2. Deacon, Major Thomas LEONARD2,4,5,6 was born on 3 August 1641 in Kinver, Staffordshire, England.7 He was baptized on 8 August 1641 in Kinver, Staffordshire, England. He died on 24 November 1713 at the age of 72 in Raynham, Bristol Co., MA.2 Thomas was buried in Neck of Land Burying Ground, Taunton, MA. Thomas was baptised August 8, 1641, in Kinver, Staffordshire, son of James and Jane Leonard. Kinver is located on the Stour River in South Staffordshire, 7 miles SW of Dudley. Immediately across the river is located Whittington. Is this why James Leonard in 1666 named his "forge or blomerie with one hearth" on the Mill River in Taunton, MA, "Whittington Iron Works?" See "Pre-American Ancestry of our Leonard Ironworkers (http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~bart/Leonard2.htm).
One of the shareholders in John Winthrop's "Company of Undertakers of the Iron Works in New England" was Thomas Foley (1617 - 1677). He and his brothers were probably the foremost ironmasters in the Black Country (iron ore country in Staffordshire) at that time, owning iron and mine works as far afield as Monmouthshire. Their father, Richard Foley, started the family fortune with an iron works near Stourbridge, 3 miles east of Kinver. Could he have been involved in recruiting the Leonards when Winthrop was having a difficult time conscripting experienced ironworkers?
Thomas is buried in same lot with son Joseph and grandson Joseph. D. Hamilton Hurd in "History of Bristol County, MA," gives his date of death as December 21, 1713. Samuel Emery in the "History of Taunton" gives his date of death as November 13, 1713.
He was foreman and manager of the Taunton ironworks from 1683 to 1713, according to Fanny Leonard Koster. He was treasurer, according to Samuel Emery in "History of Taunton," which gives many excerpts from his record books. The record books are now in the archives of the Old Colony Historical Society.
About Thomas Leonard, from Elisha Clark Leonard/George Marston Leonard manuscript:
"It is evident from the habits displayed in the various offices he held and the conditions under which he had to perform the duties connected with the same that he was a man of rare judgment, of great ability, and of untiring industry. He was careful and conscientious in all his actions whenever he was called upon to perform some duty. He was quick, versatile, and popular, and he seems to have become the leading man in the community and acquired the confidence of the leading men in the Massachusetts Colony. The amount of work that he accomplished was remarkable and the skill and correctness displayed in the various papers that he drew up and are still extant would lead one to believe that he had received a careful legal training. Yet we know that it was the result of his own special efforts at self education, since he was unable to write his name when he first arrived. His family was moving about from England to various parts of America. His mother, burdened with the cares of a growing family under pioneer conditions, died when Thomas was 21. We must believe that it was his mother, through her oversight and encouragement, laid the foundation of the character displayed by her eldest son.
"Under the instruction of his father, he learned the iron manufacture trade and became an expert "bloomer" and refiner. It is almost certain that as early as 1666 he had become skilled sufficiently that his father left the oversight and management of the manufacture of iron at the Taunton works to him, leaving James free to devote his time to the Whittington works. In 1696 he and his brother James obtained a grant of 200 acres of land in the North Purchase for encouragement to build a forge on the Cowesitt River. He and James continued to own and operate this forge until 1707, when James sold his share to his nephew George, son of Thomas. In 1700 Thomas, together with Philip King, commenced to build a forge at Trout Brook in Middleboro. An agreement between Thomas Leonard and Henry Andrews was signed in 1701 allowing Thomas Leonard to mine ore on Andrews' lands. The next year, Thomas purchased King's portion, finished the forge, and placed his youngest son Elkanah to manage it and the sawmill that he erected at the same time. Thomas gave this forge and lands to (his son) Elkanah in his will."
"He was appointed by the Court at Plymouth an ensign of the militia company at Taunton in 1665. No doubt that he immediately set himself to work to become efficient as a military officer. In 1884, a book entitled "The discipline of the young artilleryman" was found with Thomas Leonard's autograph and given in his will to his son, Samuel. In 1690, he became Captain of the East Taunton militia.
"In 1668 Thomas Leonard was one of the purchasers of the North Purchase, later set aside as the town of Norton. In 1669 he was on a committee to make a list of the free inhabitants of the town. In 1682 he was elected one of the Selectmen of Taunton and a Deputy to the Court at Plymouth. These offices he continued to hold with but a single exception until 1691. After the union of Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay Colonies, he was chosen a Representative to the General Court at Boston in 1694/5 and again in 1698/9. On May 6, 1675, his father conveyed to him the East Hearth at the Taunton Works as Masterworkman. In 1683 he was appointed Clerk of the Ironworks, which position he held until his death in 1713. Taunton purchased and possesses the account books that he maintained, giving a clear indication of his methodical habits. From the time Thomas Leonard became Clerk and manager until his death, the Taunton Ironworks paid 15% per year on its shares.
"In 1684 he was appointed to solemnize marriages in Taunton. In 1685 he was appointed an Associate Justice for the County of Bristol, which office he continued to hold until his death in 1713. He also apparently studied medecine, due to the remoteness of help to Taunton. He also had a large farm. Will dtd. January 29, 1711/12 probated February 5, 1713/4."
He was appointed ensign of the First Military Company in 1665. He served as captain and major of the First Regiment of County of Bristol. He was connected with the military history of Taunton for forty-eight years. He left extensive records of his actions during various military campaigns. For example, during King William's War, he led an expedition to Little Compton in 1691, noting how long each member was out, whose horse they used, and what money they spent. On that particular expedition, John Leonard using Mr. Arnold's horse, George Leonard and his own horse, and Uriah Leonard using John Eddy's horse, were out for two to six days each (see Samuel Emery's History of Taunton).
Another source: Squaw Betty, niece of King Philip treated both families of the Leonards when they were stricken with typhoid fever. She gathered herbs, prepared and administered the medicine, and nursed them back to health. In return, they offered her wampum but she declined the same. However, she did accept as a present a pretty red cloak and in it she said she hoped to be buried.
The Eddy Family in America, 1930: John Eddy was in Capt. Thos. Leonard's First Military Company of Taunton. There may be more in Emery, History of Taunton, p. 354.
Will of Thomas Leonard "the eldest of ye name in Taunton" being in his 71st year of age, dtd. 29 Jan. 1711/2, prob. 5 February 1713/4. Mentions wife, wife's father, five sons, two daughters, grandson Thomas of son John, brothers Benjamin and James. Lands in Middleboro, Taunton, Rehoboth, and Taunton North Purchase. Friends Elder Henry Hodges, Deacon Ezra Deane, Deacon Israel Thrasher, and Seth Wiliams to be overseers. (3:179-185).
Children checked against the list in NEHGS Reg. 1851, p. 414(3), "Genealogical Memoir of the Leonard Family."
Deacon, Major Thomas LEONARD and Mary WATSON were married about 1661 in Taunton, Bristol Co., MA. Mary WATSON8, daughter of George WATSON and Phebe HICKS, was born on 2 August 1642 in Plymouth, Plymouth Co., MA.2 She died on 1 December 1723 at the age of 81 in Taunton, Bristol Co., MA.2 She was buried in Neck of Land Burying Ground, Taunton, MA. She died in her 81st year, per gravestone. (History of Bristol County, MA, by D. Hamilton Hurd, Philadelphia, 1883.)(Also Savage, p. 80.)
Deacon, Major Thomas LEONARD and Mary WATSON had the following children: