Joseph Leisey was born in Germany on February 7, 1754. Records in the United States show
nothing of his early years, but fragments indicate that he was born in the Palatinate part of
Germany. (The western part.)* Joseph and his sister Catherine came to America on a boat about
1770. They landed at the port of Philadelphia where they were indentured to a John Bucher. As was
the custom of the time, John Bucher paid the captain for the passage of the two children,
whereupon they agreed to be his servants for a period of years. Catherine married a man by the
name of Hibschman and moved away from the area.
Joseph Leisey returned to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania with John Bucher and learned the weaver's trade. Dr. John's History of Denver (written in 1896) states that Joseph remained with Bucher and was given a part of Bucher's house and a loom. He stayed with Bucher, according to Dr. John, until 1799 when he bought a lot from Christian Wenger. County records, however, show that Joseph Leisey purchased a lot much earlier in 1783 from a Philip Beck. Records do not show a transaction in 1799. It is possible that Joseph did buy the land earlier, but did not build on it until later.
Fragmentary records in the Lancaster Historical Society archives show that Joseph Leisey married Sophia Snyder in 1784. The fragment reads "Joseph Leisig, son of deceased George Leisig, and Sophia, daughter of Geroge Schieder, September 19, 1784." Even though spelling of names in records at that time was not very exact, we cannot yet be sure if this is the same Joseph Leisey. If, indeed, Joseph gave his father's name as George, it would help in any search back in Germany. There is absolutely no proof of any kind to show that Joseph's father, or any other members of his family (other than his sister Catherine) came to America. It is very possible that Joseph's father's name was George, since Joseph named his son George, possibly after his father.
Joseph and Sophia had seven sons and one daughter. The resting places of five of the children have been located. As of this writing (1976) the resting place (or families for that matter) of John and Jacob have not been found. Joseph and his wife Sophia are both buried in Denver, Pennsylvania. Catherine (who never married) Peter, Adam and his wife are buried in the same cemetery. Joseph Leisey, Jr., his wife Sally and George Leisey and his wife Barbara are buried in Reamstown. (About 5 miles from Denver. Son Henry, who moved to Ohio about 1820, is buried in Berlin, Homes County, Ohio with his wife Cathrine.
Joseph Leisey set up his weaving shop in a sparsely settle area of CoCalico Township, Lancaster County. There were only one or two houses in the area at the time. We cannot be sure of the date, only that it was before 1799. He was followed in the trade at the same location by his son Peter. A town began to grow up in the area and was named Union Station with the coming of the Reading and Columbia Railroad. The town was incorporated in the latter part of the 1800's and the name changed to Denver. There are still 40 Leisey families in the Denver, Reamstown, Ephrata, and Lancaster areas.
prepared in 1976 — from Kevin Shue
* Updated research shows this should be Bern, Switzerland on February 17, 1754