Biography of the Leonard family
Owego, Tioga County, NY Biographies





LEONARD, the name is Saxon, and was spelled in the sixth century as now. The Leonard family have been identified with Owego since pioneer days. In 1651, James and Henry Leonard came with the Second Winthrop to Massachusetts. Here, at Lynn, Braintree, and Taunton, they entered into iron industries. They were an "iron" family by training, coming from Pontypool, in Wales (Monmouthshire). The Leonards are of the family of Lennard; Lord Dacre. They bear the same arms and motto, viz: "Three fleur de lys, on a red band, upon a golden shield." The crest is a wolf dog's head, and the motto, "Pour bien desirer." The present baron in England is Sir Thomas Barrett-Lennard, of "Belhus," Avely, Essex. Mr. Henry Barrett-Lennard, of Well Walk, Hempstead, London, is of the same family. The Owego Leonards are descended from the Taunton progenitors thus: Thomas, of Pontypool, England; James, born 1610, James, born 1643, Stephen, born 1680, died 1743, of Taunton, Mass.; Joshua, born 1724, of New Jersey, died 1760; Silas, born 1756, Whippany, N. J.; Stephen Banks, born 1793; William Boardman, 1st., born 1821; Lewis Hermon, born 1850; William Boardrnau, 2d., born 1874. The elder Leonard, Silas, born at Whippany, N. J., 1756, came to Owego in 1813 from New York city, and here on April 15, 1793, was born Stephen Banks Leonard. Silas Leonard, a manufacturer of leather goods, was of dignified presence and esteemed for his piety. He was blind during the last years of his life. His son, while quite a youth, went to Albany and in the Argus learned type setting. His fellow compositor was Thurlow Weed, and they became fast friends for life. He later engaged in printing and newspaper publication in Owego, which he continued for twenty two years. He purchased land on the river and built a residence on the site now occupied by Mr. C. CampbelL From March 11, 1816, to May 15, 1820, he was postmaster, also from November 20, 1844, to April 18, 1849. He purchased the stage and post routes to Binghamton, Norwich, Penn Yan, Bath, and other points. He was an active and interested free mason and held high positions in the craft. On February 22, 1818, he married Esther Henrietta Sperry, a half sister of William, Nathan, Anson, and Hermon Camp. Their children were; William Boardman, Hermon Camp, Henrietta, George Sperry, Emily Caroline, Washington Irving, and Laura Ann. Mr. Leonard was a public spirited citizen. He aided in obtaining the incorporation of the academy. He went to Albany and secured grants of books and founded the Owego public library, and in other ways toiled for the development of Owego. In 1835 he was elected a member of congress and served until 1841. A fluent and graceful speaker, preparing his addresses with much care, his influence became potent in his large congressional district, which reached from Pennsylvania to the lake. He was honored with handsome appointments, and retired from congress with credit. On his return to Owego he engaged in farming, and here, at the "Locusts," east of the vifiage, he lived for some years. Returning to the village he purchased the residence on Main street where his daughters now dwell. His venerable figure was well known by all in the streets. He was a model gentleman, and his urbanity was a frequent subject of remark. Mr. and Mrs. Leonard were consistent members of the Presbyterian church. Stephen Banks Leonard and Esther Henrietta, his wife, died in Owego, and they are buried in the cemetery adjoining the Presbyterian church.

From:
OUR COUNTY AND ITS PEOPLE
A MEMORIAL HISOTRY OF TIOGA COUNTY
NEW YORK
EDITED BY: LEROY W. KINGMAN
W. A. FERGUSSON & CO. ELMIRA, N. Y., 189?


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