People of the Fort
William Steir was a German immigrant. He arrived in the colonies from Rotterdam on the ship Edinburg in 1753. He took the Oath of Allegiance to the King of England upon his arrival on October 2, 1753. His full name was Jn. Wilhelm Steir. The spelling differs in different records of the last name, sometimes appearing as Steir, Stear or Steer. Wilhelm and William vary as well. Once in the colonies, as many immigrants, he adopts English spellings more often than German.
Mr Steer was recruited to work at Fort Roberdeau with the smelter. It was common for wives of lead workers to assist in Europe with the refining and smelting operations. We do not know if his wife Elizabeth was part of such work, nor do we know if she accompanied him during his stay at the fort.
General Roberdeau writes of him, “taken measure to get a Wm. Steer an old German who lives next adjoining a Mr. Trindle living about 8 or 10 miles from Carlisle to go up, which one of the Owners must see is effected, as the most probable means of success I can think of, next to getting a Mason and Smelters from Chizels work“
Mr. Stear continued working at Roberdeau until the end of the smelting operation. He is again mentioned in the letter concerning the problems the fort was having with the works.
Mr. Henry writes, “Mr. Stear a practical smelter was not able to make more than two or three & twenty hundred weight of lead chiefly owing to the want of water for the furnace wheel”
Mr, Alexander Trindle, who is mentioned in the letters concerning the location of Wm. Steer is still Mr. Steirs neighbor in 1784 upon Mr. Steir’s death. Mr. Trindle assists in the execution of his Last Will and Testament.