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McLean County, Illinois
History and Genealogy



JAMES A. LASH, occupying a valuable farm estate in Bloomington Township, is successfully engaged in the breeding of thoroughbred Poland-China swine, his land lying near the limits of the city of Bloomington. He established his present business in 1880, and is the possessor of several valuable and registered animals, the head of the herd being Cassander, No. 4297. The only time he was ever exhibited was at the fair of St. Louis, Mo., where he took the first premium in an exhibition of 800 hogs. Mr. Lash has been very successful in his breeding operations, and keeps from sixty to 100 head of swine. He began in a small way, but has steadily increased his business until he has made a reputation as a fair dealer, and having a good understanding of his business. One of his pigs exhibited at the Chicago fair took the first premium, and was sold for $200, being then only six months old. Its dam, Belle of McLain [ed., probably Belle of McLean], is numbered 10,898 in the books, and is supposed to be the most successful breeder in the county.

Mr. Lash was reared upon a farm, and received his early education in the common schools. He is a native of Bloomington Township, and was born on the 7th of October, 1846. He remained under the parental roof until his marriage, being reared to habits of industry and economy, and became well fitted for the later struggle of life. He was married, Oct. 19, 1865 in the city of Bloomington, to Miss Sarah F. Livingston. Mrs. Lash was born in Lincoln, Ohio, on the 14th of March, 1845, and came to Illinois with her parents when a child ten years of age. They settled in McLean County, and her father, Isaac Livingston, died in Normal Township in 1874. He was an industrious and energetic man, a successful farmer, and highly respected by his neighbors. The mother of Mrs. L., who before her marriage was Miss Sarah Wise, is still living, at an advanced age, and makes her home in Pontiac, Ill. She is a relative of Congressman Wise, of Virginia, and possesses the excellent traits of a family noted for its ability and prominence.

Mr. and Mrs. Lash have become the parents of three children, two boys and one girl -- Willard E., Josie A. and Frank -- all at home. They are all connected with the Christian Church, and politically Mr. L. is a stanch adherent of the Democratic party.

We incorporate in this biography a sketch of Isaac Lash, father of the above, who has been a resident of McLean County since 1834, and in that long period has witnessed with unabated interest the remarkable changes which have taken place in this portion of the State.

Isaac Lash is now a retired farmer, and one of the representative citizens of the township of Bloomington. He owns and occupies a fine farm estate lying on sections 27 and 34, the residence being on the former. He has here 240 acres of valuable land, well stocked and supplied with first-class farm buildings. His earlier life was industriously employed in the establishment of his present comfortable home, and his years of persevering toil have yielded him a handsome competency.

Isaac Lash was born near Vernon, Knox Co., Ohio, on the 20th of January, 1820. His father, Nathaniel Lash, was of German descent and a native of North Carolina. He came to Ohio when a young boy and was reared in Knox County, and for several years was there employed in a sawmill. He had been married in the meantime to Miss Charity Short, a lady who was born near Baltimore, Md., but having lost her parents when quite young came to Ohio with a neighbor, and was reared by strangers from the time she was ten years of age. The family of Isaac Lash, Sr., and his wife consisted of nine children, four sons and five daughters, one of whom died in infancy, and their son Isaac, heretofore written of, was the eldest but one in the family. The parents and their eight children came to Illinois in the fall of 1833, and settled in Putnam County. There the father died a few months later, and in the spring of 1834 the mother with her children came to McLean County. A few years later she also departed this life, having passed away in Tazewell County, where they had located a short time previously, and very near the line of McLean County. After the death of their mother the children all lived together for a time, and separated later, each one being compelled to depend upon his own resources.

Our subject then employed himself at whatever he could find to do, receiving but small pay and working hard, but saving his money. He was employed by Zachariah Simmons for a period of five years, for which he received $200. He was stout and rugged and could do a man's work, and this pay seemed far out of proportion to what he really earned. But money was scarce in those days, and the laborer felt that he should be content with cash even though it was a small sum. Young Lash, however, was healthy and energetic, and possessed a proportionate amount of courage and resolution. At the age of twenty-four years he was united in marriage with Miss Anna Simmons, at the residence of the bride's parents in Bloomington Township, on the 27th of December, 1845. Mrs. L. is the daughter of David and Elizabeth (Jones) Simmons, natives respectively of Virginia and Georgia. In early youth they came with their parents to Indiana, where they were reared to mature years, and received the advantages of an education in the public schools. Of their union there were born three children, of whom Mrs. Lash was the youngest, her birth having taken place on the 18th of April, 1830. In the fall of that year the parents with their three children came west to Illinois and located in McLean County, soon afterward becoming residents of Bloomington Township, where they lived until their removal within the city, where they are now retired from active labor, and are enjoying the fruits of their early toil and struggles.

Mrs. Lash remained with her parents until her marriage, and has become the mother of nine children, one of whom is deceased. Of those who survive the record is as follows: James A. married Miss Sarah F. Livingston, and they reside near the city of Bloomington, this son, being like his father, a dealer in fine swine; Eliza J. is the wife of William R. Young, a farmer of Bloomington Township; Martha A. married Daniel B. Snavely, and they reside on the homestead; Levi A. married Miss Lenora B. Jones, who is now deceased; he is in California engaged in mining; David N. is with his brother in Eureka, Cal.; Andrew J. died at the age of two and one-half years; Mary E. is the widow of Ed. Orendorff, and lives at home with her parents; Frank O. married Miss Agnes Houser, and resides in Vermilion County, Ill.; William E. is at home, and assists in operating the farm.

After the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. L. they commenced farming operations upon rented land, then made a small purchase, which they subsequently added to, and now have a finely improved farm upon which they are passing their later days in the peace and comfort which is their just due after the labors and toil of their earlier years. Mrs. L., with three sons and three daughters, is a member in good standing of the Christian Church. Mr. L. has been prominent in the affairs of his community since becoming of suitable age, having held most of the minor offices. He was Overseer of the County Poor-farm for six years, and conducted the affairs of the institution creditably and with good judgment. Politically he is Democratic, and occupies an important position in the affairs of his party in this vicinity.

Portrait and biographical album of McLean County, Ill. : containing full page portraits and biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county, together with portraits and biographies of all the governors of Illinois, and of the presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), 255. Transcribed by Judy Rosella Edwards.


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