560. David Augustus LEONARD Jr. was born on 25 September 1771 in Bridgewater, Plymouth Co., MA.138 He died on 22 July 1819 at the age of 47 in OH. Rev. David A. Leonard graduated at Brown University in 1792, and was ordained to the work of the ministry Dec. 17, 1794. The services of his ordination were performed at Bridgewater, Mass., when a sermon was preached by Rev. Dr. Thomas Baldwin, that was printed. He preached to a Trinitarian Congregational Church on Nantucket from July 1, 1796, to February, 1797, and resided on that island about two years, and during that stay composed some poetry concerning the little village of Siasconset, which composition was printed and well received; indeed, it became quite popular. It was while he resided at Nantucket that he was married, and while he was there and wife in Middleboro (on the 22d of December, 1797), their eldest daughter, Evelyn (afterwards Mrs. Farnham), was born. At. First, Mr. Leonard was in religious faith and practice a Calvinistic Baptist, but ere long became, and through life continued to be, a Unitarian. He was baptized by immersion, and tradition says in mid winter, a hole having been cut in the ice for that purpose, and this was perhaps while he was a college student. Preparing for College, he pursued his studies under Abner Alden, A.M. (afterwards Principal of Bristol Academy), but who then probably taught in Raynham, Mass. From Nantucket Mr. Leonard seems to have removed to and commenced housekeeping at Assonet Village, in Freetown, and here he temporarily supplied the pulpit of the First Calvinistic Church and Society, then the only religious congregation in that village or section of the town, if we except a small body of Quakers. While residing at Assonet, tradition informs that he was also engaged in merchandise, and for a time in the occupation of a school teacher. The writer has seen and conversed with some of his scholars. I am, however, from certain circumstances, led to conclude that Mr. Leonard located for a time in New York city, and that he removed his family thither before settling down at Assonet Village, in Freetown; and in this connection it may also be proper to add, that to no one of his descendants do I owe the smallest particle of the information here presented concerning him or them, although having repeatedly addressed letters to several of his children and grandchildren soliciting such information; and but for the kindness of Hon. William P. Thomasson, of Louisville, Ky., (his son-in-law), and Manning Leonard, Esq. of Southbridge, Mass. (his nephew), to both of whom I tender my grateful acknowledgments, this account would have been even more incomplete and meager in facts than it now is. Why the children and grandchildren of Mr. Leonard have so persistently neglected or refused to contribute their part of the proper and desirable information, I leave for the reader to determine, as the writer has come to no definite conclusion on the matter, nor does he at this period and under existing circumstances deem a true knowledge of the reason worth a tithe of the effort that would be required to learn.
Rev. David A. Leonard, while residing in the city of New York, supplied for a time the pulpit of the Gold Street Baptist Church, and also had charge of an academy.
Hon. William Baylies, of Dighton, and afterwards of West Bridgewater, and Hon. Ezekiel Whitman, were classmates with Mr. Leonard in College at Providence, and both many years after bore testimony to the fact that he was a brilliant scholar, successful in all the departments of study, and that he justly acquired some celebrity as a poet.
Among the productions of his mind and pen that were printed and published, we find: "A Sermon delivered at Holmes Harbor, Martha's Vineyard, on the death of Mr. John Holmes, Nov. 1, 1795." "An Oration at Nantucket at the celebration of a Festival of St. John by the Union Lodge, in 1796." "Funeral Sermon in Gold Street Church, New York City, Feb. 16, 1800." "An Oration on the Death of Gen. George Washington, delivered in the First Baptist Meeting-house in New York, Feb. 22, 1800." "Oration at Raynham, Mass., July 5, 1802." "Oration at Dighton, July 4, 1803," and an Oration on the "Acquisition of Louisiana," delivered at Raynham, May 11, 1804. While residing at Assonet Village, in Freetown, he commenced to build a house that he sold before completion to Eben'r Peirce, Esq., his brother-in-law, and for a notice of which see pages 301 and 302 of this book. The premises on which he commenced to erect this house he purchased by deed dated Sept. 13, 1802, and in that document is called "David A. Leonard of Freetown, trader," from which it appears that he had now come to be a store-keeper instead of a minister or a school teacher. That unfinished house and the land, as has before been stated, he sold Sept. 4, 1804, and in June, 1805, removed with his family to Bristol, R.I. As Postmaster of Bristol he served from Jan. 1806 to July 1817, and in August of the last named year left Bristol with his family to remove to what was then the "far West." While residing in Bristol he was not only Postmaster but Secretary of the Bristol Insurance Company, editor and proprietor of the Bristol Republican (a newspaper warmly and actively devoted to the party and administration of Jefferson and Madison), a retail trader or store-keeper, and to the duties of all these stations added the literary labor of revising and preparing for publication a translation he had made of the books of the New Testament, which labor was all lost, being destroyed, together with about six thousand dollars of his property, by the disastrous effects of the equinoctial storm, Sept. 23, 1815, when his store and warehouse standing upon the wharf in Bristol were entirely submerged.
On starting with his family for the west, he set out for Vincennes on the Wabash, then the most important town in Indiana. Disasters on the voyage delayed his passage, until the elements, combining with his ill health, compelled him (in December) to land his goods on a bank of the Ohio river, and take up his abode in a little village called Laconia, situated about one mile and a half from that river, in Boone townships, Harrison County, Indiana, where, on the 22d of July, 1819, he died.
His religious views, while residing in Bristol, R.I., must have undergone a material change, for the proof is very conclusive that he became a Unitarian.
Evelyn [Leonard], b. Dec. 22, 1797; m. _____ Farnham. Both died some thirty years since. They had two children, a son and a daughter, who died about the time of reaching their majority. I think that the parents died of cholera. The son died of consumption. (Note: Evelyn (born Dec. 22, 1797) received a handsome provision in the will of Maj. P. Hoar, of Middleboro.)
Sarah Hoar [Leonard], b. May 1799. (She was probably named for Sarah, daughter of Robert Hoar, to whom an allusion has been made on page 148 of this book). Mar. Hon. David Merriwether, Governor of New Mexico. He had been a member of the Kentucky Legislature for eight consecutive terms, and after an interim of a few years was elected once or twice more. Their son William is United States Marshal for the District of Kentucky. Their other sons took the side of the Confederacy in the late war of the rebellion. One daughter married Capt. E. Graves, a Captain in the Mexican War.
Mary Prior [Leonard], b. in or about 1800; d. at an early age in the city of New York.
Helen [Leonard], b. in Assonet Village, Freetown, Mass., Feb 7, 1803; m. Dr. C. Hay, and they reside at Warsaw, Ill. Their second son, Maj. John M. Hay, was private secretary to President Lincoln, and afterwards Charge d'Affaires to Austria, and now Secretary of the Legation to the Court of Spain.
Charlotte [Leonard], b. at Bristol, R.I., in 1806; m. March 25, 1828, Hon. William Poindexter Thomasson, of Louisville, Ky. She d. March 3, 1855. He is a son of Poindexter Thomasson and wife Sarah Dupuy, and born in Henry County, Ky., Oct. 8, 1797, where at the age of sixteen he taught a common school, and volunteered and served as a private soldier in the regiment of Col. Duncan McArthur, in the closing Canadian campaign in the last war with England. Commenced the practice of law in 1817, at Corydon, in Harrison County, Ind., and was elected to the legislature of that state in 1818, and re-elected in 1819. Returned to Kentucky in 1820, and located at Louisville, where he was elected to the State legislature in 1824, and city attorney for eight consecutive terms. Re-elected to legislature in 1842 and again in 1843, and also to a seat in the twenty-eighth and twenty-ninth Congresses of the nation. In 1857 he removed to Chicago, and in 1860 to the city of New York. In the spring of 1861 left for the seat of war in the 71st Regiment New York militia, and in the ranks of that command fought in the first battle of Bull Run. Their son, Charles L. Thomasson, born Feb. 1, 1829, as a Major, commanding the "Louisville Legion," gave his life a sacrifice in the Union cause at the battle of Chickamangua. Their son Nelson, born Oct. 15, 1839, is a Captain in the 5th Regiment U.S. Army.
David Augustus LEONARD Jr. and Mary "Polly" PIERCE were married on 9 February 1797 in Middleborough, Plymouth Co, MA. Mary "Polly" PIERCE, daughter of Job PIERCE and Elizabeth ROUNSEVILLE, was born on 31 May 1777 in Middleborough, Plymouth Co, MA. She died on 2 October 1836 at the age of 59 in Laconia, Harrison Co., IN.
David Augustus LEONARD Jr. and Mary "Polly" PIERCE had the following children: