From Susan Bear’s Album: John M. Wisherd

Hagerstown photographer Bascom W. T. Phreaner took this carte de visite portrait of a seated John M. Wisherd on the 10th of February 1870.

I found a John M. Wisherd, born 24 September 1847 in Pennsylvania, living with his family in Washington County in 1850. He seems about the right age for this photo. John’s parents were farmers Jacob Wisherd (b. abt. 1817, Pa.) and Catherine (Stahl) Wisherd (b. abt. 1822, Pa.).

What’s the connnection to Susan Bear? My hunch, based on a Maryland marriage record, is that John’s uncle William Wisherd (b. November 1829, Pa.) married Susan Bear’s sister Lydia Bear (1828-1865).

I think of them as the “wandering Wisherds,” because they were always moving on. In 1860, William and Lydia were farming in Fulton County, Illinois. They had two little daughters, Elizabeth and Mary. It was here that Lydia died at the age of 37.

Other family members had also migrated west: Jacob and Catherine Wisherd and all their children, including John. By 1870, their farm was in McDonough County, Illinois, and John was running it with his widowed mother.

John married Mary Drake Hatch, a widow with two children, about 1878, but they did not remain in McDonough County. By 1900, they were farming in Cottonwood Falls, Chase County, Kansas. They had four children of their own, Minnie, Floyd, Perry and Ida.

Again they moved west: finally, to 17th Street, in Los Angeles. Minnie had married and had a son, Edgar Heintz.  Perry was a coffee and tea merchant, and Floyd was selling shoes.

John M. Wisherd, now widowed,  last appears in the census in 1920, still living in Los Angeles with some of his children. I believe this young Washington County farmer with the far-away gaze came to his final rest here where the west ends.


  1. Michael Simister says:

    I am looking for the man who was. In business with my grandfather mccollum please help me connect some missing pieces.

  2. Adam says:

    Hi Susan,

    I am a Wisherd decendant and would love ot talk to you about them.
    Please email me.


    1. waldonia says:

      Cool! I’m so glad you found this photograph and got in touch. I’ll definitely email you!

    2. Michael says:

      My great grandfather was one of the men who employed perry. I am trying to find some info on the business. Can you help

      1. waldonia says:

        Hi Michael . . . The record I have of the company is from Perry Wisherd’s 1917 Draft Registration card. For employment it says McCollum and Wisherd, tea and coffee business , 803 W. Sixth, Los Angeles, Cal. I found a 1914 Los Angeles city directory listing for a Roy D. McCollum of McCollum and Wisherd, home address 1244 W. 52nd St., business 803 W. Sixth Street. The only thing I can suggest from here would be to go down to Los Angeles City Hall and see if they have any records that would help, like maybe old business records. 803 W. Sixth Street is at Flower Street, an area that was redeveloped many years ago, so I doubt the building that housed McCollum & Wisherd still exists. West 52nd Street, where Roy McCollum lived, is a neighborhood of ca. 1910 one-story bungalows between Slauson and Vernon avenues. I also found a California Death Index listing for a Roy Duane McCollum, mother’s maiden name Bates. Roy died 28 July 1940 in Los Angeles; he was born 21 August 1868 in New York. You could get his death certificate using this info. Don’t know if this helps . . .

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