Transcribed from "An Illustrated History of The Big Bend Country, embracing
Lincoln, Douglas, Adams and Franklin counties, State of Washington",
published by Western Historical Publishing Co., 1904.
PETER LEIPHAM, one of the early
pioneers of the Big Bend country, is now living a life of ease and retirement
on a small tract of land adjoining the city of Davenport. Born in
Wyoming county, Pennsylvania, October 9, 1839, his early years, like those
following, were spent on the frontier. His father, whose name the
subject bears, was a native German, who, during early life, emigrated to
France, and enjoyed the distinction of having served as a soldier in the
ranks of the powerful army commanded by Napoleon Bonaparte. While
with his command Mr. Leipham participated in many of the bloody battles
of the great general and was repeatedly wounded by gunshot and spear, from
which injuries he was a sufferer for seventeen years after leaving the
French army. Quitting France, he returned to his native country where
he was married to Catharine Bayeringer, the subject's mother. Soon
after his marriage Mr. Leipham and his young wife emigrated to the United
States, landing at New York, from which port they pressed on into the wilderness,
settling on the place where the son, with whom this sketch deals, was born,
and where both the parents died. The father at death was seventy-six
years of age, having been born in 1784, and the mother, who passed away
two years before her husband, was sixty.
As has been intimated earlier in this sketch,
Peter Leipham was born in a primitive log cabin erected by his pathfinder
father on a bit of clearing in the wilds of the early Pennsylvania forest.
Here his boyhood days were spent in much the same manner as were those
of the ordinary pioneer's son, --helping to clear the homestead, and at
possible intervals attending school in the old log schoolhouse, to reach
which entailed a three mile journey on foot. His family was among
the first settlers in that locality. As the country became populous
he embarked in the butchering business, which he followed for five years.
November 19, 1863, he was married to Phoebe A. Jayne, whose parents, Aaron
and Mary (Luce) Jayne, also were identified with the early history of Pennsylvania.
At about the age of eighty years they are both now living on the old Jayne
homestead, neither having ever set foot outside the state nor ridden on
Both Mr. and Mrs. Leipham come from families
of eleven children, there being six girls and five boys in each family.
In 1876 Mr. Leipham brought his family to
this state, settling on Whidby island, near the town of Coupeville.
They came to the Big Bend and took a homestead eight miles southeast of
Cottonwood Springs, now Davenport, in 1881. The country at that time
was but a vast expanse of bunch grass prairie, and very sparsely settled,
there being only two houses where Davenport now stands. During his
life in the Big Bend Mr. Leipham has endured the hardships and vicissitudes
usual to the pioneer. He began by erecting a log cabin twelve by
sixteen feet in dimensions, in which he domociled his family of seven,
and a small barn made of sod. For three years he was compelled to
make hay of the native bunch grass; and all supplies were brought in from
Sprague, the nearest point, distant twenty-five miles. Flour, at
that time, cost eight dollars per barrel, bacon twenty cents per pound,
and other provisions brought proportionate prices; so to the man of limited
means, as was Mr. Leipham, the support of a family on the Big Bend prairie
was of serious moment. However, he prospered well, so that now he
and his eldest son, Oscar, own about fifteen hundred acres of choice farming
land, well improved with good buildings, orchard, et cetera. He also
owns three hundred and twenty acres of improved land near Edwall.
His present home consists of seven acres, situated as stated at the beginning
of this sketch, well improved and comfortably appointed, where the aged
couple is living the life of the retired farmer.
The family comprises five children, all of
whom, except the youngest, were born in Pennsylvania, and all living in
the immediate vicinity of Davenport. Their names are; Oscar, who was married
to Nancy Jayne; Ada, now the wife of James Glasgow; Mary, now Mrs. James
Elliott, Jennie, the wife of John Vank Siver, and Warren, married to Lena
Slate. The family also now includes fourteen grandchildren.
Mr. Leipham was president of the Lincoln county
fair, of 1903, which fact goes to show in a measure the confidence
placed in him by his fellows and the high esteem in which he is held.
He is regarded as being a genial and public spirited citizen, and is a
man especially interested in good schools and education.