The Highland Township Historical Society
Highland, Oakland County, Michigan



Portrait and Biographical Album of Oakland County, Michigan, Chapman Bros. (1891), pp. 497-498

JONATHAN C. LEONARD, a prosperous farmer living on section 15, Highland Township, is the owner of a landed estate of nearly five hundred acres.  Of this property three hundred and nineteen acres is located in this county, and one hundred and seventy in Benzie County.  More than three-fourths of this estate is the result of his own good management and perserving industry, and even the tract that was left him by his father has been developed by himself, as it was covered with timber when it came into his possession.  On the home place may be found various arrangements for the comfort and convenience of the family and those who carry on the work of the farm, and a glance over the broad estate affords pleasure to all who enjoy the beauties of nature when the fields are yellow with grain and the orchards bending with ripe fruit.  Jonathan Leonard, paternal grandfather of our subject, was born in Rhode Island during the eighteenth century and made an early settlement in New York.  There he was married in 1807 to Persis Hencher and reared a family of eight children.  He took part in the War of 1812, with the rank of Captain.   He and his wife belonged to the Free-Will Baptist Church.  He died in Parma, January 4, 1868, at the venerable age of ninety-one years. His wife breathed her last July 24, 1863.

Harvey Leonard, son of the above-mentioned, was born in Parma, N. Y., and at the age of twenty-one years began working in a sawmill and carried on the business for quite a long period.  He was married in his native county to Hannah, daughter of Ethan A. and Lavina (Lockwood) Clark, who were natives of the Empire State.  In 1835 they came West and settled in Highland Township, this county, buying a large tract of land.  In 1840 Mr. Leonard, leaving his family behind, went to Allegan County to work in a sawmill and there he was accidentally killed about two years later.  His wife died February 20, 1848.  They left four children, named respectively, William E., Persis L., Jonathan C., and Harvey.

The subject of this biographical notice was born in the township of which he is now an honored resident. July 17, 1837, and was ten years of age when left an orphan.  For two years his home was with his uncle William H. Leonard, and following this was an equal period with his uncle Jason Leonard.  He then worked on a farm for Samuel Arthur at $6 per month, and followed this by operating land on shares for his uncle one year, the tract being in Clinton County.  Young Leonard next entered the service of his older brother, William E., who was engaged in the fishing trade on Lake Huron, and after two years thus employed he returned to the township in which he was born and began to develop the one hundred acres of land bequeathed to him.  For four years he worked for his board and devoted his days to hard labor in clearing and improving the property.

On New Year's day, 1860, Mr. Leonard was united in marriage with Amelia E., daughter of Edwin and Asenath (Newton) Haff.  The bride's father came to this State many years ago, spent two years in this county and then went to Macomb, which has since been his home.  He and his wife belong to the Baptist Church.  Their family, in which Mrs. Leonard is the second child, includes also Susan A., Emily E., Phebe A., Lorenzo D., Albert A., Edwin R. and Victoria L.  Mrs. Leonard is a most estimable woman, devoted to the interests of her family, kind and agreeable as a neighbor, and understanding well how to make her home attractive. The children born to her are six in num- [Begin Page 498] ber, named respectively Edwin A., Flora L., Mark J., Nelson L., Cora J., and Myra A.  Two of the band have been carried to the tomb, Flora having died October 30, 1862, and Myra, January 4, 1879, at the age of eight years.  Cora is now Mrs. C. W. Gordon and is the mother of one child Carlton L., and living at Highland Station; Edwin is likewise married; he took to wife Miss Maggie Arthur and has two daughters Iva D. and Sadie P., and occupies a home of his own, while the other two sons remain with their parents.

The first Presidential ballot cast by Mr. Leonard was in favor of Abraham Lincoln and he has never swerved in his allegiance to the Republican party.  He belongs to the Knights of the Maccabees, being enrolled in Highland Station Lodge, No. 283.  He has been Township Treasurer for two terms.  He is a reliable, intelligent citizen, possesses good social qualities, and is well respected by his acquaintances.  Mrs. Leonard and her son Nelson belong to the Congregational Church at Highland Station, while Edwin and his wife are connected with the Highland Baptist Church. 


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