Since the Middles Ages, the Mennonites of Bern, Switzerland suffered because of their religious beliefs. The entire Bern area was in turmoil.1 The Swiss Mennonites suffered a steady stream of persecution, forced deportation, imprisonment and even being sent into gallery slavery in Italy. Each new wave of persecution fueled emigration to other countries such as the United States, the Netherlands, and Prussia. In 1817, the Swiss Mennonites were desperate to escape Napoleon’s military oppression.2

In 1819, Peter P. Lehman (b. 1777, d. 1843) and Ulrich Lehman (b. 1775) from Bern, Switzerland and other Mennonite families made the decision to immigrate to the United States to escape religious and political persecution existing in their old homeland. The first four Swiss Mennonite settlers in the Sugar Creek Township were Isaac Sommer, Ulrich Lehman, Peter Lehman and David Kirchhofer.3 They first settled in a temporary home near where the No. 2 school house once stood in Wayne County, Ohio. They moved about two months later to the Sugar Creek township area.4 The first church meeting house was built in 1854, but there were congregational meetings as early as 1821.5 In 1821, Bishop Hans Lehman came to Sugar Creek, Wayne County, Ohio and other members of the Lehman family. (Gratz)

The 1820 census documents that Isaac Sommer, Ulrich Lehman, and David Kirchhofer were living in Sugar Creek, Wayne County, Ohio. Peter Lehman was still living in Baughman township, Wayne County, Ohio in 1820.

1820 Census Wayne County, Ohio, Lehman Family Members

Olery Laymon (sic)
Category No.
White Male 45 and over 1
White female 16–25 1
Total Person not naturalized 2
Total engaged in agriculture 1
1820 U S Census: Sugar Creek, Wayne, Ohio, Page: 175; NARA Roll: M33_93; Image: 235. (Ancestry.com)

Living next to him on the 1820 census was Isaac Simmers (sic) and David Killohfer (sic)

Peter Layman (sic)
Category No.
White Male 45 and over 1
White Male under 10 1
White Females under 10 4
White Females 16–26 2
White Females 45 and over 1
Total Persons not Naturalized 9
Total engaged in agriculture 1
Year: 1820 U S Census: Baughman, Wayne, Ohio, Page: 173A; NARA Roll: M33_93; Image: 231. (Ancestry.com)

In his History of Wayne County, Ohio, R. Douglas said:

They are mostly farmers, and very industrious; are good horse-traders, and revel in the effluvia of decomposed cheese. The older ones robustly oppose the introduction of books, incline to antagonize education, and indulge habits wholly un-American. They introduced the painting of dog-houses and the manufacture of applejack in Sugarcreek Township.6

The Swiss Mennonite families did not integrate with the other settlers in Wayne County, Ohio. These families isolated themselves, practiced their own traditions, still used their native language and did not marry outside of the community. Jewelry, mirrors and even buttons were seen as symbols of pride in the Mennonite faith. Besides farming, the settlers made their own furniture, wagons, were coopers, cheese makers, and even created textiles through weaving.7

Ulrich Lehman (b. 1777, Switzerland, d. 8 Dec 1863) was a successful farmer. He is one of the original Swiss Mennonite settlers of Sugar Creek, Wayne County, Ohio. His real estate property was valued at $3,000 on the 1850 Census. Ulrich Lehman’s parents were Hans Lehman and Catherina Schneck.8 Ulrich Lehman married Barbara Gerber (b.1773), the daughter of Christian Gerber. They had no children.9

Peter P. Lehman (b. 18 Jun 1777, Tavannes, Bern Switzerland, 9 Oct 1843, Wayne County, Ohio) married Barbara Bogeli (b. 1 Jul 1781, Salles, Bas Rin, France. Peter P. Lehman and Barbara Bogeli children are:

  • Peter P. (b.12 Jun 1813, Le Vion, Amt. Moutier, Bern, Switzerland). He married Katherina Luginbuhl (Loganbill). Some of his descendents went to Morgan and Moniteau Counties, Missouri.
  • Abraham P. (b. Sep 1821, Wayne County, Ohio., d. 31 Mar 1835, Putman County, Ohio married Marie Elizabeth Luginbuhl (Loganbill). Abraham P. Lehman and Maria Elizabeth Loganbill had the following children: Peter A., Barbara A., Catherina, Anna Elizabeth, Ulrich, David, Sarah, Joel A., Benjamin A. and Judith. Ulrich Lehman, Abraham’s son, first lived in Allen County, Ohio, then Putnam County, Ohio and eventually to Morgan County, Missouri where his uncle Peter P. Lehman lived.10
  • Verena P. Fanny (10 May 1815, Mountgirad, Switzerland, d. 5 Nov 1890). She married Johannes Heyerly Ruff on 29 Mar 1838.11
  • Anna (b. 1804ca, d. 28 Apr 1839, Wayne County, Ohio). She married Jacob Gerber.
  • Barbara P. (b. 8 Jun 1808, Schwarenegg, Switzerland, d. 30 December 1887, Vera Cruz, Wells County, Indiana.) She married Isaac Falb (b. 2 Feb 1798, d. 25 Oct 1858)
  • Elizabeth P. (b.12 May 1812, La Sagneule, Switzerland, d. 15 Aug 1891, Wayne County, Ohio. She married David Zuercher.
  • Magdalena (b. 5 Sep 1817, La Sagneule, Switzerland, d. 10 Oct 1874, Wayne County, Ohio) married 24 Mar 1838 David Hilty, Sonnenberg, Wayne County, Ohio).
  • Catherina P. (b. 28 Jul 1820, Sugar Creek, Wayne County, Ohio, d. 22 Dec 1883) married 1 Nov 1838 to John Schwartz (11 Nov 1798, Switzerland, d. 30 Dec 1883, Berne, Indiana)
  • Marianna (b. Jul 1827, d. 7 Mar 1907, Adams County, Indiana) married Christian Sprunger.12

The Swiss Mennonite families built Sonnenberg church in 1820. John Lehman was one of the first ministers. The first church was small and was only 30 x 30 feet. The logs were hand hewn. This building served the community until a second church was constructed in 1861. The church building also doubled as a school and the attic was put to use for council meetings. The first marriage in the original church was the wedding of Ulrich Lehman who married Barbara Gerber (b. 1775, Switzerland) on 1 Jan 1823. Rev. John Lehman preformed the ceremony. The entire congregation of twelve families attended the wedding. Abraham Lehman is said to have worn wooden shoes to the wedding.13

Sonnenberg Mennonite Church, Kidron, Ohio is still active today. According to their website, there are 257 members in the congregation. The third meeting house was built in 1907 and then a new facility was built in 1989.14

The families of the three men traveling to Missouri lived in Sugar Creek, Wayne County, Ohio before the Civil War and are listed on the 1850 Federal Census. This is the first census that states the given names of the spouse and children. Prior to 1850 census only the heads of household were listed and the other household members such as spouse, children, other family members and hired help were listed in general male and female age categories.

1830 Census, Wayne County, Ohio, The Lehman Family, More family came from Switzerland

Christian Layman
Category No.
White male 50–59 1
White Male 20–29 1
White male 15–19 1
White male 5–9 2
White female 40–49 1
White females 15–19 2
Total un-naturalized 8
Source Citation: 1830 U S Census: Sugar Creek, Wayne, Ohio, Page: 82; NARA Roll: M19-142; Family History Film: 0337953.15

Note: This family left on the Danish Ship Thetis, from Le Havre, France and arrived 5 Jul 1821 at New York, Chriestien Lehmann, 43, carpenter, Switzerland; Magdalaine Lehmann, 33, Switzerland; Christien Lehmann, 13; Switzerland, Jonas Lehmann 7; ,Switzerland, Peter Lehmann, 2 Switzerland; Elizabeth. 10. Switzerland; Magdalaine Lehmann, 5, Switzerland, Abraham Lehmann (6 months) Switzerland died.16

There were other Lehman members on that same ship that came to Wayne County, Ohio. With the information, that is currently available, I cannot make a connection. I wish include this information, because they were in Wayne County, Ohio. They were:

  • Abraham Lehman, 35, farmer, Switzerland, Marie Lehmann, 35, Switzerland, Anne Lehmann, 10, Switzerland, Isaac Lehmann, 3, Switzerland
  • John Lehmann, 56, farmer, Switzerland, Barbary Lehmann, 23 Switzerland, Verena Lehmann, 19 Switzerland
  • Hans Lehmann, 44, carpenter, Switzerland, Elizabeth Lehmann 22 Switzerland.17
John Laman, Sr.
Category No.
White male 40–49 1
White Male 15–19 1
White male under 5 1
White male 20–29 2
White female 15–19 1
White females 10–14 1
White female 5–9 2
White female under 5 1
Total un-naturalized 9
1830 U S Census: Sugar Creek, Wayne, Ohio, Page: 82; NARA Roll: M19-142; Family History Film: 0337953.18
John Laman, Jr.
Category No.
White male 20–29 2
White female 20–29 1
White female under 5 1
Total un-naturalized 4
1830 U S Census: Sugar Creek, Wayne, Ohio, Page: 82; NARA Roll: M19-142; Family History Film: 0337953.18
Peter Layman
Category No.
White male 50–59 1
White Male 15–19 1
White male 5–9 1
White female 40–49 1
White female 20–29 1
White female 15–19 1
White female 10–14 2
White female 5–9 1
Total un-naturalized 10
1830 U S Census: Sugar Creek, Wayne, Ohio, Page: 82; NARA Roll: M19-142; Family History Film: 0337953.18
Frederick Layman
Category No.
White males 50–59 1
White males 5–9 1
White female 50–59 1
Total un-naturalized 3
1830 U S Census: Sugar Creek, Wayne, Ohio, Page: 82; NARA Roll: M19-142; Family History Film: 0337953.18

1850 Census, Sugar Creek, Wayne County, Ohio, Before the move to Missouri

Peter P. Lehman 39 Germany (sic)
Catharine 29 Germany (sic)
Barbara 9 Ohio
John 8 Ohio
Christian 6 Ohio
Peter 4 Ohio
Elisabeth 3 Ohio
Daniel 1 Ohio
Year: 1850; Census Place: Sugar Creek, Wayne, Ohio; Roll: M432_739; Page: 69B; Image: 145.19
Christian Lookabill (sic) 39 Germany
Anna 42 Germany
John 15 Ohio
Catharine Lehman 2/12 Ohio
Elisabeth Garber 44 Switzerland
Year: 1850; Census Place: Sugar Creek, Wayne, Ohio; Roll: M432_739; Page: 72A; Image: 150.20
Ulrich Welty 28 Germany
Maria 25 Germany
Peter 6 Ohio
Barbara 4 Ohio
Elisabeth 2 Ohio
Christian Welty 25 Ohio
Magdelina Welty 23 Ohio
Elisabeth 1 Ohio
Year: 1850; Census Place: Sugar Creek, Wayne, Ohio; Roll: M432_739; Page: 77A; Image: 160.21
Ulrich Lehman 75 Switzerland
Christina Kelher 32 Switzerland
Year: 1850; Census Place: Sugar Creek, Wayne, Ohio; Roll: M432_739; Page: 77A; Image: 160.22

When the Civil War broke out, the Mennonite men of the Sonnenberg Church, Wayne County, Ohio:

held a special meeting to discuss the present sad state of the country, then sent resolutions to Ohio’s governor, offering money and suggesting a commutation fee in lieu of military service. Within several months, a large majority of family heads had given a total of over $1,500 to the local military committee.

Sonnenberg schoolteacher, Ulrich Welty, also served on the Sugar Creek Township Committee that raised money for the Volunteer Fund...In the next several months some sixty members of the congregation had contributed to the fund....Minister Christian Schneck and the younger Deacon Peter P. Lehman both appear on the contributor list.23

With the end of the Civil War, Missouri was starting to become a more promising place. During the post-Civil War era, the country was going through a time of great change and adventure. Everyone felt it across the United States. Robert E. Lee surrendered on 9 Apr 1865. It was a time to put the bitterness of Civil War aside and begin anew. Six months after Robert E. Lee’s surrender in Virginia, Christian Luginbuhl (Loganbill), P. P. Lehman, and Ulrich Welty, of the Sonnenberg settlement in Wayne County, Ohio, made a trip through Missouri and Iowa to find land for a new home in October 1865. Christian Luginbühl (Loganbill) bought a farm 8 miles (13 km) south of Tipton, Moniteau County, Missouri. In April 1866, he and four other men, moved with their families from Wayne County, Ohio to this new settlement.24

Peter P. Lehman (b. 1813, Switzerland d. 21 July 1885) married 9 Apr 1840, Wayne County, Ohio Catherine Luginbuhl (Loganbill).

Obituary of Peter P. Lehman

On the 21st of July in Moniteau Co., Mo., of dropsy and heart disease, Peter P. Lehman, aged 73 years, 1 month and 9 days. He was born in Canton, Berne, Switzerland, and when still young, came with his parents to Wayne Co., Ohio. He united with the Mennonite Church at that place and was afterwards ordained Deacon. After the war he moved with his family to Moniteau Co., Mo. A letter written by him to the Herald of Truth induced not a few Mennonites to settle in Moniteau and Morgan counties Mo., he was a diligent Bible student and wrote several articles for the papers defending our confession of faith and the Christian religion in general. With a firm trust in God and an unwavering faith in his promises, he met death without fear, bearing his suffering with patience. Although in his last days respiration was difficult, so that he could not lie down, yet he was thankful to God that he had but little pain to endure. He leaves a wife, nine children, and several grandchildren to mourn his departure, but they mourn not as those who have no hope.25

Their children were: Peter P., Christian, Barbara, Peter, Elisabeth, Simon, Moses, Catherine and Mary.

In 1860 Peter P. Lehman, Christian Loganbill and Ulrich Welty were living in Sugar Creek, Wayne County, Ohio.

1860 Census Wayne County, Ohio, Before the move to Missouri

Peter Lehman 47, Farmer Switzerland
Catherine 39 Switzerland
John 17 Ohio
Christian 16 Ohio
Barbara 19 Ohio
Peter (b. 1846) 14 Ohio
Elizabeth 13 Ohio
Simon 8 Ohio
Moses 6 Ohio
Catherine 3 Ohio
Mary 7/12 Ohio
Year: 1860; Census Place: Sugar Creek, Wayne, Ohio; Roll: M653_1050; Page: 97; Image: 197; Family History Library Film: 805050.27
Christian Logenbell 47, Farmer Switzerland
Ann 52 Switzerland
Year: 1860; Census Place: Sugar Creek, Wayne, Ohio; Roll: M653_1050; Page: 84; Image: 170; Family History Library Film: 805050.28
Urick Welty 39, Farmer Switzerland
Maria 36 Ohio
Peter 16 Ohio
Barbara 14 Ohio
Elisabeth 12 Ohio
Mary 10 Ohio
William 4 Ohio
Year: 1860; Census Place: Sugar Creek, Wayne, Ohio; Roll: M653_1050; Page: 89; Image: 180; Family History Library Film: 805050.

The Kidron Historical Society of Wayne County, Ohio is working to preserve the Swiss Mennonite heritage of the community. The Lehman House and spring house, built ca.1838 is believed to have been constructed by Abraham Lehman, brother to Peter Lehman. Peter Lehman was an original settler to the Sonnenberg settlement. Lloyd and Ester Lehman donated the old Lehman House to the Kidron Historical Society, which is planning to move the house to Sonnenberg Village.30 The Lehman house will take its place with the Sonnenberg church and school, which are part of Sonnenberg Village maintained by the Kidron Historical Society. Other historical conservation projects include the John Bixler House, Third Sonnenberg Church, Tschantz Log Cabin, Floyd R. Saurer Blacksmith Shop built by Jacob P. Sommer, an 1800s hand-hewn barn, and a buggy shed.31

One of the first congregations established near Fortuna, Moniteau County, Missouri is Bethel Mennonite Church. On 16 Apr 1867, two visiting ministers, John Schmidt and Jacob Pletscher from Summerfield, Illinois arrived to hold communion and establish a new church. In 1869 the first meeting house was built. The first minister was Peter P. Lehman in 1871.32

Peter P. Lehman. (b. 12 Mar 1846, Ohio, d. 27 Mar 1919, bu. Bethel Mennonite Cemetery, Morgan County, Missouri) married 6 Feb 1868, Wayne County, Ohio to Barbara (Barbery) Salome Welty (b. 14 Oct 1846, d. 21 Jan 1894, bu. Bethel Mennonite Cemetery, Morgan County, Missouri). Peter P. Lehman was a successful farmer. On the 1900 Census he stated that his owned his farm. He made sure his children were educated. On the 1900 Census his three youngest sons, Joseph Allen (b. 18 Aug 1880, d. 5 Mar 1955, bu. Bethel Mennonite Cemetery), John M. and Thomas W. indicated that they could read and write and were working on the family farm.33 On his death certificate, Peter P. Lehman died of blood poison at the age of 73y 15d. Kidwell Funeral Home handled the burial services on 30 Mar 1919. His son, John M. Lehman furnished the personal information on the death certificate. He indicated that his father was born in Wayne County, Ohio and that his father’s parents were Peter P. Lehman (b. 12 Jun 1813, Switzerland, d. 26 Jul. 1886, bur. Bethel Mennonite Cemetery) and Catherine (Katharina) Loganbill (Luginbuhl) (b. 4 Dec 1820, Switzerland, d. 26 Jan 1894, bu. Bethel Mennonite Cemetery).34

Children of Peter P. Lehman and Barbara Welty are:

  • Joel Edwin (b. 18 Dec 1868, Moniteau County, Missouri),
  • Clara M. (b. 12 Jan 1870, Morgan County, Missouri, d. 9 Mar 1948) She never married according to her death certificate. In 1930, Clara is living with her brother Joseph Allen.
  • Albert William (b. 22 Jul 1872, Morgan County, Missouri, d. 9 Mar 1901, bu. Bethel Mennonite Cemetery) married on 3 Dec. 1896, Morgan County, Missouri to Bertha B. Garber, b. 1 Jan 1878, d. 22 Aug 1964, bu. Bethel Mennonite Cemetery)

    Obituary of Albert William Lehman

    Albert W. Lehman, oldest son of Pre. P.P. Lehman, died at his home near Alvin, Mo., March 9, 1901, of pneumonia, aged 26 years, 8 months and 17 days. He was a member of the Swiss Mennonite church a number of years. He leaves a wife, two children, father, sister, and four brothers with a host of friends to mourn his departure. His remains were interred in Bethel church cemetery, March 11. Funeral services were conducted by Daniel Kauffman and Joe C. Driver. Text, Matt. 24:44.35

  • Rose Frances (b. 15 Apr 1875, Morgan County, Missouri),
  • Edmond L. (b. 3 Sep 1877, Morgan County, Missouri). After ten days of illness, Edward L.(d. of pneumonia flux, age: 44 y, 5 m, 17 d, bu. (22 Feb 1922). Kidwell Funeral Home handled the burial services. His brother, T. W. Lehman, on (28 Feb 1922) furnished the information on the death certificate. He gave his brother’s occupation as a farmer. Edmond L. married Mrs. Bertha B. Lehman, his brother’s widow on (6 Oct. 1901). His brother Albert William Lehman had only been dead for six months),
  • Emma Edith (b. 30 Jul 1879, Morgan County, Missouri, d. 31 Jul 1879, bu. Bethel Mennonte Cemetery),
  • Elma Ruth (b. 4 Sep 1882, Morgan County, Missouri, d. 26 Oct, 1882, bu. Bethel Mennonite Cemetery),
  • John M. (b. 6 Oct 1883 in Morgan County, Missouri, d. 3 Mar 1935, bu. 11 Mar 1934, Bethel Mennonite Cemetery). His occupation is given as a farmer. His wife, Ida Garber, furnished the information for the death certificate. The cause of death was given as chronic n & j britis (sic). It was stated on the death certificate that the doctor had been attending to him since October 1934.36
  • Obed Melvin b. (18 Aug 1885, Morgan County, Missouri, d. 12 Feb 1887, Morgan County, Missouri, bu. Bethel Mennonite Cemetery),
  • Thomas Tommie W. ( b. 19 Mar 1887, Morgan County, Missouri, Res. Versailles, Missouri) married on 28 Mar 1912, at Excelsior, Morgan County, Missouri, Alpha A. Loganbill by Rev. David D. King. (Jno. J. Jones), d. 24 Aug 1922, bu. Bethel Mennonite Cemetery). The cause of death was typhoid fever. His occupation was listed as a farmer and stock manager. Kidwell Funeral Home handled the services. He was laid to rest in Bethel Mennonite Cemetery on 27 Aug 1922. Delbert Loganbill furnished the information on the death certificate.37 His spouse Alpha A. Loganbill is the daughter of Benjamin F. Loganbill and Lizzsie J. Lehman.38
  • Joseph Joe Allen (b. 18 Aug 1880, d. 10 Mar 1955, bu. 12 Mar 1955, Bethel Mennonite cemetery). On his death certificate his cause of death was listed as broncho (sic) pneumonia after being ill for three weeks. The antecedent cause of death was cerebral thrombosis, which he suffered from for six months. His listed occupation was retired farmer.39

Township 44, Moniteau County, 1876 Missouri State Census40

P. P. Lehman
White Male 10–18 1
White Male 18–21 1
White Male over 45 1
White female 10–18 1
White female 18–21 1
White female over 45 1
horses 6
cattle 18
sheep 4
hogs 20
bushels wheat 20
bushels corn 2,000
bushels oats 250
P.C.A. Lehman
White male under 10 3
White male 21–45 1
White female under 10 1
White female 10–18 2
White female 21–45 1
horses 4
cattle 16
sheep 20
hogs 12
bushels corn 1,500
bushels oats 225
Dan Lehman
White male 21–45 1
White female under 5 1
White female 18–21 1
horses 2
cattle 3
sheep 7
bushels corn 300

Other families included Bill Loganbill, Chris Loganbill, W. Welty, and Chris Welty.

1910 Census information on Peter P. Lehman and Barbara Welty

Lehman Peter P. Head 64 Ohio Switzerland Switzerland
Lehman Barbra (sic) Wife 52 Indiana Germany Ohio
Lehman John M. Son 27 Missouri Ohio Ohio
Lehman Thomas W. Son 33 Missouri Ohio Ohio
Lehman Ida E. Dau. In Law 22 Missouri Ohio Ohio
Lehman Nada dau. 6/12 Missouri
Year: 1910; Census Place: Moreau, Morgan, Missouri; Roll: T624_801; Page: 10A; Enumeration District: 0112; Image: 845; FHL Number: 1374814.

1930 Census information on the adult children of Peter P. Lehman and Barbara Welty

Lehman Joe A. Head White 49, Farmer Missouri Ohio Ohio
Lehman Bertha M. Wife 44 Missouri
Lehman Warren M. Son 17 Missouri
Lehman Herman C. Son 15 Missouri
Lehman Mildred J. Dau. 13 Missouri
Lehman Rolland V. Son 11 Missouri
Lehman Junior J. Son 8 Missouri
Lehman Quintus G. Son 6 Missouri
Lehman Daniel L. Son 1 11/12 Missouri
Lehman Samuel F. Son 1 11/12 Missouri
Lehman Clara M. Sis. 60 Missouri Ohio Ohio
Year: 1930; Census Place: Moreau, Morgan, Missouri; Roll: 1213; Page: 5A; Enumeration District: 10; Image: 1020.0.42

Lehman Alpha A. Head 44, Farmer Widow Missouri Ohio Ohio
Lehman Tilman V. Son 17 Missouri
Lehman Ruth E. Dau. 15 Missouri
Lehman Eldon W. Son 13 Missouri
Year: 1930; Census Place: Moreau, Morgan, Missouri; Roll: 1213; Page: 6A; Enumeration District: 10; Image: 1022.0.43
Lehman John M. Head 46, Farmer Missouri Ohio Ohio
Lehman Ida A. Wife 43 Missouri Ohio Ohio
Lehman Madine R. Dau. 20 Missouri
Lehman Melva K. Dau. 17 Missouri
Lehman Wilbert W. Son 13 Missouri
Lehman Clara B. Dau. 11 Missouri
Lehman Peter P. Son 9 Missouri
Lehman Viola R. Dau. 7 Missouri
Lehman Bertha L. Dau. 5 Missouri
Lehman Ella M. Dau. 2 Missouri
Year: 1930; Census Place: Moreau, Morgan, Missouri; Roll: 1213; Page: 4B; Enumeration District: 10; Image: 1019.0.44

The Swiss Mennonite farming community of which Peter P. Lehman was a member helped each other. As a farmer, Peter P. Lehman, would have participated in barn raisings. One such barn raising was mentioned by Christian Kriehbel in his travel report on 3 May 1873. C. Kriehbel wrote Without any untoward events we arrived the evening of May 3 at brother Christian Welty’s. Since the brother was just that day in the process of erecting a rather large Swiss barn, most of the brethren from the area were there, and so we had a very pleasant evening.

According to a rural farm survey taken in 1916, the principal crops grown by Morgan County farmers were wheat, corn, oats and hay grown on fenced prairie land. All farmers raised some kind of livestock such as horses, cattle, sheep, chickens and hogs.

The people are friendly and hospitable and are of a progressive nature. They are not to be won over by every fad and fancy, but when some movement is started which they think really worthwhile they are ready and willing to co-operate with the leaders and make that movement a success. They are strong morally and mentally; they fight life’s battles bravely and fearlessly, and they make citizens who bear their part of the nation’s burden patiently and loyally...There are several churches only a short distance away, and these the people attend and in their quiet way do all in their power to advance the cause of Christ.45

Peter P. Lehman’s farm would have be one of the many Mennonite farms surveyed in Missouri State survey.

This tradition of quality in farming still carries on today. O Baby Foods, manufacturer of natural baby food in Fayetteville, Arkansas, states on their website that some their produce comes from a co-op of 28 Mennonite families in the heart of Morgan County, Missouri.46 The tradition of successful, quality farming that was started by Peter P. Lehman and other early Mennonite farmers continues even today. There are still many Mennonite farmers in Morgan County, Missouri. The Central Missouri Produce Auction, 10 miles north of Versailles, Missouri owes its existence to a group of Mennonite growers in this west-central Missouri community who borrowed a concept first adopted in eastern Pennsylvania in the mid-1980s The principal crops grown in Morgan County, Missouri today are soybeans, wheat and corn. The main livestock raised for market is cattle with 5.63% being milk cows. In 2009, 93.23% of the farms are still family owned, the average size is 239 acres and the average age of the farm owner is 53.48

Bethel Mennonite Church, near Fortuna, Missouri is near the county lines of Moniteau and Morgan Counties, Missouri. Members of the congregation reside in both counties. When the first Swiss Mennonite settlers arrived to the area, they met in private homes for church for three years. The congregation purchased two and a half acres from Noah Basinger for a new church building and held their first meeting in 1870.

The founders of this church, P. Lehman and family, Christian and John Loganbill and families, Ulrich and Barbara Aeschbacher, Peter and Rebecca Lehman, and Christian and Barbara Gerber. This little colony came to this county in 1866, forty-seven years after their ancestors settle in Wayne County, Ohio. An attractive souvenir album issued in 1917 gives the membership of the church at 150, with an assessed valuation of $462, 098.49

Bethel Mennonite Church was occasionally visited by other circuit rider or trading ministers. On 2 May 1873, Christian Krehbel, minister, made an entry on this travel report at Bethel Mennonite Church.

We gathered with the congregation in their beautiful meeting house. Brother Peter P. Lehmann and I preached in the morning; in the afternoon brother Wiebe preached. Then we had the preparation meeting for communion, after which we were divided up among the brethren for the night and met again the next day in the meeting house, where we were then honored to celebrate the Lord’s Supper. This was a very precious occasion; brethren who until then had not known each other recognized one another in the Spirit and were strengthened by this bread and wine, partaking of one body and one blood. May the Lord in grace so order things that we all may partake of heavenly glory.50

In 20 Jun 1878, Bethel Mennonite Church accepted another minister, Manasseh Shelly Moyer. He shared the church workload with Peter P. Lehman. The two men took turns preaching alternate Sundays. M. S. Moyer and his wife Anna Eymann lived with Christian Welty for three weeks until they could get a home of their own. Mr. Moyer and his family moved into the old homestead of Abe Braumgartner and then later purchased the Ben Wenger farm which was closer to Bethel Mennonite Church. Later Peter P. Lehman purchased an adjoining 40 acres of Ben Wenger farm from M. S. Moyer. In March 1901, Mr. Moyer left Bethel Mennonite Church and moved to Deer Creek, Oklahoma. He became the new minister to Deer Creek Mennonite Church. While serving as co-pastor, M. S. Moyer, had several children. They are:

  • Infant Son, died after 3 weeks, July 1880
  • Selma Clarrisa (b. 16 Aug 1882)
  • John Fredric (b. 1 Mar 1885)
  • William Quintus (b. 14 Sep 1886)
  • Otto Jacob Conrad (b. 26 Nov 1890.51

In 1880, Peter P. Lehman and M. S. Moyer were listed next to each other on the census.

Peter P. Lehman 33 Ohio Switzerland Switzerland
Barbary 32 Ohio Ohio Ohio
Clara 10 Missouri Ohio Ohio
Albert 6 Missouri Ohio Ohio
Rosa 4 Missouri Ohio Ohio
Edmund 2 Missouri Ohio Ohio
Henry Kasper 24 Rushia Rushia Rushia (servant)
Manassa Moyer 34 Pennsylvania Pennsylvania Pennsylvania
Annie 29 Pennsylvania Hanover Hanover

As a minister, Peter P. Lehman would have performed marriages for the congregation. There were several mentions of him performing marriage ceremonies. On 9 Feb 1893, he married Elizabeth Baumgartner, Dalton, Ohio to Elias Basinger, Versailles, Morgan County, Missouri.

Other members of the Lehman family joined Peter P. Lehman (b. 12 Mar 1846, Ohio, d. 27 Mar 1919, bu. Bethel Mennonite Cemetery, Morgan County, Missouri) in Missouri during later years. His first cousin, Urich Lehman, joined him. Uriah Lehman was the son of his uncle, Abraham P Lehman (b. 1821) and the younger brother of Peter P. Lehman (b. 1813). Urich Lehman (b. 18 Aug 1852, Ohio, d. 19 Mar 1936, Moniteau County, Missouri, bu. Bethel Mennonite Church, 21 Mar. 1936), Funeral services were provided by Williams & Fredmeyer, California, Missouri. John Lehman, California, Missouri furnished the information for the death certificate. The parents of the deceased were given as Abraham Lehman and Elizabeth Loganbill, his occupation as farmer, and his spouse as Caraline Lehman.54

Bethel Mennonite Church is still an active church today. The congregation is active in the community with different programs with the Kidwell Boarding Home and Good Shepherd Nursing Home. The congregation participates in raising funds for the World Relief Fund. It has been 140 years since Peter P. Lehman became the minister in 1871.55 The church he helped to plant is still alive today in 2011. In 2005, the church had a listed member of 140.56 The farm community that he helped to establish is still strong. The Mennonite community in Morgan and Moniteau Counties, Missouri is a vibrate one.