Melchoir Bär III Family History
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Our grandmother, Ruth Etta Barr, is a direct decedent of Melchoir Bär III. Grandma was the daughter of Harvey Joseph Barr and Sarah Henrietta Ellis, both of Pottstown, Montgomery County Pennsylvania.

Information on the Bär family comes from the History of Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, and a Genealogical and Biographical Record of its Families, Volume 2. In this reference, and other references, our Melchoir Bär III is referred to as Melchoir Bär Jr.

In our work we decided to suffix the Melchoir Bär name with I, II, III, and so on. This will help represent the number of generations using the name of Melchoir.

Melchoir Bär III (1726-1773)

Melchoir III was born October 2nd 1726 in Ottenbach Canton Zurich, Switzerland to Melchoir Bär II and his 3rd wife Anna Elisabeth Abecky. Melchoir III came to Philadelphia with his father and uncles from Zwiebrücken in the Palatinate region of Germany. Melchoir III died on February 28th 1773 in Macungie Township Lehigh County, Pennsylvnia. He was buried about March 2nd1773 in a small private cemetery in Upper Milford Reform Church, near Zionsville, Macungie (Magunshie Thal (Macungie Valley)Township Lehigh County, Pennsylvania.

There was issued unto him (Melchoir III) a warrant on November 1st 1749 for two tracts of land situated in Heidelberg Township, Northampton County [1] Pennsylvania. If this 1749 is accurate, then the land warrant would have been issued in Bucks county, which was one of the one of the original counties at the formation of Pennsylvania in 1682.One tract was called "Neglect", bounded and described as the following "...Beginning at a marked Black Oak thence by Peter Baer's land North one hundred and thirteen perches to a post, thence by a line of Marked Trees North seventy-seven Degrees, West eight perches to a stone, thence by Michael Hoffman's land, South fifteen degrees, West two hundred perches to a Post, thence by Peter Kosher's land South thirty-two Degrees, East eighty perches to a post, thence by vacant land and Peter Baer's land North forty Degrees, East one hundred and sixty-four perches to the place of beginning containing one hundred and forty-four acres and three-quarters and an allowance of six acres for roads...".

The second tract "Quiet Enjoyment" surveyed at the same time contained fifty-four acres and was bounded by Jacob Thinkey's land and other vacant tracts. The purchase price for these two tracts containing 199 acres and 4.0 perches was thirty pounds, nineteen shillings and six pence. In 1762 Melchoir Baer, Jr. sold seventy acres of this original tract to his father, Melchoir Baer, Sr., for the sum of sixty pounds. From the deed of Melchoir Baer, Sr., to his son, John Peter, dated August 3rd 1769, it appears that Melchoir Baer, Sr., purchased all of the above described tracts from his son, Melchoir, Jr., for in it the identical tracts called for in the original survey are transferred to his son John Peter Baer, of Heidelberg township, for the consideration of natural love and affection and the sum of one hundred pounds. The sale by Melchoir Baer, Jr., to Melchoir Baer, Sr., is witnessed to by Christopher Baer, George Steininger and Heinrich Schlebach, and that from Melchoir Baer, Sr., to his son, John Peter, by Heinrich Finck and Heinrich Reinhart.

There is a photo of Melchoir III's homestead and of his headstone.

Melchoir III was married twice. [2] 

Melchoir Baer III 1st wife was Christina Niederhauser, who was born about 1717 near Bern Switzerland. Melchoir and Christina married June 3rd 1738 probably in Zwiebrücken Germany. Christina death is unknown, but it would have been about 1762 or 1763.

Together Melchoir III and his first wife Cristina had five daughters.

i.    Elisabeth Catharine Baer married Lorentz Kern. Lorentz had died prior to the date of the petition. Elisabeth and Lorentz had three children: Henry, Margareth, and Elisabeth who married John Jacoby. Several grand-children were issued to Magdalena who was married to Mr. Bittenbender. Lorentz Kern is said to have moved to York County.

ii.   Regina Baer married Jacob Haman. Regina died prior to the petition of 1821. Regina and Jacob had two daughters:

a.   Hannah Haman married Jacob Mohr

b.   Margareth Haman was born October 27th 1782, and died January 4th 1856. She was married in 1808 to Henry Dubbs, a son of Daniel and Elizabeth Dubbs. Henry Dubbs was a potter, and about 1835 moved to Hamilton, Butler County, Ohio. Margareth and Henry had the following children: Michael, David, Jonathan, Salome and Hannah. Hannah married Carolus Borger, and had four children: Sarah, Anna, David D., Jacob Henry, and Margareth who was the wife of Rev. F. W. Berletnann, a Reformed clergyman in Philadelphia. Margareth and Carolus had three daughters, Hannah Elisabeth, Sophia B., and Bertha Agnes who was the wife of Rev. William J. Hincke, at one time pastor of Trinity Reformed congregation, Allentown, now professor of Oriental languages in the Auburn Theological Seminary.

iii.  Anna Margaret Baer was born on December 11th 1756 and died August 5th 1837. She married Philip Christman.

iv.   Barbara Baer was born March 13th 1760, and died June 28th 1845. She married Nicholas Stabler (June 1752 to September 24th 1930), the ancestor of most of the Stahler's of Milford, Macungie and Allentown.

v.    Susanna Baer was born January 1st 1762 and died January 1th 1846), and she married Philip Walter.

Melchoir Baer III married his 2nd wife, Eva Elizabeth Christman, about 1763. Eva was the sister of his daughter, Anna Margaret Baer's husband, Philip Christman. Eva Elizabeth was born about 1738, and the year of her death is unknown. It was said Eva was considerable younger (16 years) than Melchoir III. She was the daughter of Jacob and Eva Margaret Christman of Lynn Township, Lehigh County Pennsylvania.

•    Jacob Christman died about 1761. Jacob and Eva Christman had seven children: Eva Elizabeth, the wife of Melchoir Baer III, George, Jacob, Susanna, John, Philip, and Henry. Philip Christman (son of Jacob and Eva Margaret Christman) was a farmer near Sigmund's Furnace in Upper Milford Township, Lehigh County. Later, he moved to Lower Macungie , where he established the Christman Mill  [3]

Melchoir III and his 2nd wife Eva Elizabeth Christman had four children.

i.    Melchoir Baer IV was born February 19th 1765. On June 14th 1789 he married Catharine Desch. He settled in Macungie Lehigh County, and had several large farms. He died December 29th 1850. Melchoir IV and Catherine had ten children.

a.   Daniel Baer.

b.   Jacob Baer.

c.   Polly Baer.

d.   Elizabeth Baer.

e.   Charles Baer.

f.   George Baer.

g.   Samuel Baer.

h.   Henry Baer.

i.   Susan Baer.

j.   Catharine Baer.

ii.   Eva Elisabeth Baer was born July 5th 1771, and died June 29th 1857. She married Jacob Lindeman, and lived near Kreidersville, Northampton County. They had seven children: George, Jacob, Samuel, Polly, Elisabeth, Lydia, and Henry - born in 1775. Henry died the same year, and was buried aside his father.

iii.  Henry Baer was born September 3rd 1773 near Upper Milford Township, Lehigh County Pennsylvania. He died 1773 and was buried in the Upper Milford Reform Church. This child appears to have been born after the death of Melchoir III, who died in February 1773. Melchoir's will makes no mention of Henry, who appears to have died shortly after his birth.

iv.   Jacob Baer (1768-1858)

Jacob Baer (1768-1858)

Jacob Baer was born near Macungie Lehigh County Pennsylvania, where he followed the trade of carpet weaver. He died about 1858, aged upwards of eighty years. He is buried at Zionsville. Not much is known about Jacob, or of his wife and children. We do know that they had a son named Manasses.

Manasses Baer (1826-1903)

Manasses was born near Macungie, March 17th 1826. He was the grandson of Melchoir Bär III, and his 2nd wife Eva Elizabeth Christman. Manasses followed the shoemaking trade for some years, whereupon he turned to farming in Upper Milford Township. Two years previous to the building of the Perkiomen Railroad he sold his farm and bought a farm in York County, whither he moved and died at Newberrytown, York County Pennsylvania in 1903. While in York County he also followed the drover business and had served as school director. He was a Lutheran.

Manasses Barr was married to Lucetta Niederauer, who was born about 1840 and died March 1900, aged 76 years. Lucetta's father was Jacob Niederauer who was born 1792 in Upper Milford Township Pennsylvania. Jacob died in 1850, and was buried at sea. Jacob had only one other child, Caroline who died unmarried. This is about the same time the spelling of this family's name changed from "Baer" to its present form "Barr"

Mannasses and Lucetta Baer had these children:

i.    Susan Baer was the wife of James Gaumer of Macungie Township Lehigh County.

ii.   Sarah Baer was the wife of Samuel Mack from Philadelphia.

iii.  Mary Baer was the wife of Robert Byers from Newberrytown York County.

iv.   Lydia Baer was the wife of Robert Shilly from Newberrytown.

v.    Stephen Baer was married to Emma Friel from Philadelphia.

vi.   Rebecca Baer was the wife of William Ebele from Newberrytown.

vii.  Henry Baer lived in Pottstown Pennsylvania.

viii. William Baer - deceased.

ix.   Moses Baer went west, and resided in Nebraska.

x.    Joseph Baer (1852-19)

Joseph Baer (1852-19)

Joseph was born in the area of Vera Cruz Lancaster County on March 14th 1852 to Manasses Baer and Lucetta Baer. With this generation, the spelling of the name was changed from Baer to Barr, due to the insistence of an English schoolteacher. Joseph attended the public schools to about sixteen, worked two years on his Mannasses's farm. In 1870 he learned the carpenter trade, at which he worked for five years and thereupon for same time at machinist trade. Afterwards for about five years he was an engineer, then boss at the Emaus furnace for two years. Moving to Pottstown, he built the rolling mill for Hope Iron Company and when they sold their plant. He was employed by the Warwick Iron Company as chief engineer. Returning to Emaus, he prepared plans and constructed the Emaus Pipe Foundry, returning again to Pottstown, he built the Ellis-Lessig Iron Mills Company, Montgomery County Pennsylvania. [4]

Coming to Allentown Pennsylvania, on August 14th 1888, he became interested in the cement business, being associated with the Lehigh Portland Cement Company. He is a member of the Lutheran Church, Republican in politics, member of 100 F Unity Encampment and Rebekah, No. 72, 100 F and B. P.0.E. Joseph married Mary Wasser (died in 1900, aged 42 years), a daughter of James and Anna Wasser in 1869. After Mary died Joseph married Aretta Traver, daughter of Jacob and Sarah (Seitzinger) Traver on Sept. 9th 1903. They had no children.

This is a photo of Joseph Barr holding my father, Bob Graham. Also in the photo is Joseph's son Harvey Barr and his wife Sarah Ellis. Also, here is a photo of Joseph Barr and Aretta Traver.

Together Joseph Barr and Mary Wasser had seven children.

i.    Ellen Jane Barr was was born December 3rd 1868, and married Frank Stalhl of Philadelphia.

ii.   Harvey Joseph Barr was born May 7th 1870, and married Sarah (Sally) Henrietta Ellis of Pottstown Pennsylvania. Sarah's Ellis family and Joseph Barr were involved with the Ellis-Lessig Iron Mills Company of Montgomery County. Harvey Barr and Sarah Ellis are my great grandparents.

iii.    Annie Mariah Barr was born September 13th 1872, and married Harry Endy of Pottstown.

iv. Oliver Weasner Barr was born September 27th 1874, and married Mary Davis of Reading. They lived in Pottstown.

v.    Harry D Barr was single and lived in Pottstown, and then moved to Jackson Mississippi.

vi.   Sadie May Barr was born September 21st 1879, and married Harry Weisner of Pottstown.

vii.  Joseph Robert Barr was born at Pottstown, September 5th 1890. He was educated in the public schools and later was graduated from Nazareth Hall (1907) He then became and electrician and chemist for the Lehigh Portland Cement Company, serving for about four and a half years, when Mr. Bachman and himself began their present business. He was married, September 15th 1910, to Laura Wirthlin, a daughter of Frank and Laura (Wetzel) Wirthlin, of Cincinnati, Ohio.

There is one photo that we know of, that has my great grandfather Harvey Barr with his sister. Written on the front of the photo, Aunt Sadie, Sarah and Harvey Barr, Florence Emmory, Cousin. The note was written by Harvey and Sarah Barr's daughter Ruth Barr-Graham.. Aunt Sadie is Harvey Barr's sister Sadie May who was born September 21st 1879, and married Harry Weisner of Pottstown. Florence is Aunt Sadie's daughter. Left to Right: Aunt Sadie, Unknown lady in glasses, Harvey is sitting and Sallie is behind him, and to Harvey's right is Florence Emory.

End Notes

[1.] Northampton County wasn't formed out of Bucks County until 1752, Lehigh wasn't form out of out of Northampton until 1812, and Northampton was formed in 1752 from Bucks County, which was one of the one of the original counties at the formation of Pennsylvania in 1682.

[2.] The Children and the Children's Children of Jacob Christman and Eva Margaret Baer, arranged by Rev. John Baer Stoudt, Sr. and Mrs. Irvin Christman and distributed at a Christman Family Reunion, 1957.

[3.] Ibid.

[4.] Their are a few companies with the Ellis name, which we will look at for a relations to our Ellis family: The Hope Milling Company was sold to the Pottstown Iron Company; Ellis-Keystone Agricultural Works of Pottstown, Ellis & Lessig Nail Works, and Ellis & Lessig Steel and Iron Company of Pottstown.


1. Pages 33 – 44, History of Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, and a Genealogical and Biographical Record of Its Families, Volume 2, Lehigh County Historical Society, Lehigh Valley publishing Company, Limited, 1914.

2. A Collection of upwards of Thirty Thousand Names of German, Swiss, Dutch, French and other Immigrants in Pennsylvania From 1727 to 1776; Prof. I. Daniel Rupp, Second Revised Edition, 1876, Philadelphia; pp.177. See the passenger list in the reference section of this paper.