Lucy Ann Leyburn LeBus

I begin this narrative on a personal note. I was named for my paternal grandmother, Lucy Ann Woodward Nance. Much to my surprise, it was not until about 1988 that I found I had another ancestor by the name of Lucy Ann. I was perusing some of my mother’s mementos, scrapbooks, and photo albums and came across a list of her family including the names of her grandparents. There was the name of my great grandmother, Lucy Ann Leyburn LeBus. I could not believe my mother had never told me, but perhaps she did not know much about her to share.

With that being said, I make this disclaimer: Most of the information I have about Lucy Ann “Annie” Leyburn has been gleaned from the United States Federal Census records. Therefore, it was necessary for me to make some assumptions since census information does not always give us all that we want to know about a person. Another Leyburn ancestor sent me a copy of a memoir written by Lucy Ann”s sister Jennie which gave me a bit of information about their parents.

The first place I found Lucy Ann Leyburn was on the 1860 census, living with her parents and two siblings in Vigo Township, Knox County, Indiana. The census enumerator spells the name “Leyborn”. Lucy Ann was the first child of John L. and Nancy Jane Ruby Leyburn. Her age is recorded as 5 years old and birthplace was Indiana. Her two siblings were Franken I. (3) and Mary E. (1) and both were also born in Indiana. John Leyborn (29) was a carpenter and was born in Pennsylvania. Nancy Leyborn (26) was born in Indiana.

Not long after Lucy Ann’s birth the United States became engaged in the Civil War. Indiana was a part of the Union despite the fact that a large part of the population was sympathetic to the Confederate cause. I found no military record for John Leyburn but it is likely he was called upon to lend his support in some way. As all families, the Leyburns must have felt the upheaval, danger, and distress of a country at war. It is likely they had friends and family who served in the military and died in the war.

Even though I have not found the John Leyburn family on the 1870 United States Federal Census, I have this information from the memoir by Jennie Leyburn Harris (Lucy’s youngest sister).

When I was about 2 years old, my mother’s health began to fail. After the doctors had done all they could for her, they advised my father to take her south to a warmer climate. So sunny Tennessee (as it was called in the north) was thought the best place for her. My grandfather Irving, still living near Edwardsport, on hearing the doctor’s decision, would not permit my father to move until he (my grandfather) came and looked the country over. He liked Tennessee so much he came back and sold his place, and we all came together in ’73. On the eve of our departure, my older sister Anne, ran away and married so she might stay in the north – a great sorrow to my mother and father. The change, however, was not to her what my father had hoped for, and in a few months, she passed away leaving him in a strange land with his little children. He could not rise above the sorrow and loss of one he loved so dearly. She had meant so much to him, smoothing out the rough places in life.

The first years of their marriage had been very prosperous and happy, but when the years of adversity came, she met them with her same sweet and gentle manner. (Harris, pp. 2-3)

Another Leyburn family researcher, Susan Keeling, shared information that John and Nancy Leyburn had eight children, the last born in 1872. Her information shows three children were born in Edwardsport, Knox, Indiana; four born in Vincennes, Knox, Indiana, and one in Flora, Clay, Illinois. To date (2013) six names have been found – Lucy Ann, Fanny, Franklin, Mary, Willie and Jennie.


I feel safe in saying that Annie met her future husband, John Blackburn LeBus, sometime before 1872 in Flora, Clay County, Illinois. They married October 6, 1872 in Flora, Illinois. By 1874 they had started their family with the birth of a daughter, Maggie. During the next six years their family grew even more with the births of George Franklin, December 14, 1876; Archie, 1877; and Laura, 1878.

Marriage record for John B. LeBus and Lucy Ann Leyburn.

By 1880 John, Annie, and their family were living in Loudon, Tennessee. Perhaps they moved there to be near her siblings. From information on the 1880 United States Federal Census, John (listed as J.A. Lebus) is continuing his trade as a blacksmith. Along with Annie (24) the children are listed as Marie (should be Maggie), Archie, George and Leif (should be Link).This fourth child, Lincoln, was given the nickname “Link.” For some reason, their daughter Laura is not shown on the census record.

I was able to find that three of Lucy’s siblings were also living in Loudon, Tennessee at the time of the 1880 United States Federal Census. They were residing with their paternal step grandfather and grandmother listed as J.R. Irving and N.A. Irving. J.R (probably J.B.) was 72 years old, born in Scotland and was a wool manufacturer. N.A. was 72 years old and was born in Pennsylvania.

Note: After the death of John L. Leyburn’s father, his mother remarried J.B. or Benjamin Irving.

The 1890 United States Federal Census is no longer in existence. Only a few fragments survived a fire at the Commerce Department in Washington, D.C. on January 10, 1921. Neither Indiana nor Illinois have records serving as a census substitute. Therefore, there is a large span of time where I have no recorded information for John and Annie LeBus.

There is no record of when the LeBus family returned to Illinois or where they resided, but from information on the 1900 United States Federal Census, we know that three more of their children were born in Illinois. John Ervin was born December 24, 1881; Ruby was born 1886; and Goldie was born 1888.


By 1900 the LeBus family is living in Perry, Noble County, Oklahoma. The family name is shown on the 1900 United States Federal Census as Labus. Listed are John B. Labus (50), Anna Labus (45), Ruby Labus (13), Golle (misspelling of Goldie, (11), Beatrice Labus (7), Irene Labus (4), and John Labus (19). Both Beatrice and Irene were born in Oklahoma.

There is an interesting bit of information found on the 1900 census. Two of the questions asked are: “Mother of how many children?” and “Number of those children living?” Annie’s answers give us information that she and John had thirteen children but only eleven living children. We have no record of the names of the other two children or the dates of birth and death.

Lucy Ann “Annie” Leyburn LeBus died July 16, 1905 in Perry, Oklahoma, and was buried beside her husband, John, in Grace Hill Cemetery (Perry, Oklahoma).

Grace Hill Cemetery
Grave marker for Lucy Ann LeBus.

Getting a glimpse into the life of my ancestor, Lucy Ann Leyburn LeBus, has been quite a challenge. It seems quite likely that her family experienced a harsh existence. When Annie was a young teen her mother was quite ill, so it is likely she had to assume added household and childcare responsibilities. Annie married when she was 17 years old. By our standards this seems quite young, even though it was more common at that time. Her sister, Jennie, says in her memoir that this marriage greatly upset their parents. Annie gave birth to 13 children within twenty-six years, losing two of those children to death. During those years John and Annie moved several times and we know how difficult travel was at that time – long and arduous.

Note: When naming a first born son, it was often the custom to use the paternal grandmother’s maiden surname. George and Ethel “Pa and Ma” LeBus named their first son, Frank Leyburn.

When I consider what life would have been like for women like Annie, I am astounded at their strength and bravery. Most women were as courageous and hard-working as the men. Their daily tasks were basic but necessary – rearing children, cooking meals, fetching water, sewing clothes, growing gardens, and washing laundry. Even though I know so little about Annie’s life, much less her personality or temperament, I would like to think that she was like the wife described in Proverbs.

A capable wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life. Proverbs 31: 10-12

Sources 1860 United States Federal Census [database online]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2009. 1880 United States Federal Census [database online]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010. 1900 United States Federal Census [database online]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2004.

Clay County, marriage certificate, Clay County Clerk’s Office, Louisville, Illinois.

Harris, Jennie Leyburn, “History of my family and events in my own life.”

Keeling, Susan, “Notes on the Leyburn Family.”

Web: Oklahoma, Find A Grave Index, 1800-2012.

Wikipedia, the free enclyclopedia, “Indiana in the American Civil War,”

Written by Lucy Ann Nance Croft 2010, Updated November 2013.