Andrew Morandus LeBus came to America with his family from Alsace, France which is located on the eastern border of France on the west bank of the Rhine. It is adjacent to Germany and Switzerland, so it abounds in both French and German influences. Our LeBus ancestors resided in Alsace during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, years when its citizens were subjected to a number of conflicts greatly affecting their lives and wellbeing. When Andrew was born July 14, 1826 in Largitzen, Alsace, France, the country was recovering from foreign occupation. A dramatic surge in population growth caused an economic depression resulting in hunger, housing shortages and lack of work. This may have been the reason for the LeBus family immigrating to America. (Click link – Letter to Frank LeBus)
Andrew was either the first or second child of Seraphin and Marieanna “Anne” Hubschwerlen LeBus. We have some documentation of this family in a transcription of Seraphin’s will dated 14th day of April A.D. 1868. Their four sons, Morandus, Lewis, Francis Joseph and Anthony along with two daughters, Anne Swaney and Mary Ewing are mentioned. They may have had two other daughters (Marieanna and Teresa) who died as infants but we have no information documenting that. (Click link – Last Will and Testament of Seraphin LeBus)
Even though I have not located this LeBus family on a passenger list or found a naturalization record for Seraphin, I am led to believe they immigrated to America between 1826 and 1831, after Andrew’s birth. Their son Anthony LeBus was born April 11, 1828, and census records for him give his birth place as France and Pennsylvania, so that muddies the water a bit. Daughter Anne LeBus was born January 9, 1831, in Columbiana County, Ohio.
SERAPHIN LEBUS FAMILY SETTLE IN OHIO
Andrew’s father, Seraphim Labes, can be found in the 1840 United States Federal Census living in Hanover, Columbiana, Ohio with a household consisting of nine people. (Note misspelling of name.) The 1840 census gives only the name of the head of household with age ranges for other members of the household. Listed are one male and one female under five years old; one male and two females between the ages of five and nine; two males between the ages of ten and fourteen; one male between the ages of thirty and thirty-nine; and one female between the ages of seventy and seventy-nine. Seraphin’s wife Anne died in April 1, 1839, so perhaps the older female was her mother.
Andrew Morandus LeBus married Margaret Simington in 1845 and they are recorded on the 1850 United States Federal Census living in Smith, Mahoning, Ohio, with their two children, Mary A. (Ann) age four and Thomas C. age one. The name is incorrectly spelled as Labus. Andrew’s given birthplace is France. Margaret and children were born in Ohio.
ANDREW, MARGARET AND FAMILY MOVE TO ILLINOIS
By 1860 the LeBus family had moved to Wayne County, Illinois, and five more children were added to the household – John, George, Jackson, Ida and Nancy. Andrew’s given occupation was blacksmith. Unfortunately, I have no data or family lore that explains when they moved to Illinois or the reason for their move. Several of his siblings moved to Kentucky but none to Illinois. The years leading up to the Civil War were a turbulent time in America, so perhaps it played a part in the family’s move.
I have not found a record showing Andrew was enlisted in the military, but like all people at that time, he and his family must have been impacted by it. Here is an excerpt from an article from USGenWeb Archives entitled, “Life in Wayne County during the Civil War, Wayne County, Illinois.”
When the call reached Wayne County there was great excitement. All the loyal men hurriedly met to make plans to go to Mt. Vernon to enlist. But first, they must decide how their families should be cared for and protected during their absence.
They agreed that those with some physical disability and the few physicians should remain to protect and defend the homes and families if it should be necessary. Also, the crops must be put in for food and it would require some who were able bodied to organize the young boys and girls and plant and care for each farm.
At this time, many of the community sympathized with the Southerners and they called a meeting and organized a society called ‘The Knights of the Golden Circle’ to act as spies against the Northern men, and hinder them in every way possible and to give assistance to the Southern Army…
To combat this marauding society, the Union League was organized. A meeting was called at the home of Syria J. Branson and by unanimous vote he was elected to be captain of the League.
This gives us a glimpse of the chaotic atmosphere. The Civil War was being waged between states and within communities. We have heard about families and family members turning against each other, and that must have been the case in Wayne County, Illinois. It makes me wonder how Andrew reacted to this situation. Was he a supporter of the Union or the Confederacy?
When the 1870 United States Federal Census was conducted, Andrew and his family had moved to Flora, Illinois, and they had three more children – Lydia (7), Lincoln (5) and Joseph (1). Their son Jackson was not listed so I think he died before 1870. Andrew and his three sons, John, Thomas and George, all give “blacksmith” as occupations. One interesting note is that Andrew gave his place of birth as Pennsylvania. I have no idea why this occurred since in other census records he gave France.
Andrew and Margaret remained in Flora, Illinois for the remainder of their lives. They had one more daughter, Margaret “Maggie” Jane, born in 1871. One the 1900 United States Federal Census we find information that they had eleven children, three of which died before 1900. Andrew was continuing his work as a blacksmith along with his son Joseph. This son, along with his wife and three daughters, lived with Andrew and Margaret.
Andrew died August 1, 1900, and is buried in the Elmwood Cemetery in Clay County, Illinois.
Other than census records and death information, I have little data about Margaret Simington LeBus. She was born May 3, 1826, in Columbiana County, Ohio. Census records give Ireland as the birth place of her father and Ohio for her mother. Of course there are no names of parents.
Margaret died February 28, 1913 in Flora, Illinois. Like her husband she is buried in the Elmwood Cemetery, Clay County, Illinois. The following is an excerpt from her obituary appearing in The Southern Illinois Record, March 6, 1913. The obituary and burial information can also be located on the Find A Grave website, Memorial number 32539952.
Mrs. Lebus was converted and became a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Dungano, O., at the age of fourteen years and remained a faithful member till called to the church on high.
Mrs. Lebus and her husband were charter members of the Flora M. E. Church and bore a full share in the erection of the present church edifice. They were interested and helpful factors in all the work of the church.
The present generation is greatly indebted to the fathers and mothers gone before who by their toils and sacrifices laid the foundation, stimulated the growth and made possible the religious privileges of the present.
Today we honor the name and pay a tribute of affection to one of these pioneers, now called to her eternal reward. It is ours to carry on the unfinished task, while she rests from her labors…
The death of Mrs. Lebus removes from Flora another one of its oldest and most highly respected pioneer citizens. She was a woman of strong character, loyal and true to her church, her friends and all good work.
Ancestry.com. 1840 United States Federal Census [database online]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.
Ancestry.com. 1850 United States Federal Census [database online]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2009.
Ancestry.com. 1860 United States Federal Census [database online]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2009.
Ancestry.com. 1870 United States Federal Census [database online]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2009.
Ancestry.com. and The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints. 1880 United States Federal Census [database online]. Provo, UT, USA.: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.
Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census [database online]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2004.
Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census [database online]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2006.
Hbschweriaen, Eugene, Correspondence with Frank LeBus, February 8, 1937, Largitzen, France.
LeBus, Seraphin, Last Will and Testament of Seraphin LeBus, Transcription, April 14, 1868, Columbiana, Ohio.
Web: Illinois, Find A Grave Index, 1809-2012 http://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?db=Web
Written by Lucy Ann Nance Croft, 2014
Andrew M. LeBus Family Group Sheet (click link) Andrew M. LeBus FGS – Document