This page contains biographical sketches (full or extract) of former Hillsdale County residents.
The majority come from pre-1921 published sources as cited in the sketch.

Jonas Laird * Erastus Lake * John W. Lambert * Orville B. Lane * Christopher Lazenby * James Leonardson(1)
James Leonardson(2) * Sanford Leonardson * George W. Lickly * William Lickly * William L. Lords * William T. Lyons


Portrait & Biographical Album of Hillsdale County Michigan 1888, Chapman Bros. p 935-36

Jonas LAIRD is a prominent farmer and respected resident, located on section 8, Moscow Township. His parents were Jonas and Lucy (ABERNATHY) LAIRD, the former of whom was born in Massachusetts, and the latter in Vermont. Mr. LAIRD traces his ancestry back to Richard T. LAIRD, who came from Scotland in the latter part of the eighteenth century, near the time this country had secured an acknowledgment of its independence.
After their marriage the parents of our subject lived in St. Lawrence County, N. Y., for some time, after which they removed to Monroe County, and settled there in 1831. There they remained until the death of the father in 1833, at the early age. of forty-five years; the mother died in 1837, also at forty-five years of age, leaving eight children, be-tween the ages of twelve and two years. During the latter years of his life the health of the father had been much impaired, and upon his death all the children except the youngest were thrown for support upon the town, while the mother worked out and sustained herself and this child. She was married a second time, but her death occurred shortly after marriage.
Of the five sons and three daughters included in the parental family, Jonas LAIRD was the third in order of birth, and was born in St. Lawrence County, June 29, 1825. He has faint recollections of his native place, as at his father's death, when the boy was but eight years old, he went to live with the family of William WOODEN. These people, who were in good circumstances, were kind to our subject and gave him the advantages of a common-school education, though he was obliged to walk one mile each way to the school-house. He re-mained with this family until he was twenty-one years of age, regarding Mr. and Mrs. WOODEN as if they were his own parents, and will never forget the kindness shown him throughout those years.
Upon leaving them at twenty-one years of age, he was given $ 100 in money and provided with two good suits of clothes, and he remained in the neighborhood, engaged in labor at whatever he could find to do by the month for a period of two years, most of which time he was in the employ of a Quaker by the name of William CORNELL.
Here Mr. LAIRD met the maiden who afterward became his wife, Rebecca T. SMITH, who was working for the same employer, and was a daughter of Jacob SMITH, of Livingston County. Of this union, which took place in October, 1848, there were born eight children, three of whom came to the house-hold prior to the removal of the family to this State.
Mr. LAIRD purchased from William WOODEN forty acres of land, upon which after his marriage he re-sided until 1855, when be left it in the care of a tenant, so that in case he should be dissatisfied with his condition in the West, he might return to his old home. He then set out for. Michigan, leaving Rochester on the 10th of May, and arriving in Jonesville, this county, five days later. When Mr. LAIRD left Livingston County cattle had still to be fed in the farmyard, and there was little appear-ance of spring, and he was therefore surprised on his arrival in this county, to see the trees and shrubbery in full bloom, and to be treated to green currants for his first breakfast in Michigan.
For a man engaged in agricultural pursuits it is unneces-sary to say that he was well pleased with blooming Michigan, and it did not require much time for him to make up his mind that this should be his future home. He settled on a farm in Scipio Township, which lie occupied two years, and then coming to Moscow he rented land for two years, after which he bought a tract in Jackson County, which he held eighteen months. He then retured to Moscow Township, and purchased 100 acres of his present property. Here he was successful in his operations, and in a short time added fifty-eight acres to his original purchase.
The nine children born to Jonas and Rebecca LAIRD are named as follows: Valedia C., Charles C., Mace J., Sarah Isabella, Ernest S. and Susan B. (twins), Elsie, Addie M. and Hattie I. Susan died when an infant of two years;
Valedia C. became the wife of Stephen UNDERHILL, and to them were born two children, Claude and Belle, the latter of whom resides with our subject; Mrs. UNDERHILL afterward married Charles NUTTEN, and by him also became the mother of two children, Maud and Leda, and died on the 29th of March, 1888, aged thirty-nine years.
Charles C. resides in Moscow Township; Mace J. married Agnes WOOLCOTT, and resides in Scipio Township, where they have three children -- Leona, Clem and Arthur.
Bell became the wife of Augustus LINCH, to whom she bore two children, Mace A. and Charles; Mace resides with our subject; Mrs. LINCH died May 23, 1883.
Ernest married Carrie WHEELOCK, and operates a farm in partnership with his brother Charles; they also had two children: Grace, who is now deceased, and Carrie L., who resides with our subject, as her mother died in 1884.
Elsie married Moses ACKLES and became the mother of two children-George and Jay; Mrs. ACKLES is keeping house for two brothers.
Addie M. was graduated in Lima, N. Y., and has been identified with the educational profession as teacher in New York and Michigan five or six years; Hattie I. married Frank SULLIVAN, and they are both school teachers,
Rebecca LAIRD, the wife of our subject, died in 1866, and he was a second time united in marriage, in 1868, with Miss Susan M. VAN_SICKLES, daughter of Richard H. and Susan (SMITH) VAN_SICKLES, the former a native of New Jersey, while the latter was born in Pennsylvania. Her grandparents on the mother's side were natives of Pennsylvania, and were of prominent German ancestry. Her parents were married in Scottsburg, Livingston Co., N. Y., where the father worked as a carpenter and joiner until they came to Ohio, where they resided until 1871. They subsequently removed to Saunders County. Neb., where the father was successful in business, and they resided there until the death of the mother in 1882, at the age of seventy.nine, Richard Van Sickles had been married previously to Mary Ann COOL, and of that union there were three children. His union with the mother of Mrs. LAIRD resulted in the birth of six children, of whom Mrs. Laird was the third, and first saw the light May 15, 1839, in Scottsburg. N. Y. When her parents removed to Ohio, she remained behind with her grandparents, and enjoying good educational facilities in the High School at Danville, she received a liberal education, and engaged in the profession of school teacher which she followed successfully for five years.
Mrs. LAIRD came to Michigan on a visit at the age of eighteen years, and became acquainted with her future husband. She has in her possession a china cup and saucer, which have been handed down from generation to generation for 200 years, and also a silver spoon made from the knee buckles of her great, great-grandfather, Richard Van Sickles.
Mr. Laird is at present the owner of 158 acres of excellent land, which he has brought under a high state of cultivation, and here he carries on his noble calling, with a large measure of success. his residence, which was erected in 1885, is a commodious and substantial frame building, while his farm is suitably provided with out-buildings for the shelter of his stock and the storage of the fruits of his farm. In religion he is a member of the Universalist Church, while his wife is identified with the Christian Church. In politics Mr. Laird exerts his influence and casts his vote with the Democratic party.

Erastus LAKE

Compendium of History and Biography of Hillsdale County Michigan. Elon G. Reynolds, editor. Chicago: AW Bowen & Co 2 Parts - Fully Historical (1903) and Largely Biographical (1903)- p 180

Erastus LAKE
Born: 28 Oct 1794 Milford (Otsego) NY
Parents: not listed
Married: Erna MEAD (born 30 Apr 1901 Chester NY - died 5 Mar 1870 Allen Twp(Hillsdale) MI )
30 Dec 1823 - Chester NY
Died: 29 Jan 1887 - Allen Twp (Hillsdale) MI
Children: Hansie L. LAKE (married John PEIRCE); Laura A. LAKE (married (L.D. HALSTEAD , died 24 Sep 185, Coldwater MI) William F. LAKE (Oceana Co MI); Charles W. LAKE.
Other Info: Came to Michigan in 1837. Erastus was 4th of 11 children - 1 brother, Alonzo, listed. Erastus fought in War of 1812. Served in several public offices in Hillsdale County.


From the Portrait and Biographical Album of Hillsdale Co., MI, 1888, p.906. NOTE: The article was all about Mr. Lambert's business and said little about him or his family, if he had any.

John W. LAMBERT is proprietor of one of the best regulated meat markets in the city of Hillsdale, and probably in the whole county. He occupies a neat two-story building which is amply equipped with all the fixtures and appliances for the proper transaction of a business of this kind, and which is light, commodious and clean, and well stocked at all times with the freshest of choice meats and their concomitants.
Mr. LAMBERT was born in the county of Kent, England, Sept. 20, 1832. He was educated in his native county and continued to live there until the spring of 1858. It was then that he crossed the Atlantic, landing in NY City and from there came directly to Hillsdale Co. In Jan. 1863 he began the business which has since afforded him a comfortable income. His first location was on Broad St. but after a few years he was obliged to enlarge his facilities and moved to the site of his present business. The structure he first occupied was destroyed by fire in 1872. Soon after he erected his present fine brick store which occupies an area of 22 x 100 feet, two stories in height, plus a good cellar with all the facilities for preserving meat.
In conducting his large business Mr. LAMBERT gives employment, in the summertime especially, to about twenty-five men, and, for the supply of his regular trade, butchers twelve head of cattle weekly, besides the sheep, calves and smaller animals. His excellent judgment and adaption to this industry have secured him the patronage of the best residents of Hillsdale and vicinity.

Orville B. LANE

From 1905 Michigan Manual, Page 760

Orville B. LANE, Representative from Hillsdale county, was born at Geneva, Ohio, October 13, 1850. He received his education in the public schools of Ohio and Michigan.
He is married and lives on his farm in Hillsdale county. He has represented his township as supervisor for fifteen years, and served as chairman of the board for a number of years. He is president and treasurer of the Hillsdale County Farmer's Mutual Fire Insurance Company, having served the company in that capacity for nine years.
He is a Republican and was elected to the legislature of 1903-4, and reelected November 8, 1904, by a vote of 4,689 to 1,970 for Frank E. McConnel and 344 for Charles S. Schermerhorn.

Christopher LAZENBY

Compendium of History and Biography of Hillsdale County Michigan. Elon G. Reynolds, ed Chicago: AW Bowen & Co. Part First - Hillsdale County Michigan Fully Historical 1903 - page 158-59. [NOTE: This is an extract of the full article]

Christopher LAZENBY, was born in Yorkshire, England, 12 Nov 1842, the son of Thomas and Hannah SMITH LAZENBY. The family emigrated in 1848 and settled in Branch County, Michigan - coming to Hillsdale County two years later.
Thomas and Hannah had 4 sons and 10 daughters (none named) - all deceased as of 1903 except for Christopher and 5 sisters "who are still residents of this county, maintainin their homes in Allen Twp." Hannah died in 1881 and Thomas in 1895.
Thomas' father, also named Christopher, emigrated from Yorkshire to Hillsdale County as well and died in 1864.
Christopher inherited Thomas' homestead in Allen Twp. and on 1 Feb 1865 married Miss Orenda C. CRONK. She was a native of Allen Twp. [parents not mentioned].
Christopher and Orenda had 3 sons: William T. LAZENBY, Charles D. LAZENBY and John LAZENBY. Orenda passed away April 4th, 1875.
Christopher remarried Miss Josephine LAWSON on 1 Dec 1875. Josephine is of Canadian ancestry [no parents mentioned].


Compendium of History and Biography of Hillsdale County Michigan. Elon G. Reynolds, ed Chicago: AW Bowen & Co. Part First - Hillsdale County Michigan Fully Historical 1903 - page 402-403. [NOTE: This is an extract of the full article. A photo of James is available]

James LEONARDSON was born 12 Apr 1817 in Montgomery County, New York, the som of William LEONARDSON and Polly FLINT "descended from Old Holland stock, planted in American soil during the Colonial period of our history".
When James was six (1823) his mother died, and 6 or 7 years later (c 1830) his father also passed away, leaving the family of seven children [none named] orphaned. 6 of the 7 children grew to adulthood; one son died in the Mexican war.
James migrated to Toledo in 1836, then returned to Montgomery Co. NY where he married Miss Lucinda HILTS 22 Jun 1843. In September of that year, they purchased 80 acres in Jefferson Twp., Hillsdale County, Michigan.
James and Lucinda had three children, one of whom died in infancy. Warren D. LEONARDSON died at the age of 55. Sanford LEONARDSON is the surviving son (see separate sketch)
James was elected highway commissioner of Jefferson Township, as well as serving 7 or 8 terms as county commissioner and 12 years as sheriff. He was a US deputy provost-marshal during the Civil War.
James and Lucinda celebrated their golden anniversary in 1893; Lucinda passed away 2 Nov 1894. James died 30 Jan 1903.


Portrait & Biographical Album of Hillsdale County Michigan 1888, Chapman Bros. p. 946.
NOTE: This following info is an extract of the biographical sketch.

James LEONARDSON came to Jefferson Twp., Hillsdale Co., in the fall of 1843 and purchased 80 acres on section 12. He was among the first settlers.
James was b. 4/12/1817 in Root Twp., Montgomery Co., NY. His parents were William and Polly (FLINT) LEONARDSON. James' grandfather, John Leonardson, was the son of one of the original settlers of this name in the US who came over from Holland in colonial days. John spent his entire life in Montgomery Co.
William and Polly were both born in Montgomery Co. and both died there. Polly died in about 1823, when James was six years old. William survived her by only five or six years and their family of seven children were thus left wholly orphaned.
Of these, six reached maturity. One died in the Mexican War and two died in Ohio. The two still living in 1888, besides James, were Ester and Louisa, residents of Ohio.
James was 12 when his father died and was completely on his own. He was aided by friends, found work and continued at school.
At the age of 17 he left Montgomery Co. for Toledo, OH. He lived there from about 1836 to 1843.
On 6/22/1834, he marr. Lucinda HILTS in Montgomery Co., NY and in the fall of that year they moved to Hillsdale County.
Lucinda was born in Montgomery Co. 3/14/1819, the dau. of John and Effie (SCHUYLER) HILTS, both natives of NJ where they were reared and married. Mr. Hilts was of German ancestry.
After the births of three children, the Hilts moved to Glynn Twp., Montgomery Co., where six more children were born, two sons and seven daughters in all.
James and Lucinda started out married life with very little capital but their own courage, industry and perseverance. Their second year was the hardest on account of their taxes coming due, the enormous sum of $1.25.
James was forced to borrow from friends in NY, money that was paid back as soon as possible. His taxes now (1888) are more than $200 annually and he has far less trouble to raise that than he did that first insignificant sum.
James and Lucinda had only two children. Warren D. marr. Viola HAWKINS and practiced law in Fremont, MI. They had one son, James. Warren graduated from Hillsdale College and read law with Att. E. L. Koon of Hillsdale.
The younger son, Sanford, lived upon and operated a part of the homestead belonging to his father. He marr. Nellie MC NEAL of Jefferson Twp. and they had four children: Sarah, Frederick, Watson and Anna.
James Leonardson was appointed Provost Marshal of Hillsdale Co. during the Civil War, and was also enrolling officer in Pittsford and Wheaton Twps. He represented Jefferson Twp. in the County Board of Supervisors for eight terms in succession, was Road Commissioner six years and was Under Sheriff for twelve. In retirement he lived near the village of Pittsford on section 3.


Compendium of History and Biography of Hillsdale County Michigan_ Elon G. Reynolds, ed Chicago: AW Bowen & Co. Part First - Hillsdale County Michigan Fully Historical 1903 - page 418-419 NOTE: This is an extract of the full article. Photos of Sanford and Helen are available.

Sanford LEONARDSON was born in Jefferson Township, Hillsdale County, Michigan 23 January 1851, the son of James LEONARDSON and Lucinda HILTS. (see separate sketch).
Sanford's parents migrated from New York seven years and 4 months before Sanford's birth. Sanford had a sister who died in childhood and a brother, Warren D. LEONARDSON who died in adulthood.
Sanford was married 1 Oct. 1871 to Miss Helen MCNEAL, a daughter of Milo MCNEAL and Sarah PLAYTER.
Helen was a native of New York whose family came to Michigan in 1860. Milo "died some years ago" and Sarah was still living (age 95) in 1903.
Sanford owns 500 acres as of 1903 and served as township treasurer and school inspector.
Sanford and Helen had 4 children: Sarah L. LEONARDSON, Fred LEONARDSON, Watson R. LEONARDSON and Anna R. LEONARDSON.
Fred married Miss Myrtle DERTHICK of Jefferson Township, on 7 May 1900. The other children are still living with their parents.

George W. LICKLY

Portrait & Biographical Album of Hillsdale County Michigan 1888, Chapman Bros. p. 676.
NOTE: This following info is an extract of the biographical sketch.

George W. LICKLY was b. 2/25/1845 on the farm where he now lives in Wright Twp., Hillsdale Co.
His parents were among the early pioneers of this township. His father, Michael LICKLY, aged 88 yrs., was still living in 1888. Mrs. LICKLY died 4/29/1888.
Michael LICKLY was b. in Putnam Co., NY on 4/9/1800. His grandfather (George's great-grandfather), John LICKLY came from Scotland in colonial times and settled in Putnam Co. He was a carpenter and joiner by trade.
John's son, James (George's grandfather), was b. in Putnam Co. and spent his entire life farming there. James marr. Rachel MEEKS, also a native of NY.
They were the parents of Michael who grew up and was married in Putnam Co. to Lois DENNY on 11/27/1826. Lois was also born in Putnam Co. and was the dau. of Jacob and Esther (CRONK) DENNY.
Michael and Lois LICKLY lived in their native county until the fall of 1835, at which time they moved to Erie Co. in west state NY. There Michael left his family and, with his brother John, went to Mich. Terr. via Lake Erie to Toledo and thence on foot to Bean Creek Valley.
He selected the NW quarter of section 8 in Wright Twp. and walked to Monroe to register his land. He returned to his family for the winter and, in May 1836, they all journeyed to Mich, arriving May 22nd at their new home.
They lived there until 1858. During that time Michael purchased 80 acres on section 4, adjoining his original farm. There he built a comfortable new home in which he still lives (1888).
George LICKLY lives in the old homestead which was his birthplace. On 12/24/1867 he marr. Mary E. CONOVER, who was b. 5/14/1849 in Otsego Co., NY, the dau. of John and Margaret (MACKEY) CONOVER.
The children of George and Mary LICKLY were George H., Jason E., Lois J., Bertha E., Montgomery M. and Willie A. Mary LICKLY died 10/23/1884. The NW part of Wright Twp., where several Lickly family members lived, was called "Lickly Corners" in their honor.

William LICKLY

Portrait & Biographical Album of Hillsdale County Michigan 1888, Chapman Bros. p. 697.
NOTE: This following info is an extract of the biographical sketch.

William LICKLY was born in Erie Co., NY on 12/6/1831, the son of John M. LICKLY who was born in Putnam Co., NY. His grandfather, James LICKLY, was a native of Scotland who emigrated to Putnam Co. early in life.
There John M. grew to manhood and then, starting out on his own, moved to Erie Co. where his family lived until 1836. In the spring of 1836, John traveled to Mich. Terr. and purchased a quarter section of government land in Wright Twp. He built a log house and returned to Erie Co. for his family.
They moved to Hillsdale Co. in Sept. 1836 and established themselves in their new house which was to be their home for many years. There were fourteen children in the family of John M. and his wife (not named). Twelve lived to adulthood and, in 1888, seven were still living.
The mother died in 1848 and John M. died in August 1885, in the old homestead.
William LICKLY was the ninth child and was four years old when the family moved to Mich. in 1836. He was educated in a pioneer school and assisted his father on the farm. He learned the carpenter's trade at which he worked for many years in addition to farming.
He married Miss Melvina BARBER on 12/6/1859 in Wright Twp. She was born in Spafford, Onondaga Co., NY, on 4/12/1840, the dau. of Homan and Harriet Newell (MASON) BARBER.
Soon after the wedding they settled on a part of William's father's old homestead which they own and still live on today (1888). William and Melvina were the parents of Hattie L., Albert W. and Ralph M., all now residents of Wright Twp. They were members of the Baptist Church.

William L. LORDS

Portrait & Biographical Album of Hillsdale County Michigan 1888, Chapman Bros. page 945
[NOTE: The following is an extract of the original sketch]

William L. LORDS was a native of Athens Co., OH where he was b. 5/31/1821.
His parents, John and Wealthy Lords were natives of Maine. Wealthy LORDS died August, 1823 in Richland Co., OH. John Lords died about 1867 in Berrien Co., MI.
John was twice married and had ten children, four of whom were still living in 1888: Waldon, Ira, Mary (widow of Frederick PERRIN) and William L.
William L. grew up mainly in Richland Co., OH. In the fall of 1842 he came to Hillsdale Co. and worked here three years clearing land.
He then joined his parents in Steuben Co., IN and lived there until 1852 when he decided to return to Hillsdale. He settled in Camden Twp., section 32.
William marr. three times, first in 1844 to Esther BROWN. They had two children, Alonzo and Mortimer. Alonzo was living with his father in 1888 and Mortimer was living in Steuben Co., IN.
William marr. second, in 1876, Margaret CORRY. They had no children.
On 1/24/1885 William marr. Harriet A. BURK.

William T. LYONS

Portrait & Biographical Album of Hillsdale County Michigan 1888, Chapman Bros. p 930
[NOTE: The following is an extract of the original sketch]

William T. LYONS, was born 1 Jan 1818 in Westmoreland Co., PA. He came to Hillsdale Co. about 1844 and settled in Monroe Twp.
On April 13, 1818, he marr. Catherine DEPUE. They had six children, three of whom survived to adulthood: Louisa (Mrs.Samuel MORGAN), Eliza M. (Mrs. W. K. JACKSON) and William, who is married to Mary UNDERWOOD.

Submitted by former MIGenWeb Hillsdale County Coordinator, Tracey Morris

This information is made available to the public for non-commercial purposes.


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