< Leib, DeWitt C.

PORTRAIT & BIOGRAPHICAL ALBUM OF MORGAN AND SCOTT COUNTIES, ILLINOIS
Chicago: Chapman Bros., Publishers

1889


DEWITT C. LEIB. The great editor, Horace Greeley, never made a wiser saying than when he wrote that "A man is a benefactor of his race when he causes two blades of grass to grow where but one grew before." Following this line of logic, the person whose name heads this sketch can truly be called a benefactor. His marvelous industry, coupled with his native intelligence, has conspired to place him among those who have patiently toiled under adverse circumstances, and have come out ahead in the unequal race. And it is always thus with such men. These are the people who make a free republic the best government on earth.

DeWitt C. Leib was born near Exeter, this county, March 23, 1848. His father, Daniel Leib, a farmer by occupation, and one of the pioneers of Morgan County, was a native of Tennessee and was of German descent. He died April 5, 1879, aged about sixty-eight years. His wife, the mother of DeWitt, died in 1851, and Mr. Leib subsequently married the widow of the late John Riggs. His first wife bore him three sons and two daughters. Two of the former died, one in infancy and the other at the age of seven years. DeWitt C. was reared on the farm and educated at the common schools and at North prairie Seminary. Mr. Leib was counted as one of the most successful farmers in the county, following that occupation until the fall of 1882, when he was elected to the office of County Treasurer. At the expiration of the term to which he was elected, he engaged in the grocery business at Winchester and followed it until June 1888. In 1886 he again entered politics, and made the race on the Democratic ticket for Sheriff and was defeated by fourteen votes.

The almost complete overthrow of the Democratic party in that election forms an important and long-to-b-remembered epoch in the political history of Scott County, with which this work has nothing to do, only as it is mentioned to direct attention to the causes that led to the defeat of the person of whom we are writing. Some time prior to 1886, and while Mr. Leib was treasurer and a majority of the other offices were filled by Democrats, the tax was levied to build the present magnificent Scott County court house, which will always be pointed to as a monument to the public spirit of the projectors of that grand pile. As the work of construction progressed from month to month and lengthened from year to year, a sort of general fright and senseless panic seized the granger tax payers lest the expense of the structure would eventually bankrupt the whole community. It was during this period that Mr. Leib concluded to make the run and stand for the shrievalty, and in common with every other candidate without respect of party who had anything to do with the "Court-house scheme" as it was called, went down to, at least temporary, political ruin. Nevertheless the court-house has been completed, the whole indebtedness wiped out, the people in general are satisfied if not happy, and the men who suffered martyrdom, in a political way, in its behalf, are now the heroes. The fact that the scheme for building the Court-house has in these later days, when reason takes charge of those who were so frightened, been approved by the majority of the tax-payers is compensation enough to those who were defeated at that election. Mr. Leib is now chairman of the Democratic Central Committee, is an active party man, and is reckoned as one of the good citizens of Winchester. He is a self-made man; what of this world's goods he enjoys is the result of his own industry.

Mr. Leib was married at Exeter this County, Aug. 29, 1871, to Miss Susan Martin, and has one child, a daughter named Carrie. The family belong to the Methodist Episcopal Church, and Mr. Leib is a working member of the Knights of Pythias.


1889 Index
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