The Stearns Burton Lecture Fund was established by Captain Albert Stearns in 1899 to annually “provide a course of non-sectarian, free lectures” which would be “instructive… to the
inhabitants of New ipswich” .
Albert Stearns was a descendent of the first settler Isaac Stearns. Albert spent his boyhood in New Ipswich. He became a Captain in the Brooklyn, New York, Police Department, a Major in the Union Army during the Civil War, a provost Marshall and judge in Louisiana and afterwards resided in Syracuse, NY, as a superintendent of a chemical works company. He never returned to live in New Ipswich but was very loyal to the Town and established this Fund in 1899, his total gift being $7,000 for the support of annual free lectures and entertainments for the Town.
Frances Rebecca Jones Burton was born in New Ipswich, daughter of Frederick Jones (a very prominent physician and educator in New Ipswich and nationally) and Caroline Frances Gibson (daughter of a prominent family of physicians). Frances married George D. Burton (a promoter of the Burton Stock Car and many electrical devices and machines). She lived in New Ipswich her entire life, attended Appleton Academy and studied art in Boston, specializing in flowers and nature. Her work includes oils, watercolors, needle works, and china designs. In 1937, she added $3,000 to this Fund.
We do not know what the connection was between the two families, but as they both lived in what is now called Gibson Village, there undoubtedly were ties.