DR. JOHN W. S. LESLIE. This worthy gentleman, in ministering to the physical wants of his fellow mortals, has not neglected to minister to their spiritual wants also, and in addition is also a successful tiller of the soil. He was born at Wiley’s Cove, Arkansas, November 4, 1841.
His father being Capt. Samuel Leslie, a sketch of whom appears in this work. In his youthful days the Doctor was an attendant of the old time log school houses, where he obtained a fair common-school education, and at the age of eighteen years he began the study of law only to abandon it at the end of one year to become a disciple of Aasculapius. In July, 1862, he joined his father’s company as a private, with which he served until after the fall of Little Rock, when he was made major of a battalion in McRea’s brigade, in which capacity he served until the war closed, operating principally north of the Arkansas River and participating in many skirmishes. He was in the Prairie Grove fight while with his father’s command, and in 1864 was captured by the enemy, but was soon released. He surrendered with Gen. Kirby Smith at the close of the war, returned home and once more took upon himself the duties of civil life. He soon began the practice of medicine in the neighborhood in which he now lives and here has since been constantly and successfully engaged in this most honorable of human callings.
1862 he was married to Miss Bettie C., daughter of Gibson and Anice Parks, who were born, reared and married in Tennessee, and who became residents of Searcy County, Arkansas, in 1840. They became well-to-do farmers of Bear Creek bottom, and on this farm the father died soon after the war from the effects of a wound received in the Yachum Creek fight, while serving in the Confederate Army. He held the office of justice of the peace for some years and was a well-known citizen. Mrs. Parks died January 7, 1885, she and her husband having been worthy members of the Anti-Missionary Baptist Church. Their daughter, Mrs. Leslie, was born in Tennessee and died November 7, 1874, the mother of six children: Malinda Jane; Sarah Ruth, wife of Perry Horton; Archibald Gibson; Dica Nancy, wife of George Russell; Mary Alabama; and Samuel Evans. On the 9th of March, 1876, the Doctor married Martha H., daughter of Berry and Mary Manuel, Tennesseans who came to Searcy County, Arkansas, before the war, the father’s death occurring here during that struggle.
The present Mrs. Leslie is a native of Searcy County, and has borne the Doctor four children: Margaret Grace, Fannie, Orchard and Martha Ochie. Dr. Leslie has resided on his farm four miles from Marshall since 1868, his estate comprising 238 acres. He is a member of the Arkansas Medical Association, is well read in his profession and has a fine library. He is a Democrat in politics, and in 1865 was appointed sheriff of Searcy County by Gov. Murphy, but at the end of three months resigned. In 1884 he was elected to the State Legislature by a majority of thirty-six votes and served on the committee on the practice of medicine and bill of enrollments. He and his wife are members of the Regular Baptist Church, and he has been a minister of that denomination since 1869, when he was regularly ordained by the Red River Church Association. He has been preaching regularly ever since, and has been pastor of Canaan Church in his neighborhood every year since that time, save one year when he rusticated for a time.