BAER, SAMUEL A., p. 1180
Surnames: BAER, LUTZ, NICKS, HARTMAN, STOEVER, HAMLIN, LEE, ADAM, SMITH, WIILIAMS, WEIL, KNERR, SCHOLLENBERGER, BEAK, STOYER, HARRINGTON, SEIBERLING, HOLWIG, GOCKENBACH, KISTLER, KERSCHNER, FEATHER
Samuel A. Baer was born Nov. 28, 1846, in Greenwich township, Berks county, in a small one-story log house, two miles west of Kutztown. The parents were poor, and when Samuel was about three years of age, they moved to Albany township, where he attended the public schools of the district. He was but ten years old when his father died, and he worked for four years on the farm of Eli Lutz for board and clothes. At the age of fourteen he was apprenticed to learn the tailor's trade, at which he made satisfactory progress, but he always felt that he ought to be educated, and so at the end of the first year of his apprenticeship he made arrangements through his sister Kittie to attend the Maxatawny Seminary. Here he at once showed marked talent, and through the kind encouragement of Prof. Henry R. Nicks, the principal of the school, he was enabled to fit himself for the teacher's profession. He taught in the public schools of Maxatawny township from 1864 to 1867, when he entered Franklin and Marshall College, from which he graduated in 1869. In 1872 his Alma Mater conferred on him the degree of A. M. and in 1884 Ursinus College conferred on him the degree of Ph. D.
From 1869 to 1872 Prof. Baer was instructor of Latin and History in the Keystone State Normal School. Later he was principal of Oley Academy, and in 1875 was elected county superintendent of the public schools in Berks county, which position he filled for six years with great ability. He was, so to say, to the manner born, and knew the wants of his people. He gave special attention to the language problem, and formulated suggestions along this line that are still followed extensively in his own and other counties of the State. He was a leader in the interests of the Pennsylvania Germans, and in 1875 organized at Womelsdorf the Conrad Weiser Memorial Association. In 1877 he read a report before the Pennsylvania State Teachers' Association on "The Educational Problem among the German Element," which was extensively published and so favorably received by the public that it secured for him membership in the Pennsylvania Historical Society. He was one of the founders of the Pennsylvania German Society, and is the historian of the Baer family in America.
He was always prominent at educational meetings, particularly at the meetings of the Pennsylvania State Teachers'Association, and in 1884 was its president. He was superintendent of the schools of Reading from 1881 to 1884, after which he was appointed assistant state librarian by Gov. Pattison. In September, 1889, he was again elected city superintendent of the schools of Reading, and served with great efficiency until 1896. He was regarded specially strong as an organizer and as an authority in practical common-sense methods. He was a hard worker, and serious, and left an impress for good in the schools that will be felt for years to come. From 1897 to 1904 he was principal of the Harrisburg high school, and made an enviable reputation for himself and the school, especially for good order and thoroughness. This school was never in a more flourishing condition than during this period. He had the tact to inspire his students and sent annually to college and other higher institutions of learning at least fifty per cent of its graduates. Through sickness Prof. Baer was incapacitated for work for several years, but in 1907 he again took up regular school work by accepting the position of instructor in Pedagogics and English in Eastern College, Front Royal, Va. Here he regained his health and worked with his usual zeal, gaining great reputation as an able instructor. In 1908 he was elected President of Graham College, Va., which position he filled very acceptably to all parties. But in August, 1909, he resigned this position and accepted the chair of Psychology and Pedagogics in the State Normal School at Frostburg, Md., where he is happy in his specialty, and doing good work in helping to train the teachers of his adopted State.
In 1872 Prof. Baer was married to Clara Hartman, a graduate of Dickinson Seminary, and a lady of high culture and intelligence. She is the daughter of Joseph Hartman, son of the well-known printer Hartman, of Lebanon. Her mother was Wilhelmina Stoever, a lineal descendant of the Rev. John Casper Stoever, the distinguished Lutheran pioneer minister of Eastern Pennsylvania. Of this union there were born five children as follows: (1) Mary Pauline died in infancy. (2) Stella Margaret, a graduate of the Reading high school, and a teacher in the public schools of Harrisburg, Pa., was married to Fred G. Hamlin, in 1905, and left a widow in 1908. She resides in Harrisburg, Pa. (3) Joseph Augustus graduated from the Reading high school in 1895, and was appointed through a competitive examination to West Point Military Academy in 1896. He graduated in 1900, and was assigned to the 6th Cavalry, U. S. A. He relinquished his furlough to engage in the Boxer war in China, and entered Peking with the relief expedition. After serving two years in the Philippines he was stationed in 1903 at West Point as instructor in mathematics. In the spring of 1907 he was married to Lelia Lee, of Baltimore, and in the fall of the same year was again stationed in the Philippines, in Mindanao Island, where on July 5, 1909, he distinguished himself by shooting the Moro bandit, Jikiri, and three other Moros. (4) Jerome Jefferson died in infancy. (5) Carl Ambrose was born in Florence, S. C., during a temporary residence in that state. He graduated from the Harrisburg high school in 1904, and from Lehigh University in 1908. He is an electrical engineer and lives in Harrisburg.
John Baer, father of Prof. Samuel A., was born in 1801, in Weisenburg township, Lehigh county, but lived during the greater part of his life in Berks county. He was a carpenter by trade. He was married to Katharine Adam, daughter of Henry Adam. Of Huguenot descent, and they had children as follows: Solomon, a soldier of the Civil war, who lived and died in Kansas; Sarah, who m. John Smith, and died near Kutztown, in Maxatawny township; Peter, a master mechanic and a soldier of the Civil war, who died in Mercer county, Pa.; Henry, a carpenter by trade, who died in Lawrenceville, Ind.; Nathan, a merchant in Hamburg, Pa., who had a family of ten children, and who died in Wilmington, Del.; Katharine, m. to Henry Williams, and died in Kutztown, Pa.; Joel, a carpenter and millwright by trade, and living in Hamburg, Pa.; John, a carpenter and farmer, who lives in Albany township; Lucy, m. to Harry Weil, and living in Maxatawny township; and Samuel Adam, the subject of this sketch.
John Adam Baer, grandfather of Prof. Samuel A., was born in Weisenburg township, Lehigh county, but in 1812 he sold his Lehigh county farm, and moved to Maxatawny township, Berks county, on what is now known as Hartman's farm. He was married to Susanna Knerr, a daughter of Abraham Knerr, who was a soldier of the Revolutionary war, and had a brilliant war record. Of this union the following children were born: Jonathan, born in 1796, in Lehigh county, died in 1878, in Greenwich township, Berks county; John, mentioned above; Peter, born in Lehigh county, died near Raisin Center, Mich., leaving many descendants; Eva m. Reubin Schollenberger, of Greenwich township, where she died at a ripe old age; Lydia m. R. Beak, and died at Lockport, N. Y.; Betsy m. Solomon Stoyer, and died in Mercer county, Pa.; Charles, a stone mason and hotel keeper, died near Topton, having raised a large family; Solomon, who lived near Dayton, Ohio, died leaving valuable property; Susanna m. Samuel Smith, had eleven children, and died in Greenwich township; and Polly m. Chas. Harrington, of Lockport, N. Y., where she died leaving three children.
The great-grandfather of Prof. Baer was Jacob Baer, who was born in Weisenburg township, Lehigh county, and was a private in Captain Edelman's Company, 4th Battalion, Northampton County Militia. He had twelve children ? six sons and six daughters, and gave to each of his six sons a farm. His sons were as follows: Jacob, John Adam, John, Henry, Peter and Daniel. Of the daughters, one died young; the others were: Mrs. Jonathan Seiberling, Mrs. Holwig, Mrs. Gockenbach, Mrs. Kistler and Mrs. Hartman.
The great-great-grandfather was Hans (John) Baer, who was the immigrant. Having landed at Philadelphia on Sept. 30, 1743, he remained for several years near Germantown, after which he settled permanently in Weisenburg township, Lehigh county. The old home is now the Kerschner farm, and is located about a mile south of Knerr's store. He has these children: ***Barbara m. Henry Feather, and lived in Allentown; Jacob is mentioned above; Adam lived west of the old home, and was the progenitor of most of the Lehigh county Baers; and John moved to Windsor township, Berks county, and is the progenitor of Baers of the Northwestern part of Berks county.