NOBLE F LESLIE
Capably administering the business of the postoffice, Noble Festus Leslie holds high rank among the leading citizens of Robinson, being also identified with the business interests of the town in connection with the publishing of the Robinson Index. He was born in Trumbull county, Ohio, February 26, 1842, the fifth in a family of nine children. His father was James Leslie, who located in that county in 1828, and there died in 1873, at the age of sixty-nine years. He was born in Bradford county, Pennsylvania, and was the youngest of the family of eleven sons born of Scotch-Irish parentage. James Leslie married Julia A. Giddings, whose father was an own cousin of the famous Joshua Giddings, of northern Ohio. Mrs. Leslie died in 1882, at the advanced age of eighty-seven years. Their children were Parthenia, James G., Mary J., Clarissa, Noble F., Adaline O., John, Newton and Milton B. Of these are now living:
James G., Ogle county, Illinois; Mary J. Marvin, Youngstown, O.; Milton B. and Adaline O., Hubbard, Ohio, and the subject of this sketch.
Mr. Leslie, whose name introduces the initial paragraph of this review, remained on his father's farm until eighteen years of age, when he responded to his country's call for troops to aid in crushing out the rebellion in its incipiency. It was on April 26, 1861, that he joined the boys in blue in Company C, Tenth Pennsylvania Reserves, under Colonel McClintock. He was mustered into the state service at Pittsburg, and into the federal service at Harnisburg, Pennsylvania, on July 20. Under this enlistment he was with General McClellan's army on the Peninsular campaign, in the second battle of Bull Run under General Pope, in the battle of Antietam with General McClellan, with General Burnside at Fredericksburg and the battle of the Wilderness, and in the siege of Petersburg under Generals Grant and Meade, where on August 19, 1864, he was taken prisoner. Just prior to this event he re-enlisted as a member of Company D, One Hundred and Ninetieth Pennsylvania Volunteers. He was on the Weldon railroad, three and a half miles from Petersburg. when captured by the rebels, and from that point was taken first to Libby prison, at Richmond, and afterward to Belle Isle, where he remained forty-five days. On October 10, 1864, he was placed with others in a stockade prison at Salisbury, North Carolina, and on Febrtiary 22, 1865, was paroled, reaching the Federal lines at Wilmington March 22. He suffered all the hardships and trials incident to life in those loathsome prison pens of the south. Stories of their experiences have not been exaggerated, as Mr. Leslie knows from personal participation therein.
On being released from prison he was sent to the parole camp at Annapolis, Maryland, and was granted a furlough. Immediately afterward he started home, but owing to ill health and the closing of the war, he never re-entered the service. He was a valiant soldier, fearless and brave, and it is to the loyalty of such men that the nation owes her preservation.
After the close of hostilities Mr. Leslie went to Cleveland, Ohio, where he pursued a course in Bryant & Stratton's Business College, defraying the expenses with funds which he had saved from his pay as a soldier. His first position was as bookkeeper and weigher of a coal concern at Hubbard, Ohio, where he remained for three years, after which he went to Ogle county, Illinois, and having successfully passed the teacher's examination, engaged in teaching school. Later he was employed as one of the instructors in the Rock River Seminary, and at the same time he further prosecuted his own studies, thus preparing himself for more advanced work in the profession. He remained with that institution for three years, and then came to Kansas in response to the solicitation of a friend who was engaged in the drug business in Seneca. Here he became connected with the educational work in Nemaha county, and was later principal of the Hiawatha schools. Subsequently Mr. Leslie turned his attention to the railroad business, representing the Grand Island road as their third agent at Robinson, but he abandoned that work in 1879 and began dealing in lumber, hardware and grain. For a number of years he met with satisfactory prosperity, doing the greater part of the business in that line in the town, but in 1881 he lost heavily through fire. This, however, was partly covered by insurance, and in time he recuperated his losses and was again doing profitable business when a second fire destroyed all that he had, forcing him to retire from business. It is test periods in the lives of men that indicate their true characters. At this crisis Mr. Leslie did not fail; when many a man of less resolute spirit would have been discouraged, he made the best of the advantages still left to him, and thus gained the admiration and respect of all who knew him. Having some knowledge of the carpenter's trade, he secured a few tools and went to work; spending three years in the employ of the Rock Island Railroad Company building bridges. He also did much contract work around Robinson. On May 4, 1898, he was appointed postmaster, taking possession on June 8 following. He is now administering the affairs of the office in the best manner that could be wished; prompt, thoroughly reliable, energetic and true to the trust reposed in him. In company with his son he is also the publisher of the Robinson Index, which they purchased February 1, 1899, it being the first permanent paper in the town. The Robinson Record was the first journal issued in the village, and with that Mr. Leslie was also connected.
At an early day the members of the Leslie family were all identified with the Democratic party, and even the brother of our subject espoused the cause of that political organization, but when in the army Mr. Leslie, of this review, became imbued with Republican principles and cast his first vote for Rutherford B. Hayes for governor of Ohio. He has always been prominent in the councils of the Republican party in Brown county, and his fellow-townsmen, recognizing his worth and ability, have frequently called him to public office. He was elected county commissioner, being a member of the board just after the defalcation of the county treasurer, and as the other two members were on the bond of the defaulter, it fell to Mr. Leslie to manage the settlement of the affair for the county. In the fall of 1879 he was elected to the legislature, representing the seventy-first district. He served on the committees on education, enrolled bills, assessment and taxation, and during the session supported the first prohibition law ever enacted in the state. On April 9, 1873, Mr. Leslie was united in marriage to Miss Delphina P. Nichols, whose father, Andrew Nichols, was a minister of the gospel and a soldier in the Civil war. Their two children are Harry M., editor of the Robinson Index, born January 1, 1874, and Britomarte, born February 4, 1878. In all life's relations Mr. Leslie has commanded the respect of his fellow-men. In business he is upright, reliable, honorable and in all places and under all circumstances is loyal to truth, honor and right, justly regarding his self-respect and the deserved esteem of his fellow-men infinitely more valuable than wealth, fame or position.