This information is part of the Champaign County ILGenWeb Project. If you have reached this site by means other than The USGenWeb Project, The ILGenWeb Project, or directly, please visit the main Champaign Co, ILGenWeb site for more information regarding Champaign County, IL ancestors. Information contained here was transcribed by Celia Snyder. Please do not repost this information without the express written permission of Celia Snyder.

Champaign County, Illinois

Biography of Isaac Thompson Leas

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


ISAAC THOMPSON LEAS,who has distinguished himself principally as a successful breeder of fine stock, is one of the valued landmarks of St. Joseph Township, where he has been an important factor of the rural community since 1860. His birth took place near Covington, the county seat of Fountain County, Ind., Oct. 27, 1833, and he traces his descendants across the water to where they originated, in England, whence they emigrated to this country in the Colonial days, settling in Pennsylvania. Daniel LEAS, the grandfather of our subject, removed in early life from his native State of Ohio, and there reared a family of sons and daughters, among whom was George, the father of our subject. This lad, although born in Pennsylvania, was reared in Ohio, and grew to manhood, learning the potter's trade, which he followed for several years thereafter. He was married, in 1830, to Miss Lydia, the eldest child of Abner and Huldah (ROBINSON) CRANE. Her parents were natives of New Jersey, and Abner CRANE was a private in the War of 1812. George LEAS after his marriage removed to Fountain County, Ind., where he first followed his trade, and then took up farming, remaining there until his decease, in 1877. Isaac T., of our sketch, passed his boyhood and youth in his native county and upon reaching his majority and setting out to do for himself traced his steps to Central Illinois. He first engaged in stock-raising, meeting with unusual success, and ere long was considered an expert at his calling. In 1858 he purchased a tract of land on section 9, St. Joseph Township, to which he has since added by degrees until he is the owner of 520 broad acres, beautifully laid off in grain fields and pasture lands, and which invariably attracts the attention of the passer-by on account of its location, its handsome and substantial buildings, and the evident care and forethought exercised, both as regards the estate as a homestead and a stock farm. Of late years he has turned his attention principally to the breeding of Norman horses, and exhibits some of the finest animals in this section of county, models of beauty and strength. In connection with his cattle operations he ships several carloads annually to Chicago and other Eastern markets, from the proceeds of which he realizes a handsome sum annually.

The marriage of Isaac T. LEAS and Miss Ervilla SUMNER, was celebrated at the home of the bride's parents near Covington, Ind., in October, 1860. The wife of our subject is the youngest daughter of the first settler of Champaign County, namely, Selby SUMNER, who married Miss Rebecca HATHAWAY. Our subject and wife became the parents of eight children, two sons and six daughters, of whom two, Nettie and Frank, are deceased. Those surviving are Emma, Jennie, Clara, Gertrude, Sadie and Ernest, all at home with their parents.
The family residence is a commodious and substantial structure, finely finished and furnished, and was erected in 1879. The barn in the rear had been put up two years previously. The grounds surrounding it are ample and neatly kept, and the whole has an air of plenty and comfort, refreshing to the eye. Mr. and Mrs. Leas are active members of Prairie Hope Church, in which our subject has served as clerk for many years, and officiated as teacher in the Sabbath-school, in which he has always maintained a lively interest. Their children have been carefully trained and well educated and present a group of which the parents may well be proud.

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