Week of Remembering Mom and Dad-Day 2


Today is all about my father’s favorite recipe. The one he always made. It was not cookies. It was Biscuits.

Moms Biscuits

The recipe is my mother’s [written in her handwriting.] Dad [Nelson William Stearns] and Mom [Shirley Beatrice Pease Stearns] both used it to make biscuits. Dads always came out fluffier. When the Model T cookie jar was empty, Dad said, “Come here girl, I will teach you how to make those biscuits.”

I spent a day cooking with my father. I still smile when i think about learning how to make the biscuit with Dad. Sadly mine came out like my mother’s, edible but a little dense. Dad stated, “Don’t worry, girl, you learn to have a light hand.” Dad ate those biscuits with happy enjoyment spread with homemade raspberry jam made by his sister, Eleanor May Stearns Duncan.


That little Model T Cookie Jar had many types of cookies and biscuit over the years. I’m the eldest of a baker’s dozen. Six of us still living. What type of cookies was made depended on which sibling turn to choose. The cookies were made by my mother and each of us as we learned to cook. I was only in the home for four more years after giving Dad the cookie jar. I went away to Nursing School. I did come home, from time to time, to take care of my parents and siblings when Mom had her first cancer episode and Dad had his Heart attack. [This is a story for another day.]


Make all measurements level [Mom’s way, Dad always just grabbed and mixed.]

2 cups sifted flour

4 tablespoons Baking Powder

2 teaspoons Sugar

1/2 teaspoon Salt

1/2 teaspoon cream of Tarter

Add 2/3 cup milk all at once stir till the dough follows the fork around the bowl. Turn dough onto lightly flour board. Knead lightly 8-10 times. Pat or roll dough to one inch thickness. Cut and place biscuits in greased pans. Brush top with melted butter. Bake in hot oven 475 to 500 degrees 10 minutes or until done.


Tomorrow’s recipe will begin my sibling’s favorite choices. I will post, in the order of the response, they returned to me when I asked what favorite cookie they enjoyed of Moms.




Week of Remembering, Mom and Dad! Day 1


This week is the is the 15th anniversary of my mother, Shirley Beatrice Pease Stearns, death. She succumbed to her battle against cancer 28 April 2001.

Earlier this month, 8 April 2016, was the anniversary of my father, Nelson William Stearns, 86th birthday.

This form of remembrance was triggered recently by Amy Johnson Crow’s Periscope presentation of #31DaysofBetterGenealogy, about recording the artifacts we have in our possession. You don’t want future generations discarding your memories without sharing the importance they meant to you.


I mentioned I still had the Model T Cookie Jar that I purchased, with one of my first real paychecks, for my father. Amy quickly informed me I needed to blog about it, including a recipe of the cookies it contained.

Why do I say my first real paycheck? I worked with my father and cousin throughout the year at my Dad’s service station in Pembroke New Hampshire. In the summer’s I would work along beside my Dad and cousin, Ernest Perkins, Ernest’s junk yard in Sutton, New Hampshire, getting parts for cars. Dad always paid me something , even in bartering or cash for my work.

My first official job was for Leon’s Ice Cream Stand, in Pembroke, New Hampshire [Now Chantilly’s.] I started at the end of May 1968.  [Also working there was, David Paul Levesque, who became my sister, Vickie’s [Vickie Mae Stearns] first husband and father of my niece, Jennifer and nephew David.

So when my first or maybe my second paycheck came in, it was just before Father’s Day. My Mother and I went shopping to pick out something special for my father. When I saw the Model T Ford cookie jar, I know that is what I wanted to get him.

The first type of cookie to go into this jar was my father’s favorite cookie, Molasses. What people call, Hermits. Dad always called them Molasses Cookies because, “they are not Hermits without the raisins.”  I filled the jar with my mothers recipe, made by me. My father was very please with the results, except he said, “There is only one problem with these cookies.” [my face, first time he made this comment, dropped about ten feet.  Wait for the rest of the statement…] Dad always added a long pause before finishing his statement, “It taste like more.”

I had been cooking a long time so I knew what was coming. It still brings a smile to my face and happy tears to my eyes, just remembering his words.


My mother’s Hermit recipe in her own handwriting. It is a much loved and used recipe.


4 1/2 cups Flour

2 1/2 teaspoons Baking Powder

1 teaspoon Baking Soda

1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon [I use Pumpkin Pie Spice or Apple Pie Spice]

1 teaspoon Salt

1/2 teaspoon Allspice

1 cup Shortening [usually Crisco]

2 cups Brown Sugar or Black Strap Molasses 

1 cup Milk

2 Eggs


1 cup Chopped Nuts

1 Cup Raisins

Bake 5-6 minutes at 350 degrees.

[Cream together the shortening, sugar/molasses; add the eggs. In a separate bowl combine the dry ingredients. Slowly add, alternating, between Milk and dry ingredients, until well blended. Don’t be to heavy handed or you will have tough cookies.]

Mom usually just dropped them onto the buttered cookie sheet to bake. If she made the Hermits, with the raisins, she would roll the dough out and and cut into squares.

I hope you enjoy my mothers Molasses cookies.

Tomorrow’s recipe may surprise you. It was my father’s favorite recipe to make.


Shooting in the Woods: He made it out alone!


Shooting in the Woods: He made it out alone! Part 1

My father always told us the story of how he returned from serving his county without being shot once and his first time out hunting he is shot in the hand. He returns home, decides to go hunting for food. He lived in the rural area of New Hampshire called Sutton Mills, a suburb of Concord, Merrimack, New Hampshire. In the 1950’s they didn’t think twice about going hunting alone on their own property or the woods surrounding them. Dad, Nelson William Stearns, did just that, went hunting along. [Big mistake on his part.]

Dad told us that while he was scoping out a deer, he was shot by a young lad first time out hunting. The lad ran off leaving my dad bleeding from his [right] hand. Dad found his way out of the woods. If he told us how, I don’t remember. He made it to the hospital. He had surgery on his hand. [More about that surgery in another blog] He was told he would never use that hand again. They didn’t know my father. He learned how to use it. He became a mechanic and what he called himself a “Jack of All Trades.” He continued hunting, teaching others how to hunt safely [bright colors a must in the woods,] doing what ever needed to be done.

I found one of the articles I was searching for in regards to shooting listed on Genelaogy Bank. I used the search “Nelson Stearns” exact in their data base. It show 715 archives results. I narrowed the search by adding the years 1930-1988 showing 22 newspaper articles and 7 probate result. The 15th article was about a young boy of 19 years being faced with charges of abandoning a man he shot in a hunting accident.

I now know the name of the man my father always said he felt sorry for, Louis M. Putney from Willow St., Waltham, Massachusetts. Dad mentioned that the young man must be badly traumatized for accidentally shooting a person while hunting. He hoped the young man learn the importance of hunting safely; would return to hunting. It would be a sad thing if he didn’t. My father was a forgiving man. He never held any ill feeling towards that young man.

My father returned home from the army unharmed in the spring of 1955 to his young wife, Shirley Beatrice Pease Stearns and 18 month old daughter, June Lee Stearns. When dad was shot, my mother was 6 months pregnant with twins. You will have to wait for the rest of the story in Part II. [It might be a little while before it is posted. I need to find the other news article about the surgery.]

Shot in the Woods
Shot in the Woods

Monday, December 5, 1955   Our Town, Boston Traveler (Boston, Massachusetts)   Page: 43, Para 4

Waltham- A Waltham youth faces charges of abandoning a man who was shot in a hunting accident. Lois M. Putney, 19, of Willow St., will be given a hearing Wednesday in New London District Court, New London, N.H. [New Hampshire]

A conservation officer said Putney left the scene of the accident yesterday in woods on Sutton, N.H. [New Hampshire,] without aiding Nelson Stearns, 26, of Sutton Mills.

Stearns is reported to have suffered a hand wound when Putney mistook him for a deer. The wounded man made his way alone out of the woods and to a hospital. Putney is free in $500 bail.

This entire product and/or portions thereof are copyrighted by NewsBank and/or the American Antiquarian Society. 2004. Source: GenealogyBank.com



“Our Town, Monday, December 5, 1955,” Boston Traveler (Boston, Massachusetts), electronic newspaper, archived, (http://genealogybank.com: accessed 27 Jan 2016), p. 43, col. 1, para. 4.

Nelson and Shirley Stearns
Nelson and Shirley Stearns

Nelson and Shirley’s wedding photo in a hand carved, interlocked frame made by Nelson William Stearns, the man who could ever use his hand again. [No nails or glue used in the making of the frame.]


Horsing Around Can lead to…


Horsing Around Can lead to…

Dad and Running Mead Betsy
Dad and Running Mead Betsy or was her name Destiny

For my sister “horsing” around as a child lead to being an author of books about horse breeding.  Her first book was in 2013 called,   “The Thoroughbred Female Families That Have Dominated The Racing World (How To Breed Classic Racehorses) (Volume 1,”). Followed by “The Thoroughbred Sires That Have Dominated The Racing World: “How The Xh-Large Heart Gene Has Been A Dominating Factor” (How To Breed Classic Racehorses”) Volume II, and also “The Thoroughbred Breeding For The Classic Racehorse” in June 2015.

This was my sister’s first encounter with a horse as a child. My sister loved horses from that first horse.

I didn’t feel too positive toward caring for the horse at that time. I was a high school student going to school smelling of horse. Yes, I was the early riser in the family. Dad and I would go and feed her. I enjoyed the days I spent with my father, Nelson William Stearns. However, more often than not on the days that snowed, my Dad would go out plowing leaving me caring for the horse.  The horse was my Dad’s. He would barter the stud fees for meat with the farm across the street from our home in Pembroke, New Hampshire. French’s Farm is no longer standing. In its place is a housing development. I never developed the passion for horse’s my sister did. I admire the beauty of horses, their sleek lines, strong legs and independent personalities.

One sister and her daughter write books about the breeding (genealogy of horses) the other, me, writes about the human genealogy of our family. Both are equally passionate about our research of our families.

So, a little “horsing” around as a child can lead to a lifelong passion of horses.

A filly
A filly

Maps = Clues to Family’s Life


Maps = Clues

My father, Nelson William Stearns was born in Sutton, New Hampshire. His maternal lineage can be trace back to the early founding years of Perrystown (1767), aka, Sutton New Hampshire.

Map #1

William Bean Quarry
William Bean Quarry

A: William Bean Quarry, Kings Hill Road, Sutton, New Hampshire.

Map #2

Location, Location
Location, Location

A: William Bean Quarry, Kings Hill Road, Sutton, New Hampshire.

B: Carrie Lulu Stearns Perkins and John Wilson Perkins residence during their lifetime. Corner of Barker Hill Road and Poor Farm Road Sutton, New Hampshire.

Map #3

Homes and Meeting House
Homes and Meeting House

B: Carrie Lulu Stearns Perkins and John Wilson Perkins residence during their lifetime. Corner of Barker Hill Road and Poor Farm Road Sutton, New Hampshire.

C: William Frank Nelson and Clara J Chase (during her marriage to William), their daughter Lillian Mae Nelson and Nathan Augustus Stearns, Nelson William Stearns, Eleanor May Stearns Homestead corner of Nelson Hill Road and Main Street Sutton, New Hampshire (aka Sutton Village)

D: Wells Family Trust Route 114 South Sutton, New Hampshire.

E: First Meeting House and Cemetery, Sutton, New Hampshire. Earliest Burial ground in Sutton.

I highlighted areas that relate to my direct line ancestors on the State of New Hampshire Wildlife Management maps . These are not the typical maps people look at for clues. These maps give clues to Trusts, reserves, topographical terrain and road names.

When an ancestor is a founding or early family, or have resided in one place most of their lives, looking out of the box is a great place to start when researching for records.

Clues from these maps:

  1. GPS coordinates for residence, B-C
  2. Family Trust, D
  3. Clue to occupation, A
  4. First Meeting House and place of Worship, E (there were others over the years. I did not add them to this map at this time)
  5. Land type, Map#2- Many hills, rocky areas and waterways give a clue to what hardship they overcame.
  6. State of New Hampshire Wildlife Management Maps and pages provides hints to what wildlife was available in the area.

What to do with this information?

  1. Knowing location of residence confirms you have the correct family for your tree, how close or far they live to other family members and what distance they had to travel to meetings and worship.
  2. A family trust tells me that I need to search town, county, state and probate records to find clues to family, relationships, wealth and possible other lands owned.
  3. A Quarry tells you that at least one generation, were stone masons or miners. Need to see who else may have the same occupation. Was it a number of family members or just one family unit?
  4. Place of church records including births, baptisms, deaths, burials and town meeting records.
  5. Land type may give a clue of what type of occupations were available, fishing, mining, milling, in more recent years skiing, hospitably, resort management or many other possibilities. I knew cousins line occupations; mechanics, junk yard, maple syrup, moonshine, farming, traveling deacons. Just to mention a few.
  6. Check out your state’s Wildlife Management, Fish and Game or Land management for maps and clue information to how your ancestors and relatives lived.

Think out of the box, you may be pleasantly surprised at what you find. I was. That will be a later post to look forward to.

Book Writing or Procrastination?

Wedding Day 3 July 1953
Wedding Day 3 July 1953

Nelson William Stearns and Shirley Beatrice Pease on their wedding day.

I’m in a quandary.  My days are spent researching and writing about my immigrant ancestor Isaac Stearns. I thought I was done and ready to send it to my beta readers. I did send it to one reader that provided some great feedback.

While waiting for that feedback I decided to review my records and correct my citations in Elizabeth Shown Mills format. I found some web links from my early research that is no longer working. I needed to find new documentation for that information.

Now it seems I have more and more things to add to the book. I thought that was a good thing. The past week I started thinking, “Am I looking for things, so that I delay the book?”

I just might be doing that. I’m nervous to put the book and my writing out there. I set a goal to get it to my beta readers that is soon approaching. I not sure I will make that goal. Will Columbus Day come and go without my completion of the book?

I hope not. That is why I am writing this blog, to push myself to meet that deadline.

Still the question remains; Does the book need to have all the items I found in Isaac’s life or just the overview to give my readers a sense of the time he lived it? The decisions he made and the possible why he made those decisions is important. His story will be told. I will tell it to the best of my ability.

Maybe not overdo the facts that the youth of today do not really care about. Yes, the youth of today is who I decided to be my focus group for this book. I want my children’s children, nieces and nephews to know where they came from. Not just my family, any of Isaac Stearns descendants, will know where they came from.

That decision made makes it easier for me to complete the book.

STOP Procrastinating, June. FINISH the book.




Happy Father’s Day, Nelson William Stearns: My Paternal lineage


Nelson William Stearns
Nelson William Stearns

Nelson William Stearns: My father

Birth 08 Apr 1930 in New London, Merrimack, New Hampshire, USA

Death 12 Aug 1988 in Bridgton, Cumberland, Maine, USA

Nathan Augustus Stearns
Nathan Augustus Stearns

Nathan Augustus Stearns: My grandfather

Birth 01 Aug 1887 in Sutton, Merrimack, New Hampshire, USA

Death 20 Sep 1951 in Sutton, Merrimack, New Hampshire, USA

Mason Stearns: My great grandfather

Birth 1 Mar 1854 in Goffstown, Hillsborough, New Hampshire, USA

Death 9 July 1935 in Newbury, Merrimack, New Hampshire, USA

Augustus Stearns: My 2nd great grandfather

Birth 26 Jul 1832 in Colebrook, Coos, New Hampshire, USA

Death 14 Feb 1881

Nathan (2) Stearns: My 3rd great grandfather

Birth 02 May 1801 in New Hampshire, USA

Death 15 Apr 1877 in Goffstown, Hillsborough, New Hampshire, USA

Nathan Stearns: My 4th great grandfather

Birth 22 July 1761 in Merrimack, Hillsborough, New Hampshire, USA

Death Abt. 11 May 1813 in service of War 1812 in barracks of “fever,” Captain Mills Co.

John Stearns: My 5th great grandfather

Birth 17 Feb 1728 in Concord, Middlesex, Massachusetts, USA

Death 02 Oct 1810 in Amherst, Hillsborough, New Hampshire, USA

Zachariah Stearns: My 6th great grandfather

Birth 06 Feb 1702 in Bedford, Middlesex, Massachusetts, USA

Death 1795 in Merrimack, Hillsborough, New Hampshire, USA

John Stearns: My 7th great grandfather

Birth 1675 in Massachusetts

Death 14 Jun 1734 in Lexington, Massachusetts, USA

Isaac (2) Stearns: My 8th great grandfather

Birth 06 Jun 1631 in Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts, USA

Death 29 Aug 1676 in Lexington, Middlesex, Massachusetts, USA

Isaac Stearns: My 9th great grandfather

Birth 31 Oct 1595 in Nayland, Suffolk, England

Death 19 June 1671 in Watertown, Middlesex, Massachusetts, USA