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Henry County >> 1888 Index

Portrait and Biographical Album of Henry County, Iowa 
Chicago: Acme Publishing Company, 1888.


Unless otherwise specified, biographies submitted by Pat Ryan White.

MELVILLE C. LEACH, who is Postmaster and agent of the American Express Company, New London, Henry Co., Iowa, was born in Allen County, Ind., Oct. 19, 1858. He received a common-school education, and at the age of thirteen left school and was employed as a cash boy, and from there went to a wall-paper and paint store, where he learned book-keeping. At the age of sixteen he started out to see the world, and “pulled up” at Cleveland, Ohio, where he was employed as a book-keeper in a wholesale paint and paper house. After a year of that service he returned to Ft. Wayne, Ind., with the hope of improving his health, which was delicate, and engaged in the butchering business, continuing that line two and a half years. Mr. Leach then went to St. Joseph, Mo., where he was employed as assistant foreman of a large packing establishment. In 1880 he left St. Joseph and came to New London, Iowa, where he has since resided. For several years he was employed as a salesman with James McClellan, merchant, and was appointed postmaster in December, 1885, entering upon the duties of the office Jan. 1, 1886.

Mr. Leach was married at New London, July 21, 1880, to Miss Emma McClellan, daughter of James McClellan, who was an early settler of Henry County, and whose history is given elsewhere in this volume. Mrs. Leach is a native of New London, Iowa. Two children were born of their marriage, a daughter and a son: Mamie E., born May 6, 1882, and Grover, July 30, 1885, both born at New London. Mr. Leach is a Democrat, and took an active part in the last Presidential election in support of his party’s national and Congressional candidates. He is a Master Mason, and a member of New London Lodge No. 28, A.F. & A.M. He was appointed agent of the American Express Company in 1882. In connection with the post-office and express office, Mr. Leach carries a stock of fruits, vegetables and confectionery, in which he has built up quite a fine trade, and he is regarded as one of the enterprising and rising men of the village.

John Lee (deceased)

John Lee was born Dec. 26, 1797 in Franklin County, Ohio. His mother died on Oct. 11, 1865. He was an 1836 pioneer of Henry County. He first went to Bond County, Illinois at an early day, and married there to Miss Charity Smith who was the daughter of Zedek Smith who was born in Tennessee in November 1800.

John Lee  moved the family to Henry County on Nov. 14, 1836,and resided on Sect. 11, New London Twp. He died on Apr 22, 1879 at the age of 82. They had 12 children, four sons and eight daughters, all living (in 1887) except three: Eliza bor Jan 21, 1821; Jane born Oct 12, 1823; Sarah, born Oct 26, 1824; Almira born Apr. 10, 1826; Samuel, born Nov. 4, 1827; John b. Mar 25, 1829; Julia Ann, b. Jan 2, 1831; William born, Dec. 23, 1832; Thomas B. born June 29, 1835; Polly Ann b. Oct 7, 1837; Charity born Apr. 26, 1839; and Louisa born Sept. 26, 1841.

John Lee was first a Whig, and then a Republican, and belonged to the Methodist Episcopal Church.

That this sketch is not more complete is not the fault of the writer, but owing to the indifference of certain members of the family, who could, but would not, take the trouble to supply necessary information.

Thomas B. Lee

A farmer residing at New London, Henry Co., a pioneer of 1836, he was born in Bond Co., IL, June 29, 1835, the son of John and Charity (Smith) Lee. He was reared on his father's farm in the northern part of New London Twp. He engaged in farming until the summer of 1862 when he enlisted Aug. 7, as a private in Co. K, 25th Regt., IA Infantry and served until the close of the war.

He was at the beginning of the siege of Vicksburg, at the battle of Arkansas Post, Kennesaw Mountain, and Chattanooga, which included Missionary Ridge, Taylor's Ridge and Lookout Mountain. Next at Nashville, Resaca and Columbia. S. C., from there to Savannah, GA, where he was among the first to enter the city. He made the march to the sea under Gen. Sherman, fighting his last battle at Goldsboro, NC

Mr. Lee was neither wounded, nor prisoner, was never confined in a hospital or in an ambulance.

On his return from the war he resumed farming in Henry Co., and was married in Des Moines County to Miss Elizabeth Bridges, Mar. 9, 1873. She was born in Des Moines County, the daughter of Napoleon and Sarah (Hackelman) Bridges. Her parents emigrated from IL to Iowa in 1836.

Mrs. Lee's father was born in IN, and her paternal grandfather in VA, the family being of German descent. Her mother was born in Wabash Co., IN, to which place her parents had removed from Maysville, KY. In 1835 the family removed to Morgan (now Cass) County, IL but later returned to Rush Co., IN. Mrs. Lee lost her father when he was 38 years of age, and her mother died at age 20. Her grandfather Abner Hackelman founded a colony in Oregon in 1845.

Thomas B. Lee

A pioneer of 1836, he was born June 29, 1835 in Bond County, Illinois, the son of John and Charity (Smith) Lee. He is a farmer and was engaged in  farming until the summer of 1862, when he enlisted on Aug. 7, 1862 as a Private in Co. K, 25th Regiment of Iowa Infantry. He was at the beginning of the siege of Vicksburg under Grant. He was in the battles of Arkansas Post, Kennesaw Mountain, Chattanooga, Missionary Ridge, Taylor's Ridge, Lookout Mountain, Nashville, Resaca, Columbia, South Carolina and then to Savannah, Georgia where he was among the first to enter the city, then to Beaufort and Columbia, SC. He made the march to the sea with Sherman and fought his last battle at Goldsboro, North Carolina.

After the war he resumed farming in Henry County on his farm of 206 acres on Section 2 and Section 12 in New London Twp. He now lives in the village of New London.

He married Miss Elizabeth Bridges on Mar. 9, 1873 in Des Moines County, Iowa, where she was also born. She was the daughter of Napoleon Bridges, who died at age 38, and Sarah Hackelman, who died at age 20. They came to Iowa  in 1836. Napoleon and his father were born in Virginia, and the family was of German descent. Sarah (Hackelman) Bridges was born in Wabash County, Indiana. Her parents had moved from Maysville Kentucky in 1835 to Morgan, now Cass County, Illinois. Grandfather Abel Hackelman founded a colony in Oregon in 1845.

Thomas B. Lee is a member of the G.A.R., Post #384, in New London, Iowa. They are Methodist Episcopal, and he is a Republican. He is a member of the Board of Trustees and is on the Village Council.

H. K. LEEDHAM, of Leedham & Baugh, dealers in lumber, lath, shingles, and manufacturers of sash, doors, blinds, moldings, etc., Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, established the latter business here in 1872. The firm employ about fourteen hands in the factory, situated at the terminus of Lincoln, on Henry street. Mr. Leedham was born in Washington County, Ohio, Dec. 24, 1830, and is the son of John and Sarah (Kensington) Leedham. His parents were born in England and came to America in 1818, settling at Marietta, Ohio, and were among the earliest settlers in that region. They came to Iowa in 1844, and settled in New London Township, Henry County, where John Leedham was engaged in farming until his death, which occurred in March, 1865. His wife also died in the same month, but four years later. John Leedham was an upright man of unblemished character, who was considered by those who knew him to be one of the best men of the locality in which he resided. In England both husband and wife were members of the Established Church, but after coming to this county adhered to the Universalist Church.

The subject of this sketch, H.K. Leedham, was reared on a farm, but learned the carpenter’s trade, at which he worked three years. He was also employed at a sawmill about three years, and afterward again went to farming. In 1872 he commenced the manufacture of sash, doors and blinds, in company with Mr. L.G. Baugh (see sketch), which connection has now continued for fifteen years. Mr. Leedham was married, July 12, 1853, to Elizabeth Clark, daughter of Jacob Clark, who was an old settler of Van Buren County, Iowa. Mrs. Leedham was born in Pennsylvania, and died childless in April, 1861. Mr. Leedham was married again, Feb. 16, 1862 in Des Moines County, Iowa, to Mrs. Emma Wright, widow of John Wright, and daughter of Almer Lewis. This lady was also born in Pennsylvania. Three children were born of this union: Perry A., born Dec. 16, 1864, who has been reading medicine, and is now studying in Iowa City with a view to adopting the profession of a physician; Ida M., born Feb. 3, 1869, died June 16, 1871, and Earle M., born May 29, 1880, died Sept. 24, 1882.

Mr. Leedham is independent in politics, believing that good government is more likely to be obtained through electing good men to office than by a close adherence to party lines. He is a broad-gauged, whole-souled style of a man, to whom, to use a Western phrase, it “is safe to tie to”. As a business man and a citizen, he is justly held in esteem, and for his manly qualities and his integrity of character, he enjoys the confidence of the entire community.

JASPER LUSK, a farmer and stock-raiser, residing on section 36, Trenton Township, Henry Co., Iowa, is a native of Greene County, Ill. He was born March 17, 1832, and is the son of W. B. and Sarah [Dickson] Lusk, a sketch of whom appears elsewhere in this work. Jasper, after his mother's death, which occurred when he was two years old, lived with an uncle and aunt in Illinois for six years, but in 1839 his father took him to live with himself, bringing him to Henry County. He was reared upon the home farm in Tippecanoe Township, and at the age of twenty made an overland trip to California, where he remained for two years engaged in farming and mining. With his father, he returned home by water, by way of Panama and New York. After his return he obtained 240 acres of land on section 36, Trenton Township, which at that time was raw land, and upon this farm he still resides.

In 1857 Jasper Lusk was united in marriage with Annie Costlow, a native of Pickaway County, Ohio. She was born Aug. 3, 1837, and is a daughter of James and Delia [Hildrith] Costlow. On the paternal side she is of Irish descent, her father being a native of that country, and her mother a native of New York. To Mr. and Mrs. Lusk have been born three children: James W., still residing at home; Florence, wife of Luther Gayer, of Kokomo, Ind.; Myrtle Elnora, at home. In 1863 Mr. Lusk again crossed the plains with an ox-team, and reaching Montana, he engaged in mining for two years, returning home by the way of the Missouri River. After his return he again resumed his occupation of farming, which he has continued ever since. Mr. Lusk is an excellent farmer, understanding the business thoroughly. He has 500 acres of land, mostly under cultivation, and his stock is of the best grades in the market, and he ships from one to three car-loads of cattle per year. He believes that stock to yield a good income must be well kept. Upon the farm is a fine country residence worth $1,500. Mr. Lusk takes great interest in all educational matters. Politically, he is a Democrat, but is liberal in his views.

WILLIAM B. LUSK, a pioneer among pioneers, and one of the few who yet remain to tell the story of the hardships endured by the early settlers, lives on section 1, Tippecanoe Township. He is a native of Tennessee, born in Carter County, April 4, 1803, and is a son of John and Jane [Boyd] Lusk, both of whom are also natives of Tennessee. His paternal grandfather, Robert Lusk, was a native of Ireland, who came to this country when a mere boy and who served through the Revolutionary War. His maternal grandfather, William Boyd, was a native American and also served through the Revolutionary War. Both were early settlers in Tennessee. In his father's family there were fourteen children, all of whom lived to be adults. Of that number William was second in order of birth, and is the only surviving one. He remained at home on his father's farm until seventeen years of age, when he engaged as a drover, buying stock, principally horses, and driving them to Georgia and other States in the South, where he disposed of them. In this business he continued about ten years and was very successful, accumulating in that time about $15,000. He then started a packing-house in Augusta, Ga., and during one season was engaged in pork packing. By reason of an unfavorable season his pork spoiled and he lost heavily. His misfortunes did not sour him, but thinking he might better himself in so doing, in 1834 he emigrated to Greene County, Ill., and squatted on a piece of land and there engaged in farming. In the winter of 1835 he came to Henry County, Iowa, and settled in Center Township, where he remained one year and then moved to section 1, Tippecanoe Township, where he entered 160 acres of raw land, built a cabin in frontier style, and there he has since continued to reside. From time to time he has added to his possessions, until he now owns 1,700 acres of land, mostly under cultivation. In addition to general farming he has engaged extensively in feeding and shipping cattle and other stock, and has been one of the leading farmers of Henry County.

Mr. Lusk has been twice married. His first wife was Nancy Dixon, a native of Tennessee and daughter of Samuel Dixon. By that union was one child, Jasper, who now lives in Trenton Township, a sketch of whom appears elsewhere in this volume. Nancy Lusk died in 1834. The second wife of Mr. Lusk was Sarah Jones, a native of Kentucky and daughter of Claybourn Jones, also a native of Kentucky. They were married in 1835. As husband and wife they lived happily together a period of fifty-two years, Mrs. Lusk dying July 15, 1887.

Few men have led a more active life than William B. Lusk. In every sense of the word he is a self-made man. Commencing life a poor boy he has twice made an independent fortune, while at the same time he has ever been liberal with relatives and friends. All that he has he has made by his own hard labor and habits of industry. In 1849 he crossed the plains to California and there engaged in mining for one year, being reasonably successful. Returning home he remained until 1852, when he once more made the overland trip to that new Eldorado, where he remained four years engaged in the stock business, adding greatly to his possessions. In 1860 he made the trip to Idaho, where he remained eight months engaged in the stock business. He has crossed the plains four times to the Pacific Coast and once made the trip by water. Politically he is a Jackson Democrat, and his first Presidential vote was cast for Andrew Jackson. As a citizen few men are better known and none more universally respected than William B. Lusk, the subject of this sketch, and a pioneer in Henry county for more than a half century.