Joseph S. Lehman (1847-1935), and wife Sarah (Hershey, 1851-1919) moved to Stephenson County about 1874. The 1870 Census in Lancaster shows Joseph living with his parents in East Donegal Twp., where Joseph was a coverlet weaver.
The 1875 Lakeside Directory of the State of Illinois lists an ad for Freeport Weaving Works on p. 305, with Joseph S. Lehman, proprietor. Products included coverlets, bedspreads, Brussels and Ingrain carpets, and other textiles.
For 1880 Joseph was listed as farmer in Rock Run Twp. His first child, daughter Florence, died in 1891 and is buried at the Freeport Mennonite Church cemetery.
About 1892 the family moved to Elkhart, Indiana, where Joseph headed the Mennonite Publishing Company. No further sign of his earlier career as weaver and textile manufacturer is known. Joseph and family are enumerated there for 1900, but by the time of the 1910 Census they are back in Lancaster County, where both Joseph and wife Sarah died.
At some time during his Stephenson County residence Joseph was ordained as Mennonite minister, and is reputed to have done some missionary work in Canada as well as the US.
Does anyone have a clue as to why these folks moved from SE Pennsylvania to far NW Illinois in the mid-1870s?
Any suggestions would be appreciated.