Who has been a resident of Clinton county since 1869, is a Pennsylvanian by birth. He was born in Warwick township, Bucks county, within three miles of Doylestown, the county-seat, on the 3d of March, 1802. His parents, Robert and Mary LEAR , were born and raised in Bucks county. Henry was the oldest of ten children. Several of his brothers are still living in Pennsylvania. His youngest brother, George Lear, is a prominent lawyer of eastern Pennsylvania, and the present attorney-general of the state. Mr. Lear was raised on a farm. He had ordinary advantages for obtaining an education. The schools in his boyhood were all subscription schools, held three months each year, in the winter season. He lived at home with his father until 21 years of age, and then began life on his own account, engaging in farm labor.
When 25 years old he married Mary CARR, who was also born in Bucks county. He became the owner of a farm of fifty acres in Warwick township, Bucks county. Land in that part of Pennsylvania was high, on account of its excellent state of cultivation, and nearness to the Philadelphia markets, and in 1837 he determined to remove to the west.
He came to St. Louis county, Mo., and rented land ten miles south of the city of St. Louis, and three miles from Carondelet, on which he lived two years. The farms in that vicinity were rough and broken, and having made up his mind that Illinois offered the best inducements to the agriculturalist, in 1839 he came to Clinton county and entered 400 acres of raw prairie land, in section 18 of township 2 north, range 4 west. He moved on this tract in the spring of 1839, and began improving the land. At that time there were few settlements on the prairie in that portion of the county. The nearest village was Hanover, the settlement of which had just been begun by the Germans. The death of his first wife took place in September, 1846. In March, 1850, he married as his second wife Mrs. Sarah COX, whose maiden name was BABER. She was born near Richmond, Virginia, and came with her father to Illinois 50 years ago.
Judge Lear has since been living on the place where he originally settled in 1839, and is now one of the oldest residents of that part of the county. He owns 350 acres of land, part of the tract which he entered 42 years ago. Since he came to this locality he has witnessed many changes, and has seen the country develop from almost a wilderness to a thriving and populous agricultural section, with railroads, towns, and all the conveniences of civilization within easy reach. Of his children, nine are now living. Naomi, the oldest, married Wm. WOODS, and is now living in Breese township. Andrew Lear is deceased. Mary Ann, now the widow of John W. POWERS, is living in Jefferson county. Elizabeth married Thomas GINNETT, and Louisa, Wm. TWIST, and the husbands of both are now deceased. George Lear is a resident of Breese township. Charles Lear served in the army during the war of the rebellion, and now lives in Kansas. Wm. Lear resides in Clinton county. Henrietta married Hugh JOHNSON, and is now deceased. Joseph Lear is a resident of Kansas, and John Lear, the youngest son, of Clinton county. All are children by his first marriage except the last two.
He began his political career by casting his first vote for president for Andrew JACKSON, at the presidential election of 1824. This was away back in the days of the old democratic and Federal parties, and few men are now living who voted at that election. He afterward became a whig and voted for CLAY, HARRISON, TAYLOR, and the other great leaders of the whig party. When the whigs went to pieces he became a republican, and expects to end his life as a member of that party. He is a man who has commanded the respect of the people of the county. For twelve years he filled the office of magistrate. He was elected associate judge of the county court in 1852, and served till 1856. On the adoption of township organization he was elected the first member of the board of supervisors from Breese township.
Source: History of Marion and Clinton Counties, Illinois, 1881, Brink, McDonough & Co., Philadelphia
Submitted by: Pamela Safriet
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