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A Short Biography
Lasley family oral history prepared in 1939 gives the following information: James Preston Lasley was born in 1834 in France. He moved to settlement in or near Uniontown, Kentucky with his father Thomas A. Lasley and family. He married Sarah Jane Austin in 1854 and had six children. He died as soldier in the Civil War in Austin, Texas in 1864. Children's names included Mamie Lou, Flora Bell, James D., William, Jessie Lee and Jennie Lee; the last two names are reported to have died as infants.
Keep in mind that this history was apparently told to Aunt Sara (Sarah Blanche Lasley Swafford) in 1939 by James Dennis Lasley, who had been told the information by his mother, Sarah, certainly 50 or so years before he told it to Aunt Sara. Some of this overall history is in error, but we are proving that a good bit of it is remarkably accurate.
Facts known after investigations October 2000 through January 2004: Marriage Record Book, C-3, p. 518, Posey Co., IN shows that James P. Lastly married Sarah Austin on May 29, 1855. The index of the book shows J. Lustly, but the "u" in Lustly is a typo and should read "a". The handwritten name in the marriage record is Lastly, but the person preparing the index typed it wrong. The 1860 census in Point Township, Posey Co., IN shows Preston Lassly 26 (indicating born in Indiana), living with wife Sarah Lassly 19 (born in Indiana), and daughter Sarah F., one year old. Also in the same household are Margaret Hazelwood 33 and Sarah L. (I think the initial is an "L" but not certain) Hazelwood 15; unknown what relationship these folks may be to Preston or Sarah. The age of 26 for Preston Lassly in 1860 would tend to support the birth year of 1834 for James Preston Lasley in the oral history. Sarah Austin has been confirmed from the oral history; also see more information about Sarah in her short biography. Posey Co., IN deed book 1, p. 713 indicates that on November 28, 1864, James P. Lasley bought 40 acres of land from Wm. C. & Mary E. Baker of Posey Co. for $400. This land is further identified as SE quarter of NE quarter of section 22, T8S R14 W in Posey Co. Jack Elliott, Jr. and I personally went to that land in January, 2001 and stood on it and took several photographs.
Although there is not a Civil War era soldier with the exact name of James Preston Lasley, there is a James P. Leslie who enlisted in the reorganized 30th Indiana Infantry Regiment in November, 1864 at Evansville, IN, and who died in Victoria, Texas in November, 1865. I received the service records of this soldier in May, 2001, and it is the correct man and is our ancestor. James P. Lasley who resided in Posey Co., IN (name written as Laslie and Leslie in the military records) enlisted on 3 November 1864 for a one year period as a replacement for William C. Baker, also of Posey Co., IN (note the name of who JPL purchased the 40 acres from above). During the Civil War, if a person was drafted, he could pay another person to enlist in his place. This other person was called a "substitute". James P. Lasley was a substitute for Wm. C. Baker. I suspect that Baker gave Lasley the 40 acres in Posey Co. as payment for enlisting as his replacement. JPL was enlisted in Company A of the 30th Indiana Infantry. The 30th Indiana Regiment was sent to Texas on occupation duty after the close of the war, and James P. Lasley (Leslie) died from disease in Victoria, Texas on 9 November 1865. Throughout the military papers JPL signed his name with an "X" since he was illiterate. He is described as having a dark complexion, being 5 feet 8 inches tall and having gray eyes and black hair. There are discrepancies in his age, however. In the 1860 census he is listed as 26, but when he enlisted in the military in 1864 he is listed as 24 years of age. Also, the 1860 census shows him born in Indiana, however his military records show him born in Kentucky. Still, I am certain this is the same person despite these discrepancies. In September, 2001, I located "Rolls of Honor" or also known as the Alphabetical Index to Places of Interment of Deceased Union Soldiers, a publication of the Quartermaster General's Office in 1868. In this document I located a list of 26 soldiers (including James P. Leslie) who had been buried "near railroad depot, Victoria, Texas". I later learned that the federal army had removed the remains of these soldiers sometime in the late 1860s. James P. Leslie's final resting place is grave site 890B in Alexandria National Cemetery, Pineville, Louisiana. The cemetery advised he has a marker at that location. Sarah "Lesley" later filed a pension claim with the U.S. Government for James P. Lesley, the father of her three children including James Dennis Lasley. Again, refer to the bio on Sarah for more details.
Sarah later used the named Sarah Lastley and Sarah Lesley
before remarrying in 1868. The land James P. Lasley purchased
in 1864 was later sold by James D. Lasley and Sarah (who are
listed as heirs of Jas. P. Lasley, deceased), but refer to accounts
for those persons for details. Note that Uniontown, KY is directly
across the Ohio River from the James P. Lasley land, only about
3 miles away. It is 13-14 miles to the nearest Indiana town,
Mount Vernon ("Point Township" is simply a designation
for the southwestern tip of Posey Co., and not really a town).
This could easily explain the 1939 oral history statement of
them living "in or near" Uniontown, Kentucky.
See <http://www.rootsweb.com/~txvicto2/UnionSoldiers.html#union%3E> for an article about JPL and his final resting place.