Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens
Lawrence County Pennsylvania 1897


[p. 553] of Hickory township, Lawrence Co., Pa., is the widow of the Rev. Richard M. Bear, a most highly respected Methodist clergyman, whose death took place in the city of New Castle, in 1888, when he was aged three score and ten years. Mrs. Bear was a daughter of Michael and Rebecca (Ramsey) Jordan, and granddaughter of Henry Jordan, who was a native of Germany. Our subject's grandfather came to America when fourteen years of age, having been drafted into the British Army, and very soon after his arrival he took part in the Revolutionary War, joining the Continental Army at New York, deserting from the British. He served through the remaining portion of the war as a private, and when discharged from the band of patriots, who had fought and bled in Freedom's cause, settled in what is now Washington township, Lawrence County, where he purchased a tract of virgin soil, heavily timbered; he occupied the rest of his years in clearing the tall forest trees, and in following the peaceful and honorable calling of an agriculturist, at which line of work he was very successful, taking high rank for general ability and excellence of work among his brother-farmers. Although not personally interested in politics, he was, notwithstanding, a strong partisan of the Democratic party. He married Elizabeth Marsheimer, a native of Eastern Pennsylvania, and the fruits of their union were: John; Henry; Daniel; George; Michael; Susan; Elizabeth; Catherine; and Mary. They looked for religious counsel and upholding faith in the Presbyterian Church. Henry Jordan died sometime in the '40's, aged ninety-two years; his wife was called to join the ransomed ones on the other shore, when in her ninetieth year, in 1851 or 1852.

Educational advantages in new sparsely settled districts of a country that is still poor in everything but its natural wealth, are sometimes unconventional in the extreme, and the school-house, wherein Michael Jordan, the father of our subject, received his education was much after the usual run of school-houses of that day, when out in the remote pioneer districts. It was, of course, built of logs, unhewn, with the cracks filled up with stiff clay; the windows were small and high in the wall, and because of the price of glass were glazed with oiled paper; everything was primitive to the last degree, but who shall say that the rudiments of learning imparted in such institutions, under all kinds of obstacles, have not been of the greatest influence in molding our life as a nation, and in kindling a spark of ambition for higher attainments that has led many a bright, barefoot boy to rise from one position to another, till his name becomes famous, and his works have been given a place among the best works of the age. The American school-house should occupy a tender spot in every loyal American's heart. When the school had done as much for him as it was able, he became a young farmer, but was also interested extensively in the buying and selling of horses, cattle, sheep, etc., and at one period was successfully engaged in the mercantile business. His was a well-rounded, vigorous character, and his energies intelligently directed in whatever direction always brought him wealth and a farther rise in his station; money once acquired became the nucleus of a larger amount, and kept on increasing indefinitely. He has spent all of his life in Washington township, where he is looked upon with respect as a leading citizen. He married Rebecca Ramsey, daughter of James and Sarah Ramsey who were both natives of Westmoreland Co., Pa., and of this union there resulted four children: James, who died in 1844, aged seventeen years; Sarah A., deceased at seventeen years of age; Maria, who married Thomas Martin of Washington township, and has a family of three children, Agnes, Elizabeth, and Margaret; and Elizabeth, the subject of this sketch. Mrs. Jordan died in 1851, aged forty-two years. Michael Jordan died in 1888, aged eighty-six years.

Mrs. Bear has been married twice. Her first marriage was in 1850 to Alexander McDowell, a native of Neshannock township (now Hickory), and by this union she became the mother of three children: Rebecca and Rachel, both of whom died in infancy; and Hannah M., who became the wife of Eliphaz B. Wilson, a native of Hickory township, and has five children, Lillie, deceased, Bertha (Mrs. E. Snodgrass) of Allegheny Pa., who has one child, Robert, Alexander Mc, who is studying for the ministry, Elizabeth, and Paul. Mr. McDowell, who was born in 1827, departed his life in 1873, and his widow thereupon, in 1877, married the Rev. Richard M. Bear, a Methodist clergyman, who was then located at Mt. Jackson, Pa., and who for many years was a member of the Erie Conference. After his marriage with our subject he filled pastoral positions in Jamestown, Pa., Middlesex, Pa., Fredonia, Pa., and Volant, this county. Mrs. Bear's grandmother, Sarah Taylor, was the first white woman who crossed the Slippery Rock River; she was a distant relative of Zachary Taylor.

Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens Lawrence County Pennsylvania
Biographical Publishing Company, Buffalo, N.Y., 1897

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