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Henry S. Leighty

LEIGHTY, Henry S., a venerable and highly respected farmer who is now engaged in the stock business in Eldorado Township, McDonough County, Ill., was born in Fayette County, Pa., July 8, 1825, a son of Henry and Sarah (Smith) Leighty, natives of the State of Pennsylvania. His paternal grandfather was of German birth, while his grandfather on the mother's side, Stephen Smith, was also born in the Quaker State. In his youthful days Henry S. Leighty enjoyed the advantages of the subscription schools in the neighborhood of his home. In 1845 he journeyed to Adams County, Ill., where he remained until 1849, and then came to McDonough County, where he lived in a log cabin. He remembers this region when it was a wilderness abounding in deer, wolves and other wild animals, and such game as wild turkeys, prairie-chickens and wild pigeons. In 1850 Mr. Leighty crossed the plains to California with ox-teams and secured considerable gold, which he loaned out, but gained nothing besides experience. In 1852 he returned by way of the Isthmus of Panama, touching at Kingston, Jamaica. He came by boat to St. Louis, and then up the Illinois River to Browning, Ill. He had purchased eighty acres where his present home is located, on which he started farming. He bought more land with every opportunity, finally securing 920 acres of land in Eldorado Township. On his return from the Pacific Coast, Mr. Leighty and his brother purchased a quarter-section west of his first eighty acres, to which he moved and on which he remained until 1870. At that period he built a fine residence on the first purchase, where he has since lived.

Mr. Leighty has been twice married. In March, 1849, he wedded Margaret McFadden, a native of Pennsylvania, who bore him two children: George (deceased), and Mary E., who died in infancy. On March 16, 1854, Mr. Leighty was married to Eliza A. Keach, who was born and reared in Tuscarawas County, Ohio, her natal day being January 27, 1833. She was the fourth in a family of eight children born to Ebenezer and Ann (Brewer) Keach. Her father was a native of Virginia and her mother of Pennsylvania, the parents migrating to Coles County, Ill., in 1839, to Fulton County, Ill., in 1844, and to McDonough County in 1853. The family homestead comprised eighty acres, and there Ebenezer Keach died in 1863, and his wife in 1873. Mr. and Mrs. Henry S. Leighty have become the parents of eight children, namely: Marquis D., Lelius Elwood, Emma G. (widow of Wade W. Campbell), Everett K., Anna S. (Mrs. Grant Tingley), Henry Ulysses, Viola (Mrs. Andrew Miller), and James Franklin. Although a stanch Republican in politics, Mr. Leighty was always reluctant to hold office. He was forced, however, to take the office of Township Assessor, which he held for two years, and served as School Trustee for twelve years. The subject of this sketch is a man of very quiet disposition with a strong fondness for home life, and always preferred the companionship of the family circle. He is surrounded with all the comforts which afford grateful solace in declining years.

Source: The Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of McDonough County, compiled by Dr. Newton Bateman, and Paul Shelby, 1907, volume 2, page 934-935, extracted 15 Jun 2019 by Norma Hass.

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