This community was shocked about 5:30 p.m. on last Monday, March 29, 1920, to learn of the death shortly before that time of one of the town's best-known and most highly respected citizens - S. S. Lease.
Mr. Lease had been at work as usual all the week before and had attended the regular church services at the Christian church occurred on Sunday morning and evening, hence scarcely any one knew that he was at all sick. Frequently on Sunday and during the previous week he joked with his friends and appeared to be in his usual jolly mood and robust health. The first indication of serious sickness appeared about half past two o'clock Monday morning when he was heard to utter moans, indicating that he was in great pain. He explained to the members of the family that he had a severe pain in his head, also pains, at times, in the stomach and lower bowels. A physician was called immediately and everything possible was done to relieve his suffering, but to no avail. His suffering appeared to be intense, yet he retained consciousness up to within a few minutes before the end came. The immediate cause of his death was, evidently, a stroke of apoplexy.
Funeral services were conducted from the Christian church at 2 o'clock on Wednesday afternoon and were in charge of the pastor, Rev. J. T. Wheeler. His sermon was one of comfort and instruction to the large congregation present. Interment was in the Coldwater cemetery.
Mr. Lease has seldom been sick, and, although past 71 years of age, he appeared to be in almost perfect health, having lost very little time at hard work for many years. His cheerful and hopeful disposition had made its impress upon the community, and now that he has passed away, all will realize it means to have a good, true friend like S. S. Lease always proved to be and one who, even in the face of adversity, continues to radiate good cheer and add to the world's sum total of happiness. Steve Lease was a good citizen in the truest and best sense of the word. He was true to his convictions of right and he gave a square deal to all with whom he associated in any way. His honesty was unquestioned, and throughout his nearly 31 years residence in Comanche-co., he had established for himself a good record for honorable dealing and as am advocate and supporter of every principle of good government and honorable living.
Stephen Stricklin Lease was born in Logan-co., Ohio, on January 18, 1849, and at the time of his death was 71 years, 2 months and 11 days old. He was united in marriage on August 3, 1876, in Rushylvania, Ohio, to Miss Eva Barber. They made their home in Ohio until November 1889, when they decided to come to Kansas, choosing Comanche-co. as a place to locate. They settled a few miles southwest of this city and lived there for several years, later moving to a farm 9 miles southeast of town where they lived until about ten years ago, when they moved to this city, building here, a nice home. Mr. Lease was a good neighbor, and as a husband and father was thoughtful and considerate.
He had been a member of the church for 53 years and was a charter member of the First Christian church of this city at its organization ten years ago. He was active in church work and held a number of positions of trust and responsibility in the church. He gave freely of his time to advance in every way possible the interest of the church and Sunday school, and for that reason he will be greatly missed by the membership.
Mr. Lease is survived by his devoted wife and five children - four daughters and one son. They are: Mrs. Carrie Smith, Mrs. Kate Fisk and Mrs. Fern Kehl of this county, Mrs. Goldie Monroe of Dermot, Kans., and Earle Lease of Larned, Kans. Two sisters - Mrs. Susan Arrington of Seiling, Okla., and Mrs. Mary Barber of Pittsburgh, Penn., also survive him. The sorrowing relatives have the sympathy of many friends in their bereavement.
Stephen (Steve) S. Lease was born to Andrew and Catherine Lease in Logan County, Ohio, Jan. 18, 1849. He grew up and spent several years in the Bellfontaine, Ohio, area. The cold damp winters proved to be very detrimental to his health, hence he had to seek a drier climate. He came to Comanche County in the spring of 1889 and found a farm southwest of Coldwater, to which he brought his family that fall.
Eva A. Barber was born to Culverson W. and Mary Barber in Logan County, Ohio, July 4, 1858. She and Steve Lease were married Aug. 3, 1876. They began their married life at Bellfontaine, Ohio.
The Lease family, accompanied by Steve's parents, Andrew and Catherine Lease, settled on farms on Cavalry Creek in Nov. 1889. During the 3 or 4 years they lived in that vicinity, they experienced the dry summers, near floods on Cavalry Creek and prairie fires. While there, Catherine passed away in 1891. She never quite adjusted to the western life they encountered in Kansas. Andrew continued to make his home with Steve until shortly before his death in 1911 when he was living with his daughter, Mrs. John Arrington, in Seiling, Oklahoma.
The Lease family later moved to the Nescatunga neighborhood where their children gained their education at the Nescaunga school.
Steve was always interested in trees, fruit or shade, so wherever he went, he planted trees. He planted the original row of trees along the road leading from the former Parker Wright home to the Crown Hill Cemetery. He and his son, Earl, managed a threshing machine operation several years, prior to the days of combines. Earl operated the steam engine and Steve hauled the water it used. He was also much in demand as a wheat stacker. He took great pride in the fact that his stacks did not blow over or absorb water.
Eva was known for her fine cooking and sewing arts. Many people got her to bake home made bread for them and to make their wearing apparel after they moved to Coldwater about 1910. Poor health curtailed her activities in later years considerably, so she made many beautiful quilts for members of her family.
She enjoyed young people, so their home was one that enjoyed many social events. They joined the early Christian Church of Coldwater and both took an active part in church affairs after moving to town.
While son Earl owned one of the early autos in Coldwater, Steve never owned one or drove one. He once remarked, "When Henry Ford starts selling autos three for a quarter, I'll buy one."
Five children were born to the family: Carrie (Mrs. Joe Smith); Earl; Kathryn (Mrs. George Fisk); Goldie (Mrs. Jesse Monroe); and Fern (Mrs. Guy Kehl / Mrs. Fred Sarasein). Three of the daughters taught school in Comanche County prior to their marriage.
Steve and Evan both passed away in 1920, Steve on March 29th and Eva on July 11th.
-- written by Audrey Smith and Mrs. Jean Proctor (grand-daughters), published on pages 494 & 495 of Comanche County History along with a photo of Steve and Eva Lease.
Fern (Lease) Kehl Sarasien, daughter of S.S. Lease.
Mrs. Catherine Lease, mother of S.S. Lease.
Thanks to Shirley Brier for finding, transcribing and contributing the above news article to this web site!
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