The Lehman siblings pictured in the header above grew up in the farmhouse at the top of the hill behind my birth home. Each son and daughter had roots in farming, but most of them had another vocation on the side. My father, J. Irvin, on the left of his siblings, was a truck farmer, pastor and preacher. He was a Bible teacher at Belleville, Johnstown, Millwood and other two week Bible Schools, Bible teacher at Eastern Mennonite School’s six weeks term Bible school, and finally a full-time Bible teacher and student pastor at Lancaster Mennonite School.
Father’s brother, Rueben, was a farmer and a carpenter. He helped build additions to my birth house. his daughter, Helen, was born a few months before my brother who is six years older than I am. She is the oldest living cousin. The next born, Victor, was a farmer and a butcher of farm animals. He butchered for us. Walter was a pastor and a farmer, and was the son who bought his father’s farm on the hill. David was, I think, the most successful businessman of the siblings. He first operated the “E.L.M. store on wheels,” and later entered the wholesale egg business. He and his brother-in-law, Norman Martin, founded Menno Haven.
My Aunt Martha married Ben Horst, a carpenter, and if my memory is correct, he became the pastor of a church in Virginia. Aunt Susan’s farmer husband, Isaac Martin, was killed by lightning. Her second husband was the widower of a daughter of Bishop Moses Horst. Her family, I think, became the most conservative of the clan. (Note that her covering strings are tied.)
My Uncle Menno‘s first vocation off the farm was as a barber in Marion, Pennsylvania. He gave me my first haircut. Later, he owned and operated a store in Maugansville, Maryland. Uncle Andrew was ordained a deacon of the Pond Bank Mennonite Church and was a petroleum salesman. He and my father vied as to who could grow the largest watermelon. Andrew won the contests. Uncle Theodore Weagley Lehman is the youngest sibling. He too was a salesman. Again I rely on my memory to say that Uncle Weagley used sign language to preach to deaf people in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He had a gifted daughter who was deaf. Uncle Weagley died at Sun-n-Fun trailer park at Fruitville, Florida.
My cousin Wilmer ties the Martin and Lehman clans. He and I are both first AND second cousins. When I posted a picture of my mother’s Martin clan, I complained that I didn’t have pictures of David B. Lehman family reunions. Wilmer, who is in both clans, replied that he had Lehman pictures from reunions and he would give me some.
Our kinship came about when my Uncle Andrew Lehman wed my first cousin Lois Shank, the oldest daughter of my Aunt Anna Martin Shank. my mother’s sister. The couple produced Wilmer as their eldest son. So Wilmer and I are both first and second cousins.
This afternoon I have spent several hours browsing through “The Descendants of Daniel Lehman” born April 2, 1776. The book was edited by Daniel R. Lehman, six generations later. I could provide links to other cousins of note, but you and I need to be satisfied with the following examples of quality cousins:
Wilmer Lehman is an emeritus faculty member in Mathematics at Eastern Mennonite University, Harrisonburg, Virginia. He sent me pictures when his daughter Jewel Lehman visited him on Christmas, 2013. Jewel is a member of the Goshen College faculty. She is my neighbor.
The picture on the right was taken on the front lawn of my grandfather’s house. From L to R: I am seated on Aunt Lizzie’s lap. Next to Aunt Lizzie is my brother John, our mother, and Aunt Susan. My father is holding my cousin Aldus on the far right. This is one of the oldest pictures in my possession. I am the only one in the group that is still alive.
The last two women to survive others in their generation were the widows of Menno and Weagley. Rhoda and I visited them at Menno Haven during one of our visits to Franklin County. Aunt Ethel proudly showed me pictures of her children and grandchildren she had displayed on her wall. I pointed out that none of the children or grandchildren were dressed as she was, and asked her what she thought of it. She pointed to the serenity prayer also displayed on her wall. It read
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
That is what I live by, she said. And I was glad for her sake!