There have been Leonard families living in Portland Maine (most of them around the corner from each other in the Irish West End) since the migration during the Great Famine, yet there were a very few Leonards that appear in earlier records. In addition to my own Irish Leonard family, I will seek to trace and number the larger Leonard families of Portland in order to eventually determine whether or not any of them may be linked to mine or to each other, perhaps enlisting the help of some of this blog's readers. Families for which I've established a blood connection I've numbered similarly.
1A. The Thomas D. Leonard Family of Dublin
Thomas D. Leonard (1828-1912) was my 2nd great grand uncle, who came from Portraine, Dublin, Ireland in 1850, during the Famine's height, and managed to set himself up quite well as a florist and private gardener, buying up a large block of Portland's West End (Briggs Street). These properties stayed in the Leonard family for 80 years, having been rented, sold and/or bequeathed to his extended family who came over from Portraine, and their own families. In the 1920s, these properties gradually began being rented and sold off to Polish immigrant families (many of whom were friends to the Leonards). Thomas married twice, had five children, four grandchildren, and one great grandchild. He has no living descendants, the last to die being Thomas Leonard Graney in 1972. More can be read about this family here.
1B. The Mathew John Leonard Family of Dublin
|MATHEW JOHN LEONARD|
AROUND 1881, JUST AFTER EMIGRATING FROM DUBLIN
Mathew John Leonard (1854-1939) was my 2nd great grandfather, who came from Portraine, Dublin, Ireland in 1881, along with his siblings Patrick, Francis, Elizabeth and Ellen, to live near his uncle Thomas in Portland's West End (see above paragraph). Mathew worked on the railroad and made his own beer at home (useful during the Prohibition era) in the back of his house on Briggs Street. He married once, had three children, four grandchildren, five great grandchildren, at least 13 great great grandchildren, and two more generations after that. With this respectable number of descendants, Mathew only has five living male heirs, including myself, none of whom are going to have additional male heirs. More can be read about this family here.
2. The Owen Leonard Family of Cork
Owen Leonard (1827-1903) was from County Cork, Ireland, born to Patrick & Dorothy Leonard. He arrived in 1848, another Famine refugee. He also lived in Portland's West End, among my Leonards (I wonder if the question was ever raised about potential relations). Owen married once (Ellen Coughlin), had at least seven children (John A. Leonard, Eugene W. Leonard, Mary E. Leonard-Coyne, Johanna F. Leonard-Owens, Nellie, Kate, Maggie), at least six grandchildren (John A. Leonard, Jr., Joseph B. Coyne, Ella A. Coyne, Catherine Coyne, Ellen Owens, and Eva Owens-Savage), and multiple successive generations. John A. Leonard Jr. is of particular interest to me, because he had two daughters (Mary and Elizabeth, pictured below), and Mary bears a very striking resemblance to my Leonard family.
|MARY CLEMENT LEONARD|
3A. Samuel Stephen Leonard
Samuel Stephen Leonard, born in Portland in 1803, worked as a blacksmith, and enlisted in the Army in September of 1824, but deserted in 1826. Samuel moved to Schuyler County, Illinois at some point before 1850. He died of pneumonia in Wayland, IL, at 72 years of age, leaving a wife and seven children (he also had a previous marriage which bore him an additional seven children). He was proprietor of what was known as the old Skidmore Hotel, on the northeast corner of the square in Brooklyn Township, IL. He was the supervisor of Brooklyn Township at one point, and was a leading and influential citizen of the community where he resided. His brothers, Abraham and Albert Gallatin Leonard, lived in Windham, Maine, as did his uncles Samuel and Charles.
Some better documented accounts point Samuel's parentage to a William Leonard, a blacksmith, of Portland, but this has been disproven by descendants of Samuel, and the running theory is that Samuel's father was an Abraham Hayden Leonard of Windham (more on him below).
SOURCE: History of Monmouth and Wales, Volume Two by Harry H Cochrane, published 1894. (Albert G Leonard died in Monmouth, ME in 1880.), page 390.
3B. Abraham Hayden Leonard of Windham and Portland
Abraham Hayden Leonard of Windham married a Nancy Stevens in 1801 in Portland. Nancy died in Portland in 1807, and then Abraham remarried to a Susannah Dyer in 1808 (also of Portland). Some descendants of Samuel Stephen Leonard above believe Abraham to be Samuel's father.
Abraham was a descendant of the noted Leonard family of Taunton Massachusetts (as were potentially many others in this writing), descending from John Leonard (1615-1675) who immigrated in 1639 from Pontypool, Monmouthshire, Wales to Springfield, Mass.
A genealogical history of Robert Adams, of Newbury, Mass: and his descendants, 1635-1900, by Andrew Napolean Adams, 1 Jan 1900, Google Books; Online
Genealogical and Family History of the State of Connecticut (, 1911), University of Connecticut Libraries, Vol 1, Pgs 232-233.
Descendants of William Scott of Hatfield, Mass., 1668-1906 by Orrin Peer Allen, 1906.
Massachusetts, Springfield Vital Records, 1638-1887, FamilySearch.org.
North America, Family Histories, 1500-2000, Ancestry.com.
4. The Thomas Leonard Family of Meath
Thomas Leonard (1807-1873) and his wife Mary (1814-1869) migrated from County Meath, Ireland to Deering/Westbrook, Maine just prior to 1840. They had at least five children (Patrick, James H. Leonard, Margarate, Merrill & Mary E.), the first four of which were born in Ireland. Thomas naturalized in 1855. Their children moved to Portland and lived in the West End among my ancestors and other Leonards in the late 1800s. Thomas and Mary are both buried in Evergreen Cemetery. Thomas died of heart disease and Mary died of consumption. It appears that Mary lived in the poor house in Portland for the 1850 and 1860 Census, and was listed as 'insane'.
5. The Patrick Leonard Family of Ireland
Patrick Leonard (1827-1892) was a laborer who migrated to Portland in the 1840s. He was born in Ireland to John Leonard and Ellen McGowan. Patrick lived in a boarding house owned by Mary Preble in 1850, and then married a woman named Kate soon thereafter. Their son Thomas died at age two, and their daughter Ann (1858-?) married John Dow. They lived on Federal Street and Patrick was listed as unable to read or write. Patrick died in 1892 of phthisis.
6. William Leonard Family of Randolph Massachusetts
William Clarence Leonard (1856-after 1920) was born in Randolph Massachusetts, son to John Warren Leonard of Randolph and Susan Thornton of Appleton, Maine. Somewhere just prior to 1880, after his father died, William, his mother, and his wife Martha Dyer lived in Portland, Maine, and had a daughter, Stella Leonard-Elliott. William's brother, Ernest W. Leonard, also moved to Portland at that time (after living in Appleton for a stint). Ernest married Charity Coffin, and had one baby, Alice, who died at four months, then had four other children in Portland (William, Edna, Ernest Jr., and Leroy). At some point between 1890 and 1900, Ernest moved his family to Cambridge, Mass. No Leonards remained in Portland from this group. William Clarence's great grandfather was Seth Leonard, born 1782 in Plymouth. Seth was a descendant of the Taunton Leonards from Wales, which I'm separately related to.
7. Beverly Leonard Family of Canada
Beverly Leonard (male) and his wife Emma migrated from Canada in 1926 with their son Gardner, and lived on Ellsworth Street in Portland's West End. These are English Leonards, and therefore no relation that I can tell.
8. Edward Leonard Family of England
Edward Leonard of England lived on Coyne Street with his son Edward, Jr., for the 1930 Census.
9A. Leo Leonard Family of Albion Maine
Leo Melvin Leonard (1876-1971) was born and raised in Albion, Kennebec County, Maine, son to farmer George P. Leonard, a third generation Leonard farmer from Albion. The furthest back this research appears to go is to John Leonard, born in Maine 1750, who was a Rev. War veteran who moved to Albion after the war, to farm and start his family. It's unclear if this John was of Irish or English heritage. It's most likely that he was English, because in 1750 there weren't as many Irish immigrants as English with that name. Leo spent some time working as an attendant at the Danvers Massachusetts Mental Hospital (1900 Census), and came back to Albion, and married Margaret Flynn, where he there worked as a mail clerk. He and Margaret moved to Portland and had three children who survived to adulthood (Leo Blair Leonard, Hazel E. Leonard, and Joseph Henry Leonard). This family lived on Roberts Street, over near St. John's Street. Leo also worked at the nearby Union Station Terminal as a railroad clerk.
9B. Merton Leonard of Albion Maine
Merton Leonard (1884-1952) was younger brother to Leo Melvin Leonard above. He and his wife, Edith McKinney, migrated south from Albion to Portland, Maine (9 Whitney Avenue) between 1900 and 1910. He worked as a locomotive engineer at Maine Central Railroad and also as a fireman. They moved back to Albion between 1933 and 1940. No children. Merton was described on his WWI draft card as being 6'3" with blue eyes and black hair.
10. Levi Leonard Family of Connecticut
Levi (1828-??) was a boatman at the Portland Customs House. He and his wife Martha came from Connecticut originally. They had one son, Charles, born in 1864. For the 1870 and 1880 censuses they were living at 19 Vine Street with Martha's children from a prior marriage. Levi's parents were also from CT, so it's likely this was an English family, since the Irish generally didn't emigrate until the 1840s.
11. James Leonard Family of Canada
James W. Leonard and his wife Celina were French Canadians who migrated to Portland in 1881.
12. Bernard Leonard
A Bernard Leonard (??-1963) lived on Congress Place in Portland, but also lived in South Portland and Freeport.
13. Jeremiah Leonard Family of England and Ireland
Jeremiah P. Leonard (1839-1915) was a coachman and hostler born in England. He lived briefly in Ireland where he likely met his wife, Ellen Foy. Their first child, John, was born in Ireland in 1860. In 1867 Jeremiah and family moved to 243 Danforth Street, in Portland, Maine, where they then had Joseph Leonard, followed by Fenwick T. Leonard (1868-1929) and Christopher W. Leonard (1872-1939), who both worked as motormen. Jeremiah died of arteriosclerosis. His death record states that he lived in Canada at one time. It doesn't appear that any of his four children bore him any grandchildren.
14. William Leonard of 1874
A William Leonard married a Catherine A. Henry in Portland in 1874. No further information found as yet.
15. Charles W. Leonard (1889-1969)
Charles was originally from Milo, Maine, but moved to Portland and married his wife Marjorie in the 1910s. He enlisted in WWI, and eventually moved to Cape Elizabeth by 1930, where he had five children.