Cyrus Austin Leland, of Eldorado, a successful lawyer and one of Butler county's most prominent men of affairs, was born at Ottawa, La Salle county, Illinois, Aug. 11, 1843, a son of Hon. Lorenzo and Margaret Harrington (Holbrook) Leland. The Leland family dates its founding in America, from the early settlement of the Massachusets colony, when Henry Leland, a native of England, came to the colonies and eventually settled in what is now Grafton, Mass. Hon. Cyrus Austin is of the eighth generation descended from Henry Leland, the line of descent being as follows: Ebenezer, the son of Henry, had a son named Henry, who was born at Grafton, Mass., in 1687 and died there in 1768; his son Phineas, born in Grafton in 1730, died there in 1773; Eleazer, the son of Phineas, was born in Grafton in 1755 and died there in 1827; Cyrus, the son of Eleazer, was born in Grafton in 1810 and died there in 1831; his son Lorenzo, was the father of Cyrus Austin, and was born in Grafton, Sept. 27, 1813. It will thus be seen that the Leland family have maintained their residence in Grafton, Mass., for over two hundred years.
Lorenzo Leland was a teacher in early life and also studied law. He came to Peoria, Ill., in the fall of 1834, where he completed his law studies and was admitted to the bar in 1835. He located for practice at Ottawa, La Salle county, Illinois, associating himself with his cousin, the late Judge Edwin Leland of Ottawa. He also had as associates in practice T. Lyle Dickey and M. H. Swift. In 1842 he was appointed clerk of the circuit court of LaSalle county by Governor Ford, and served until 1848, when he was elected clerk of the supreme court for the third Northern Grand Division of Illinois, to which office he was reëlected for two succeeding terms, serving eighteen years in all. He also served for a time as county treasurer and as county superintendent of schools of LaSalle county. He was recognized as one of the best lawyers of the state and was a notable man in its public affairs. He, together with M. H. Swift, organized the First National Bank of Ottawa, of which Mr. Swift became president and Mr. Leland vice-president. He served in that capacity until his death. His son Lorenzo succeeded him in the bank and became president of that institution. As a lawyer, financier and citizen he was one of the strongest and ablest men LaSalle county ever produced. He was thrice married. His first wife, Martha Holbrook, bore him two sons: Cyrus Austin, and Lorenzo Leland, who is president of the First National Bank of Ottawa, Ill., and one of LaSalle county's most prominent men. His second marriage was to Mrs. Marcia Hoes and to their union was born a daughter, Marcia, who is the wife of Dr. C. H. Davies of Kansas City, Kan. His third wife was Mrs. Flora Thompson, whose daughter, Nellie A. Thompson, became the wife of Hon. Cyrus A. Leland.
Cyrus Austin Leland was educated in the public schools of Ottawa, Ill., at Williston Seminary, East Hampton, Mass., and at Yale University and graduated at the last named institution in the class of 1865 with the degree of Bachelor of Arts. He was prepared for law in his father's office and was admitted to the bar at Ottawa, Ill., in 1867. From 1867 to 1877, he practiced law in Ottawa with E. E. Lewis, Thomas McKinley and Judge P. K. Leland as associates. In 1877 he came to Eldorado, Kan. with his brother Lorenzo Leland, Jr., and together established themselves in practice under the firm style of Leland & Leland. Lorenzo returned to Ottawa in 1879, and from that time until 1888, our subject practiced alone. In the latter year he was elected on the Democratic ticket to be District Judge of the Thirteenth Judicial District and served in that capacity from 1888 to 1891, inclusive. He had previously served as city attorney and during Governor Glick's administration he was appointed a regent of the Kansas State Agricultural College. In 1892 he formed a partnership with Hon. C. L. Harris under the firm title, Leland & Harris. That partnership existed nearly eighteen years, or until dissolved in December, 1909. In January, 1910, the present firm of Leland & Geddes was organized with Judge Leland as senior member and K. M. Geddes as junior member. This is one of the leading law firms in Southern Kansas, where Judge Leland is well known as a strong and successful lawyer and as one of the most prominent and influential men of Butler county. He is a charter member of the Kansas State Bar Association and is a director of and attorney for the Farmers and Merchants' National Bank at Eldorado. Though nearing seventy years of age, he is still hale and hearty and indulges in out door sports of which he has always been an enthusiastic lover. He still finds great enjoyment and pleasure at the tennis court, and is a director and an active member of the Sterry Hunting and Fishing Club which has its grounds near Creede, Col. He is the acknowledged chess champion of Eldorado.
He was married in December, 1870, as mentioned, to Nellie A. Thompson, the daughter of Aaron Thompson, whose widow married Judge Leland's father. To Mr. and Mrs. Leland have been born five children, of whom three survive. Two daughters, Flora and Cecil, are well known in art circles and maintain a water color studio in Kansas City, Mo. Miss Cecil Leland was graduated in the literary department of Kansas University and her sister concluded a five-year course at the Art Institute in Chicago and is now a member of the Chase class at Florence, Italy, They have spent some time in foreign travel and study; Cyrus A. Leland, Jr., graduated from the electrical engineering department of the University of Kansas with the class of 1910; Percy S. Leland, also a graduate of the University of Kansas and an attorney, died in Eldorado in February, 1919; one daughter died in childhood.
In the Leland home is one of the most complete private libraries in the state and there Mrs. Leland, a woman of rare personal qualities of friendship and of culture, presides with charming grace and hospitality and extends to the family's many friends the entertainment and pleasure of one of the most beautiful and delightful homes in Eldorado.Pages 454-456 from volume III, part 1 of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed December 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM195. It is a two-part volume 3.
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