I’ve always researched the Shearer family out of curiosity. My step grandfather has been gone for over 20 years and while I can’t share the information with him, I do the research in honor of him. My grandpa Gwen did not have an easy childhood or easy life. His father was a harsh individual who could be quite cruel so there was little in his childhood to rejoice about. Gwen’s mother, Nettie, did her best to protect her sons and give them the love that they needed and all three of her sons loved and took care of their mother for her entire long life. When you look deeper into the family history, there are some interesting similarities between my grandmother and step grandfather’s family history.
Grandpa Gwen’s father was Floyd David Shearer who was born in Pataha, Garfield Co., WA on 1 Sep 1881 to Jesse Green Shearer and Mary Crumpacker. There were three children in his family, but the youngest died at the young age of two. Jesse Green Shearer died at the age of 33 years old in what I presume might have been a sickness or farming accident. Since he died 29 Jan 1888, I lean more towards the sickness. Mary remarried about year later to Thomas Perrin Earl and had five more children with him. Jesse Green Shearer was one of 17 children. His father, Joel Sturges Shearer, was married four times to Mary Farmer on 11 Aug 1840, then Emily Jane Tyler on 11 Aug 1849, then Mary Boling on 23 Nov 1854 and lastly to Luvisa Elkins on 23 Oct 1862. All but his last wife preceded him in death. Joel was born on 11 Mar 1823 in Ashe Co., NC to William Shearer and Anna Reece. I found this to be a very interesting similarity to my grandmother’s family. Her grandfather, John Dula Dollar was also born in Ashe Co., NC. Ashe Co., NC today has a population of about 28,000 people and is by no means a base for a large population, but I continue to be surprised at how many families seem to originate from this area.
William Shearer and Anna Reece left Ashe Co., NC sometime before 1850 as they are in Page Co., IA. They live out the rest of their lives there, but their son Joel still has some places to go. Joel marries Mary Farmer probably in Ashe Co., NC but they leave fairly soon after their marriage for Nodaway Co., MO where their first two children are born and Mary dies in 1848. Joel must have taken his two children to stay near his parents, because he married Emily Jane Tyler in Page Co., IA in 1849. There they have 5 children in five years and as Emily Jane Tyler dies about the same time as her youngest son, I presume that she might have died either in childbirth or shortly thereafter. Joel marries another woman about 6 months later, Mary Boling in Nodaway Co., MO. If you look at a map, Nodaway Co., MO and Page Co., IA are neighboring counties in different states. Mary Boling also has four children in a short amount of time. She dies in 1862. Joel marries a widow, Luvisa Elkins Bridgewater for the last time in 1862 in Pottawattmie Co., IA. By 1865, they are heading west with their large family.
Joel Shearer’s family is located in 1870 in Forest Grove, Washington Co., OR. In 1880 he is at Columbia, Washington Territory. Most likely, this last location is actually around what is today, Garfield Co., WA near present day Pomeroy. Joel Sturges Shearer died on 16 Aug 1890 at Pataha, Garfield Co., WA and is buried at the Pataha Flat cemetery located just above Pomeroy on the hill.
There is still a lot of research that has to be done on this family…I don’t spend a lot time on them, but every once in while I go through and find new data and add new information to the family. I doubt that my grandparents knew that their families came out of the same small county in North Carolina. I think if they had known, they would have spent more time visiting the area. I know they were there in 1957 visiting family because my mother remembered it. Grandpa Gwen probably had no idea that his great grandfather was born there and his ancestors had lived there for a few generations.