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Champaign County, Illinois

Biography of Abner F. Leas

SOURCE: "Portrait and Biographical Album of Champaign County, Illinois," Chapman Brothers, Chicago, 1887

SURNAMES: CRANE, LEAS, PATTON, STEVENS


ABNER F. LEAS, one of the peaceful and law-abiding citizens of St. Joseph Township, pursuing the even tenor of his way on a good farm on section 9, drew his first breath near the city of Covington, Fountain Co., Ind., Oct. 6, 1838. In looking back over his family history we find that his grandfather, Daniel Leas, was a native of Pennsylvania, and emigrated to Ohio with his family when his son George, the father of our subject, was a boy. The first representatives of the family in the United States came over from Germany and located in the Keystone State during its early settlement. His grandfather, Daniel, was the first of whom we have any clear account. He grew to manhood among the Alleghanies, and became the father of six sons and two daughters, all of whom became men and women. George, the eldest, was married in Ohio, and thence removed to Indiana. His wife, Lydia, was the daughter of Abner CRANE, whose family removed from New York to Ohio in the pioneer days. They traced their ancestry back to England. George Leas was a potter by trade, which business he followed in Fountain County, Ind., successfully for some time, and subsequently took up agricultural pursuits until retiring from active labor. He was born in about 1801, and lived to be seventy-six years of age. His aged partner still survives, now nearly eight years old, making her home in the place where they lived together so many years. Of her ten children, eight grew to mature years and four are still living.

The subject of this sketch, the fifth child of his parents, grew to manhood in his native county, and received the advantages of a common-school education. After reaching his majority he left the parental roof, and coming into this county located on 160 acres of land, entered by his father on section 9, in St. Joseph Township. He kept bachelor’s hall several years, and in addition to the cultivation of his land began raising hogs and cattle, the proceeds of which yielded him generous returns, and from which he in fact made the most of his money. When a little over twenty-eight years of age, March 13, 1867, he was married, choosing for his wife Miss Lydia E., third daughter of Israel and Hannah PATTON, who came from Tennessee and located in Vermilion County during its early settlement. Our subject and his young wife went to housekeeping in a structure which he had previously built, but which, in 1876, was replaced by a fine, two-story residence. This is erected after the modern style of architecture, and is beautifully located on a rise of ground commanding a fine view of the surrounding country. The barn and other outbuildings are in keeping with the residence, providing all conveniences for the shelter of stock and the storing of grain. In the rear is an orchard of choice apple trees, and the grounds around the dwelling are embellished by shade trees, and those which bear the finer fruits, such as cherries, peaches, etc.

Mr. Leas has invested his surplus capital in more land, and besides the home farm owns 280 acres on section 3, all under the plow, neatly fenced, and yielding in abundance the choicest products of the Prairie State.

Of the union of our subject and his wife there were born five children, only two now living -- Charles F. and Myrtle M. The wife and mother died at her home in January, 1885. The second marriage of Mr. Leas took place Jan. 13, 1887, the lady being Miss Lettie STEVENS, who was a native of Ohio, born in Clermont County, and became a resident of this locality in 1865. She was the daughter of James A. and Millie STEVENS, natives of Vermont and Ohio respectively.

Mr. Leas has been prominent in the affairs of his township since coming here, and was among the first who assisted in organizing a drainage system for the State, during which time he officiated as Commissioner of St. Joseph Township. He has been interested in the moral and educational welfare of his community, and assisted in organizing the Christian Church at Prairie Hope, of which he is one of the Deacons, and has taken great interest in the advancement of the Sabbath-school.

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