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Dr. Bernardhus Van Leer, Sr.[1, 2]

Male Abt 1686 - 1790  (~ 104 years)


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  • Name Bernardhus Van Leer  [3, 4, 5, 6, 7
    Prefix Dr. 
    Suffix Sr. 
    Born Abt 1686  Isenburg, Prussia Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    AFN D2NP-6J 
    Immigration 1698  Pennsylvania Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Will 10 Feb 1786  Marple Twp, Chester Co, Pennsylvania, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Will written 
    Died 26 Jan 1790  Middletown Twp, Delaware Co, Pennsylvania, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Will 12 Feb 1790  Marple Twp, Chester Co, Pennsylvania, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Will proved 
    Buried Middletown Presbyterian Cemetery, Middletown Twp, Delaware Co, Pennsylvania, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I1625  default
    Last Modified 11 Mar 2011 

    Father Johann Georg von Löhr,   b. 16 Jul 1667, Birstein, Isenburg-Offenbach, Prussia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 25 Sep 1748, Marple Twp, Chester Co, Pennsylvania Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 81 years) 
    Mother Mary,   b. Abt 1668,   d. 1735, Philadelphia, Philadelphia Co, Pennsylvania Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 67 years) 
    Family ID F806  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 1 Mary Branson,   b. 1710, Sonning, Berkshire Co, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1749, Middletown, Chester Co, Pennsylvania Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 39 years) 
    Married 25 Feb 1735  Christ Church, Philadelphia, Philadelphia Co, Pennsylvania, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  [8
    Children 
    +1. George Van Leer,   b. 1734, Philadelphia, Philadelphia Co, Pennsylvania Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 22 Apr 1807, Swedesboro, Gloucester Co, New Jersey, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 73 years)
     2. Thomas Van Leer,   b. 1737, Marple Twp, Chester Co, Pennsylvania, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1754  (Age 17 years)
     3. Dr. Branson Van Leer,   b. 1739, Marple Twp, Chester Co, Pennsylvania, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Oct 1798, Philadelphia, Philadelphia Co, Pennsylvania, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 59 years)
     4. William N. Van Leer,   b. 1741, Marple Twp, Chester Co, Pennsylvania, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1764  (Age 23 years)
    +5. Dr. Benjamin Van Leer,   b. Abt 1746, Marple Twp, Chester Co, Pennsylvania, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 20 Aug 1820, Haddonfield, Camden Co, New Jersey, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 74 years)
    +6. Captain Samuel Van Leer,   b. 1747, Marple Twp, Chester Co, Pennsylvania, USA Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 14 Dec 1825, Warren Point, East Nantmeal Twp, Chester Co, Pennsylvania, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 78 years)
    Last Modified 20 Jun 2007 
    Family ID F712  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 2 Christiana Fuls,   b. Oct 1726,   d. 29 May 1815, Marple Twp, Delaware Co, Pennsylvania, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 88 years) 
    Married 1750  German Reformed Church, Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Children 
    +1. Isaac Van Leer,   b. Abt 1754,   d. 31 Jul 1799  (Age ~ 45 years)
    +2. Mary Van Leer,   d. 1783
     3. Hannah Van Leer,   b. 1761,   d. 1837  (Age 76 years)
     4. Catherine Van Leer,   b. 1764,   d. 1828  (Age 64 years)
     5. Christiana Van Leer
     6. Child Van Leer
    +7. Dr. Bernard Van Leer, Jr.,   b. 21 Sep 1770, Marple Twp, Chester Co, Pennsylvania Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 9 Feb 1814, Marple Twp, Chester Co, Pennsylvania, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 43 years)
     8. Child Van Leer
     9. Child Van Leer
    Last Modified 13 Apr 2007 
    Family ID F723  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Photos
    2nd Street [24 Mar 2006]
    2nd Street [24 Mar 2006]
    Photo taken on 2nd Street in Philadelphia from directly in front of Christ Church, facing south. The Bernardhus Van Leer family resided opposite the Christ Church on 2nd Street. Taken by Chad G. Nichols
    Christ Church [24 Mar 2006]
    Christ Church [24 Mar 2006]
    Photo of the south side of Christ Church at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Dr. Bernardhus Van Leer and Mary BRANSON were married here in 1734. Johann Georg von Löhr and Rebecca MATHER were married here in 1738. Noah Wells and Mary HARRISON were married here in 1746. The church continues being open to the public daily 9AM-5PM and offers services Sundays at 9AM and 11AM and Wednesdays at 12PM. Taken by Chad G. Nichols
    Christ Church, Interior [24 Mar 2006]
    Christ Church, Interior [24 Mar 2006]
    Photo of the interior of Christ Church at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Dr. Bernardhus Van Leer and Mary BRANSON were married here in 1734. Johann Georg von Löhr and Rebecca MATHER were married here in 1738. Noah Wells and Mary HARRISON were married here in 1746. The pews are originals, #70 belong to Benjamin Franklin, #58/60 belonged to President George Washington, and another belonged to Betsy Ross. Taken by Chad G. Nichols
    Marple Twp Home [26 Mar 2006]
    Marple Twp Home [26 Mar 2006]
    Photo of the Bernardhus Van Leer Sr home at Marple Twp, Delaware Co, Pennsylvania. The original home was built between 1742 and 1743. In the fireplace hearth on the swing arm is engraved "BVL1743," demonstrating the likely completion date of the home. Dr. Van Leer served all his patients in this home and therefore it is likely each of his children born after that date were born in this home as well. It was in this home where Bernard was beaten by thieves as an old man at the age of 102. He survived another 2 years, dying at age 104 in 1790. There are bricks on the 2nd and 3rd floors with the inscription "BVL1792," demonstrating that Bernard's son, Bernard Jr, likely added the 2nd and 3rd floors at that time (after his father's death). Photo taken by Chad G. Nichols
    Photo of the Black Mansion at Marple Township, Pennsylvania
    Photo of the Black Mansion at Marple Township, Pennsylvania
    Photo of the Black Mansion at Marple Township circa 1960. The home was originally built by John George Van Leer about 1742. His son, Bernhardhus, lived in the home until his death in 1790. Courtesy of the Marple Twp Historical Society. Used by permission.

    Documents
    Colonial & Revolutionary Families of Pennsylvania, Vol III, Van Leer Excerpt
    Colonial & Revolutionary Families of Pennsylvania, Vol III, Van Leer Excerpt
    Colonial & Revolutionary Families of Pennsylvania, Volume III, excerpt of p. 1320-1323, "William Mintzer Van Leer." The pages relay the history of John George von Lohr and descents through William Mintzer Van Leer. Research by Chad G. Nichols

    Headstones
    Headstone [27 Mar 2006]
    Headstone [27 Mar 2006]
    Headstone of Bernardhus Van Leer at Middletown Presbyterian Cemetery. Taken by Chad G. Nichols
    Generation Shot [27 Mar 2006]
    Generation Shot [27 Mar 2006]
    Generation Shot taken at the headstone of Bernardhus Van Leer Sr. Photographed are (L to R) Chad Glen Nichols & Dennis Loraine Nichols. Taken by Sietske W. Nichols
    Headstone
    Headstone
    Headstone of Dr. Bernardhus Vanleer at Middletown Presbyterian Church Cemetery. Photo taken and posted to Findagrave.com by Chris West. Used by permission. © All rights reserved.

    Histories
    Biography from History of Chester County, Pennsylvania
    Biography from History of Chester County, Pennsylvania
    Biography of Bernhardus Van Leer, an abstract from History of Chester County, Pennsylvania (p 752). Transcription by Chad G. Nichols

  • Notes 
    • BIRTH: The History of Chester County lists Bernhard's birth year as about 1686 in or near Isenburg, Rhenish Prussia (modern-day Hesse, Germany), and indicates he was about 11 years old when his parents emigrated to Pennsylvania. The 1937 transcription project of the Middletown Presbyterian Cemetery listed a note with Dr. Van Leer's grave marker, "Dr. VanLeer is the oldest known citizen buried in this cemetery. He was still practicing his profession at the age of 104." Subtracting 104 yrs from his deathdate of 26 Jan 1790 calculates birthyear 1685/1686. Bernardhus would have been born at either Isenburg-Büdingen, Isenburg-Meerholz, Isenburg-Offenbach, or Isenburg-Wächtersbach (see House of Isenburg)

      NAME: English variation is Bernhard Van Leer

      IMMIGRATION: Immigrated to America in 1698 with his parents.

  • Sources 
    1. [S756] Nichols Online Library, Digital Documents Researched and Scanned by Chad Nichols & Relatives, Nichols, Chad G., (Catalogue of over 40,000 relatives with more than 5,000 of them having documentation to support their place in the family tree. Some recent generation surnames include Anderson, Broman, Campbell, Cloward, Conder, Dutson, Ericksen, Farmer, Holyoak, Kump, Kylen, Mendenhall, Nichols, Nielson, O'Donnell, Richardson, Roberts, Shelley, Stone, and Walker. Most ancestors are from England, Denmark, Sweden, and Germany. [online] www.nicholslibrary.org 7783 S 4950 W West Jordan, UT 84081 USA) (Reliability: 3).
      2nd Street Homesite - 003341
      Christ Church - 003342, 003343
      Middletown Presbyterian Church - 003377
      Marple Twp Home - 003399
      Colonial & Revolutionary Families - 005252
      Grave Marker - 003379, 005377
      Biography - 004459
      Generation Shot - 003393

    2. [S100] Will Record (Reliability: 3).
      VANLEER, BARNHERD, physician, Marple Twp., Chester County.
      February 10, 1786 - February 12, 1790 (Probated as Branson VanLEER).
      Wife Christian, sons George, Branson, Samuel and Benjamin each 5 shillings, these being already provided for, son Isaac, daughter Mary wife of Moses MOORE, messuages and land in Tradyfrin including the Blue Ball Tavern, purchased of Cunrod YOUNG and Thomas HUBBERT during her life and afterwards to her heirs who die leaving lawful issue. To daughter Hannah, property on the east side of Front Street in the District of Southwark, to daughter Catharine house and lot in Moyamensing Township bought of John EVANS, to daughter Christian ground rents of 4 lots on Arch Street purchased of Benjamin COOPER, son Barnherd, homestead and heirlooms reserving certain rights for mother during life.
      Exrs: Sd. wife and son Barnhard VANLEER.
      Wits: Henry LAWRENCE and Thomas TUCKER.
      (Online at http://archiver.rootsweb.com/th/read/PACHESTE/2000-08/0966121962)

    3. [S395] Branson-Cook Genealogy, Young, Sandra Branson, ([Online]; [email] oregongal9 # aol.com (change # to @)) (Reliability: 3).
      Bernardhus was the only child of the immigrant Johann Georg von Löhr. His life and medical practices were documented by Dr. Dorothy I. Lansing in a article--"The Medical Van Leer Family of Pennsylvania and New Jersey"--in Transactions and Studies of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia in July 1970.

      About 1710 Bernardhus returned to Europe to be educated as a physician. A childhood friend, John Worrell of Marple Township, went with him; they both returned 7 years later as two of the very first medical doctors in the New York. Bernardhus returned with technical manuscripts in German, French, and Latin.

      Dr. Bernardhus Van Leer's medical practices were very unique for the comparative wilds of that ancient time: he maintained an office practice, exclusively! It was said that he used the difficulties of travel as his excuse for not traveling to the bedside of the patient. The article speculates that Bernardus followed German medical practices in staunch opposition to Philadelphia practices.

      Dr. Bernardhus Van Leer was praised for the qualities of abstemiousness and non-gluttony.

      His [Bernard's] daughter, Mary, was still living when the History of Chester County, Pennsylvania was written. She related that--when her father was 100 years old, he rode 30 miles on horseback to visit her--and then returned the same day--also by horseback. When he was 102, robbers broke into his house and beat him badly. He died 2 years later--at age 104--due to injuries received from the beating.

    4. [S111] FamilySearch™ Pedigree Resource File, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, The, (Salt Lake City, UT [Online]) (Reliability: 3).
      Submitted by: Marjorie B. WINTER, 45 Lori Lane Oriental NC 28571-9596; Lists death 26 Jan 1790 at Marple Twp, Delaware, Pennsylvania and marriage to Christianna Fuls in 1750 at German Reformed Church, Philadelphia, PA

    5. [S381] Grave Marker, FHL 00441379 ITEM 1 (Reliability: 3).
      Here
      Lieth the body of
      Bernhard Vanleer, M.D.
      Physissian in Physick
      Who departed this Life
      January the 26th 1790
      Aged 104 Years
      Friends weep not for me,
      For all your tears are vain.
      Prepare to meet the Lord
      That we may meet again.
      Photo & transcription by Chad G. Nichols

    6. [S397] History of Chester County, Pennsylvania, Everts, Louis H., (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania : Futhey & Cope, 1881 A history of Chestery County, Pennsylvania. On file at Chester County Historical Society, West Chester, Pennsylvania), P 752 (Reliability: 3).
      VAN LEER, DR. BERNHARDUS, the centenarian, was the son of the Hon. John George and Mary Von Loehr, the original ancestors of the Vanleer family in Pennsylvania, who emigrated from Germany to this country about the year 1697. Dr. Van Leer was born about the year 1686, in or near Isenburg, in Rhenish Prussia, and came hither with his parents when but eleven years of age.
      The family settled, soon after their arrival in Pennsylvania, in Marple township, Chester (now Delaware) Co., where the father died in 1748, leaving a wife, Rebecca. Bernhard remained a few years with his father, assisting him on the farm, and then returned to Germany to prosecute his studies. Such was the usage in those days, when colleges and universities were almost unknown in our country, though Germany then, as well as now, was renowned for her universities. That young Van Leer availed himself, with ardor and success, of the opportunities thus afforded him is manifest from the volumes which he left behind him -- both manuscript and printed -- in the Latin, French, and German, as well as English languages. Under these favorable circumstances he appears to have prosecuted his classical and professional studies through the protracted period of seven years. He then returned to his adopted country and to his parental home, where he entered upon the practice of his professional as a physician. Shortly after engaging in professional life he was united in marriage, Feb. 25, 1734, with Mary Branson, the daughter of William Branson, a wealthy merchant of Philadelphia. The practice of Dr. Van Leer was conducted principally in his office. This was partly owing to the difficulties then existing in passing from one part of the country to another. Roads, except between some main points, were few, and most of them were but the pathways of the Indians through the forest. Streams were to be forded, and the locations of the farmer's clearing to be guessed at. All these difficulties were enhanced by the sparseness of the population, rendering the distance to be traversed from settlement to settlement very considerable. His reputation has come down to us as that of a practitioner whose skill was tested widely and long, and who possessed in an eminent degree the confidence of those who resorted to him. But the duties of a medical man can never be performed to their fullest extent in the office. The physician must qualify himself forf his duties at the bedside of the diseased, and can only discharge his responsibilities by personal visitation and searching inquiries in the sick-room. There was one feature, however, in Dr. Van Leer's practice in reference to himself that is worthy of special regard. He was through life a striking example of temperance, not only in the use of vinous and spirituous liquors, but also in diet generally. He abstained entirely from the use of all intoxicating liquors.
      His daughter stated that her father in his hundredth year rode with her on horseback to his farm in Chester Valley, a distance of thirty miles, in one day, and returned on the following day without complaining of fatigue.
      This vigor of constitution he retained to his one hundred and second year, when he received some injuries which caused his death, Jan. 26, 1790, having attain to the patriarchal age of one hundred and four years. His remains repose in the cemetery at Middletown, Delaware Co.
      Upon his tomb is this inscription:
      "Here Lieth the body of Bernhard Vanleer, M.D., Physissian in Physick, Who departed this Life January the 26th, 1790, Aged 104 years. Friends weep not for me, | For all your tears are vain; | Prepare to meet the Lord, | That we may meet again."
      By his first wife, Mary Branson, Dr. Van Leer had George, b. 1735, d. April 22, 1807, m. Elizabeth Roberts; Thomas, d. 1754; Branson; William, d. 1764, unmarried; Benjamin, and Samuel. He married a second wife, Christiana ---, who died May 29, 1815, aged 88 years, 7 months. By her he had several other children, to one of whom, Mary, wife of Moses Moore, he devised teh Blue Ball tavern and 180 acres of land in Tredyffrin. To his son Bernhard he gave the homestead. The latter was born Setp. 21, 1770, and died Feb. 9, 1814.
      Samuel Van Leer, one of the older sons, became the owner of the site of the old Reading Furnace (see p. 347), in which is now Warwick township. His wife was Hannah, daughter of Isaac and Elizabeth Wayne, and sister of Gen. Anthony Wayne.
      Transcription by Chad G. Nichols

    7. [S794] History of Delaware County, Pennsylvania, The, Ashmead, Henry Graham, (Philadelphia: L. H. Everts & Co. 1884 [available online at www.delcohistory.org/ashmead/) (Reliability: 3).
      [pp 579-80]
      At the court on the 5th day of the Sixth month, 1684, occurs the first mention of Marple in the records of Chester County, at which time Jonathan Hayes and James Stamfield were appointed tax-collectors "for the Publicke Aid for Marple," and at the same court Thomas Pearson was appointed "Constable and Supervisor for the highway for Marple." In many of the early records the name is spelled Marpool; but Holmes, on his Map of the Improved part of Pennsylvania, gives this township according to the modern spelling, and as the first court record adheres to the same orthography, the word Marpool is doubtless an error. Why the locality was so called is now unknown.
      The great road of Marple, which enters the township at its southern boundary just above the Springfield meeting-house, was laid out in 1683, and ran almost due north through the centre of this district, when it diverged in a westwardly direction, uniting with the West Chester road a short distance south of Newtown line. At the southwestern end of Marple was a tract of three hundred acres, which was patented to George Willard, 22d of Eleventh month, 1684. Richard Maris, a son of George Maris, of Springfield, subsequently became the owner of one hundred and thirty acres of this land, on which he resided, and was assessed for in 1715. The remaining part of the tract was conveyed to Jonathan Coppock, Nov. 4, 1708, but beyond that fact nothing further respecting him is known to the writer. Immediately above the Willard land were three hundred acres, one hundred of which was taken up by Ralph Draycott, Dec. 2, 1689, and two hundred acres by Elizabeth Draycott, Nov. 5, 1690, neither of whom seem ever to have resided on the estate, which passed to Thomas Pearson, Dec. 29, 1697. Tradition states that this Pearson came with Penn in the "Welcome," in 1682, and it was on his suggestion that the name of Upland was changed to Chester. The records of the arrivals of the early immigrants to Pennsylvania, in the possession of the Pennsylvania Historical Society, show that Thomas Pierson, - for so the name is spelled in the list, - was by trade a mason. Margaret, his wife, John, his brother, and Mary Smith, his sister, came from Ponnall-fee, in Cheshire, England, in the ship "Endeavour," of London, arriving in the colony on the 29th of Seventh month (September), 1683, nearly a year after Penn's arrival. Sarah Pearson, the daughter of Thomas, intermarried with John West, and became the mother of Benjamin West, the noted American artist. Mary Smith, the sister of Thomas Pearson, just above his tract, took on rent, Oct. 6, 1683, fifty acres of ground. Through this land and that of her brother the road leading from Upper Providence to Springfield meeting-house was laid out May 2, 1721. Above Mary Smith's land were two hundred and fifty acres surveyed to John Pearson, who came with his brother Thomas, in the "Endeavour," in October, 1683, which subsequently became the property of Robert Pearson. On Oct. 13, 1685, Francis Stanfield, who had purchased prior to leaving England, received a patent for six hundred acres. He settled on this tract prior to the summer of 1684, for, as already mentioned, at the August court of that year he was appointed one of the tax-collectors for Marple. This large estate subsequently was divided into smaller holdings, of which Peter, John, and Joseph Worrall had various-sized plots, as also Joseph and John Rhoads. In 1713 three hundred acres of the Stanfield land became the property of Robert Pearson, who was assessed for it in 1715. Dr. Bernhardus Vanlear, in 1720, acquired two hundred and forty-eight acres of this estate, and here he resided until his death, Jan. 26, 1790, at the extraordinary age of one hundred and four years. His death being largely due to the fact that in 1788, when he was one hundred and two years old, his house was entered by burglars, and because of his refusal to inform them where he had secreted his treasure, cruelly maltreated him. Above the Stanfield tract, on Oct. 27, 1683, three hundred acres were surveyed to Peter and Joshua Worrall. The family of Worrells (for the latter is the modern spelling of the name) are believed to be descendants of Sir Hubert de Warel, who lost three sons at the battle of Hastings, which victory gave to William the Conqueror absolute possession of England. Peter Worrell (or Worrall) was a tanner, from whom the Worrals of Marple are descended; of Joshua, nothing seems now to be known. John Worrall, who settled in Chester township in 1648, came from Oare, Berkshire, England, and as he named one of his children Peter, and Peter called one of his sons John, it would appear that if not brothers, they were at least very nearly related to each other. John Worrall, Peter's son, with Bernhardus Vanlear, early in the last century, went to Germany, and graduated as a physician. Above the Worrall tract were seven hundred and fifty acres surveyed to John and Charles Bevan, June 28, 1684, which was part of the two thousand acres purchased by John Bevan from Penn, in England. It subsequently became the property of Jonathan Hayes, who, on July 30, 1684, received a patent for six hundred acres immediately to the north of the Bevan patent. He was the largest landholder in the township. He was a member of Assembly in 1689, and again in 1697, and one of the justices of the court from 1703 to 1711. In 1715 he was murdered by Hugh Pugh, a millwright, and Lazarus Thomas, a laborer. The trial of the assassins is the first case of homicide known in the records of Chester County.

    8. [S472] Marriages Recorded by the Registrar General, ([online] http://ftp.rootsweb.com/pub/usgenweb/pa/philadelphia/church/pass8-1.txt Original in Pennsylvania Archives, Second Series, vol 8; Made available online by Donna Bluemink & Joe Patterson. Contents include transcriptions of marriages for Christ Church (Philadelphia), Swedes' Church (Philadelphia), First Presbyterian Church (Carlisle), St. Paul's Episcopal Church (Chester), Reformed Church (Falkner Swamp), Lutheran Church (New Hanover), German Reformed Church (Philadelphia), & Paxtang & Derry Churches) (Reliability: 3).
      1734, Feb. 25, Bransten, Mary, and Bernhard Sanlear
      1734, Feb. 25, Vanlear, Bernhard, and Mary Bransten
      (Research by Chad G. Nichols)