Fat like a Barnhart or Hooray! They finally moved out of New Paltz!
Jacob LeFevre (or Lefever as Jacob signed it) was born in or near New Paltz, Ulster County New York on July 14, 1818, the scion of an old Huguenot farm family. He must have had some education as a child, for the census takers always noted him as literate. He no doubt grew up working on the family farm.
Almira Barnhart was born on December 20, 1820, In New Paltz, Ulster County, New York. Like her future husband, she probably had at least some education as a child and was always recorded as literate in the census records (census records of her younger siblings indicate that they remained in school until the age of about seventeen). While no photographs are known to exist of Almira (or Elmira as the name was sometimes spelled) it is probable, according to family tradition, that she was somewhat on the chubby side. Her daughter-in-law, Josephine Knapp LeFevre, put it more bluntly, once referring to someone as "fat like a Barnhart."
Jacob LeFevre and Almira Barnhart were married on July 15, 1841 in the New Paltz Dutch Reformed Church, where they would later have many of their children baptized. Soon after they settled on a farm in Clintondale, in the town of Lloyd, Ulster County New York, where they were living by the time of the 1850 census.
By the time of the 1860 census, the LeFevre household had expanded to include seven children, Almira's widowed grandmother (Hannah Van Wagenen Hasbrouck) and a farm laborer named Patrick Cooley from Ireland. The real estate was valued at $9,000 and the personal estate of Jacob LeFevre at $3,000.
Although the LeFevre's certainly had the money to put their children through school, they seem not to have placed too high a priority on education, at least according to census records (1860 and 1870 are especially enlightening on this topic). Most of their children seem to have been put in school at around the ages of six to nine and kept there until fifteen or sixteen, whereupon the girls went husband hunting and the boys were put to work full time on the farm.
Despite their evident prosperity in Clintondale, sometime before the 1870 census the LeFevre's had moved to Shawangunk, Orange County New York*. As far as is known, this is the first time any of our direct LeFevre ancestors had moved out of Ulster County since 1665! The census notes Jacob as a farmer with $10,000 worth of real estate and a $2,600 personal estate and records Almira as having a $1,200 personal estate. The male children from Cornelius (age 24) to William (age 16) were working as "Farm Laborer[s]" and the two youngest children, Mary (13) and George (11) were still in school.
In April of 1877, Almira was deeded a house and lot in the Village of Walden, Orange County New York (probably on Orchard Street or Walnut Street) by "Thomas Wood and wife." It seems that she and Jacob moved there soon after as the 1880 census notes him as a "retired farmer" living in the town of Montgomery, of which Walden is a part. Joseph Wood was one of his neighbors
Almira passed away on June 16, 1885 at the age of sixty-four, presumably in Walden.
On February 18, 1892, Jacob LeFevre and his children, as heirs of the deceased "Almira Lefever" sold the house and lot in Walden to Deborah Ronk for $2,500 "lawful money of the United States." The property was described as "Beginning at the Southeast corner of Orchard Street on [and?] Walnut Street, thence running South fifty-five feet ten inches thence west, along the land of Joseph Wood one hundred and eight feet to the land of Eli Trisket [Tricket?] thence North, along the lands of said Trisket [Tricket?] to Orchard Street fifty-five feet ten inches, thence East on Orchard Street one hundred and eight feet to the place of beginning be the same more or less." It appears from a map of Walden made in 1887 (right) that this house was on the outskirts of town, right across the street from a Church. Considering Jacob's age, this sale was quite likely the precursor to his moving in with one of his children, almost certainly Cornelius.
Jacob died on April 21, 1895, in Mattewan, Dutchess County New York. Both are buried in New Paltz Rural Cemetery, beneath an imposing black obelisk.
Our family has a number of tarnished silver spoons with the initial "L" engraved upon them. These came down in the family through Jacob's great-granddaughter, Katherine LeFevre Miller and it is possible that they once belonged to him.
* Although listed as residing in "Post Office: Tuthill" which is a town in Shawangunk Township, it is probable that their actual residence was in New Hurley (in the same township) where their grandson, George LeFevre, stated that they had resided and where their son George had a farm that he could well have been given by his father. The census taker seems to have recorded everyone in Shawangunk as residents of Tuthill, so I am not taking the census statement very seriously.
I: Elizabeth LeFevre born Dec 10, 1843, Clintondale; died March 16, 1907; married about 1866 John Powell
II: Cornelius LeFevre born June 3, 1856, Clintondale; died Feb 3, 1915; married October 5, 1870 Mary L. Masten
III: Peter LeFevre born April 15, 1849, Clintondale; married Oct 15, 1873 Elsie P. Thorne
IV: Sarah LeFevre born Aug 21, 1851, Clintondale; married Feb 18, 1875 John Alsdorf Tears; m 2 John G. Manning
V: William LeFevre born May 1 1854, Clintondale; married Jan 27, 1878 Charlista Porter
VI: Mary LeFevre born Sept 3 1856, Clintondale; married Oct 6, 1880 Joseph W. Rowland
VII: George LeFevre