Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p., [155] leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.


John B. Leasure

JOHN B. LEASURE, who came to Pawnee County in 1879, for many years supplied an invaluable service to the community through his trade as a carpenter and builder. Mr. Leasure is still more or less active in business affairs, but his success as a practical miner and oil man has brought him into the ranks of position and he is now able to follow largely his own inclinations in a business way.

He was born in Jackson County, Indiana, January 4, 1862, and was only eighteen years of age when he and his parents came from Illinois to Pawnee County. He is a grandson of William Leasure, who was of French Huguenot stock and a native of Pennsylvania. William Leasure followed business pursuits in Pennsylvania and in pioneer times was an Indian trader in that state. He died in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, leaving two children, John B. and Catherine, the latter marrying Paul Rudebaugh.

John B. Leasure, Sr., a native of Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, was left an orphan in infancy and was reared in the home of an uncle. He served an apprenticeship at the shoemaker's trade, and gave practically all his active lifetime to that work. At the beginning of the Civil war he was living in Indiana and enlisted from Columbus in that state in the Sixth Indiana Infantry under Captain Prather. He was in General Buell's army, fought at the battle of Shiloh, and altogether participated in about thirteen engagements. On moving to Pawnee County in 1879 he took up a homestead in Edwards County, a soldier's claim, and proved it up within a few months. His active work was as a shoemaker, which he followed in Larned until 1892. In that year he removed to Arkansas City, again took up his trade, and lived there until his death in May, 1907, at the age of seventy-six. As an old soldier he was an ardent member of the Grand Army of the Republic and seldom missed a meeting of his Post and attended a number of reunions. A republican, he contented himself with performing his civic duties as a voter merely. He attended church and was an active Methodist.

John B. Leasure, Sr., married Julia Daugherty, daughter of Hugh and Rebecca (Edmundson) Daugherty. Her father was the son of an Irishman and spent most of his active career as a blacksmith, partly in Pennsylvania and partly in Columbus, Indiana, where he died. Mrs. Leasure, who was born in Pennsylvania in July, 1835, is now living at the age of eighty-two in Arkansas City. She was the mother of the following children. Leander, of Champaign, Illinois; Carrie, Mrs. Eli Crompton; John B.; George L., of Wichita; Annie, wife of Russ Stevens, of Kinsley, Kansas; and Nettie, who married Fred Fitsroy, a native of Scotland, now living in Wichita.

John B. Leasure, Jr., in his own words was "born a shoemaker." However, he learned the fundamentals of farming as a gardener at Larned and soon entered the carpenter trade, which he followed for a number of years. His services were employed in the construction of many houses and barns and other buildings in Larned and Pawnee County and some of the better class of country homes standing about the county are examples of his skill as a builder. His attention finally was diverted into mining and for thirteen years he was in the lead and zinc mining district of New Mexico. He worked both as a prospector and developer in connection with a stock company, and spent much of his time in the west until recent years. More and more his services have been in demand as an oil promoter. He is an expert in the practical geology of oil and gas, and has been employed in surveying and locating the anticlines sad solving the other technical problems connected with the production of oil and gas. It was Mr. Leasure who promoted the stock company which recently prospected Pawnee County for oil and gas.

Through his skill as a carpenter Mr. Leasure improved his own substantial home on Kansas Street in Larned. In politics he began voting as a republican. Subsequently he joined the Alliance with the inauguration of that movement, later was a member of the people's party and finally came out strictly independent, casting his vote as his judgment dictates. In 1916, when he voted for Mr. Wilson, he supported his first successful presidential candidate. Mr. Leasure is affiliated with the Masonic Order, he and his wife are active in the Eastern Star, and he belongs to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.

On July 28, 1887, Mr. Leasure married Mrs. Emma Bright, who is one of the noted pioneer women of Western Kansas. She is a daughter of Abitha and Emily (Cory) Post. Her mother was the daughter of William Cory. Abitha Post, a native of Vermont, left that state soon after his marriage, moved to Illinois about 1837 and about thirty years later came to Kansas and settled near Olathe, where he died May 12, 1874. His active life was spent as a farmer. His widow died at Olathe in January, 1882. Of their twelve children, eleven grew up: Jacob, who reared a family and died in Illinois; Wickliff, who was a Union soldier, was captured at the battle of Shiloh, subsequently exchanged, after the war took up farming, moved to Kansas in 1876, and died in this state in 1908; Harvey, who died in Sumner County, Kansas; Elmira, who died in Illinois, the wife of Aaron Barnes; Mary, living at Lebo, Kansas, the widow of Mark Ozbun; Lavilla, who died in Olathe, Kansas, wife of Dr. William Hester; Smith, who died in Johnson County, Kansas; Laura, wife of Almon Kegley and living in Quincey, Washington; Mrs. Emma Leasure; Maria, wife of William Butts, of Joplin, Missouri; and Abbie, wife of John Foote, of Spring Hill, Kansas.

Mrs. Leasure was born in Illinois and came out to Larned, Kansas, in 1873. She had the spirit and enterprise of the true pioneer and before her first marriage she took up a pre-emption, plowed the furrows for setting out a row of hedge, and built a shack. She was the first woman married in Pawnee County after its organization. She was married in 1873, at Larned, to Capt. Daniel Bright. The license for her marriage was issued by Captain Bright himself, who was then serving as probate judge. Mrs. Leasure and Mrs. Tompkins, wife of the first newspaper man of Larned, made the first flag which was raised in the new county to celebrate the Fourth of July celebration in 1873. This flag was made of strips of red, white and blue torn from old clothing.

Capt. Daniel Bright, the first husband of Mrs. Leasure, died in Larned, in 1879. He was an old soldier, having enlisted from Ohio and was captain of a company in the Seventy-first Ohio Infantry. Though wounded in the battle of Shiloh, he continued in service till the end of the war. From Ohio he went to Indiana and soon afterwards came to Kansas, first locating at Wichita. He was a lawyer by profession, was in the United States Land Office at Wichita, and subsequently served as the first probate judge of Pawnee County. He was an active republican. Captain Bright and wife had three children: Jessie, who married Claud Grove of Larned and has children Harold, Henry, Ralph, Marjorie, Norman and Jesse; Kate, who married George Norton, of Larned, has three children, Emma, Charles and Ladner; and Daniel, who died as a young man in Larned.

Mr. and Mrs. Leasure have one son, LaVere. He spent two years in the Missouri State School of Mines at Rolla and afterwards graduated at the School of Mines at Fort Bliss near El Paso, Texas. He has since followed a successful career as a mining engineer and metallurgist. For a time he was an assayer in the Rocky Mountain country, did experimental work for the Braden Copper Company at Rancagua, Chili, in South America, but is now in France, in Company F., Twenty-seventh Engineers.


Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p., [155] leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.

Volume 4 - Table of Contents

Tom & Carolyn Ward
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