Welcome to my genealogy blog. Ancestors I Wish I Knew is a combination of genealogical information and stories about individuals in my family tree. The focus is on those from my Cochrane, Eitelbach, Merrett, Minarcik and Richards lines and their descendants.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

#96--Moving with the Mears

My last blog was about the way my great-great grandmother, Charity Mears, named her children. While working on that line, I noticed another interesting things about Charity Mears and her sisters.  I had always heard that families moved from one place to another because they know someone there or believed it would be a better place. With the Mears sisters I could see it in action.

When the sisters married, they all lived in Brown County, Ohio.  Here is a list of the sisters and their husbands.
 Mary Mears ((1786-1873)—Lemuel Boyle Sayer
Elizabeth Mears (1796—1880)—Jonathan Shreve
Catherine Mears (1799-1888)—Robert Legate (1802—1822)  and  Israel Donnelson Sayre (1807-1849)
Nancy Mears (1801-1883)—George Newell (1798-1875)
Jane Mears (1803-1878)—Jesse Stephenson (1804—1828)and David Calvin (1800/1810—1845)
Charity Mears (1806—1842)—John M. Hannah (1799-1842)
Sarah Jane Mears (1808-1899) George Fisher (1807-1907).

As I looked at the census information for these families, I noticed that they began to leave Brown County for places that were further west.  The first couple to leave were Jonathan and Elizabeth Mears Shreve who by 1820 had moved to Ripley County, Indiana, where Jonathan’s father now lived.
I knew that by 1830, my great grandparents, John and Charity Mears Hannah were living in Edgar County.  However, according to the census for 1830 George and Sarah Jane Mears Fisher and Israel and Catherine Mears Sayre were also living there.  But that was not the only Mearses who were in
Edgar County.   I also knew from her will that Elizabeth Mears, the mother of all the Mears girls, was in Edgar County at the time of her death in 1842.   Further Jane Mears Stephenson, whose husband died in Brown County in 1828 also came to Edgar County as she married David Calvin there in 1833.
One couple did not go to Edgar County, even though they did leave.  George and Nancy Mears Newell stayed in Brown County until 1860 when they were in Deer Park, LaSalle, Illinois.  They remained there until their deaths.  While all her sisters left Brown County, Mary Mears with her husband Lemuel Sayre remained in Brown County.

So why might these families moved to Illinois?  I think the answer is land.   For each family I searched the Illinois Land Sales and found that each husband and Elizabeth Mears bought land.  Generally land was bought on a land warrant or for $1.25 per acre.  As I looked over the purchases they were all in the same area—Townships 15 and 16 in Ranges 11 and 12.  That would mean these families were living relatively close together in Ross, Prairie, Edgar or Brullet.  That area is the four townships in the upper right hand corner of the map.  Someday soon, I will take that township map and plot exactly where the land was purchased.

If I could talk to them, I would ask why they moved.  I would also like to know how they travelled from Brown County to Edgar County.  Did they go over land?  Did they go down the Ohio River and then up the Wabash River?  Or did go partly down the Ohio and then overland to Edgar County?


  1. If you would like to know more about Elizabeth Mears, read the featured post to the right.

  2. Do you have any information on Jesse Stephenson who married Jean Mears?

    1. Not much. I know he was born in 1804. He married Jane Mears on August 10, 1820, in Ohio. They had four children--William, George, Elizabeth and Jesse. He died in February 1828 at the age of 24. Jane moved with her mother to Edgar County, Illinois and married DAvid Calvin.