John Henry Lease (1832-1919)

John H. Lease, 1858

John H. Lease was born in Newport, Pennsylvania to John and Christina Lease on July 5, 1832. He prepared for college at the Pennington School in New Jersey, then entered Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, just thirty miles from his home. Lease graduated with his class in the early summer of 1858 and took up studies in the Methodist faith.

Lease also taught, in addition to studying religion. In 1862, he was professor and principal of a small college called Union Seminary in New Berlin, Pennsylvania. Founded in 1856, the school later became Central Pennsylvania College and merged with Albright College in 1902. Lease moved on in 1864 to become a professor at the new Pennsylvania Agricultural College in Centre County, later Pennsylvania State University. He worked there briefly before teaching for five years at North Western College in Illinois between 1865 and 1870. Lease then turned his attentions to preaching. In 1872 he joined the St. Louis Conference of the Methodist Church and moved on to the Cincinnati Conference in 1875. Lease served for some years as the pastor of a church in Wilmington, Ohio and another in Bethany. He remained in the state for the remainder of his days. In 1884, Lease received an honorary doctor of divinity degree from Bucknell University.

Lease married Catherine A. Bair of Madisonburg, Pennsylvania in June 1862, and the couple had four children. In January 1919, John Henry Lease died of pneumonia in Ohio. He was eighty-six years old.

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Dickinson College Archives
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