Note:  The genealogy of this family as written by Zella Armstrong in her 1922 book of ”Notable Southern Families,” may or may not be correct.  Therefore with this in mind, I have chosen to present the beginning pages of her description of the Wear family because of the unique information she offers as to the origin of the name and the probability of settlement of other Ware families who arrived from Ireland.  (Her entire article appears is the source listed below.)  As our name has been researched, the spelling has come down from De Warre to Ware.

Further, I submit to you information sent to Conrad Wayne Ware, as part of his DNA test results from Ancestry, regarding the origins of the Ware, Wear, Warre, etc. lineage.

Click on to enlarge.


The Wears came from Oslster, Ireland They reached Augusta County, Virginia, by way of Pennsylvania as did many of the Augusta County, Virginia, early families.

In April 1719, Robert Wier was one of the settlers in Nutfield, near Haverhill, Massachusetts, (but in New Hampshire) under the leadership of James McKee. It is probable that this Robert Wear was the father of Robert Wear, who later was established in Augusta Counlty, Virginia, and was the father of Col. Samuel Wear.

The settlement of Nutfield was thought to be in Massachusetts, but the general court of May, 1719, decided that it was in New Hampshire. James Gregg and Robert Wear, in behalf of the Scotch-Irish settlers at Nutfield, asked the Governor and Court assembled at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, for a township ten miles square. They and others obtained a deed from Col John Wheelwright. Londonderry, New Hampshire, was then incorporated in June, 1719.  It voted to give a lot to each of the first comers, ‘which is the number of twenty’ Robert Wear is one of the twenty. To Robert Wear and his wife. Martha Wear, a daughter, Elizabeth Wear was born in 1723.

A Robert Wear was Commissioner in Antrim County, Ireland. 1717.

Few names have been subjected to such varied spelling as that of ‘Wear’. Wier, Weyr, Weer and Ware are a few of the variations. The early recorder’s orthography conformed only to the sound of a name and there its nicety ended. Quite often a family accepted the change without protest, for to the pioneer, public records were more vital than the mere differenc of a letter or two in the spelling of his name. The families of Colonel Samuel Wear and his brother, John Wear, seem to have preferred ‘Wear’. There are several romantic stories accounting for that preference.

A later family, spelling the name ‘Weyr’ settled in North Carolina shortly prior to the Revolution. The Virginia family of which the Tennessee family was a branch, spelled the name Weir as many of the descendants do to this day.

While it is possible that the family name is a corruption of the Anglo-Saxon word “DeVere, Mrs. Louise Wilson Reynolds, attributes its origin to the Gothic ‘Wehren’, to check or from the kindred Anglo-Saxon ‘Wer’, which, literally transcribed, means ‘To defend, to protect’. From the latter we receive the word ‘Weir’, a dam.

A family of Scotch, ‘ Weirs” was established in Ireland in 1664 by the Rev. John Weir, who, with James Adair and several other ministers was sent into Ireland ‘to administer the covenant to all of the officers and soldiers and Protestants in Ireland.

The Rev. John Wear may have been the father or grand father of Robert Weir, or Wear, of Nutfield, Massachusetts.

As early as 1090, we find in the City of Brotherly Love, Charles Weir asking for ‘ye thirty foot lot on ye river’s bank adjoining Richard Wall and Timothy Clements’.

Charles Weir received the lot; he also is recorded as one of the first attorneys of Philadelphia.

An early line of Pennsylvania Weirs, with branches in Cumberland County, is thought to have descended from Charles Weir; the names bear a marked dissimilarity to those in the Robert Wear line.

Robert, John and William Weir were the founders of the Bucks County, Pennsylvania, ‘Weirs’. They are believed to have come from Massachusetts about the year 1737, and to have been sons of Robert, Weir, of Nutfield. In that case their mother was Martha and ‘their sister was Elizabeth, a name frequent in the family to this day.

(Col. Samuel Wear named his eldest daughter, Elizabeth).

John Weir married Elizabeth Holmes. September 3. 1737. No record has been found of the marriage of Robert or of William Weir.

Since no line has been found in Pennsylvania for some time prior to the Revolution that could be credited to John Weir, and as subsequently such a line does appear in Virginia, we are led to the belief that John Weir emigrated to Richmond before Robert Weir purchased land in the Borden grant in 1752. …”

Source:  Notable Southern Families, Vol. 2, by Zella Armstrong, The Lookout Publishing Co., Chattanooga, Tenn., 1922, pages 345-369


Wear — 1 Comment

  1. Great article Vicki. This one is going to be saved in my archives of your postings. Thanks, Wayne

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