1787 - 1871 (84 years)
||George BEER [1, 2] |
||1 Jan 1787
||Chittlehampton, Devonshire, England 
||3 Feb 1871
||probably Burlingame, Osage, KS, USA
||Abt 3 Feb 1871
||Auburn Cemetery, Auburn, Shawnee, KS, USA
- 1870 US CENSUS
Burlingame Township, Osage County, KS
George, 83, M, W, Farmer, 2000, 400, England
Mary, 36, F, W, Keeping house, Ireland
Ephraim, 15, M, W, Prince Edward Island
Joseph, 12, M, W, KS
Hannah, 8, F, W, KS
Martha, 2, F, W, KS
George Beer was born January 1, 1787 at Chittlehampton, near Barnstaple, in Devonshire England, the eldest son of George Beer and Elizabeth Ley. According to Hallie Bailey Beer and Ora Beer Bonds, he was a Methodist minister. He married Mary Gorman, born in Ireland, when he was in his 60's and she was about 18 (Ora Beer Bonds) or 19 (Della Beer Blauser). He was a widower with five grown children from his first marriage. All three sources of family history agree that Mary was running away from her Catholic family who wanted to put her in a convent, and she sought refuge with George Beer. Della Beer Blauser says that George felt it would be improper for her to stay at his house unless they were married, so he married her. Their first child, Ephraim Gorman, was born in 1855 on Prince Edward Island, Canada, but several years later the family moved to Kansas. According to land records, he claimed land in the Kansas Territory in 1859. The legal description of his land was as follows: the Northeast Quarter of Section No. 12 in Township No. l1 South in Range No. 14 East in the District of Lands subject to sale at Lecompton, Kansas Territory. He proved his claim by building "a stone house, 12 feet by 14 feet, one 1/2 story high with a shingle roof, two doors, three windows, and a good floor." He moved into the house with his wife, child, and household effects on June 6, 1859. Land records also include an affidavit in which he renounces his allegiance to Queen Victoria and declares his intention to become a U. S. citizen. The 1870 U. S. Census of Kansas shows him living in Burlingame Township, Osage County. He gives his age as 83, occupation as farmer, and his birthplace as England. Mary gives her age as 36, occupation as housekeeping, and her birthplace as Ireland. Their four children are: Ephraim, 15, born on Prince Edward Island; Joseph, 12, born in Kansas; Hannah, 8, born in Kansas; and Martha, 2, born in Kansas. In his will, dated February 8, 1869, he leaves all of his property to his wife Mary, and provides for the division of his land upon her death. He adds the following codicil to his will: "On further consideration I think it necessary to add the following Codicil to my last will and testatment. I have five children in Prince Edward's Land or elsewhere who are not named in my foregoing will namely George, Sarah, John, Grace, and Jane to each of whom I gave a considerable part of my property some years since as much then as my circumstances permitted me to do. But to prevent any unpleasantness in future, I give to each of them one dollar to be paid out of the produce of my cows sometime during the first year after my death if payment thereof should be required." This will was filed June 18, 1873. According to his tombstone inscription at the Auburn Cemetery, Auburn, Shawnee County, Kansas, George Beer died on February 3, 1871 at the age of 84 years, 11 months, 3 days. His grave is located on Lot 2, Block 7. The cemetery is located one mile west of the town of Auburn on the Auburn-Eskridge Road. When I visited this cemetery in 1984, the tombstone was broken in half, but the two halves were intact and sitting upright. Next to him is buried Mary Golder. I believe that this is his wife. This tombstone appeared new and gave her birth year as 1832 and her year of death as 1878. Family oral history says that Mary remarried and had another daughter, Jessie. In 1879, Hannah Casler sold her portion of land to Ephraim Beer, who sold it to John C. Golder. This would seem to indicate that Mary had died by 1879. The 1880 U. S. Census of Kansas shows Joseph and Ephraim Beers living in dwelling 289 in Burlingame Township, Osage County, presumably the family home. Joseph gives his age as 21, and Ephraim gives his age as 25. Both as listed as farmers, and it is interesting to note that both give their birthplace as Ohio. Hannah had married a Casler, By 1885 Ephraim and Joseph had sold their parts of the land and it is presumed that they had gone to Oklahoma. Hannah had married a Casler and her family eventually moved to Oklahoma also. Martha married a Bryant and moved to Georgia.
For many years, little was known about George's life before he arrived in Kansas. It was assumed that George was already a widower in England and that George and Mary moved to America shortly after their secret marriage in England, his grown children remaining in England. Family oral tradition stated that Ephraim was born on Prince Edward Island before they could land in the U. S. However new information was obtained in September 1996 from Willadean Beer, mother of Steve Beer. Willadean and her husband Devon have located a Betty Beer who lives in London and is descended from a George Beer who was born January 1, 1787 in Chittlehampton, Devonshire, England. He married Sarah Dyer April 17, 1810, and they had ten children: George, Sarah, Mary, Elizabeth, Ann, John, Jane, Grace, Emana, and Henry. In 1832 the family emigrated to Prince Edward Island, and Sarah died shortly thereafter. George was left a widower in a new land with ten children to raise, five of whom died in childhood or young adulthood. George established a thriving business on Prince Edward Island and lived there approximately 23 years before moving west to Kansas. In 1855 he embarked to Coshocton, Ohio to visit his daughter, and no one in Betty's family knew anything more about him. Most of her family assumed that he died shortly thereafter, although there were some stories that he remarried in Boston. An extended visit to his daughter in 1855 may be the reason why the 1880 census gives Ohio as the birthplace of Ephraim and Joseph. Perhaps they didn't know, or perhaps someone else was giving the information. Among the information received from Betty Beer via Willadean Beer is a copy of a portion of his journal, a copy of a letter to the editor of the PEI newspaper describing and protesting the conditions aboard ship on his voyage to PEI), and a copy of a letter from George Beer to his son John, written June 4, 1855 while visiting his daughter Grace in Coshocton Co., Ohio. He writes of his trip to Ohio, and tells a great deal about the land in Ohio. It is interesting to note that no mention is made of Mary Gorman by name, but he instructs his son to "tell mother" in his letter. This "mother" couldn't be George's mother or John's mother, because both were already dead. Betty Beer says that oral tradition in her family says that George went to Boston after visiting Grace and remarried there. However, Ephraim, his first child by Mary, was born May 1, 1855 on PEI. There are many unanswered questions here. According to Betty Beer, George's daughter Jane died April 2, 1866. However, George names her as a living child in the codicil to his will dated February 8, 1869. It would appear that he did not know his daughter had died. Perhaps there was little communication with his older children after his second marriage.
The following is a portion of Betty Beer's written summary of George Beer's life:
"George, the eldest son of George Beer and Elizabeth Ley 'was born on 1st January 1787 at Chittlehampon near Barnstaple, Devon', quoted from a journal written by him in the early 1800's. Also, 'when I was about five years old my Father and Mother went to live in the Parish of Highbray in an estate called Liddacott very near Exmoor'. He went to the local school from the age of six until he was about fifteen years old 'to learn reading, writing, spelling and arithmetic, but knew nothing of the English Grammar--for this I have since ofttimes lamented'. From about the age of fourteen he was drawn to the Methodist preaching, but his Father 'who was a biggoted Churchman was an enemy to the Methodists, and would not let me go to Meeting, threatening to turn me out of his home if I did persist in going'. Thus he was nearly twenty one years of age when he again started attending the Meetings, and he continued going right through his life. He became a circuit preacher for some time. On 17th April 1810, at the age of twenty three, he married Sarah Dyer. His first child, George was born 21st April 1811, and he continued preaching at least into 1812, when his journal stops. He had self doubts about his ability to preach, and nothing is known of the next twenty years, except that they lived nearer Barnstaple, where their children were baptised, except for Ann, who was baptised 7th March 1819 at the Tiverton Wesleyan Methodist Chapel. There is a reference to someone talking with George Beer in his shop in Barnstaple, and the land tax assessment for 18?? shows George living at Frankmarsh on the outskirts of Barnstaple.
Little or nothing is known of the reasons for George and his family deciding to emigrate to Prince Edward Island in 1832. The Wesleyan Methodists were apparently ridiculed by non-members; although George had a business in Barnstaple, the economics of the era were not promising for a man with a large young family, and the prospects for his children's future were not bright; also many residents of Devon had already left for the New World and its opportunities, and there was a good deal of trade between Devon and PEI. The shipbuilding industry being deprived of a large source of timber for much needed ships due to the blockade of the Baltic by Napoleon's navy, had necessitated finding another source, and the northeastern coastal areas of North America were ideal, with timber right down to the shoreline, in spite of the distance. A voyage from east to west across the Atlantic could take anything from just over a fortnight to something over six weeks. The voyage from west to east, with the trade winds, took from twelve to twenty one days. The voyage was long, the accommodations on board ship quite horrifying to our present day thinking, and the living conditions in the new world austere, with the only communication being by horse and wagon along dirt tracks, on horse back, or by boat around the coast for longer distances. Heating was from wood, there were unpaved streets--muddy in spring and autumn, and icy in winter, even impassable after storms. Infant and child mortality was high, and even adults succumbed to illness and disease at an early age. The Beer men were not long lived, and many references were made to the 'Beer heart'. In spite of the rugged conditions, immigrants continued to arrive in PEI after the end of the Napoleonic Wars, and settlement continued at an ever increasing rate. Hutchinsons 1864 Directory states that in 1797 the population of the Island was estimated at 4,500. The 1833 census showed 32,292 people, in 1851 it was 55,000, and the 1861 census showed 80,552, of which 6,706 lived in Charlottetown and Royalty.
And so George and Sarah, who had ten children before they emigrated, left with the ten, and son George's wife Mary Ann (Holland), as well as George's father, aboard the 'Calypso' owned by Thos. B. Chanter of Bideford, Devon, and chartered by John How, sailing to Prince Edward Island with 197 passengers. I quote from 'Westcountrymen in Prince Edward's Isle' by Basil Greenhill and Ann Gifford, 'Lewis Grossard was her master, and she made the passage in forty-one days, arriving on 27 May, at which time the last snow must still have been lying in low, rotting, dirty banks under the trees. Something went wrong with the arrangements for the 'Calypso's' arrival. The most likely explanation is that How chartered the vessel on terms which envisaged releasing her in time to make a second voyage in late summer. This meant that the 'Calypso' had no time to go to Charlottetown to land her passengers, although How had entered into agreements with them to land them there. Chanter gave Grossard instructions to put the emigrants ashore near the site of stillborn Princetown, and this he did on what was described by George Beer, the ringleader in the subsequent 'mutiny' as the 'wild shores of farmer Hacker's farm in Richmond Bay'. The emigrants rebelled and, by one means or another, forced Grossard to transport them and some of their baggage to Charlottetown at the ship's expense.
George Beer's description of conditions in the 100-foot 'Calypso' with almost 200 people on board, is indicative of what was normally taken for granted: 'Was there a proper space between decks? Was not a considerable part of our luggage stowed between decks, so that we could scarcely stand or sit, and were almost compelled either to keep in our miserable berths, or stand shivering with wet and cold on the upper decks? Was this legal? Was there a correct and legal list of the passengers presented at the Custom House?' But the stranding of the passengers was really nothing very out of the ordinary. The early nineteenth century view was that the ship owner contracted to carry emigrants to the New World but was not responsible for what happened thereafter. And the requirements of the Passenger Act of 1828, with which Beer appears to have been familiar, were neither observed nor enforced.'
The forty-one day voyage under such conditions proved too much for his wife Sarah's constitution. An item from the North Devon Journal & General Advertiser of 3rd October 1832 states, 'At Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, on Saturday the 1st ultimo (Sept.), Sarah, the wife of Mr. George Beer who lately emigrated from this place (Barnstaple) died. A cold taken on the voyage out produced an inflammation of the lungs which terminated thus fatally, depriving an afflicted husband and ten children of the solace and endearment of an affectionate wife and mother in a strange land.' Now the family left were, her widower George, aged 45, his father George, aged 70, and the children George, aged 21, Sarah 19, Mary 17, Elizabeth 15, Ann 13, John 11, the twins Jane and Grace 9, Emana 6, Henry 2, and son George's wife Mary Ann (Holland), 23. They lived at first in a house on Sydney Street, just east of Queen Street ('nearly opposite Mr. Brenan's store'), and George went into a sort of partnership with John Rowe, who lived next door, to burn and sell lime, amongst other things. He also was advertising to buy barley in October 1833, and was still there in October 1834. He had a 'feoffment' (lease or purchase) of 1/2 town lot 83 in the 4th 100, dated 1 February 1834, which is the site of the Beer & Sons store on King Square (the building became the old MacLean's Funeral Home, which burned down in the 1970's). It would appear that he moved to the 6-acre farm, Raspberry Hill, on the Mount Edward Road, probably about 1835, leaving son George and Mary Ann, with possibly one or two of the older girls in the Sydney Street house, where in March 1835 'The Misses Beer commenced Bonnet and Dress Making', and in July 'Mr. & Mrs. Beer (lately from England) intend opening a boarding and day school, . . .etc.' In July 1836 George and John Rowe had an argument in the Royal Gazette over the dissolution of their partnership and in November, 'George and John Beer, having erected a lime kiln on Raspberry Hill Farm, about a quarter of a mile from the residence of Francis Longworth Esq., on the Royalty Road, which is now in operation, have a large quantity of superior lime for sale.' This was apparently George and his brother John Henry, who emigrated with his family about that time. The site of Raspberry Hill Farm was shown as occupied by Beer & Sons on the 1880 Meacham Map. One of the Paddison (John Henry's wife was Elizabeth Paddison.) descendants stated that as John Henry could not get a title for the land, he moved to DeSable, where he farmed. Many of his descendants are still in that area. Son George moved to a farm site on Kensington Road, probably about 1838, when he advertised that 'a jet black cow, in good order' had strayed from a pasture near Charlottetown.
In the meantime, George's daughter Mary had died on 17th March 1836 aged 21, and on the 1st January 1838 (George's 50th birthday) Sarah married John S. Bremner. The year 1839 brought further family deaths, as Ann died on 1st July aged 20, and his father George died on 13th December, both at Raspberry Hill Farm. George Sr. was reported to be 82, but his baptismal date is 19 September 1762, so he appears to have been 77, especially since his mother and father, Elizabeth Moore and George were married at Roseash on 25th May 1762, both aged 35, according to the allegation.
John, the second son of George, was married on 10th November 1846 to Jane McCallum, daughter of Duncan and Jennie (Gregor) McCallum of Brackley Point. On 6th October 1847, Elizabeth Beer died aged 31, the 'third daughter of George Beer of Raspberry Hill, after a lingering and painful illness'. The 1848 census describing George's farm and occupants states 'A lime kiln and threshing machine on this farm', so George was an economically sound, profitable farmer, in addition to his success as the senior partner of Beer and Son. There are notes in the Royal Gazette in the 1840's and 1850's of George arriving on various ships from Pictou, presumably from business trips, and on 1 October 1852 he arrived aboard the Rose from Pictou with Miss Beer, possibly a shopping trip for her trousseau, as on 3rd November Grace was married to William Wellington Bagnall of Ohio, formerly of Charlottetown. They left to live in Ohio.
On 17th October 1853 there was a 'conveyance in fee of a small tract of land in Lot 48 (Southport), from John Beete of Pictou'. This may well have been the land on which the Southport store stood, as an article in Hazard's Gazette of 8th August 1855, about the village of Southport, states that 'Messrs. Beer have a store that would appear respectable in any street in Charlottetown.' This business was run by (Col.) Henry Beer, grandson of George. Also on 25th October 1854, a power of attorney was given to George by Jonathan Weatherbe, of Summerside and Bedeque, for the disposal of his property, as he and his family and servants/workers were emigrating to the United States. On 8th January 1855 the last of George's surviving single children Jane married Archibald McCallum of West (Elliott) River. (Of Emana and Henry no mention has been found, so it must be assumed that they died as young children.) This left George free, at the age of 68, to travel, and after giving his son George power of attorney, dated 26th April 1855, for disposal of his leasehold interests, stock, crops, furniture, personal possessions, etc. at Raspberry Hill Farm, as he was 'about to embark for the United States,' he left to visit Grace and William Bagnall in Ohio. His grandson George Robert also travelled to Boston about that time, where he was married on 7th May to Leonora Ann, the eldest of Jonathan Weatherbe's children, but no mention has been found of George attending the wedding. Still in existance is a letter dated 4th June 1855 from George to his son John (who moved to Centreville Bedeque at that time), from Jacobs Port, Coshocton County, Ohio in which he describes his journey by trains, and team and wagon. Two of the four pages of this letter are a description of and commentary on the land, stock, and farming methods, as seen through his farmer's eyes. He said he had a troublesome cough, and as there is no further of George, it appears he may well have died in Ohio. So far no mention of his death, at home or abroad has been found in the papers from Charlottetown.(NOTE: WE KNOW THAT GEORGE LIVED ANOTHER 16 YEARS, MARRIED, SETTLED IN KANSAS, AND WAS THE FATHER OF FOUR MORE CHILDREN--B. DEAN)
George must have been a remarkable and determined man. His business life was successful, and he survived the rigours of those early years, having lost his wife, and in fifteen years five of his ten children. The members of the family who died by the end of 1873 were presumably buried in the old Elm Avenue Cemetery, although the only Beer stone now standing is for three children of son George, Sarah Ann, Eliza Mary, and William Walter. Sherwood Cemetery opened in 1872 when son George died."
Book M, Page 390
Mary Beer Etal
I George Beer who am by birth an Englishman but now a citizen of the United States of America and residing in the State of Kansas County of Osage and Township of Burlingame being now in my Eighty Third year of my age desire to record and leave behind ma at my death my last Will and Testament relative to the disposal of my property after my discease , consisting of one quarter Section of land containing One Hundred and Sixty acres more of less in the State, County and Township aforesaid situate and being the North East Quarter of Section (12) Twelve, Township (14) Fourteen, Range (14) Fourteen in the County of Osage aforesaid and Thirteen Cows and Heifers in calf, Eight calves near one year old, Two work Oxen, three Ponies and four Hogs, one Silver Watch, all my Books and all my household goods and furniture with all and everything that I may own and possess at my death.
Book M, Page 391
All of which I give and bequeath to my beloved Mary, the object of my earthly affections and the kind mother of my four children all residing in this place, namely Ephraim, Joseph, Hannah and Martha. Enjoining upon her to bring them up in habits of and in the fear of the Lord to the best of her ability. I also require her to pay all my lawful and just debts.
Be it understood that the land thus bequeathed shall not be alienated or sold but shall be divided between my four children at the death of their Mother in the following manner. Ephraim shall have forty acres of the South East corner, Joseph shall have forty acres of the North East corner., Hannah shall have forty acres on the North East corner and Martha shall have the Homestead with the residue or remainder of the land. Should either of the before mentioned three children, namely Ephraim, Joseph, or Hannah die before their Mother then his or her portion might be valued and sold and the proceeds equally divided between the survivors. Should Martha die before her Mother and Hannah continue to live with her Mother til after her death then she might dispose of all the property in her possession among the children as she might think proper.
Witness my hand and seal this Eighth day of February in the year of our Lord One Thousand Eight Hundred and Sixty Nine.
Attested by George Beer
On further consideration I think it necessary to add the following codicil to my last Will and Testament. I have five children in Prince Edward Island or elsewhere who are not named in my foregoing Will, namely George, Sarah, John, Grace, and Jane to each of whom I gave a considerable part of my property some years since as much then as my circumstances permitting me to do. But to prevent any unpleasantness in the future, I give to each of them One Dollar to be paid out of the produce of my cows sometime during the first year after my death if payment thereof should be required.
Witness my hand and seal this Forth day of May, One Thousand Eight Hundred and Sixty Nine
Attested by George Beer
Filed June 18th, 1873
Register of Deeds
||2 Jun 2009 |
||Sarah Dryer, b. 13 Feb 1787, East Down, Devon, England , d. 1 Sep 1832, PE, Canada (Age 45 years) |
||17 Apr 1810
||Highbray, Essex, England
|+||1. George Beer, b. 21 Apr 1811, Barnstaple, Devonshire, England , d. 16 Jan 1872, Charlottetown, PE, Canada (Age 60 years)|
|+||2. Sarah Beer, b. 21 Feb 1813, Barnstaple, Devonshire, England , d. 29 Sep 1869, MA, USA (Age 56 years)|
| ||3. Mary Beer, b. 16 Jul 1815, Devonshire, England , d. 17 Mar 1836, PE, Canada (Age 20 years)|
| ||4. Elizabeth Beer, b. 24 Jul 1817, Devonshire, England , d. 6 Oct 1847, PE, Canada (Age 30 years)|
| ||5. Ann Beer, b. 7 Mar 1819, Devonshire, England , d. 1 Jul 1839, PE, Canada (Age 20 years)|
|+||6. John Beer, b. 3 Jun 1821, Barnstaple, Devonshire, England , d. 2 Aug 1882, PE, Canada (Age 61 years)|
| ||7. Jane Beer, b. 14 Sep 1823, Devonshire, England , d. 2 Apr 1866, PE, Canada? (Age 42 years)|
|+||8. Grace Beer, b. 18 Sep 1823, Barnstaple, Devonshire, England , d. 14 Sep 1909, Dixon, CA, USA (Age 85 years)|
| ||9. Emana Beer, b. 5 Feb 1826, Devonshire, England , d. PE, Canada? |
| ||10. Henry Beer, b. 17 Oct 1830, Devonshire, England , d. PE, Canada? |
||Group Sheet | Family Chart
||Mary GORMAN, b. 15 Aug 1831, Laois County, Ireland , d. 1878, probably Burlingame, Osage, KS, USA (Age 46 years) |
|+||1. Ephraim Gorman Beer, b. 1 May 1855, PE, Canada , d. 7 Jul 1937, Topeka, Shawnee, KS, USA (Age 82 years)|
|+||2. Joseph Wilder BEER, b. 17 Aug 1859, Lawrence, Douglas, KS, USA , d. 13 Jun 1932, Guymon, Texas, OK, USA (Age 72 years)|
|+||3. Hannah Adelia Beer, b. 28 Mar 1862, Auburn, Shawnee, KS, USA , d. 31 Jul 1950, Ellis, OK, USA (Age 88 years)|
|+||4. Martha Beer, b. 1868, Shawnee, KS, USA , d. 1936, Savannah, Chatham, GA, USA (Age 68 years)|
||Group Sheet | Family Chart
|Buried - Abt 3 Feb 1871 - Auburn Cemetery, Auburn, Shawnee, KS, USA
- [S0051242] 1865 Kansas State Census.
- [S0051426] 1870 US Census.
- [S0051426] 1870 US Census.
George Beer's approximate date of birth (1786) was estimated from his tombstone inscription at the Auburn Cemetery in Auburn, Kansas, as well as from his will and from census data. Recent communication with Betty Beer gives this date and place of birth.