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Henry Leonard

Birthplace: Prob. Pontypool, Torfaen, Wales, United Kingdom
Death: September 18, 1691 (68-77)
Taunton, Bristol County, MA, United States
Place of Burial: Monmouth, New Jersey, British Colonial America
Immediate Family:

Son of Thomas Leonard and Elizabeth Leonard
Husband of Hannah Leonard and Mary Leonard
Father of Samuel Leonard; Susannah Morford; Nathaniel Leonard; Henry Leonard; Thomas Leonard and 3 others
Brother of James Leonard, of Taunton; Margery Leonard; May Mary Leonard; Thomas Leonard; Joan Leonard and 5 others

Occupation: Ironworks manager
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Henry Leonard


From A Concise History of the Iron Manufacture of the American Colonies Up to the ...By John Barnard Pearse. Page 24:

The latter established works at Hammersmith, Braintree, and Raynham, now Taunton. These works were erected and managed by a family of Leonards, who came from Pontypool, in Monmouthshire, and were remarkable for longevity and promotion to office. James and Henry Leonard were at Hammersmith in 1642, at Braintree in 1646, at Raynham in 1652, where they are reported to have built the first forge in America, and at Rowley village in 1668. In 1652 Henry went to New Jersey, where he was one of the first to set up iron-works. In Massachusetts the proverb took root, "where you can find an ironworks you will find a Leonard."
Rev. Dr. Fobes, in his history of Raynham, written in 1793, states that "the first adventurers from England to this country who were skilled in the forge-iron manufacture were two brothers, James and Henry Leonard. They came to this town in the year 1652, which was about two years after the first settlers had planted themselves upon this spot, and in the year 1652 these Leonards here built the first forge in America. * * * This forge was situated on the great road, and having been repaired from generation to generation, it is to this day still in employ

From []

Samuel Leonard, son of Henry, from Massachusetts, was born about 1645, married Sarah Brooks, and moved to New Jersey 1675-6. He had Sons Henry, John, Samuel, Jr., James and Thomas, and a daughter, known afterwards as Mrs. Walker. ...

Birth: 1618
Monmouthshire, Wales Death: 1695 Middletown Monmouth County New Jersey, USA

Family links:

 Mary Russell Leonard (1624 - 1675)


 Sarah Leonard Throckmorton (1660 - 1743)*

*Calculated relationship

Burial: Unknown

Thomas Leonard-father of American /immigrants/



England===The birth dates and location(s) for Henry Leonard and brother James, two of the earliest members of the New England iron refining industry, are unknown. Henry's birth year is inferred from a deposition he gave in 1655 "at the age of 37 or thereabouts."<ref name=Lewis>Lewis, Alonzo and Newhall, James. History of Lynn, Essex County Massachusetts, 1629-1824. Lynn, MA: Bookstore of George C. Herbert, 1890.Page 207.</ref> Their father Thomas, an iron worker, moved the family several times throughout England and possibly Wales. Henry may have come to New England after working at Pontypool, but the earliest evidence ofhis father was in Cleobury Mortimer, Shropshire. Henry could also have been working in Staffordshire where brother James' first child was born.<ref>"England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975", database, FamilySearch ( : 19 March 2020), Thomas Leonard, 1641.</ref> (The primary source of information regarding the Leonard family parent and sibling relationships is James' daughter, Hannah Leonard Deane.)<ref>Deane, William Reed. Genealogical Memoir of the Leonard Family. Boston, MA: Self-Published for the New England Historic-Genealogical Register, 1851. Page 21.</ref>

Leonards and the New England Iron Industry===A group of investors led by John Winthrop Jr. spearheaded efforts to build the first iron works in New England at Braintree. <ref name=Bowman>Bowman, Robert E. "Glimpses into the English and Continental Ancestry of Certain Braintree and and Saugus Ironworkers of about 1650." The Essex Genealogist, Volume 20. 2018. Page 63. (Online database., New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2018.)</ref>The land was purchased in September of 1645, with the furnace likely built the following year. It is unknown when the Leonard brothers arrived, but it is thought that Henry Leonard superintended the erection ofthe Braintree Iron Works.<ref name=Swank>Swank, James M. History of the Manufacture of Iron in All Ages, and Particularly in the United States from Colonial Times to 1891. Philadelphia, PA: The American Iron and Steel Association, 1892. Page 113.</ref> A larger operation was built at Lynn on the Saugus River and Henry and James were some of the most skilled and highest paid workers.<ref>Griswold, William and Linebaugh, Donald. Saugus Iron Works. The RolandW. Robbins Excavations, 1948-1953. Saugus Iron Works National Historic Site. Page 44.</ref>

In October of 1652, the Plymouth Colony town of Taunton offered the Leonard brothers "free consent to come hither, and join with certain of our inhabitants to set up a bloomery work on the Two Mile River."<ref>Baylies, Francis. An Historical Memory of the Colony of New Plymouth.Vol II. Boston, MA: Hilliard, Gray, Little, and Wilkins.1830. Page 268.</ref> The brothers agreed, but their role seems to have been that of skilled workers, with James owning a one-half share and Henry owning none.<ref> Swank, 1892. 114.</ref> James remained at the Taunton iron works and his sons attained positions of management there.<ref name=Bowman2>Bowman, Robert E. "Glimpses into the English and Continental Ancestry of Certain Braintree and and Saugus Ironworkers of about 1650." The Essex Genealogist, Volume 20. 2018. Page 76. (Online database., New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2018.)</ref>
Henry's tenure at Taunton was short-lived and by 1653 he was back at Lynn. Court records from Essex County show that Henry and his family's legacy there is less than virtuous. The first we learn of his wife is when she and another woman were fined in September of 1659 "for scolding and speaking opprobrious words to their neighbors."<ref>Dow, Francis. Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County Massachusetts Volume I 1636-1656. Salem, MA: Essex Institute, 1911. Page 174.</ref> In the early years of theirresidence, the Leonards were at Court for infractions such as defamation,<ref>Dow, Francis. Volume I, 1911. Page 198.</ref> battery,<ref> Dow, Francis. Vol. I, 1911.Page 199.</ref> and violently resisting a deputy marshal while serving a writ.<ref>Dow, Francis. Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County Massachusetts Volume II 1656-1662. Salem, MA: Essex Institute, 1911.Page 98.</ref> Shortly after being awarded the status of Freeman at Lynn in April of 1668,<ref> Vital Records from The NEHGS Register. Online database. New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2014. By Subscription</ref> Henry went to Rowley Village (now Boxford) to establish an iron works.<ref>Swank, 1892. Page 115.</ref> The local farmers and others had realized that a new industry would be both a source of profit and a stimulus to settlement. The works were fundedby a company whose capital stock amounted to about £1,000. Henry wastheir leasee for £200 per year and owned a one-sixteenth interest. He was permitted to move his family into a house which stood on the lands of the ironworks.<ref>Perley, Sidney. "Mining and Quarrying, and Smelting of Ores, in Boxford." Essex Institute Historical Collections, Volume XXV. Salem, MA: Essex Institute, 1889. Page 297.</ref> In 1671-1672 Henry's name appeared in court records as "Manager of the Rowley Village Ironworks" and he was referred to as "Mr. Leonard." He ran the business, contracted with the colliers, made and sold iron and by 1674 was "behind of paying a great pt of the last year's rent and little or no stock provided, and that the sayd Leonard hath left the sd works and has fled for debt, and hath left them in great danger to be burnt..." On April 6, 1674 Henry's wife delivered the lease and the owners took possession of everything.<ref> Perley, 1889 Page 298.</ref> Henry went to New Jersey and sons Nathaniel, Samuel, and Thomas were contracted by the owners to continueoperations.<ref name=Lewis/> The family troubles in Rowley did not depart with Henry. In 1674 the family's maid accused their sons Nathaniel, Samuel, and Thomas of "lascivious carriages" toward her. The community seems to have chosen sides, with accusations of the young men "swimming naked in the mill pond" and their mother Mary Leonard committing adultery.<ref>Hamilton, Marsha L. Social and Economic Networks in Early Massachusetts Atlantic Connections. University Park, PA: The Pennsylvania State University Press,2009. Page 39.</ref> By the summer of 1674 the Leonard sons had so managed to incur the wrath of the dominant group of shareholders that the latter announced that they would suspend operations altogether until more reliable workmen could be found.

New Jersey===In the eventful year of 1674, Henry Leonard made his way to Monmouth County, New Jersey, where the landowners and investors planned to erectNew Jersey's first iron works at Tinton Falls. Eventually Colonel Lewis Morris became the majority shareholder and Henry was the ironmaster. At its peak, Tinton Manor and the iron works contained nearly 6,000acres. The facilities on the property included the forge, blast furnace, gristmills, the manor house, and dwellings for black slaves, white indentured servants, and workmen.<ref>Boyd, Paul D. Atlantic Highlands, From Lenape Camps to Bayside Towns. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing, 2004. Page 52.</ref> Henry and his sons prospered, becoming prominent landholders in the area. The success of Tinton Falls "gives it a special place in history" because it was capitalized and operated without help from England.<refname=Bowman/>

Marriage and Children===Nothing is known about Henry's marriage to Mary and her birth surname is unknown. Their known children are:

  1. Samuel; m Sarah Brooks<ref name=Deane>Deane, 1851. [] Page 22.</ref>
  2. Nathaniel<ref name=Deane/>
  3. Thomas married his wife in Virginia;<ref name=Deane/># Henry b Lynn 14 Jun 1656; died Sep 1657<ref name=Lynn>Vital Records of Lynn Massachusetts to the End of the Year 1849. Salem, MA: Essex Institute, 1905.Page 524.</ref>
  4. Sarah<ref name=Deane/> b Lynn 23 Jun 1663; m Job Throckmorton
  5. Mary<ref name=Deane/> b 13 Jan 1666/7; d Aug 1667<ref name=Lynn/>
  6. John; married A. Almy<ref name=Deane/>
  7. Henry<ref name=Deane/>

Death===The date of Henry's death was not located, nor were any probate records. A quitclaim deed from October 1, 1695 by sons Samuel, Nathaniel, and Thomas cite property "given to them by their father Henry Leonard dec'd in his lifetime.<ref>Nelson, William. Patents and Deeds and Other Early Records of New Jersey 1664-1703. Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing, 1982. Page236.</ref>


<references />*Wikipedia: Taunton Iron Works. []

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Henry Leonard's Timeline

Prob. Pontypool, Torfaen, Wales, United Kingdom
Lynn, Essex, MA, United States
Middletown, Province of East Jersey
June 16, 1651
Lynn, MA
June 14, 1658
Lynn, Essex County, Massachusetts Bay Colony
May 29, 1660
Lynn, Essex County, Massachusetts
Lynn, Essex County, Massachusetts Bay Colony
Lynn, Essex County, Massachusetts
13, 1666
Essex, Essex County, Massachusetts, United States