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Pennsylvania Gearharts
Posted by: Bob Gearhart - Trenton Mich Date: February 05, 2002 at 11:27:50
  of 1934

The following information was researched by Everett and Harry Gearhart during the 1950's.

The earliest records of ancestors came from Rotterdam, Germany about 1650. Among the first recorded were Johannes and Mordecia Gearhart, the parents of five boys, Adam, John Frederick, Abraham, George and William. The five boys served their country during the revolutionary war and were discharged with credits in 1783. This provides the first written record of Gearharts in America

John Frederick Gearhart served as an Ensign in the Lancaster County Pennsylvania Militia 3rd Company under Captain George Gaulty during the revolutionary war. He returned from service April 15, 1783.

John Frederick was born in Frederick County Maryland in 1767. In 1784 he married Catherine Gray who was born 1769. They were among the first settlers of Half Moon Valley, Centre County, Pennsylvania in 1788. In Half Moon Valley ( Named from the markings the Indians carved on trees marking the trails along Buffalo Run.), they famed four hundred acres adjacent to the Peter Gray senior farm. John F and Catherine had nine children, Jacob 5, John II, Christopher, Elias X, Peter, Adam, Catherine, Eve, Elizabeth and Susan.

Peter Gray the 1st came from Holland in 1767 to Frederick County Maryland where he married Eve Crider. By trade a shoemaker, was very active in community affairs, A genuine frontiersman, hunter and trapper.

In 1790, John Frederick Gearhart a surveyor and farmer along with Peter Gray, Matthew Gray and Edward Sweeny left Buffalo Run in Half Moon Valley and went to Lock Haven, Pennsylvania, where on May 26 they began to survey the west branch of the Susquehanna and upper Allegheny Rivers, then called the New Purchase. During this time much of western Pennsylvania was unsettled by other than Indians and trappers.

From their log;

June 24,       they were on the headwaters of the Allegheny River and visited a much talked about salt lick that covered 3 acres.

July 7,        they met the chief of the Cornplanter Indians at Kingee.

August 1,       Suffering from a sore back in Franklin, John Frederick had oil obtained from the bank of French Creek rubbed on.

August 7,       Camped at a landing below Kittanning. From there they went unrecorded to their homes. The trip was well over four hundred miles of foot travel.

In 1801 John Frederick Gearhart and Peter Gray Sr. were appointed to locate a road from Caldwell's Mills to Bellefonte. They did this with the aid of five other men and three daughters. No record of who they were.

In January 1802, Reverend Christian Neucomer visited the Gearhart home and held services. He later became Bishop Neucomer and organized a group that built a log church where services were held for 130 years.

In 1803 ejectment proceedings were brought in the courts of Centre County Pennsylvania by Michael Simpson citing much of Half Moon Township occupied by the Gearhart, Gray and Harstock families which was a portion of land owned by the London Coal Company. It was settled for the families who were required to pay three dollars an acre for release of the coal companies claim.

In 1804 John Frederick and seven others laid out a road from Abram Elders in Half Moon Township, to Phillipsburg. Later John Frederick moved to a tract of land he cleared near Oceola Mills, Clearfield County, Pennsylvania. The nearest grist mill was in Huntington Furnace, about 50 miles where they would have their home grown grain ground.

In 1840 John Frederick Gearhart went hunting and never returned. He was then 73 years old. His wife Catherine died at the home of their son Jacob in Decanter Township, Clearfield County, Pennsylvania in 1864. She was 95 years old.

The Grays all settled along Buffalo Run in Half Moon Valley on the east branch of the Susquehanna River. They had seven children. Peter 2nd who married Eve Haskell, David, Adam, George, John, Mary and Eve. Peter 2nd became a local preacher, David a class leader. John a farmer, who in 1811 went to Lewisburg by Ox team for a ton of plaster. The plaster cost twenty six dollars. Mary married David Runk, a blacksmith, who had the first blacksmith shop in Half Moon Valley. Eve married a Huskell.

Peter Gray died in Half Moon Valley in 1817 on a Farm now (1957) known as the E.H. Meeks farm. He is buried in a private cemetery plot on the farm along with several other family members. The markers are worn and unreadable. It is located in Centre County near Martha furnace about five miles along rout 322. Possibly fifteen miles north west of State College.

John Gearhart II was a farmer born 1789 in Half Moon Valley, Centre County, Pennsylvania. He married Lydia Shively, born in 1793. They joined the Methodist church of Phillipsburg in 1820.

Elias Gearhart, a farmer and woodsmen, was born in 1798 near Oceola Mills, Clearfield County, Pennsylvania. He moved to Little Sandy Creek district near Worthvill, Winslow Township, Jefferson County where he married Mary Magdalene Ream, born 1799 in Clarion County, Pennsylvania. They had nine children, John Frederick, Jack, Christopher, David, Lyle, Elisha, Catherine, Barbara Ann, Elizabeth and Mary Ann.

Elias Gearhart from whom we are descended, helped organize the First Methodist Episcopal church in Winslow Township in 1846. He cut timber, and built rafts of logs on the snail creek and in high water would run than down to Red Bank Creek where they would be floated down to the river for coupling with more logs. The rafts then several hundred feet would be floated down to the sawmill at Pearts Eddy above Mosgrove where they built barges.

Christopher born February 17, 1837. Married Alpha Etta Gaup who was born May 15, 1869. They had a daughter Myrtle Gearhart Loughry who lived at 31 North Brady St.Dubois, Pennsylvania. Barbara Ann married John Fisher. Elizabeth married a Selman. Mary Ann married James McLaughlin. David lived most of his life about Brookville, Jefferson County Pennsylvania and had a son Clyde who worked at the
local railroad station. He also had a daughter who married Everett Hall a Doctor of Falls Creek.

Mary Magdalene Gearhart died in 1858. Elias X Gearhart died April 13, 1860 of blood poisoning from a foot cut with an axe while chopping wood. He was 62 years old.

John Frederick Gearhart, the second son of Elias, was born on a farm near Worthville on Little Sandy Creek, Jefferson County Pennsylvania on September 2, 1825. He helped his father on the farm and with the woodcutting and rafting.

On April 13, 1846 John Frederick Gearhart and Susanna Byrd of Greensburg, Westmoreland County were married. Susanna Byrd was born April 2, 1827. Other than being called a Yankee we know nothing of her ancestry. They settled on a farm that is currently (1958) owned by the Gould family. There they built a large red brick house of home made bricks that is still standing. It is said that he was a great horsemen, raising colts from his own brood mares and always owned one or more stallions. Born to John Frederick and Susana Byrd Gearhart were;

Mary Ellen, November 13, 1846. She married John George Milliron, born 1844, a farmer and coal miner of Putneyville. He served in Company K, 6th regiment Pennsylvania H.A. during the Civil War. They lived on a farm adjoining the Gearhart homestead. Mary died in 1915, George in 1923. They are buried in the
McCreas Furnace Evangelical Cemetery.

Charles Simon, born May 1, 1848. Married Rose Williams February 8, 1873. They went to California and spent the remainder of their lives. There were several children, one daughter called May.

James Randolph, Born February 14, 1850 on the Gearhart farm near Putneyville. Married Emmaline Miller, September 10, 1874. They went to Nebraska where he was an ordained Methodist Episcopal minister. They had Roy, Bessie and Ruth. Bessie married a Morrison. They spent their lives in Nebraska.

Winfield Scott, born October 26, 1852 at the Gearhart farm near Putneyville. He went to school in Putneyville and married Anna Viola Mack, born January 29, 1854, at Colwells Furnace or the Cove. He was a licensed Methodist Episcopal minister in June 1881. He died June 11, 1915, and Anna Viola died May 9,1924. They are buried in the Brockport Cemetery near Brockport, Elk County, Pennsylvania.

Elza Anna, born March 5, 1855. Married Henry Myers of Near Oak Ridge, Clarion County, Pennsylvania. He spent most of his life at coal mining. They lived all their lives about Oak Ridge. Eliza Anna Died 1924, Henry died 1928. They are buried in the Mt. Zion Evangelical United Brethren Cemetery near Oak Ridge.

John Frederick, born February 9, 1857 at the family farm near Putneyville. He married Ida McDivitt, October 19, 1882. She was born April 17, 1860 near Luther City, Clearfield County, Pennsylvania. He met her while working timber jobs in that vicinity. They spent their entire lives on a small farm about one and a half miles from Luther City near the cemetery where they are buried. He died July 26, 1920 and she died May 12, 1902.

Sarah Ett, born January 6, 1859 at the Gearhart home near Putneyville. Married David Thomas July 14, 1881. They moved to Alvo, Oklahoma where they had two sons, Lazelle and Allen. Allen was in the printing business. Sarah died December 14, 1946

Arminta, born January 3, 1861, married Daniel West in 1886, who was born near Putneyville August 22, 1860. He farmed, mined coal and teamed. Also cut timber and helped on rafting. He mined coal the other side of New Bethlehem and walked to work while living above the Machining Dam. His son Sam now (1958) lives there. Arminta died August 8, 1904. Daniel died September 18, 1944. They are buried in the McCreas Furnace Evangelic cal Reformed Cemetery near Eddyville.

Owen Wagner, born January 7, 1863 on the home farm near Putneyville. On September 10, 1885 he married Alvira Virginia Patton. She was born July 9, 1864 near Mosgrove Boggs Township, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania. They met and courted during stopovers on return from landing rafts at Pearts Landing, 1 mile from the Patton home. Owen Wagner spent most of his life on a farm near Templeton, Boggs Township. He grew mostly potatoes and fruit. He raised beef cattle and also teamed at local jobs when they became available for the Gas Company. He helped organize the Templeton Methodist Church in 1907. Owen Wagner helped complete the foundation and raise the building, donating well over three thousand dollars and hundreds of men and team hours.

Narcissus Corniela, born January 26, 1865, near Putneyville. On September 25, 1885 she married Boyd H. Putney who was born in Putneyville. He was a local merchant and they spent their lives in Putneyville. He died November 14, 1923. She died December 19, 1961.

Elvia, born March 27, 1867 at the Gearhart home near Putneyville. Died January 8, 1885 of tuberculosis. She is buried next to her mother in the Putneyville Methodist Cemetery.

Rhoda Byrd, born April 15, 1869 at the Gearhart farm, married August 15, 1888 at Putneyville to Phineheas Delbert Renyan born May 21, 1862 at Plumville, Pennsylvania. He was a graduate of Allegheny College. They lived in Ford City, Pennsylvania. Rhoda Byrd died January 17, 1938, Phineheas Delbert Renyan died January 1, 1944. They are buried in the Gibson Cemetery, West Moreland County
near Belle Vernon Pennsylvania.

The first reunion of the John F and Susanna Byrd Gearhart family was held at their home near Putneyville January 25, 1878. The thirty second year of their marriage. Present were all 12 children, two son in laws and three daughter in laws and twelve grandchildren. Like his father, John Frederick Gearhart died of blood poisoning. His was from a wound in the hand when he tore it on a nail in the barn. He died March 24, 1892 and was sixty seven years old. Susana Byrd Gearhart died August 28, 1892.

Owen Wagner and Alvira Virginia Gearhart from whom we are descended lived for some time after they were married on the Gearhart family farm near Putneyville. From there they moved to a small house on the Pence farm near where she was born. Soon after they moved to a farm about one and a half miles from Templeton, Pennsylvania which her father had bought. In 1903 Owen Wagner built a new house, currently (1956) occupied by his son Everett Gearhart. Raising beef cattle and colts, he grew apples and potatoes. The potatoes were sold at market in surrounding communities, while the apples were shipped by railroad to Vandergrift, Pennsylvania in wooden barrels. He was active in community affairs and served in several offices.

Owen Wagner and his brother in law John R Patton algerined on the Allegheny River when the water was high. They worked from a flat bottom boat using pike poles. (A hardwood pole 2 inches in diameter, 15 feet long with two spikes at one end.) They would stick logs and take than to shore and tie than. It was the custom then that anything caught belonged to the ones who caught it if they tied it to the shore. It was a very dangerous and nerve wracking business. They caught enough logs to erect the barns and one house on the three farms John Patton had bought.

Owen Wagner was a lover of good horses and prided himself on his stable. About 1920 he decided to keep purebred shorthorn cattle. He bought three registered heifers and a purebred bull. Only one heifer ever freshened and she stepped on the outside of his left ankle, stripping it to the bone for five inches. This would not heal and he suffered with it for seven years. He tried to help where he could going on crutches most of the time and riding a horse at others. On December 6, 1925 he entered Saint Margarets Hospital at Pittsburgh, where they amputated his leg above the knee. Gangrene set in and he died the third day in the hospital on December 10, 1925. Alvira Virginia Gearhart died January 2, 1933 at the family home near Templeton. They are buried in the Cochran Cemetery, Boggs Township, near the home where they spent most of their lives. He was 62 years old.

John Kelly Gearhart, born June 19, 1887, the first son of Owen Wagner and Alvira Virginia Gearhart. Went to the one room eight grade school near the farm. Afterwards then the Dayton Normal Institute, a high school at Dayton Pennsylvania. After school he clerked in William Moores General Store at Mosgrove staying with the Moore family, 1903 - 1904. He taught at the Pine Grove School near Mosgrove one winter. Later worked at the Templeton Brick Works and stayed at the company boarding house. During this tine he was taking a correspondence course in Business, from the International Correspondence School of Meadville Pennsylvania.

On July 15, 1889 he married Carrie Fair, a farmers daughter of near Adrian, Washington Township, Armstrong County Pennsylvania. They lived in Templeton where John Kelly opened a dry goods business, the first movie theater in the area and an A & P Store. In Templeton they had three children, Earl Fair, Newell Kelly and Francis Owen. The depression followed by a bad investment in the mushroom mine business ended in bankruptcy.

John Kelly and Carrie moved to Tarentum, Pennsylvania where he went into business as a contractor, building and remodeling homes, heating systems and aluminum siding. Carrie died October 25, 1958. John Kelly died August 15, 1965 arid both are buried with their third son Francis Owen born September 30, 1917, who died November 5, 1918 of pneumonia, at Saint Marks Lutheran Church near Adrian, Pennsylvania. He was 78 years old.


Earl Fair Gearhart, born March 13, 1911 in Templeton, Pine Township, where he went to the local school. Earl traveled extensively after a serving in the Pacific with the Army during the second world war. He married, Josephine Magnet in 1937, divorced in 1938. He married Fay Debris Coleman in 1945, divorced in 1945. Earl had no children. It could be said that Earl truly enjoyed life. He lived during the prohibition era and the mechanizing of America. After many years of wanderlust Earl reunited with his second wife Fay, in Erie, Pennsylvania. There he worked for the General Electric Company and provided a home for abandoned children. Earl died 1982, in Erie and is buried in the cemetery east of town overlooking the lake he loved to fish. He was 71 years old.

Newell Kelly Gearhart, born May 28, 1914, second son of John Kelly and Carrie, attended grade school in New Brighton and Tarentum High School at Tarentum, Pennsylvania. November 12, 1935, he married Margaret Emma Morford, born September 18, 1916. Newell Kelly worked as a machinist and gauge maker. He worked at the Aluminum Company of America plant in New Kensington. They moved to Lock Port, New York in 1944 where Newell Kelly worked for the Niagara Chlorine and Margaret worked for Harrison Radiator. They returned to Tarentum Pennsylvania when Newell Kelly entered the Army Air Corps in May 1946. Discharged in April 1947.

They had two children Robert Earl and John Roland. John Roland born September 20, 1939, died June 8, 1948 in an accident. He is buried in Mount Airy Cemetery, Natrona Heights, Pennsylvania.

In 1949 Newell Kelly and Margaret Emma moved to Wyandotte, Michigan where he worked for Cadillac Motors in Detroit, then Chrysler Engine in Trenton, from which he retired in 1969. Margaret Emma worked for the Visiting Nurses Association and retired in 1973. Margaret Emma entered the Harper Hospital in Detroit, Michigan for surgery to remove a tumor of the brain 1985, the tumor removal left her blind. Newell Kelly a lover of the outdoors was an avid hunter and fisherman. entered the Wyandotte General Hospital for treatment of a badly bruised leg. He died two weeks later, May 4, 1986 at the Wyandotte General Hospital of heart failure brought on by an interaction of prescribed drugs. He was 73 years old. Margaret Emma died July 8 1998 at 82 years of age. Both Margaret and Newell are in the Michigan Memorial Cemetery in Flat Rock Michigan.

Harry Alonzo Gearhart, 2nd son of Owen Wagner and Alvira, born November 27, 1889 at the farm home near Templeton Boggs Township, Armstrong County Pennsylvania. He attended the local eight grade school and the Dayton Normal Institute High School at Dayton Pa. From there he attended Grove City College, Grove City Pa. and two years of instruction at Western Theological Seminary, Pittsburgh Pa., from which he was ordained a Presbyterian Minister. He married Elizabeth Grace Davis of Altoona, Blair County Pennsylvania, October 5, 1918. They had 2 daughters, the first born July 26, 1924 and died February 26, 1926. No name is recorded. And Nancy Louise, unknown Birth Date, who married Harry B. McDougal August 19, 1949. They had three sons, Stephen Allen born September 26, 1957, Scott Edward born August 15, 1955 and Brian Robert born April 14, 1959. Harry Alonzo died May 28, 1961 as the result of an automobile accident.

Auda May Gearhart, the only daughter of Owen Wagner and Alvira, born July 23, 1893 at the farm home near Templeton. Married Charles 0.Colwell September 2, 1933 at Lawson, Clarion County. They had a daughter Pauline born March 10, 1940 who married Alfred J. Cope. Auda May died November 23, 1980.

Everett Earl Gearhart youngest son of Owen Wagner and Alvira Virginia was born April 1, 1899 at the farm home near Templeton. Married Myra A Rood July 26, 1923. Everett and Myra lived on the family farm near Templeton where they had five children. Charles Owen born October 17, 1924 died June 9, 1926 of pneumonia. Mason Edwin born October 12, 1927. Harry Alonzo born December 25, 1931. Donna Mae born May 1, 1937, Shirley Joan born April 12, 1941 and died September 28, 1973. Everett E. died May 31, 1984. Myra A. died November 2, 1983.



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