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McLean County, Illinois
History and Genealogy



SAMUEL I. LEACH, Supervisor of Mt. Hope Township, is a highly respected resident of the village of McLean, where he owns a comfortable estate, and by his energy and industry has obtained the means whereby he is now able to enjoy the good things of life, while his excellent personal traits of character, his ready sympathy and uniform kindness of disposition have gained him the deep respect of his fellow-citizens.

The subject of this biography is a native of the Old Granite State, having first opened his eyes to the light among the New Hampshire Hills, in Cheshire County, and the town of Westmoreland. The date of his birth was Dec. 31, 1840.

His father, Bradley Leach, was a native of the same town and county; his grandfather, Isaac Leach, also a native of Cheshire County, was a farmer by occupation, spent his entire life in the county of his birth, and departed from the scenes of his earthly labors after having attained the ripe old age of over ninety years.

His son Bradley, the father of our subject, in early manhood learned the trade of a blacksmith, which he followed since that time at Westmoreland, Cheshire County, where he still resides, being now eighty-one years of age. After having arrived at years of manhood he was united in marriage with Miss Eliza Woodward, a native of Westmoreland, Cheshire County, and she still remains his faithful and affectionate companion, being his junior by one year. The household circle embraced eight children, five of whom are still living.

Samuel I. Leach was the fifth child and third son of his parents' family. He was reared under the parental roof, receiving a fair education in the common schools and in the academy at South Village, he was fond of study and ambitious to excel, and after he had completed his primary course, pursued a more advanced one at Meriden, N. H., and engaged in teaching, which he pursued the three succeeding winters.

At this time, the late Civil War being then in progress, he enlisted as a soldier of the Union, Aug. 31, 1862, in Co. A, 14th N. H. Vol. Inf., and served in the army until the close of the war. The first year he was employed at Brigade Headquarters in the Quartermaster's Department, on detached service, and he was afterward assigned to duty at Campbell General Hospital, Washington, D. C. At the close of the war he received an honorable discharge with his comrades, on the 21st of July, 1865, and immediately returned to New Hampshire.

After visiting among his old friends and acquaintances for about a month he came west to McLean County, Ill., and engaged as book-keeper for C. C. Aldrich, with whom he has continued with the exception of one year since that time. In 1883 he associated himself in partnership with R. E. Gifford, and opened a grocery store, which has now become one of the leading establishments of its kind in this vicinity. To their first stock he has added a line of general merchandise, and now enjoys an extensive and lucrative trade.

Mr. Leach was united in marriage with Miss Nancy Maria Blake, on the 12th of October, 1862. Mrs. Leach is a native of Swanzey, Cheshire County, N. H., and the daughter of Benjamin C. and Emeline (Aldrich) Blake, a native of the same town and county. Benjamin C. Blake learned the trade of a tanner, and after following this a few years departed this life at the early age of twenty-six years. The maiden name of his wife was Emeline Aldrich. She is still living, and makes her home with her son-in-law, the subject of our sketch.

Samuel I. and Mrs. Nancy M. Leach have become the parents of five children, as follows: Fred S., Carlon W., Blake, Carrie DeEtta and Mattie Maria.

Mr. Leach was Township Clerk for fourteen years. He is also Township Treasurer, which office he has occupied since 1874. He has been a member of the Board of Trustees for a number of years, a position which he still holds, and was appointed in November, 1884, Supervisor of Mt. Hope Township, elected in 1885, and re-elected in 1886.

He is Republican in politics, and socially belongs to the G. A. R., Harrison W. Wood Post No. 173. He also belongs to the A. F. & A. M. [ed., Ancient Free and Accepted Masons], being a member of Lodge No. 469, McLain and Bloomington Chapter, DeMolay Commandery No. 24, at Bloomington.

Mr. Leach, in connection with his official duties, has the supervision of his farm, which is operated by a tenant, and is quite extensively interested in stock-raising. It comprises 237 acres of land, all under a good state of cultivation, and yields him a handsome income.

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), 305. Transcribed by Judy Rosella Edwards.


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