Edward Henry Bair

EDWARD HENRY BAIR, real estate dealer and member of the firm of Bair and Lane at Greensburg, Pennsylvania, was born March 6, 1859 in the village of Congruity, Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania, the son of Henry Nicholas Hacke Bair and Elizabeth (Keener) Bair.

The grandfather, David Bair, emigrated from Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, to Penn township, Westmoreland county, in the early years of the nineteenth century, and died January 26, 1852, aged sixty years and twenty-four days. He married (first) Elizabeth Bowers, and (second) Sarah Bender.

The father of Edward Henry Bair was born in Penn township about 1823 and died January 11, 1873. He married Elizabeth Eliza Keener, daughter of Henry and Susan Keener, and moved to Congruity about 1848. He, with his brothers Isaac and Sebastian, were the inventors of what was known as the tumbling-shaft threshing machines and was largely interested in the machine business at Congruity at the time of his death in 1873. He was prominently known throughout the country as a manufacturer of farm machinery, etc. He was among the earliest undertakers in the county, and was the first to manufacture broadcloth-covered coffins. He was one of the founders of Trinity Reformed church at New Salem, as was also his wife. In politics he was a Democrat. He took a very active part in the public school system, and for many years served as a member of the school board in Salem township, and was a candidate for county commissioner at the time of his death.

Mrs. Elizabeth (Keener) Bair traces her ancestry back to the Ubero and Frantzs and her great-grandfather, great-grandmother and their daughter were captured by the Indians about the time of the destruction of Hannahstown. The great-grandfather was murdered at the time, and the two Women taken with the tribe of Indians to a point along the Monongahela river, near present McKeesport, and after about six months of captivity escaped and stole their way back to their home just north of Greensburg. Mr. Bair's mother was born in 1824 and died in 1894 at Congruity, Pennsylvania.

Edward Henry Bair was educated in the public schools in Salem township and at the New Salem Academy. He relates that perhaps through acquaintance and sympathy, more than for any other reason, he was made a teacher at the age of sixteen years in Salem township. After teaching for three years he was elected principal of the New Salem schools and during three summers, in partnership with I. E. Lauffer, had charge of the New Salem Academy. He was elected in 1881, principal of the Scottdale public schools, and after two years resigned to locate in Greensburg for the purpose of reading law. Here he took charge of the Ludwick schools. Two years later he drifted into the real estate business. He passed the preliminary law examination and registered with Beacon and Newill (attorneys), but owing to the rapid growth of his real estate business he abandoned further law studies and since then has been largely interested in Greensburg real estate .

For more than a dozen years he has been identified with many enterprises having promoted the Westmoreland Electric Company; the Westmoreland Light Heat and Power Company; the Greensburg Southern Street Railway Company; the Westmoreland Realty Company; the Iron City Land Company; the Atlantic Land Company, and many public enterprises. He is at present the senior member of the firm of Bair and Lane; vice-president of the Greensburg Furnace Company; treasurer of the Greensburg and Cambridge Spring railway, and a director of the Merchants Trust Company, besides being largely interested in numerous other enterprises in Westmoreland county.

In his religion he is identified with the Reformed church of Greensburg, and in politics is a Democrat. Mr. Bair is a member of Westmoreland Lodge, No. 518, F. and A. M. of Greensburg; Olivet Council Lodge No. 13. Urania Chapter, Lodge No. 192 Kedron Commandery Lodge No. 18, K. T. A. A. S. R. Valley of Pittsburg, and Syria Temple A. A. O. N. M. S. and the present secretary of the Greensburg Masonic fund. By a vote of the people in the several boroughs, June, 1905, the first of these ambitions was realized, and the second one has since made great progress. He was married at Latrobe, Pennsylvania, October 14, 1885, to Esther Mary Suydam, daughter of Joseph L. and Mary White Suydam. Her father until a very short time before his death, at Coatesville, Pennsylvania, was the superintendent of the Wilmington and Delaware railroad. Mrs. Bair was educated at the schools of Coatsville and Latrobe. Their children were: Paul Suydam, Kenneth Henry, Helen, Edward Hart, Esther, and Joseph Lawrence.

One of the ambitions of Mr. Bair, in a business sense and for general public good, is to bring about the consolidation of the numerous boroughs, surrounding the borough of Greensburg in order that the place may become a city and the leading one in western Pennsylvania, for ideal homes. Another matter in which he is greatly interested is that the public school system shall rise to such a standard as to admit its graduates to any of the large colleges, without additional preparation. It is his sanguine belief that both of these, his worthy ambitions, will be fully realized, and within a short period.

Source: Page(s) 89-91, History of Westmoreland County, Volume II, Pennsylvania by John N Boucher. New York, The Lewis Publishing Company, 1906.
Transcribed February 2006 by Nathan Zipfel for the Westmoreland County History Project
Contributed for use by the Westmoreland County Genealogy Project (http://www.pa-roots.com/westmoreland/)

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