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


    Born on the old family homestead in Elizabeth township, February 28, 1849, John Hayes Gearheart is a son of James M. and Martha Matilda (Sproul) Gearheart, the latter a daughter of Robert Sproul. The first of the name to locate in Miami county were John Gearheart and his wife, who came from Virginia and settled upon a farm now owned and occupied by Isaac Sheets. There the emigrants lived for many years, his death occurring when he was more than ninety years of age. The old Gearheart cemetery is located on a lovely eminence on that farm, and is surrounded by a stone wall which was built in 1878, by a son and daughter, Samuel and Sarah Gearheart, who resided on the old homestead, being the last of the children living in this vicinity. John Gearheart and his wife had a large family, the sons being Daniel, William, John and Samuel. The last named was the youngest, and he and his sister Sarah resided on the old home farm, where both died when well advanced in age. Daniel, the eldest brother, married Polly Beatty, and settled near Fletcher, Miami county, near where their son Wesley is still living. John married Eleanor Beatty, the sister of Polly, and took up his abode in Elizabeth township, upon the farm two miles south of the farm which is now occupied by the widow of his son, James M. Gearheart. He had a farm of two hundred and forty acres, and continued its cultivation until his death, which occurred when he was fifty years of age. His widow was called to her final rest when about seventy years of age. Their children were: James M.; John N., who resided in Troy; William, who died in early life; Elizabeth, who became the wife of Robert Fuller, and died at the age of thirty- four years; and Mary, who became the wife of I. N. Beals, and also died in early womanhood.

    James M. Gearheart, the father of our subject, was born in Elizabeth township and during his early boyhood came with his parents to the farm so long in possession of the family. He inherited a part of the old homestead, built a new residence upon it, and there died March 10, 1884, at the age of sixty years. He made excellent improvements upon his farm, transforming it into one of the valuable and attractive homes of the neighborhood. At the age of twenty-five years he married Maria Matilda Sproul, who was reared in the same neighborhood, and is now surviving her husband, at the age of seventy-six years. Their children are John H.; Robert S., who is living with his elder brother; William J., who died at the age of ten years; James E., who operates the old homestead; Thomas B., who is working with his brother, James E.; and Mary B., wife of Thomas J. Gearheart, of Tippecanoe City.

    John H. Gearheart, of this review, spent his boyhood days upon the home farm and pursued his education in the schools of Troy. He carried on agricultural pursuits in connection with his father until he was twenty-four years of age, after which be spent a year upon the old Sproul farm, occupied by his grandfather, Robert Sproul, who had left the property to his four daughters, Martha, Sarah, Nancy and Isabel. The first named had died when Mr. Gearheart took possession of the place, but the other three were still living on the farm. Since that time Sarah and Isabel have also passed away, so that Nancy is the only survivor of the family. She is still living on the old homestead, at the age of eighty-six years.

    John H. Gearheart was married, January 7, 1875, to Miss Elizabeth C. Hall, of Champaign county, Ohio. He continued to operate the old Sproul homestead for six years, and then purchased the farm which originally belonged to his great-grandfather, John Gearheart. The former owners, Samuel and Sarah Gearheart, had both died and the property was sold by the court, the subject of this review becoming the purchaser. His father, James M. Gearheart, was one of the heirs and the administrator, and our subject had simply to purchase the interests of the other heirs. The old farm contained one hundred and sixty acres and for seven years it remained in possession of Mr. Gearheart, who then sold it to John K. Sheets and purchased his present farm, which is known as the old John C. Dye homestead. The house was erected by Mr. Dye, and the farm comprised one hundred and twenty-nine acres, upon which Mr. Gearheart has laid over eight hundred rods of tiling, thus reclaiming a great deal of the wet land which hitherto had been unfitted for cultivation and which by this process became a highly arable tract. Mr. Gearheart has successfully carried on general farming, and his enterprising efforts have brought to him good success. He has also made a specialty of feeding hogs and has found it a profitable source of income.

    In 1892 Mr. Gearheart was called upon to mourn the loss of his wife, who died on the 23d of March of that year, leaving one son, Bert W. who was graduated in the Troy high school, and for three years was a teacher in the schools of his own district. He is now superintendent of the public schools of Christiansburg, Champaign county, and gives close attention to his chosen profession in which he has attained a leading position.

    Mr. Gearheart, of this review, has been quite actively connected with public affairs, for nine years being a director of the County Fair Association, and taking active steps in the advancement of its interests. He was township trustee for eight years, and is an earnest and stalwart Republican who has served as district committeeman, and has frequently been a delegate to the county conventions of the party. He belongs to the Presbyterian church, of Troy, with which organization the Sproul family were long connected. For many generations the Gearhearts were Methodist, and the first Methodist class meeting was held in his great- grandfather's house. Both his grandfather and his father were very industrious workers in that church, and for many years the family has been connected with the various movements which contributed to the welfare of the county and its advancement along educational, social, material and moral lines.

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