Pages 100-102, transcribed by Carolyn Ward from History of Allen and Woodson Counties, Kansas: embellished with portraits of well known people of these counties, with biographies of our representative citizens, cuts of public buildings and a map of each county / Edited and Compiled by L. Wallace Duncan and Chas. F. Scott. Iola Registers, Printers and Binders, Iola, Kan.: 1901; 894 p., [36] leaves of plates: ill., ports.; includes index.




LEONARD B. PEARSON.—It is a well attested maxim that the greatness of a state lies not in its machinery of government, nor even in its institutions, but in the sterling qualities of its individual citizens, in their capacity for high and unselfish effort and their devotion to the public good. The goal toward which he has hastened during his many years of toil and endeavor is that which is attained only by such as have by patriotism and wise counsel given the world an impetus toward the good; such have gained the right and title to have their names enduringly inscribed on the bright pages of history.

Leonard B. Pearson, who is interested in agricultural pursuits in Allen County, his home being in Salem township, was born July 2, 1832, in Jefferson county, New York, and traces his ancestry back to one of the old Quaker families of Connecticut. In 1637 John Pearson was driven from England on account of his religious belief. He landed at Lynn, Massachusetts, and shortly afterward went to Rowley, Massachusetts, where he established the first fulling mills in America. Several families of the Pearsons also came from England to escape the Quaker persecution at about the same time and settled in the Penn colony. The early Pearsons inter-married with the families of Cowdrys, Fosters, Dexters, Morrows and Kendalls. Edward, the grandfather of our subject, was a farmer. Two of his maternal uncles, Harmon, were soldiers in the Revolutionary war. One was killed in the battle of Cowpens. Edward Pearson had four sons and four daughters: Austin was born in 181 and died a few years ago in New York, leaving a family; Leonard, who made his home in Jefferson county, New York, also passed away a few years ago, survived by his family; Ira, the father of our subject; Edward, the youngest brother, died in Tiffin, Ohio, leaving two children. Of the sisters, Hattie was born in 1793, Sally was born in 1794, Almira was born in 1797 and Anna was born in 1806. All have now passed away.

Ira Pearson, the father of our subject, was a native of Otsego county, New York. His birth occurred October 11, 1799. At the age of twenty-four he was united in marriage to Eliza Ann Harmon who became the mother of five sons and two daughters. The father was a Democrat in early life, but on account of his opposition to slavery he became a staunch Abolitionist. He and Cortez Overton and Chas. Dickey wrote their ballots


and marched in line to vote for Birney for president, when to be an Abolitionist was to incur ridicule. When sixty-four years of age Ira Pearson offered his services in the defense of Washington, but on account of his advanced years he was not received as a member of the army. Charles Edwin Pearson, his eldest son, was born September 2, 1826. During the Civil war he joined the Union army and was killed in the battle of Gettysburg while faithfully serving his country. Adelia, the second child, was born March 8, 1828, and died unmarried; Leonard B.; Lydia E. was born November 15, 1834, and resides with her brother Leonard. Horatio C. was born November 28, 1837, and fell in the second battle of Bull Run August 30, 1862. Albert and Alfred, twins, were born March 22, 1841. The former was wounded and captured at the second battle of Bull Run, but was again with his regiment at Gettysburg. Soon afterward he returned home broken down in health by his experiences in a Confederate prison. Alfred died in 1874 at his home in Downer's Grove, Illinois.

Leonard Bloomfield Pearson, whose name introduces this review, spent his early life assisting his father in his blacksmith shop. In winter he attended the district school. His early privileges were supplemented by studying in the Belleville Academy in Jefferson county, New York, which he entered when twenty years of age, working his way through four years of school by his own efforts. In 1862 he removed to Illinois and for ten years, at intervals, sailed on the great lakes. The family was noted for loyalty and during the progress of the war of the Rebellion Mr. Pearson of this review joined the boys in blue of Company C, One Hundred and Thirty-second Illinois Infantry under Captain Baker, Colonel T. J. Pickett. It was supposed when he enlisted that his soldier brothers were all dead and now he placed himself at the front willing to give his life, if need be, as a ransom to his country. He was soon promoted to the rank of sergeant and was on duty in Kentucky and Missouri, being kept on scouting and outpost duty until the time of his discharge in 1864. Soon after he was discharged he was offered one thousand dollars to re-enlist, but he had entered the army from patriotic impulses and would not re-enlist for money. Returning to Illinois he was for some time a resident of Du Page county and on the 18th of November, 1870, he started from there to Kansas. He reached Allen county November 22 and located on the O. J. Johnson farm in Humboldt township. There he remained one year when he traded his team and wagon for an eighty-acre farm in Section thirty Salem township. When he took up his abode there the total of his improvements was a ten by twelve box house. He now owns three hundred and twenty acres of valuable land, a greater part of which is under a high state of cultivation, yielding to him an excellent income. Many modern improvements and accessories have been added to the place which indicates his careful supervision.

In 1867 Mr. Pearson was united in marriage to Jane C. Dixon, a daughter of Robert and Mary (Wilson) Dixon. She was born in Fermanaugh county, Ireland, in 1839. Her father died of cholera at Downer's Grove, Illinois, in 1863. The children of Mr. and Mrs. Pearson are:


Alice K., wife of Frank Pettit, by whom she has two children, Charles P. and Ralph, their home being in Salem township; Mary E., wife of Willis Pettit, brother of Frank, and a resident of Elm township; Grace E. and J. Stella who are still with their parents. Two children, George I. and Rarrie M., died in infancy.

Mr. Pearson cast his first presidential vote for Abraham Lincoln in 1864 and has supported each presidential nominee of the Republican party since that time. He is recognized as one of its leaders in Allen county, and has taken a deep interest in political affairs since long before he attained his majority. In 1890 his party honored him with a seat in the House of Representatives. The Republicans were greatly in the minority and could carry through no measure alone. He was placed on the railroad committee and introduced the alien land bill which passed both houses of the assembly and became a law. In 1892 he was re-elected and became a member of the "Douglas" house which House the "Populist House" locked and barred from the Capitol as their solution of the dual house question. Mr. Pearson carried the sledge with which the "Douglas House" battered down the House door and took forcible possession of the chamber, February 15, 1893. He was again placed on the railroad committee and was chairman of the fee and salary committee, and also the committee of cities of the first and second class. During this session of the legislature he introduced an amendment to the constitution that all taxes paid by the railroads for school and county purposes should be paid in money instead of work, and providing where municipalities, towns or counties had voted bonds in aid of railroads the taxes paid for school and road purposes should be divided among the districts, cities or counties, the money to be paid per capita in such manner as the legislature might direct. Mr. Pearson is still an earnest, honest conscientious worker for the good of his party and the upbuilding of the commonwealth. He has ever placed the party's welfare before self-aggrandizement and he is widely known as a patriotic citizen whose devotion to the general good is unquestioned. Over his public career and his private record there falls no shadow of wrong or suspicion of evil and he is justly entitled to the high regard of his many friends.

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