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RG3857.AM:  William H. Leese, 1840-1902

Papers:  1867-1925; mostly 1881-1889

Lincoln, Lancaster County, Nebraska:  Lawyer; Attorney General of Nebraska

Size:  0.25 cu.ft.; 1 box


William H. Leese, son of Manuel and Jayne (Smith) Leese, was born in Athens, Tennessee, on April 30, 1840.  In 1846 Leese’s parents moved to Kentucky, which is where William was raised and educated.  He studied law from 1859 to 1861.  Although he was a Southerner and many of his friends joined the Confederate Army, he believed in preserving the Union.  He traveled to Cincinnati, Ohio, and on July 13, 1861 he enlisted and served with Battery M, 2nd U.S. Artillery during the Civil War.  He was discharged on July 12, 1864.

Leese moved to Nebraska in May of 1868 and took a homestead in Otoe County near Palmyra.  He married Miranda Wilson in Otoe County on May 9, 1869.  William and Miranda moved to Seward, Nebraska, in 1872.  Over the next ten years he served in several local public offices including as Fire Warden, Councilman, Probate Judge and City Treasurer.  In 1884 Leese was elected Attorney General of Nebraska on the Republican ticket, defeating Carroll S. Montgomery.  He was re-elected twice.  He lived in Seward through June of 1887.  After 1891 he practiced law in Lincoln.  In 1897 Leese accepted the position of Receiver of the Oglethorpe Bank at Birmingham, Alabama.  William H. Leese died on March 14, 1902 and is buried in Wyuka Cemetery, Lincoln, Nebraska.

Note:  A more detailed biographical sketch by Leese’s daughter, Effie (Leese) Scott, is located in the last folder.


This collection consists of correspondence, bills, calling/business cards and other miscellany relating to William H. Leese and his career before becoming Attorney General for Nebraska.  The last folder contains a biographical sketch of William H. Leese by his daughter, Effie (Leese) Scott.  The materials in the collection date from ca. 1867 to 1925.


Box 1


  1. Correspondence, bills, etc., 1867, 1881-1889

  2. Calling cards and business cards

  3. Miscellaneous, 1887, 1925


Subject headings:

Lawyers — Nebraska

Leese, William H., 1840-1902


REB/cs                 05-17-1965

Revised TMM      01-15-2019