Oh Susannah! Was this you??

Lancaster County Historical Society is the repository for the old County records, and entering them into the Society’s database is a long, time consuming process.  One person works eight hours a day on this task.  It will take years to finish it.  

A couple of Saturdays ago, when I was volunteering at the Historical Society, I was surfin’ through the database on Lancaster County records and came across an entry for “Susanna Leader” that had been added since I had last surfed through them.  It caught me entirely off guard! I had to find out what was in the Quarter Session documents, so I requested a copy of them from the Archives.

I knew Susannah had lead a tumultuous life, but this came as a complete shock!  In the 1823 November Quarter Sessions the “Grand Inquest for the County of Lancaster” found that Henry Heckroth, “late of the county aforesaid” (did he skip out??) . . . the ninth day of April in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and twenty . . . did commit fornication with a certain Susan Leader of Marietta and there did beget a Male Bastard child. . . .

Now, bear in mind that Susannah and Samuel Leader lived in Marietta ( the court findings have “Susanna Leader of the Borough of Marietta”) and her son, Frederick was born in 1821, seven years after her last child.   Also, in 1831, on the “Poor Children’s List,” Susannah, alone, was listed as the parent for Frederick.

The strange part of all of this is the fact that Samuel did not die until 1839, and Susannah’s Bible and her purchase of another home all center around his death date.  Were they separated for awhile?  Did they divorce?  So far, I can’t find anything to indicate so.  Did he die intestate with a little money?  No record of that either.

Timeline:

  • 18?? Samuel and Susannah marry
  • 1813 Samuel purchases a home in Marietta
  • 1813 Maria born, first child
  • 1814 Jacob born, second child
  • 1819 Samuel in Debtor’s Prison, everything sold
  • 1820 April 9th – Fornication w/Henry Heckroth
  • 1820 Census shows 1 male 0-10 and 1 male 45 and older (Jacob & Samuel)
  • 2 females 0-10, (Maria and ??) 1 female 26-45 (Susannah)
  • 1821 Frederick born – month unknown
  • 1824 Samuel’s home sold for debts (another home??)
  • 1831 Susannah listed as parent on Poor Children’s List; Frederick owes for 3 sheets of paper
  • Tax lists between 1829 and 1837 show Samuel owned no property
  • 1839 Samuel dies
  • 1840 Susannah purchases home in Elizabethtown
  • 1844 Susannah marries George Kehler of Elizabethtown

This is going to take some more digging.  I’m going to start going through old newspapers on microfilm and find out what happened to dear old Henry.  Was he Frederick’s father?  Court records indicate such. . . .   we’ll see

I have a persistent nature. . .

3 thoughts on “Oh Susannah! Was this you??

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