The Highland Township Historical Society
Highland, Oakland County, Michigan

Original Highland Township Landowner

Capt. Jonathan Leonard

SW 1/4 of SE 1/4 of Section 9         W 1/2 of NW 1/4 of Section 13        E 1/2 of NE 1/4 of Section 14         NW 1/4 of Section 14
E 1/2 of SE 1/4 of Section 14         W 1/2 of NW 1/4 of Section 22        W 1/2 of SW 1/4 of Section 22         SW 1/4 of NE 1/4 of Section 24

Capt. Jonathan Leonard was born in Connecticut in 1777, the son of Silas and Mary (Hackett) Leonard.  Around 1798 the family removed to Parma, Monroe County, New York, where Jonathan Leonard grew to be a man of considerable prominence.  He and his wife, Persis Hencher, were the first couple to be married in the town on February 7, 1807.  With hard currency (coin) scarce on the frontier, Jonathan Leonard found himself six cents shy of the dollar normally charged to perform the ceremony.  Handing over what money he had he asked the magistrate to "Marry us as far as it will go," and the resulting union lasted nearly 60 years.   With a booming voice that could be heard "as far as a steam calliope" he became a Captain in the local militia during the War of 1812.  Among those who served in Leonard's company was Highland Township pioneer Michael Beach

Starting in the mid-1830's Jonathan Leonard and several of his children (including daughter Lucina Leonard, son Hiram Leonard, etc.), as well as his brother, Silas Leonard, Jr.,  purchased several parcels of land in Highland township.  Several of his patents give his residence as Oakland County, Michigan, but it is not belived he actually settled here.  The 1840, 1850 and 1860 Censuses all show him living at Parma, New York, where he died on January 4, 1868, at age 91.  Perhaps he was simply on an extended visit with his three sons - William H. Leonard, Jason Leonard and Harvey Leonard - who were pioneer Highland Township families.  See the Leonard Family Photo Album for more on this family.

Note that the Bureau of Land Management - General Land Office web site does not index Jonathan Leonard's purchase in Section 9.  This may be due to the fact the actual patent describes the land in Section 9 after the descriptions of other lands in Sections 13 and 14.  Thus, whoever prepared the index likely assumed the land in Section 9 was also in Section 14 and indexed the patent accordingly.  First Land Owners of Oakland County notes that the Detroit Land Office's own record for the land in Section 9 apparently misspells Capt. Leonard's first name as "Johnathan."

Leonard's patent for land in Section 24 was originally issued on August 18, 1837, but an error in the description caused a new, corrected patent to be issued on July 9, 1919.


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