But few men in Kosciusko county, Indiana, have witnessed the phenomenal changes that have taken place within the territorial limits of this county within the past sixty-six years and still live to narrate their experience from the early pioneer days up to the present hour of an advanced civilization, as does Samuel Leighty, the venerable subject of this biographical mention and now a highly respected retired farmer, having his residence in Warsaw.
Samuel Leighty was born in a log cabin on a farm in Knox county, Ohio, August 2, 18__, and when eleven years of age was brought to Kosciusko county, Indiana, by his parents, John and Catherine (Baker) Leighty, natives of Pennsylvania.... the father from Lancaster county, but who were married in Knox county, Ohio. For six years after the birth of their son, Samuel, these parents continued to reside in Knox county and then removed to Wayne county, Ohio where they lived five years in a new house. In the month of August, 1836, they came to Kosciusko county, Indiana, and located about four miles southwest of Warsaw, where John Leighty entered forty acres of wild land, now belonging to the estate of Charles Thomas. John Leighty cleared up three acres of this land and put up a cabin, but sold out the place to John Ford and bought a state land claim of one hundred and sixty acres. Congress had passed an enactment that owners of such claims who were actual settlers, should have the right of occupancy for five years and then pay for the land at the rate of one dollar and twenty-five cents per acre, without interest or taxation, provided a habitation of some kind had been erected. Mr. Leighty therefore put up a small log cabin, and in April 1837, placed his family therein; having complied with the requirements of the law, he five years later received his deed from the government. In the meanwhile Mr. Leighty did a great deal of work for others, by which he made a livelihood. At the end of five years John Reed, of Michigan, went to the land office at Delphi to prove up and pay Mr. Leighty's indebtedness to the government and at the same tie to enter land for himself on the opposite side of the Tippecanoe river. Two years later Mr. Leighty sold out and removed to Elkhart county, where he purchase a tract of eighty acres on the boundary line, three miles north of Milford, where he lived six months and then came to Warsaw, where he worked at such jobs as he could find to do , barely making a living; but shortly afterward he bought fifty-two acres, a mile and a half north, which tract had been entered from the government in the usual manner by a Mr. Crosby. In this tract Mr. Leighty settled, worked hard, and in due course of time increased his acreage to one hundred and sixty acres, or a quarter-section, it being known as the "Cut-off." This land Mr. Leighty also improved, and lived on until his death in 1845, only nine years after having come to Indiana, he being but forty-seven years of age.
Samuel Leighty at this time was twenty years of age and was the eldest in a family of seven children, his next brother in order of birth being about fourteen. The mother kept the children together, however, and Samuel, in accordance with his father's will, was to pay the debts and rear the children. The creditors allowed him ten years time, but at the end of five years Samuel had liquidated all claims and became owner of the farm, with the exception of what the brothers fell heir to, and this he eventually purchased from them; his mother he kept with him the remainder of her life and most filially cared for her. Samuel married a neighbor girl, Miss Sarah Kimes, and selling his farm, bought another, three miles south of Warsaw, buying up the interest of nine heirs to one hundred and twenty acres. This he increased to one hundred and sixty acres and occupied this farm until about twenty years ago, in the meanwhile improving it with a good dwelling and other buildings. Here he handled a great deal of stock in connection with general farming. Mr. Leighty then retired to Warsaw, where he now lives in well deserved comfort and ease.
In 1878 Mr. Leighty lost his first wife by death, and in 1880 he married Mrs. Clarissa Wheeler, of Clay township. To the first marriage of Mr. Leighty there were born four children, namely: Samuel R., who now owns and lives on the old homestead; George W., also living on a part of the same; Daniel D., farming four miles north of Warsaw, and Susan, now the wife of William Crouse, of Warsaw. To the second marriage no children have been born. Mr. Leighty has also reared his eldest sister's daughter from the age of four years until her marriage to Eli Barrett, a resident of Michigan. Mrs. Leighty bore the maiden name of Lefever, and by marriage with Jacob Wheeler was the mother of three sons and four daughters, viz: Isaac, Sarah J., Alice, Amanda, Eli, Ida M. and William S.
Through born and reared a Democrat, Mr. Leighty has never voted that ticket, having cast his first presidential vote for Zachariah Taylor, and has ever since supported the principles of the Republican party. He has ever refused to accept public office of any kind, although a very popular man and frequently urged to place his name before the public. Religiously Mr. Leighty is a member of the Walnut Creek United Brethren church, has fully and faithfully lived up to its teachings and has on all occasions contributed most freely towards its support. He has risen in life entirely through his own industry and good management and today stands among the most honored of Kosciusko county's pioneers.
From: Progressive Men and Women of Kosciusko County, Indiana, publ. in Logansport, Ind. : B. F. Bowen, 1902. pg. 338-340.