Miami County, Ohio Genealogical Researchers -- Sponsored by the Computerized Heritage Association


    James E. and Thomas B. Gearheart are enterprising farmers and own and operate the old homestead in Elizabeth township. Among the first settlers in Miami county were John and Catherine (Bourcatman) Gearheart, the great-grandparents, who took up their abode here in the pioneer epoch of the county's development. They settled where Isaac Sheets now lives, and the great-grandfather was almost a centenarian at the time of his death, having attained his ninety- ninth. His wife had passed away many years previous. It is known that his mother came from Pennsylvania with him. She was then all old lady and for many years was blind. She, too, was almost a centenarian when called to her final rest. John Gearheart, the grandfather, was born in Pennsylvania , in 1790, and was therefore quite young when the family came to Ohio. He was married near Urbana to Eleanor Beatty, who came from Virginia to Ohio during her childhood. They located on a farm in Elizabeth township, near the Kyle cemetery, and there Mr. Gearheart cleared and cultivated land, becoming one of the enterprising and progressive agriculturists of the community. He carried on farming until his death, which occurred August 16, 1850, his wife surviving him until January 3, 1871.

    Upon the old farm in Elizabeth township James M. Gearheart, the father of James E. and Thomas B., was born March 10, 1824. When he was about fifteen years of age his parents removed to the farm upon which his widow and children now reside. He had one brother, John N., who is now a resident of Troy.

    In the usual manner of farmer lads James M. Gearheart spent the days of his boyhood and youth, and, having arrived at years of maturity, he was married, on the 16th of September, 1847, to Miss Matilda Sprowl, who lived on an adjoining farm. They began their domestic life upon a farm in Elizabeth township, where the father spent his entire life. He became the owner of one hundred and fifty acres of rich and arable land, the greater part of which was under a high state of cultivation. In his farming methods he was both practical and progressive, and his home was one of the best properties of the neighborhood. After a long illness he passed away, March 6, 1884, and the community mourned the loss of one of its best citizens. His wife, who was born March 5, 1824, and was, therefore, just five days his senior, is still living upon the old homestead. The present residence was completed the fall prior to her husband's death. He left his family in good circumstances, and Mrs. Gearheart is now well provided with the comforts and many of the luxuries of life. Mr. Gearheart was a man of very genial and kindly disposition who could not do too much to enhance the welfare and happiness of his family. He won a large circle of friends, all of whom esteemed him highly for his sterling worth. In religious faith he was a Methodist, holding membership with that church. He accorded to all the right which he reserved for himself of forming his own opinions in religious matters. His wife remains a member of the Presbyterian church.

    Unto Mr. and Mrs. Gearheart were born six children: John H., Robert S., William J., James E., Thomas B. and Mary B. The sons, James E. and Thomas B. Gearheart, operate the old homestead farm and are recognized as enterprising agriculturists of the community. Their fields are well tilled, buildings and fences kept in good repair and all the improvements of the model farm are seen around their place. In business circles they sustain an enviable reputation for straightforward dealing, and thus they have gained the confidence and esteem of all with whom they have been brought in contact. James E. Gearheart was married, February 20, 1897, the lady of his choice having been Miss Ida Smith, daughter of John and Mary (Idamiler) Smith, of Montgomery county, Ohio. The family is one of prominence in the community, and the members of the household have a large circle of friends in the county.

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