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Sarah (Harbaugh) Leonard

Irwin Memorial Cemetery

Sarah (Harbaugh) Leonard was born on Nov. 18, 1810 in or near Rockwood, Somerset County, PA, the daughter of Leonard and Elizabeth (Pritts) Harbaugh.  

When Sarah was a girl, her mother died.  A few years later, when she was about nine, her father then married young widow Martha (Minerd) Imel, who became Sarah's step-mother.

Sarah married Benjamin Leonard (1806-1877). They lived near Ohiopyle, Fayette County, PA. 

1882 History of Fayette 
, mentioning 
Benjamin and sons

The Leonards had 11 children -- Eli Leonard, Isaac Leonard, Rev. Amos Potter Leonard, Samuel Leonard, Annie Young, Reuben H. Leonard, Rebecca Farmer, Christmas Leonard, Mary Potter, Martha Turney and Robert Bacom Leonard.

Said the 1882 book History of Fayette County, authored by Franklin Ellis: 

Benjamin Leonard was reared in the family of Reuben Thorpe, and after attaining manhood made an improvement on the bottoms below the mill owned by Potter. He afterwards cleared up the farm which is now owned by his youngest son Robert. Other sons  were Eli, Amos P. (a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church), Reuben, Christmas, and Robert. Nearly all of these continue to reside in the township... On the same stream the manufacture of splint chairs is carried on by George P. Potter. The factory has been in successful operation since 1860, and several hundred fine chairs are made annually. Below that point, also on Meadow Run, Reuben and Christmas Leonard carry on a split-chair factory and more than sixty years ago their father, Benjamin Leonard, carried on this industry in the township, some of the chairs he the made being yet in use.

Benjamin and his son in law George Perry Potter, were "the first to manufacture splint chairs on Meadow Run," They are mentioned in the 2000 tourism book, The Explorer's Guide to the Youghiogheny River Gorge, Ohiopyle, & S.W. Pennsylvania's Villages, by Marci McGuinness and Bill Sohonage. 

When the federal census of 1860 was taken, Sarah and Benjamin and their eight children dwelled in Farmington, Fayette County. Benjamin's occupation was recorded as "farmer" and eldest son Amos's as "carpenter." 

Narrows of Meadow Run in a rare old postcard

By 1870, all but two of the Leonard children had moved out of the family home. The census-taker listed Sarah and Benjamin as living in Stewart Township, Fayette County, with their post office at Connellsville. Daughter Mary (age 21) and son Robert (15) were the only two offspring to remain at home that year, along with seven-year-old Wilbur E. Dickson (connection unknown). That year, living just a few households away was the Leonards' future son in law, Civil War veteran George Perry Potter and his first wife Elmira. 

Benjamin is known to have served "for many years [as] the superintendent of a Sunday-school which is at present in charge of Arthur Potter, and which is usually attended by about sixty scholars," said the 1882 History of Fayette County. "The Rev. A.P. Leonard, of the Pittsburgh Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, originated from this society, which, though weak in numbers, has some active, faithful workers." The school was held in a meeting house at Meadow Run erected circa 1860 under the leadership of Rev. Joseph Hill. 

The 1872 Atlas of Fayette County shows the cluster of Leonard and Potter farmsteads in the Belle Grove District south of Ohio Pyle, just a few years after the end of the Civil War

Irwin Memorial Cemetery

Sarah died on Aug. 18, 1876, at the age of 66.

Benjamin passed away just six months later, on Feb. 12, 1877. He was age 71. His grave marker is seen at right, still legible when photographed in May 2001.

They are buried at the Irwin Memorial Cemetery (formerly known as Belle Grove Cemetery) near Ohiopyle.

Benjamin's sons Reuben and Christmas "kept his business going long after his death."

Copyright 2000-2004, 2006, 2009, 2015 Mark A. Miner