The Highland Township Historical Society
Highland, Oakland County, Michigan



Portrait and Biographical Album of Oakland County, Michigan, Chapman Bros. (1891), pp. 784-785

OLIVER P. LEONARD, a young and enterprising farmer, is living on section 14, Highland Township, on the old homestead that was his birthplace.  The farm was taken from the Government by his grandfather, Jonathan Leonard, of whom mention is made in the biographical sketch of Jonathan C. Leonard, on another page.   There our subject was born March 20, 1860, the property being at that time in the possession of his parents - Jason and Elizabeth (Wardlow) Leonard.   This land has been in the possession of the Leonard family more than half a century, descending from father to son.  It is one of the landmarks in Highland Township and is a comfortable home, having upon it orchards, shade trees, and small fruits, as well as good buildings and substantial fences.  A view of this old homestead appears on another page [See Below]

Jason Leonard, father of our subject, was born in Parma, N. Y., May 9, 1819, and lived there until he was of age.  He then came to this State and settled on one hundred and sixty acres given him by his father, in Highland Township.  He also had fifty acres of timber land in White Lake and Highland Townships, which was bestowed upon him by his parent.  He was married in Milford Township to Rachel A. Atwood, who died leaving two sons, Theodore and William.  The first-born died at the age of fifteen years and William is now living in Bay City.  January 27, 1852, Jason Leonard was again married, his bride being a daughter of James and Elizabeth Wardlow, mention of whom is made elsewhere in this volume.  This union resulted in the birth of four sons and two daughters, namely, Ann, Mrs. Charles St. John, whose home is in Highland Station; Mrs. Louisa C. E. Stiff, who lives at Clyde; Oliver, subject of this sketch; Joseph W., whose home is at Highland Station; Elmer J., who resides in Saginaw and works on a railroad; Irvin C., who is studying telegraphy in Highland Station.  The father was a lifelong farmer and never aspired to public office but was always ready to vote and cast a Republican ballot; he died July 1, 1873.

The gentleman whose name introduces these paragraphs was thirteen years old when his father was called hence, and he remained with his mother and aided her in the care of the family until he was of age.  He has since purchased the old homestead and now owns one hundred and fifty-three acres in Highland and twenty-eight acres in White Lake Township.   He is a breeder of Short-horn cattle and is becoming quite well known to dealers.   He is a Master Mason, belonging to Milford Lodge, No. 165.  Politically, he follows in his father's footsteps as a sturdy Republican.  His mother is a devout Methodist and he attends that church.  He is an honest, straightforward young man, progressive in his ideas, well informed and energetic.

Mr. Leonard was married February 18, 1885, in Highland Township, to Emma Shoebridge, oldest daughter and third child of George and Jane (Smead) Shoebridge.  The other members of the family are Henry, George, Ella, Albert, Belle, Benjamin and Lilly, living, and Mary deceased.  Mr. Shoebridge is a native of England, whence he [Begin Page 787] came to America when a young man, settling in New York.  There he was married and lived until 1878, when he came to this State, making his first home in Walled Lake, Commerce Township, this county.  From that point he came to Highland Township, where he spent the remnant of his days, dying November 11,1887.  His wife died in 1874 in New York.  Mrs. Leonard was well reared and is an intelligent and kindly lady.


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