OREAR, GEORGE, (deceased), was born in Clark County, Ky., June 4, 1804. His father Benjamin Orear, was a native of Virginia, and his grandfather of Bordeaux, France, the latter emigrating to Virginia in its early days. George Orear's mother's maiden name was Elizabeth Irwin, a daughter of William Irwin, who was a native of Pennsylvania, and of Scotch ancestry. Mr. Orear came to Morgan County, Ill., in 1831. Regarding the country in the vicinity of his late residence, eight miles east of Jacksonville, as the finest he had seen, he determined to case his lot there, which continued to be his home until his death. Two years after his arrival in Morgan County, he returned to Kentucky for his parents, whom he brought home with him and cared for with filial devotion and affection during the rest of their lives. Before leaving Kentucky he had engaged in the business of buying hogs, which he fattened on the mast and then drove them to market in North and South Carolina, returning on foot. In this way he acquired a little money, but was comparatively a poor man when he settled in Morgan County. His subsequent wealth was gained by hard work and prudent management. He had eight brothers and sisters, and was the last surviving member of the family. Five are buried in Antioch Cemetery near his late home, two in Kentucky, and one, Hon. William Orear, in Diamond Grove Cemetery, near Jacksonville.
Mr. Orear was a Quartermaster in the Black Hawk War, and served as Deputy Sheriff of Morgan County under his brother William, who was elected to the office of sheriff in 1834. Though other positions of honor and trust were within his grasp, his modesty and retiring disposition prevented their acceptance. He had one brother, Benjamin Franklin, who was an attorney in Jacksonville at an early day, but who died while quite young. The subject of this sketch was always of a quiet and retiring disposition. A man of great modesty, he seldom referred to himself in any way, and to appreciate his true worth one had to know him well. He was always kind-hearted, and many a poor, hungry person could testify to his unostentatious generosity. He was always dutiful to his aged parents, caring for them with tenderness as long as they had need of earthly things. In business he was shrewd and careful without being in any way overreaching. He was careful and industrious, and at the time of his death, was the owner of a large property. He was the proprietor of 1,300 acres of fine Morgan County land, and was a stockholder in the Jacksonville National Bank, besides owning a large amount of other property. During the Civil War, he took an active interest in the cause of the Union, giving liberally of his time and money to the Sanitary Commission, and doing all in his power to aid and cheer the veterans in the field. His wife also was President of the local society through whose efforts $5,000 was raised and sent forward to the soldiers at one time. In addition to this, local charity always found in him a true friend, and he was never known to turn a poor person unaided form his door.
Mr. Orear was married March 22, 1838, to Miss Sarah Heslep, with whom he lived most happily up to the time of his death. The ceremony was performed by Rev. John Bachelor, the first Episcopal minister in Morgan County. His children are: Thomas B., Mrs. F. M. Morton, Elizabeth, who died in 1875; Mrs. Stephen Dunlap, Frank, Mrs. J. M. Dunlap and Miss Nettie Orear. Thomas B. and Nettie remained at home devoting themselves to the care of their parents with affectionate tenderness to the end of their lives. All the children, except Elizabeth, deceased, were present with their aged mother at the time fo their father's death, February 11, 1889. Mrs. Orear departed this life January 19, 1891, aged seventy-eight years.