John Munro Longyear, C.S.

Portrait by Max Bohm. Gift of Mrs. Helen Longyear Paul.

Biography

JOHN MUNRO LONGYEAR was the son of Harriet Munro and John Wesley Longyear, a Federal Judge in Detroit, Michigan. He met Mary Beecher, a schoolteacher, while both were living and working in Marquette, Michigan. In 1879, the couple were married. John’s extensive knowledge of that still undeveloped territory led to a successful business career.  Starting off as a land surveyor, he went on to open iron, timber, and gold mines in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and later in life developed coal fields in the Spitsbergen Archipelago (northernmost Norwegian islands) in the Arctic Ocean. In the spring of 1902, when Mr. Longyear found himself unable to protect his home in Marquette from the inroads of unsightly railroad construction, he decided to move it to Boston. The house was transported from Marquette to Brookline, Massachusetts, where the Longyears rebuilt and expanded it. Later, their home would serve for many years as the headquarters of Longyear Museum. John Longyear’s generosity made possible the many interests and philanthropies of his wife, who saw it as her mission to collect and preserve historical evidence relating to Mary Baker Eddy. Years earlier, Mr. Longyear had Christian Science class instruction with Mary E. Crawford in Cleveland, Ohio, one of Mrs. Eddy’s students, and gratefully acknowledged the blessings that Christian Science had brought his family, including his own healing of a long-standing disability.

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