WILLIAM LASH, a veteran of the Mexican War and an early pioneer of the Prairie State, became a resident of this section in 1835. He was born in Miller Township, Knox Co., Ohio, Sept. 14, 1825. His father. Nathaniel Lash, was a native of the same county and State, and his grandfather, John Lash, was born in North Carolina. His great-grandfather was a native of Germany, and being desirous of emigrating to America and not having money to pay his passage, contracted with a North Carolina planter and worked for him to pay his passage. Locating in North Carolina he spent the balance of his life there, where his remains were buried long years ago. His son, the grandfather of our subject, died in Morrow County, Ohio, at the advanced age of ninety-seven years.
Nathaniel Lash, the father of our subject, was reared in his native State of Ohio, where he grew to manhood, in the meantime receiving a fair education in the public schools. He was there married, and continued in that State until 1833, when he emigrated to Illinois and settled in that portion of the State which was assigned afterward to Bureau County, the latter not being then organized. The elder Nash entered a claim, built a cabin and fenced a few acres. He there established a comfortable home, it being located about one and a half miles north of the now flourishing city of Princeton. There he spent the remainder of his life and died in June, 1834.
The maiden name of the mother of our subject was Charity Short, and she was born in Baltimore, Md. She came to Illinois with her family and died in Tazewell County in November, 1836. The parental household consisted of nine children, four sons and five daughters, of whom the subject of our sketch was the fourth in order of birth. He was eight years old when his father came to Illinois. After the death of his mother he lived with Mr. Henshaw and grew to manhood in this county.
In 1846, during the progress of the Mexican War, Mr. Lash enlisted as a soldier in the 4th Illinois Infantry, Col. E. D. Baker commanding, and went to Mexico. He participated in the battles of Vera Cruz and Cerro Gordo, and engaged in the various other battles and skirmishes, serving until the close of the war, and receiving his honorable discharge in March, 1847. At the close of his military experience he returned to McLean County, and in 1851 set out overland for the gold fields of California. He started out from Dale Township on the 3d of April and drove an ox-team across the plains in company with a large party. He arrived in Oregon City on the 16th of August following, having crossed the Cascade Mountains, a distance of eighty miles, in four days. After arriving in California he entered the mines, and was occupied in digging for the yellow ore until July 15 of the following year. He then set out for home via the Isthmus and New Orleans, and the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers to Pekin, thence by stage to Bloomington.
Mr. Lash, after remaining in Illinois until 1855, set out in the month of February for Texas, then, returning in April of the same year, settled upon the farm which he has since continuously occupied. He was married on the 20th of March, 1856, to Miss Susan Herring, who was a native of Richland County, Ohio, and a daughter of Daniel and Elizabeth (Ferguson) Herring. Their comfortable home is surrounded by the appliances of good taste and ample means, and Mr. Lash and his wife are enjoying the good things of this life and the highest esteem of their friends and fellow-citizens.
Mr. Lash has always been a conscientious Democrat and cast his first vote for Gen. Cass. He has had a large and useful experience in life, and has gathered much valuable knowledge from the scenes which he has witnessed during his travels over a large portion of the United States.
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), 218. Transcribed by Judy Rosella Edwards