What’s the Story Behind the Name? Bedford’s Stearns Building

December 8, 2021

My neighbor asked me about the Stearns Building.  It’s been in the news a lot lately between the Police Station renovations and the Historical Society moving out of the building.

He was curious as to who the Stearns Building was named after.  I asked Sharon McDonald, the Town Historian, and here is what she said:

“Helen White Stearns willed $22,600 to the town towards the building of a library. It was named for William Albert Stearns, Mrs. Stearns’ father-in-law. He was a shoemaker; a deacon in the Trinitarian Church and said by AE Brown to be prominent in Bedford. Helen herself never lived in Bedford.”

The Stearns family bears a prominent name in Bedford History.  Rev. Samuel Stearns was the first minister of First Church of Christ Congregational in 1796.  There are also many mentions of the Stearns family scattered throughout the documents at the Historical Society.  It would be a surprise if Helen White Stearns was not related, although there is no record of the connection.  Sharon McDonald continued :

“That Stearns family came to Bedford from Billerica, where ancestor Isaac Stearns made his home. AE Brown (author of The History of Bedford) does not connect the two families.”

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Rachel Lewis Murphy
December 26, 2021 12:54 pm

Good for you for doing the research in the name. I just said, “The back road to the high school or library.” Now, I know how to pronounce it. I think.

Marian Hobbs
December 12, 2021 11:51 am

I love this new feature on the background of town names. Ive always wondered about Liljegren!?

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