Biography of William B. Leonard
Owego, Tioga County, NY Biographies





WILLIAM BOARDMAN LEONARD, oldest son of Stephen Banks and Esther Henrietta Leonard, was born at Owego on June 17, 1821, in the house now standing immediately in rear of Mr. C. Campbell's house. He was prepared for college at the Owego academy, but at 17 years of age went to Trumansburg, and became a member of his uncle Hermon Camp's household, and a clerk in his establishment. Here he remained till he was27 years old, when he became a salesman in New York. He soon went to Albany and entered the state auditor's office. Completing his term of work, he again returned to New York and with his brother-in-law, Benjaniin Pomeroy, established the mercantile house of Pomeroy & Leonard, and later became successively a partner in the large drygoods jobbing houses of Hurlburt & Sweetser, Hurlburt, VanValkenburg & Co., and P. VanValkenburg & Co. Some years after he founded the commission house of Leonard, Rhodes & Grosvenor, and then the house of Leonard & Farrington. After the close of the civil war in 1865, Mr. Leonard retired from mercantile pursuits, and founded the banking house of Leonard, Sheldon & Foster. It became a powerful financial office, changing its title to Leonard, Sheldon & Co., and, later, when Mr. Leonard gave up active pursuits, to Decker, Howell & Co. While in business Mr. Leonard was a director in important institutions. He was one of the founders of the American Surety Co., a director in the bank of North America, the founder and president of the Kings County bank in Brooklyn, vice president of the society for protecting chilthen, and was president of the Homeopathic hospital of Brooklyn and one of its founders. He identified himself with the best interests of his city and community. Twice he was proffered the mayoralty of Brooklyn, and twice was offered nomination to congress, but refused to enter public life. He was a devout and devoted churchman, and for forty years held office as vestryman and warden of Holy Trinity church, Brooklyn. He was a member of the governing board of the "Church Charity Foundation" in Brooklyn for many years. One of the deserving honors bestowed upon him was his selection as a trustee of the famous "Brooklyn Bridge." His name is carved high on its towers as a memorial. During all these years his heart was in Owego, where his beloved parents and kinsfolk dwelt. Each year he returned to his native village and found its surroundings and its valley scenery the most satisfying and beautiful rest he could find. Here he made his summer home, and here he closed his eyes on July 1, 1893. The service of burial was held in St. Paul's church, Owego, and his body was thence taken to Greenwood cemetery on the edge of Brooklyn. William Boardman Leonard was named for his mother's favorite cousin, Judge William W. Boardman of New Haven. Handsome in his personal features, gracious and courteous, like his venerable father, his manners were easy and his bearing kindly. He had a generous heart, a loving nature, a christian walk and conversation. He bore no malice, and was beloved by all. His children are Right Rev. William Andrew Leonard, D. D., Episcopal bishop of Ohio, of Cleveland, Ohio., Lewis Leonard, of Brooklyn, and Louisa Bulkley Van Nostrand, also of Brooklyn.

[Also see the Leonard Family]

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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