5. Amos Sechrist (1844-1909)

History and Biography of Amos Sechrist and Sarah Craley

Amos Sechrist, born October 19, 1844 in York County, PA, was the third child of John Sechrist and Susan Frey.  Amos grew up on his parents farm and that is what he went into to provide for his family.  In 1870, Amos was still single and was living with his older brother Jacob Sechrist and working as a farm laborer on his property.  Amos’s life would begin to change in 1873, as he married Sarah Elizabeth Craley on October 23, 1873 by minister A.W. Lilley.  Sarah, the daughter of Martin Craley and Elizabeth Mitzel, was born November 1, 1852 in Chanceford Twp, York County, PA.  Much of the information that I am going to share below about Amos and Sarah comes from the book titled, “The Five Sisters: Our Sechrist Heritage, 1705-1999”

Amos Sechrist

Sarah Craley Sechrist

Sarah Craley Sechrist

I am unsure where Amos and Sarah resided right after their marriage in October 1873, but on March 28, 1874 Amos purchased a 40 acre farm for approximately $1,600 from the executors of Jacob Stacks estate.  The farm was located in York Twp, just to the northwest of Dallastown borough, along the western side of what is now called McDowell Road.  McDowell Road is located north of South Queen St (Route 74) before it enters Dallastown borough.  According to Margaret Hursh Weaver, granddaughter of Amos Sechrist and daughter of Margaret Amanda Sechrist Hursh, she was told by her mother Margaret that Amos had a new house and barn built on the property.

1876 Atlas of York County, by Pomeroy, Whitman and Company
Yellow arrow points to home of Amos Sechrist. McDowell Road was not created yet, but it lies to the east (right) of Amos’s house.  Present day South Queen Street (Route 74) is the road that is directly underneath the name S. D. Flinchbaugh

Amos Sechrist homestead along McDowell Road, photo taken April 2018

Amos and Sarah raised their daughters on this property for the next twenty years, until Sarah passed away on May 5, 1894 at 9:30 pm in their home.  According to her obituary in The Gazette of York, her death was due to a tumor.  According to the story related to Margaret Hursh Weaver by her mother Margaret Amanda Sechrist Hursh, Sarah had been ill for some time and eight years before her death the doctor wanted to operate on her, but she did not consent to it.  Amos was told the cause of death was a cancerous tumor and if they had tried to operate on Sarah 8 years ago that she would have passed away at that time.

Memorial Card for Sarah Craley Sechrist

That left Amos and his 6 daughters to run the farm, but within 2 years only 3 daughters would remain living with him.  Six weeks after Sarah’s death, their oldest daughter Susan Elizabeth married Eli Hursh on June 19, 1894.  Then, in 1896 their second oldest daughter Margaret Amanda married Joseph Hursh.  Finally, on December 27, 1896, their fourth daughter named Emma Jane Sechrist passed away from diptherria at the age of 12.

By early 1898, Amos decided to no longer be a farmer and on March 30, 1898, he sold the farm to Jeremiah Sechrist for $4,500.  Jeremiah Sechrist later sold the property to James McDowell Sr. and the property is still owned by a McDowell descendant to this day.  On May 31, 1898, Amos purchased a home in Red Lion from Philip Craley, the brother of his deceased wife Sarah.  The home he purchased was located at 87 East Broadway (now number 116 East Broadway) and was right next door to his sister’s Elizabeth home at 91 East Broadway.  Elizabeth was single and by the time Amos bought his property, his parents John & Susan Frey Sechrist had moved into town and were living with Elizabeth.

Since he was no longer a farmer, Amos needed to find a new occupation to support him and his three remaining daughters that were living at home with him.  According to Elsie Sechrist Laucks, daughter of Amos’s brother Stephen S. Sechrist, since her father was in the cigar industry in Red Lion he helped Amos start his own cigar making business in Red Lion.  Amos operated the business out of his sister Elizabeth’s home next door and she was employed in his business.

1908 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map of Red Lion. The property in pink in the center of the map was the home of Elizabeth Sechrist and was used as the Amos Sechrist cigar factory. The map indicates the house number as 91 East Broadway. Amos lived in the house to the left at 87 East Broadway

Amos and Sarah were the parents of seven children, who were named Susan Elizabeth, Margaret Amanda, Sarah Ellen, Hattie Virginia, Emma Jane, Anna Mary and Amos C. Sechrist.  Amos died the same day that he was born.  As mentioned earlier, Emma Jane passed away at the age of 12, leaving five Sechrist daughters who reached adulthood (thus the Five Sisters from the book titled “The Five Sisters: Our Sechrist Heritage, 1705-1999”.  Susan Elizabeth and Margaret Amanda married a pair of cousins, Susan married Eli Hursh and Margaret married Joseph Hursh.  The story as told in “The Five Sisters: Our Sechrist Heritage, 1705-1999”, is that Eli Hursh, a Mennonite,  was one of a handful of carpenters that Amos hired to help him build his barn.  Eventually Eli wanted a date with Susan, and Amos allowed it.  Later on, Eli wanted to take Susan to the York Fair and asked his cousin Joseph to ask Margaret to come along on a double date.  This is how the oldest Sechrist sisters married a couple of Mennonite cousins.

Susan Elizabeth Sechrist, wife of Eli Hursh

Margaret Amanda Sechrist, wife of Joseph Hursh

Sarah Ellen Sechrist married Thomas C Miller, son of William H Miller.  When Amos moved to Red Lion, they moved right across the street from where Thomas Miller was living with his mother.  Hattie Virginia became a nurse and for many years lived with her older sister Sarah Ellen and her husband Thomas.  Later in life, she married James Strayer and they lived in the “Avenues” neighborhood of York City.  Anna Mary married Wilmer Johnson and they lived in Lower Chanceford Twp, York County, PA where they raised their family of five children.

Sarah Ellen Sechrist, wife of Thomas C Miller

Hattie Virginia Sechrist, wife of James Strayer

Anna Mary Sechrist, wife of Wilmer Johnson

In March 1909, Amos went to visit his daughter Margaret at her farm near Hellam.  On Friday, March 5th he left the Hursh household to return home during a snowstorm.  His daughter wanted him to stay and wait out the storm, but he wanted to return to Red Lion.  Later that day, someone came along his carriage along the side of the road stuck in the snow and noticed that he was unconscious.  Amos had suffered a stroke, and he was taken home to recover.  However, he never regained consciousness and passed away on March 8, 1909.

Tombstone for Amos Sechrist and Sarah Craley Sechrist at Dallastown Union Cemetery

Amos Sechrist born October 19, 1844 in York County, PA, died March 9, 1909 in York County, PA and buried at Dallastown Union Cemetery in York Twp, York County, PA.  He married Sarah Elizabeth Craley born November 1, 1852 in York County, PA, died May 5, 1894 in York County, PA and buried at Dallastown Union Cemetery in York Twp, York County, PA.

Children and Grandchildren of Amos Sechrist and Sarah Elizabeth Craley:

  1. Susan Elizabeth Sechrist born October 14, 1874 in York County, PA, died May 20, 1959 in Lancaster County, PA and buried at Weaverland Mennonite Cemetery in Lancaster County, PA.  She married Eli Hursh born February 7, 1872 in York County, PA, died December 1, 1954 in Lancaster County, PA and buried at Weaverland Mennonite Cemetery in Lancaster County, PA.
    1. Elsie Hursh born December 14, 1896 in York County, PA, died December 20, 1985 in Lancaster County, PA and buried at Weaverland Mennonite Cemetery in Lancaster County, PA.  She married Peter Gehman born January 30, 1902, died July 26, 1967 in Lancaster County, PA and buried at Weaverland Mennonite Cemetery in Lancaster County, PA
    2. Lydia Hursh born July 26, 1898 in York County, PA, died February 16, 1899 in York County, PA and buried at Stony Brook Mennonite Cemetery in Springettsbury Twp, York County, PA.
    3. Nora Hursh born March 24, 1900 in York County, PA, died July 22, 1983 in Lancaster County, PA and buried at Centerville Mennonite Church Cemetery in Lancaster County, PA.  She married Samuel Shaub born October 23, 1899 in Lancaster County, PA, died April 1, 1977 in CA and buried at Centerville Mennonite Church Cemetery in Lancaster County, PA
    4. Curvin Hursh born August 28, 1906 in York County, PA, died October 22, 1995 in Lancaster County, PA and buried at Meadow Valley Old Order Mennonite Cemetery in Lancaster County, PA.  He married Anna Martin born January 14, 1910 in Lancaster County, PA, died April 25, 1996 in Lancaster County, PA and buried at Meadow Valley Old Order Mennonite Cemetery in Lancaster County, PA
    5. Eli Hursh born August 23, 1909 in York County, PA, died December 18, 1998 in Lancaster County, PA and buried at Meadow Valley Old Order Mennonite Cemetery in Lancaster County, PA.  He married Sadie Martin born November 2, 1910 in Lancaster County, PA, died November 21, 1997 in Lancaster County, PA and buried at Meadow Valley Old Order Mennonite Cemetery in Lancaster County, PA
    6. Anna Mary Hursh born June 4, 1911 in York County, PA, died April 3, 1991 in Lancaster County, PA and buried at Weaverland Mennonite Cemetery in Lancaster County, PA.  She married Willis Stauffer born September 14, 1915 in Lancaster County, PA, died April 30, 1989 in Lancaster County, PA and buried at Weaverland Mennonite Cemetery in Lancaster County, PA
    7. Jacob Hursh born September 6, 1912 in York County, PA and died May 31, 1978 in Berrien County, MI.  He married Bernice Rankin born December 15, 1917 in Stark County, OH and died May 11, 1971 in Berrien County, MI
  2. Margaret Amanda Sechrist born March 17, 1876 in York County, PA, died November 29, 1959 in Lancaster County, PA and buried at Groffdale Old Mennonite Church Cemetery in Lancaster County, PA.  She married Joseph Hursh born May 4, 1872 in York County, PA, died June 3, 1928 in Lancaster County, PA and buried at Groffdale Old Mennonite Church Cemetery in Lancaster County, PA
    1. Mary Elizabeth Hursh born April 7, 1897 in York County, PA, died September 23, 1969 in Lancaster County, PA and buried at Meadow Valley Old Order Mennonite Cemetery in Lancaster County, PA.  She married Moses Martin born March 16, 1894 in Lancaster County, PA, died October 5, 1974 in Lancaster County, PA and buried at Meadow Valley Old Order Mennonite Cemetery in Lancaster County, PA
    2. Nora Ellen Hursh born May 4, 1898 in York County, PA, died June 8, 1898 in York County, PA and buried at Stony Brook Mennonite Cemetery in Springettsbury Twp, York County, PA.
    3. Ruth Amanda Hursh born July 17, 1899 in York County, PA, died June 8, 1984 in Lancaster County, PA and buried at Weaverland Mennonite Cemetery in Lancaster County, PA.  She married Weaver Martin born December 25, 1900 in Lancaster County, PA, died February 15, 1986 in Lancaster County, PA and buried at Weaverland Mennonite Cemetery in Lancaster County, PA.
    4. Sarah Hursh born October 29, 1900 in York County, PA, died December 6, 1994 in Lancaster County, PA and buried at Groffdale Old Mennonite Church Cemetery in Lancaster County, PA
    5. Laura Hursh born February 18, 1902 in York County, PA, died July 21, 1980 in York County, PA and buried at Stony Brook Mennonite Cemetery in Springettsbury Twp, York County, PA.  She married Harvey Grosh born January 21, 1888 in York County, PA, died September 18, 1962 in York County, PA and buried at Stony Brook Mennonite Cemetery in Springettsbury Twp, York County, PA.
    6. Paul Hursh born January 30, 1908 in York County, PA, died February 6, 1908 in York County, PA and buried at Stony Brook Mennonite Cemetery in Springettsbury Twp, York County, PA.
    7. Joseph Hursh born April 27, 1910 in York County, PA, died July 13, 1993 in Berks County, PA and buried at Weaverland Mennonite Cemetery in Lancaster County, PA.  He married (first) Amanda Martin born May 19, 1908 in Lancaster County, PA, died January 25, 1938 in Lancaster County, PA and buried at Weaverland Mennonite Cemetery in Lancaster County, PA.  He married (second) Leah Kilmer born March 25, 1914 in MI, died June 20, 1984 in Lancaster County, PA and buried at Weaverland Mennonite Cemetery in Lancaster County, PA.
    8. Margaret Hursh born June 2, 1911 in York County, PA, died September 13, 2002 in Lancaster County, PA and buried at Pike Mennonite Cemetery in Lancaster County, PA.  She married Jacob Weaver born July 6, 1908 in York County, PA, died December 7, 1967 in Lancaster County, PA and buried at Pike Mennonite Cemetery in Lancaster County, PA.
    9. Amos Hursh born April 1, 1915 in York County, PA, died April 20, 1915 in York County, PA and buried at Stony Brook Mennonite Cemetery in Springettsbury Twp, York County, PA
  3. Sarah Ellen Sechrist born November 7, 1881 in York County, PA, died May 30, 1981 in York County, PA and buried at Red Lion Cemetery in Red Lion, York County, PA.  She married Thomas Clark Miller born August 7, 1883 in York County, PA, died July 16, 1958 in York County, PA and buried at Red Lion Cemetery in Red Lion, York County, PA.
    1. Thomas Sechrist Miller born March 16, 1911 in Red Lion, York County, PA, died September 6, 1914 in Red Lion, York County, PA and buried at Red Lion Cemetery in Red Lion, York County, PA.
    2. Miriam Virginia Miller born July 26, 1912 in Red Lion, York County, PA, died February 15, 1997 in York County, PA and buried at Fetterhoff’s Cemetery in Dauphin County, PA.  She married Alan Bowman Laudermilch born August 5, 1898 in Dauphin County, PA, died June 27, 1964 in Dauphin County, PA and buried at Fetterhoff’s Cemetery in Dauphin County, PA.
    3. Leah Elizabeth Miller born March 7, 1921 in Red Lion, York County, PA, died April 26, 2013 in York County, PA and buried at Red Lion Cemetery in Red Lion, York County, PA.  She married Charles Weimer, Jr. born June 19, 1919 in York County, PA, died December 28, 1996 in York County, PA and buried at Red Lion Cemetery in Red Lion, York County, PA.
  4. Hattie Virginia Sechrist born January 15, 1883 in York County, PA, died July 28, 1974 in York County, PA and buried at Greenmount Cemetery in York, York County, PA.  She married James Strayer born August 2, 1873 in York County, PA, died August 29, 1958 in York County, PA and buried at Greenmount Cemetery in York, York County, PA
  5. Emma Jane Sechrist born September 20, 1884 in York County, PA, died December 27, 1896 in York County, PA and buried at Dallastown Union Cemetery in York Twp, York County, PA
  6. Anna Mary Sechrist born August 30, 1887 in York County, PA, died February 17, 1973 in York County, PA and buried at McKendree United Methodist Cemetery in Lower Chanceford Twp, York County, PA.  She married Wilmer Johnson born July 31, 1883 in York County, PA, died June 10, 1938 in York County, PA and buried at McKendree United Methodist Cemetery in Lower Chanceford Twp, York County, PA
    1. Margaret Elizabeth Johnson born April 8, 1911 in York County, PA, died November 11, 1999 in York County, PA and buried at Red Lion Cemetery in Red Lion, York County, PA.  She married Clyde Taylor born July 16, 1912, died May 16, 1984 in York County, PA and buried at Red Lion Cemetery in Red Lion, York County, PA
    2. Thomas Johnson born April 7, 1913 in York County, PA, died July 8, 1996 in York County, PA and buried at Pine Grove Presbyterian Church Cemetery in York County, PA.  He married Helen Keesey born February 12, 1913 in York County, PA, died April 5, 2013 in York County, PA and buried at Pine Grove Presbyterian Church Cemetery in York County, PA
    3. Kathryn Johnson born May 28, 1914 in York County, PA, died February 28, 2016 in York County, PA and buried at New Harmony Presbyterian Church Cemetery in Chanceford Twp, York County, PA.  She married Clyde Zimmerman born May 25, 1914 in York County, PA, died February 5, 1981 in York County, PA and buried at New Harmony Presbyterian Church Cemetery in Chanceford Twp, York County, PA
    4. Genevie Johnson born January 25, 1919 in York County, PA, died March 8, 1919 in York County, PA and buried at McKendree United Methodist Cemetery in Lower Chanceford Twp, York County, PA
    5. June Johnson born June 6, 1921 in York County, PA, died November 8, 2015 and buried at Quantico National Cemetery in Prince William County, VA.  She married Fred Smith born November 5, 1915 in MD, died August 13, 1996 and buried at Quantico National Cemetery in Prince William County, VA
    6. Sara Johnson born August 16, 1923 in York County, PA, died January 4, 2017 in York County, PA and buried at Saint Luke’s Lutheran Cemetery in Chanceford Twp, York County, PA.  She married Dale Craley born July 13, 1919 in York County, PA, died July 31, 1919 in York County, PA, died April 13, 2005 in York County, PA and buried at Saint Luke’s Lutheran Cemetery in Chanceford Twp, York County, PA

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