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George H. Shearer
Former Mayor of Bay City

1892: Biography. (Added Nov. 2007)

Portrait and Biographical Record of Saginaw and Bay Counties, Michigan
1892: Portrait Publishing Company, Chicago


The portrait on the accompanying page presents the lineaments of one of the most prominent, as well as one of the earliest settlers of Bay City. Since coming here in February, 1863, Mr. Shearer has been closely connected with the development of the county, and is numbered among its most highly-esteemed citizens. He was born in Albany, N. Y., July 9, 1825, and is a son of George and Agnes (Buchanan) Shearer. The father a miller and superintendent of flouring-mills, and a man of considerable importance in the neighborhood.

Our subject gained the rudiments of his education in Albany and completed it in Schenectady, whither the family removed in 1836. In 1845 the youth came alone to Detroit where he learned the trade of a carpenter and joiner, and after working at the for some time started a sash factory under the firm name of Shearer & Dewey. Subsequently he sold his interest with that company and entered the firm of James Shearer & Bro., contractors and builders. During one year this new firm put up fifty-two buildings, including stores and house, and only eight of these were frame structures.

The young men now sold out their business in Detroit and in 1863 came to Bay City where they started a stave mill and during the year after their arrival embarked in the lumber business. For that purpose they altered the mill which they were using and which stood where the Michigan Central freight house is now situated. During the time that they carried on the business they manufactured eleven million feet of lumber per year.

In 1875 the firm disposed of its lumber business and G. H. Shearer entered the milling business with J. M. McDonald under the style of McDonald & Shearer. They carried on an extensive business, raising the mill from a capacity of seventy-five to one hundred and seventy-five barrels and changing it at the same time to a full roller process, with best machinery. They also introduced the standard “Gold Dust” flour, which was then the best that was known in Northern Michigan.

In 1888 our subject retired from the flour milling business and for two years engaged in other work. In 1891 he with others established the Bay City Brick and Tile Company, which was incorporated in 1891 and was the successor to the Bay City Brick, Tile and Terra-cotta Manufacturing Company. Of this Mr. Shearer became Secretary and Superintendent. In November, 1889, he established a fine jewelry store with his son, Frank H., and the firm is known as F. H. Shearer & Co., jewelers.

The two years’ vacation which Mr. Shearer took previous to his becoming interested in the tile works was spent in travel. He visited Southern California and the Western Coast; made a trip to Colorado and other parts of the country. He has been a member of the Board of Alderman for three years and the Board of Education for eleven years, being its President during part of that time. In 1886 he was elected Mayor of the city and held that honorable position for two years, during which time the city passed through a series of strikes, but the good judgment and decision of the Mayor were effective in quelling the excitement.

Our subject is superintending the brick yards and tile business, and he employs a large force of men. He has been a member of the Independent Order of the Odd Fellow for forty-five years, has passed through all offices of the Grand Encampment and now holds the second highest office in the Grand Lodge, that of State Deputy Grand Master. He has belong to the order of Masonry since 1868 and is now a member of Bay City Lodge No. 29, F. & A. M.; Blanchard Chapter, and Bay City Council and Commandery, also the Detroit Consistory, as well as the Mystic Shrine where he has taken the Thirty-second degree.

Mr. Shearer was married, in 1850, to Miss Maria E. Herbut, of Detroit, who died leaving one daughterCarrie A. The second marriage of Mr. Shearer was to Laura A. Herbut, a sister of his first wife. Of this union was born one sonFrank H., who is one of the prominent men of the city. The wife and daughter of our subject belong to the Baptist Church, of which he is a liberal supporter. A natural mechanic, he has invented a log turner for handling logs in a sawmills, and also a gang lath mill, saw buckle, and other improvements in machinery.

1894: Death notice in Bay City Tribune. (Added Jan. 2005)

The Bay City Tribune - October 21, 1894


Death of Hon. George H. Shearer Yesterday Morning.
Had Been a Resident of Bay City Over 30 Years -- His Business and Lodge Career.

The community was shocked yesterday over the death of Hon. George H. Shearer, which occurred at the family residence, 1200 Fifth avenue, at 11:30 a.m.

The deceased was one of the best known men of the city and had thousands of friends, who will mourn his departure. He had lived in Bay City over 31 years. Just two weeks ago he was taken ill with pneumonia and despite the efforts of the most skilled physicians, his condition kept growing worse and worse and Friday night all hope of his recovery was abandoned. He sank gradually and just half an hour before the noon hour yesterday went to eternal sleep.

Mr. Shearer was of Scotch descent and a native of Albany, N.Y. He was born July 9, 1825. About 1845 he went to Detroit and in company with his brother, James Shearer, was extensively engaged in building from 1850 to 1863 when he came to Bay City to take charge of the Raymond mill purchased by James Shearer & Co. In 1863. He remained in charge of the mill, as one of the firm, until it was sold to the railroad company.

In 1876 he became a member of the firm of McDonald & Shearer, proprietors of the Bay City Flouring mills and was Mr. McDonald’s partner for 11 years.

Mr. Shearer was a member of the school board for 11 years and spent two years in the council. In 1886 he was elected mayor of Bay City over Hon. A. McDonell, serving one term. He was chairman of the board of public works for several years.

He was one of the leading Odd Fellows of the state, having become a member in 1847 and had filled with credit the highest offices of the order including grand patriarch and grand representative.

It was in mechanics that Mr. Shearer excelled and he invented some valuable improvements in saw mill machinery. His patents dated from 1867 to 1874.

He was always considered a man of sturdy integrity and one of the most active and useful men in the city.

Besides being a prominent Odd Fellow Mr. Shearer was a 32nd degree mason and belong to Bay City Commandary No. 26, Knights Templar.

The deceased was twice married, the first time in 1850 to Miss Marie E. Hubert, of Detroit, who died, and the second time to her sister, Miss Laura A. Hubert. The latter and two children, Carrie A. And Frank H., are left to mourn their loss.

After retiring from the flouring mill, Mr. Shearer spent some time in traveling and in 1891 established the Bay City Tile & Terra Cotta company. At the time of his death he was a member of the jewelry firm of F. H. Shearer & Co.

The funeral will take place tomorrow afternoon at 2:30 o’clock from the house and be conducted by the Knights Templar.

Reference Notes & Pages

Additional information on George Shearer and his family is included the biography of his brother, James.
Related Bay-Journal Pages
James Shearer (bro.)
McDonald, John N.
Shearer, Frank H.(son)
Shearer, Fred E. (g-son)
Shearer & Co. Mill
People Referenced
Hubert, Laura A. (2nd wife)
Buchanan, Agnes (mother)
Hubert, Marie E. (1st wife)
McDonald, John N.(partner)
McDonell, A. (Hon.)
Shearer, Carrie A. (dau.)
Shearer, Frank H. (son)
Shearer, George (father)
Shearer, James (bro.)
Subjects Referenced
Albany, NY
Bay City Flouring mills
Bay City, MI
Bay City Brick & Tile
Bay City Tile & Terra Cotta
Bd. of Alderman
Bd. of Education
Detroit, MI
F.H. Shearer & Co.
Home, 1200 Fifth ave.
James Shearer & Co.
Mayor of Bay City
McDonald & Shearer Co.
Michigan Central
Odd Fellow
Raymond sawmill
Schenectady, NY
Scotch descent
Shearer & Bro.
Shearer & Dewey
Oct. 1894: Also On Page
The steambarge Turner and tow have arrived.

The Ossitrage made her last trip up the shore Friday carrying the largest cargo of the season. She will lay up at tis part.

The big lake tug J.C. Perrott, Capt. Thomas Chron, of this city, master, came in yesterday from Chicago with three barges, two of which are being loaded with lumber in Saginaw and the other one here.
Alex. St. John the Pinconning Saloon-keeper In Trouble.

Alex. St. John, the Pinconning saloonkeeper, came to West Bay City yesterday and while making rounds last night was held up at the corner of Jand and Linn streets and robbed of $75 (so he says). The highwayman forced St. John in submission by punching his face.
The board of supervisors has decided that smoking is obnoxious, and a motion to prohibit such unseemly conduct during the meetings was introduced by Thomas J. Reynolds yesterday and carried by a vote of 20 to 11.

J.A. McDonald is moving into the old Folsum house on Fifth avenue, which he recently purchased.
WRITINGS: History As It Was Written Then.