The first ancestor of the Leland family in America was Henry Leland, who was born in England, in 1625, married Margaret Badcock, and in 1652 came to America, his death occurring in Sherborn, Massachusetts, April 4, 1680. His fourth child and eldest son, Ebenezer Leland, was born at Sherborn, January 25, 1657, and died in 1742. James, the son of Ebenezer, was born in 1687, married Hannah Learned and died in 1768, at the advanced age of eighty-one years. His son Phineas was born in 1731 and died in 1773. Eleazer Leland, son of Phineas, was born in 1755, and was a soldier in the Revolutionary war, participating in the battles of Lexington and Bunker Hill. He married Elizabeth Sherman, and his death occurred in Grafton, Massachusetts, in 1827.
Cyrus Leland, the next in direct line of descent, w-as born in Grafton, Massachusetts, in 1785, and married Betsy Kimball, whose grandfather, Aaron Kimball, was a soldier in the early French and Indian war. When hostilities commenced that resulted in the establishment of the republic, he was commissioned captain of a company in the Sixth Massachusetts Infantry, his commission being dated April 5, 1776. His son, the father of Betsy Kimball, was captain of a company in the regiment commanded by Colonel Wheelock. Cyrus Leland died in Grafton, Massachusetts, in 1831.
Lorenzo Leland, second son of Cyrus, was born in Grafton, Massachusetts, September 14, 1813, and married Martha Holbrook, who was also a native of Grafton. In 1834 he came west, locating in Peoria, Illinois, where he remained for one year. In 1835 he came to Ottawa, being the second lawyer to locate in this city. He was appointed clerk of the circuit court in 1842, by John D. Caton, which position he held until 1848, when he was elected clerk of the supreme court of the northern district of Illinois. He held that office until 1866, his service covering eighteen years, while for six additional years he was clerk of the circuit court. He gave his support to the Democracy and was an active factor in politics, carrying his district at times against great odds. He died in August, 1881, when almost sixtyeight years of age, respected and honored by all.
Lorenzo Leland, whose name heads this sketch, was born in Ottawa, Illinois, October 17, 1852. He attended the public schools of this city and was graduated from the high school. He was studious by nature, and determined to follow in the footsteps of his father in the choice of a profession. He graduated at Phillips Academy, at Andover, Massachusetts, in 1870, and the same year entered Yale College, graduating there in 1874. Returning to his native city he commenced the study of law, and in 1876, upon examination before the supreme court of Illinois, was admitted to the bar. Immediately thereafter he went to El Dorado, Kansas, where, in company with his brother, Cyrus A., he practiced his profession until 1880. He then returned to Ottawa and opened an office in this city, continuing in active practice until a few years ago, when other business matters demanded his entire attention. He has been intimately identified with the various financial institutions of the city and has given much study to the subject of finance. He is the attorney and treasurer of the Ottawa Building Homestead & Savings Association, and that institution owes much of its prosperity to his care and attention. He was elected a director of the First National Bank several years ago and in 1894 was chosen the president of that institution and continues to hold that position. He is the secretary of the Ottawa Hydraulic Company and a director of the Ottawa Railway Light & Power Company, besides being extensively interested in real estate in and around Ottawa.
On the 9th of October, 1878, Mr. Leland was united in marriage to Miss Fannie C. Hamilton, a daughter of H. M. and Kate (White) Hamilton. Her father was born in the north of Ireland and was of Scotch-Irish descent. In early life he came to America, locating in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, where he was married. In 1854 he came to Ottawa. He was a contractor and builder, but later, in company with S. E. King, engaged in the hardware business in this city. In 1866, as a partner of William Oilman and S. E. King, he commenced manufacturing corn-shellers, and later extended their held of labor by manufacturing other implements and machinery until their factory became t)ne of the most important manufactories of Ottawa. Mr. Hamilton served for a number of years as president of the First National Bank of Ottawa. He has a beautiful home in Pasadena, California, where he now resides. To Mr. and Mrs. Leland one child has been born, Hugh H., whose birth occurred September 22, 1880, and who is now a student in Lake Forest University.
Mr. Leland has always taken a lively interest in all athletic sports, and when at Yale was a member of the base-ball nine. He is ever ready to devote his time and means to promote the cause of education or any movement which has for its object the welfare of the city or county in which he lives.
Extracted by Norma Hass from Biographical and Genealogical Record of LaSalle County, Illinois published in 1900, volume 1, pages 325-327.