Dr. Leander Jerome Dallas


Dr. Leander Jerome Dallas was born in Belmont county, Ohio on August 21st, 1812.  His parents were Robert Armstrong Dallas and Priscilla (Israel) Dallas.  I believe that Leander, or “Lander” as he was known to his family, was the oldest of fourteen children.

(I don’t like it when the only picture that I have to start out with is a picture of the headstone, so decided to use this bee apiary photograph instead. Keep reading to find out the significance!)

I was able to find out quite a lot about Leander from an 1894 article that was published in a book about the history of Ohio.  I later found the same article published in a Kansas history book.  As we travel through Leander’s life, I will be adding in quotes from this article and from many more that I found in various newspapers.

As I mentioned, it seems that Leander’s family called him Lander, but as he grew to adulthood and a prominent citizen of the community’s where he lived, I believe he went by L.J.  It was not uncommon for newspaper articles of the time to call a man by his initials, but in Leander’s case, every article is done that way, including his obituary.  Other men’s full names in the same articles where Leander is referred to as L.J.  I believe we can assume that that is what he went by.  Since this seems to be his preference, I will refer to him as L.J. from here on out.

From the Centennial History of Belmont County, Ohio

“Leander J. Dallas, one of the earliest, most prominent and useful of the free-state pioneers of Kansas, was descended from the Scotch, born in Belmont county, Ohio in 1811, (Everything else points to 1812.), and the early members of the family had some tradition by which they showed a descent from the same ancestry as George M. Dallas, ex-Vice-President of  the United States. His father, Robert Dallas, was among the earliest pioneers of Ohio, and had quite a local prominence in its early history.  His mother’s maiden name was Priscilla Israel.

Dr. Dallas was educated in Kenyon College, at Gambier, Ohio, and subsequently studied medicine at Fairview, Guernsey county, Ohio, in the office of Dr. James Hood, and commenced to practice at Birmingham, Ohio where he remained but a short time.”

Bexley Hall (three-quarter view, mid to late 1870s), Kenyon College

This picture shows part of Kenyon College in about 1870.  L.J. would have studied there in the early 1830’s.  Kenyon College was the first college in Ohio. It opened in 1829, so I believe that L.J. would have been among the first students.  The buildings at the time were just log structures and apparently barely kept out the cold. You can read more about the college at the time here. 

On March 20th, 1838 L.J. married Nancy Beeks Hood. Nancy was the daughter of Dr. James Hood whom L.J. had studied medicine under.  I was actually able to find a photo of the actual marriage register. It’s not a good enough photo to add here, but still!

From the Centennial History of Belmont county, Ohio:

“He was married at Fairview, Ohio, December 11, 1838, (again, this article has the day wrong. The marriage register clearly says the 20th day of March, 1838.), to Miss Nancy B. Hood, daughter of Dr. James Hood, of that place, a lady of superior education and accomplishments…”

The couple moved to Sewellsville, Ohio where L.J. had a thriving practice and the families seven children were born.  (Sewellsville’s post office close in 1907.  It is listed as a ghost town now. I must go there!)

In 1841 Wilbur Fisk Dallas was born, he was L.J. and Nancy’s first child. Wilbur was followed by Everett Jerome in 1843, Walter Israel in 1844, Clinton Hood in 1848, Chester Emery in 1850 = (my own 2nd great-grandfather!), Mary Cordelia in 1853, and Adda Elizabeth in 1857. Thank goodness for Nancy that she was finally blessed with some girls after five rowdy boys!

I found several pieces of information during the Dallas families time in Sewellsville.

~From the Belmont County, Ohio 1853 Business DirectoryL.J. Dallas is listed in Sewellsville as Physician and Surgeon.

~From the Belmont Chronicle, and Farmers, Mechanics, and Manufacturers Advocate, dated 02 Sep 1853 – “To the Whig, Democrat and Freesoil nominees for Representatives and Senator of Belmont County and this Senatorial Dist.:  Gentlemen:-In discharge of a duty imposed upon us by a meeting of the Belmont County “Temperance Alliance”, held at Barnesville, Aug. 3d, 1853., and believing that it is our right and our indispensable duty to know the views and sentiments (on all subjects of legislation) of those claiming our suffrages, as legislators; therefore, to the end that we may vote understandingly, we respectfully take the liberty of putting to you individually, the following interrogatory:  Will you (if elected to the office for which you have been nominated) use influence, and vote in the next Legislature of Ohio, to secure the passage of law in Ohio for the suppression of the manufacture and sale of ardent spirits as a beverage, known as the “Maine Liquor Law,” or its equivalent.  By answering the above through the same channel that you receive this, you will much oblige many voters as well as      Your ob’t Servants, Wm. Smith, L.J. Dallas, Robt. Hamilton, Thos. Michner, W.H. Clark, Com. in behalf of the Alliance.

~From the Belmont Chronicle, and Farmers, Mechanics, and Manufacturers Advocate, dated 10 Oct 1853 – “Hendrysburgh, O. Sept. 28th, 1853.  The semi-annual session of Belmont County Council of the Sons and Daughters of Temperance met pursuant to adjournment in the Hall of the Sons of Temperance, …..(article goes on)… On motion it was Resolved That a committee of nine be appointed for the purpose of selecting such candidates from the three parties, that Temperance men could consistently vote for.   The President appointed the following persons on said committee;  Wm. J. Stubbles, John Morrow, Dr. Hamilton, Dr. Steel, Cornwell, John H. Johnson, Wm. Smith, L.J. Dallas, and R.S. Clark.”

~From the Belmont Chronicle, and Farmers, Mechanics, and Manufacturers Advocate, dated 14 Oct 1853Belmont County Fair – “JACKS, JENNETS & MULES, CLASS E – best single mule, L.J. Dallas

~From the Belmont Chronicle, and Farmers, Mechanics, and Manufacturers Advocate, dated 11 Oct 1855 -“Premiums Awarded at the Seventh Annual Fair of the Belmont Co. Agricultural Society, Held on the 3d, 4th, & 5th of October, 1855.  – Jacks, Jennets & Single Mules – L.J. Dallas 2nd, $1.00;   Poultry – Sears, Grestest and Best Display – L.J. Dallas, $3.00.

~From the Belmont Chronicle, and Farmers, Mechanics, and Manufacturers Advocate, dated 20 Mar 1856 – “Petitions, &c. – Mr. Hamilton presented the petition of L.J. Dallas and 26 others, of J. Waddell, and 4 others, and R. Nagor and 4 others, citizens of Belmont County for a prohibitory liquor law; for a law authorizing the payments of taxes in the townships; a law for the protection of game.”

It seems that Dr. Dallas was a teetotaler and very involved in the Temperance movement.  I love the blurbs about him showing his mules and chickens at the county fair. We grew up doing that and I love that tie to him.

In 1859, the Dallas family picked up stakes and moved to Kansas Territory.  They settled in what is now Douglas county, in an area that was known as Palmyra and was close to Baldwin City.

From the Centennial History of Belmont county, Ohio:

“He had a successful practice in Sewellsville, Ohio were he remained until he removed to Kansas in 1859, where he resumed his profession, gaining a large and successful practice.”

Now, just three miles from Baldwin City was what is considered the first battle of the Civil War. This was the Battle of Black Jack and took place in 1856, just a few years before L.J. and Nancy moved their family there.  Bleeding Kansas is the term used for this exact time period and place.  It begs the question, did L.J. know what was going on here before he moved his family here?  They seem to have thrived and done well. Maybe he went because doctors were needed?

What I do know is that he was just as involved with his community in Kansas as he had been in Ohio.

From the Centennial History of Belmont county, Ohio:

“He was a prominent member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and was among the most influential men in establishing Baker University. Originally a Whig, he became a Republican on the organization of the Republican party.”

Baker University was the first university in Kansas. It was founded by the Methodist church.

I did find a note in a Kansas paper that listed L.J. Dallas as a trustee of Baker University, and some information that Nancy was involved as well. Their son, Chester, went to school there.  Most likely some of the other Dallas boys did, too, I just haven’t done the research to find them there yet.

Original building of Baker University - Baldwin City, Kansas

This is the original building of Baker University, now Old Castle Museum and still on the university grounds. It holds history of the university and of eastern Kansas.  My husband and I went there for a tour, but nobody showed up for our appointment. We will try again if we are ever in the area.

L.J. was also a beekeeper.

From the Centennial History of Belmont county, Ohio:

“In the latter period of his life he devoted himself to the propagation of bees and the production of honey. He made many discoveries in bee culture, and acquired the largest apiary in Kansas, was president of the State Bee Keeper’s Association, vice-president of the National Association, and was several times a delegate to the National Bee Keeper’s Association, taking several premiums for the quality of his bees and their productions.

A good deal of the latter part of his life was devoted to the cultivation of his excellent farm near Baldwin City, and especially to horticulture, in which he took great pride, but his particular branch was the scientific culture of the bee.”

In my research, I reached out to the Kansas State Honey Producers, formerly the Kansas Bee Keeper’s Association, to see if they had any more information on Dr. Dallas.  As far as they know, their organization was formed in 1903.  That very well may be because they simply don’t have any records before that period.  My contact is going to keep looking and let me know if he finds any other information. I promised to do the same for him!

I did, however, find an advertisement where L.J. is selling some bee’s.

~From the White Cloud Kansas Chief dated 28 May 1868: “Italian Bees. American Bee Hive. County Rights sold at $50 to $100; Township Rights, $20 to $40; Individual Rights, $5. Bee-Keeper’s Text Book, 40 cents by mail.  Italian Queens, $5 to $7, sent by express; safe arrival and purity warranted. Full stock of Italian Bees in American Hive, $20.   Send for circular. Minute directions for making American Hive will accompany all rights.   For further particulars, address:  L.J. Dallas & H. Barricklow, Baldwin City, Kansas.

L.J. was also involved in getting the railroad pushed through in his area of Kansas.

~From the Leavenworth Weekly Times, dated 10 Nov 1870 – “LAWRENCE & PAOLA RAILROAD.-We are glad to see that this enterprise is taking shape. A charter for the road has been obtained, and an organization of the company will be made on Thursday next, at Wellsville, after which we may expect some action taken toward the construction of the road. The corporators of the company are Elijah Sells and L.J. Dallas, Baldwin City; H.J. Canniff, Prairie City; P.P. Elder, Ottawa; G.W. Mitchler and Capt. Shannon, Paola; Gurdon Grovenor, P.D. Ridenour, Wm. H. Sells, Wm. M. Haseltine, W.C. Ransom and James S. Crew, Lawrence; and H.M. Brockway, Wellsville. – Paola Republican.

L.J.  was also an active member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.

From the Centennial History of Belmont county, Ohio:

“He was a member of the Masonic fraternity, and was especially enthusiastic as an Odd Fellow, having been deputy grand master of Kansas in 1872.  The Grand Lodge was in session at the time of his death, and after passing resolutions in honor of his memory, adjourned to the following day in respect to his services as an Odd Fellow and his work as a citizen.”

~From the Weekly Kansas Chief, dated 17 Oct 1872: “I.O.O.F.- The Grand Lodge of Odd Fellows of Kansas held its annual meeting at Topeka, last week. The Order is in a flourishing pondition throughout the State. The following officers were elected for the coming year: George W. Martin, of Junction City, Grand Master; L.J. Dallas, of Baldwin City, Deputy Grand Master; Sidney S. Smith, of Columbus, Grand Warden; Samuel F. Burdett, of Leavenworth, Grand Secretary; James S. Crew, of Leavenworth, Grand Treasurer; Fred Speck, of Wyandotte, Grand Representative to the Grand Lodge of the United States. ”

It seems that L.J. was a very busy man, involved in many aspects of his community’s life.

Dr. Leander Jerome Dallas passed away on the 14th of October, 1874.   He had been sick for six weeks and passed away from what was called Bright’s Disease, a chronic inflammation of the kidney’s that most likely resulted in kidney failure.  He was 62 years old.

He is buried in the Oakwood Cemetery in Baldwin City, Kansas next to his wife, Nancy.

Dallas, Leander Jerome Headstone - Baldwin City, Kansas


Paula - Leander J. Dallas and Nancy B. Hood Dallas Gravestone - Baldwin City, Kansas - April 2019

(Here I am, “meeting” my 3rd great-grandparents for the first time.)

~From the Weekly Kansas Chief, dated 22 Oct 1874: “DEATH OF DR. DALLAS.-The long illness of Dr. L.J. Dallas of Baldwin City, has at last terminated fatally.  The Doctor is an old resident of Douglas County, having lived here since 1859. Of late years he has paid great attention to apia-culture, and it was a pleasant sight to see him working about among his swarms of bees or extracting honey from the combs. He was a man of great intelligence, an earnest, faithful member of the Methodist Church, for many years one of the trustees of Baker University, and a man respected and loved by all who knew him. He was a constant subscriber to the Journal, and made as many a pleasant call when he visited town. May his memory be green.-Lawrence Journal, 16th.”

From the Centennial History of Belmont county, Ohio:

“His wife, Nancy, survives him and resides at the homestead in Douglas county. They reared seven children – Wilbur, a physician in Linn county, Kansas, married to Miss Mattie Churchill; Everett J., chief clerk of the division of dead letters in the post office department of the United States, and married to Miss Lizzie Campbell; Walter I., a prominent business man at Independence, Kansas; Clinton H., in business in Missouri, married to Miss Mary Keller; Chester E., residing on the homestead; Mary C., married to Henry C. Speer, a prominent educator and superintendent of public schools at Junction City; Addie E., residing with the family at the homestead.

Few men have done more for the promotion of good works, as a pioneer in establishing institutions of learning, good order, the cause of temperance, and the free institutions of Kansas, then Dr. Dallas. He was liberal-hearted and generous- a humane, upright man, whose memory will long be perpetuated for deeds of charity, and his devotion to the best interest of his State.”

dallas, leander jerome headstone plaque

Dr. Leander Jerome Dallas is buried at Oakwood Cemetery in Baldwin City, Kansas.

dallas, leander jerome lineage

(L.J. Dallas is my 3rd great-grandfather. )


4 thoughts on “Dr. Leander Jerome Dallas

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