Biography of Leander Lane

Leander Lane, born April 23, 1838, in Clermont County, Ohio, played a significant role in the development of Yankton County, South Dakota. He moved to Dakota in 1866, initially settling on Jim River before purchasing land near present-day Gayville. Over time, he expanded his farm to 800 acres, cultivating crops and raising Shorthorn cattle. Lane married twice, first to Ann Sheperdson and then to Mary (Chappel) Case. He was active in local education, politics as a Democrat, and community improvement efforts. Lane passed away on February 28, 1904, and was buried in Yankton Cemetery.

Leander Lane.—In the pioneer epoch of South Dakota, Leander Lane came to this state and was an important factor in the substantial development and permanent improvement of Yankton County. He was born on the 23rd of April, 1838, in Clermont County, Ohio, of which state his parents, Nathaniel and Martha (Simpson) Lane, were also natives. The father was an agriculturist, owning and operating a well-improved farm in Clermont County, where he died in 1857. In politics, he was a Whig and both he and his wife were faithful members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. She long survived her husband, passing away in 1896. In their family were eight children, four of whom are still living. On the paternal side, the subject’s ancestors were originally from North Carolina.

In the state of his nativity, Leander Lane grew to manhood, and in 1861 he led to the marriage altar Miss Ann Sheperdson, by whom he had one child, Elizabeth, now the wife of Albert Young. For his second wife, Mr. Lane wedded Mrs. Mary (Chappel) Case, the widow of John Chappel. Her parents, Chauncey and Mary E. Case, were natives of New York and were also members of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Mr. Case followed farming principally but was also a good mechanic and patented a turning lathe. His political support was given to the Democratic Party. He died in New York State in 1848, and his wife departed this life in 1882. Their family numbered six children, three of whom are living at the present writing in 1903.

It was in 1866 that Mr. Lane left the east and came to Dakota, while his wife came to this state with a Dakota colony in 1868. He first located on Jim River near the present site of Henry O’Neil’s home, but after living there six months he moved to the place now owned by Joseph J. Volin. Later, he purchased the present home place, at first buying one hundred and sixty acres of government land, to which he added from time to time as his financial resources increased until he owned eight hundred acres of fine farming land, nearly all under cultivation. He set out all of the trees upon the place and erected good and substantial buildings which stand as monuments to his thrift and enterprise. He was a natural carpenter, being very handy with tools, and everything about his farm was kept in first-class condition. He raised a good grade of Shorthorn cattle, feeding not less than one hundred and forty head per year and as high as two hundred.

During his early residence in South Dakota, Mr. Lane encountered many discouragements, losing hogs to the value of one thousand dollars in floods. During the flood of 1866, when the Missouri and Jim Rivers so overflowed their banks, he was forced to leave his house at three o’clock at night and seek higher ground. The Indians, though friendly at that time, often visited his home begging for something to eat, and if not carefully watched, they would steal considerable corn. Being fond of hunting and a good marksman, Mr. Lane took great delight in that sport during pioneer days and his trusty rifle brought down many a deer, elk, and antelope, besides smaller game such as ducks and wild geese. In fact, the early settlers depended a great deal on hunting and fishing for something to eat. Mr. Lane once caught a catfish in Jim River which weighed one hundred pounds and was over five feet long. It pulled him a half mile down the stream before he was able to land it.

Politically, Mr. Lane was a stalwart Democrat. He held school offices and assisted in establishing the first school conducted in his part of the county, each family at that time doing their share toward boarding the teacher. He was a Universalist in belief but also a liberal supporter of any church in his neighborhood, and everything that was for the betterment of humanity received his hearty support. Mr. Lane passed away, after an illness of two weeks, on February 28, 1904, at his home south of Gayville, having attained the age of sixty-six years, ten months, and four days. The funeral occurred Wednesday, March 2, 1904, from the Gayville Methodist Episcopal Church, the pastor officiating. The interment was held at Yankton Cemetery, at which the Rev. Mr. Rosenberry, of Yankton, officiated. Throughout the career of Mr. Lane, he had shown himself a man in whom all placed the highest confidence. He was a loyal citizen and an ardent supporter of everything that went to advance the general welfare of the community of which he was a member. His memory will always be cherished and esteemed by the large circle of kinsmen and friends who are left to mourn his loss.


Robinson, Doane, History of South Dakota: together with mention of Citizens of South Dakota, [Logansport? IN] : B. F. Bowen, 1904.

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