|Major Thomas LEONARD was born about 1715 in Freehold, Monmouth Co., NJ. He died after 1786 at the age of 71 in Parrsborough, Nova Scotia, Canada. He was a major in the first batallion, First New Jersey Volunteers (Loyalist). This Thomas may be confused with the Thomas, son of James Leonard and Charity Whitehead who married Mary Lawrence in 1741. He was referred to as "the elderly Maj. Thomas Leonard."|
There are several versions of Thomas' exploits. It appears he was a loyalist and removed with his family after the Revolutionary War to St. John, New Brunswick, Canada, where he was granted Lot No. 1 in Parr Town (part of St. John).
Bill Barton: "John & Margaret Leonard were the parents of THOMAS LEONARD born ca. 1715. He was a prominent citizen of Freehold, residing on Lahaway creek, near its junction with Crosswicks Creek, on the place where his father was murdered.
On 1 Aug. 1757 Thomas Leonard of Freehold encouraged the publication of "A New American Magazine" and on 12 Oct. 1758 Mr. Thomas Leonard at Freehold Court House encouraged the printing of "A second Volume of the Laws of the Province of New Jersey."
Thomas was a loyalist during the Revolution, and as early as 3 Apr. 1775, the Committee of Inspection for the Township of Freehold decided that he had 'in a number of instances been guilty of a breach of the Continental Association, and that, pursuant to the tenour of said Association, every friend of true freedom ought immediately to break off all connexion and dealings with him, the said Leonard, and treat him as a foe to the rights of British America.' He narrowly escaped arrest once by disguising himself as a negro, and so passed out from his home forever. He was a Major in the First Battalion of New Jersey Loyalists in 1778. He went to New York, and after the war removed with his family to St. John, New Brunswick, where he was granted Lot No. 1 in Parr Town (afterwards incorporated in St. John), in 1783. His property in Monmouth County was confiscated, and in 1779 was sold to Gen. David Forman, of Revolutionary fame.
Another source states that Major Thomas Leonard was born ca. 1715 and lived at Greenwich Farm, five miles from Freehold, Monmouth Co., NJ. For many years he was High Sheriff of Monmouth, his native county, and lived well on his considerable property. He was a prisoner on parole for two years early in the War, apparently while holding the rank of Major in the 1st New Jersey Volunteers.
A schedule of his property includes an estate inherited from his uncle, Thomas Leonard, Esquire, deceased. John Thompson and Cornelius Thompson, gentlemen, of Monmouth Co., testified at New York in Aug. 1783 to their personal knowledge of the Leonard property. His estate in Monmouth Co., forfeited 13 May 1779, was sold for £5,456. 14. 9., in New Jersey currency.
Major Leonard?s name is on the list of Seconded officers. He claimed £1,590 and was allowed £1,210. His place of residence in 1786 was Parrsborough in Nova Scotia.
A further source has Thomas Leonard living in Freehold, NJ for many years but obliged to flee. He joined the Army shortly after landing on Staten Island. Appointed Major of the 1st Battalion of N.J. Volunteers, he was ordered to the Jerseys. When the German troops were captured at Trenton, Major Leonard was exceedingly ill in bed. He was taken prisoner and held for two years before he was exchanged. Upon his return to the British lines, he found that his Corps had been reformed. Unprovided for, Major Leonard was retired on half pay for the remainder of the war. In far advanced life, he was in great want. Memorial by attorney William Taylor 10 Feb. 1784 London, for claimant, now in Nova Scotia, Claim: 70 acres and house half-mile from Freehold, purchased from John Conk and John Vaneleaf; farm of 370 acres called Greenwich and house where he lived about five miles from Freehold, purchased from Joel Bordon and John Williams; 30 acres of woodland two miles from Freehold, purchased from Cornelius Barchelow; 70 acres of pine land at Yellow Brook, seven miles from Freehold, held by deed of gift from father; 100 acres and common house at South Amboy and farm of 300 acres at Amwell, Hunterdon Co., devised to him by will of uncle Thomas Leonard; negroes; cattle, etc. Evidences: Copy of inquisition and proceedings of June 1778. Deposition 25 Aug. 1783 N.Y.C. by John Thompson and Cornelius Thompson that they know claimant?s property and have valued it.
Yet a fourth source states that at a 27 Mar. 1779 sale, John Schenck bought Thomas Leonard?s property which had been confiscated. Thomas had been a Freehold merchant. He became a major in the Royalist service and was taken prisoner by the Americans in 1777 and confined at Easton, PA. At the close of the war he went to St. John, New Brunswick.
Finally, by an 18 Apr. 1778 "Act for taking charge or leasing the real estate and for forfeiting the personal estates of certain fugitives and offenders" notice was given that the real and personal estates belonging to Thomas Leonard and others of the township of Freehold were to be sold."
He is mentioned as Thomas Leonard of Crosswicks, son of John Leonard, the will of his uncle, Thomas Leonard 1755 of Princeton.
GML has this Thomas marrying Anna White 30 Apr 1767.
He may have had a son, Samuel, who was also a Loyalist.