First Generation

1. Walter Bradford LEONARD1 was born on 4 February 1887 in Bristol, RI. Graduated: A.P. Hoyt Grammar School, East Providence, RI on 26 June 1901 . He died on 26 March 1956 at the age of 69 in Cranston, Providence Co., RI. He was buried on 29 March 1956. Lot #5439, section 19, north side of Acorn Avenue and 83 ft. west of the junction of Acorn and Elmwood Avenues, North Burial Ground, Providence, RI Order of birth: Third child born . Parents were residing in Bristol in 1888. Verification of birth from copy of birth certificate and also checking the VR's of Bristol. In the 1900 Census, the family was living at 703 North Broadway in East Providence. Parents John and Mary had been married 19 years and had 3 children: John H., Jr, 18, a stenographer, Charles D, 16, an apprentice pharmacist, and Walter B., 13, a school boy. John was a laborer in a furniture store.

Walter graduated from grammar school in 1901 in East Providence. He gave the impression his family was very poor as he was growing up. He didn't go to high school, but began working as an office boy at age 15 for American Emery. By the time he married at 19, he was a salesman. He later became a Vice President of American Emery, responsible for manufacturing. He lost his job as the company downsized in the Great Depression. He then became a salesman for American Emery and also for the Blanchard Company in Boston and later yet had a small diamond tool business. American Emery Wheel Works was located at Richmond Square, 375 Waterman St., Providence. President was W. E. Richmond.

When registering for the World War I draft on June 5, 1917, Walter B. Leonard 2nd was living at 135 Reservoir Avenue, Providence, with his wife and one child. He was born February 4, 1887, in Bristol, RI, and was working as Asst. President of American Emery Wheel Works on Waterman Street in Providence. He was of medium height and slender build, with light blue eyes and dark brown hair.

The family was living with Edith's father, Ernest, at 135 Reservoir Avenue, Providence, at the 1920 Census, along with Edith's sister Lillian (Pat). Walter is listed as a Vice President of American Emery. In the 1930 Census, family is listed as living at 135 Reservoir Avenue, Providence, District 5, with Ernest Regester, next to Arthur B. and Lillian Dodge and near the John Regester family.

The family lived at 148 Grace Street in Cranston from sometime in the 1930's until the late 1940's and summered at Quonochontaug, RI from the early 1900's to the 1930's. He and Edith were living on Grace Street when he registered for the World War II draft. At that time, he was 55 years old and working for the Blanchard Machine Co. at 64 State Street, Cambridge, MA, where he was an abrasion engineer. Walter was an avid salt water fisherman.

Marriage to Edith Anne Regester February 27, 1906, in East Providence, R.I. verified AC/VR.

According to his death certificate, he died in the State Infirmary in Cranston of hypertensive cardiovascular disease following the fracture of his right femur in an accident 15 February 1956. He apparently fell, injuring his right hip. At the time he was residing at 313 Washington Street in Providence.

The origin of the name Bradford in the family warrants some attention. My grandfather, Walter Bradford Leonard, said that the Bradford came from the family of Governor Bradford. William Bradford was Deputy Governor of RI in the late 1700's and an earlier William Bradford was governor of Plymouth Bay Colony in the 1600's. But there is no direct genealogical line to the Bradford family in the Leonard genealogy of our branch. So the story becomes a bit more complicated and hypothetical. It seems that Abigail Diman Munro, wife of Abraham Leonard, was named after her aunt, Abigail Munro (1770-1851) who married Jeremiah Diman, thereby becoming Abigail Diman. Her daughter, Margaret Diman (1809-1894), who was a second cousin and contemporary of Abigail Diman Leonard, married Allen Taylor Smith Bradford, grandson of Gov. William Bradford. Allen Taylor Smith Bradford had a relative, Walter Bradford, who died in 1837 at age ? (check) and an uncle, John, son of Gov. Bradford, who married Jemima Wardwell. They had a son Walter Bradford, born 13 August 1809, who married Sarah W. Macomber 19 June 1845, and died 25 June 1858. Abigail Diman Munro Leonard's son, John Henry Leonard (1823-1879), who was a contemporary and distant cousin of Walter Bradford, named one of his sons Walter Bradford Leonard in 1867 after one of these earlier Walter Bradfords. It would appear the middle name Bradford was adopted into our branch of the family due to admiration for some of these family relations by marriage.

Walter Bradford Leonard II did not acknowledge that Walter Bradford Leonard I was his uncle; his story was that when the two Walter Bradfords discovered they had the same name, he adopted the "II" to keep their mail from being mixed up.