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James Frederick Geer was born 21 September 1824 in United States to David Geer (1791-1855) and Sarah Greer (1805-1826) and died 12 March 1905 of unspecified causes. He married Mary Bethany Callaway (1825-1908) 18 January 1844 in Wilkes County, Georgia, United States.
|Offspring of James Frederick Geer and Mary Bethany Callaway (1825-1908)|
|Sarah Martha Geer (1844-1925)|| |
|James Frederick Geer, Jr. (1856-1890)|| |
The only child of David Geer (1791-1855) and Sarah Greer (1805-1826), James was born September 21, 1824 in Greene Co. His father, David, and uncle, William Geer (c1776-1844), were early settlers in Greene Co., coming from Wake County, North Carolina before 1820. He was the grandson of Frederick Geer (c1755-1840) and Sarah Reeves (c1760-1822) of Wake Co. and James Greer (c1773-1810) and Ann Nancy Haynes of Greene Co.
Interesting to note of the Geer and Greer families in Greene Co. is the marriage of James Greer’s widow Ann Nancy Haynes Greer to William Geer (c1776-1844), James Frederick Geer’s uncle. William Geer was made guardian of James Greer’s minor children: Elizabeth Greer (1802-1868), Sarah Greer (1805-1826) (David Geer’s future wife), Vinson Greer (c1807-1827), Henry Haynes Greer (c1808) and Nancy J. Greer (c1809), in the Greene Co. Court of Ordinary May 3, 1813. William Geer (c1776-1844) and Ann Nancy Haynes Greer Geer later became the parents of James Madison Geer (1815), John L. Geer (c1815), Emily Geer (c1817) and Evaline C. Geer (1818-1887), whose families are noted in the records of Morgan County, Georgia and Walton County, Georgia.
This is just one complicating factor in disseminating the Geer and Greer families in Greene Co. and in the records of the neighboring counties of Wilkes and Oglethorpe. The Geer and Greer surnames are often misspelled or transposed in these records with the names variously spelled Geer, Gear, Gier, Greer and Grier. The research task is further complicated by the fact that both families used identical first names of David, James, William and Frederick in descendant lines.
|James Frederick Geer||David Geer (1791-1855)||Frederick Geer (c1755-1840)||John Geer (d. 1769)|
|Sarah Reeves (c1760-1822)||William Reeves (c1740-1821)|
|Sarah Greer (1805-1826)||James Greer (c1773-1810)||Vincent Greer (c1754-c1805)|
|Ann Nancy Haynes||Henry Haynes (c1735-1810)|
|Mary Sarah Greer (c1740-c1830)|
James and Mary Callaway Geer resided on a plantation located along Fishing Creek in Greene Co. that consisted of some 316 acres. There, James ran a farming operation that included crops of cotton, tobacco and vegetables as well as horses, cattle, sheep and pigs. Cotton, however, was the main cash crop.
Commonly known as "Captain Geer’s farm," the central point of the homestead was the 8-room farmhouse, built between 1828 and 1833 by James’ father David before his second marriage to Mrs. Helena Ligon (1793-1853) McWhorter on July 26, 1833 in Oglethorpe County, Georgia. Helena was the widow of Hugh McWhorter (1788-1825) of Oglethorpe Co. and daughter of Joseph Ligon, III (1740-1828) of Winterville, Clarke County, Georgia) and Mary Church (c1759). Today the location is identified as County Road 146, or Geer Road.
The symmetrical exterior of the home highlights the architectural transition from the Federal to the Greek revival period. Double front doors with sidelight windows and transom lights lead into a foyer with French doors leading to another hallway, both with walls of horizontal boards. All the rooms have horsehair plaster walls and heart pine floors. Six rooms have built-in cabinets, an unusual feature for the time period. The eight fireplaces, each with a different mantel motif, add warmth to the five bedrooms, parlor, dining room/library and kitchen. The original kitchen, which stood behind the main house until the late 1930’s, was connected to the house by a raised open breezeway. A new kitchen was incorporated into the main house when electricity was added to the home in the late 1930’s. Water, however, still comes from a brick lined well that was expanded from it original twenty-five foot depth to 360 feet in the 1980’s.
Under the house, a corner was dug out to form a root cellar and enclosed with a wattle and daub combination of hand-hewn beams and clay. These beams set on pillars of hand-made brick and fitted with pegs, hold the entire house together like a giant puzzle. The clapboards on the outside of the house were also hand hewn. In the attic rest the mortise and tenon supports for the hipped roof. They form an “X” under the main part of the roof, while smaller supports fit under the outlying portions of the roof. The original roof was made out of pine shakes.
In front of the house lies the six-acre north pasture containing a four-stall barn with hay storage, tack room and the Family Cemetery where James and Mary are buried along with other family members. The homestead remained in the Geer family until 1980 when the last family occupant, granddaughter Nora Aleene Geer (1897-1980), passed away and the farm was sold. The original farmhouse and some 60 acres, however, remain intact and continues as a private home with the addition of a fenced bricked patio, an 18 x 36 pool, separate heated spa/Jacuzzi, sunroom, central heat and air-conditioning to the house and barns and a 1-acre pond stocked with bream and bass.
James enlisted in Company "C," 3rd Georgia Volunteer Infantry Regiment, Wright's Brigade (known as “The Dawson Grays”) during the American Civil War where he was elected 2nd Lieutenant. He fought briefly on the North Carolina coast in October 1861 before moving to Virginia and fighting at Malvern Hill (July 1, 1862). He was elected Captain April 28, 1862, but resigned July 22, 1862 due to disability.
Marriage and FamilyJames’ marriage to Mary Bethany Callaway (1825-1908) on January 18, 1844 is recorded in the Ordinary Court in Wilkes County, Georgia. Mary was the eighth child of noted Baptist preacher Rev. Enoch Callaway (1792-1859) and Martha Reeves Callaway (1796-1879) of Rayle, Wilkes Co. and a second cousin to James’ grandmother Sarah Reeves (c1755-1822) of Wake Co. She was born February 23, 1825 in Wilkes Co. and died May 4, 1908 in Athens, Clarke County, Georgia at the home of her daughter, Alice Angela Geer (1867-1930) Weatherly, at 83 years of age. James had died three years earlier on March 1, 1905 at the home of his son Enoch Callaway Geer (1860-1926) in Penfield, Greene Co. located four miles southwest of the Geer homestead and seven and a half miles northeast of the county seat of Greensboro. James was just over eighty years of age and had shared 61 years of marriage with his beloved wife.
James Frederick and Mary Callaway Geer raised twelve children on their antebellum plantation:
1. Sarah Martha Geer (1844-1925) married October 17, 1865 in Greene Co. James N. English (1843-1865) son of Henry English, Jr. (1796-1845) and Elizabeth Dicks/Duke (1804-1862). They are buried in Penfield Cemetery, Greene County, Georgia.
2. Mary Helen Geer (1846-1892) married November 3, 1864 in Greene Co. James Henry McCommons (1844-1940), son of Abraham McCommons (c1818-1848) and Rebecca Caroline Young (1822-1857). Mary Helen is buried in the Geer Family Cemetery, Greene County, Georgia. Mr. McCommons took as his second wife, Mary Helen’s sister, Ann Elizabeth Geer (1850-1902).
4. Ann Elizabeth Geer (1850-1902) married January 18, 1893 in Greene Co., her sisters widower, James Henry McCommons (1844-1940). James is buried in the Greensboro City Cemetery, Greene County, Georgia. Anne Elizabeth is buried in Penfield Cemetery, Greene County, Georgia.
6. Ella Caroline Geer (1854-1876) married James B. Harlow on February 16, 1874 in Greene Co. They were the parents of a daughter Katie Harlow. Ella is buried in the Geer Family Cemetery, Greene County, Georgia.
7. James Frederick Geer, Jr. (1856-1890) married December 12, 1883 in Greene Co. Anna Tallulah Colclough (1855-1933) daughter of William Alexander Colclough (1827-1896) and Matilda James Moore (1833-1919) of Greene Co. They are buried in Penfield Cemetery, Greene County, Georgia.
9. Enoch Callaway Geer (1860-1926) married November 20, 1889 in Greene Co. Charlotte Eleanor “Elnora” Simpson (1877-1908), daughter of William Henry Simpson (1839-1910) and Sarah Jane Hancock (1834-1905) of Greene Co. They are buried in Penfield Cemetery, Greene County, Georgia. (*Note: Her tombstone gives birth year as 1879.)
10. Joseph Jefferson Geer (1863-1924) married November 25, 1885 in Greene Co. Minnie Young (b. abt. 1865) daughter of Rev. J. L. Young. Joe is buried in Greensboro City Cemetery, Greene County, Georgia.
12. Alice Angela Geer (1867-1930) married William H. Weatherly (1865-1923) of Clarke Co., on November 20, 1889. He was the son of Joseph M. Weatherly (1837-1916) and Mary A. Vanderhost (1842-1915). They are buried in Oconee Hill Cemetery, Clarke County, Georgia.
- Capt. James Frederick Geer, Sr. at RootsWeb.com
- Capt. James Frederick Geer, Sr. at FindAGrave