Cyrus Melvin Leas 2 3
- Born: 10 Aug 1856, Niles, Berrien County, Michigan, USA
- Marriage (1): Nancy Jane "Jenny" Custer on 30 Mar 1882 1
- Died: 1 Sep 1949, Saint Joseph, MO at age 93
- Buried: Greecastle Cemetery, Sullivan County, MO 4
Looking Back - 1937 - a newspaper from Sullivan County, Missouri
Monday morning C. M. Leas who lives here in town made this office a pleasant visit, and during our conversation he told us of some interesting things about earlier days. Mr. Leas is now past 81 years of age and has spent the most of his life in eastern Sullivan County. He was born in Michigan, but came here with his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Milton Leas in 1857. The family remained here until 1861 when they returned to Michigan, but after three years they came back to Sullivan County. Mr. Leas was then eight years old. He recalls many changes during the past seventy years, for instance, when Green City had only two stores, one on the west side of the square and one where Glenn E. Kent & Son is now located, and no railroad. He worked on the grade between here and Greencastle when they were putting the railroad through.
At one time the family lived near Mystic and his father and the contract to carry the mail from Kirksville to Linneus, making the trip once a week, it took four days, one to go to Kirksville and one to return, then one each way to and from Linneus, Sticklerville was the post office then.
In those days there was an abundance of wild game, such as turkeys, quail, squirrels, prairie chickens and drumming pheasants. Then there was a market for prairie chickens, $1.00 per dozen. Only once, however does he recall seeing the famous passenger pigeons, and that was near Mystic when a vast flock roosted in a nearby grove (he said they looked like a black cloud while in flight).
Hunting in those days must have been a pleasure, but tragedy then, as well as now, often followed the hunter. Mr. Leas recalled one Steve Perse who lived just south of Green City who always hunted with an army rifle, and was an expert shot. Once he was with this hunter when they jumped out a prairie chicken, and later three turkeys while in flight. Perse went out southwest of town looking for some turkeys. He got them up on top of a hill and they got away before he had a shot at them. Then he followed over the hill and soon saw what he thought was one of them in a tree across a hollow a long distance away. He fired, and a small boy tumbled from the tree, shot through the heart. The hunter carried the little body to the home of his father, a Mr. Wise. His remorse was so great, Mr. Leas said, that the neighbors had to watch to prevent him from taking his own life. It is said he threw the gun away and never hunted after that. A short time following this tragedy he moved to Texas.
Mr. Leas remembers when practically all the country between Mystic and Winigan was open prairie. Land sold then for $2 to $5 per acre. 5
Noted events in his life were:
• Residence: U.S. Census, 1900, Union Township, Sullivan County, Missouri.
Cyrus married Nancy Jane "Jenny" Custer, daughter of Jacob H. Custer and Phoebe James, on 30 Mar 1882.1 (Nancy Jane "Jenny" Custer was born on 21 Apr 1865 in Columbia Co, WI, died on 30 Dec 1933 and was buried in Green Castle Cemetery, Green Castle, Sullivan Co., MO.)