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Descendants of Peter and Catharine Bear


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Alternate Spellings - None found

Links - Kinnaman, Boyd, Fisher, Muhlenburg, Moore, Childs, Beard, Boruff, Brockett, Mannon, Shrader/Schrader, Sloan, Finch, Ryan

Contacts - Deb Cunningham, a Bear and Ryan descendant.



This will be a difficult page as the descendants of Peter and Catharine Bear who came to Mercer County intermarried with many families across the county so we may go beyond our usual New Boston and Eliza Township information. A particularly useful source of information to us is the Bible of Martin Bear, a copy of which was transcribed by Mrs. L. Boyd Finch in 1956 and 1957 and is on file at the Historical Society. A word of warning: This Bible was purchased by Martin Bear in September 1871. To use Bible records it is necessary to know the date of the Bible - then you know that anything entered after that date was likely entered when it happened and is likely accurate (given any possible mistakes in transcribing old handwriting.) Anything with a date before the publication or acquisition date of the Bible is entered from family memories and is thus subject to the vicissitudes of human memory . Your Web Master is approaching an age where she fully understands how faulty memory can be!

There is a notation in the Bible transcription that the same data is found in another Bear Family Bible owned in 1956 by Miss Pearl Kinnaman of St. Joseph, Mo; a grand-daughter of Mary Bear Kinnaman. In her Bible is an additional entry: "Grandmother Anamela Bear died Dec 23, 1820" (she was mother of Peter Bear above). The Bear Family Bible tells us that Father Peter Bear was born April 11, 1778 in the Province of Hanover Germany and died the father of 8 children the 12th of September 1824 (place not given). Mother Catharine Bear was born April 11, 1787 and died July 22nd 1863 (place not given). (Catharine is in Pickaway Co, Ohio in 1850 with daughter Catharine who married Isaac Newhouse. Catharine is age 65, born Pa. She is not with them in 1860, nor do we find her elsewhere so are still not certain where she died. Jacob Bearís biography in History of Mercer County, Illinois, 1882 tells us he was born in Pickaway County, Ohio in 1812 so it may be that both Peter and Catharine died in Pickaway County, Ohio, though we could not otherwise place them there by census records.)

The names, birthdates and some death dates of the children are given in the Bear Family Bible:
Martin Bear born April 6 1808; died Sept 4, 1885
Lydia Bear born Sept 11 1810
Jacob Bear born Nov 29 1812; died March 1893
Peter Bear born March 11 1815
Catharine Bear born Feb 4 1817; died Aug 29, 1865
George Bear born Aug 7 1819
Mary Bear born Nov 10 1821; died Aug 12, 1873
Magdalene Bear born Oct 12 1823

We are particularly interested in following sons Martin and Jacob Bear who came to Mercer County about 1835/1836.The History of Mercer County Illinois 1882 has a wonderful tale of their trip from Indiana to Mercer County with four yoke of oxen hitched to an old fashioned road wagon The Mercer History says they started in April 1836 and arrived May 10, 1836, but they evidently went ahead to buy land (as many settlers did) as Jacob Bear bought several parcels on November 2 and 3, 1835 as did Martin. Jacob bought 200 acres (SWSW and NW/4 Sec 23 T15N R5W), and 80 acres (E2SW/4 Sec 23), and 40 acres (SESE/4 Sec 31). Martin Bear bought 40 acres (SWSE/4 23), 80 acres (E2NW/4 Sec 27), 80 acres (E2NE/4 S3ec 26), and 160 acres (SW/4 Sec 22). In addition he bought an additional 40 acres (NESE Sec 20) on 5/14/1836. All this land was in Eliza Township (see Eliza Township Plat Map 1875 where some of the parcels are still in the Bear name. We were unable to locate an Indiana location in census records. The Bear Family Bible transcription shows the first two of Martin Bearís children born in Fountain County, Indiana in the early 1830ís so this is apparently the beginning of their trip to Mercer County.

Jacob and Jemima Carson Bear

The History of Mercer County Illinois 1882 has a brief biography of Jacob Bear, telling us he was born in Pickaway County, Ohio, November 29, 1812. His father Peter Bear, was a German, a native of Hamburg, who first settled in Pennsylvania and moved to Pickaway County about 1811. The History tells us Jacob was the third child of eight, six of whom were still living [1882].

According to the History, Jacob Bear married Jemima Carson of Morgan County, Ohio, in 1844 (Illinois Marriage Records gives Jacob Bear married to Jemima Casner 4/10/1845. We are not sure which name is transcribed incorrectly but without a doubt the Illinois Marriage Record date is the correct one although we do not know if it was the license date or actual marriage date.) The History says Jacob received a common school education in Indiana but we have been unable to verify Indiana census records for the family. In 1882 he was engaged in farming and stock raising. Jacob and Jemima are found in 1850 in Township 15N Range 5W (future Eliza Township): #670 Jacob Bear, 37, farmer, born Oh; Jemima, 22, Oh; Rowland Bear, 4, Il. They are next door to Martin Bear and family. Jacob and Jemima Bear had children Clinton, Carlton and Rolland. There is a son Stephen A. D. Bear, age 1, listed in the 1850 census and we are not sure if this is an error for son Clinton Bear or another son who died. Jacob Bear died March 19, 1893; Jemima Bear died Oct 12, 1895, and both are buried in Eliza Creek Cemetery.

Rolland and Lucy Childs Bear: Son Rolland Bear was born 16 May 1845 and died 14 January 1871, Mercer County, Illinois, and is buried in Eliza Creek Cemetery. He married Lucy A Childs, daughter of Augustine and Catharine Reynolds Childs, on 28 December 1868 in Mercer County. They had an unnamed infant son born and died October 15, 1869. Lucy Childs Bear married (2)Nathan Beard, 28 June 1873, in Muscatine County, Iowa. In 1900 Lucy was living with her brother Remus Childs, was divorced, and claimed zero children. She had two children who died before 1900 with Nathan. Lucy died December 9, 1918 and is buried next to Rolland. Her tombstone reads "Lucy A. Childs, wife of Rolland Bear." An interesting example of spelling in the 1800's - while Lucy is wife of Rolland, per her tombstone, Rolland's tombstone reads "Rowland Bear, born May 16, 1845, died Jan 14, 1871 - son of Jacob and Jemima Bear." Also their marriage record reads "Rollin Bear married Lucy A. Childs."

Carlton and Bertha Mannon Bear: Son Carlton Bear married Bertha Mannon, daughter of James and Sarah Moore Mannon, on 19 October 1882, in Mercer County. Bertha was born March 1860. They had unnamed infant son Bear who died 23 July 1883 and is buried in Mannon Cemetery. We could not find them in 1900 but find a 1910 record in Monticello, Piatt County, Illinois, that is eerily similar to their family history. Additionally the Mercer County History mentions that Martin and Jacob Bear had traveled to Illinois with an Abraham Piatt so evidently there were neighborly if not family ties with Piatts. The 1910 census record reads: #49 Carlton Bear, 52, farmer, born Il, parents born Oh; Bertha Bear, 49, married 29 years, 6 children born, 5 living, Il, In, In; Paul Bear, 25, Il; Lee, 23, Il; Grace, 20, Il; Ralph, 17, Il; Lloyd, 13, Il. Carlton Charles Bear died March 27, 1921 at Monticello, Illinois and Bertha died July 1, 1924 at Monticello according to the Illinois Death Index. If we have erred and this is not the same couple we would appreciate hearing about it. Email on the About Us Page.

Clinton and Flora Schrader Bear: Son Clinton Bear was born July 1859, in Mercer County. He is found with his family in 1870 in Eliza Township: #9 Jacob Bear, 57, farmer, born Oh; Jemimah, 41, born Oh; Carlton Bear, 13, Il; Clinton, 11, Il. Clinton Bear married Flora Schrader, daughter of Augustus and Amelia Schafer Schrader, on 10 September 1884. Clinton evidently did very well financially as he is found in 1900 at 562 West Main Street, in Decatur, Macon County, Illinois, owning his home free and clear and listed as a retired farmer: Clinton Bear, July 1859, 40 married 15 yr, born Il, parents born Ohio; Flora, Jan 1863, 37, 5 children born, 4 living, Il, parents born Germany; Lola, Aug 1884, age 15, born Il; Guy, June 1887, 12, Il; Mamie, Apr 1892, 8, Il; Ruth, July 1894, 5, Il. With them is Tillie McGarry, servant, March 1872, 23, born Il, parents born Iceland.

The child who was deceased by 1900 was Harley Bear, born 7 March 1896, died 7 Nov 1897, and buried in Eliza Cemetery in Mercer County.

Martin and Catharine Dodson Bear

Martin Bear was born 6 April 1808 in Catawissa Township, Northumberland County, Pennsylvania. He married Catherine Dodson on 8 September 1831 in Pickaway County, Ohio. She was born 27 March 1808 in Ohio. There are various snippets of information about Martin in the 1882 History of Mercer County. It is mentioned that he came with brother Jacob in 1836. Martin was elected supervisor of Eliza Township on 4/9/1873. There are also items in the Aledo Weekly Record: 2/26/1861 Pork crop of Mercer Co, pounds packed 4,823, aver wt near 230 lbs; best 40 or 50 hogs Martin Bear; average net wt 284 lbs. June 23, 1875 Jacob and Martin Bear investors in Farmers Bank in Aledo. Martin Bear died 4 Sep 1885 in Mercer County and Catherine died 23 August 1895 in Mercer County and both are buried in Eliza Creek Cemetery.

Martin and Catherine Dodson Bear had children: Mary Bear, born 10 June 1833, Fountain Co, In; Lydia Bear born 27 Dec 1835, Fountain County, In; Peter Bear, born 5 April 1838, Mercer County; Stephen Bear, born 15 September 1840, Mercer Co; Harriett Bear, born 9 Oct 1842, Mercer Co; Emeline bear, born 30 Jul 1845, Mercer Co; Amanda Bear, born 16 Jun 1850, Mercer Co; and Madrew Bear, born 3 April 1853, Mercer County. Note the Bible record indicating Lydia Bear was born December 1835 in Indiana supports the theory that Jacob and Martin came in 1835 to buy land and went back and brought their families in 1836. The 1850 census supports the list of children: T15NR5W #664 Martin Bear, 43, farmer, Pa; Caroline [actually Catharine], 43, Oh; Mary, 16, In; Lydia, 13, In; Peter, 12, Il; Stephen 9, Il; Harriett, 7, Il; Emaline, 4, Il; Amanda, 6/12, Il.

Mary Bear Kinnaman: Daughter Mary Bear married John T. Kinnaman 8 August 1852 in Mercer County, Il. They are found in Eliza Township in 1860: #2578 John Kinnaman, 30, farmer, born In; Mary, 25, In; Luella, 7, Il; Milburt, 5, Il; Hester 2/12, Il. By 1870 they are found in Georgia Township in Jasper County, Missouri, with three more children: Carlos, Sarah, and Milton.

Lydia Bear Boyd: Daughter Lydia Bear married Martin Boyd, son of Miles and Catherine Fisher Boyd, 6 April 1856, in Mercer County. They are found in Eliza Township in 1860: #2570 Martin Boyd, 25, farmer, born In; Lydia, 24, In; Catharine, 2, In [Il]. They are in Duncan Township in 1870: #108 Martin Boyd, 36, farmer, In; Lydia, 34, In; Catharine, 12, Il; Lenora, 2, Il; Bertha, 1, Il.

Peter and Amelia Muhlenburg Bear: Son Peter Bear married Amelia Muhlenburg, daughter of Charles and Sophia Muhlenburg, on 23 February 1860. Amelia was born 16 Sep 1839 in Hanover, Germany. They had children: Viella Bear, born abt 1861 Mercer Co, m Thomas O. Huston; Omer Bear, born 23 December 1862, Mercer, married Mary Ryan; Alla Bear, born abt 1864; Nellie M. Bear, born abt 1869, married Henry Tolle; Charles M. Bear, born 1871, married Bertha Harroun; Mary Bear, born abt 1877.

Stephen and Mary Ann Moore Bear: Son Stephen Bear married Mary Ann Moore, 8 April 1867 in Mercer County. She was born 10 Oct 1840. They had two children: Nellie Bear, born August 1869 in Mercer County, and Martin Bear, born 1872 in Adams County, Iowa, who married Arminta Harter 1 Jan 1896 in Mercer County. In working on our Moore page we discovered some interesting coincidences: Margaret Moore, daughter of James and Mary Moore of Christian Co, Il, who married John Welch in Mercer County in 1865 had a sister Mary Ann Moore, born in 1840 according to the 1850 census record in Christian County. Now members of the Bear family sat with John Welch as he lay dieing in April 1867 (we know that from affidavits when Margaret applied for a pension from John's Civil War Service). We suspect it was Margaret Moore Welch's sister Mary Ann that Stephen married in 8 April 1867. The wedding is listed in the Bear family Bible but not in Illinois marriage records and we suspect the marriage may have even taken place in the Welch household. Be aware this relationship is not proven but there is much circumstantial evidence. In 1880 in Grant, Adams County, Iowa: #197 Stephen bear, 39, farmer, Il, parents born Ohio; Mary, 38, Oh, father born Ir, mother born Oh; Nellie, 11, Il; Martin, 8, Ia; Geneva Dodson, 12, servant, Il, Il, Mi; Charles, 10, servant, Il, Il, Mi (possibly relatives of Catherine Dodson Bear above?). Mary gives her parents birthplaces that match with James and Mary Moore of Christian County, Illinois.

Stephen and Mary Bear returned to Mercer County by 1900 and lived with his brother Madrew Bear (see Madrew below). Widower Stephen is living in 1910 in Eliza Township with son Martin: #55 Martin Bear, 37, married 4 yrs, born Ia, father Il, mother Oh, general farm; Arminta, 37, married 4 yrs, no children born; Stephen Bear, father, 70, widower, Il, Oh, Pa. Both Stephen and Mary are buried in Eliza Creek Cemetery.

Harriett Bear Childs: Daughter Harriett Bear married Lansing Childs, son of Augustine and Catherine Reynolds Childs, on 2 June 1861, Mercer County. They had children: Norman Childs, born about 1863; Eva Childs, born about 1865 and Stephen Childs, born about 1866. By 1880 they had moved to Warren County with no more children listed.

Emeline Bear Boruff: Daughter Emeline Bear married Milton Boruff, son of Valentine and Louanna Epperly Boruff, on 9 March 1865, in Mercer County. Milton bought land in Duncan Township in 1865 and that is where they lived. Both are buried in Oak Ridge Cemetery, at Millersburg. Information on their family is on the Boruff page, linked above.

Amanda Bear Sloan: Daughter Amanda Bear married Robert Gilbert Sloan, daughter of Robert and Amanda Trusler Sloan, on Jan 20, 1870 in Mercer County. There is more about this family on the Sloan Page linked above.

Madrew Bear: Son Madrew Bear married first to Emma Brockett, daughter of Henry and Caroline Shrader Brockett, on 11 April 1877 in Mercer County. Emma died 29 May 1899 in Mercer County, and is buried in Eliza Creek Cemetery. Madrew's brother returned to Mercer County to help Madrew. They are found in the 1900 census in Eliza Township: #162 Madrew Bear, Apr 1853, 47, widower, farmer, born Il, parents born Pa; Orr, son, June 1882, 17, Il, Il, Il, farm laborer; Stephen Bear, Oct 1839, 60, married 31 yr, Il, Pa, Pa; Mary, sister-in-law, Nov 1841, 58, married 31 years, 2 children born, 2 living, born In, parents born In (note this parentage varies from that given in 1880 - see Stephen above).

Madrew married second to Stella E. Bateman 29 Oct 1902 in Aledo. Madrew and Emma had children: Unnamed infant son born Jun 1878 and died 28 October 1878 and buried in Eliza Creek Cemetery; Orr Bear, born 20 June 1883, Mercer County. Son Orr Bear married Susan Andress 3 December 1903 in Muscatine, Iowa, and they had son Clarence Brockett Bear, born 6 Feb 1908.

Miscellaneous Bear Families

In New Boston Township in 1870 we find: #55 Thaddeus Bear, 26, farm laborer, born Pa; Cynthia, 26, born Il; Emma, 2, Il; Ada, 2, Il; James A., 1, Il. This is likely the Theodore Bear and Cynthia Dougherty who married 4 October 1865 in Muscatine County, Iowa. In the 1880 census we find them in the Third Ward in Muscatine, Iowa: #31 Thaddeus Bear, 40, gardener, born Pa, parents born Pa; Cynthia, 40, Il, Oh, Oh; Emma, 12, Il; Adda, 12, Il; Alpheus, 10, Il; Olive, 8, Il; Maude, 2, Ia; William 1/12 {May}, Ia. We received information from Betty Wiese that helped us identify the family further.

In 1850 we find Thadeus with his parents in Johnson County, Iowa: #23 Isaac Bear, 40, Cooper, born Pa; Susana, 39, Pa; Robert, 10, Pa; Thadis, 8, Pa; Mary, 6, Pa; Alfis, 4, Pa; Francis M. (f), 3/12, Iowa. The 1860 census record in Johns9on County is more clear, giving the list of children as Robert, 20, Thadeus, 18, Mary, 16, Alpheus, 14, Maria, 12, John, 10, Nancy, 8, David, 6, Thomas, 6/12. It gives the children through David as born Pennsylvania but they were in Iowa by about 1846 according to the 1850 census.

We were unable to find information on Thaddeus and Cynthia in the 1900 censuses. But we did find a record in Iowa Cemeteries for Thadeus Bear born 1841 and died 16 October 1919, Oakdale Cemetery, Davenport, Iowa. Cynthia is not listed but there is an Isaac Bear, no dates, also in the Oakdale Cemetery which might be Thadeus' father.

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