Family Reunions: The Baer Family

Source: Morton Montgomery, p. 313


The Baer family of Berks and surrounding counties is one of the very large families, which has had large annual gatherings since its reunion was first organized in 1899. The place of meeting has been Kutztown Park, and the historian is Dr. Samuel A. Baer, A. M., Ph. D., who was with the aid of assistants and secretaries has collected many valuable records.

John, Mechior and Christophel (or Stoffel) Baer came across the ocean on the ship "Phoenix" in 1743. They settled in eastern Pennsylvania, and their descendants number today several thousand. The exact relationship between these three immigrants is uncertain, but the fact is established that they came to America on one ship, settled in the same section of the State, spoke the same language, and adhered to the same religious faith. Some think they were brothers, or at least close relatives.

Most of the Baers of Berks and Lehigh counties claim John (or Hans) Baer as their ancestor. Before 1750, he settled in Weisenburg, which is now in Lehigh county. He had four children: John, Adam, Jacob, and Barbara (who married Henry Fetter). John moved to Windsor township, Berks county, and his descendants live in Hamburg, and Windsor, Perry and Bern townships.

Melchior Baer, the second of this trio of immigrants, settled at Macungie, Lehigh county, and had several large farms. He had eight children, and made special bequests to Melchior and Jacob.

Of these, Melchior Baer married Catharine Desch, and they had ten children: David, Jacob, Polly, Elizabeth, Charles, George, Samuel, Henry, Susan and Catharine.

Jacob Baer (son of Melchior, Sr.) likewise had a numerous offspring. He had eleven children: Rachel, George, Joseph, Melchior, Samuel, Susan, Judith, Ephraim, Elizabeth, Manasses and Benjamin.

The third of the group of immigrant Baers was Christophel Baer, who prior to his coming to America patented 560 acres of land in what is now Whitehall, Lehigh Co., Pa. His history is complete. The records at Easton show that he was a systematic business man and possessed of great force of character. He was the great-grandfather of George F. Baer, the distinguished lawyer and railroad president. His family consisted of six children: Heinrich, Melchior, John, Salome, Apollonia and Jacob.

The Baer family traces its ancestors to Zweibrucken, Germany, where a place known for generations as "Baren Hutte" ("Bruin's Rest") is still pointed out. Tradition in connection with the homestead at Zweibrucken has it that one Peter von Baer, in the distant past, married the daughter of a count palatine, thus establishing rank. The family coat of arms is in the possession of American descendants.

The Baers have large reunions and render interesting programs. They expect to have their reunion incorporated and to publish a family history. The following are their permanent officers:

President, Henry C. Baer, Reading, Pa.
Vice-Presidents, Rev. John B. Stoudt, Macungie, Pa.; George E. Baer, Schwenkville, Pa.; John P. Baer, Allentown, Pa.
Secretary, Fred N. Baer, Kutztown, Pa.
Treasurer, J. W. Baer, Phoenixville, Pa.
Historian, Dr. Samuel A. Baer, Graham, Va.

Last Modified Thursday, 16-Oct-2008 20:58:14 EDT

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