Sylvanus Bearss, BiographyPorter County biographical sketches . . . .

Transcribed biography of Sylvanus Bearss

SYLVANUS BEARSS. As a practical agriculturist and stockman and a sterling citizen whose enterprise and influence have always been directed to the improvement of his community. Mr. Bearss has for many years been prominently identified with Porter township. He has witnessed the progress of the county for half a century, and is the possessor of a name and the head of a family which are a credit to the citizenship of this county.

A native of Canada, he was born near the city of London, in Dorchester township, Ontario, October 6, 1849, the seventh in a family of eight children, five sons and three daughters, whose parents were George and Mary (Hoover) Bearss. He and his brother Jonas are now the only ones living. The latter is a prosperous farmer of Porter township, and one of the Republican voters of this county.

When Sylvanus was five years old the family left their home in Canada and moved to Indiana. The journey was made by wagon, in a week's time, as far as Windsor, where they crossed the river to Detroit, and thence came by train to Porter Station on the Michigan Central. The father had previously purchased a hundred acres in Porter township, a part of this land being included in the present homestead of his son Sylvanus. The land at that time was only partially improved, and the family lived in a log house for the first ten years. Deer and wolves were not infrequently seen about this locality during the youth of Sylvanus, so that he has witnessed the development of this region through practically all of the stages in progress. In his time grain was cut with a cradle, and he well remembers when his father bought a McCormick reaper. He knew a time when Valpairaiso contained only two stores, one of them conducted by Benjamin Schenck, and the railroad had not yet reached the town. His father was one of the substantial early farmers of this county, usually voted the Republican ticket, and was a member of the Mennonite religious community in this county. The mother, also a native of Canada, was likewise of the Mennonite faith. The ancestry of the Bearss family is English, and many of the members are still found in the state of Massachusetts. Both the father and mother now rest in the Mennonite cemetery of Porter township.

Among the experiences which further identify Sylvanus Bearss with the pioneer period of this county was his attendance at the primitive old schools. His first school term was in the summer of 1856, when he attended what was called the Ash school, kept in a log building sixteen by twenty feet. He went to another school in the neighborhood, also kept in a log building, where he sat on a rough slab seat and used a goose quill pen made by the teacher. This school belonged to the transition era of public education, when it was supported during part of the term by general taxation and partly by individual subscriptions.

His father died during his early manhood and he continued to live on the home farm with his mother and sister. On October 8, 1878, he was united in marriage with Miss Lutitia Schurr. One son, George Lewis, has been born of their marriage. He is one of the leading young farmers and stockmen of the county, and has adopted the progressive principles of modern business management in the conduct of his work. He is also a practical mechanic, and is able to construct a wagon throughout and can perform almost any mechanical work required in his business. He received his education in the country and city schools, and also a business course in the Valparaiso Normal. He married Miss Stella Shoup, and they make their home with his parents. They have one son, Carleton. Mrs. George L. Bearss was educated in the common schools and the Boone Grove high school. As one of the representative young citizens Mr. George Bearss has often served on the election board of his township, is a regular Republican voter, and has attained a place of solid influence and success in the community.

Mrs. Lutitia Bearss is a native daughter of Porter county, born on the 6th of September, 1862, and her parents were Lewis and Ann (Fehrman) Schurr. She was educated in the common schools, and is a member of the Mennonite church. Mr. and Mrs. Bearss after their marriage began on the old homestead with his mother, and by combination of their industry and business management they have won a dignified prosperity. The attractive country home which they have recently completed is modern and comfortable in all its appointments, and is finished in oak and Georgia pine. This is known throughout the township as the "Evergreen Homestead." The home farm comprises one hundred and nineteen acres, and George Bearss has a farm of his own of thirty-eight acres in the same township. George Bearss has gained distinction among the stockmen of the county in the breeding and raising of fine sheep and hogs, and the father and son together have made this a very important and profitable part of their enterprise. Suffolk Down sheep and Hampshire hogs, registered and pure-strained, are their specialty, and some of their stock has been sold at fancy prices.

During nearly sixty years of residence in Porter county, the Bearss family have won merited prosperity, they are esteemed for solid worth and good citizenship, and none better deserve recognition in a record of representative citizens.

Source: Lewis Publishing Company. 1912. History of Porter County, Indiana: A Narrative Account of its Historical Progress, its People and its Principal Interests. Chicago, Illinois: Lewis Publishing Company. 881 p.
Page(s) in Source: 638-640

This biography has been transcribed exactly as it was originally published in the source. Please note that we do not provide photocopies or digital scans of biographies appearing on this website.

Biography transcribed by Steven R. Shook


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