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The ancestors and immediate family of George Geer were wealthy landholders in the area of Heavitree, near Exeter, Devonshire, England.It is now a small town about a mile and half southeast from Exeter, having in 1900 a population of about 7,000.
Raised initially by his uncle, he apparently gave George and his brother, Thomas, little or no privilege of school instruction.Hence, in later life, although both brothers held responsible positions, they never wrote their names in deeds or wills, but simply made their mark.The consequence was that their names have been spelled in a variety of ways: Gear, Gere, Geer, etc.Their descendants, with but a few exceptions such as Geres, write the name Geer, and the correctness of this spelling is verified bythe fact that the name thus written is attached to the original coat of arms.
In order to obtain possession of their property, their uncle arranged to ship the two boys to America at an early age.The event is thus described bya desdendant: "George and Thomas were orphaned when quite young and were brought up by their uncle, and as they were heirs to a considerable estate it was the desire of their uncle to remove them out of the way that the inheritance might by his.To enable him to realize his wishes without hindrance, he wrote to a captain of a ship about to sail for America, requesting him to take the lads with him.George and and his brother were sent with the letter, with orders to remain on board until they received an answer.They remained as directed, but to their surprise, while waiting, found themselves victims of deception and already on their passage without the possiblity of returning".
The ship arrived in Boston in 1635 and the boys were put on shore in a new country without money and without friends, at the ages of 14 and 12..For quite a number of years after their arrival in Boston, no history is found of their lives, and how long they remained in Boston and vicinity cannot be determined with absolute certainty.The first reliable record found is that George was one of the early settlers of New London, Connecticut about 1651, and Thomas of Enfield in 1682.It is probable, however, that George came to New London with Robert Allyn and others as early as 1651, and that Thomas remained in Salem, Massachusetts, until after the death of King Philip in 1676.
George married Sarah Allyn, daugher of Robert Allyn, one of the earliest settlers of New London, Connecticut.Soon after his marriage, George settled on a tract of land near his father-in-law.He had first a grant of 50 acres at New London, and in 1665 a hundred acres more.His farm was in part of New London, now the town of Ledyard.Later he owned a tract of land in Preston, now Griswold, Connecticut.He received land by deed from an Indian chief, Owaneco, son of Uncas, on December 11, 1691.Uncas was the chief of the Mohegan Indians, and lived ca. 1588-1643.The tribe lived in southwest Connecticut in the 17th century when they joined with the Pequot Indians.Uncas later rebelled against the Pequot rule:he sought British support, became very powerful and expanded his tribe.Constantly at war with Miantonomo, the Narrangansett chief, he was captured in 1643 and murdered.
George's first house was built on a side hill near a never-failing spring of water near the present town of Ledyard..He built a second house, which was occupied later by his youngest son, Jeremiah.
George Geer was a selectman (one of a board of town officers, elected annually in New England to manage local affairs), and held other offices of trust and honor.During his last years he was totally blind.He resided in Groton, Connecticut, until 5 or 6 years before his death.He then moved to Preston, and lived with his daughter, Margaret Gates.His will, dated June 5, 1723, bequeathed to his wife and his children.
George was buried in an old Indian burial ground in what is now Griswold, CT, about two miles from the farm where he died.The early graves were marked only by small flat stones, and the only legible marks were simple initials, if anything, and cannot now be distringuished, but the grave of George was known, as a white oak tree grew out of his grave to mark the spot.Many years ago the tree was cut to the ground and used for ship timber, but the grave was still known by the stump.A descendat of George thought the place ought to have a permanent marker, so he had made a marker of westley granite placed there, cut with this inscription: "Our first Ancestor, George Geer, died 1726, aged 105, to mark his grave".This was placed on a solid foundation of stones and cement.