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Gear, Hezekiah H.

Born: 1791-XX-XX Connecticut

Died: 1877-06-08

Gear moved to Jo Daviess County, Illinois, in 1827. He worked in the lead mines there and fought in the Black Hawk War. Gear was one of Galena's most prominent residents. He was one of the main organizers of the Galena Episcopal Church in 1834 and served as one of the first senior wardens of the parish the following year. In 1835, he won election as Galena's treasurer and served on the town's board of trustees in 1838. In 1841, he won election as alderman. Gear won a seat in the Illinois Senate in 1849 and remained there for one term. In 1850, Gear was mining, and owned $20,000 in real property. In 1855, he helped organize the Gas Light Company of Galena. Gear eventually sold as many as 26,000,000 pounds of lead, making him one of the wealthiest men in the old northwest. He was married three times and fathered five children. Abraham Lincoln represented Gear in Griggs & Weld v. Gear. By 1860, Gear had amassed $50,000 in real property, with a personal estate of $1,500.

Gravestone, Old City Cemetery, Galena, IL; The History of Jo Daviess County, Illinois (Chicago: H. F. Kett, 1878), 247-48, 251, 461, 467, 491, 504, 511, 531; John Clayton, comp., The Illinois Fact Book and Historical Almanac, 1673-1968 (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1970), 216; Griggs & Weld v. Gear, Martha L. Benner and Cullom Davis et al., eds., The Law Practice of Abraham Lincoln: Complete Documentary Edition, 2d edition (Springfield: Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, 2009), http://www.lawpracticeofabrahamlincoln.org/Details.aspx?case=139743; U.S. Census Office, Seventh Census of the United States (1850), Jo Daviess County, IL, 319; U.S. Census Office, Eighth Census of the United States (1860), Jo Daviess County, IL, 63.