Birth family information on George Washington Leonard is non existent. According to the 1910 census he was born in 1835 in the state of Indiana. No data is currently available on his parentage, childhood, formative, or teenaged years.
Mr. Washington’s obituary indicated he had served in the U.S. military during the Mexican War. However, if he was born in 1835 this likely did not happen. The Mexican war was fought between 1846 and 1848, so during these years George would have been at least 11 and at most 13 years of age. Further, no government documents have been found to confirm such service.
George W. Leonard died on 7/27/1919. He was buried on 7/28. His obituary places him in the America Civil War. This is not only possible, but probable because his age during the war years would have been mid twenties. The median age for a Civil War combatant was 26.7.
Further, G.A.R. cemetery burial records note Mr. Leonard as being a member of the Everett Grand Army of the Republic post. With good support for the fact that Mr. Leonard served in Federal forces during the war, placing him in a specific unit has been more difficult. There are a number of George W. Leonards listed on U.S. Military rosters of that era. Thus, while many dollars and countless hours have been spent attempting to locate his regimental affiliation, as of this writing all such efforts has proven futile.
Post ACW facts on Mr. Leonard are, again, scarce. The 1910 census noted him as widowed. Further details on his family life are not available. While his obituary reported that he had served as a U.S. Army scout during the 1870s’ Indian Wars and was assigned to the 7th Cavalry- although not with General Custer at the Little Big Horn massacre- no military records have been found to confirm this contention. Still, it is possible that he could have served in a civilian capacity.
The next available information on Mr. Leonard places him on Whidbey Island in the Puget Sound region of Washington Territory. According to South Whidby and Its People, Vol. 1 pg. 133, “In 1887 a man named Leonard arrived at Glendale and established a dance pavilion and waterfront campground, both of which (are) reported to have lured large numbers of mainlanders to the island on weekends.”
Again, page 60 of Vol. 11 says, “An Indian scout named Leonard settled down in this tiny paradise (Glendale), about 1890, and built his home, with a dock which soon became known as Leonard’s Landing.” (The 1910 census noted Mr. Leonard’s primary occupation as “fisherman- Troll boat.”) Further, referring again to his obituary, it was noted, “He had been caretaker of several summer cottages of Snohomish people at White House Beach. His former employers do not know any relatives of the veteran.”
While the Whidbey and Its People references fall slightly short of the 37 years his obituary claimed Mr. Leonard was on the Island, they still place him there for thirty plus years. Finally, with no available evidence that George ever lived in Snohomish and with no apparent relatives in the, area, the Whidbey Island caretaker connection could provide a plausible explanation for this former employers caring for him until his death in Snohomish Hospital. This care connection, when coupled with his G.A.R. membership, would also explain Mr. Leonard’s burial in the Snohomish G.A.R. Cemetery.
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