Augustine Bearse

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Augustine Bearse, whose ancestry is unknown (or not traced here), was born in 1618.1 He died at Barnstable Co., Massachusetts, between 1686 and 1697.1

Augustine's wife is unknown. She was unidentified by both Otis and Newcomb in their pre-1875 works. A spurious attempt was made identify her as Mary Hyanno, daughter of John Hyanno, a Mattachee Sagamore, and son of the Sachem Ihyannough who befriended the Pilgrims on their first arrival. This claim was thoroughly refuted by Jacobus and is totally without merit, although it still surfaces from time to time.

The claim was originally reported in the Utah Genealogical Magazine, July 1935 (vol. 26, pp. 99-100). The FHL catalog entry for the Nebeker book (1987) includes the statement, "Rebecca Bearce Reed was perhaps one of the first indians to join the LDS church." That may explain some of the motivation behind the effort to create and maintain the legend of Austin's wife's Indian identity. Jacobus' article is not cited in the book, though many other sources are given.2,3,4,1

At age 20, Augustine Bearse (otherwise shown in the records as Austin which is a variation of Augustine) arrived in the new world, 24 April 1638 on the Confidence of London out of Southampton.5 He came to Barnstable with the first company in 1639. His house lot, contained 12 acres of very rocky land and was in the westerly part of the East Parish and bounded westerly by John Crocker's land, northerly by the meadow, easterly by Goodman Isaac Rolinson's land and "southerly into ye woods." He owned six acres of meadow adjoining his upland on the north, and two thatch islands, still known as Bearse's islands (in the 1870's). He also had six acres of land in the Calves Pasture, esteemed to be the best soil; in the town, eight acres of planting land on the north side of Shoal pond, and bounded by Goodman Cooper's, now call Huckins' Neck, and thirty acres at the Indian pond, bounded easterly by the Herring River. The Indian pond lot he sold to Thomas Allyn.

He was proposed to be admitted a freeman, 3 June 1652, and admitted 3 May 1653. Rarely found in the records, nonetheless he is shown as a grand juror in 1653 and 1662, and a surveyor of highways in 1674.

He became of member of John Lothrop's church 29 April 1643. He was at the head of the list, being the first named among those who joined after Lothrop moved the church to Barnstable, although Otis felt there were some records missing covering 1640-1641.

He appears to have been very exact in the performance of his religious duties, having his children baptized on the Sabbath next following their birth. His son Joseph was born on a Sunday and baptized that very day, being carried two miles to the church. In those times it was felt that children dying unbaptized were lost, and it was consequently the duty of the parent to present his child early for baptism.

He was one of the very few against whom no complaint was ever made which speaks well for his character as a man and a citizen. He was a farmer, lived on the produce of his land and brought up his large family to be useful members of society. His house stood on the north side of the road, and his cellar and some remains of his orchard still existed up to the beginning of the 1800's. There is no record of his death nor estate settlement in the Probate records. A road from his house to Hyannis is still known as Bearses' Way (easily located in Google Maps).1


  • Mary Bearse1 b. 1640
  • Martha Bearse1 b. 1642
  • Priscilla Bearse+1 b. 10 Mar 1643/44, d. 30 Mar 1712
  • Sarah Bearse1 b. 28 Mar 1646
  • Abigail Bearse1 b. 18 Dec 1647
  • Hannah Bearse1 b. 16 Nov 1649
  • Joseph Bearse1 b. 25 Jan 1651/52
  • Hester Bearse1 b. 2 Oct 1653
  • Lydia Bearse1 b. Sep 1655
  • Rebecca Bearse1 b. Sep 1657
  • James Bearse1 b. Jul 1660
This person was last edited on5 Aug 2016


  1. [S1203] Amos Otis and C. F. Swift, Genealogical Notes of Barnstable Families: being a reprint of the Amos Otis papers originally published in the Barnstable Patriot (1888-1890; reprint, Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing, 1979), 1:52-55, further cited as Otis and Swift, Notes of Barnstable Families.
  2. [S1206] Donald Lines Jacobus, "Austin Bearse and His Alleged Indian Connections," The American Genealogist 15 (Oct 1938): 111-118, further cited as Jacobus, "Austin Bearse's Alleged Indian Connections."
  3. [S1207] Lionel Vern Nebeker, Rebecca Bearce (Spokane, Washington: p.p., 1987), 53-54, further cited as Nebeker, Rebecca Bearce.
  4. [S1208] John Bearse Newcomb, A Contribution to the Genealogy of the Bearse or Bearss Family in America, 1618-1871: Ancestry and descendants of Dea. John Bearss and his wife, Molly (Beardsley) Bearss, of Fairfield, Ct., and Westmoreland, N.Y (Elgin, Illinois: p.p., 1871), 3-5, further cited as Newcomb, Bearse Family.
  5. [S1492] Peter Wilson Coldham, The Complete Book of Emigrants: 1607-1660: A Comprehensive Listing Compiled from English Public Records of Those Who Took Ship to the Americas for Political, Religious, and Economic Reasons; of Those Who Were Deported for Vagrancy, Roguery, or Non-Conformity; and of Those Who Were Sold to Labour in the New Colonies (Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing, 1987), 196, further cited as Coldham, Complete Book of Emigrants, 1607-1660.