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Archiver > BEARSE > 2000-06 > 0961781683

From: Wyatt Knapp <>
Subject: [BEARSE] Re: Manuscript URL & F.Bearce claims
Date: Fri, 23 Jun 2000 13:34:43 -0400


The URL for Franklin Bearce's manuscript is:

The following in answer to Kathy's question on the diary:

> I'm wondering if
> copies of Zerviah Newcomb's diary exist, or if our knowledge of it comes from
> the article written about Franklin Bearse and his attempt to obtain Indian
> benefits.

According to my reading of the manuscript, the diary of Zerviah Newcomb Bearse
was passed down through the generations with handwritten transcriptions from the
original diary known to last exist in the hands of Mary Ellen (Tuttle) Bearse at
Penfield, New Jersey. It is described in Franklin's account as a very fragile
thing. Here's what he says:

"[My Aunt] Mary Caroline saw the original diary and stated that it was written in
India Ink and on different kinds of paper. Some of [the pages were] of poor
quality and many of the early pages were yellow with age and hardly readable.
But the supplement codgial [sic...codicil], the portion copied, was written by
Zerviah in her old age assisted by her step daughter Anna Bearce on a fair
quality of paper, and was readable and well preserved."

I don't know if it is laying in some descendants attack or tucked in an old
bible, or if it has passed into the hands of a descendant who doesn't know what
it is. Perhaps it exists no more except in the memory of Franklin Bearce and the
relatives and their descendants who speak of it's contents. Perhaps it never
existed. But if you read his manuscript it is compelling and the nature of the
man came through. He has great respect and reverence for those who came before
him and seems to have a lot of facts that were later proved right.

Finally, if he was only trying to get Indian benefits he had plenty of documented
Indian blood nearer in his line that would have more than sufficed to make him
eligible. There was no need to go so far back in his genealogy to get benefits.
The only reason he appears to have for doing it is a fierce pride in his family
history and a need to record it for his family and descendants.

One more quote to show what I mean in this regard:

"The first nine of Josiah and Mary Sissell's children were born at Barnstable and
the others at Mashpee, Cape Cod, where that dear ancestor of mine, Mary Sissell,
died in childbirth and lies sleeping and but for the pages of this manuscript,

There are many touching references to his ancestors in this manuscript. It's
worth reading just to get to know Franklin Elewatum Bearce. I can tell that he
believed his story and that he was sad that other genealogies and Jacobus were
denying this ancestor to the memory of the people he believed were her

One last thing, Sharon was kind enough to send me the exact quote From the Otis
Papers about Josiah Bearce which was published in the late 1800's and well before
Franklin Bearce's manuscript and I would like to share it here if I may:
Page 59:
"Josiah Bearse, son of Joseph, married Zerviah Newcomb, by whom he had no
children , and second, Mary. He was dismissed from the East Barnstable church
to the Church in Greenwich, Conn., Dec 29, 1743, and afterwards to New
Fairfield, in the same state."

This is a prior reference that says just what Franklin Bearce had reported in his
manuscript. Could it be that at the height of Native American prejudice in this
country, some of these other genealogies chose to hide their Indian ancestry? I
wouldn't be surprised.

But what does all of this really come down to. I have to go by my gut feeling
about everything I read until we get more evidence. I believe Franklin Bearce. I
believe there is lots of evidence to support his genealogy. But I'd like more
evidence. I have Mary Sissell and the other Indian Bearce spouses in my Bearce
genealogy. But I had to include a note that some people have questioned it and
that further research is being done to put the matter to rest.

Thanks for putting up with this long e-mail. :-)
--Wyatt Knapp--

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