Notes for John Lesher: Information found in Germany in May, 1996 by Charles and Doris (Lasher) Feldman states:
"LAMBSHEIM by Heinrich Rembe. Die Familien von 1547 bis 1800 - fur Maxdorf bis 1830 - mit Angaben aus Weisenheim a.S. - Eyersheim und Ormsheim."
"Loschert (Lescher, Loschart u.a.) (Page 168)
1212 married Nikolaus L., reformed (see 1211) farmer, City Records 2.12.1663, Citizen 7 May 1696, "Citizen's Son," mentioned 1696-1718, and Maria Johanna NN , reformed. Children: reformed: Petronella, christened 15 DEC 1697. Katherine, born 1700. Jans Jakob, born 31 DEC 1702. Johann Jakob born 28 JUN 1704."
Information received from Charles and Doris (Lasher) Feldman in August 2004 indicates that the church birth records in Lambsheim are missing for the years 1704-1729. But since the family resided there until 1723, if seems probable that John Lesher was born there on January 05, 1711/12.
In 1929, the Genealogical Research Committee of the Philadelphia Chapter D.A.R., made a copy of the Lesher Bible. (LDS Church, Salt Lake City, Utah, film #856295, item 3) At that time the Bible was in the possession of Charles Clayton Van Buskirk of Pottstown, Pennsylvania. The Bible contains the German text, "Wurtemburg, 1720." It goes on to state:
"NICHOLAS LESHER, was born in Switzerland and went from thence to the Palatinate, near where the Rev. Dechamp lived. He married MISS JOHANNADA DREHAR, daughter of Christian Martin Drehar, and emigrated with her and four children, two sons and two daughters, to America.
"MRS. JOHANNADA LESHER died March 1, 1744, aged 72 years. Married 49 years 7 days.
"NICHOLAS LESHER died January 30, 1750, at the age of 83 years 7 months. One child survived him." (Col. John Lesher?)
The exact date of the family's emigration to America is in doubt. Some D.A.R. lineage records give the date as 1743, but a book written in 1926 by Rev. P.C. Croll, D.D., entitled "Annals of the Oley Valley in Berks County, Pa.", in a chapter entitled "The Lesher Family - Patriots and Ironmasters," states as follows:
"The first American pioneer of this family was Nicholas Lesher, who with his son, John Lesher, came to the Oley Valley as early as 1726 and belonged to that colony of French Huguenots, who poured into this section of Pennsylvania, in the second and third decades of the 18th century." (Page 91)
This same source, in a chapter entitled "The Oley Churches-Reformed and Lutheran," indicates that on April 13, 1834 (sic) (undoubtedly a typographical error - should be April 13, 1734), John Lesher, a Calvinist, conveyed by deed 132 perches of land to Gabriel Boyer and Casper Griessemer, in trust for the society of Christian people inhabiting Oley." (Page 135)
A book entitled "Historical and Biographical Annals of Berks County, Pennsylvania, Volume I," complied by Morton L. Montgomery and published in 1909, in Chapter VIII - War Periods states: "French and Indian War - In June 1758, Berks county had in the service 56 good and strong wagons, each wagon furnished with four horses and an expert driver. These wagons were formed in two divisions, the first division containing 26 wagons, and the second 30. A deputy wagon-master was over each division. Their names were John Lesher and Jacob Weaver, able to speak the English and German languages, and they understood smith and wheelwright work." (Page 108)
The above reference states further: "During the year 1777 ... The battalion of Col. Daniel Hunter (Oley) was mustered into service on Aug. 7, 1777, with 365 men, and participated under General Washington in the campaigns round about Philadelphia from August to December, during which the battles of Brandywine and Germantown were fought. It comprised six companies, which were commanded by the following captains: Henry Knause (Colebrookdale); Charles Crouse (Longswamp); Jacob Whetstone (Brunswick); Conrad Geist (Reading); John McMurray (Robeson); John Lesher (Oley)." (Page 114) There is much speculation as to whether this was really Col. John Lesher of Oley. It appears that he was at times confused with John Lesher of Tulpehocken. Page 116 states: "Captains Ascertained - 85 ... John Lesher." This will need further study.
Pages 116-118 - "Iron Industries - Thirteen prominent iron industries were carried on successfully in the county during the Revolution. They were situated in the four sections of the county, along strong streams of water, as follows: Furnaces - Oley, in Oley, on Manatawny creek ... Forges - Pine, Spring and Oley, in Douglass, District and Oley, on Manatawny creek ... Ironmasters - The ironmasters, the proprietors of the foregoing industries were Mark Bird, John Patton, John Lesher, David Potts, John Old, Thomas Mayberry, Daniel Udree, George Ege and Christian Lower. The assessed value of the property of these men in the different sections of the county amounted to a very large sum in the aggregate, showing that they were in a situation to contribute a strong influence toward the successful prosecution of the war. They supplied the Continental Government with cannon-balls, cast-iron and wrought-iron in the various shapes, and they cooperated heartily in the great social movement for representative government. Their assistance was of the greatest consequence and cannot be overestimated. We can take great pride in the fact that the county then possessed such enterprising, public-spirited and patriotic men."
"INCUMBENTS OF POSITIONS - The following men from Berks county occupied the positions named, for the time stated, during the Revolution: ... Delegates to [Pennsylvania] Constitutional Convention, July 15, 1776 - John Lesher. Members of Assembly - John Lesher - 1776. Commissioners of Forage - John Lesher - 1778 - John Lesher."
Excerpts from "Pennsylvania Archives, Selected and Arranged From Original Documents in the Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth, Conformably to Acts of the General Assembly, February 15, 1851, & March 1, 1852, by Samuel Hazard, Commencing 1777. Volume VI, Printed by Joseph Severns & Co., Philadelphia (Pennsylvania), 1853."
"JOHN LESHER TO PRES. WHARTON, 1778. To the Honorable the Executive Committee of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; Gentlemen, I conceive it to be my Duty to acquaint you that I conceive I am no more master of any individual thing I possess; for, besides the damages I have heretofore Sustained by a number of Troops & Continental Waggons, in taking from me 8 Ton of Hay, destroy'd Apples sufficient for 10 hhd Cyder, Eating up my Pasture, Burning my Fences, &c., and 2 Beeves I was oblig'd to buy at 1s. lb., to answer their immediate want of Provisions, and at Several other times Since I have Supply'd Detachments from the Army with Provisions. There has lately been taken from me 14 Head of Cattle & 4 Swine, the Cattle at a very low Estimate, to my infinite Damage, as they were all the Beef I had for my workmen for carrying on my Ironworks; I had rather deliver'd the Beef and reserv'd the Hides, Tallow, &c., but no Arguments will prevail, all must be deliver'd to a Number of Armed men at the point of the Bayonet. As my Family, which I am, necessiated to maintain, consists of near 30 Persons, not reckoning Colliers, Wood Cutters and other day Labourers, my Provisions & Forage being taken from me, my Forge must stand Idle, my Furnace, which I am about carrying on must of consequence be dropt, which will be a loss to the Public as well as myself, as there is so great a Call for Iron at Present for publick Use, & some Forges & Furnaces must of necessity fail for want of Wood and Ore." (Pg. 170)
"Gentlemen: The Case in this neighbourhood is truly alarming, when the strongest Exertions of Ecconomy & Frugality ought to be Practised by all Ranks of Men, thereby the better to enable us to repel the Designs of a daring Enemy, who are now in our Land. It strikes me with Horror to see a number of our own Officers & Soldiers, wantonly waste & destroy the good Peoples Properties; by such conduct they Destroy the Cause they seek to maintain. Instead of Judicious men appointed in every Township, or as the Case may require, to Proportion the Demands equal according to the Circumstances of every Farmer & the general benefit of the whole, these men, under the Shadow of the Bayonet & the appellation Troy, act as they Please, our Wheat, Rye, Oats & Hay taken away at discretion and Shamefully wasted, and our Cattle Destroy'd. I know some Farmers who have not a Bushel of Oats left for Seed, nor Beef sufficient for their own Consumption, while some others lose nothing, as a man who has 100 head of Cattle lost not one; such Proceedings I think to be very Partial. Many farmers are so much discourag'd by such Conduct, that I have heard several say they would neither Plow nor Sow if this takes place; the consequence may be easily forseen, unless some Speedy & Effectual method be taken to put a stop to such irregular Proceedings, and encouragements & Protection extended to the good People of this Commonwealth. I Shudder at the Consequence. I humbly submit the whole to your Serious Consideration, and remain -- Gentlemen, Your Obed' Humble Serv, JOHN LESHER - Oley, 9th January, 1778. Directed, To the Hon'ble Thomas Wharton, President of the Executive Council of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Lancaster." (Pg. 171)
"Council to John Lesher, &c., Commissioners, 1778. In Council, Lancaster, March 2nd, 1778. Gentlemen: You being appointed by the Honorable house of General Assembly to be Commissioners for purchasing Provisions, &c., in the County of Berks, and this business requiring the utmost and immediate exertion of every power you possess, we embrace the first opportunity of forwarding to you a copy of the instructions given by Council to the Commissioners of the other Counties, which instructions you are to observe and follow. We also send you the supplement to the supply Law. The Council apprehend that a number of boats suitable to convey Provisions down the river Schuylkil may be had at and near Reading, and as the Waggon service is likely to be a very heavy one, We recommend it to you to hire as many of those boats as will carry the necessary supplies from your County to Camp; and if you cannot hire as many as shall be necessary for this purpose, you are to apply to a justice of the Peace for his Warrant to impress them. Any repairs which you may judge necessary to render the boars fit for service, is to be done as expeditiously as possible, and the cost of it deducted from the hire of them. Directed, To John Lesher, Valentine Eckhart, Michael Crause & Christian Lauer, junr, Berk's Co." (Pg. 327)
"John Lesher, Commissioner of Berks, to President Wharton, 1778. Oley, 9th March, 1778. Sir, I received your orders dated 24th February, by express the 4 instant; I also this day received those dated the 3rd instant. I shall exert every nerve in performing every thing in my power in order to relieve the wants of the Army. But, as several circumstances has occurred to me, which I shall lay before you, in which I think I am not clearly satisfied how to direct my line of conduct therein: Therefore, I earnestly desire you will be so good as to send me your further orders, or advise in the premises, as soon as may be. I received orders some time ago from M.G. Mifflin, by the hand of Col. Mifflin, which directed me to give 12s Bushel for Rye, 7s. 6d. for Oats & spelts, which is a higher price than was fixt by the late Act of Assembly, which I presume is the rates I am to pay, as your orders mention nothing of prices. Several persons, by directions from this gentlemen, as well as from Col. Bird, still continue to give that price for all they can possibly collect, and unless I have orders to give the same, it cannot be expected that I can procure those articles with justice to the farmers. A certain Alex'r M'Casky, F.M., acting under Col. Biddle, made application to me, before and since my present appointment, to use my influence in forwarding the good People in my vicinage to send their forage to the Magazine at Schuylkill, in order to be transported from thence to the army by water. I readily complied, and he obtained a very considerable quantity, for which he gave his receipts & promised to pay them himself, but since has directed them to me for payment, which I think I cannot comply with unless I have orders for so doing, or be assured that his receipts so given to the people, will be valid in settling my acc'ts. --Further, I have found in several Mills within my district, a considerable quantity of Flour manufactured for the use of the army, by directions from assisstant commissaries of Purch.; as the said Millers are not yet paid for the same, and the flour has been a considerable time on hand, and perhaps may lie a considerable time longer, I conceive I should send the same immediately to camp, or to the Magazines appointed for the reception of that article. I would also mention, that I would be glad to know the rates of Salt & dried Beef, Bacon, &c., (as there is no mention of those articles in the Act,) or whether I am to buy the same at such terms as can procure. I confident I can collect a considerable quantity of those articles, which I think may be of great service the ensuing season. I am, with much respect, Sir, Your most Obe't humble servant, JOHN LESHER. Directed, On public service. To the Hon'ble Thomas Wharton, Esq'r, President of the Supreme Executive Council of the Common-Wealth of Pennsylvania." (Pgs. 347-348)
"John Lesher to V.P. Bryan, 1778. Oley, 27th July, 1778. Sir, By a late Act of General Assembly of this Common-Wealth, Commissioners were appointed in every County to purchase & collect Provisions & Forage, for the better supplying the army of the United States; In consequence thereof, as I was nominated one of the commissions for Berks County, I received Instructions from Col. Jonathan Mifflin, who was appointed Superintendant for this district, in which instructions among several other articles, I was directed to employ & engage two Millers, two Coopers & two men to furnish Staves & hoop poles, which Persons were to engage for one year, and in consequences thereof should be deemed in Continental Service and be absolutely free from all Militia duty for that term. Agreeable thereto, & directions from the Honourable the Executive Council, authorizing me to employ such assistants & assistance as might appear expedient for carrying on said business; I employed a Miller, two Coopers and two men to furnish hoop poles & Staves, on condition they should be free from Militia Service, & they have been engaged in that service ever since, by which I have been enabled for furnish the army with a considerable quantity of Forage & near 800 Barrels of Flour already sent off. But as it happens that all these Men are in some one or other of the four Classes now called, I find I am under the necessity of letting them be taken away to do their Tour of Duty or paying their fines, which at 40 pounds man, amounts to a considerable Sum. Should these men be taken away it will Put a total stop to my furnishing the army with any further supplies, will be a considerable disappointment to me in many respects, & more to the Public, as daily demands are made on me, & will I presume be contrary to what I might expect from Reason & the nature of my directions. On application to the County Lieutenants who Preside at the Military Department, those Gentlemen signify that as there is no particular Provision made in the Militia act for exemptin such persons tho' highly reasonable, they are not entirely free to discharge them, but on the least Item from Council signifying their approbation therein, they would gladly acquiese in so Just & necessary a measure. Now Sir, as you & the Honourable Body of which you are President, have most perfect knowledge of every matter here stated, I most humbly request, that out of your great goodness, you will signify your pleasure herein to those Gentlemen, or otherwise as you in your Wisdom shall think proper, in order to remove all Doubts concerning the Premises, for the Issue whereof I shall most cheerfully wait, fully Relying on the Candor, Wisdom and Justice of your Honourable Body. I would not be thought hereby to have the most distant wish of screening any individual Person from doing his Tour of Duty, but on the contrary, it is my ardent desire to do my Country the most material Service in my power. I am Sir, with the highest esteem your most obed't Hum'b Serv't, JOHN LESHER. Directed, To The Honourable George Bryan, Esq., Vice President State of Pennsylvania, at Philadelphia." (Pgs. 667-668)
"Council to John Lesher, 1778. Sir, I layed your Letter of the 27th July before Council. They think it strange that you are under any difficulty about the Miller, Coopers & Stave-hewers you mention, as, in pursuance of the countermand of Congress, they, on the day of last, did desire you to desist from the further purchase of Wheat and Flour. This being the case, there seems to be no ground at present for the difficulty, nor no cause for seeking for exemption from Militia Duty. Besides, something like this was debated in the Assembly not long since, & denied; judge, then, how ill it would become Council to suppose it a case forgotten, & countenance the dismissing of the men in question. I am, Sir, Y'r most obed't Serv't, G.B., Vice Prs't. Philad'a, Aug't, 1778. To John Lesher, Esq'r, Oley." (Pg. 675)
John Lesher's death is recorded at St. Paul's Church, Amity Township, Pennsylvania.
Information found on the internet at Ancestry.com provides the following information regarding his burial: "Abstract of Graves of Revolutionary Patriots - Lesher, John, Private cemetery, 4 miles from Oley Churches, Oley Twp., Berks Co., PA 55. Abstract of Graves of Revolutionary Patriots, Vol. 3, p ___*, Serial 11912; Volume: 4." *No page number given.
The above mentioned private cemetery is located on Mud Run Road. In 1990, the editor and her husband visited this site. There is a monument located at the side of the road. This was erected by the Berks County Historical Society. The farmer had corn growing in this field in 1990, so there was no evidence of the grave, but a subsequent visit to the site in late August, 1999, revealed that the graveyard is still there. Col. John's grave is the only one at this site. There was a fence enclosing the grave, with a tree growing in the enclosure. In fact, it looks as though there is a smaller tree growing on the actual grave.
The following information was found in a publication entitled: "The Records of the Genealogies of the Van Buskirk and Lesher Families, as compiled by G.W. Van Buskirk and C.C. Van Buskirk, 1878, Pottstown, Pa." This reference source was on file at The Genealogy Library of Berks County, Reading, Pennsylvania.
"John Lesher, Sr., died April 5th, 1794, aged 83 years, 3 months." (Page 10)
"John Lesher was the son of Nicholas Lesher, born January 5, in Germany or Holland; died April 5, 1794; emigrated to America in 1734 (someone has scratched through the 1734 and written 'before 1728') and was naturalized in 1734; first settled in the upper parts of Bucks County, but subsequently removed to Oley, Berks County. He was prominently identified with the iron industries of Berks County, was proprietor of the Oley Forge and Mary Ann Furnaces."
"He represented Berks County in the first convention of Pennsylvania; said convention met in Philadelphia, July 15, 1776, and adopted a form of government. In this convention said John Lesher was a member of a committee to draw up a form of system of Government. He was also a member of the General Assembly of Pennsylvania from 1776 to 1782."
This publication goes on to state: "He was a Captain in Company John Pattons and Henry Skyaker regiment of Pennsylvania Line and served in the battle of Long Island. On March 2, 1778, he was notified of his appointment (which appointment was made January 20, 1778) as one of the commissioners for the purchasing (of) supplies, for the Continental Army, and served in that capacity."
The information regarding the battle of Long Island is incorrect, but we do know he was appointed a Wagonmaster during the Revolutionary War.
Another publication regarding the history of Berks County, Pennsylvania relates the following:
"CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION OF THE PROVINCE"
"Delegates from the County - According to the Provincial Conference, the electors of Berks County held an election on Monday, July 8, 1776, at the Court House in Reading, and chose as their representatives the following eight prominent men: Jacob Morgan, Gabriel Hiester, John Lesher, Benjamin Spyker, Daniel Hunter, Valentine Eckert, Charles Shoemaker, and Thomas Jones."
"On July 15, following, they attended the Convention at Philadelphia and participated in the formation of a Constitution for the government of the Province."
"The labors of the Convention were concluded on September 28, 1776, and then all the delegates present subscribed the Constitution which they had adopted. All the delegates from Berks County subscribed their names, excepting John Lesher and Daniel Hunter."
"It further states, 'John Lesher represented Berks County in the committee of eleven, (one from each county) who were appointed to draft the frame of government.'"
Information found on the internet at Genealogy.com, "The National Genealogical Society Quarterly, Volumes 1-85, 1600s-1900s - Runaway, Excerpts from the Pennsylvania Gazette, 1775-1783 (Continued from Volume 65, page 217), By Kenneth Scott, F.A.S.G. states:
"Negro named Joe, age c. 40, has run away from John Lesher of Oley Forge, Bucks (sic) Co., reward will be paid if Negro is restored to Lesher or brought to Jacob Morgan, of Pbila., merchant. (16 October 1776)."
More About John Lesher and Maria Margaretta Hess: Marriage: January 01, 1763
Children of John Lesher and Maria Margaretta Hess are:
+John Lesher, Jr., b. September 04, 1763, Oley Township, Berks County, Pennsylvania, d. Aft. March 28, 1799.