There are two Lehr families that arrived together from Lübeck at the port of Oranienbaum on 4 July 1766 aboard the English frigate Love & Unity under the command of Skipper Thomas Fairfax. They both settled in the Volga German colony of Messer on 18 June 1767. Their relationship to each other is unknown at this time, but both of them came from the German village of Himbach.
(1) Johannes Lehr, son of Johann Heinrich & Anna Elisabeth Lehr, was born 26 June 1721. He married first to Anna [surname not determined] and had at least two children, both born in Himbach: (1) Johann Heinrich, born 2 May 1753; and (2) Johann Philipp, born 3 April 1755. Anna died on 2 April 1757. Johannes remarried on 27 October 1763 to Elisabetha Kling, the widow of Johann Philipp Helfrich.
Johannes Lehr, a farmer, his wife Elisabeth, and sons (Johann Heinrich, age 14½; Philipp, age 12½) are recorded on the 1767 census of Messer in Household No. 69 along with three Laubach stepchildren (Philippina, age 13; Maria Elisabeth, age 6; Johann Adam, age 2). The presence of these stepchildren indicates that the Elisabeth recorded as his wife on the 1767 census is not the same Elisabeth that he married in 1763.
(2) Johann Justus Lehr, son of Georg Heinrich & Anna Catharina Lehr, was born 9 August 1718. He married Maria Elisabetha [surname not determined]. The births of two of their children have been located in the parish register of Himbach: (1) Johann Just, born 24 November 1748; and (2) Anna Elisabeth, born 8 February 1750. Maria Elisabetha died on 29 November 1756. Justus remarried on 4 January 1759 to Catharina Scheibel.
After arriving in Russia, Catharina Scheibel Lehr died. Just Lehr, a farmer, his wife Charlotta, and sons (Johann Just, age 20 [by 1st wife]; Johann Ernst, age 1 [by 2nd wife]) are recorded on the 1767 census of Messer in Household No. 70 along with two stepchildren (Johann Georg Armbrecht, age 17; Katharina Armbrecht, age 8).
Johannes Lehr (age 23), son of Johann Just & Maria Elisabetha Lehr, is also recorded on the 1767 census of Messer in Household No. 72.
Maria Elisabetha Lehr, daughter of Georg Heinrich & Anna Catharina Lehr and sister to Johann Justus Lehr, also arrived with these Lehr families in Russia as well as in Messer. She married Peter Deisel and is recorded on the 1767 census of Messer in Household No. 74.
Both the Oranienbaum passenger list and the 1767 census of Messer record that these Lehr families came from the German district of Isenburg.
- Mai, Brent Alan. 1798 Census of the German Colonies along the Volga: Economy, Population, and Agriculture (Lincoln, NE: American Historical Society of Germans from Russia, 1999): Ms10, Ms64, Ms66, Ms75.
- Pleve, Igor. Einwanderung in das Wolgagebiet, 1764-1767 Band 3 (Göttingen: Göttinger Arbeitskreis, 2005): 147, 148.
- Pleve, Igor. Lists of Colonists to Russia in 1766: Reports by Ivan Kulberg (Saratov: Saratov State Technical University, 2010): #1780, #1784.