Biography of John M. Leeper
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John M. Leeper. One of the very successful contractors at Topeka is John M. Leeper, who when a young man learned the trade of brick mason, and on that trade as a foundation has built up a large business in brick contracting and the services of his organization has entered into the construction of several of the most conspicuous public buildings in the state. He is a native of Kansas and was born in Lyon County, September 6, 1872, when that section of the state was still well out on the frontier. His parents were Samuel S. and Elizabeth C. (Morey) Leeper. His father was born in Ohio, came to Kansas in 1870, settling in Lyon County, homesteaded a quarter section of land, and lived there as a farmer until his death, which resulted from his being thrown from a horse. His widow, who is now living at Topeka, was born in Iowa, the daughter of Benjamin M. Morey.
John M. Leeper received his early education in the district schools of Lyon County. While there he learned the trade of brick layer, followed it as a journeyman for a time, and then began taking contracts as an independent builder. For a number of years his home and business interests has been in Topeka. To mention only a few of the important contracts he has handled, he put in the brick work for the Memorial Building, for the state printing plant, for the Warren M. Crosby Dry Goods Building, for the Young Men’s Christian Association Building, the Palace Clothing Company Building, and the Mrs. Warren M. Crosby Office Building, all of which are conspicuous structures in the business district of Topeka. He also had the contract for the Manual Training School at Pittsburg, Kansas, and the State Science Building at Emporia, besides a number of structures he has erected for the Wells Fargo Company Express and the Santa Fe Railway Company. Another important branch of his business activities is handling automobiles, automobile repair and supplies. This plant is located at 1113-19 West Sixth Street and is known as the Palace Auto Company. He has a thoroughly equipped establishment, and handles the Paige, Hupmobile and Chevrolet cars. His own attractive residence is at 601 Clay Street.
On October 1, 1894, at Topeka, Mr. Leeper married Miss Jestine Brown, who was born in Shawnee County, Kansas. They are the parents of five children: Mildred J., who was born at Topeka, August 22, 1895, and is the wife of Lowell Hoatson, a bookkeeper at Topeka; Dorothy B., born at Topeka June 4, 1897; Helen E., born December 4, 1901; Mary R., born at Topeka June 21, 1903; and John Milton, Jr., the youngest of the family, born January 7, 1913. Mr. Leeper is a thirty-second degree Scottish Rite and Knight Templar York Rite Mason, is also affiliated with the Mystic Shrine, and is a member of the Topeka Commercial Club.