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James Lyons Greer

James Lyons Greer

James Lyons Greer was born 15 Jun 1850 in Carygreavy Parish, Anahilt, County Down, Ireland to John Greer and Rachel Lyons Greer. In later life he would forget his birth date and list it as 15 Jan 1851 but records at the Loughaghery Presbyterian Church, Maghera-conluce Townland in Ireland, show it as 15 Jun 1850.

Jim had 11 brothers and sisters. In 1869 at the age of 19 he emigrated to the United States, settling in Titusville where several of his brothers and sisters lived. Jim was trained as a bricklayer and after three years he moved to Stoneboro, where in 1872 he began work as a coal miner, working at The Mercer Iron and Coal Company’s No. 1 Mine, by Sandy Lake.

On 8 August 1874, he married Harriett Ellen Patterson in Sandy Lake. “Miss Hattie,” as he called her, was born 24 Jun 1858 to William Carse Patterson and Mary Martin Patterson in Belfast, Ireland.

Two years after his wedding, Jim Greer opened a mercantile business. He ran the general store from 1877 for the next 35 years. Hattie was active in the management of the business as well and the children often delivered groceries and worked as clerks. In1898 the original wooden store burned to the ground. It was rebuilt in 1900 after two years of cleanup and preparation but it was rebuilt of brick. In times of depression in the local mining industry, Jim Greer helped dozens of families pull through and it was this generosity that won and held him such a large following of friends throughout the district. Jim Greer retired and sold the store in 1914 to the Egbert Brothers.

Jim and Hattie had six children. Their first child John, named for Jim’s father, was born 22 July 1875 when Jim was 24 and Hattie was 17. William Daniel, known as “Pup” was born next, in 1877. A daughter, Minna, followed two years later in 1879. Minna died in 1900 at the age of 10. Rachel, named for Jim’s mother, followed on 8 Jan 1881. Then Jim Jr. on 16 June 1885. Thomas Kennedy was born 17 Dec 1888 and finally, seven years later, Helen Mae on 10 Jun 1895. She was 20 years younger than her oldest brother and clearly the baby of the family. Hattie was 37 when Helen Mae was born.

1921 was a hard year for the Greer family. Jim Greer died April 20th, his brother William passed away a month later in Centerville, PA and sister Isabella, who had not emigrated to America but remained in Belfast, died Sept 29th.

Jim had been ill with a heart ailment for some time prior to his death. Yet he was conscious almost until the last, when he unexpectedly passed away. His obituary stated, “No one in this town was held in greater affection or greater esteem than Jim Greer, well known for his big heartedness.” Large numbers of people attended his funeral, from throughout Mercer County. Rev. R.C. Douds, pastor of the Stoneboro Presbyterian Church presided at the funeral. He said, “Mr. Greer was a true and kind-hearted citizen, father and husband. Rev Douds also presided at Hattie’s funeral, three years later. He was the first full-time pastor at the Presbyterian Church, having served there since 1913.

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