Name: Henry Leonard
Given Name: Henry
Birth: 1618 in Pontypool, Monmouth, England
Death: 1695 in Monmouth, Kennebec, Maine
Henry Leonard b. abt 1618, Pontypool, co. Monmouth, England. He was an ironworker and settled in Taunton, Ma. His wife was named Mary.
Change Date: 20 Dec 2005 at 00:00:00
Henry was born ca. 1618 and was working at the Braintree Iron Works, Massachusetts Bay Colony, probably by 1646. The basis for this statement is the deposition he made 27 Oct. 1655 in which he referred to his being at Braintrey Forge ?about nine yeares agoe? (i.e., ca. 1646) (Fig. 1). The ?coles? used as fuel at that time at Braintree was charcoal. It was produced by charring wood in huge mounds covered with leaves or turf for 5 or 6 days (Fig. 2). Note that Clarence Torrey also reported Henry was age 37 in 1655. He also reported that Henry was age 40 in 1660 which would indicate that Henry was born ca. 1620. The basis for this latter statement was a Salem Court Record 26 June 1660 (see below).
Henry married MARY [-?-] 1645 (?) in Lynn, died before 1 Oct. 1695, probably in Monmouth Co., NJ. Mary was born ca. 1624/5 (see Salem Court Record 24 Sept. 1657 below), died in 1675 in Monmouth Co. An undocumented source indicates that Henry?s wife?s maiden name was Mary Russell and that they were married in Lynn. If this is true, then the next assumption might be that she was a sister or daughter of Ralph Russell. This Ralph Russell was a less-experienced forge helper with Henry and James Leonard at Hammersmith (the name of the ironworks at Lynn). A further assumption would be that Ralph was the father of John Russell of Dartmouth, MA. Mrs. Dorothy E. Hayes wrote in 1992 that Mary Russell was born ca. 1624, a sister of Ralph Russell.
Just when Henry emigrated is not known. Alonzo Lewis and James R. Newhall state that Henry was in Lynn in 1642. Since John Winthrop, Jr., did not bring his first contingent of ironworkers over from England on the ?An Cleve? of London until the fall of 1643, this undocumented date of 1642 is suspect.
As stated above, Henry may have worked first at the Braintree Iron Works located about 10 miles south of Boston. This was the first ironwork venture by John Winthrop, Jr., and the Company of Undertakers of the Iron Works in New England. It was not initially a success due primarily to lack of ore for the furnace and was temporarily abandoned in 1647. No record has been found establishing the presence of a Leonard in Braintree in this time frame other than Henry?s 1655 deposition that he was there ?nine yeares agoe.?
The earliest records of his presence in America is in the Saugus Ironworks account book kept by Richard Leader?s clerk, Thaddeus Riddan, where on 26 Mar.(?) 1649 Mr. Brown(?) was instructed to pay Hen Leonard 14s. for a hat.
The earliest documented records of his presence in America appear in the Salem Quarterly Court Records & Files, 26:4:1649:
§ ?Wittnesses agt Pray strike Pinion & Tho: Billington & Jno Dimond, Jno Vinton, Henry Leonard, Jos Jyarks, Nichs Pinion, Tobiah Saunders, Jno Dimond & his man? fined ten shillings at ye Iron works for a common swearer.
§ Henry Leonard?s wife and John Vinton?s wife fined for scolding, etc., by the worshipful Capt. Robert Bridges.
Also in the 1649 Saugus Ironworks account book kept by Richard Leader?s clerk, Thaddeus Riddan, Henry Leonard was paid 14 shillings for a hat.
In the ?Lynn Iron Works? manuscripts, £13/09/11 was listed ?Soemuch being a debt deue from Hennery Leonnard alloued him upon arbitration.? It is not clear if this entry was made in 1650 or 1651. (See my companion article, ?The Establishment of the Ironworking Industry in America?).
On 27 Oct. 1655 ?Henry Leonard of Hammersmith (i.e. Saugus) of the age 37 or thereabouts? made a deposition regarding a heap of spoiled coal at the Braintree Forge about 9 years previous. This would indicate that Henry was born ca. 1618 and that he was in Braintree by 1646. This latter date correlates with the 1645 date for the start of the Braintree ironworks. Note, however, that Lewis & Newhall claim that Henry was in Lynn by 1642 and that the first iron foundry was in successful operation in Lynn (i.e., Saugus) as early as 1643.
No specific record of Henry in England or Wales has been discovered. However, it appears fairly certain that Henry and his brother James were ironworkers at Bilston, Staffordshire, shortly before their emigration (see #2, James Leonard, below).
Actually, a long list of offenses that Henry, his wife, and his sons were brought up on exists. They continually got into trouble for foul language, harassing people, sexual harassment, and beating people up.
Father: Thomas Leonard c: 23 May 1577 in Chevening, Kent, England
Mother: Lydia White b: 23 May 1587