The Map That Answered This Question

A few weeks ago, I wrote about my friend, Lali, with whom I shared a very intense friendship twenty years ago. We had one of those inexplicable connections that tethered us together for years.

As I was traveling to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, I wondered if maybe her family was from here since this is Mennonite country and her family is the same. Yes, she said, the Hess family lived in the Lancaster area for some time.

I tell you all this because yesterday I found a map of the Baker homestead in Martic Township, which would become Lancaster 12 years later. In the middle of the picture, you will see a large tract of land owned by John French. That land was purchased by Samuel Baker and willed to his son Caleb. Just southwest of that, there are two tracts of land owned by Robert Baker. Those three tracts made up the Baker homestead.

Here’s where the story gets interesting. Just north of the Baker land and along the Susquehanna River, you will see two other tracts of land owned by John and David Hess.

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At the moment, I haven’t connected all the dots. Lancaster County was home to a number of German and Swiss families, and this Hess family might not be Lali’s Hess family.

No matter, though. Mythologies spring from near truths and for our story that is enough for today.

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