Main content

Christian Lehman papers


Held at: Historical Society of Pennsylvania [Contact Us]1300 Locust Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19107

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

Christian Lehman (1714-1774) of Dresden, Germany, was the first of his family in America. He arrived in Philadelphia some time before 1748, as in that year, he married Elizabeth Fende, a native of Germantown, Philadelphia, who was born in 1730. The couple had at least one son, William, born 1760.

Lehman, appointed a notary public by John Penn, found a successful career as a local surveyor, though he traveled to other regions of Pennsylvania and into New York state for surveying jobs, as well. He worked most extensively surveying lands in Germantown during the mid to late 1700s, and he was one of the first people to map the neighbohood in the 1760s. In addition, Lehman was close friends with mathematician and clockmaker David Rittenhouse, with whom he shared an affinity for astronomy. He also reportedly worked for a time as the secretary of the Germantown Library.

The Christian Lehman papers consist chiefly of surveys, drafts, and plats of land situated in colonial Germantown and Roxborough, including lands held by the Rittenhouse family (Box 2, Folder 12). These documents show the names of landowners, their holdings, changes in titles, along with other survey data. Along with the surveys, the collection also contains legal papers, such as deeds and mortgages, pertaining to many of the lands that Lehman surveyed. The land surveys and legal papers, which have been arranged alphabetically by place (county, township, etc.), take up all of Box 1 and the bulk of Box 2. Besides Germantown and Roxborough, other spots where it appears that he frequently worked are Bristol Township (Box 1, Folder 1), Chestnut Hill (Box 1, Folder 4), and Northern Liberties (Box 1, Folder 16). Additionally, there's a significant grouping of surveys and papers from unidentified locations in Box 2, Folder 11. Groups of solely legal papers have been arranged near the end of Box 2, with the largest group being miscellaneous items in Box 2, Folder 22.

Other items in the collection include miscellaneous bills and receipts, a calculation table (Box 2, Folder 26), and German manuscripts on astronomy and astrology, as well as bee culture. There are also a few folders of items that date from after Christian Lehman's death in 1774. These include an early 1800s case involving one Benjamin Lehman versus The Turnpike Company (Box 2, Folder 24) and a group of newspaper clippings from the 1850s and 1860s concerning legal satire and humor (Box 2, Folder 25). There is also a unbound volume of writings, likely from the mid 1800s, that was found in the collection under the title "humorous writings about lawyers" (Box 3).

Gift of the Lehman estate.

The German writings on astronomy and bee culture, as well as two torn indentures have been temporarily removed from the collection for conservation. If you would like access to them, please call the library for an update on their status. Once work has been completed, these items will be returned to the collection and this finding aid will be updated.

Historical Society of Pennsylvania
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Cary Hutto
Finding Aid Date
; 2017
Processing made possible by a generous donation from Wayne Strasbaugh.
Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Collection Inventory

Land surveys: Bristol Township, 1748-1768.
Box 1 Folder 1
Land survey: Bedminster Township, 1756, 1765.
Box 1 Folder 2
Land survey: Bucks County, 1774.
Box 1 Folder 3
Land surveys and legal papers: Cheltenham Township, circa 1754-1773.
Box 1 Folder 4
Land surveys and legal papers: Chestnut Hill, 1745-1767, undated.
Box 1 Folder 5
Land surveys: Creesham Township, 1768, undated.
Box 1 Folder 6
Land surveys and legal papers: Germantown, circa 1704-1774, undated.
Box 1 Folder 7-9
Land survey and legal papers: Horsham Township, 1771, 1773.
Box 1 Folder 10
Land survey: Limerick and Frederick Township, 1765.
Box 1 Folder 11
Land survey: Lower Dublin Township, 1767, 1768.
Box 1 Folder 12
Land surveys: Lower Merion Township, 1755, 1758.
Box 1 Folder 13
Land surveys: Marlborough Township, 1760, 1773.
Box 1 Folder 14
Land surveys: Northampton Township, 1730, 1742, 1765, 1767, undated.
Box 1 Folder 15
Land surveys and legal papers: Northern Liberties, 1746-1774, undated.
Box 1 Folder 16
Land survey: Northumberland County, 1773.
Box 2 Folder 1
Land surveys: Oxford Township [Philadelphia], 1752, 1754, 1760, 1764.
Box 2 Folder 2
Land surveys: Philadelphia County, 1758, 1774.
Box 2 Folder 3
Land survey: Plymouth Township, 1772.
Box 2 Folder 4
Land survey: Richland Township, 1768.
Box 2 Folder 5
Land survey: Rockhill Township, 1768.
Box 2 Folder 6
Land surveys and legal papers: Roxborough Township, 1742-1763, undated.
Box 2 Folder 7
Land survey: Springfield Township, 1753, 1759, 1760, 1762.
Box 2 Folder 8
Land surveys: Upper Hanover Township, 1761, 1767.
Box 2 Folder 9
Land surveys and legal papers: Whitemarsh Township, 1742, 1745, 1769.
Box 2 Folder 10
Land surveys: Unidentified locations, 1748/9-1772, undated.
Box 2 Folder 11
Papers relating to Rittenhouse family holdings in Roxborough Township, 1746/7, 1759, 1763-1767, 1772.
Box 2 Folder 12
Draught for Michael Schlatter's land in Albany County, 1772.
Box 2 Folder 13
Miscellaneous survey notes and receipts, 1762, 1763, 1770.
Box 2 Folder 14
Surveys and legal papers for roads, 1742, 1764, 1768, 1770.
Box 2 Folder 15
Legal paper: Falls Township, 1772.
Box 2 Folder 16
Legal paper: Franconia Township, 1768.
Box 2 Folder 17
Legal paper: Manheim Township, 1773.
Box 2 Folder 18
Legal papers: Philadelphia County, 1771, 1774.
Box 2 Folder 19
Legal papers: Salford Township, 1771.
Box 2 Folder 20
Legal paper: Whitpaine Township, circa 1754.
Box 2 Folder 21
Miscellaneous legal and financial papers, 1748-1774, undated.
Box 2 Folder 22
Bills and receipts, 1762, 1763, 1787-1800.
Box 2 Folder 23
The Turnpike Company vs. Benjamin Lehman, circa 1809.
Box 2 Folder 24
Newspaper clippings bundled under title "legal fun", 1856, 1857, 1866, 1867, undated.
Box 2 Folder 25
"Table of the difference of degrees", undated.
Box 2 Folder 26
Miscellaneous, 1763, 1767, 1774, circa 1820, undated.
Box 2 Folder 27
"Humorous writings about lawyers", undated.
Box 3
Land surveys and legal documents (oversized): Chestnut Hill, Gemantown, Northern Liberties, Roxborough, Springfield, unidentified, 1755-1767, undated.
Oversize Flat file 1
"The Course of the Wissahickon Creek", 1764.
Oversize Flat file 2

Print, Suggest