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Erie County (PA) Genealogy

Family Histories & Biographies

Samuel Keefer / Samuel McCray / Samuel McCrea

Contributed by Patricia McCrea

Site visitor Patricia McCrea has provided the short family history below. It basically covers three generations of gentleman named Samuel (Grandfather, Father, Son) and relatives. The time period is between about 1830 to about 1900. The information is being posted unedited, as received. Any questions or comments concerning this family history should be sent directly to Patricia McCrea.

 On 31 August 1805, Andreas Kessler and his family arrived in Philadelphia from Amsterdam on the ship “Varney”, captained by Elisha King.  Andreas’ family included his wife, Margaretha Kessler, and children Anna Margaretha, Catharina Elisabeth, Andreas Kessler Kessler, Dorethea, Johann Michael, Maria Catharina and Margaretha.  Andreas was born about 1754 in Weissenbach, Germany, where each of his family was also born. 

The family was in Philadelphia for the 1805 census, then moved to York County, where daughter Maria Catharina (born 28 June 1801) met Samuel W. Keefer (born 7 Nov 1801).  Samuel was one of three sons of John and Mary Keever, and may have been born in Maryland.   Samuel and Maria were married 9 Feb 1826 in Pittsburgh, and moved to Erie County where Samuel owned and operated a hotel and tavern in Erie Borough, adding daughter Helen M. to their family in May 1835.  Samuel died 6 Oct 1870 in Erie City.

On 27 Aug 1850, while a guest at the hotel, Samuel McCray (then 29), a carpenter born in Erie County, met Helen - then 15 - and they were later married and had nine children,  residing at 1109 Peach Street, Erie City.   The first son, Samuel Wiser Keefer McCrea, was born May 1855, and the last son, James Kessler McCrea, was born 1 Jan 1869.   Other children were Elizabeth W. born 1857, Helen born 1859,  Katherine (Katie) born 10 Jan 1860 and whom lived with her grandparents for the year before her grandfather’s death, John Henry born 20 Sep 1863, William O. born 1865, an unknown child born in Erie City and who died in Wisconsin, and Matilda born 24 Aug 1873.

Samuel W.K. McCrea, a house painter Franklin County, met Carrie M. Hurlbert, born 8 Dec 1862 in Ionia County, MI and raised in Lake County, OH, daughter of Truman H. Hurlburt and Mary Griffith.  They had a family of seven children and lived at various addresses in Erie city, including 30th Street near Parade and 1109 Peach Street. After Samuel  before the 1900 census; Carrie moved to Ridgway, Elk County, with her children, the oldest of whom, Harry,  was 14.

After two daughters, Bessie and Hazel, died of T.B. (it is suspected her husband Samuel also died of T.B.), she moved her remaining five children to San Diego, CA.  Her brother in law, James Kessler McCrea, moved with them, and later taught her son Truman Hurlbert McCrea the plumbing trade.  Son Allen Keefer took up his father’s trade of house painting. Truman Hurlbert died of T.B. 2 Jul 1946 in San Diego.

The house at 1109 Peach Street was home to Samuel W.K. McCrea and his wife Helen, their son James Kessler, and son William O. and his family.  Later, the family home,after being rented for so many years, was purchased by William O. and his wife Anna Swindlehurst and they raised their six children there.

This page was last updated on  Saturday, April 17, 2004 .

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