Few men in Hancock county are as widely and favorably known as Lewis N. Larrabee, the present popular sheriff, who since 1871 has been an honored resident of the Hoosier state. From the sunny land of France came his paternal ancestors, the progenitor of the American branch of the family being one John Larrabee, who came to America in the time of the colonies and bore a distinguished part in the war for independence, serving two years as a teamster and five years in the ranks. John Larrabee was about fifteen years of age when he landed on American soil and shortly after the Revolution migrated to Licking county, Ohio, where he purchased a large tract of government land. He was one of the early pioneers of the above county and bore an active part in the development of the country and in bringing its advantages to the favorable notice of home-seekers. He lived to the advanced age of ninety years and reared a large family, of whom the following grew to maturity: Elizabeth, Bettie, Daniel, Sylvester, Lucy, William and John.
Sylvester Larrabee, father of our subject, was born in Licking county, Ohio, in the year 1817, and when a young man married Eliza Ellis, also a native of the county of Licking. He was a farmer by occupation and continued to live in his native county and state until 1871, when he changed his residence to Indiana, but soon purchased a farm in the county of Clark, Illinois. Mrs. Larrabee died in Ohio in 1858. She was the mother of eleven children, the following of whom grew to manhood and womanhood and became well settled in life, namely: Thomas W., a farmer of Hancock county; William H., a soldier in the late Civil war, died in Kentucky shortly after the close of the struggle; Joan, wife of Joel Palmer, of Licking county, Ohio, now living on the old Larrabee homestead; John, died some time during the great Rebellion; Jacob lives in Vermillion county, Illinois; Eliza, deceased, was the wife of Jerome Trivoli, of Clark county, Illinois; Sylvester resides in Warren county, Indiana; Lewis N., subject of this sketch, and Eleven, a farmer, living in the state of Illinois. Two of the family, Mary Jane and George, died in childhood.
Lewis N. Larrabee, whose name forms the caption of this article, was born November 3, 1855, in Licking county, Ohio, and in 1871 accompanied his father to Warren county, Indiana. His childhood and youth were marked by the experience common to the majority of boys reared in the country and he early became acquainted with the rugged duties of the farm. The common schools, which he attended at intervals during his minority, afforded him the means of a good practical education, and up to his twenty-third year he followed agricultural pursuits, principally as his fathers assistant on the home farms in Ohio and this state. At the age of twenty-four Mr. Larrabee became fireman on the Wabash railroad and after serving in that capacity for one year, located in 1890 in Hancock county, where he has since made his home. Active, full of life and the soul of good fellowship, he soon made many warm friendships and in due time was a recognized factor in the political affairs of Hancock county and a leader in the Democratic party. As an evidence of his popularity with the people may be cited the fact of his having been nominated for the office of sheriff in 1900, only ten years after becoming a citizen of the county, and at the ensuing election he went into the office by a good round majority. He entered upon the discharge of his duties with a determination to succeed, and thus far his official career has fully justified the party for the confidence reposed in him. Careful and methodical in the management of the office, he has won the good will of the people irrespective of party affiliations and as a conservator of the peace his name has become a terror to law breakers and all evil doers within the limits of his jurisdiction. In the discharge of his functions Mr. Larrabee is actuated by no fears or favors, but endeavors to do his duty as he sees and understands it, regardless of what friend or foe may think or say. The manner in which he administers all affairs coming within his sphere of duty has inspired in his behalf the utmost confidence and trust of the people and it is eminently appropriate that he should be rewarded with a second term for which he has received the partys nomination.
Mr. Larrabee is essentially a man of the people, possessing strong social qualities and the happy faculty of winning and retaining warm personal regards. All who know him unite in speaking his praise, as his integrity has never been impeached, while his good name has rallied to his support the best element throughout the county of Hancock. Fraternally he is connected with the Improved Order of Red Men and religiously belongs to the Christian Union church.
Mr. Larrabee in 1880 was united in marriage to Miss Alice Leggett, a native of Clark county, Illinois, who has borne him children as follows: Viola, Sylvester, Eddie, Bennie, Walter, Roy and Cecil Marie, all living except Bennie, who died in September, 1894, aged five years.
In the foregoing lines is told the brief life story of one of Hancock countys most enterprising and popular citizens. His career has been characterized by duty faithfully done and, as already indicated, the future awaits him with much that is encouraging and full of promise.
Transcribed from Biographical Memoirs of Hancock County B. F. Bowen, Publisher, Logansport, Indiana, 1902 Pages 242-243.
Submitted by Sylvia (Rose) Duda, Laingsburg, MI June 2, 2002.
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