August 8, 2013

Pressed Between the Pages - One

I've been researching the Case family, the family of Mary Lucetta (Case) Hollabaugh, and I noticed that three of her siblings died in 1861.  So I wondered if an epidemic hit Dekalb County, Indiana at that time.  That's what led me to this book, once owned by my mother-in-law...the History of Dekalb County, Indiana, published in 1885.  That's how it all began.

As I began to leaf through the pages (it has no index), I began to find some interesting items pressed between the pages. I forgot all about my original mission, and slowly went page by page through the book, collecting items as I went.  My husband remembered when his mother bought the book from an elderly gentleman in St. Joe, a Leighty, who used to regularly come into the dairy store his parents owned.  Sure enough, his mother wrote in the front of the book that it was purchased in 1962, and on page 536, she wrote the words, "Bought the book from" next to the entry about Jacob Leighty.

A little research and lining up of dates led to the conclusion that Jacob was the son of John Leighty, the original purchaser of the book.  You see, the original receipt was pressed between the pages and it was signed by John Leighty.
 John apparently passed the book to his son, Jacob D. Leighty, who passed it on to his only son, John R. Leighty. Perhaps one of his descendents sold his great-grandfather's old book to my husband's mother?  That led to a little more research into the Leighty line.

The original owner of the book, a very early settler in Dekalb County, was discussed on page 536-537:
"John Leighty, one of the prominent and successful early settlers of Dekalb County, is a native of Westmoreland County, Pa., born Nov. 18, 1808, a son of John and Catherine (Welker) Leighty, natives of Pennsylvania, of German descent.  When he was fifteen years of age he went to learn the shoemaker's trade, serving an apprenticeship of three years.  He then worked as a journeyman till his marriage and then settled on a farm in his native county, where he lived until 1844, when in the early part of June, he moved to Dekalb County, Ind., and settled on section 33, Concord Township, where he built a cabin and began improving a farm.  

In 1859, he left the farm and moved to the village of Spencerville, where in 1865 he engaged in the mercantile business with his son.  In 1875 he and his son moved to section 15, Concord Township, where they bought one hundred acres of land and laid out the town of St. Joe, which is now a thriving village.  

Mr. Leighty was married April 4, 1833, to Elizabeth Sowash, a native of Westmoreland County, Pa., a daughter of Abraham and Susan (Weaver) Sowash.  To them have been born ten children, seven of whom are living - Catherine, Alexander, Jacob D., Maria, William, Charles B. and Mary.  Susan, John and Elizabeth are deceased.  Mr. and Mrs. Leighty are members of the Lutheran church.  Politically, he is a Democrat.

On the aforementioned page 535-536, the following is written of John's son:
"Jacob D. Leighty, merchant, St. Joe, Ind., was born in Westmoreland County, Pa., Oct. 19, 1840, a son of John and Elizabeth (Sowash) Leighty.   He was four years of age when his parents moved to DeKalb County in 1844, and here he was reared.  When he was sixteen years of age, he began teaching school, and subsequently taught and attended school till the breaking out of the war of the Rebellion, being at that time in the sophomore class at Wittenburg College, Springfield, Ohio.

July 8, 1861, he enlisted in Company E, Eleventh Indiana Infantry, and was appointed a Sergeant of his company.  His first engagement was in the spring of 1862 at Fort Henry.  Subsequently, he participated in the battles of Fort Donelson, Shiloh, Grand Gulf, Port Gibson, Raymond, Champion Hills, and others.  At the last named battle he was wounded in the left hip and disabled from active service for sixty days.  He joined his regiment at Baton Rouge, and from there went down the Mississippi to New Orleans and into West Louisiana as far as Opelousas, his regiment being in several engagements on the way.  Then he returned to New Orleans, but as he was still suffering from his wound, he resigned in March, 1864, and returned home.  He was a gallant soldier, and for his bravery was commissioned Second Lieutenant, Jan. 24, 1862, and First Lieutenant Dec. 1 following. 

After his return home, he engaged in the mercantile business in Spencerville in company with Miller & Myers a short time, and then he and Mr. Miller purchased Mr. Myers' interest and the firm of Miller & Co. continued a year, when his father bought Mr. Miller's interest, changing the firm to John Leighty and Son.  In 1872, he bought his father's interest and in 1874 sold his stock to P. Bishop.  

In 1875 he and his father laid out the village of St. Joe and the following year, he became established in the mercantile business at this place.  He was appointed Postmaster in 1875 and served until 1880, when he was elected Township Trustee.  He is a member of the Masonic fraternity, Concord Lodge, No. 556; William Hacker Chapter, No. 56; Angola Council, No. 27; Apollo Commandery, No. 19.  He is a member of John C. Carns Post, No. 144, G.A.R.  In March 1866, Mr. Leighty was married to Kate A. Metzger, a native of Circleville, Ohio, daughter of Judge Andrew Metzger of Fort Wayne.  To them have been born three children, but one of whom is living  - John R."

Jacob's obituary appeared in the Fort Wayne Sentinel on October 17, 1912, page 1 and continued on p. 15:

Former Congressman Dies at St. Joseph Hospital in Fort Wayne Due to Hemorrhage.

Hon. Jacob D. Leighty of St. Joe, formerly congressman for this district and for many years prominent in business in St. Joe, died at 10:50 o'clock this forenoon at the St. Joseph Hospital from internal hemorrhage due to cancer of the bowels and liver.  He was 73 years of age.
With Mrs. Leighty, the ex-congressman had come from his home in St. Joe Wednesday afternoon in their automobile to enter the hospital, Mr. Leighty expecting to undergo a surgical operation for hernia, with which he was suffering, although he had not been seriously ill, but had suffered somewhat for several weeks past.

His physician in this city, Dr. Maurice Rosenthal, examined him yesterday afternoon and concluded to defer a further examination until this afternoon because of Mr. Leighty's condition, as he complained of pains about the abdomen.  He passed a fairly good night and it was not supposed that there was anything critical about his condition.

This morning after 5 o'clock, he had great difficulty breathing and this continued until 9 o'clock when he became unconscious and remained so until his death, which Dr. Rosenthal found after a post-mortem examination, was due to the causes mentioned above.

His wife and son, John R. Leighty, of Kansas City, were both with him at the time of death.  The son had been apprised by telegraph of the condition of his father and had hastened to his side, arriving here late yesterday afternoon and conversing with him at the hospital.  At that time, the father had no apprehension of death and the son and Mrs. Leighty sharing the same belief.

Mr. Leighty was a 33d degree Mason and very prominent in the affairs of that fraternity.  The remains were removed late this afternoon to the Scottish Rite cathedral were friends may view them from 7 o'clock this evening until 3 o'clock Friday afternoon, when they will be removed to his home in St. Joe.

Surviving the deceased are the widow and son, John R. of Kansas City and two sisters and brothers, as follows: Mrs. Maria Obenholtzer of Spencerville and Mrs. Dr. Bowman of St. Joe and William and Benjamin Leighty of St. Joe.

Mr. Leighty was born at Greensburg, Pa. on November 7, 1839, and as a young man came to Indiana.  At. St. Joe, he was prominent in business for many years.  In 1896, he was elected for congress from this district on the republican ticket and served in that position for one term."
Jacob D. Leighty, Congressman

Jacob died in 1912, leaving just one son, and it is beside this entry that we have the words written in pencil, "Bought the book from."  I believe that the son, John R. died in 1942. 
Perhaps my mother-in-law was just indicating by her written words that the book had originally belonged to this family, not that they, themselves, sold it to her. 



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