times to a Mary and supposedly one of these was a Mary Cuthbert, because records have been found in London of the marriage of a William Hearne to a Mary Cuthbert during the 1680's time period!!!  However, there are various William Hearnes in London during that time!

      However, using the various names of the merchants and their associates listed in both the Old Ledger and the volume "Brief History…" who were in London & the West Indies during the 1680's and finding various corresponding letters from the Ledger entry dates in the book "Letters of Wm. Freeman," we find that William Hearne was not yet 21 years of age in 1680.  We further find that he was not the wealthy Merchant that has been portrayed through the years but the young scribe and book keeper of the somewhat well-off London Merchant, William Freeman.  We also learn that he is a young upstart longing to return home to England and ungrateful for being left in the care of Wm. Freeman following his father's death.

      It was through the London Public Records Office that we have discovered William Hearne's father will, who not surprisingly also a William Hearne!  He lists himself in the opening statements of his last will as "Citizen & Founder of London."  We have also been able to trace his parentage through the London Founders Company to Buckinghamshire Co., the son of a Thomas Hearne of Sherington.  The father's will lists our William's brother (who remained in

      London) as a Thomas Hearne; also an elder sister(also remaining in London) a Jemima Hearne , wife of William Baxter (London Merchant) an associate of Wm. Freeman.  This Wm. Baxter is also mentioned in the old Ledger as well as this will.  There is also a sister mentioned in the will, Elizabeth Hearne.  It now becomes of further interest that William Hearne (d. 1691) had a grand daughter named Jemima Hearne, as some family names were passed down.  Through further research we discovered clearly that William Hearne, Sr. (d. 1679 in London) was married twice, once to Elizabeth Warner who died in 1672 (the mother of our Wm. Hearne, merchant)& second to Sarah Barcocke Oatridge.  According to church records, William (d.1679) & wife, Elizabeth (d. 1672) were members of the Church of England "St. Benet Fink" in London.  They were married there in 1654 and their children were born/baptized there in the parish as well as some who died there.  The second marriage of Wm. Hearne (d.1679) to Sarah Barcocke Oatridge, widow, took place in the Anglican church of St. Michael Queenhith London.  Our William Hearne (merchant d. 1691) was born & baptised there in 1659.  This is much more plausible than his birth being in 1627.  However, this makes his passing in Maryland at the young age of 32!
      Assuming that his wife, Mary Hearne, would not be much older than he, I began searching to find if she could have remarried!?!?  On the website Ancestry.com I came across several family trees which list Mary Hearne as being the second wife of Joseph Gray of Somerset County, MD. married in 1692.  After various inquiries I found no one could provide substantial evidence to that fact among those who listed her on their trees.  However, it was of great interest that in the Maryland Archive records and those of Somerset Co., MD. that a Joseph Gray was a co administrator with Mary Hearne for her husband, William Hearne in 1691-2.  It also becomes interesting that the two Hearne sons of William Hearne & wife Mary are listed in the birth records between those of the Gray children in the Somerset Maryland Birth registry
      book and not among the H's as one would suppose.  However, this was all circumstantial evidence!  According to the book, "Letters of Wm. Freeman…," William Hearne (d.1691) close associate in St. Kitts & Nevis was a Thomas Westcott.  It appears that Wm. & Thomas quite closely worked together in the islands through the years.  The "Letters…" also state that Thomas Westcott had a brother in London associated with the merchant William Freeman.  His name was John Westcott.  Upon finding and inspection of the London will of John Westcott we see he lists his brother Thomas Westcott in Nevis and lists his sister Mary Gray.  The will states "Whereas I have a bond of William Hearne deceased of an hundred and forty four pounds principal money bearing date of 16th of December 1684 my will and pleasure is that my executor do not put it in suit against my sister Mary Gray of Maryland in Virginia except God bless her with a plentiful fortune ---"   This additional bit of information seems to completely verify that fact that Mary Westcott of London, England married William Hearne, presumably in Nevis or St. Kitts, as no London records exist and those of Nevis & St. Kitts were lost through either hurricanes or French invasion.

      So there is the information he provided We hope it is of some value to Hearne family members. [3, 4, 5]

    Story:
    • The Delmar Historical Arts Society notes:

      Thursday, October 1, 2015

      New Information on Hearne Family Origin

      In 1907 William T. Hearne published his "Brief History and Genealogy of the Hearne Family" A classic for people looking for information on the Hearne family. The beginning of the book is heavy on Hearnes on the Eastern shore including the Delmar area. While visiting and gathering information on the Hearne family he also hit them up for a contribution to a memorial he intended to put in Delmar for the Hearne family. It is felt those who did not contribute were left out of the book. A version of the book is on the internet at http://www.cragun.com/brian/hearne/history/

      At the Freeney -Hearne cemetery outside of Delmar is the monument. Dedicated to William Hearne the merchant

      James (Jay) Batson Hearne has had the chance to do additional research on William Hearne. He wrote the Delmar Historical and Arts Society the following message. We hope to have Mr. Hearne speak to DHAS in the upcoming months about his research. Below is what he wrote;

      During the last year (winter 2014 & spring 2015) I have made several "discoveries" about the above William Hearne, his wife Mary and their parents and relatives in England. This was made possible by collaborating with the book "Brief History & Genealogy of the Hearne Family," written by Wm. T. Hearne in 1895 & updated in 1907, plus the old Ledger & Daybook belonging to William Hearne, Merchant (1684-1688). In comparing these two volumes with a recent work published in 2002 by the London Record Society entitled "The Letters of William Freeman, London Merchant 1678-1685," edited by David Hancock, currently Professor of History at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI. many missing pieces of his life have fallen into place! To me this is very exciting, especially after nearly 40 some years of genealogical research into his family and those of the various Hearn(e)s of the Eastern Shore!

      In brief, speculation over the years since W.T. Hearne wrote his treatise on the Hearne family have been that Nicholas Hearne (Hern) was the father of William Hearne, London Merchant, although no proof was ever given or available to attest to this fact! Further none of the children or grandchildren of William Hearne were ever named Nicholas… Then there is the fact that William Hearne (London Merchant) was supposedly born in London in 1627. This information was a supposed fact by W.T. Hearne who wrote "Brief History…" because he believed he could read the date 1627 on the back page of the old Ledger, although that date he stated was very faded! This would make William 61 years of age when his first son was born in Delmar! It has also been speculated that William Hearne married twice, both times to a Mary and supposedly one of these was a Mary Cuthbert, because records have been found in London of the marriage of a William Hearne to a Mary Cuthbert during the 1680's time period!!! However, there are various William Hearnes in London during that time!

      However, using the various names of the merchants and their associates listed in both the Old Ledger and the volume "Brief History…" who were in London & the West Indies during the 1680's and finding various corresponding letters from the Ledger entry dates in the book "Letters of Wm. Freeman," we find that William Hearne was not yet 21 years of age in 1680. We further find that he was not the wealthy Merchant that has been portrayed through the years but the young scribe and book keeper of the somewhat well-off London Merchant, William Freeman. We also learn that he is a young upstart longing to return home to England and ungrateful for being left in the care of Wm. Freeman following his father's death.

      It was through the London Public Records Office that we have discovered William Hearne's father will, who not surprisingly also a William Hearne! He lists himself in the opening statements of his last will as "Citizen & Founder of London." We have also been able to trace his parentage through the London Founders Company to Buckinghamshire Co., the son of a Thomas Hearne of Sherington. The father's will lists our William's brother (who remained in

      London) as a Thomas Hearne; also an elder sister(also remaining in London) a Jemima Hearne , wife of William Baxter (London Merchant) an associate of Wm. Freeman. This Wm. Baxter is also mentioned in the old Ledger as well as this will. There is also a sister mentioned in the will, Elizabeth Hearne. It now becomes of further interest that William Hearne (d. 1691) had a grand daughter named Jemima Hearne, as some family names were passed down. Through further research we discovered clearly that William Hearne, Sr. (d. 1679 in London) was married twice, once to Elizabeth Warner who died in 1672 (the mother of our Wm. Hearne, merchant)& second to Sarah Barcocke Oatridge. According to church records, William (d.1679) & wife, Elizabeth (d. 1672) were members of the Church of England "St. Benet Fink" in London. They were married there in 1654 and their children were born/baptized there in the parish as well as some who died there. The second marriage of Wm. Hearne (d.1679) to Sarah Barcocke Oatridge, widow, took place in the Anglican church of St. Michael Queenhith London. Our William Hearne (merchant d. 1691) was born & baptised there in 1659. This is much more plausible than his birth being in 1627. However, this makes his passing in Maryland at the young age of 32!
      Assuming that his wife, Mary Hearne, would not be much older than he, I began searching to find if she could have remarried!?!? On the website Ancestry.com I came across several family trees which list Mary Hearne as being the second wife of Joseph Gray of Somerset County, MD. married in 1692. After various inquiries I found no one could provide substantial evidence to that fact among those who listed her on their trees. However, it was of great interest that in the Maryland Archive records and those of Somerset Co., MD. that a Joseph Gray was a co administrator with Mary Hearne for her husband, William Hearne in 1691-2. It also becomes interesting that the two Hearne sons of William Hearne & wife Mary are listed in the birth records between those of the Gray children in the Somerset Maryland Birth registry
      book and not among the H's as one would suppose. However, this was all circumstantial evidence! According to the book, "Letters of Wm. Freeman…," William Hearne (d.1691) close associate in St. Kitts & Nevis was a Thomas Westcott. It appears that Wm. & Thomas quite closely worked together in the islands through the years. The "Letters…" also state that Thomas Westcott had a brother in London associated with the merchant William Freeman. His name was John Westcott. Upon finding and inspection of the London will of John Westcott we see he lists his brother Thomas Westcott in Nevis and lists his sister Mary Gray. The will states "Whereas I have a bond of William Hearne deceased of an hundred and forty four pounds principal money bearing date of 16th of December 1684 my will and pleasure is that my executor do not put it in suit against my sister Mary Gray of Maryland in Virginia except God bless her with a plentiful fortune ---" This additional bit of information seems to completely verify that fact that Mary Westcott of London, England married William Hearne, presumably in Nevis or St. Kitts, as no London records exist and those of Nevis & St. Kitts were lost through either hurricanes or French invasion.

      So there is the information he provided We hope it is of some value to Hearne family members.

  • Sources 
    1. [SAuth] John Spencer Howell, Jr., John Spencer Howell, Jr., (http://www.jhowell.com/ jhowell@jhowell.com).

    2. [S1701] FamilySearch Family Tree (http://www.familysearch.org), The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, ((http://www.familysearch.org)), accessed 15 Mar 2020), entry for William Hearne, person ID L18T-5PS.

    3. [S1656] Findagrave.com, https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/52978128/william-t_-hearne.

    4. [S899] Hearne History, William T. Hearne, (pub 1907 with 1912 addendum transcribed and available on the web: http://www.cragun.com/brian/hearne/history/index.html), http://www.cragun.com/brian/hearne/history/hh043m.html.

    5. [S1812] Delmar Historical And Art Society, (https://delmarhistoricalandartsociety.blogspot.com/), https://delmarhistoricalandartsociety.blogspot.com/2015/10/new-information-on-hearne-family-origin.html#comment-form.

    6. [S1701] FamilySearch Family Tree (http://www.familysearch.org), The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, ((http://www.familysearch.org)), accessed 16 Mar 2020), entry for William Hearne, person ID LZGP-RX9.
      ;Contributor: dgfgeorgia