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PHILIP LEFEVRE and MARY HERR
It has been a long time coming, but now the conclusion seems apparent that Philip LeFevre (7-002, 1710-1766) was in fact married to Maria or Mary Herr, daughter of Rev. Christian Herr who built his lovely stone Her house in 1719 in Lampeter Township, Lancaster County Pennsylvania.
REASON NUMBER ONE: THE PENNSYLVANIA LEFEVRES indicates this to be a fact. The 1908 Theodore Herr genealogy of the Hans Herr family says identity number 21, Maria or Mary Herr, married Martin Barr, son of Rev. John Barr. But it also says her cousin #29 Elizabeth Herr of Strasburg, daughter of John Herr, brother of Rev. Christian and wife Frances, was married also to the same Martin Barr, son of Rev. John Barr. That is possible, of course, but without any dates it seems not too likely. However on page 790 in the Herr Genealogy about #21 Maria Herr it says, "Current Researchers question whether Maria "Mary" Herr married Martin Barr. She may instead have married Philip LeFevre born near Kingston, N.Y. on 3/16/1710. Philip died September 1766." The Herr book is known to contain many errors, and so can not always be counted for complete accuracy. But in this case the correction is also included. Thus both the LeFevre and the Herr genealogy books tell us they married. That is reason number one.
REASON NUMBER TWO: The Herr tracts and the 350 acre tract Isaac LeFevre purchased for the use of his gunsmith son Philip LeFevre had a common boundary, present Route 222 at the Big Spring at Gypsy Hill Road. Philip and Mary surely did live very close to each other, making it easy for them to become acquainted. The close proximity of their places of living is reason number two.
REASON NUMBER THREE: At the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society Library on one of their individual and family index cards are two listings of the children of Rev. Christian Herr. On of them indicates Maria was married to Martin Barr, brobably taken from the Herr Genealogy, and the other indicates she was married to Philip LeFevre. But the main point here is that she is listed on both cards as being a daughter of that family. They include (1) John of Willow Street died 1773, married Anna; (2) Christian of Willow Street died 1763, married Barbara; (3) Abraham of Lampeter died 1756, married Fronica; (4) Elizabeth of Lampeter in 1740 married Michael Groff; (5) Anna of Strasburg married Martin Mylin; (6) Maria of Quarryville married Martin Barr, son of Rev. John Barr; (7) Susanna of Quarryville married George Graff; (8) Barbara of Lampeter born 12/15/1769 died 5/22/1854 married Henry Shaub.
The 1908 Theodore Herr genealogy book likewise agrees that Maria (Mary) was a daughter of the family, and in the correction that she married Philip LeFevre. But in a new 1999 edition of the Theodore Herr Genealogy that editor came to the conclusion that the daughter of Rev. Christian Herr, "Mary Herr never existed, because she does not appear in her father's will," thereby completely ignoring the strong possibility she left her Mennonite faith to marry Philip LeFevre who was of the Reformed faith, thereby having been disinherited, as the practice was, from her father's will. I note that omission below.
That the Mennonite card file agrees with the earlier Herr genealogies that Maria was a daughter of Christian Herr is reason number three.
REASON NUMBER FOUR: In the Rev. Christian Hare's (Herr's) will recorded 1/23/1750 in Will Book I, volume one on page 192 in Lancaster County Archives, Christian carefully outlines care to be provided for his beloved widow Anna. His 500 acres he gives to his three sons, 125 acres to son Christian, 3/4 acre to be dedicated for a burial ground, (presently the Brick Mennonite Church Cemetery,) and 250 acres to son Abraham who wa to provide the special care and dower for the widow Anna. Then after an immediate monetary disbursement of £ 200 to each of this daughters, namely Elizabeth wife of Michael Groff, Anna wife of Martin Mylin, Susanna wife of George Graff, and Barbara wife of John Miller, the residue was to be divided between all his sons and daughters, share and share alike. But did you notice the omission of daughter Maria? Why should this be?
From what we know today it seems entirely possible she was disinherited for marrying Philip LeFevre of the Reformed tradition and outside the Mennonite tradition of her family. Her father's 1750 will was some twenty years after her circa 1730 marriage. The idea that she may have been disinherited or shunned appears to gain support from the findings of the whole study of early LeFevre church connections in Pennsylvania. A breif review of those facts follows.
Second LeFevre son Philip (7-002) and wife Mary had four sons and four daughters. While records have not been found ob baptisms for any of their children, a number of records have been found of their grandchildren, thus providing us with a record of what their children's church preferences were. Reformed church members had children baptised as infants by sprinkling. Mennonites greatly rejected that idea, and waited for the child to come to the age of accountability, about 12 years of age, to make their Christian confession and then be baptised by pouring or immersion.
Son Isaac (8-003) and wife Mary Kunkle had a child receive infant baptism 1767 in Old Dutch Reformed church. Catherine (8-004) and husband Nickolas Meck had a child receive infant baptism in Lancaster First Reformed Church in 1781. George (8-005) and wife Anna Barbara Schleiermacker had a child baptised in 1762 at the Canadochly Lutheran Church in Windsor Township in York County. Sponsor was Elizabeth Paules who later married George's younger brother Adam (8-007) and life out her life on the Philip LeFevre farm. Adam and wife Elizabeth Paules presented at least seven of their thirteen chldren for infant baptism at Lancaster First Reformed Church. Many others of later generations also had their children baptised as infants in Reformed tradition.
The fact that so many of the children of Philip and Mary Herr LeFevre presented their children for infant baptism seems to indcate that mother Mary had left her Mennonite tradition, giving strength to the idea that she may have been disinherited or shunned for leaving that faith. This is reason number four.
REASON NUMBER FIVE: When Philip LeFevre died apparently unexpectedly that September day in 1766 he had not made out a will. Therefore his entire estate of chattels, rights, goods, and possessions had to be appraised by order of the Lancaster County Orphans Court. Because Philip had been a gunsmith for some thirty years, two gunsmiths were included among the appraisers, one being Joel Ferree his cousin, son of Philip Ferree who was a brother to Philip LeFevre's mother born Catherine Ferree. His younger brother, Daniel LeFevre (7-003) was an appraiser looking after the value of the other acquisitions.
The administrators who presented the appraisal to the court and carried out the court's directions for settling the estate were four in number: (1) widow Mary LeFevre who made her mark with a backwards N; (2) Philip's oldest son Isaac LeFevre (8-003) who signed with his mark "Ic LF"; (3) Philip's youngest brother Samual (7-006) who signed his name; and (4) Christian Hare (Herr) who also signed his name but whose identity is not entirely clear. But the fact that he was included as an administrator seems to lend considerable weight to the conclusion that Mary was indeed of the Herr family!
There were several Christian Hares in the area near that date, but Maria's father Rev. Christian #3 had deceased 1750, so it was not he. There was #11 Christian 1720-1822 of Lancaster, son of Abraham Herr. Maria had a brother #17 Christian Herr, but he died 1763, three years earlier. There was #27 Christian Herr of Willow Street, son of John Herr (brother to Rev. Christian) and wife Frances. He lived until 5/18/1772 and might very well have been the named administrator. Another, #31 Christian Herr lived in Millersville 1726-1796, but Millersville doesn't sound very close for that day. Still another, #47 Christian Herr 1746-1822 of Manor Township sounds a bit young for such weighty matters as following the bidding of the court. So it seems #27 Christian Herr, Mary's cousin might be the one selected to represent her family. That a Herr was included as an administrator of her husband's estate is reason number five.
These five reasons - (1) the genealogy books' inclusions, (2) the proximity, (3) that there was a Maria (Mary) Herr, (4) that so many of her descendents followed the practice of infant baptism lending credence that was disinherited or shunned for abandoning her Mennonite faith, and (5) that a member of her Herr family was one of her husband's Orphans Court estate administrators, are what convinces this writer that Mary Herr and Philip LeFevre were husband and wife, and two of our valued ancestors.
Incidently, Philip LeFevre's financial estate
in 1766 seems abundant, having totaled £ 3085. Mary the widow
received £ 1028, oldest son Isaac £ 457, with Catherine wife
of Nickolas Meck, Esther wife of Henry Eckman, George LeFevre, Elizabeth
wife of Henry Christy, Eve wife of Rudolph Haub, Adam LeFevre, and Jacob
LeFevre, each receiving £ 228. It seems a tidy estate for a
young man born to French immigrants who came to America 57 years earlier
only with the clothes they wore, and an old French family Bible!
Mary Herr LeFevre's Estate
Mary LeFevre, dec., wife of Philip. Letters of Administration Book 4, p 141.
On October 27, 1783 Adam LeFevre (8-007)
was granted a Letter of Administration of the estate of his mother ,
Mary LeFevre, widow of Philip LeFevre (7-002) apparently very soon
after her death.
Adam LeFevre (8-007), administrator of all
and singular the goods and chattles, rights and credits which were of Mary
LeFevre late of Lampeter Township, deceased, produced to the court the
account of this administration on the estate of the said deceased duly
passed before the Register, there appears a balance of £ 453.18.0
in the hands of the said accountants which account the court on examination
allows and approves and directs that the said balance after deducting 12
shillings the expenses of this court the remainder amount to £ 453.6.0
be paid and distributed according to Law, as follows, viz:
This certainly appears to be the estate of Mary Herr LeFevre, wife of Philip LeFevre, gunsmith (7-002), upon her decease as it is defined in this Orphans Court text "To John LeFevre only son of Isaac LeFevre who was the eldest son of said Mary LeFevre." Mary Herr LeFevre is the only person who fits these categories. This is of special interest as it is the only known record of the date of her decease, the Letter of Administration having been granted by the Lancaster County court on October 27, 1783.
Upon close examination it appears that each of the children of Philip and Mary LeFevre are included in this estate payout EXCEPT George (8-005) who by this date of June 6, 1786 had moved to Newville, Cumberland County on 1785 according to THE PENNSYLVANIA LEFEVRES; and Jacob LeFevre (8-010) who by this date lived in Windsor Township in York County as noted in THE PENNSYLVANIA LEFEVRES where it is recorded he made land purchases in York County on March 11, 1783; December 15, 1783; and another May 21, 1787; and was recorded as a Justice of the Peace in 1804.
Of course, this poses the question of why these two sons, though still living, were not included. The material within brackets ( ) are editings of Paul S. Lefever. All other material is quoted verbatim.
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