Samuel and Sarah Lewis

This is going to be one of those “grrrr” blogs where I don’t have the answers I want but I am going to write the essay anyway.  I may never have all the information. But I am tired of waiting for the big genealogy balloon to drop.

Herr_John_001_Crop
John Herr

I have this photograph of a man identified as John Herr. I have my father’s genealogy notes identifying him as the grandfather of Florence Lewis. Here is what I can piece together from other, incomplete resources:

Florence Lewis was the oldest child of Samuel Lewis and Sarah Herr.  She married Moses Wells and that story I have got a pretty good handle on.  Going back in time is the problem. Samuel Lewis appears with Sarah his wife from 1860 to 1885 in various state and federal censuses. As do their six children:

  • Florence Lewis (1859-1947) married Moses Wells
  • Pierce (Pierson) Lewis (1862-1926) married Clara Lamb
  • Josephine Lewis (1864-1936) married Harry Goodman
  • Ellsworth Lewis (1867-1890) married Keziah Platt
  • Colby Lewis (1869-1939) married Elsie Jackson
  • Clara Lewis (1875-1946) married William Marshall

I wonder: When did Samuel and Sarah get married? Was it a first marriage for both? Either? If Samuel is living next to John and Mary Herr (spelled Heers in the 1850 Census), why is his wife named Mary?  Is this the Samuel Lewis and Mary McKelvey who got married in 1842? Did she die and he remarried? Or is this actually Samuel and Sarah (name written WAY wrong) and they just waited 17 years to have their first child? And where does the family lore about the Herr’s potato chip fortune come into it? Wishful thinking? Or mixed up identities as there is a John Herr married to a Mary Ann out in Westmoreland County, PA. I’m pretty sure that’s not the same person.  But every family tree online seems sure that this is the case.