Allison, Nathaniel Thompson. History of Cherokee County, Kansas, and Representative Citizens. Chicago, IL: Biographical Publishing Co., 1904. Online index created by Carolyn Ward, instructor at USD 508, Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas, and State Coordinator for The KSGenWeb Project.

L. J. Slease

L. J. SLEASE, who has been engaged in mercantile pursuits at Columbus since 1886, and is now one of its leading citizens, was born in Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, in 1858, and is a son of Jacob and Mary (Baker nee Lucas) Slease.

Jacob Slease was a farmer all his life and owned a fine property in Pennsylvania, where his death occurred in 1898, at the age of 70 years, after two visits made to Cherokee County, Kansas. In politics, he was an old-line Democrat. The mother died on the home farm in 1895. They reared six children to maturity, namely: John and Harvey, farmers in Pennsylvania; L. J., our subject; George M., who, with Harvey, owns the old homestead; and Emma Jane, who lives on the old homestead with her brothers.

Mr. Slease was 21 years of age when he came to Cherokee County, in 1879, after completing a good, common-school education and teaching about three years. After coming to this section, he taught school three years near Weir City. He removed then to Columbus and accepted clerkship in the Branin Brothers' bookstore, where he remained for three years, until the building was burned. He then entered into partnership with W. J. Branin, and for about five years was engaged in book selling, in the front of the post office, moving as the post office was moved. He then sold his interest, to engage in his present successful enterprise.

Mr. Slease is proprietor of the "Fair" which he opened up in what was known as the Branin Building, where he continued two years. Then he removed to the Scammon Building, on the east side of the square. In April, 1896, he moved to the Opera House Building, in which he is interested as a stockholder. This is one of the finest locations in the city. Here the business has been developed into a dry goods, clothing, boot, shoe and notion emporium. Mr. Slease carrying a very heavy stock which is accommodated in a building 110 feet deep by 40 feet in width, modernly equipped. The services of four courteous ladies and the same number of gentlemen, on opposite sides of the building, are required, in addition to the assistance rendered by Mr. and Mrs. Slease and their son, Charles M. They have devoted close attention to the upbuilding of this enterprise for the past 12 years, and have met with gratifying success. Mr. Slease is one of the city's capitalists; he is one of the heaviest stockholders in the Columbus Vitrified Brick & Tile Company, and is also interested in the Cherokee County Lumber Company, both successful organizations.

Mr. Slease was married in Platte City, Missouri, to Maggie Slease, who was born in Pennsylvania, and who had been prior to her marriage a successful teacher in Northern Kansas. They have two intelligent, capable children,—Charles M. and Helen Mary. The former is his father's bookkeeper and cashier. He attended school at Columbus, beginning at the age of six years, and never missing a day until he graduated at the County High School in 1902. This perseverance and attention to duty have accompanied him into business life, and he is laying the foundation for a future prosperous career. The daughter is a student in the County High School, and although but 16 years of age is already a valued instructor in instrumental music. She has been the organist for the Methodist Episcopal Sunday-school for some years, and is the assistant church organist. Her talents promise to bring her into prominence in the musical world. The finely improved home of the Lease family is situated in the northern portion of Columbus, and is one of the most valuable residence properties in the city.

Politically, Mr. Slease is a Democrat. In 1901 he was elected mayor of the city, on the Citizens' ticket, and served from 1901 to 1903. His fraternal relations are with the Camp of the Modern Woodmen of America, at Columbus. The family belong to the Methodist Episcopal Church.

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