LEWIS LEBUS, a Kentucky farmer of the highest type, was the grandson of Louis Le Bus, of Alsace, France, and son of Seraphin and Anne Le Bus (later written Lebus), who left the province of Alsace in 1828 and settled on a small tract in the unbroken forest six miles west of Lisbon, the county seat of Columbiana County, Ohio. Here Lewis Lebus was born in 1834, and lived until he was twenty-one years of age. During the winter months he attended the district school, and helped on his father’s farm in the summer, until his seventeenth year, when he was sent to a classical school at Salem, Ohio.
In the following year he commenced teaching in a common school in his native county and continued it for three years, when, learning of greater opportunities open to him in the South, in 1855 he went to Harrison County, Kentucky, where he devoted himself for five years more to his profession of teaching. January 12, 1860, he married Martha Cole Garnett, eldest daughter of Edward and Elizabeth Garnett, and a grand-daughter of Josiah Whitaker, a Methodist preacher, well-known in that region. By the most rigid economy and by working during his vacations in the fields, he had succeeded by this time in saving sufficient means to buy a small farm. To this new occupation he added the business of buying and selling stock. Having come to Kentucky when only twenty-one years old, he adapted himself readily to the ideas, manners and character of the people of that region, and became not only one of them, but one with them in their spirit and their ways. As a student and school-master, he had a natural taste and aptitude for mathematics; his judgment on practical matters was quick and exact, and he showed a masterly, far-seeing grasp of affairs which caused many to seek his advice, which he always took pleasure, mingled with a certain pride, in giving.
When the Civil War broke out he furnished horses to the government for the much-needed cavalry service. About this time, he was also appointed to discharge the duties of the office of sheriff for his county, and was afterwards selected by the government as United States Deputy Collector of Internal Revenue for the Covington District. In 1888 he was a delegate to the national convention which nominated Benjamin Harrison for president. During all these years, notwithstanding his many and varied interests, he continued actively the leading business of his life, farming and stock-raising, in which he had always been successful. He was now the owner of three of the finest blue-grass farms in central Kentucky, containing over a thousand acres, and to these he always gave his personal attention.
He was a delegate to the National Congress of Farmers, and was often consulted by the Department of Agriculture at Washington. He owned extensive tracts of farming lands not only in Kentucky, but in Alabama, Ohio and California. Though his principal investments were in real estate, he had a genius for financiering, and his purchases of stocks and bonds, though always along conservative lines, were unusually profitable. Men who had been familiar with affairs in the financial markets of the Union, were sometimes surprised at the readiness with which Mr. Lebus, even in his latest year recalled events that had occurred there long ago, even though they had no direct bearing on any interests of his own. His wakeful, inquiring mind made him a constant and careful reader of news, from day to day, and all that was important remained stored in his memory. His intelligence was also broadened by travel; there was scarcely any region of the country or any city of any importance in the Union that he had not seen, and in 1884 he visited the principal countries of Western Europe. He was always interested in politics but never sought office. He was a life-long Republican and was one of the leaders of his party in Kentucky, being the Chairman of the County Committee for years. In 1893 he removed, with his family, to Los Angeles, California, but leaving behind him vast property interests, he passed much of his time in Cynthiana, Kentucky, his former home. Though he did not enter into public life, he took an important place in the financial circles of Southern California, and not only his skill in business affairs, but a certain quaint and charming personality, peculiar to some Kentuckians of the old school, was at once felt.
Two sons remained in Cynthiana, but his wife, a son and three daughters were with him. Though his property amounted to some millions, the ideals which he set before his children were wholly free from ostentation; practical, and, in the best and highest sense, democratic, having reference to true worth, rather than to show. He was devoted to his family, his nature was strong, affectionate and magnetic, and his influence upon their character and their courses in life were very marked. In September, 1905, while he was driving a trusted family horse, the animal suddenly got beyond his control and he was thrown out of his buggy, breaking his hip as he struck the ground. At his advanced age, such an accident was necessarily very serious, but his naturally bright and cheerful spirit sustained him, and about five weeks later it was thought that he had nearly recovered. Then, on the afternoon of October 31st, after he had been engaged in pleasant conversation with his wife, he passed into a natural sleep and in half an hour he suddenly expired from apoplexy. Mr. Lebus is survived by his widow, still residing in Los Angeles, by his sons Orie and Clarence Lebus, of Cynthiana, Kentucky, and Prentice Lebus, of Los Angeles, and by his daughters Bertha Lebus and Elizabeth Lebus Holman, wife of C.S. Holman, of Los Angeles. Two daughters, Fanny Lebus Warrington, wife of Rev. F.M. Warrington, and Leona Lebus, died in 1893 and 1907, respectively. [Source; A HISTORY OF KENTUCKY AND KENTUCKIANS By E. POLK JOHNSON 1912 The Lewis Publishing Company; Transcribed by KM]
BACK -- HOME
Copyright © Genealogy Trails