History of Virginia - John Thomas Mears

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John Thomas Mears

JOHN THOMAS MEARS. One of the important industries along the eastern shore of Virginia is oyster planting. That has been the business of John Thomas Mears of Chincoteague for many years. Mr. Mears is an executive officer of the Whealton Oyster Company, Incorporated, which supplies a large part of the sea food product gathered in this section of the Atlantic Coast.

Mr. Mears was born near Locustville, in Accomac County, October 25, 1873, and is a member of a family that has been identified for several generations with this section. His grandfather, Robert Mears, was a lifelong resident of Accomac County, and one of the substantial farmers there. Arthur T. Mears, father of John T., was born near Locustville, September 2, 1839, and died at Wachapreague July 15, 1908. His home was in Accomac County throughout his life. He was a bricklayer and plasterer by trade, and .for many years was also with the United States Life Saving Service on the eastern shore. He was a democrat, a liberal supporter of the Methodist Episcopal Church South, and a member of the Masonic fraternity. Arthur T. Mears married Ellen McMath, Mao was born in Norfolk, Virginia, April 5, 1844, and died in the city of her birth February 24, 1922. Her father, John P. McMath, was ;I native of Accomac County, and for many years was captain of sailing vessels on. the Chesapeake Bay and along the Atlantic Coast. He leas a resident of Onley in Accomac County when a boy. His wife was Ellen Day, a native of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, who died at Norfolk, Virginia.

Arthur T. Mears and wife reared a large family of children: Mary E., wife of James E. Bundick, a farmer at Belle Haven, Virginia; Charles E., a clerk in Baltimore; Margaret P., wife of Edmund Scarborough, a contractor and bricklayer of Norfolk; John T.; Fannie L., wife of John T. Nock, a farmer living at Wachapreague; Hattie W., wife of John H. Ducr, a farmer at Painter, Virginia; and Vera V., a resident at Norfolk.

John Thomas hears acquired a high school education at Wachapreague, and at the age of eighteen left school to begin life on his own account. He learned and followed the trade of bricklayer and plasterer until he was twenty four years of age, doing his work in Accomac Comity and also at Newport News. Following that until 1908 he was a clerk in the store of A. H. G. Mears at Wachapreague, and then engaged in oyster and clam planting and shipping, and has been a responsible factor in making the Whealton Oyster Company, -Incorporated, one of the leading concerns operating along the eastern shore. He is treasurer, manager and part owner of this business. The seat of operations of the company are on Chincoteague Island. Mr. Mears is also a director of the Bank of Chincoteague, and of the Chincoteague Toll Road Bridge Company.

He is a democrat, is a member of the Christ Methodist Episcopal Church, South, of Chincoteague, is superintendent of the Sunday school and district steward of the church. He is past master and present secretary of Accomac, Lodge No. 243, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, at Chincoteague, is also past master of Ocean Lodge No. 116, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, at Wachapreague, and during 1908 was district deputy grand master of District No. 12 of the Grand Lodge of Virginia, also district deputy grand master of District No. 12 of the Grand Lodge of 'Virginia, 1923. He was also a, member of Mariners Lodge No. 60, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, at Chincoteague. Mr. Mears owns a good modern home at Eight Church Street in Chincoteague. He was a leader in his community in furthering all the aims of the Government during the World war, assisting in the sale of Government securities and also spending much time in filling out questionnaires for recruited men.

On October 25, 1900, at Wachapreague, Mr. Mears married Miss Augustine S. Savage, daughter of Capt. James A. D. and Maggie (Braidwood) Savage. Her mother lives at Hinton, West Virginia. Her father, who died at Wachapreague, was a captain in the United States Life Saving Station on the eastern shore of Virginia. Mr. and Mrs. Mears have a family of six children. The oldest, Clarke Braidwood, born September 12, 1901, graduated Bachelor of Science front the Virginia Military Institute, and is now a post-graduate student in electrical engineering at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. Elsie, the second child, born July 31, 1904, is a student in the college of William and Mary. The younger children are: Robert H., born May 17, 1907, attending the Chincoteague High School; John T., Jr., born October 3, 1911; Margaret, born November 17, 1916; and Richard McMath, born October 5, 1921.