archives BuildingSouthern Lancaster County Historical Society

Biographical Annals of Lancaster County" Beers inc printed 1903

page 1091 1092.


of Earl township, Lancaster county, belonged to a family which has been established in the country since about 1707, and worthily sustains an old and honored name. That year three brothers came from Germany, and settled in Earl township, near Ellsworth, or what is now known as Vici. Of these three, Jacob was the ancestor of Henry R. The three brothers took up a large tract of land in the southern part of Earl township, and making a clearing in the forest founded a home which to the present time has never wanted a Bair for an owner. It is said that when the Diffenderfers came into Lancaster county, they had hard fortunes, and Jacob Bair, the great-great-grandfather of Henry R., presented them with a cow, as a donation towards a fresh start in life. The Bair family were sturdy pioneers, honorable and industriotis people, and early established a lasting reputation for honesty and integrity.

David Bair, the grandson of Jacob, noted above, is the next in the family line of whom anything definite is known. He and his wife, Barbara, were the grandparents of Henry R. Bair. He was a farmer, and died in 1848, at the age of eighty-one years. To this worthy couple were born nine children; William, Samuel, Martin, Isaac, David, Annie, Elizabeth, Rachel and Susan. This David Bair was a member of the mennonite Church, and a man of character and standing in his day.

David Bair, noted as the fifth member of the above family of children, was born and reared in the vicinity of Ellsworth, where he spent his life, and died at the age of seventy--five years, in 1880. He kept close to the soil, and was a striking representative of the agricultural interests of Lancaster county. His landed possessions were quite extensive, and he became very prosperous. Magdalina Resh, his wife, was a daughter of Henry Resh, and was born in Leacock township, not far from Bird-in-Hand, on Jan. 21, 1810; she died Jan. 13, 1885. To them were born three children: Annie, who became the wife of Dr. Albright, of Lancaster, and died in 1871, Isaac, a resident of Philadelphia; and Henry R.

Henry R. Bair was born on the farm near Ellsworth, June 25, 1841, and when about twenty-two years of age began farming on the old homestead, where he remained some seven or eight years. About this time he sold out and went west to Darke county, Ohio, where he engaged in milling. After six months he was obliged to give it up on account of malaria, and returned to Lancaster county, to take up for a time the pump making business, putting out many of the "old common sense pumps" that are so numerous still in Lancaster county. For several years he was engaged in the ice business, erecting a large ice plant with a capacity for 1,000 tons. He did a wholesale business, and supplied New Holland and many other local points. His home, put up in 1875, was comfortable and pleasant, in everything indicated thrift and prosperity, and was one of the most attractive in the neighborhood.

Mr. Bair was married Dec. 31, 1864, to Miss Mary Bair, a daughter of John and Caroline (Eckert) Bair, of Upper Leacock township, where her parents lived.

John Bair was a farmer, and was also a drover, doing a large business, and was one of the prominent men of the county in his day. His death occurred in 1892. He as born in 1817: His wife was born Dec. 21, 1820, and died Feb. 7, 1887. They had a family of eight children: Levi, living in Lancaster; Mary, noted above as Mrs. Henry R. Bair; Elmira, the widow of John Royer, having her home in Leacock township; John T., who resides in Earl township; Caroline C., the wife of John Bair, and living in Leacock township,, Anna M., the widow of David Kling, residing in Lancaster; George L., deceased; Rufus G., who lives in the West.

The grandparents of Mrs. Bair were George and Magdalina (Shaeffer) Bair. They were members of the Dunkard Church, and were farming people of Upper Leacock township.

Henry R. Bair and his wife had a family of six children who are living, and one who is dead: Elmira, the wife of Diller Honder, of Philadelphia, Pa.; Emma and Caroline, at home; Annie, the wife of Milton Jackson, of Coatesville; Miss Mary, who is a cigarmaker at Philoda, Pa.; Alta R., at home. Mrs. Bair and her daughters belong to the United Brethren Church.

Mr. Bair was a Republican, and served by appointment for one year as a justice of the peace. The old family burying ground in Earl township, near the village of Ellsworth, where the family for many generations have been laid to rest, was incorporated under the name of the Bair Cemetery Association, Henry R. Bair being president, J. D. Bair being secretary, and Aaron H. Bair, treasurer. The fund for the preservation and maintenance of the cemetery, $250.00, was donated by William Bair, an uncle of Henry R. Mr. Bair died Jan. 31, 1902.

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