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Lee County Biographies

REV. THOMAS LEAKE

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The name of Leake has been well known in Lee County since the early years of its settlement, as belonging to a prominent pioneer family of this section of Illinois. Among its present representatives is the Rev. Thomas Leake, of this biographical review, whose ill health obliged him to abandon the ministry to a great extent, and he has since made his mark as a practical farmer in Naehusa Township.

Our subject was born in Leicestershire, England. He is a son of John Leake, a former prominent and well-to-do citizen and early settler of this county. The father was a native of Leicestershire, England, and a son of John Leake, Sr., who was a life-long resident of that shire. John Leake, Jr., was the eldest of a family of two sons and three daughters, and was the only one of his father's children to come to this country, and he was the first of his connection to settle in the United States. He was a butcher in his native shire, and was there married to Mary A. Jarvis, who was of pure English blood, and was one of three daughters that came to America. After the birth of four children, one of whom died in England, the father of our subject preceded his family to this country, sailing hither in 1840, and coming to Lee County, he bought laud of the Government in China Township, built a log cabin upon it, and entered zealously upon his life as a pioneer. In 1841 his wife with her children,and her two sisters and their husbands, followed him across the seas and joined him in the wilderness where he had elected to found a new home. They made settlement on new lands, and the families so closely connected by the ties of kinship formed an important addition to the pioneers of this section, all improving good farms in time. John Leake became a prominent farmer in China Township, and at the time of his death, in September, 1869, owned seven hundred acres of land, which was nearly all well improved. He was a leading Republican of this county in the early history of the party. His widow survived him until 1878, when she died in the home of our subject, at the age of seventy years. She was a member of the Methiodist Episcopal Church, and was a woman to be revered.

The Rev. Thomas Leake is one of a family of three Sons and two daughters: His brother, William J., is a grain merchant at Rippey, Iowa; his brother John C., who married Mary E. Hale, is a teacher in this township, residing on the old homestead; his sister, Sarah F., is the wife of E. H. Burrus, a farmer of Concordia, Kans.; another sister, Mary A., died at the age of nineteen. Our subject received the preliminaries of his education in the local public schools of this county, and was afterward a student at Mt. Morris Seminary. He was for some time a teacher. but kept the ministry steadily in view, and was regularly licensed to preach at his first ordination, when he was twenty-seven years old. He loved his sacred calling and was successful in it, holding pastorates in Kane, De Kalb and Kendall Counties. His health became impaired by his arduous labors, and he had to leave the pulpit, confining his church work to occasional preachings, and to his duties as Class-leader and as Superintendeiit of the Sunday-school, which position he has held for twenty years. He is thoroughly identified with the interests of the township in material things as well, and is Justice of the Peace, which office has been under his control for some years. In politics, he is a true Republican.

Out subject inherited his farm on section 29, Nachusa Township, from his father in 1869. It comprises one hundred and two acres of well-drained, neatly-fenced and finely-cultivated land, which is well stocked with cattle, horses and swine, and here he is conducting a profitable business as a general farmer. He and his wife, to whom he was married near Rockford, have established a charming home, that is a center of culture and refinement. Their only child, Honor Luella, died at the age of six months. They have taken to their home and hearts Albert T. Scovill, upon whom they lavish the tender care and affection that would be bestowed upon a child of their own.

The wife of our subject, formerly Martha S. Scovill, is a native of Camden, N. Y. She is a daughter of Stephen T. and Mabel (Curtis) Scovill, the latter of whom died when her daughter was a small child. Mrs. Leake was thirteen years old when the family came to Illinois in the early '50s and located at Paine's Point in Ogle County. Her father subsequently purchased land near Rockford, and there he died when past seventy-five years old. He had been twice married, and his last wife survives him and makes her home in Rockford. Mrs. Leake received a good home-training and the henelit of a fine education. She was graduated with honor from the Ladies' Seminary at Rockford, and pursued an excellent course of study at Mt. Morris Seminary. She was a teacher for some years before her marriage, and won a high reputation in her profession. She, like her husband, has been an ardent working member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

1892 Portrait and Biographical Record Lee Co Pg 825

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