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William Brownell Meares (1829 - 1894)

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William Brownell Meares aka Mears, Means, Mayors, Mares
Born in Nassau, Bahamasmap
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married in Anona, Hillsborough County, Floridamap
Descendants descendants
Died in Anona, Hillsborough County, Florida, United States of Americamap
Profile last modified | Created 28 Feb 2015
This page has been accessed 781 times.

Categories: Serenity Gardens Memorial Park, Largo, Florida | 7th Regiment, Florida Infantry, United States Civil War | Pinellas County Pioneers Project | The Bahamas.

This profile is a collaborative work-in-progress. Sourced changes welcome.



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William Meares is part of a Bahamian family.
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William Brownell Meares[1][2][3] was born 7 October 1829[1][4][5][6] to William Meares and Meriem Roberts.[1] in the Bahamas.[7][8][9] The family lore of some descendants pinpoint his birth to Green Turtle Cay [10] and the informant on the death certificate of his son, Irvin Brownell Meares, identified William's birth place as Key West.[11]


He was six years old when he traveled with Meriem (Roberts) Meares and six others from the Bahamas, arriving at the District & Port of Key West, Florida Territory, on 6 Jun 1838.[6]. He was still living with Meriem Mears in Key West when the 1850 Census was taken. He was identified as a 21 year old mariner, born in the Bahamas.[12] He may have become a naturalized citizen.

Family lore says that he traveled from Key West on the schooner "Seadrift" to "Lowe's Landing" (now Anona) with his mother, Meriem, in 1859. Also with them was Richard Turtle Horn Meares, his brother; Richard's wife Emma McBride Preston Meares and their children Richard, George, Alfred & Clarence; Capt. John Thomas & Laura Dorothy Lowe (his sister), and their son, Jefferson; and an old family friend, Capt. Augustus R. Archer.[13]


He and his mother are enumerated with the John T Low family on the 1860 census.[7] The two men began military service with the Confederacy on 25 Apr 1862 at Tampa, Hillsborough County, Florida, with Capt R B Smith Co. (aka Co. K, 7th Fla Reg.)[14][2][5] William was discharged in July 1862 because of the loss of an eye and sickness.[14]

Married Life

William married Sarah Roberts, niece of Caroline Archer, on 9 July 1866 at Lowe's Landing, Anona, Hillsborough County, Florida.[14][4] While most sources indicate the year as 1866, the year 1868 is written on the Widow's Pension Claim Under the Act of 1909.[14] Family lore has it that they were married under a large oak tree at the home of his sister, Mrs. Laura Dorothy Meares Lowe.

By the time the 1870 Census occurred, William was farming real estate valued at $200 and had acquired personal property valued at $115. Enumerated with him were Sarah (21), daughter Marion [Miriam] C (2), and Edward F (3/12).[8] In 1874, he "and Captains Archie[sic] and Lowe" rafted lumber from Cedar Key for the 1st Anona schoolhouse.[15] Capt "Archie" may be Augustus Archer, in whose home William's wife Sarah Roberts was raised.

He continued to farm in Hillsborough County, Florida.[16] The couple had four additional children between 1870 and 1880; Cecelia E (8), Ervin B (6), Clara B (3), and Julius S (5/12). The 1880 Census shows all six children living at home with he and Sarah.[9]

He died on 18 October 1894 at Anona, Hillsborough County, Florida, at age 65.[4][14][2][5] He was buried on 19 October 1894 at Serenity Gardens (Old Anona Cemetery), Anona (now Largo), Hillsborough County (now Pinellas County), Florida.[4][5]

Research Notes

  • Naturalization:[17]
    • A man named William Mears, born a subject of Great Britian and Ireland, had citizenship papers recorded on 12 July 1852.
      • The boilerplate document states that a Declaration of Intent was filed more than two years earlier. That document could provide more details to determine if this is the same person as William Mears, son of Meriam.
        • A declaration was, technically, not required for William (son of Meriem) per the Act of May 26, 1824 which stated that minor immigrants could petition for naturalization after their 21st birthday without having to file a declaration of Intention.[18]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Harllee, William Curry, and Bessie B Pryor. Kinfolks: A Genealogical and Biographical Record of Thomas and Elizabeth (Stuart) Harllee; Andrew and Agnes (Cade) Fulmore; Benjamin and Mary Curry; Samuel and Amelia (Russell) Kemp; John and Hannah (Walker) Bethea; Sterling Clack and Frances (King) Robertson; Samuel and Sophia Ann (Parker) Dickey; Their Antecedents, Descendants and Collateral Relatives; with [a] Chapter Concerning State and County Records and the Derivation of Counties of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia Vol. II. 4 vols. New Orleans, Louisiana: Searcy & Pfaff, 1935. Page 1940 is an image of a page of family records from Miriam (Roberts) Meares Bible; provides full name, full date of birth.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 David W. Hartman and David Coles, compiler, Biographical Rosters of Florida's Confederate and Union Soldiers 1861-1865, Volume 1-6 (1907 Buena Vista Circle, Wilmington, North Carolina: Broadfoot Publishing Company, 1995), vol 2, page 775, "Seventh Florida Infantry, Company K, Meares, William Brownell" provided full name, pension file number, and death year. The death year has been disproven by the contemporaneous diary of his wife, Sarah (Roberts) Meares.
  3. Miriam C Wilcox, Social Security Act Application for Account Number 265-60-1329 (28 March 1957), Social Security Administration, Baltimore, Maryland 21235-0001. Meares Family File. Privately held by Debi McGee Hoag, WikiMail. Leesburg, Florida.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Marian Turner Miller, Transcriptions of Sarah Meares' Diary, 7 files, Yahoo Groups: Meares Researchers, 2001. Birth and Marriage dates inferred from entries on 7 October and 9 July various years. Husband's death date taken directly from diary entries on 17 and 18 October 1894. Exact quotes in See Also: Sarah Meares' Diary.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Butts, Lesleigh Laite. Serenity Gardens Volume 1 - Old Anona Pioneer Cemetery. Pinellas Genealogy Society, Inc. (Largo, Florida). 1999. Page 32 - complete dates of birth and death, location of burial. Page 30 - gravestone inscription "SGT CO K 7 FLA INF CSA." OCLC 45031523.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Key West, Florida Territory, Passenger List for Quarter ending 30 June 1838, Miriam Mares family, 6 June 1838; image 118 of 411, "Key West, Fla. 1837-1868," FamilySearch ( : accessed 1 Jun 2016); citing "Copies of lists of passengers arriving at miscellaneous ports on the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts and at ports on the Great Lakes, 1820-1873 : NARA RG36 M575; FHL microfilm number 830234."
  7. 7.0 7.1 1860 US Census, Florida, Hillsborough, population schedule, Tampa Post Office, pg 61 (written) 694/3 (stamped) [694 was stamped, then a 3 was handwritten over the 4], dwelling 591, family 451, John T. Low household [including Mary and William Mayors]; database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 1 June 2016), Florida > Hillsborough > Not Stated > image 49 of 54; "1860 U.S. Federal Census - Population," database,; citing NARA microfilm publication M653, roll 107. 11 Jul 1860, William Mayors age 30, male, seamen, born in Bah Islands.
  8. 8.0 8.1 1870 US Census, Florida, Hillsborough County, population schedule, Tampa Post Office, page 71 (written) 147 (stamped), dwelling 560, family 560, William B and Sarah Meares family; database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 31 May 2016), Florida > Hillsborough > Hillsborough County > image 71 of 82; citing NARA microfilm publication M593, roll 130. William B. Meares, age 40, male, white, farmer, $200 real estate, $115 personal property, born in Nassau, male citizen older than 21
  9. 9.0 9.1 1880 US Census, Florida, Hillsborough County, population schedule, Precinct 2, ED 61, Page 7C (written) 393 (Stamped), dwelling 76, family 76, William B and Sarah Mears [children continue on next page]; database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 31 May 2016), Florida > Hillsborough > Precinct 2 > ED 61 > image 3 of 4; citing NARA microfilm publication T9, roll 128.
  10. Sargent, Martha Eugenia, "Descendants of Richard Meares," 1999; Meares Family Files. Privately held by Debi McGee Hoag, WikiMail. Leesburg, Florida.
  11. Clearwater, Pinellas County, Florida, Certificate of Death #12738, Irvin Brownell Meares, Filed 13 June 1947; Copy purchased by Scott Nash on 3 April 2001 and donated to the Meares Family Files. Privately held by Debi McGee Hoag, WikiMail. Leesburg, Florida.
  12. 1850 US Census, Florida, Monroe County, population schedule, page 12 (written) between pages 155 and 156 (stamped), Household 111, Family 115, Marion Mears family; database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 4 June 2016), Florida > Monroe > Monroe county > image 22 of 58; citing NARA microfilm publication M432, roll 59.
  13. Geissler, Hazel, "Anona Began When 80 Acre Were Given for Homesteading," St. Petersburg Times, Florida, 24 Jan 1965.
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 Florida, Widows' Claims for Pension, Sarah Meares for William B. Meares, 29 Feb 1908 - 13 Sep 1909; "Florida Confederate Veterans and Widows Pension Applications, 1885-1955," images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 4 June 2016), Claim Numbers 00801-00900 > images 26 right - 33 left of 880; Civil War Pension Papers for William B Meares (Sarah Roberts Meares), pension claim A00803, Confederate Pension Applications 1885-1954, film number RG137, Series 587, Reel 07 A0695-A0814,17.4.1, Florida State Archives, State Capitol Building, Tallahassee.
  15. "The Golden Anniversary of Pinellas Schools - Superintendent's Semi-Centennial Report 1912-1962," Board of Public Instruction, Pinellas County Public Schools, Clearwater - St Petersburg FL ( : accessed 2 Jun 2016), pg 47 "Anona Elementary 1917"
  16. 1885 Florida Census, Hillsborough County, population schedule, page 43C, family 448, W. B. and Sarah Meares family [continued on next page]; database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 2 June 2016), Hillsborough > Population > image 147 of 168; citing NARA microfilm publication M845, roll 4.
  17. United States District Court, Southern District of Florida, Key West, Naturalization Petition pg 71, William Mears, 12 July 1852; image 405 of 1337, "Petition and records v. 1 1847-1875," FamilySearch ( : accessed 4 Jun 2016); citing "Naturalization records, Key West, Florida, 1847-1956; FHL microfilm number 1481410 Item 3."
  18. FamilySearch, Wiki ( : accessed 5 June 2016), "Exceptions to the Process: Children"

See Also:

  • "United States Index to Passenger Arrivals, Atlantic and Gulf Ports, 1820-1874," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 4 December 2014), William Mares, 1838; citing Immigration, NARA microfilm publication M334 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 418,268. [Nationality "Bah" from the card incorrectly indexed as born in Bohemia.]
  • 7 October 1894 - "Today is the blessed Sabbath day [...] this is Meares birthday, 65 yeares old today.[...]." [In the diary, Sarah consistently referred to her husband by only his surname as long as he was alive. After his death, she consistently referred to him as "my dear husband."]
  • 18 October 1894 - "Oh my, last night was the saddest night of my life. About half pas 8 my Dear husband got worse and at about half past one past away and left me and my precious Children. Oh it is so sad, so hard to bear for he was good to us. How can I give him up but we know he is gone to rest. He lived God and everything that was good and now he is with his blessed Saviour but we cannot help but mourn but, Dear Lord help me to say thy will be done. He was 65 years, one week and 3 days old"
  • 9 July 1896 - "Well this is 30 years tonight of my married life"


My thanks (in no particular order) to the following researchers of the Campbell and Meares families of Pinellas County, Florida. Their earlier work made my research easier. Debi McGee Cundiff Hoag

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DNA Connections
It may be possible to confirm family relationships with William by comparing test results with other carriers of his Y-chromosome or his mother's mitochondrial DNA. However, there are no known yDNA or mtDNA test-takers in his direct paternal or maternal line. It is likely that these autosomal DNA test-takers will share DNA with William:

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Images: 1
Meares Family Bible
Meares Family Bible

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On 8 Nov 2017 at 22:03 GMT A. (Vaughan) Curtis wrote:

Linked to John Mann (Mann-4995) accidentally.

Unlinked 8 Oct 2017 by Vaughan-2297

William is 20 degrees from Claude Monet, 18 degrees from Gigi Tanksley and 14 degrees from Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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