JONATHAN H. LASLEY. - One of the sterling and highly honored citizens given to Wyandotte county by the stanch old Buckeye state is this well known resident of Kansas City, where he has maintained his home since 1880 and where he is now engaged in the active work of his profession, that of civil engineer. In this connection he has done a large amount of important service in this section of the state, especially during his incumbency of the office of county surveyor of Wyandotte county, and in his varied relations as a citizen he has shown the same intrinsic loyalty that prompted him to go forth as a soldier of the Union when the integrity of the nation was thrown into jeopardy through armed rebellion.
Jonathan H. Lasley was born on a farm in Gallia county, Ohio, on the 24th of February, 1840, and is the eldest of the eight sons of Matthew and Rebecca (Eakin) Lasley, the former of whom was born in Ohio, a scion of one of the honored pioneer families of that state, and the latter of whom was born at Darlington, Beaver county, Pennsylvania. The father passed the closing years of his life in Cass county, Missouri, where he died at the age of sixty-one years. His wife survived him by more than two decades and was eighty-one years of age when she was summoned to the life eternal. All of the sons are still living and the five elder sons were all members of Ohio regiments in the Civil war, namely: Jonathan H., Joseph, David, Matthew and James. The other three sons, who were too young for such service, are William, Homer and Alonzo. The father was a man of marked business capacity and mature judgment. He became the owner of five hundred acres of land in Ohio, where he also did effective work as a surveyor. In 1871 he removed to Cass county, Missouri, where he became the owner of more than seven hundred acres of land and where he continued to be successfully identified with farming and stock raising until his death. Well equipped for leadership in thought and action, he was called upon to serve in various local offices of trust, including that of township treasurer, of which he was incumbent for fifteen years. In politics he was originally an old time Whig, but he allied himself with the Republican party at the time of its organization and thereafter continued an enthusiastic supporter of its cause.
Jonathan H. Lasley was reared to maturity in his native county, where he was afforded the advantages of the common schools of Gallipolis, the county seat, and attained to his legal majority at the time when the Civil war was precipitated upon a divided nation. On October 1, 1861, he showed his intrinsic patriotism by enlisting as a private in Company A, Fifty-third Ohio Volunteer Infantry, with which he was mustered into the United States service on the 26th of October, 1861. He was with his regiment in all the skirmishes and battles in which it was involved up to and including the memorable battle of Shiloh, in which he was severely wounded in the left thigh. He received a compound fracture of the thigh and was thus disabled for further active service in the field. He was second lieutenant of his company at the time he received this injury, and later, in recognition of his gallant services, he was given the rank of captain by the governor of Ohio. He received his honorable discharge, on account of physical disability, in September, 1864, and soon afterward he was elected county sureveyor of his native county, having previously gained practical experience in this line of work under the direction of his honored father. He retained this office two years, at the expiration of which, in 1866, he came to Missouri. He taught the first term of school in the village of Pleasanthill, Cass county, that state, and after having been thus engaged for a period of three months he turned his attention to agricultural pursuits and stock raising, with which he continued to be actively identified in that county, for the ensuing twelve years. He then disposed of his property in Cass county and came to Wyandotte county, Kansas, where he has since maintained his home. Here he became deputy county surveyor and after thus serving four years he was elected county surveyor, of which position he continued the efficient and valued incumbent for six consecutive years. Thereafter, with residence in Kansas City, the county seat, he was engaged in the work of his profession as a civil engineer until 1903, when he was again elected county surveyor, in which office he served two terms. Extraordinary duties and responsibilities devolved upon him at this time, as in the year mentioned there occurred the most disastrous flood in the history of this section of the state. All the bridges on the Kaw river were carried away and he had charge of the building of new bridges throughout the county, a work which he performed with characteristic energy and efficiency. Since his retirement from office he has devoted his attention to his profession, and there is constant demand for his services in a consulting capacity, owing to his ability and long and practical experience.
In politics, as may naturally be inferred from his birthplace and military service, Mr. Lasley accords an unswerving allegiance to the Republican party, and he is well fortified in his convictions as to matters of public import. He is an appreciative and valued member of Burnside Post, No. 28, Grand Army of the Republic, and has been for many years affiliated with the Ancient Order of United Workmen and with the Loyal Legion of Leavenworth.
On the 18th of January, 1870, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Lasley to Miss Rachel A. Custer, who was born at Mountville, Loudoun county, Virginia, in which historic old commonwealth were also born her parents, Joel M. Custer and a Miss Bane, the former of whom is a cousin of General Custer, who lost his life in the historic Indian massacre that bears his name. Joel M. Custer, who is now (1911) in his eighty-sixth year, resides in Greenwood, Cass county, Missouri, where he has long maintained his home and where his devoted wife died a number of years ago. Of the five children Mrs. Lasley is the eldest. Mr. Custer was identified with agricultural pursuits in his native state, as he was later in Illinois, where he remained a few years, after which he removed to Cass county, Missouri, where he continued to be identified with the same great basic industry until the infirmities of advanced age impelled his retirement from active labors. He held the office of county commissioner for many years and as the duties of the office at that time included those of magistrate, he has long been familiarly known as Judge Custer. A scion of stanch old southern ancestry, he has never deviated in his allegiance to the Democratic party. Mr. and Mrs. Lasley became the parents of twelve children, of whom only five are now living: Charles O., is a resident of Toledo, Ohio, and is a civil engineer by profession; Hallie, is a teacher in the Kansas City high school; Katherine, is on the editorial staff of the Hutchinson News, at Hutchinson, Kansas; Myrtle E., is the wife of Frederick W. Epps, of Kansas City, Kansas; and Miss Pearl remains at the parental home. All of these children were afforded excellent educational advantages and all are graduates of the University of Kansas.
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