Clay County

Biography - FRANK T. I. LEPPO

Liberal-minded, enterprising and progressive, Frank T. I. Leppo, of Xenia, is a fine representative of the self-made men of Clay county, having in early life measured his own ability and hewn his way straight to the line thus marked out. Through his own untiring efforts he has met with deserved success in his career, being now an extensive land owner and an important factor in advancing the mercantile interests of the county, as a dealer in hardwood lumber and ties, having built up a modest and remunerative trade. A son of Jabez Leppo, he was born in Carroll county, Maryland, May 14, 1861. His grandfather, Jacob Leppo, a life-long resident of Maryland, served as a soldier in the War of 1812.

Jabez Leppo was born May 21, 1825, in Maryland, where he lived and labored for many years. Migrating to Tazewell county, Illinois, in November, 1868, he followed farming there for awhile, and then settled in McLean county, Illinois, where, after renting a farm for two years, he bought land and engaged in farming on his own account. Subsequently trading his land for a residence in LeRoy, Illinois, he continued as a resident of that place until his death, in 1908. He was a Democrat in politics, but took no active part in public affairs. Both he and his wife united with the Methodist Episcopal church when young, but during his later years he became a member of the Universalist church.

Jabez Leppo married Katherine Burns, who was born in Maryland, December 25, 1835, and died in Illinois, in 1886. Her father John Burns, was a native of Maryland, and was in business there as tavernkeeper on the turnpike road. He moved to Tazewell county, Illinois, where for a number of years prior to his death he bought and managed a farm.

Obtaining his elementary education in Maryland, Frank T. I. Leppo completed his early studies in Illinois, attending school in both Tazewell and McLean counties. Reared to agricultural pursuits, he worked by the month as a farm laborer a short time, and he farmed for himself until twenty-nine years old, when he began as a dealer in grain and livestock. Coming to Xenia, Clay county, in 1890, Mr. Leppo first engaged in the orchard business, later buying and shipping cattle and live stock, also embarking in mercantile pursuits. He has been fortunate in most of his ventures, his present trade as a dealer in hardwood and ties being fair and lucrative. Mr. Leppo also owns five hundred and seventy acres of improved land in Clay county, the larger part of which is devoted to the raising of grain, the remainder being either good timber or pasture land. He has likewise property interests in other places, owning considerable timber land in Arkansas.

Mr. Leppo's business is one of the largest of the kind in the county. He uniformly supports the principles of the Democratic party at the polls, and although he has never been an aspirant for political honors he has served as alderman. Mr. Leppo has never married, and being entirely free from domestic cares and tribulations has ample leisure to attend to his personal affairs.

Extracted 09 Nov 2018 by Norma Hass from History of Southern Illinois, by George W. Smith, published in 1912, volume 3, page 1220.

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