THE SMITHS OF ABRAHAM, W.VA.
AND RELATED FAMILIES
The Biars Family of Gallipolis, Ohio
Updated 06 Feb 2014
Gustava "Gus" Biars was born 08 Mar 1850 in what is now Germany. According to the 1900 U.S. federal census, he immigrated to the United States at age 11 in 1861. (Source Citation: Year: 1900; Census Place: Clay, Gallia, Ohio; Roll: T623_1271; Page: 9A; Enumeration District: 26.) The 1910 census states he immigrated in 1869. (Source Citation: Year: 1910; Census Place: Clay, Gallia, Ohio; Roll: T624_1184; Page: 11B; Enumeration District: 28; Image: 641.) His obituary said he was born in Holland and his death certificate says "Holland Germany." Also known as Gus. Alternative spellings of his name include: Gustaphe Beiar, Gustav Bear, Gustif Biar, Gustas Biar. Information on Ancestry.com has his name as Gustavu.
He married Catharine "Kate" Kraus 24 Aug 1871 in Gallia County, Ohio. Their names were recorded as Gustaphe Beiar and Katharine Krouse. Mrs. Biars' name is spelled Kathern on a death record and Kate in her obituary. Mrs. Biars was born in 1848 in Baden, Germany, and immigrated to the United States in 1870, according to the 1920 federal census. (Source Citation: Year: 1920; Census Place: Clay, Gallia, Ohio; Roll: T625_1385; Page: 4B; Enumeration District: 46; Image: 68. Year of immigration: 1870.)
Mr. and Mrs. Biars were farmers.
On 17 Oct 1916, Mr. Biars, who had been ill, took his own life at his Clipper Mill home in Ohio. "His lifeless body was found at 10 o'clock when his wife and son returned from a trip to Gallipolis. Poor health is thought to have caused the suicide, Mr. Biars having suffered two strokes of paralysis recently." His granddaughter Eda Smith Ellison said he managed to hang himself from the headboard of his bed.
Mrs. Biars died 22 Jun 1932 in her home. (Source of death date for Kathern Biars: Ancestry.com and Ohio Department of Health.) Her obit in the Gallipolis Daily Tribune said, “As a peddler of produce, driving a team of old horses, she was a familiar figure on the streets of Gallipolis for many years.” The couple had six children:
- John Phillip A. Biars*, born 03 Feb 1875, Harrison Township, Gallia County, Ohio. Biars family members said John left his parents’ home and was never heard from again. In 2007, the mystery was solved. John died in 1918 in Scioto County, Ohio, during The Influenza Pandemic as did three of his children, according to his great grandson Randall Morrison. John and daughters Marion and Opal are buried in the Milldale (School Land Hollow) Cemetery, New Boston, Scioto County. Tombstone of John Biars (courtesy of Randall and Kim Morrison.). Find a Grave cemetery link. He married Catherine Middleton (27 Aug 1887 Greenup County, Ky./18 Aug 1931, Bonser Run, Sciotoville, Ohio), daughter of James Middleton and wife Eliza Sparks, 16 Oct 1905 in Scioto County. Alternative spelling of Catherine's name – Sarah Cathryn Middleton. Additional spouse: John Edward Rice. Seven children of John and Catherine were:
1. Nora Marie Biars (30 Sept 1911/13 April 1980). Married Earnest Frederick Morrison in Greenup, Ky., 11 April 1933. They had eight children. Nora was buried in Sunset Memorial Gardens, also known as Floral Hills, Franklin Furnace, Scioto County, Ohio. Find a Grave cemetery link
2. Fanny Mae Biars (19 Mar 1906, Ohio/15 Sep 1983). Married Wesley H. Purtee (24 Jun 1897/Mar 1969). Their children were Dorothy Jean, George. Leroy, Bessie, Betty Ruth and Fay. (Information from Joyce.) There is a 1921 obituary for Wesley Purtee, infant son of Fannie and John Wesley Purtee. Fanny was buried in Evergreen Memorial Gardens in Finksburg, Md.
3. John Henry "Jack" Biars (19 Jan 1909/30 July 1972). Buried in Pine Creek Baptist Church Cemetery, also known as Clapboard Cemetery, near Wheelersburg, Scioto County, Ohio. Find a Grave cemetery link
4. Pearl Biars - died as a child, no dates.
5. Lisa Biars - no information.
6. Marion Jane Biars was born 30 Nov 1915 in Ohio. Marion Jane, seven months old, died 30 June 1916 in New Boston, Ohio, and on 02 July 1916 was interred in Milldale Cemetery, also known as School Land Hollow Cemetery, Scioto County.
7. Opal Biars was born 12 June 1917. Opal, 18 months old, died 04 Nov 1918, in New Boston, Ohio, and was interred in Milldale Cemetery, also known as School Land Hollow Cemetery, Scioto County.
Photos: John Biars and his wife Catherine Middleton. John and Catherine Biars family. Fanny, Jack and Nora Biars.
- Emma Catherine Biars, born 20 Jul 1878, Harrison Township, Gallia County, Ohio., died 26 Aug 1967, Summers County, W.Va. Emma married George Washington Smith Jr. of Abraham, Raleigh County, W.Va., and had seven children. She is buried in the New Salem Missionary Baptist Church Cemetery in Abraham, Raleigh County, W.Va. Emma Biars obituaries: Daily Mail Post-Herald. (Go to Smith/Biars Page 1 for more information on Emma and her children.)
- Henry Biars, born 16 Aug 1877, Harrison Township, Gallia County, Ohio. death date unknown. Henry drowned in the Ohio River at the age of 12, according to his niece Eda Smith Ellison. His body was never found. Another family member said Henry drowned at age 19. Nina Vest Bennett, Emma Biars Smith's neighbor in Abraham, wrote "...Mrs. Smith told me that she had one brother who was drowned, they never found him because he went down in quick sand."
- Augustus Biars, born 10 Aug 1883, Ohio, died Oct 1971 in Hinton, Summers County, W.Va. Survivors included his wife Myrtle Bragg; brother Christopher Biars; three sons, Fred V., Grover Oscar and Edward Eugene Biars; and two daughters, Lois Marie Biars Warren and Thelma Catherine Biars Bennett. In a 23 Feb 1997, letter, James B. Warren, writing for his father-in-law, Augustus' son Fred V. Biars, reported, "August said he was German and raised as a Catholic & (the family) name might have been Byers not Biars and his parents could speak German. August said he could remember when they moved to the homeplace (in Ohio). From where he never said." August worked as a painter. He and his wife Myrtle were buried at Valley View, Pawley's Creek, Summers County, W.Va. Augustus Biars obituary
- Frederick Biars, born 15 Aug 1884, Gallia County, died Nov 1979, Gallia County, Ohio. He married Ella Siders and Anna White.
- Christopher William Biars, born 18 Nov 1880, Gallia County, died 13 Jun 1973 Holzer Medical Center, Gallipolis, Ohio. Obituary. Christopher and wife Edith Mae Kingery together had five children. Mr. and Mrs. Biars are buried in the Mina Chapel Cemetery, Gallia County, Ohio. Find a Grave.
Photos: Gustava Biars and Kate Kraus (Emma's parents) and sons, left to right, Chris, John Philip A., Augustus and, seated between his parents, Fred.
* With the exception of Chris and Edith's headstone, information and photos of John and his family and the Mina Cemetery tombstones shared by Randall and Kim Morrison.