The Pennsylvania LeFevres
Family Bible

"A boy of sixteen who prized his father's Bible above everything else
to save from his wrecked home, LeFevres are not ashamed of."

George Newton LeFevre

History of the LeFevre Bible

     This Bible, the only item that Isaac LeFevre rescued from his home following the martyrdom of his entire family, was printed in Geneva in 1608, one of thousands spread undercover throughout France by the Calvinists. How it came into his family's possession is unknown, though it was likely acquired at great risk. To be caught in possession of a Bible could bring instant death in France at that time. Isaac joined the Ferree family in their escape from France following the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, and smuggled the Bible to safety in Bavaria. According to tradition it was concealed in a loaf of bread.

     Isaac LeFevre was indeed a Frenchman, using the French language to list the birth of each of his children, even after they had come to America.  After the name of each child is in French "est ne" meaning "is born."

Abraham LeFevre est ne April 9, 1706.
Philip LeFevre est ne March 16, 1710.
Daniel LeFevre est ne March 29, 1713.
Mary LeFevre est ne August 24, 1715.
Ester LeFevre est ne May 3, 1717.
Samuel LeFevre est ne June 28, 1719.

     Isaac remained loyal to his Huguenot Christian faith and carried this Bible with him throughout his travels until his homegoing at the age of 83.  Afterwards, it was passed down through several generations before finally reaching its permanent home at the Lancaster County Historical Society. This Bible remains the greatest treasure of the Pennsylvania LeFevres.

Additional photos of the Bible


The Recent Preservation Effort

     Another old Lancaster County Family Bible had recently been conserved, and that sparked the idea in Paul S. Lefever's mind concerning our almost 400 year old LeFevre Bible.  At the Lancaster County Historical Society auditorium there was a meeting with the conservator, Mr. Rolf Kat, who was highly trained in this work in his native Holland.  He explained that temperature changes cause some condensation of moisture even in a large volume such as a Bible.  Those pages were made with the use of acids, some of which yet remained on the page.  The reaction of the introduction of the water condensation is what causes the pages to crumble and fall.  Therefore the conservator takes the Bible completely apart, washes out the acid from every page, then reassembles the Bible and replaces the old binding, now kept in a clam-shell box cover for added protection.

     Hopefully this will preserve our old family Bible for at least another 400 years!  Since the Bible now officially belongs to the Lancaster County Historical Society, they made all the arrangements, but the LeFevre Cemetery and Historical Association paid that cost of $3,000 through the good office of Franklin D. Lefever, at that time their Secretary/Treasurer.

     This work was done in 1998 by the Conservation Center, 264 South 23rd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103, telephone 215-545-1013.  Mr. Rolf Kat is the conservator of Bibles.

View the LeFevre Bible at the
Lancaster County Historical Society

     The LeFevre Family Bible may be viewed by appointment.  The Society requests that at least one week's advance notice be given. For contact information, hours of operation, and directions, visit the Society's web site.

Franklin D. Lefever holding the LeFevre Bible 
during a visit to the Lancaster County Historical Society