John Leonard and the French Spoliation Claim

 

 

 

At the western edge of Holy Rood Cemetery is a large tombstone inscribed with these words:

Beneath this stone lie interred the remains of John Leonard Esq., a native of the State of New Jersey in the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, who was taken to his God in the sixty fourth year of his age. He died on the 4th day of May, 1836

The emphatic wording of John Leonard’s epitaph appears to have been intended to set him apart from his father, Joseph Leonard, High Sheriff of the Colony of New Jersey, who would have preferred for New Jersey to have remained a British colony, and whose estates were confiscated by by the victorious rebels at the end of the Revolutionary War.

John Leonard’s life, and the lives of his children and grandchildren, would be marked by a quest to recover some of this lost property, and by a protracted legal process known as the French Spoliation Claim.

 

 

 

John Leonard was baptized in Christ Church, Shrewsbury, New Jersey, on April 6, 1773. Of his early years––most likely in New York––nothing is known.

His first appearance in the records occurs in 1797, when a merchant vessel with a cargo of wine, owned and captained by John Leonard, is seized in the Caribbean by a French privateer, and sold as a prize. Captain Leonard’s Calliope was one of hundreds of vessels taken by privateers during the 1797-1801 “Quasi-War” between the United States and France. Claims by Americans to be indemnified for these “French spoliations” were assumed by the United States as part of the Louisiana Purchase treaty of 1803.

Around 1803 John Leonard entered on a new career, serving as the United States consul in Barcelona. By 1810 Leonard had married Isabella de Roldos.

“Petition to the U.S. Senate by John Leonard of New Jersey re: indemnification for losses by French spoliations prior to 1800, referred.” (National Intelligencer, March 15, 1828)

John Leonard was apparently also pursuing another claim. The Leonard family of Shrewsbury had once owned thousands of acres in New Jersey, and even though some of this had been confiscated during the Revolution, there was enough left to inspire the imagination. During John Leonard’s long absence in Spain, a cousin of his widowed mother constituted himself as her agent; based on the assumption that John Leonard was dead, the cousin obtained a deed to his inheritance.

John Leonard had returned and was taking steps to recover his property when he died. His heirs were Isabel De Roldos Leonard, and his two sons. His widow may have returned to Spain after writing her will––in 1841 her elder son, J.A.B. Leonard, held the same office that his father had held, as U.S. consul in Barcelona––and it is possible she died there.

 

John A.B. Leonard

John A.B. Leonard, John Leonard’s oldest son, married Susan O’Neal, the widow of James Peter––grandson of Robert Peter, first mayor of Georgetown. Her children by her first marriage were Sallie Johns Peter, and John C. Calhoun Peter.

Susan Leonard owned a small farm in Poolesville, but she and her sisters, Ellen and Rose, had grown up in Washington, where they were acquainted with numerous politicians, including John C. Calhoun, and later, James Buchanan. It was through this Democratic party connection that, in 1859, John A.B. Leonard briefly held the position of Secretary to the President, to sign land patents––a position that ended when Abraham Lincoln was elected.

In the early days of the Civil War, Susan’s sister, Rose O’Neal Greenhow drew attention to herself by activities on behalf of the Confederacy, and was arrested. Susan Leonard was also briefly arrested, but released. Finally, John A.B. Leonard was arrested, on a charge of disloyalty.

The town commissioner of Rockville, Maryland, asked Francis P. Blair, Sr. to intervene (May 24, 1863): “Col. Leonard is an educated, polished gentleman, but an exceedingly giddy, thoughtless man in his manner of talking; And although seemingly ever active in public affairs exerts no sort of controlling influence over the actions of others, and is not dangerous to the government.”

An 1864 list of “State or Political Prisoners Confined” at Camp Chase, Ohio included John A. B. Leonard, arrested March 17, 1863 on a charge of disloyalty. (National Intelligencer, January 5, 1864)

John A.B. Leonard died between 1870 and 1874. His wife is not mentioned in his will, and may have died earlier; likewise her son, John C. Calhoun Peter. The only surviving heir of John A.B. Leonard was his adopted daughter, Sallie Johns Peter.

 

 

Francis DePuyster Leonard

 

John A.B. Leonard’ younger brother was Francis DePuyster N. I. Leonard.  (The Leonard family had a penchant for inexplicable initials.)  In 1860 he was a professor of languages in Shrewsbury, New Jersey, with wife and five children (including a daughter, Isabella, born in the District of Columbia, circa 1850). He had already interested himself in his father’s claim:

“House of Representatives: Petition of Francis D.P. Leonard, son and heir of John Leonard, asking indemnity for French spoliations between 1795 and 1800.” (National Intelligencer, May 19, 1850)

For many years there was no forward motion. Finally, in 1885, Congress empowered the United States Court of Claims to hear evidence relating to outstanding French Spoliations claims.

Wealth in Prospective.––People of this County Who Have Government Claims.––“Francis de P. Leonard, of Front street, also has a claim against the government for property destroyed.” “Mr. Leonard states that the original claim was for about $70,000, but that if interest be added the claim will amount to upwards of $850,000. He is the only heir.” (The Red Bank [NJ] Register, January 28, 1885)

A Ring Instead of An Estate: Mr. Leonard Forgave, but Did Not Forget His Stepdaughter’s Desertion.––“Two wills of John A.B. Leonard were yesterday filed with the Register. The first was made in 1867, and left his entire estate to his stepdaughter and adopted daughter, Sallie J. Peter. The next was executed in 1870 and ignores the lady entirely. In this will, after bequeathing his estate to his brother Francis De P. N.I. Leonard and his wife, he directs that sufficient shall be set aside for the purchase of a mourning ring. The ring is to be presented to his stepdaughter, Sallie J. Peter, and worn by her in memory of him as a token of his forgiveness, but not forgetfulness of her desertion of deceased in the hours of his poverty and distress, as he states.” (Washington Post, September 26, 1885)

 

Was The Will Forged?––“In the case of Sallie J. Peters against Francis Leonard, in which two documents, each purporting to be the will of the late John A.B. Leonard, are brought up for the consideration, now on trial before Judge Merrick, some interesting testimony was yesterday introduced. The first paper, dated December 26, 1867, leaves the entire estate to the testator’s stepdaughter, Sallie J. Peters, whom he names as executrix, while the second document, dated November 15, 1870, names Francis Leonard as executor, and leaves the estate to him and the wife of the testator and a brother. Testimony was introduced by Messrs. Hamilton and Johns, who represented Sallie J. Peters, to show that after the date of the second will John B. Leonard expressed his intention of providing for Sallie J. Peters. Dr. Edward M. Shaefer, microscopist and expert in handwriting, was called, and gave evidence tending to show that the second paper is a forgery. He testified that the ink in the second paper is not yet a year old, and pointed out several differences in the signature.”(Washington Post, March 3, 1888)

The Leonard Will Case.––“The jury in the case of Peter vs. Leonard, in which two wills were presented to the court, each purporting to be the authentic last will and testament of John A.B. Leonard, retired last night with the privilege of returning a sealed verdict. The first will in the favor of Sara and John Peter, and the second leaves the property to Francis Leonard and others, Leonard being named as executor, offsetting the testimony introduced to show that the latter will is a forgery. E.A. Newman put one of the witnesses to the Leonard will on the stand and had the signature of another witness, who has since died, identified. He also introduced evidence to prove that the deceased had expressed his intention of ignoring the plaintiff, saying that she had not treated him well.” (Washington Post, March 6, 1888)

The Leonard Will Case: The First Paper Held to Be the Genuine Document.––“The jury in Justice Merrick’s Court, Circuit Division 2, yesterday returned a verdict in the will case of Sallie Johns Peter against Francis Leonard, stating that a paper dated in 1870 was not the will of the late John A.B. Leonard. The plaintiff, who was John Leonard’s adopted daughter, was bequeathed the bulk of the estate and appointed executrix by a will dated 1867. After John Leonard’s death his son [brother], Francis, the defendant, propounded a paper, dated 1870, as his father’s [brother’s] will. The plaintiff filed a caveat, charging that the 1870 will was a forgery. The main value of the estate is in a French spoliation claim for $80,000.96.” (Washington Post, May 30, 1888)

 

About 1892, Washington attorney Reginald Fendall was appointed as administrator of John Leonard’s estate, and circa 1899, $26,960 was paid out to Fendall. Assuming that half of that went to the estate of the stepniece he had hoped to disinherit, Francis Leonard would have received no more than $13,480, and that amount would certainly have been reduced by legal costs.

Francis Leonard died in 1900. “Mr. Leonard was also versed in law, and although he never sought admission to the bar, he had a number of clients at various times who depended on his counsel and advice. He was largely interested in real estate, and at times he owned much property in Red Bank.” (The Red Bank [NJ] Register, June 13, 1900)

Just before Francis Leonard died the government began to pay the French Spoliation claims, and a third generation of went to court over its inheritance:

A Will To Be Contested.––Opposition to Francis De P. Leonard’s Will.––His son Clement is the Chief Legatee and the Three Other sons Object to the Provisions of the Will, Which Exclude Them.––Francis de Puyster Leonard, who died about a month ago, left property valued at nearly $50,000. He owned some real estate in Red Bank, and a short time before his death he received a considerable sum from the government in connection with the French spoliation claims. The claims have been before the government for very many years. They were due to citizens of the United States on account of injuries inflicted by the French in the early part of this century. The claims have been in litigation almost ever since the damage was done, but it was only within the past year that the contest was ended and the distribution of the claims begun. Mr. Leonard’s share amounted to about $40,000, but of this amount he had to pay out a large proportion for lawyers’ fees and other charges.

Mr. Leonard’s will was made last August. Mr. Leonard left a widow and four sons, the sons being Clement de Roldo, Benjamin, Frank and John. Mr. Leonard left to his wife the usual dower rights, but it was left to the discretion of his son Clement as to when and how these payments of dower should be made. The rest of the estate was bequeathed to Clement, and it was left to his discretion to say whether or not the other sons should get anything.

The other natural heirs of the estate have filed objections to the will and these objections will probably be argued before Judge Collins and a jury. While the suit over the will is going on an administrator of the estate will have to be appointed to take charge of Mr. Leonard’s estate. Clement has made application to the court to be appointed administrator. As he is the oldest son and is also the chief beneficiary under the will, it is probable that he will be appointed on filing a bond in sufficient amount, as required by law.

(The Red Bank [NJ] Register, Wednesday, July 4, 1900

 

 

 

The Will of Sallie Johns Peter

 

Congress had not paid the generous interest Francis Leonard had imagined, and he only received $13,480––a fraction of what he had expected––and that amount had been substantially reduced by legal fees.

It is unknown whether his brother’s heir, Sallie Johns Peter––whose lawyers drafted her will at the conclusion of the “Leonard Will Case”––lived to see the other half; she died in 1897. Her will left her estate, “including any interest which I may have or acquire under the will of John A.B. Leonard, late of the District of Columbia, deceased, in and to any claim or claims known as the French Spoliation Claims” to her “dearly loved friend Leonide Delarue, of Washington”.

Sallie Peter had been a boarder for many years at 1235 Pennsylvania Avenue, where Leonide Delarue and her mother operated a well-known fancy goods shop, dealing in French perfumes, hats, gloves, and lace. Delarue was also active in Catholic charitable work; for years she had distributed relief for the poor from the rear of the store. She is credited with having inspired the creation of the Christ Child Society (1884), which began with “a gift to the poorest baby in Washington, sent from the Christ Child”.

No evidence has been found that, a full century after a ship loaded with wine was commandeered at sea, any portion of its value was paid out to Sallie Peter’s sole heir, Madame Delarue.

 

 

 

NOTES AND SOURCES

 

Joseph Leonard, Loyalist

 

Joseph Leonard had been High Sheriff of the Colony of New Jersey, and his property was confiscated for having joined “the Army of the King of Great Britain” in New York in 1777. In New York, unfortunately, his property was only safe until 1783, when British forces evacuated the city; between 1784 and 1787 his remaining property was confiscated. Joseph Leonard probably died in New York, some time between November 30, 1779 (when his will was made), and October 4, 1786 (when his will was proved).

 

(New-Jersey Gazette, May 5, 1779; Elmer T. Hutchinson, Calendar of New Jersey Wills, 1781-1785, Heritage Books, 2008, p.245. See also: Christ Church of Shrewsbury Marriages, 1734-1824; Monmouth Co., NJ, USGenWeb Archives; Franklin Ellis, History of Monmouth County, New Jersey, 1885; Cornelius Burnham Harvey, Genealogical History of Hudson and Bergen Counties, New Jersey, 1900; Alexander Clarence Flick, Loyalism in New York During the American Revolution, 1901, p.154)

 

See also:

http://slic.njstatelib.org/slic_files/imported/NJ_Information/Digital_Collections/NJInTheAmericanRevolution1763-1783/8.11.pdf

 

http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=AHN&db=bartstam&id=I10674)

 

 

 

 

John Leonard, Patriot

 

John Leonard’s father married Magdalene Gumbauld, in Christ Church, Shrewsbury, New Jersey, September 14, 1766; John Leonard was baptized in Christ Church, Shrewsbury, New Jersey, April 6, 1773.

 

(His siblings were: William, baptized 1768; Ann Frances, baptized 1770; Henry, baptized 1774; and Thomas [no date given]; John E. Stillwell, Historical & Genealogical Miscellany, Data Relating to the Settlement & Settlers of New York & New Jersey (1903), 1:195-199)

 

Of John Leonard’s early years––most likely in New York––nothing is known. His first appearance in the records occurs in 1797, when the brig Calliope, a merchant vessel owned and captained by the 25-year-old John Leonard, and bound from Teneriffe to Curacao or St. Barts with a cargo of wine, is seized in the Caribbean by the French frigate Dragut (Gabot, commander) and sold as a prize. Captain Leonard’s Calliope was one of hundreds of vessels taken by privateers during the 1797-1801 “Quasi-War” between the United States and France.

 

Claims by Americans to be indemnified for these “French spoliations” were assumed by the United States as part of the Louisiana Purchase treaty of 1803.

(Extracts from the Records of Basseterre, Guadaloupe [Lesser Antilles], 28th of Ventose, 5th Republican year [1797: State Papers and Publick Documents of the United States, 1797, Thomas B. Wait & Sons, Boston, 1815, p. 507; Digested Summary and Alphabetical Lists of Private Claims Which Have Been Presented to the House of Representatives, and Lists of Private Claims Brought Before the Senate of the United States.)

 

Digested Summary and Alphabetical Lists of Private Claims Which Have Been Presented to the House of Representatives, and Lists of Private Claims Brought Before the Senate of the United States, p. 237

 

 

Late in 1803 John Leonard entered on a new career, having been appointed by James Madison to serve as the United States consul in Barcelona. (Senate Exec. Proceedings, 1:459).

“My connections & standing in commercial business rendering such an appointment more than commonly advantagious to myself, and affording opportunities of performing its Duties in a manner (as I trust) peculiarly satisfactory & useful to my Countrymen, I have determined to solicit … the American consulship for Barcelona.” Was apprenticed to a respectable mercantile house in Philadelphia and embarked “at an early age” for Europe, where he gained insights into the laws and regulations of trading nations. Conducted “a minute & active research” into the commercial policy, ordinances, and customs of Spain. Has rendered “essential aids & services” to Americans embarrassed in Spanish ports through ignorance of the local language and customs “and in many cases from the want of sympathy & Zeal of those entrusted with the consular functions.” Does not mean to censure U.S. agents in Spain. Is aware how seldom American merchants settle there and of the necessity of appointing foreigners.

(To James Madison from John Leonard, ca. 1 March 1803 (Abstract): The Papers of James Madison, Secretary of State Series, vol. 4, 8 October 1802 – 15 May 1803, ed. Mary A. Hackett, J. C. A. Stagg, Jeanne Kerr Cross, Susan Holbrook Perdue, and Ellen J. Barber. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1998, pp. 363–364)

 

 

 

Letter from George William Erving (1769–1850), Chargé d'Affaires of the United States in Spain (1804-1809), to John Leonard, United States consul in Barcelona, June 1, 1808. (Scanned by Neil Kaplan)

Letter from George William Erving (1769–1850), Chargé d’Affaires of the United States in Spain (1804-1809), to John Leonard, United States consul in Barcelona, June 1, 1808. (Scanned by Neil Kaplan)

 

Letter from George William Erving (1769–1850), Chargé d'Affaires of the United States in Spain (1804-1809), to John Leonard, United States consul in Barcelona, June 1, 1808. (Scanned by Neil Kaplan)

Letter from George William Erving (1769–1850), Chargé d’Affaires of the United States in Spain (1804-1809), to John Leonard, United States consul in Barcelona, June 1, 1808. (Scanned by Neil Kaplan)

 

Letter from George William Erving (1769–1850), Chargé d'Affaires of the United States in Spain (1804-1809), to John Leonard, United States consul in Barcelona, June 1, 1808. (Scanned by Neil Kaplan)

Letter from George William Erving (1769–1850), Chargé d’Affaires of the United States in Spain (1804-1809), to John Leonard, United States consul in Barcelona, June 1, 1808. (Scanned by Neil Kaplan)

 

 

By 1810 Leonard had married Isabella de Roldos.

 

In 1815 dispatches passed between President James Monroe and John Leonard, in Alicante, Spain.  (Daniel Preston, A Comprehensive Catalogue of the Correspondence and Papers of James Monroe, Vol. 2, 2001.

 

“Petition to the U.S. Senate by John Leonard of New Jersey re: indemnification for losses by French spoliations prior to 1800, referred.” (National Intelligencer, March 15, 1828)

 

“John Leonard, of New Jersey, appointed to be U.S. Consul for the port of St. Jago de Cuba, Cuba, v. Thomas Backus, deceased.” (National Intelligencer, January, 1833)

 

“Died: yesterday in Georgetown, John Leonard, a native of New Jersey, for many years Consul at Barcelona. Funeral from the house of Mrs. Childs on Bridge st., Georgetown, at 4pm.”

(National Intelligencer, May 5, 1836; Trinity Church Death Register, p.68: Trinity Church Upper Grave Yard, lot 5, east of no. 2)

 

Holy Rood Cemetery Records, Box 3, folder 1: College Burial Ground Records, 1817-1840 (which includes early Trinity Church Upper Grave Yard burials), p.112, Lot No.5:

“Mrs. Leonard the relict of Mr. John Leonard takes lot No.5… the entrance is on the Alley East of the lot No.5 which lies east of lot No.2 occupied by Mr. Carroll.  May 4th, 1836”

 

 

National Archives

 

Additional information re: Leonard, John, ship Calliope, 1797, may be contained in the following Record Groups:

 

Record Group 123: Records of the United States Court of Claims.  Many case files contain correspondence and evidence relating to claims presented to the court under the act of Congress of January 20, 1885.  There are also two lists of claimants in the finding aids for RG 123.  One is arranged by claimant, another is arranged by vessel name.  The vessel list includes the claim numbers, which are needed in order to request the records.

Record Group 60: General Records of the Department of Justice, Letters Concerning French Spoliation Cases and Other Matters, July 21, 1899-February 21, 1902.

Record Group 76: Records of International Boundary and Claims Commissions and Arbitrations.  Records Relating to International Claims Commissions, Preliminary Inventory No. 177, is a good starting point for anyone interested in doing research in these records.

Record Group 39: Records of the Bureau of Accounts, includes several small series concerning the claims.  One small entry, Register of Claims Against France, 1805-1806, in

Record Group 53: “Old Loans” Records of the Bureau of Public Debt, includes a register of payments made on the French spoliation claims.

 

 

Will of John Leonard

 

Written March 13, 1836, filed May 7, 1836

Administration or Testamentary letters filed:

July 21, 1840, September 25, 1885, June 17, 1926

(DC Archives)

 

“John Leonard, of Georgetown, D.C., formerly consul at Barcelona”: property to be divided into three equal parts: first to Isabella de Roldos Leonard; second to oldest son, John A. B. Leonard; third to youngest son Francis N.I. Leonard. Youngest son Francis N.I. Leonard to come into share of property on the day when he arrives at age 21 years, and that, in the mean time, his mother be his guardian. Executors: Isabella De Roldos Leonard, wife; sons John A.B. and Francis N.I. Leonard. Witnesses: William M. Gouge, John William de Krafft.

(DC Archives, box 13; Wesley Pippenger, District of Columbia Probate Records, 1801-1852, p.203)

 

(William M. Gouge (Philadelphia, PA, 1796-Trenton, NJ, 1863), Dept. of the Treasury (1834-1862); John William de Krafft, Dept. of the Treasury.)

 

“Orphans Court of Washington County, D.C., letters of administration de bonis non, with will annexed, on the personal estate of John Leonard, late of said county, D.C.––W.A. Bradley, administrator de bonis non w. a.” (National Intelligencer, June 23, 1840)

 

(The probate court appointed a second administrator––de bonis non, “of the goods” not administered––of an estate not fully settled, because the executor or administrator was dead, had absconded, or been removed.)

About 1892, Washington attorney Reginald Fendall was appointed as administrator of John Leonard’s estate, and circa 1899, $26,960 was paid out to Fendall.

(FIFTY-FIFTH CONGRESS. Sess. III. Ch. 426. 1899. 1199: Paid to Reginald Fendall, administrator of the estate of John Leonard: twenty-six thousand nine hundred and sixty dollars, “on brig Calliope, John Leonard, master”.)

 

 

 

Will of Isabel Leonard

 

Written November 19, 1841, filed April 17, 1885

(DC Archives)

 

Heirs, equal shares to sons John B. Leonard, Francis Leonard

and “niece Antonetta De Roldos, who now lives with me”.

Executor: friend, Thomas Carbery;

Witnesses: Ruth Carbery, Catherine Carbery, Mary Eliza Carbery.

 

(The list of witnesses in the Carbery household suggests where the widow Leonard may have lived. Thomas Carbery, Jr., Mayor of Washington (1822-24), had a house on 17th street, Carbery House, and an estate off Seventh Street Road in the northernmost section of the District of Columbia. In 1840 he also inherited Cincinnati, at 2500 Foxhall Road, NW.)

 

Letters for “Mrs. Isabella Leonard” were periodically advertised––“Ladies with letters in the Washington Post Office”––between 1841 and 1845. (e.g. National Intelligencer, December 1, 1841)

 

It is possible that Isabella DeRoldos Leonard returned to Spain after writing her will––in 1841 her son, J.A.B. Leonard, was U.S. consul, Barcelona––and it is possible she died there. (The American Almanac and Repository of Useful Knowledge, 1842).

 

 

 

John A.B. Leonard

 

John A.B. Leonard, John Leonard’s oldest son, married Susan Henrietta O’Neale Peter, in Montgomery County, December 1839. She was the widow of James Peter (1811-1836)––son of David Peter, grandson of Robert Peter, first mayor of Georgetown. Her children by her first marriage were Sarah (Sallie) Johns Peter, born circa 1834; and John C. Calhoun Peter, born circa 1836.

 

(Janet Thompson Manuel, Marriage Licenses, Montgomery County, Maryland, 1798-1898, 1987; Dr. William Turner Wootton, Paper Presented by Dr. Wootton to the Historical Society of Frederick County, Montgomery County Historical Society Library, undated; Mary Charlotte Crook, Rose O’Neale Greenhow, Confederate Spy, Montgomery County Historical Society, Vol. 32, No. 2, May 1989)

 

Mary Ann O’Neale, Abstract of Will, LW f. 386, November 16, 1839; L4 p.158, December 31, 1839: Legatees include: Susan Peter, widow of James Peter, and infant children of Susan Peter: Sarah Johns Peter, John Calhoun Peter.

Executor to collect legacy left to Anna O’Neale by testator’s brother Henry Eleanor Bucy – deed to land which she purchased from testator William Chiswell and James Higgins, Jr. – confirm her verbal contract to them for remaining part of land below Rockville on north side of road leading from Georgetown. Ex: Friend William Chiswell

(Abstracts of Wills, 1826-1875, page 115, Sween Library, Rockville, Montgomery County, Maryland)

 

Washington, D.C.––Insolvent debtor, John A.B. Leonard, has applied to be discharged from imprisonment.––William Brent, Clerk. (National Intelligencer, December 14, 1840)

 

1840, J. A. B. Leonard nominated to be consul of the United
States at Barcelona. (National Register)

 

Senate Executive Journal, June 23, 1840: The following messages were received from the President of the United States, by Mr. Van Buren, his secretary: I nominate to the Senate J. A. B. Leonard to be consul of the United States at Barcelona, in Spain, in the place of Joseph Borras, to whom the Spanish Government has declined issuing an exequatur.

 

1841, J.A.B. Leonard, consul, Barcelona

(The American Almanac and Repository of Useful Knowledge, 1842)

 

1842, P. Pou appointed consul at Barcelona vice J.A.B. Leonard.

(National Intelligencer, September 7, 1842)

 

John B. Leonard, Susan H. Leonard, Sarah Peter, Calhoun Peter, “residing in Montgomery County”. (National Intelligencer, May 19, 1846)

 

1850 US Census, Medley District, Montgomery County, Maryland:
John A. B. Leonard, 39, farmer, born New Jersey;
Wife: Susan, 38, born Maryland, value of real estate $1400;

Sarah Johns Peter, 16, born Maryland;
John Calhoun Peter, 14, born Maryland

 

Why John A.B. Leonard is hereafter referred to by the honorific title “Colonel”: ”Proceedings of the Maryland Constitutional Reform Convention. Annapolis, Feb. 11, 1851.––John A.B. Leonard, [appointed] Justice of the Peace, Montgomery county, vice Howard Griffith, declined.” (Baltimore Sun, February 12, 1851, p.1)

 

1856, J.A.B. Leonard, delegate to the Democratic Convention from Poolesville, Maryland. (Official Proceedings of the National Democratic Convention, Held in Cincinnati, Ohio, June 2-6, 1856)

 

Col. John A.B. Leonard appointed Secretary to the President, to sign land patents, General Land Office. (Montgomery County Sentinel, April 22, 1859)

 

Mr. John A.B. Leonard, of Maryland, by the President, to act as his secretary to sign land patents, vice T.J. Albright, resigned. (Baltimore Sun, May 12, 1859)

 

The president was authorized to appoint a secretary to sign the president’s name on patents. Susan Leonard’s sister, Rose O’Neal Greenhow was close to President Buchanan.

 

Col. John A.B. Leonard, J.C.C. Peter mentioned. (Montgomery County Sentinel, August 3, 1860)

 

Arrests: Mrs. Susan Leonard, wife of Col. J.A.B. Leonard, of this county, arrested in the District of Columbia by the Provost Guard; released. (Montgomery County Sentinel, May 30, 1862)

 

“The woman calling herself Morris certified that I had furnished the means, through my sister, Mrs. Leonard, for the escape, &c., thereby causing the arrest and detention of my sister for several days. She demanded to be brought before the Secretary of War, when the Assistant-Secretary Watson informed her that the charge had been made against her by this woman; at the same time he released her from custody. I saw my sister but once afterwards, when she left the city as no longer a safe place for her.” (Greenhow, Rose O’Neal, My Imprisonment, and the First Year of Abolition Rule at Washington, 1863, p.251)

 

J.A.B. Leonard and Samuel L. Gloyd of this county arrested by the military last week. Leonard accused of assisting Stuart when he made the raid in the fail of 1862. (Montgomery County Sentinel, March 20, 1863)

 

March 17, 1863, J.A.B. Leonard arrested and confined in the Old Capitol Prison, accused of assisting Stuart during a raid in the fail of 1862, of harboring Confederate officers, and of drilling White’s guerillas before they entered the service. (Report from the Evening Star, Montgomery County Sentinel, May 30, 1863)

 

 

 

(Private)

Rockville, May 4, 1863.

 

F.P. Blair, Esqr.

Dear Sir,

After reflecting over the conversation between us about Col. Leonard, I conclude it best simply to address a letter to you yourself, as a foundation of your action; believing as I do, his only chance of present relief is in your influence. I fear from what I hear his wife, who is almost as giddy as himself, has written a very foolish letter to Secretary Stanton on the subject, but it may not amount to anything at last. His affairs at home are going to ruin, and his family are suffering greatly, from his absence. I truly hope you may be able to affect his speedy release. Your son, the Postmaster General, has been unceasing in his efforts to alleviate the hardships thrown on our people by the war, and will be gratefully remembered by them, and I would have applied to him in this case, as in others heretofore, but for the reasons stated to you when I saw you last, I think it best to leave the whole matter to your own engineering.

 

Yours,

W. Veirs Bouic

 

(Letter, May 4, 1863, from William Veirs Bouic, town commissioner of Rockville, Maryland, to Francis P. Blair, Sr.: Bouic Papers (Blair-Lee Papers), Manuscripts Division, Princeton University Library)

 

 

 

 

Rockville, May 24, 1863.

 

F.P. Blair, Esqr.

Dear Sir,

Col. John A. B. Leonard, a gentleman of this county has remained in prison for several months, under the action of the military Authorities of the Government. I am informed he is in the Old Capitol. What the offense with which he is charged is, I have no personal knowledge, but I learn from others, it is for harboring, and aiding rebels. The facts, I understand, are, that a young man, a relation of his wife, was found at his residence, near Poolesville in the upper part of this County, and a few miles from the Potomac river. This young man is said to have been in the Confederate army, and was then a paroled prisoner awaiting an exchange. The facts which lead to the arrest were reported to the Military authorities by a man once in the rebel army himself, and then acting as a Federal detective.

Col. Leonard is an educated, polished gentleman, but an exceedingly giddy, thoughtless man in his manner of talking; And although seemingly ever active in public affairs exerts no sort of controlling influence over the actions of others, and is not dangerous to the government. He is a Democrat, but has never filled a political office, nor been a leader of public sentiment. His avocation is farming, [he] has a family, and is in very moderate circumstances, His wife is the Aunt of Judge Douglass. His father was a Mexican and for many years United States Consul at Havana in Cuba.

I have had no communication with him since his arrest, but I have no doubt he will rightly appreciate such efforts as you may be able to make to get him released. It does seem to me, that the action of the Government towards persons living just along the borders, and subject to injuries from the raids of the Confederates, ought not to be carried to great extremes. Col. Leonard has already paid pretty severely for his conduct, and I hope you will be able to induce the authorities to release him.

 

Yours,

W. Veirs Bouic

 

 

(Letter, May 24, 1863, from William Veirs Bouic, town commissioner of Rockville, Maryland, to Francis P. Blair, Sr.: Bouic Papers (Blair-Lee Papers), Manuscripts Division, Princeton University Library)

 

 

 

 

State or Political Prisoners Confined: list transmitted by the Secretary of War to the hon. R.B. Taney, chief Justice and Judge of the U.S. Circuit Court for the Districts of Maryland and Virginia: at Camp Chase, Ohio: John A. B. Leonard and Samuel S. Floyd, Montgomery County, Va., March 17, 1863 [on a charge of disloyalty]. (National Intelligencer, January 5, 1864)

 

Circuit Court of Montgomery County, Maryland, Court of Equity, wherein George W. Riggs and others, complainants, and John A.B. Leonard and Susan H. Leonard, his wife, defendants. Sale of real estate of Mary Ann O’Neal, deceased, late of said county; lot 1 contains about 197 acres with a frame dwelling house; lot 1, 2nd part contains about 30 acres: lands on which the said John A.B. Leonard now resides.––W. Veirs Bouic, Trustee. (National Intelligencer, May 6, 1864)

 

In November of 1864, Union and Confederate authorities exchanged prisoners, and Camp Chase was closed.

 

1865 map of Montgomery County, Sween Library, marked “J.A.B. Leonard” just east of Poolesville, north of Rte. 107, near Chiswell and Poole properties, on the north bank of a stream. This corresponds roughly to north of L.M. Stevens Park, or a field and structure reached by turning south off Cattail Road at about 17000.

 

 

 

 

 

Francis DePuyster Leonard

 

 

Premiums awarded, annual commencement, Georgetown College: “Francis Leonard, Pa.” (National Intelligencer, July 29, 1835)

 

House of Representatives: Petition of Francis D.P. Leonard, son and heir of John Leonard, asking indemnity for French spoliations between 1795 and 1800. (National Intelligencer, May 19, 1850)

 

Francis’s daughter Isabella born Washington DC circa 1850

 

House of Representatives: Memorial of Francis D. Leonard, praying for additional compensation for carrying the mail from Frederick City to Washington: referred. (National Intelligencer, December 24, 1856; February 14, 1857)

 

In 1860, Francis DePuyster Leonard was a professor of languages in Shrewsbury, New Jersey, with a daughter, Isabella, born in the District of Columbia circa 1850.

 

January 20, 1885, Congress enacted a jurisdictional act, empowering the United States Court of Claims to hear and examine evidence relating to outstanding French Spoliations claims.

 

 

 

Wealth in Prospective.––People of this County Who Have Government Claims.––“The signing of the French Spoliation Claim Bill by President Arthur, thus preparing the way for the payment of these claims, has raised the hopes of a number of people in this county that these claims will shortly be paid.”

“Francis de P. Leonard, of Front street, also has a claim against the government for property destroyed. The brig Calliope, which was bound from Teneriffe to Currocoa, loaded with wine, was captured by the French frigate Droguet, and was sold as a prize. The vessel and cargo were owned by John Leonard, Mr. Leonard’s father. John Leonard was a native citizen of the United States and a resident of New Jersey. For many years he was counsel for the United States at the port of Barcelona, in Spain. Mr. Leonard states that the original claim was for about $70,000, but that if interest be added the claim will amount to upwards of $850,000. He is the only heir.”

(The Red Bank [NJ] Register, January 28, 1885)

 

 

Heir to Vast Estates. A Woman Who Claims 30,000 Acres of Land. The Lands Located in Monmouth, Ocean, Middlesex and Somerset Counties––Mrs. Shinkle’s Story––Francis de P. Leonard’s Claim to Lands in Ocean Township.––“For the past two or three weeks the Asbury Park Journal and two or three other papers have contained the following advertisement: The Leonard Lands.––The Leonard family, of Shrewsbury, were possessed of vast estates in New Jersey. The record of the State show conclusively that they never sold but a small portion of these lands, and that the absolute legal title to about 30,000 acres in the counties of Monmouth, Ocean, Middlesex and Somerset, still remains in the family. Mrs. M. E. Shinkle, the only surviving heir who is not disbarred by the law of limitations, will dispose of these lands either in whole or in part to the present occupants or to other purchasers. For full information, legal opinions, etc., address Mrs. M. E. Shinkle, Osborn House, Manasquan, N.J.; or to Geo. H. Blakely, C.E., Lock Box1d, Perth Amboy, N.J.”

“A reporter for this paper called on Mrs. Shinkle for further information in regard to the location of the lands, and to learn of the particulars of her claim. She said she was a direct descendant of the Earl of Sussex, to whom the King of England made a grant of 10,000 acres of land.”

“The reporter was informed that a similar case to Mrs. Shinkle’s had happened once before in the family. Her grandfather had bought a quantity of land in Ohio from the government when that State was a Territory. The land was located near where Cincinnati now stands. The land was afterwards given to his son, Mrs. Shinkle’s uncle.”

“Francis de P. Leonard, a resident of Red Bank, is a representative of the only other Leonard family in this locality. He had never heard of Mrs. Shinkle, but was greatly interested in her story. Mr. Leonard himself claims a large estate in Ocean township along the shore. This property begins at the point formerly known as Manahan’s Fish Landing, and extends south to below Green’s Hotel, and half a mile back into the country. The tract contains from 600 to 800 acres. Mr. Leonard’s claim is founded on an alleged fraudulent deed. At the time this alleged fraudulent deed was given John Leonard, Mr. Leonard’s father, was United States Consul to Barcelona, Spain. His father, Joseph Leonard (Francis de P. Leonard’s grandfather), had died some little time previous, and a cousin of Mr. Leonard’s grandmother named James Searle, had come to this country on a visit to Mrs. Leonard, and had constituted himself as her agent. It was supposed that John Leonard was dead at the time, although the records in the Department of State at Washington show that he was living, and that the Department was receiving consular returns from him regularly.”

“[John Leonard] at once began to take steps to recover his property. He engaged eminent counsel, among them being Samuel L. Southard, afterward Vice President of the United States, and Garret D. Wall, United States Senator from this State. The case was all ready for trial, and was to come up in the June term of [1836]. About a month before court began Mr. Leonard died. This prevented the case from coming up at the time, and before things could be got in shape again to bring suit in the name of Francis de P. Leonard, as heir of John Leonard, Mr. Southard died, and Mr. Wall was stricken down with apoplexy. Matters were then dropped, and have lain quiescent ever since; but Mr. Leonard is now getting his papers in shape, and expects soon to begin suit and have the case pushed to a conclusion.”

(The Red Bank [NJ] Register, July 1, 1885)

 

(Samuel Lewis Southard died 1842; Garret Dorset Wall died 1850)

 

 

French Spoliation Claims: Report of the Secretary of State, 1886: Reports Broadhead and Tuck (S1.2:f88/2).

 

 

 

 

 

The Leonard Will Case

 

“In the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia, holding a Special Term for Orphans’ Court Business, April 17th, 1885: In the matter of the Estate of Isabel Leonard, late of the District of Columbia, deceased.” (Washington Law Reporter, Vol. 13)

 

“In the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia, holding a Special Term for Orphans’ Court Business, July 31st, 1885: In the matter of the Estate of John A.B. Leonard, late of the District of Columbia, deceased.” (Washington Law Reporter, Vol. 13)

 

A Ring Instead of An Estate: Mr. Leonard Forgave, but Did Not Forget His Stepdaughter’s Desertion.––“Two wills of John A.B. Leonard were yesterday filed with the Register. The first was made in 1867, and left his entire estate to his stepdaughter and adopted daughter, Sallie J. Peter. The next was executed in 1870 and ignores the lady entirely. In this will, after bequeathing his estate to his brother Francis De P. N.I. Leonard and his wife, he directs that sufficient shall be set aside for the purchase of a mourning ring. The ring is to be presented to his stepdaughter, Sallie J. Peter, and worn by her in memory of him as a token of his forgiveness, but not forgetfulness of her desertion of deceased in the hours of his poverty and distress, as he states.” (Washington Post, September 26, 1885)

 

Was The Will Forged?––“In the case of Sallie J. Peters against Francis Leonard, in which two documents, each purporting to be the will of the late John A.B. Leonard, are brought up for the consideration, now on trial before Judge Merrick, some interesting testimony was yesterday introduced. The first paper, dated December 26, 1867, leaves the entire estate to the testator’s stepdaughter, Sallie J. Peters, whom he names as executrix, while the second document, dated November 15, 1870, names Francis Leonard as executor, and leaves the estate to him and the wife of the testator and a brother. Testimony was introduced by Messrs. Hamilton and Johns, who represented Sallie J. Peters, to show that after the date of the second will John B. Leonard expressed his intention of providing for Sallie J. Peters. Dr. Edward M. Shaefer, microscopist and expert in handwriting, was called, and gave evidence tending to show that the second paper is a forgery. He testified that the ink in the second paper is not yet a year old, and pointed out several differences in the signature.”(Washington Post, March 3, 1888)

 

The Leonard Will Case.––“The jury in the case of Peter vs. Leonard, in which two wills were presented to the court, each purporting to be the authentic last will and testament of John A.B. Leonard, retired last night with the privilege of returning a sealed verdict. The first will in the favor of Sara and John Peter, and the second leaves the property to Francis Leonard and others, Leonard being named as executor, offsetting the testimony introduced to show that the latter will is a forgery. E.A. Newman put one of the witnesses to the Leonard will on the stand and had the signature of another witness, who has since died, identified. He also introduced evidence to prove that the deceased had expressed his intention of ignoring the plaintiff, saying that she had not treated him well.” (Washington Post, March 6, 1888)

 

The Leonard Will Case: The First Paper Held to Be the Genuine Document.––“The jury in Justice Merrick’s Court, Circuit Division 2, yesterday returned a verdict in the will case of Sallie Johns Peter against Francis Leonard, stating that a paper dated in 1870 was not the will of the late John A.B. Leonard. The plaintiff, who was John Leonard’s adopted daughter, was bequeathed the bulk of the estate and appointed executrix by a will dated 1867. After John Leonard’s death his son [brother], Francis, the defendant, propounded a paper, dated 1870, as his father’s [brother’s] will. The plaintiff filed a caveat, charging that the 1870 will was a forgery. The main value of the estate is in a French spoliation claim for $80,000.96.” (Washington Post, May 30, 1888)

 

Letter From Washington.––The Leonard Will Case.––“On the 16th of June, 1874, the will of John A.B. Leonard, a well-known citizen of Montgomery county, Md., was filed for probate at the regular office here. In the will the deceased devised all his estate to his adopted daughter, Sallie Johns Peter, and made her his executrix. The estate being mainly claims under the French spoliation bill, no action was taken upon it at the time, but later, when the claim seemed of more importance, another will was filed on the 25th of September, 1885. This document, purporting to have been executed at Redbank, N.J., gave the estate of the deceased to his brother, Francis DeP. W. J. Leonard, of that place. It was alleged that this will had been found in a tin box among the effects of Charles H. Trafford, of Fair Haven, N.J. The two wills differed entirely, and as the first will could not be proved while the second stood in the way, a caveat to the latter was filed and the question of its validity considered in the Circuit Court by a jury. The issues tried were: First, was the paper at issue, the last will of J.A.B. Leonard, executed in due form as required by law? Secondly, is the signature to said paper writing the genuine signature of the deceased, John A.B. Leonard? Both these questions were determined in the negative this afternoon.” (Baltimore Sun, May 30, 1888, p.4)

 

 

 

The Two Wills of John A.B. Leonard

 

1.

Will of John A.B. Leonard, “a citizen of Montgomery County, Maryland”

Written in Montgomery County, Maryland, December 26, 1867,

Filed District of Columbia, June 16, 1874

(DC Archives)

 

“All and every kind of property, real, personal and mixed, of which I may be possessed or to which I may become entitled after my death, I leave and bequeath to my step-daughter and adopted daughter Sallie Johns Peter of Montgomery County Maryland, thus constituting her my only heir.

And further I hereby create and constitute her my sole executrix: that is to say, my sole agent to carry out this my last will and testament.”

 

Witnesses:

William S. Jones

Lizzie R. Jones

Annie Linthicum

 

 

2.

“Last Will and Testament of John A.B. Leonard”

Written November 15, 1870, filed September 25, 1885

[Found to be a forgery by verdict of a jury at law 26663]

(DC Archives)

 

“John A.B. Leonard, late of Montgomery County in the state of Maryland, at present residing at Red Bank, Monmouth County, New Jersey… hereby revoking all former wills by me made.”

“Feeling deeply grateful for succor and assistance recently afforded me in my dire necessity by my beloved brother Francis DeP. N. I. Leonard and his wife, I do give grant devise and bequeath unto the said Francis DeP. N. I. Leonard and his said wife Clemence S. Leonard both of Red Bank New Jersey, jointly share and share alike, all of my personal, real and mixed property of which I may die seized or possessed, also my right, title, claim and interest in the French Spoliation claims or any claims that may hereafter be paid or adjusted by the United States government, in which I may be interested at the time of my death, to them the said Leonard and his said wife forever.”

“It is my will and I do order that my executor hereinafter named do cause a sufficient sum of money to be set aside for the purchase of a mourning ring to be presented to my step-daughter, Sallie Johns Peter, and worn by her in memory of me as a token of my forgiveness, but not forgetfulness of her desertion of me in the hours of my poverty and distress.”

“I do appoint my beloved brother Francis DeP. N. I. Leonard my sole executor of this my last Will and Testament.”

Witnesses:

Charles H. Trafford

Clement DeR. Leonard

Both of Red Bank, N.J.

 

 

 

 

 

Will of Francis DePuyster N. I. Leonard

 

 

An Old Resident Dead.––Francis De P. Leonard Dies of Dropsy.––He Also Suffered With Heart Disease––Born, in Spain in 1816, While His Father Was United States Consul at Barcelona.––Francis de P. Leonard of Front street died on Sunday of heart disease and dropsy, aged 84 years. He had been ailing for about two months but had been confined to the house only ten days.

 

Mr. Leonard was born at Barcelona, Spain, his father being the first United States consul to that country. Although born on foreign soil he was of American birth, having been born under the American flag. When Mr. Leonard was fourteen years old the family returned to Washington. The elder Leonard returned frequently to Spain, but Mrs. Leonard and her two sons, Francis and John, remained in this country. The two sons attended college at Georgetown. About 58 years ago Francis and John Leonard came to Shrewsbury, where they boarded with the Hope family. John Leonard died some years ago.

 

In 1845 Francis Leonard married Clemence S. Lippincott, daughter of William Lippincott of Shrewsbury, and they began housekeeping at Red Bank. Soon after his marriage Mr. Leonard and James H. Peters, grandfather of the late James H. Peters, started a hardware business at Red Bank. After the business was started the second James H. Peters, the late James H. Peters’s father, was taken into the firm as a third partner. A few years afterward Mr. Leonard retired from the firm.

Mr. Leonard had studied dentistry and after withdrawing from the hardware firm he engaged – in this profession with the late Dr. Champlin. Later he returned to Washington and for five years was in charge of the United States mail route from that place to Poolsville. After giving up the mail route he taught school at Newark and then came back to Red Bank.

 

Mr. Leonard was a man of rare educational attainments. He could speak the Spanish, French and Latin languages as fluently as he could converse in the English language. After his return to Red Bank be conducted a private school for a number of years, Corlies W. Thompson and Charles H. Applegate of Red Bank having been among his pupils. He also gave private instruction in the languages, the late Benjamin M. Hartshorne of the Highlands being one of his pupils. Mr. Leonard was also versed in law, and although he never sought admission to the bar, he had a number of

clients at various times who depended on his counsel and advice. He was largely interested in real estate, and at times he owned much property in Red Bank.

 

Mr. Leonard leaves a wife and four sons. The sons are Clement deR., Benjamin, John and Frank Leonard. The house in which the children were born was one of the first houses built at Red Bank. Years ago it was moved to the rear of the lot on which the Leonard residence now stands.

 

The funeral was held yesterday morning at nine o’clock at St. James’s church, a requiem mass being celebrated by Rev. James A. Reynolds. The pallbearers were Mr. Leonard’s four sons and Theodore F. White and James E. Degnan. The body was buried in Mt. Olivet cemetery at Headden’s Corner.

(The Red Bank [NJ] Register, June 13, 1900)

 

 

 

 

 

A Will To Be Contested.––Opposition to Francis De P. Leonard’s Will.––His son Clement is the Chief Legatee and the Three Other sons Object to the Provisions of the Will, Which Exclude Them.––Francis de Puyster Leonard, who died about a month ago, left property valued at nearly $50,000. He owned some real estate in Red Bank, and a short time before his death he received a considerable sum from the government in connection with the French spoilation claims. The claims have been before the government for very many years. They were due to citizens of the United States on account of injuries inflicted by the French in the early part of this century. The claims have been in litigation almost ever since the damage was done, but it was only within the past year that the contest was ended and the distribution of the claims begun. Mr. Leonard’s share amounted to about $40,000, but of this amount he had to pay out a large proportion for lawyers’ fees and other charges.

 

Mr. Leonard’s will was made last August. Mr. Leonard left a widow and four sons, the sons being Clement de Roldo, Benjamin, Frank and John. Mr. Leonard left to his wife the usual dower rights, but it was left to the discretion of his son Clement as to when and how these payments of dower should be made. The rest of the estate was bequeathed to Clement, and it was left to his discretion to say whether or not the other sons should get anything.

 

The other natural heirs of the estate have filed objections to the will and these objections will probably be argued before Judge Collins and a jury. While the suit over the will is going on an administrator of the estate will have to be appointed to take charge of Mr. Leonard’s estate. Clement has made application to the court to be appointed administrator. As he is the oldest son and is also the chief beneficiary under the will, it is probable that he will be appointed on filing a bond in sufficient amount, as required by law.

(The Red Bank [NJ] Register, Wednesday, July 4, 1900

 

 

 

 

 

Sallie Johns Peter, Leonide Delarue, and Antoinette Margot

John A.B. Leonard died between 1870 and 1874. His wife is not mentioned in his will, and may have died earlier; likewise her son, John C. Calhoun Peter. The only surviving heir of John A.B. Leonard was his adopted daughter, Sallie Johns Peter, of whom little can be learned, except that in 1880 she boarded with Madame Leonide Delarue, of Washington, whom she later named her sole heir, “including any interest which I may have or acquire under the will of John A.B. Leonard, late of the District of Columbia, deceased, in and to any claim or claims known as the French Spoliation Claims.” It does not appear that Delarue ever benefitted.

Leonide Delarue was also active in Catholic charitable work; for years she had distributed relief for the poor from the rear of the store. She is credited with having inspired the creation of the Christ Child Society (1884).

Antoinette Margot, was, like Sallie Johns Peter, originally also a boarder at Madame Delarue’s. 

 

1858 Directory: Delarue, Marie M., Perfumery & Fancy Goods, 238 Pennsylvania av., h. do.

Madame Delarue’s French Fancy Store, No. 1235 Penna. Avenue, Choice Imported Flowers, Ribbons, and Laces, Spring Hats imported direct from Paris, Straw Hats in endless variety, Fancy Ornaments and Neckwear, Also beautiful Infants’ Caps of the latest designs. (National Republican, April 21, 1879)

 

1880 census, 1235 Pennsylvania Avenue:

Delarue, Margaret, 68, fancy goods dealer, born France

Delarue, Leonide, 37, daughter, at home, born France

Peter, Sarah, 45, boarder, at home, born Maryland, unemployed last 12 months

 

1884 Directory: 1235 Pa. av.

Mme. Delarue

Peter, Sallie J.

 

1884

Mary Virginia Merrick and friends make and deliver the first Christmas layette and answer children’s letters to the Christ Child with gifts marked “from the Christ Child.” (“Truths By Women Who Know––The Christ-Child Society”. Washington Times, July 1, 1914, Home Edition, p.11)

 

Antoinette Margot came to Washington in 1886, lived for a year with Clara Barton until they parted company––apparently over Margot’s conversion to Catholicism––and became another boarder at Leonide Delarue’s house.

 

Will of Sallie Johns Peter, written July 26, 1888, (filed June 23, 1898): “Dearly loved friend Leonide Delarue, of Washington”, sole heir “including any interest which I may have or acquire under the will of John A.B. Leonard, late of the District of Columbia, deceased, in and to any claim or claims known as the French Spoliation Claims.”

Executrix Leonide Delarue, executor George E. Hamilton [of Hamilton and Colbert, attorneys]

 

Transfer of Real Estate: Vesta J. Whiting to Antoinette Margot, for $750, lot 11, block 12, Brookland.

(Washington Post, July 23, 1890)

 

Delarue, Margaret M.

Peter, Sallie J.

Margot, Antoinette, artist

1891 Directory: 1235 Pa. av.

 

“It was in 1891 that Miss Antoinette Margot, whose house was on Bunker Hill road, offered the use of her parlors for a chapel”. (Saint Anthony’s Day––Corner-stone of His New Church Laid at Brookland––Washington Post, February 10, 1896)

 

“In the spring of ’93 a meeting was held, and it was decided to accept the generous offer of Mlle. Antoinette Margot, a French lady of means, who would allow the use of her home, on the Bunker Hill road, as a temporary abode for [St. Anthony’s Chapel].”

(“Brookland’s New Church”. Washington Evening Times, February 8, 1896)

 

Between 1889 and 1891 Leonide Delarue and Antoinette Margot built “Theodoron” (“God’s Gift”) at 709 Michigan Avenue NE. This house was turned over to the parish of St, Anthony of Padua, and the two women built “Villa Marie” at 3415 12th Street NE.

 

Important Notice To Ladies. Madame Delarue’s Stock which was bought at great sacrifices, will be offered for private sale at 605 E St. N.W.––Monday Morning at 10 A.M.––The stock consists of Flowers, Fans, Trimmings of all descriptions––Velvet Silk Ornaments. The stock must be closed out in ten days. Cannot quote prices as Samstag has no prices. Samuel Samstag, Manager of Sale. (Washington Evening Times, November 9, 1895, p. 5)

 

Real estate transfers:

Michael J. Colbert to Antoinette Margot, north half of lots 10, 11, and 12, Block 22, Brookland, $5.

George E. Hamilton et ux to Antoinette Margot, lots 13 and 14, block 5, Brookland, $5.

(The [Washington] Morning Times, March 19, 1896, p.6)

 

(This is the purchase of the adjoining houses of Prof. Hyvernat, Of Catholic University, and Antoinette Margot and Leonide Delarue. The sellers are Sallie Johns Peter’s attorneys)

 

Sally Johns Peter died September 16, 1897; funeral at Holy Trinity Church, Georgetown. (The [Washington] Times, September 17, 1897, Page 2)

 

Will of Sallie Johns Peter, filed June 23, 1898 (written July 26, 1888):

“Dearly loved friend Leonide Delarue, of Washington”, sole heir “including any interest which I may have or acquire under the will of John A.B. Leonard, late of the District of Columbia, deceased, in and to any claim or claims known as the French Spoliation Claims.”

Executrix Leonide Delarue, executor George E. Hamilton [Hamilton and Colbert, attorneys]

 

“A beautiful new canopy has been donated to the Rev. Father O’Brien by the Misses Antoinette Margot and Leonide De La Rue.”

(“Catholic Church Notes”––Washington Post, June 7, 1902, p.11)

 

“One hundred and two cabin passengers are booked for the North German Lloyd steamer Neckar, Captain Harrassowitz, which sails from Pier 9, Locust Point, at 2 o’clock this afternoon for Bremen.”(Passengers: Miss Antoinette Margot, Miss Leonide Delarue “Sail By Neckar Today”. (Baltimore Sun, July 9, 1902, p.7)

 

 

Delarue, Leonide, Brookland

Margot, Antoinette, Brookland

1900-2 Directory

 

“Post-office for Brookland.––Postmaster General Payne has leased from Antoinette Margot the first floor of the building at the corner of Bunker Hill road and Ninth street, in Brookland, for the use of the Post-office Department. The rooms, which are to be used as a substation, have been rented for five years at $200 per year.”

(Washington Post, August 14, 1903, p.12)

 

Margot, Antoinette, Brookland

1905-7 Directory

 

 

“In 1889, with money from her father, Antoinette Margot and her friend Leonide Delarue, built a large frame house near the Brooks mansion. They called it Theodoron, which means “God’s gift.” The two women then sought out Rev. Henri Hyvernat, Catholic University’s professor of Semitics and Egyptian languages and one of the school’s original faculty members. They asked for his help obtaining permission from Cardinal Gibbons to hold masses at their home for the Brookland community. Also a native of Lyons, Hyvernat bonded with Margot, and they began to work together. The first mass was said at Theodoron in 1891, with Hyvernat acting as the unofficial pastor. He held the first of many fund-raisers in 1892 and used the proceeds to buy a tract of land [for a new church] at 12th and Monroe Streets.”

“Plans were made to build a church on the land father Hyvernat had purchased. On June 13, 1896, St. Anthony’s feast day, the new wood-frame church was dedicated. Cardinal Gibbons suggested it be named St. Anthony of Padua in honor of Antoinette Margot. She built a new home directly across the street from St. Anthony’s Church and called it Villa Marie. She lived there with Leonide Delarue for the rest of her life, next door to Hyvernat. The two women tended St. Anthony’s sanctuary and took care of numerous tasks there, even teaching Latin to generations of altar boys. Margot became a fixture in Brookland, often going out for strolls in her customary blue attire. Antoinette Margot died in 1925.”

(Robert P. Malesky, The Catholic University of America, Part 3, p.76-7)

 

Harry Andrew Rissetto. In the Service of the Christ Child: Mary Virginia Merrick and the Development of the National Christ Child Society, diss. Catholic University, 2008)

 

Will of Leonide Delarue,

Written same day as Henrietta Antoinette Margot,

July 9, 1895, filed December 19, 1916

DC Will, Box 542:

Her heir and executor is Henriette Antoinette Margot, but if she should die first, Dr. Henry Hyvernat.

 

Mlle. Margot, 82, Dies.––Active Charity Worker, Born in France, Was Known as Artist. (Washington Post, December 29, 1925, p.21)

 

To which a reader (Letters To The Editor, Washington Post, January 13, 1926, p.6) felt compelled to quote Dr. Julian B. Hubbell, first field agent of the American Red Cross, and Clara Barton’s associate for 32 years, to the effect that Antoinette Margot was not in the United States in time to have helped establish the American Red Cross, as some newspapers implied; and further, that: “Miss Margot came to Washington from Dansville, N.Y. with Clara Barton and soon after arriving she associated herself with a French woman who kept a worsted shop on Ninth street, between F and G. Later she went to live with this woman and later moved to Brookland, a suburb of Washington.”

 

Will of Henrietta Antoinette Margot,

Written same day as Leonide Delarue,

July 9, 1895, amended by codicil. October 3, 1919,

Filed December 31, 1925

DC Will, Box 0836:

Her heir and executor is Leonide Delarue, but if she should die first, Dr. Henry Hyvernat.

 

___________________________________________________________

Carlton Fletcher

 The citation and acknowledgement of my research is greatly appreciated.

All rights reserved.

 

 Questions and corrections may be directed to

carlton@gloverparkhistory.com

 

The support of the Advisory Neighborhood Council (3B) is gratefully acknowledged.