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Portrait and Biographical Record of Tazewell and Mason Co. IL 1894, p. 414:


THOMAS H. LEONARD, who carries on farming on section 35, Elm Grove Township, Tazewell County, was born at his present place of residence April 16, 1838. His grandfather, Ezekiel Leonard, was a native of North Carolina; he married Rebecca Hodgson, also of that state. In 1803, they removed with their family to Ohio, becoming pioneer settlers of Clinton County, where Mr. Leonard entered land and opened up a farm, there making his home for twenty-eight years. In 1831, he came with his wife and children to Illinois, settling in Elm Grove Township, where he again entered land. Upon the farm which he improved he spent his remaining days, passing away March 1, 1849, at the age of seventy-seven. His wife was called to her final rest in July, 1851. They had seven children, five of whom grew to mature years.

Thomas Leonard, father of our subject, was born in North Carolina, April 13, 1801, and from his third year until he had attained the age of twenty lived in Ohio. At that time he came west and settled in Elm Grove Township, where he took up land from the Government. The wild and unimproved tract he transformed into a good farm, making his home throughout his remaining days. It is now the property of our subject. In the Buckeye State Thomas Leonard, Sr. married Hannah Starbuck, who was born in January, 1802, in North Carolina. She is the daughter of Gear Starbuck, who was born on Nantucket Island, and who went to North Carolina, thence removing to Ohio, where he lived until his death, which occurred when past the age of ninety years. Unto Thomas and Hannah Leonard were born nine children, as follows: Nathan, of Johnson County, Ill.; Matilda, wife of William Lindsey, of Mackinaw Township, Tazewell County; Eli, who died in 1884, at the age of sixty years; Allen, of Elm Grove Township; Alfred E., now of Florida; Rebecca, who died in 1884, at the age of fifty; Levi G., of Elm Grove; Thomas H., of this sketch, and Susanna, who became the wife of William Eads, and died at the age of twenty-five. The father of this family was called to his final rest in January, 1876, at the age of seventy-five, and his wife passed away in April, 1864, at the age of sixty-two.

Our subject has always lived upon his present farm. He was early inured to the arduous labors of the field, and to his father he gave the benefit of his services until he had attained his majority, when he took an interest in the old home. Five years later he assumed the entire management, and has since carried on the work of further cultivation and improvement. He is a man of practical, yet progressive ideas, and his enterprise is shown in his business. His farm comprises two hundred and forty acres, and upon eight acres of this are three miles of tiling. He has expended $2,000 in draining the place, and has transformed the otherwise swampy land into rich and fertile fields.

Mr. Leonard was married May 25, 1865, to Mary E. Loy, a native of Pekin Township, Tazewell County, and a daughter of Isaac and Mary A. (Largent) Loy, the former native of Ohio, and the latter of Virginia. Five children have been born to them, Emer A., now of Tremont; Elmon Loy, who is living in another house on the old homestead; Mertie M. and Ednie T., who are with their parents, and Mary C., who is now attending school. The family is one of prominence in the community, the household is the abode of hospitality, and its members rank high in social circles. In politics, Mr. Leonard is a stalwart Democrat, and for some years held the office of Path Master. He was afterward Road Commissioner for three years, and in 1887 was elected Supervisor, which position he filled for four terms. He is now serving his third year as School Trustee of his township. In all his public offices he has been found faityful and true, discharging his duties with promptness and fidelity, which have won him high commendation. The best interest of the community have ever found in him a friend, and he is regarded as one of the progressive, leading and representative farmers of his township. His life has been an honorable and upright one, and has won him the confidence and high regard of many friends.

Submitted by Betty Doremus