Lasley family Genealogy

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I have a "family tree" genealogy website on a Rootsweb "freepages" site here that is very complete and lists approximately 3550 families and over 4900 persons. Please visit that site for a more complete accounting of my entire extended family.

Scroll down below the names in red text to get to "my" Lasley surname information. I really need some help to get through one of those genealogical "brick walls" with this family and I hope some other Lasley researcher can help out. This page is mainly about the Lasley surname, so scroll down to have a look at what I have learned about my own name. In addition, I have done some work into some of the last names of some of my grandparents and great-grandparents and have created "register reports" with what I have learned. Those last names are:

Adam/Adams (Berks Co., PA). Click here for a register report on the descendants of Nicolaus Adam, or click here for a page about the Bernhard Adam Cemetery in West Reading, PA.

Exum (Oktibbeha and Clay Cos., MS). Some of the Exum clan moved to MS from NC in the early and mid 1800s. Click here for a register report on the descendants of Benjamin Exum.

Hardy (Oktibbeha and Clay Cos., MS). Like the Exums, the Hardys moved to MS from NC in the 1830s. Click here for a register report on the descendants of C. Sutton Hardy, son of Lemuel Hardy. Click here for a page about the Joshua T. Hardy Cemetery in Siloam, Clay Co., MS. Joshua was a son of Sutton Hardy.

Klopp/Clopp (Berks Co., PA).
The Klopp line merged with the Adam line (above) in the 1800s when Rebecca Klopp married Aaron K. Adam. With the generous help of other Klopp researchers I have put together a lengthy register report about the Klopp line descended from Johann Klopp. Click here to go to that report. Some later generations changed the spelling to Clopp when they moved west, but the original Klopp spelling remained in use in Pennsylvania.

Lasley (Laslie, Lassly, Lesley, Lastley, Leslie). Originally (?) from KY and/or IN then to MS. Click here for a register report on the descendants of James Preston Lasley and see below for lots of other Lasley information about my branch of this family. Links to various biographies of some my Lasley ancestors can be seen by scrolling down this page.

Shilling (Lancaster and Berks Cos., PA). Click here for a register report on the descendants of Hans Adam Shilling who came to Pennsylvania from Germany in 1732.

Contact me here

I welcome any corrections, additions, or other material related to any of these families. Thanks!


The Lasley Family

This portion of this page will be devoted to the Lasley family genealogy (or I should say, "my" Lasleys), at least as far as I can determine it. I am posting this material in the hopes that someone out there will come across this material who can add to the very sketchy information I have on my paternal grandfather's family prior to 1855. I welcome input from anyone who might have information to share.

Prior to late 2000, I did not have much interest in our family tree, however, I came across some notes I made in 1976 while speaking to my father and this sparked an interest. Since I had been told years ago that my grandfather may have come from Indiana, Kentucky, or Missouri, I wrote a two page letter and sent it to 337 people in those three states named Lasley. Although I received about a 10% response from kind folks, nothing was received that really shed any light on the subject or that seemed to be related to "my" Lasleys. In January 2001, I made a trip to Indiana and Kentucky and was able to learn quite a bit of new information by visiting many county courthouses, and speaking to a number of other researchers. A September, 2002 trip provided some additional information but not much. The information I currently know to be correct is:

My grandfather is James Dennis Lasley b. 23 March 1865 d. 23 October 1942. I have found him listed as J.D. Lasley (a nickname he used later as well) with wife Ella in Paducah, KY in 1900. About 1903 he came to West Point, Clay Co., Mississippi. His life from 1904 forward is well-documented. Ella died in 1905 and he married Sallie Ila Hardy (my grandmother) in 1906. James D. and Sally I. had 6 children, one of whom was my father. The information I have prior to 1900 is now fairly complete (since my January, 2001 trip). James Dennis Lasley was born in Posey Co., Indiana (extreme SW corner of the state). His father was James Preston Lasley (or Lassly, Leslie, etc.) who was married to Sarah Jane Austin. The 1860 census in Point township, Posey Co., IN shows Preston & Sarah Lassly with a 1 year old daughter, Sarah (who apparently did not survive to adulthood). James Preston died in 1865 in Texas while a soldier in Union army (his regiment was assigned occupation duty at that time, just after the Civil War ended). Sarah then married a man named Andrew Taylor in 1868, then Andrew died in 1873 (neither Sarah or Andrew could be found on the 1870 census in Posey County; they were possibly missed by the census takers) and she then married a man named Commodore D. Curtis in 1874, also in Posey County. My grandfather, James Dennis Lasley, shot and killed his step-father, Commodore Curtis, in February, 1878, because Commodore was trying to "murder Sarah in a drunken spree" according to local news accounts of the time. No criminal charges were filed against my grandfather who was 13 years old at the time of the shooting. The 1880 census in Posey Co., IN (Point township again) shows: Sarah Curtis with daughter Mary I. Curtis, 5 yrs, William Curtis 2 yrs and Dennis Lasley, 15 years. (This Dennis is my grandfather using his middle name only). In 1884 and 1886 Sarah Curtis and James D. Lasley sold some land that had been owned by his late father, James P. Lasley, in Posey County.

My great grandfather is James Preston Lasley (Lassly, Lesley, Leslie). He was probably born between 1834 and 1840 in Indiana or Kentucky. I can account for him with documentation between 1855 (when he married Sarah Austin) and 1865 when he died while in the military. I have no information of his life prior to 1855. Any information will be appreciated.

According to family oral history, my great great grandfather may be Thomas A. Lasley (or Lassly or Leslie, etc.) who was possibly born in France in 1801. He may have resided in or near Uniontown, Union Co., KY (but note that Point township, Posey Co., IN is directly across the Ohio River from Uniontown, KY) and may have died there ca 1855. His children supposedly included James Preston, Amos, George, and John S. Nothing so far has been confirmed or documented on Thomas or any of these children except what I report about James Preston above. Thomas may have been married to Susie E. Slolofe (spelling?).

I have no information on who Thomas' father may have been and would certainly appreciate any additional information.

I have posted a "register report" of the descendants of James P. Lasley for seven generations.
Below are more notes on James Dennis Lasley and James Preston Lasley in the event they offer any interesting tidbits.

Information on James Preston Lasley and James Dennis Lasley. Click on either name for a short biography.

In January 2001 and September 2002, my cousin, Jack Elliott, Jr. and I made trips to KY, IN, MO, and IL to investigate some Lasley family history. Below is a synopsis of those trips.

Family oral history regarding my grandfather and great grandfather:
This history, prepared in 1939 by a daughter of James Dennis Lasley, reports that my great grandfather was James Preston Lasley. This oral history goes on to say he was born in 1834 and he lived in Point Township, Posey Co., IN. He married Sarah Jane Austin in 1854. Their son, James Dennis Lasley was born in 1865. James Preston enlisted in an Indiana regiment in the Civil War and died in Texas in 1864. Possible siblings of James Dennis include Mamie Lou, Flora Belle, William, Jessie Lee and Jennie Lee. The last two names are reported to have died as infants. In 1976 my father, William H. Lasley, reported to me that he had heard that his father (James Dennis Lasley) had shot a man named Robert Curtis in Indiana sometime around 1881 because Curtis was beating up Hilda, James Dennis' mother. My father further told me that he had heard that his father had grown up in or near Mt. Vernon, Indiana, and that he had been a barber there around 1894. My father had also been told by another source that his father may have been born in Warrick Co., Indiana. Independent of the family oral history (written down in 1939, certainly by oral communication with James Dennis, but not brought to my attention until November, 2000) my father had thought that his grandfather might have been a William Leslie from Warrick Co., IN. I now do not believe that is accurate, and I am convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that we (my cousin Jack Elliott and I) have nailed down our family history back to at least 1855 in Posey Co., IN.

Information on James Preston Lasley and James Dennis Lasley we have added through investigations of census records, etc. 1860 census of Point Township, Posey Co., Indiana shows a Preston Lassly, 26 with wife Sarah Lassly, 19 and 1 year old daughter Sarah F. Neither could read or write. Oral history says he was born in 1834 which would match with this. Unable to locate any of them on 1870 census (missed by census takers?). The 1880 census of Point Township, Posey Co., IN shows Sarah J. Curtis, 36, Dennis Lasley her son (15), Mary I. Curtis (5) and William Curtis (2).

Facts we have confirmed since January 2001 through a personal visit to Posey Co., Indiana and elsewhere. All the following material has been confirmed through county record books, newspaper articles, or Posey Co. history books. J. Lastly married Sarah J. Austin in May 1855 (on marriage index file he is listed as J. Lustly, but this is a typo of a "u" instead of an "a"). The family oral history had said 1854, which is only one year off from the fact. In November 1864, James P. Lasley bought 1/4 of 1/4 of a section of land (40 acres) in Point Township, Posey Co., IN for $400. This land was actually acquired by JPL from a William Baker because JPL enlisted in the Union army for one year as a substitute for Baker; apparently the 40 acres was the payment Baker made to JPL for this act. JPL died one year later, in November 1865 in Texas while in the Union army. In March, 1868 , the widow Sarah J. Lesley married Andrew Taylor. In December 1868 Andrew Taylor appeared in Posey County court to file probate to become the guardian of the heirs of Jas P. Lesley, deceased. Andrew Taylor died in 1873. In May, 1874 Sarah J. Taylor married Commodore D. Curtis. On February 26, 1878, James Dennis Lasley (referred to as Dennis Leslie in news accounts of the time), son of Sarah Curtis, shot and killed his step-father, Commodore Curtis when Commodore was trying to murder Sarah in a "drunken spree". No criminal charges were filed. On August 22, 1884, James D. Lasley and Sarah J. Curtis (now residing in Gallatin Co., IL) sold 40 acres in Point Township, Posey Co. Note that this is the identical 40 acres of land which had been purchased by James P. Lasley in 1864, 20 years earlier (SE quarter of NE quarter of section 22, T8S, R14W). Apparently this 1884 sale was based on a down payment of $500. Two years later, on April 7, 1886, James D. Lasley and Sarah J. Curtis finalize the sale (as the heirs of James. P. Lasley, deceased) and sign the paperwork for an additional $250. James D. Lasley signs his name, Sarah Curtis makes an "X".

In 1900, Sarah Curtis (now shown as 58 years of age, but I believe she was actually 61 or 62 years old at that time) was found with her son William (now 21) on the Gallatin Co., IL census. Gallatin Co., IL is immediately west of Posey Co., IN. On that census form she indicates she has born 9 children, but only 3 were living in 1900. Those three were James Dennis Lasley, Mary I. Curtis, and William A. Curtis. Her daughter Mary I. Curtis (daughter of Commodore and Sarah Curtis on the marriage license) married John H. Oliver in Gallatin Co., IL in 1899. By 1900 Sarah Jane Curtis (notice this is one of the two places we confirmed the middle name Jane from the family oral history as in most other records it is only initial "J") owned three lots in New Haven township in Gallatin Co. Sarah J. Curtis died in 1901 and James D. Lasley (then living in Paducah, KY), William Curtis, and Mary Oliver file for equal thirds of her estate. We have no record of James Dennis Lasley between 1890 when he signed pension paperwork for his mother regarding Commodore Curtis and 1900 when he is found on the Paducah, KY census with his wife of 8 years, Ella. We have a fully documented history of James Dennis Lasley from 1904 until his death in 1942 at age 77 in West Point, Mississippi.

Questions & problems still remaining. As will always be the case with such things, we answered a great many questions and solved a lot of mysteries, but came up with still more questions.

Question 1. Who is Thomas Lasley? Family oral history gives Thomas A. Lasley born in 1801 as James Preston's father. Thomas was supposedly born in France and may have served in the French army at Brest. He reportedly died near Uniontown, KY in 1855 (Uniontown, KY is right across the Ohio River from Posey Co., IN, and is actually less than 3 miles from the Lasley 40 acres, while the nearest town in Indiana, Mt. Vernon, is 13-14 miles away). Thomas was supposedly married to a woman named Susie. I have worked hard looking at the census indexes for 1830 through 1850 in Indiana, Kentucky, Illinois, and even Virginia (many Lasleys came from Virginia). There are a few Thomas Lasleys listed (by various Lasley spellings such as Laslie, Lassley, etc.) but none seem to be anywhere near the correct age. No James P. is shown with a Thomas. Also, family oral history says that James P. Lasley's siblings were Amos, George, and John S. Lasley. I have not found any of these people on census indexes so far that seem correct. I did find an Amos Lasley from Indiana who enlisted in an Indiana regiment in 1862 and then deserted. I have his service records, but they do not offer any family information. In August, 2002, another Lasley researcher, Curtis Lashley, called my attention to a will posted on the Stoddard Co., MO web site that had been written in 1859 by a Thomas Lassley. In this will, Thomas mentions sons Preston, John, George and Amos all of which match our family oral history. The will also mentions one other son Calvin and a daughter Julia. In September 2002 my cousin Jack Elliott and I drove to Stoddard Co., MO under the illusion that we would be able to "crack this case" open. Unfortunately, it was not to be. We found the will (which you can read by going to the Stoddard Co. site or the Rootsweb site I have above and looking at Thomas Lassley's card) and an inventory of his property when he died in November 1859, but no other information. He had no real estate and he is not listed on any Stoddard County, MO tax roles. His wife in the will is named Sarah, and although there is a mention of her as a defendant in a May 1860 civil court case, there is no helpful information in the files. The court record books merely state the case was dismissed and have no details. This particular Thomas Lassley (by any Lasley spelling) cannot be found on any 1850 census so far. I have checked Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee without success. He just does not seem to exist prior to the day he wrote his will in September, 1859. Also, his wife Sarah Lassley is not on the 1860 census in Stoddard Co., or elsewhere that I can find. At this point in time (September 2002) we think that the Thomas Lassley who wrote the will in Stoddard Co., MO in September 1859 is more than likely our ancestor, but we are still trying to nail down more information about him. Where was he in 1850? Was he a recent immigrant to the U.S.? What was Sarah's maiden name and where did he marry her? Where did Sarah go after the May 1860 court case was dismissed?

Question 2. Where was James Preston Lasley born and where was he prior to showing up in Posey Co., IN in May 1855 to marry Sarah Jane Austin? James Preston Lasley (JPL) was born ca 1834 according to family oral history, possibly in France (but other evidence we have found indicates he was born in KY or IN). JPL was illiterate so when he gave his name in any official proceeding the writer simply wrote it down as it sounded. To date I have found his last name spelled 7 different ways in court records, military records, census records, etc. He has been Lasley, Lassley, Lassly, Laslie, Lastly, Leslie, and Lesley. He usually went by his middle name of Preston and he is found as Preston Lassly on the 1860 Indiana census, and his widow refers to him as Preston Laslie in some 1880s paperwork. On the 1860 Indiana census it is indicated he was born in Indiana, but when he enlisted in the military in 1864 he said he was born in Kentucky. So, between the family oral history, and these other two documents, we have three possible birth locations so far. His year of birth is also uncertain; oral history says 1834 and the 1860 census says he is 26 years old which tends to support the 1834 birth, yet on the military enlistment papers he says he was 24 in November 1864 which would indicate a birth year of ca 1840. Since he was married in 1855, I tend to think the 1834 birth year more likely. I have not yet been able to find this man as a youth on any 1850 census. There are two James Lasleys who are both 16 years old in Nelson Co., KY on the 1850 census, but neither is with a Thomas as a father, so I cannot go much farther with those records at present. Again, go to the links above for biographies on JPL and his son JDL for lots more information if you are interested.

Other tidbits: JPL's wife, Sarah Jane Austin's mother was born in Delaware and her father in New York according to several census records. I was able to find quite a few Austins in Posey Co. IN and Gallatin Co., IL, many of whom were from Delaware. I do not know who her father is. I found a 12 year old Sarah Austin on the 1850 Posey Co. census that might be her, but according to what Sarah gives on several censuses later, she was born in 1841 or 1842 or 1844. It is certainly possible that she was born in 1838 and lied about her age later, however. In 1850 a 12 year old Sarah Austin is living with the Castelberry family, I presume this is he older sister Mary and her husband John Castelberry. A few doors away is Richard Austin and his wife Sarah...I think these are probably Sarah's parents.

A few other thoughts. I have been in touch with perhaps 6 or 8 other Lasley researchers. All of these kind people have tried to help me make a connection between "our" Lasley line and some of the better researched Lasley lines...all to no avail. JPL just seems to show up out of the blue as does the particular Thomas Lassley that is our best lead at present. For the past two years I have felt that we would eventually make a connection to these better known Lasleys out of Kentucky, North Carolina, or Virginia, but at present I am no longer so optimistic. I think it possible that the last name may have been something totally different prior to ca 1850, and even if it was Lassley or something similar, all of these people were illiterate so it might have been recorded any number of ways. Also, if there is truth to the oral history that these people arrived from France (or elsewhere?) ca 1830s or 1840s, it would explain why there just does not seem to be any connection to other Lasley lines. I am very interested in corresponding with any other genealogists or other persons interested in the Lasley name. I am very eager to solve my particular puzzle if it can be solved and I welcome any ideas or suggestions from others.

I will keep working on the above, but thought I would provide the condensed version of what I have so far. All in all, our family oral history prepared largely in 1939 is quite accurate. I have to believe Thomas A. Lasley is probably valid...I just have to find the pieces that match together to solve the puzzle. I would be happy to discuss "my" Lasley family in greater detail with anyone who might be interested.

Greg Lasley
March, 2007

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