History of Taylor County, Iowa: from the earliest historic times to 1910 by Frank E. Crosson. Chicago, The S.J. Clarke Publishing Co. 1910
(biographicals transcribed by Linda Kestner: email@example.com)
ELISHA SMITH LEONARD
Elisha Smith Leonard, a farmer of Holt township, was born on this father's place in this township, July 14, 1873, the son of Daniel and Jane (Heath) Leonard, of whom mention is made elsewhere in this volume. Until he was nineteen years of age he remained at home and then attended the high school at Corning. Later he spent two years at the Western Normal College in Shenandoah, Iowa, from which he was graduated, and then taught for two years in the schools of his home district. He next entered Gem City Business College in Quincy, Illinois, from which he was graduated, and subsequently taught for two years in a business college (page 618) in Kansas City, Missouri. The next two years were spent in the employ of Swift & Company at different places after which he returned home and identified himself with his father and brothers, who were pioneer importers and breeders of Shropshire sheep. On the northeast quarter of section 15, given him by his father, he follows general farming and has so far met with gratifying success.
On the 26th of September, 1906, Mr. Leonard was united in marriage to Miss Myrta Powers, who was born in Taylor county and received her education at the Des Moines high school and at that of Lennox, South Dakota, graduating from the latter. She also received excellent training in music, having studied in Chicago, and afterward taught the art in Villisca and Corning, Iowa. She is a devout member of the Presbyterian church and is active in its work.
Mr. Leonard has wide fraternal relations, for he belongs to the Masonic lodge at Gravity, Iowa; was initiated into the Knights of Pythias while he was a resident of Fort Wayne, Indiana; and is a member of the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks at Sioux Falls, South Dakota. With his wife he belongs to the order of the Eastern Star at Corning, Iowa, finding much enjoyment and relaxation from his cares in the social gatherings of that body. Industrious and a good manager, he is rapidly rising to a position of importance in the agricultural community of Holt township.
Guy Leonard is a representative of one of Taylor county's pioneer families and is numbered with the progressive farmers of Holt township. He was born on the Daniel Leonard homestead, June 23, 1859, and his boyhood days were spent upon his father's farm where stood the old log house which the father had erected in the fall of 1856. The experiences of pioneer life were vividly impressed upon his mind. He attended the district schools and, remaining under the parental roof, afterward assisted in developing the farm until twenty-one years of age. He then started out in life on his own account and the occupation to which he was reared furnished him further employment, for he began cultivating a part of his father's estate. He continued thereon for five years, after which he purchased the farm upon which he now resides. It was a partially improved tract of land but as the years have since gone by he has replaced the old buildings with new and modern ones, has cultivated and developed his fields and it is today one of the finest improved farms of the township. It comprises two hundred and forty acres of rich land, all under a high state of cultivation. Aside from general farming on his own behalf Mr. Leonard is associated with his father and brothers in the firm of Daniel Leonard & Sons, pioneer importers and breeders of Shropshire sheep. In this connection they do an extensive business and have done much to improve the grade of sheep raised in this part of the state.
On the 15th of March, 1880, Mr. Leonard was united in marriage to Miss Anna Ditto, who was born in Mercer county, Illinois, May 11, 1857, and is a daughter of A. J. and Ellen (Wright) Ditto, natives of Ohio and late residents of Illinois. The father is now deceased but the mother is still living and resides in Henderson county, Illinois. Mrs. Leonard was one of a family of seven children. The others are: Bert and Leonard, who are residents of Kansas; Budd, who is living in Oquaka, Illinois; J. W., whose home is in Conway, Iowa; Mrs. John Wheatley, of Nevada, Missouri; and Mrs. John Duvall, of Gladstone, Illinois. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Leonard have been born eight children, as follows: Jennie, the wife of Marion Cramer, of Holt township; Nettie, keeping house for her grandfather; Alta, who wedded Wilbert Hurd, of Greene county, Iowa; Minnie, Ina, Sarah and Dan, all still under the parental roof; and Lydia, who passed away at the age of one year.
In his political views Mr. Leonard is a republican and fraternally is a member of the Woodmen of the World, connected with the camp at Corning, Iowa. He is one of Taylor county's most progressive and enterprising farmers, wining success by reason of his close application, earnest purpose and indefatigable energy. Having spent his entire life in this county he is widely and favorably known and is worthy of the highest regard of a large circle of friends and business associates.
William Leonard, a successful farmer residing on section 18, Grove township, was born upon the family homestead in this county, November 2, 1857. His father, Daniel Leonard, was one of the very early settlers of this section of the state, an extended account of his life appearing elsewhere in this volume. William Leonard received his education in the district schools and remained at home until he was about twenty-nine years of age, when he married and started in life for himself. For a number of years he farmed on eight acres of his father's land, which in his childhood he had helped to clear. Indeed, he can remember some of the hardships of the early years which had not been entirely overcome when he was old enough to assist in the work. Until 1903 he operated his father's land in Holt township, and then he bought his present farm, which has since been his home. It consists of one hundred and seventy-eight acres, all well improved, (page 258) and here he is engaged in general farming. In addition to his agricultural interests he is interested with his father and brothers in the sheep business, importing and breeding Shropshire sheep, in which they were the pioneers in this state.
On the 13th of February, 1887, Mr. Leonard was united in marriage to Miss Alice Claybaugh, who was born in Illinois, January 28, 1866, and is one of a family of fourteen children, nine of whom are still living. Her parents, Henry and Ann Elizabeth (Kyle) Claybaugh, are natives of Ohio and are now residents of Dallas township, Taylor county, Iowa, where they have made their home since 1871. Eight children have been born to Mr. and Mrs. Leonard, namely: Eva Irene, Ethel May, one who died in infancy, Henry H., Jennie Elizabeth, Lottie Opal, Lloyd Leslie and Lee William. Lottie Opal died at the age of seven years. Eva Irene is now the wife of Lon Boltinghouse, of Holt township.
The family are members of the Christian church and Mr. Leonard gives his political allegiance to the republican party. He takes considerable interest in local affairs, having filled the positions of constable, road supervisor, trustee and school director. His administrations have always been distinguished by strict adherence to duty and by a patent efficiency. This quality is also noticeable in his farming. Progressive in his ideas he is also thorough in the execution of his work and no task is left half finished. In consequence he has attained a success that is beyond the average.
K. C. LESTER
Among the residents of Taylor county, who have gained high rank as prosperous and progressive farmers and stock raisers, is numbered K. C. Lester, who owns and operates a farm of three hundred and twenty acres on section 8, Jackson township. Of German ancestry, he was born July 3, 1867, in Floyd county, Virginia, a son of William S. and Rebecca (Cooke) Lester, the father's birth occurring in the same county on the 23d of January, 1832. William S. Lester was a farmer by occupation and also owned and operated a saw and gristmill in the Old Dominion. He remained in his native state until 1883, in which year he removed to Oklahoma, where he opened up a new farm which he operated for some time. He is now living retired, however, and makes his home with the subject of this review. His wife, who passed away in Oklahoma, was born and educated in Virginia and there their entire family was reared.
The boyhood days of K. C. Lester were spent on his father's farm and he acquired his early education in the common schools of his native state. When about sixteen years of age he accompanied his parents on their removal to Oklahoma, where he assisted his father in the work of breaking and cultivating new land. The farm which they operated and upon which the family resided for sometime is now a part of the property belonging the State Agricultural College of Oklahoma, which institution K. C. Lester attended as a student for (page 389) four years. He was married in that state on the 2d of March, 1898, to Miss Dora Miller, who is a daughter of Jacob Miller of Nodaway county, Missouri, and was born and reared in that county.
Mr. and Mrs. Lester began their domestic life in Stillwater, Oklahoma, where Mr. Lester owned and operated two farms near that village. He resided in Stillwater for four years and then purchased his present place, to which he removed in 1902. His farm is a model one, large and finely improved, in the midst of which stands a large and comfortable residence, while he has also erected substantial barns and outbuildings. The farm is equipped with all modern conveniences as well as the latest devices for facilitating labor and is one of the finest to be found in the county. Mr. Lester, who is eminently up-to-date and progressive in his methods, is one of the very few farmers of Taylor county who attended an agricultural college, and the theoretical knowledge which he there acquired has been of the utmost value to him in his practical experience. In addition to general farming he engaged extensively in raising and feeding stock and this branch of his business is proving a profitable source of revenue. His stock is of an excellent grade, which insures it a ready sale upon the market.
The home of Mr. and Mrs. Lester was blessed with two children but they lost the eldest son, Worth J., who passed away at the age of fourteen months. The surviving son, Noble, is at home and is a student of the common schools.
In politics Mr. Lester casts his ballot in support of the democratic party on national issues, but in all matters of local interest he reserves the right to vote for the men and measures which in his judgment will best conserve public good. He has been closely identified with school interests, having served for some years on the school board, doing all in his power to bring about better conditions along educational lines. He holds membership with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows at Bedford, joining the order during his residence in Stillwater, Oklahoma. He has served as one of the officials and is in entire sympathy with the principles of the craft. Widely recognized as a man of true personal worth, he is honored and respected for his strict integrity, while he and his estimable wife are known near and far for their genuine hospitality. A man of keen business ability, he has made rapid progress along the highway of success. Quick to recognize and utilize the opportunities that have come to him, he has made the best of his possibilities and today ranks among the most prosperous, progressive and honored citizens of Taylor county.