Dr. Rutson Rudolph Leonard

Biography courteously provided by Joyce Riedinger, Delaware County Coordinator.


DR. RUTSON RUDOLPH LEONARD is a well-known and skilful physician, and the leading druggist of the village of Bloomville, in the town of Kortright. He was born June 3, 1868, at Broome Centre, Schoharie County, where his father, Dr. Duncan M. Leonard, is an eminent physician, and the oldest representative of the medical profession in the place, and with one exception the oldest in the county. Rutson R. Leonard is, on his father's side, of German extraction, and comes of illustrious ancestry. His great-grandfather, John Leonard Swatzbauer, was a noted general in the German army. He was the first representative of the of the family in America, where the surname of Swatzbauer was dropped, and he was called simply John Leonard. He was one of the first settlers of Roxbury, N. Y., which was then known only as Beaver Dam. He was a man of means; and here he bought land, and became a successful farmer. He lived to a good old age. His son, Henry Leonard, the grandfather of the subject of this sketch, was born near Black River in or near Vermont. He devoted himself to agriculture, and spent his entire manhood in Roxbury, where he died at the great age of ninety years. He was the father of nine sons, five of whom became physicians, and three daughters. Nine of the family are still living. These children were: Peter Leonard, a farmer living in the town of Sidney; John Leonard, a farmer and retired physician in East Worcester, Otsego County; William Leonard, a doctor in Worcester, Otsego County; Daniel Leonard, a farmer in Greene County; Dr. Duncan M. Leonard; Asa Leonard, living in Triangle Town, Broome County; Salina, wife of J. Rudolph Hamma, a farmer, living in Roxbury; Lucy, wife of John Weckel, a miller in Roxbury; Mary, wife of Christopher John Enderlin, a blacksmith in Roxbury; George Leonard, a physician, no longer living; Samuel; Leonard, a farmer, not living; and Charles Leonard, also deceased. It has long been a common remark that the family of Henry Leonard were "physicians by birth." Their mother was accustomed to spend a great deal of her time with the sick, being nearly always called before any doctor. She was a native of Fairfield, Conn. Her maiden name was Hull, and she was known as "Aunt Huldah."

Duncan M. Leonard, father of the subject of this sketch, was born in 1837, in the town of Roxbury, where his boyhood was spent. He was graduated at the Castleton Medical College in Vermont, and soon after taking his degree came to Broome Centre, where he is still established as a physician. His first wife was Vashtie McHench, who was born in Broome Centre, Schoharie County, in 1828. They reared a family of four children, all of whom are living. The eldest, Emma R. Leonard, of Bloomville, Delaware County, was born October 12, 1860. Frances A., wife of Frank B. Mackey, of Cobleskill, Schoharie County, was born in 1863. Ursula J., the wife of Dr. Christopher S. Best, of Middleburg, Schoharie County, was born in April, 1866. Their mother died June 4, 1877, at the age of forty-nine. In January, 1879. Dr. Leonard married Emma J. McHench, a sister of his first wife. Dr. Duncan Leonard is one of the leading men of his profession in this part of the country, and has led a life of exceptional usefulness. He has been President of the Schoharie County Medical Society, and nearly a half-hundred students have graduated under his instruction. He is a member of the regular Baptist church, and in politics is independent. Though he started in life in debt for his education and for the horse and saddlebags with which he made his daily rounds among his patients, he is to-day one of the wealthy men of his town, and is the owner of eight hundred acres of land. Rutson Rudolph Leonard, fourth and youngest child of Dr. Duncan M. Leonard, grew to manhood in Broome Centre, the town of Gilboa, Schoharie County. He first attended the district school, and then the normal select school in Broome Centre. Then he spent one year as a student at each of the following named institutions: Stamford Seminary, Starkey Seminary and College, Hartwick Seminary. After leaving Hartwick Seminary, he began the study of medicine at the New York University Medical College, where he was graduated in March, 1890. He also studied for a time in the medical department of the University of Vermont, spending in all nine years as a medical student. In July, 1890, he came to Bloomville, and established himself as a physician and druggist. October 12, 1893, he married Jessie A. Henderson, daughter of James and Nancy (McNeilly) Henderson, born in Kortright, May 3, 1866. Her grandparents were George and Eliza (Smith) Henderson, both born in this country.

George Henderson was an early settler in the town of Kortright, where he owned and tilled a farm of about one hundred and fifty acres. He was a worthy, industrious man, a member of the United Presbyterian church. In politics he was a Democrat. Of their children, twelve in all, five are still living namely: Robert Henderson, in Kansas; William and Samuel Henderson, in Kortright; Harvey Henderson, in Kansas; and Anna, the wife of Robert Rice, of Harpersfield. The father died on his farm at seventy years of age. His wife departed this life when about sixty-eight. Their son James, the father of Mrs. Leonard, was born in Kortright, June 4, 1822, and grew to manhood on his father's farm. He improved his opportunities at the district school so well that he became a teacher. After spending several years as a schoolmaster, he became a farmer and stock dealer, in which line he was very successful. September 12, 1853, he married Nancy McNeilly, a daughter of Andrew and Eliza (Morrow) McNeilly, born in Down County, Ireland, February 5, 1830.

Andrew McNeilly came to America with his family in 1841, and settled as a farmer in the town of Harpersfield, in Delaware County. Here he remained fifteen years. Then he sold his farm, and moved to Kortright, where his last years were spent at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Henderson. It was not until the great age of eighty-nine was reached that he departed this life; but his wife had been taken many years before, when about fifty-two. Mr. McNeilly was an Elder in the Presbyterian church, and his wife was a member of the same religious organization. Seven of their children are still living. Their entire family consisted of nine boys and girls, namely: Mrs. William Hazlett, of East Meredith; Mrs. Andrew Gibson, of Davenport; Mrs. James Rowland, of West Kortright; Mrs. Michael SexSmith, of Kortright Centre; Mrs. Henry SexSmith, deceased, late of Walton; Mrs. Henderson; Adam McNeilly, of California; Mrs. John Wilsey, of Iowa; and William McNeilly, who met with an accident which proved fatal, when he was thirteen years old.

Mr. Henderson's residence was known as "the White House," because it was the first so painted in Kortright. Mr. Henderson bought his first land in the town of Kortright, where at the time of his death he possessed five hundred acres, and had at one time owned eight hundred. In 1874 he moved to the farm where his last days were spent; and his death took place November 29, 1890, when he was about sixty-eight. He was a man of great energy and industry, and very successful in business. He was a member of the Presbyterian church at West Kortright, of which his wife is also a communicant. In politics he was a Republican. The home farm, consisting of three hundred acres, is still carried on in the most successful manner by his widow. She has a fine dairy, where the best of butter is made, and keeps a herd of thirty graded cattle. In all respects her farm is in excellent condition, and her home is most comfortable and attractive. Mr. Henderson was the father of ten children, nine of whom are still living. William Henderson , now in Iowa, was the only child of the first marriage, his mother being Nancy Harkness, who lived but a short time. Andrew Henderson died at one year of age. Andrew M. Henderson lives at North Kortright. Emma E. is the wife of Howard Mitchell, of East Meredith. George Henderson is in Colorado. John Henderson lives in East Meredith. Jessie M. Henderson is in Kortright. C. Irving Henderson and M. Florence Henderson lives at home.

Dr. Rutson Rudolph Leonard and his wife now live in the village of Bloomville, his inherited and acquired skill as a physician bringing him a very large practice. He is the proprietor of a drug store, where a full line of drugs are constantly in stock. He owns a business block, erected in the fall of 1892, which contains three stories besides his own, also two halls- Leonard Hall, for public meetings, and a larger hall for dancing, measuring thirty by forty-five feet, the only halls in the village. Dr. Leonard, through liberal in his religious views, leans toward the doctrines of the Baptist church, his wife being a member of the Presbyterian church. Politically, he is a member of the Masonic Lodge, No. 630, of Gilboa, an Odd Fellow in the Delaware Valley Lodge, No. 612, of Bloomville, and also belongs to the Royal Encampment of Oneonda, No. 112. He has been the Noble Grand of the Lodge, and was one of its originators and charter members. He is a most valuable member of the Delaware and Schoharie County Medical Societies. Though still a young man, Dr. Leonard's prominence and success are already so marked the a brilliant career is predicted for him.


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