The 23rd Annual Leas Family
August 20, 1902
Taken from the 1930 Leas Family Genealogy:
Assembled together one year ago today it was suggested that but
little was on record of the ancestry of the present generation of the
"LEAS" family, although there had been from time to time past re-
unions of the Family. Many assemblies of reunions of the people
comprising the family had been held nearly or quite annually for
a great many years. A more close association was suggested, as a re-
sult of that, those assembled, met in parlors of William H. Leas
and after some conversation on the matter it was resolved that a
record by some one of the family be prepared for reference.
Those assembled have resolved that it should be the sense of the meeting,
that the next annual reunion should be held at the residence of H. K.
Leas, who was selected as President and the writer was selected to act
as secretary for the ensuing year.
Those participating in the organization at the meeting were the
immediate descendants of John Leas,Jr., who had been the first of the
family to settle in Indiana. Having purchased a tract of land in
Salem Township in Steuben County in 1842, where he moved his family
in 1843, and where he lived until 1868, when the family moved to the
farm adjoining the town of Waterloo. His father was John Leas, Sr.
He, John Leas, Jr., was born near the city of Gettysburg in Adams County,
Pennsylvania, July 12, 1816. He was the son of John Leas, Sr., and
Sophia Spangler Leas, he being the oldest of the children of that family.
Little is known of his grandfather, yet we are informed that he was a
colonel in the Revolutionary War.
We are advised that our father was twice married. His first mar-
riage was to our mother, Susanna Schimpff Leas, at Osnaburg in
Starke County, Ohio. She was a native of Germany and had emigrat-
ed to this country with her parents Martin and Elizabeth Schimpff
at the age of 11 years. She was the oldest child of that union which
was the second marriage of grandfather Schimpff, who, as we are in-
formed, had two children by his first wife, if not more, yet, there
being no record of the history known to us we have but little
knowledge of the ancestry of our mother's family, prior to the mi-
gration of that family to the United States. Mother died on the
farm June 15th, 1881, leaving surviving her, father and nine
children, three having died in infancy, one at Osnaburg, Ohio, and
two in Steuben County, Indiana. Father again married Amanda
Mallory Patterson of Angola, Indiana. They lived on the farm near
here until his death. Mother then returned to Angola to live, after
having lived with father for nearly sixteen years and until his death
on June 16, 1897, at the age of 80 years, eleven months and four
days. We of that immediate branch of the "Leas" family together
with our families have followed the example of the family of our
grandfather who had nearly ever since the death of grandfather
Leas in 1875 held annual meetings in this State, either in Waterloo
or in some other place near thereto, in DeKalb or Steuben County,
Indiana, at the residence of some member of that family until the
death of grandmother Leas, who died in Waterloo in 1883.
Even before her death it had become a custom among us to so
arrange matters that once each year, we, with our families, would
return to the old home and visit with father and mother and hold
reunions. After the death of father in 1897, the custom was con-
tinued. In 1898, our Obedia Leas having moved to the old home,
the custom was kept up and we for the year met at the old home
farm near Waterloo. The principal feature of the meeting was that
of sociability, the taking of a large group picture of those assembled,
and the sumptuous dinner prepared for the occasion."
The next meeting was held at the Waterloo Opera House and
School Park, August 20, 1903. Parts of the account are as follows:
"All then repaired to the Armory Hall where the dinner was
spread, after which Mr. H. K. Leas proposed toasts as follows : `Our
Ancestors,' to which D. L. Leas responded with feeling sentiments;
`Our Uncles and Aunts,' to which Leora E. Yeagy responded, giving
a list in detail; `Our Cousins,' to which Estella B. Leas responded,
giving the number and the number married and single; `Our Broth-
ers and Sisters,' to which Libbie Taylor responded, in a sketch of all.
The first Leas to arrive in northern Indiana was John Leas, Jr.,
who was reported to have made the trip in 1839, overland, having
come from Starke County, Ohio, and later settled on land in Salem
Township, Steuben County, Indiana, one mile west of Hudson,
where he resided until the fall of 1868, when the family moved to a
farm in Smithfield Township, DeKalb County, near Waterloo,
where he lived until his death, June 16, 1897. He was closely allied
with the interests of the town of Waterloo, having been a dealer in
live stock, and one of five who organized The Citizens' Bank of
Waterloo, which bank is now the property of H. K. Leas, one of the
sons, he having sold it to H. K. Leas in 1894. He was a son of John
and Sophia (Spangler) Leas, who moved to Smithfield Township,
DeKalb County, in 1852, and settled on a farm near Ashley. Later
John Leas, Sr. moved to Waterloo, where he and his wife lived until
All people daily are making history, and those present at this re-
union of "The Leas Family" are not at the least. A gathering of the
older Leas Family had been held some nearly thirty years ago, by the
immediate family of John Leas, Sr. The meeting of today may be
said to be an outcome of the earlier meeting of the family of John
Leas, Sr. "The Leas Family" has existed for many generations, no
doubt, but history has no page or paragraph of who comprised it or
where that family first began. Today there were present the follow-
ing, all of whom are either Leases, or are closely related to the family,
or some branch of it: Mrs. A. M. Leas, widow of the late John Leas,
Jr.; Mrs. Ruth Leas, widow of Dr. E. R. Leas, son of John Leas, Sr.;
Earl D. Leas, and Robert Patterson of Angola.
The oldest person at the reunion was Mrs. A. M. Leas of Angola.
May she live long and meet with us again.
D. L. Leas who responded to the toast of his ancestors, unwit-
tingly allowed a family secret to escape. He said that when his
grandfather came across the great waters, the family were in a sail-
ing vessel, and that as they came near to the equator as he remem-
bers the story told in the family, there was a hole in the top of grand-
father's hat and the sun was so hot that it blistered his head. In proof
of the truthfulness of this story one only needed to look over the
audience to see the effect, in the absence of the usual hirsute append-
age, evidently a family characteristic."
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