A short, heavy man with white hair. Bill Leeper always had a cigar in his mouth. He and his wife, Rebecca, spent the early years of their marriage farming and raising a family of three: Sherman, Emery, and Alma.
When they later moved to Osgood, Ohio, Bill ran a butcher shop. There he slaughtered and smoked all of his own meats, offering a slice of his fine bologna to anyone who came into his store. It was customary for Bill and Alma to make deliveries on Saturday mornings. After throwing an oil cloth on the bottom of the huckster wagon he would spread out all of his meats. Alma would ring the bell at each farm house and the women would come out and make their choices. The meat was then weighed on a scale hanging from a hook on the wagon. During the long rides Bill and Alma would snack on finely chopped raw steak and onions spread over crackers They both enjoyed singing, Bill’s favorite went something like this: “I’m as happy as the flowers in May. And I’ll love you in the same old way.”
Considered a good cook, one morning after frying pork chops Bill decided to make gravy. Spying the flour sack on the porch he added flour and milk to the skillet. It started foaming instantly, Bill was in shock. Becky’s one comment when she returned home was, “My lord, that was the lye I got to put around the flowers!”
If Bill had someplace important to go, the preceding night he would bathe, shave and put on a shirt and celluliod collar. After a good nights sleep he could be ready to leave in record time, only having to wash his face and comb his hair! Leaving was another production. After loading the family in the Ford Touring Car he would inevitably check all the spark plugs. This often irritated Becky…
Bill always claimed he was part Indian either because of the shape of his nose or because he believed his rib cage to be different. Pool and fishing were two great pastimes. He also enjoyed hunting mushrooms in the spring. Bill went to grade school with Annie Oakly and said he knew her and Frank Butler, her husband and fellow sharpshooter, very well. He always remembered walking with her to school.
After Becky passed away, Bill quickly gave away all their possessions and moved to Piqua, Ohio, to live with Emery and his wife Ruth. He had always been proud of Emery’s baseball playing. Emery had played on an Osgood team and also for a time at the Cincinnati Reds training camp. Bill spent his later years playing pool and listening to baseball games on the radio. He was also known to have a couple of girlfriends… He died in 1948 and is buried at Yorkshire Cemetery in Darke County, Ohio.
It seemed the Leeper family was always in the newspaper Bill made it in the Versailles Policy again on May 22,1902. The article appeared as below:
William Leeper, of this place, has on exhibition quite a freak in nature in the form of a chick; it has four wings and four legs; two wings are in the right place while the other two are a little lower down and farther back. Two of the legs are also at the proper place while the other two are a little farther back on the body. All four legs and wings are fully developed and the chick in other ways is of ordinary size and shape and is doing well.
It should be noted that Emery was a very creative entrepreneur. Once selling apples with his initials on them. (He put tape on them before they were ripe!) And famous for his mouse circus which he built and trained himself. Appearing in many department stores.
- Alma Hilgeford, daughter
- Ruth Leeper, daughter-in-law
- Mary Ellen Kannehem, granddaughter
- Leeper Family Bible