Biography of Joseph L. Leonard
Winona County, MN Biographies

JOSEPH L. LEONARD, farmer, Jacob Leonard, the father of this subject, was born in Canada, and marrying Mary Brown, of Massachusetts, settled on a farm in Charlotte, Chittenden county, Vermont, where Joseph, his son, was born, August 29, 1820. The father of Jacob Leonard was a ship carpenter on board a French man of war. He deserted the vessel during its service against the English colonies, in what American history terms the "French and Indian war," and settled in Canada. Jacob Leonard served the colonies through the war of 1812, after which he settled as above noted. He was also a carpenter, and taught the trade to his son, the subject of this sketch, who followed that occupation in Clinton county, New York. The latter also bought a farm just over the Canadian border from his New York home, which he tilled six years. He had been reared on a farm, attending the common schools and Champlain Academy. He was married September 12, 1842, to Sophia Chidester, who was born in Maitland, Ontario, October 15, 1826. Her father, George Chidester, was born in New York, and her mother, Jane Byres, was a native of Ireland. In 1862 Mr. Leonard sold his eastern property and came to Minnesota, buying eighty acres of land in the town of Fremont, this county, where he lived one year. This he sold and returned to Canada, thinking to engage in farming there; but the east did not appear to him as before, and he again came to Minnesota, which has since afforded him a satisfactory home. In 1863 he bought a residence in Winona, where he dwelt a short time and was engaged in overseeing construction on the Winona & St. Peter railroad. During the fail of 1863 he bought and kept the hotel at Stockton, but sold it after a short residence there. During the following summer he kept hotel at Utica. In the fall of 1864 Mr. Leonard became a resident of St Charles city, having purchased three lots on Winona street, where he still dwells, and 120 acres of land on Sec. 20. He has since purchased seven more city lots and forty five acres of land, and is extensively engaged in farming operations. His home is an ornament to the city and a credit to himself. Mrs. Leonard is a member of the Advent church, and her husband sympathizes with her in religious faith. He has been assessor of the city two terms and street commissioner for the same period. His political affiliations are with the democratic party. He is a member of St. Charles Lodge of the Royal Arcanum. Mr. and Mrs. Leonard have five living children, all of whom are married, as the following shows: Mary J., July 8, 1845, George Williams, reside St. Paul; Emma, May 9, 1851, Henry Gage, St. Paul; Eva, August 19, 1854, Erford Gates. live on Sec. 26, this township; Joseph P., January 12, 1857, Sarah Williams, dwell at Watertown, Dakota; Josephine, February 13, 1862, Henry W. Brown, reside with Mr. Leonard.

The History of Winona County
Together with Biographical Matter, Statistics, Etc.
BY: A. T. Andreas
H. H. Hill and Company, Publishers
Chicago 1883.


Winona County, MN
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