Biography of Charles H. LeJeal
Erie County, PA Biographies

Charles H. LeJeal, proprietor of the LeJeal Automotive Service, 1721 Sassafras Street, is one of Erie's representative business men and prominent citizens. He was born in this city, Aug. 27, 1873, and is the son of John and Mary (Weis) LeJeal.

John LeJeal was born in Buffalo, N. Y., in October, 1847. He was among the earliest settlers of Erie and for many years was successfully engaged in business here, as a dealer in musical instruments. He retired in 1904, but is still active in the tuning of pianos and organs. His wife was a native of Pennsylvania, born July 22, 1852, and died Dec. 17, 1907. Her remains are buried in Lakeside cemetery, Erie. To Mr. and Mrs. LeJeal were born four children: . Charles H., the subject of this sketch; Beatrice, lives with her father in Erie; Archie, conducts. the musical business originally established by his father, and is now located at 1023 State Street, Erie; and Irene, married Frank Sturtevant, manager of the Kahkwa Club, Erie.

Charles H. LeJeal was educated in the public schools and was associated in business with his father until he was 19 years of age, when he engaged in the bicycle business at 1617 Peach Street. Two years later he removed to 1507 Sassafras Street and finally to his present location. Mr. LeJeal was the first man in Erie who had an air compressor installed for the purpose of inflating auomobile and bicycle tires. In 1899 he became interested in automobile repair work and the following year built a steam automobile in which he made the trip to the Pan American Exposition held in Buffalo in 1901. When he arrived in Buffalo he could not find a garage in which to put his car, so he was obliged to rent storage space in a livery stable. He was the first man in Erie to make an application for a building permit to erect a garage, and when he made application for it they did not know how to make such an application out. Mr. Lejeal, at the age of 13 years, built an electric motor as an experiment, and later built electric motors for various uses, some of which are still in use. Mr. LeJeal's business continued under the name of the LeJeal Cycle & Mobile Works until 1922, when it became known as the LeJeal Automotive Service.

Mr. LeJeal also was a builder of marine engines several of which are used on Lake Erie and are giving continual service. While associated with his father in business Mr. LeJeal built a church organ, which was sold to St. Patrick's Catholic Church, Erie, for $1,000, and he later built another intended for his own use, but later disposed of it to Sacred Heart Catholic Church for $500.

The LeJeal Automotive Service consists of the distribution of all kinds of automobile accessories and is the only speedometer service station in the city. They are local dealers for Bosch electrical products.

In 1894 Mr. LeJeal was married to Miss May C. Canby, of Erie, the daughter of Joseph and Matilda (Smiley) Canby, both deceased. To Mr. and Mrs. LeJeal two children have been born: Charles Archibald, died suddenly while riding in a motorcycle race at Corry, Pa., July 5, 1919, at the age of 19 years; and Esther Mat, a student at Central High School.

Politically, Mr. LeJeal is a Republican. He is a member of the Masonic order, the Zem Zem Shrine, Elk lodge and the Knights of Pythias. Mr. LeJeal is well known in Erie and is a citizen who holds the high regard of the entire community.

History of Erie County, Pennsylvania
By: John Elmer Reed
Historical Publishing Company

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