|Like many young adults, I often wondered about my family's origin. To the best of my knowledge, no one had ever taken the time to find out. My interest peaked at abut age 40, as my grandfather Lawrence Farnsworth Peer lay dying in a nursing home. I borrowed as many photographs of Lawrence's family as I could find and put together a video-tape record of his life. I'm not certain that grandpa Peer ever saw or comprehended the video as he passed in and out of consciousness. However, I will always believe that he did and was pleased.|
The desire to learn more about the Peer family took me to small towns in Northern Pennsylvania, such as Antrim, Wellsboro and Galeton. The on to Denville, Rockaway and Boonton, Morris County, New Jersey where the Peer name was once as common as "Smith." I was surprised to learn that local historians were as interested in the Peer famly as I was. Peer descendents may be interest to know that an 1829 Bible, outlining Peer family history is in the possession of the Boonton Historical Society. And imagine my surprise when by chance I visited the historic "Peer General Store," on Diamond Spring Road in Denville, and found photographs of my ancestors lining the wall of the dining room.
The Peer (Pier) family, possibly originally French Huguenot, whose name appears as Pierre in Old Boonton deeds dating from 1745, built homesteads which they chose to move to new locations when their lands were flooded by the Jersey City Reservoir. With prolific progeny, the Peers married into almost every local family. The once elegant Knoll Club, whose membership included the rich and famous, is on Old Boonton land in the area once appropriately named "Peertown." The present flagpole at the Knoll Club serves as a marker of, and lone monument to, the ancient Peer burying ground.
In June 2003, my new book was published - "Peer Family History 1602 - 2003" Copies were donated to historical societies in Boonton, Denville, and Morristown, Morris County, New Jersey; Wellsboro, Tioga County, PA; Elmira, Chemung County, NY. A copy can also be found in the Steele Memorial Library, Elmira, Chemung County, NY.
Visits to many graveyards and interviews with historians and Peer family descendents have provided the necessary background to put together this book of facts. With first-hand information, the accuracy of Lawrence Farnsworth Peer's family is very high. However the remainder of the information has not been highly researched and documented. I realize that many questions remain unanswered and undoubtedly, many errors will be found by future genealogists. If the information presented here inspires others to new expoloration and more in-depth inquiry about the Peer family I have been successful.
The Peer (Pier) family's roots in America began on May 9, 1661 when two brothers Arent Teunissen Pier and Jan Theunissen Pier, sailing on the St. John Batsiste, immigrated from Amsterdam, Netherland to New Netherlands, and a began a new life in America...