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Biographical Review: Greene, Schoharie and Schenectady Counties, New York
Duncan M. Leonard, M. D.

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[This information is from pp. 328-330 of Biographical Review Volume XXXIII: Containing Life Sketches of Leading Citizens of Greene, Schoharie and Schenectady Counties, New York (Boston: Biographical Review Publishing Company, 1899). It is in the collection of the Grems-Doolittle Library of the Schenectady County Historical Society at 920 BIO.]

Duncan M. Leonard, M. D., of Broome Centre, Schoharie County, was born in Roxbury, Delaware County, N. Y., August 27, 1837, son of Henry and Huldah (Hull) Leonard. His grandfather, John Leonard, was a native of Germany, being the son of an Englishman who settled in that country and married there. John Leonard, on coming to America, first settled at Black River, Vt., but later removed to Delaware County, New York, and was one of the first to make a clearing in Roxbury. He died in that town, August 23, 1826. He was an active member of the Baptist church. His wife, whose maiden name was Ruth Olmstead, died March 19, 1842. They had but one son, Henry, Dr. Leonard's father.

Henry Leonard was born in Roxbury, July 4, 1789. Succeeding to the ownership of the homestead, he gave his principal attention to dairy farming and stock raising, and through energy and thrift he realized good financial results. In politics he was a Whig. Henry Leonard died December 20, 1871. His wife, Huldah, who was born June 20, 1799, was a daughter of Seth Hull, of Hartford, Conn. She died September 10, 1864. They were the parents of twelve children, namely: Salina J., born October 5, 1820; John, born June 6, 1822; Peter H., born May 21, 1824; George H., born January 11, 1826; Daniel C., born September 16, 1827, died in July, 1897; Asa D., born September 4, 1829; Lucy, born March 13, 1832, who married John Weckle; Samuel W., born December 8, 1833; William H., born June 27, 1835; Duncan M., the subject of this sketch; Mary E., born April 25, 1839; and Charles K., born May 20, 1842. George H., who practised medicine, served in the Civil War, and died in Brooklyn, N. Y.; John, who became a surgeon of repute, served three years in the army, and owing to ill health he subsequently engaged in farming; Peter H., Daniel C., and Asa D. were farmers; Samuel W. remained upon the homestead; and Mary E. married Christian Enderlin, of Roxbury. Charles K., while pursuing his medical studies, received injuries which later resulted in his death. Several of the sons taught school in their younger days. The father was a Baptist and a prominent church member.

Duncan M. Leonard completed his early education at the Roxbury Academy, and having begun his medical studies under the direction of his brother George, he attended the University Medical College, Castleton, Vt., from which he was graduated in 1857. Locating at Broome Centre on January 1 of the following year, he has resided here ever since, and although he has practised his profession steadily for a period of over forty years he still retains much of the vigor and activity which characterized his youth, and attends regularly to his every-day duties. As a physician he stands high in the community, his professional skill and reputation for promptitude enabling him to maintain among the well-to-do residents of this vicinity a practice sufficient to keep him constantly busy; yet he has never been known to refuse when called to attend the poor, from whom he could expect little or no compensation, and he has never instigated a law suit for the collection of fees. Prompted by the belief that good physicians are an urgent necessity to the welfare of mankind, he has not only directed the preparation of several students and provided for their personal wants during their preliminary studies, but has also assisted them in securing an adequate college training.

On January 1, 1860, Dr. Leonard married for his first wife Vashtie McHench, who died June 4, 1877; and on January 1, 1879, he wedded her sister, Emma J. Their father was William McHench, the son of John, who came from the north of Ireland, and was a pioneer farmer in this section. The family is of Scotch origin.

John McHench had a family of four children; namely, Submit, William, Catherine, and John. Submit married Benjamin Thornington. Catherine married John Goodfellow. William remained on the homestead, and John settled in another part of the town. William McHench, who was a prosperous farmer, took an active part in public affairs, and held some of the important offices in this town. In early life he was interested in military affairs, and acquired the title of Captain. He was one of the leading members of the Christian church. He died at the age of seventy-seven years. William McHench married Ann Ferguson, and was the father of nine children, namely: Willard, deceased; James R., deceased, who settled in Minnesota, and became wealthy; Nancy, deceased, who married Elder Brown, and had four children; Vashtie, Dr. Leonard's first wife; William and Wilson, twins; Andrew and Francis, also twins; and Emma J., Dr. Leonard's second wife. Of these, William, Andrew, and Emma J. are still living. William McHench, second, was graduated from the medical department of the University of Michigan, and is now practising his profession in Brighton, that State.

Dr. Leonard is the father of four children, all by his first marriage, namely: Emma R., born October 19, 1860; Frances A., born September 12, 1863; Ursula J., born April 16, 1866; and Rutson R., born June 3, 1868. Emma R., who is a graduate of the State Normal School, Albany, is a successful school teacher. Frances is the wife of F. B. Mackey. Ursula J. married C. S. Best, M. D., who is practising in Middleburg, N. Y. Rutson R. Leonard, M. D., who is now located in Bloomville, Delaware County, New York, began his preparation under his father's direction, and pursued his advanced studies in the universities of Vermont, New York City, and Michigan.

Dr. Duncan M. Leonard cultivates a good farm, and is quite an extensive real estate holder, owning about seven hundred acres in all. He formerly acted with the Republican party in politics, but now votes independently. He belongs to the County Medical Society, and was at one time its president. For years he has devoted his leisure to reading, and has studied the natural sciences, including astronomy. In his religious belief he is a Baptist, and for many years has been prominently identified with that church.

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