The Leech Family

Tue 20 Oct 2009 02:09:32 PM EDT

In the early days doctors were named Leech, and many Dr. Leech's appear in the various branches of this Scotch Irish family from Pennsylvania to points south and west. This study focuses on a particular branch of the Leech family whose members lived successively in Strabane Ireland, Maryland and Pennsylvania, Virginia, the Carolinas, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi and once again Tennessee, Louisiana and finally Glendale, California.

The line is nebulous and can only be pieced together on the basis of a number of guesses, surmises and at worst speculations. I present it here in the hope that it may provide useful information to some Leech cousin, or better yet lead to some creative correction, comment, suggestion, criticism or whatever from you, dear reader. Send such to

Larry Clayton
or slomail to Larry Clayton, 1906 SE 8th St., Ocala, FL 34471

Table of Contents

Strabane, Ireland

Some Leeches came to this country from Strabane in County Tyrone. This is evidenced by the will of Dr. John Leech, recorded in 1790 in Charleston, SC.

In the early 18th century in Ireland a number of Presbyterian ministers with members of their congregations moved to America. One of these was from Strabane:
In 1720 Isaac Taylor, minister at Strabane went to America with some of his congregation. This assertion appears on page 27 of Ulster Immigration to Colonial America by R.J.Dickson. 

William Boyd's story is well known:
In 1718 Rev. William Boyd of Ireland brought to this country a petition of a group of Scotch-Irish for admittance to the New World. Among the signers were Leech John and Leech Wm V.D.M.of H? Other signers included Adam Dickey, James Alexander, John Black, John, Hugh, and William Blair, Thomas and James Jr. Moor, Knox, Given, Millar, Young, Love, Craig, Nesmith, Caldwell, Roe, Thompson, Hunter, King, Campbell, Ross, Kennedy, Blair, Stewart, Black, Boyd, Kerr, and Wilson, and others whose surnames appear repeatedly in the Leech family history in both the Carolinas, Alabama, and Tennessee.

Most of these families entered this country in the Philadelphia area. They are found in Pennsylvania west of Philadelphia, in Augusta County, Va., in the Salisbury area of N.C. and in the York-Chester area of S.C. Others continued southwesterly, some of course as far as California.

 The Leeches are found in all of these places. It is likely that members of the family also came directly to Charleston. The will of Dr. John Leech of Charleston, recorded in 1790, states he was from Strabane. He left 1/3 of his estate to brother David Leech and 2/3 to Ann and Eleanor Hughey, both of Cumberland, Pa. He also left medical books to David, and these books are mentioned in later documents of the York and Chester Co. family. The family as a clan seems to have immigrated to Pennsylvania and/or Maryland early in the 18th century. Elements of it moved west and south with hordes of Scotch Irish kinsmen. ..... 

Somerset Co.MD

In 1665 Hannah Leach was the last of 13 people whom Randall Revell entered as entitled to 50 acres In Somerset Co. (this from page 477 of Old Smerset on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, by Clayton Torrence (1935) taken from a Land Patent Book at Annapolis Hall of Records). (I have no record of any relationship of Hannah to later Leech's in the area.)

The 1724 tax list for the Nanticoke Hundred of Somerset Co., Md. included David Leach, and in his family Mark and David, Jr. Among his neighbors were many Caldwells, Callaways, Collins, Givans, Hart, Henry, Jackson, Lackey, Olliver, Robinson, and Scott. Of special interest were the names John More, with Phillips and John, John More in the forest, and William Moore. There seems a good possibility that the descendants of David Leech and one or more of these More [Moore] families were found together some 60 years later in what became York Co. SC. Most of the names mentioned here are also represented in early 19th century York Co.

In a book of Somerset Co. deeds I found only one Leech entry:
Patience Leach received a deed of gift from Margrett Kennedy. (Lib SH 1727-31). This is very interesting in light of the fact that Sopphia Kennedy later married James Leetch in Mecklenburg Co. NC.

The Leech family appears to be part of a group of Scotch-Irish who began settling in Somerset Co. MD in the 17th century; some of them made their way up to Cecil Co near the Pa line. (At that time the MD-PA line was undecided.)

The Leech's were accompanied in this migration by HARRIS, GIVENS, ALEXANDER, WALLACE, Polk, Knox, Brevard and probably some other families. Members of all these families went south to Mecklenburg NC and York SC. 

Cecil Co, MD

Cecil Co. sticks like a point into the corner where PA, DE and MD all come together. It bounds on the east bank of the lower Susquehanna River and the upper part of Chesapeake Bay. The county has an interesting history particularly in regard to a boundary dispute between the proprietors of PA and MD. Some early Scotch Irish settlers in fact were said to have deliberately intruded into the area in dispute; it eventually became part of PA, and these folks found themselves citizens of Penn's colony.

The families above, in large part, seem to have come from Somerset Co. around the turn of the century and settled among other locations in an area called New Munster at the extreme northeast corner of the colony.

The Alexander family has been obliquely related to LEECH in several states. The account of their migration may suggest similar movement of the Leech family from Somerset to Cecil, PA, NC, and SC.

In 1725 James Alexander was a ruling elder of the New Castle Presbytery, and later of the Philadelphia Synod. It was in First Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia in 1745 that William Leech married Mary Ross.

Another James Alexander (b.1749) married Elizabeth Ross in 1772.

Theophilus Alexander was an elder in a Presbyterian Church called "The Rock" in the "New Munster" tract of Cecil Co. (now part of Chester Co. PA). In 1751 he received 15 shillings from the estate of David Leech, formerly of Cecil Co. Theophilus was perhaps the son of James Alexander and Margaret McKnitt.

In a book entitled Colonial Soldiers of the South by Murtie June Clark on pages 6-9 there is a 1739 roster of the Cecil Co. Foot Company commanded by Capt. John Veazey. Here are some of the names which suggest various familial associations:
29 Henry Hendrixson (Is he the ancestor of the James Hendricks of Lafayette Co. MS whose daughter, Ella B. married James M Leech in 1877??)
43 Charles Leech
59 Nathaniel Alexander (This name reappears in relation to the Leech family in NC and in SC.)
109 William Boyd (perhaps related to Rev. Boyd)
114 David Looch
(The following year David Leech was listed.)

In 1747 David Leech settled in Lancaster Co., Pa (100a in Manahen). A Thomas Leech claimed land the same year in Warrington Township of Lancaster. The following year Ezekiel Mucklehenny surveyed land in Drumore Township of Lancaster.

In 1747 there was a warrant made out to David Leech in Lancaster Co. (in what later became Tyrone Twp of Adams Co.) with an accompanying plat. Immediately southeast of the Leech tract on this plat appears the name of Robert McIlhenny. These are our first clues of the relationship between these two families which was to eventuate in the marriage of David Leech, Esq of York Co. and Prudence McElhaney, the ancestors of the writer.

Shortly after the PA warrants David Leech died. In 1749 the estate of David Leitch, late of Cecil Co. decd, was appraised by Richard Lewis and Robt Evens. Nearest of kin were Eliz X Leech and John X Leech
Administrator John Ricketts also died and the administration was completed by his widow. The proved inventory contents totaled 45 15 5.

In 1751 David Leach had an account in Cecil Co. Probate Records Liber 30, folio 73 also Book 7, folder 21.
In 1751 Mary Ricketts, admin of John Rickets who was admin of David Leach of Cecil, planter, decd 45 15 5
to spend:
To Thomas Ricketts 6 and 12
to Thomas Jacobs 9 and 7
to Joseph Wallace 3 and 4
to Andrew Barnot 1 and 8
to George Lawson 2 and 3
to John Ricketts 4 and 16
to Zebulon Hollingsworth 1 and 9
to Samuel Adair 2 and 4
to Theophilus Alexander 15 shillings
to John Rickets 19, 5 and 3 3 and 4
to Aramanta Mackey 5 and 12
"representatives gone to the back country....."

inventory included carpenter's tools, bed and furniture, 3 cows and 2 calves, 3 horses, 11 sheep, 14 swine, plow, spinning wheel, etc.
cash due from Benj Thomas and Thomas Scott.

Here is a list of surnames which appear in Cecil Co. MD:
Adair (found in Cecil, York and Lawrence)
Alexander (found in Cecil, York and Lawrence)
Ross (found in Cecil, York and Lawrence)
Leech (found in Cecil, York and Lawrence)
McWhorter (found in Cecil, York and Lawrence)
Harris (found in Cecil, York and Lawrence)
Moore (found in Cecil, York and Lawrence)
Black (Alexander in Cecil; cf Col Soldiers p. 13)
Barry (Berry)
Wilson (found in Cecil, York and Lawrence) Rev. Thomas Wilson, colleague of Rev. James Alexander of Raphoe, received a grant in or near New Munster???

Many of these names later appear to York Co. SC and in Lawrence Co. AL. 

Although members of the mid 18th century Leech family are thought to have moved into PA, there was still a John Leech in Cecil Co at the time of the Revolution:
Henry Peden in his book, Revolutionary Patriots of Cecil Co. MD, on page 63 lists John Leech as one of the signers of the Oath of Allegiance in 1778, sworn by Judge Tobias Rudulph.

Rev. John Cuthbertson was a Covenanter and pastor of the Octoraro Presby Church in PA. in the 1750's. He kept a journal, extracts of which were published as Register of Marriages and Baptisms Moore, who lived on Pennypack Creek 15 miles from Philadelphia, is often mentioned in the journal:

In 1754 the minister was at the home of Walter Moore and baptized Sarah, Elizabeth Leech, and Mary, all of them daughters of Walter Moore . (Walter Moore's house appeared to be two miles from White Marsh Church.

On the same page of the abstracted journal we read that on Dec. 12, 1758 he married John Moore and Margaret Ayres. On the next page: in 1759 he rode 31 miles to Chester, Darby, Philadelphia--left B. Leech." The following day he baptized Anne, daughter of John Wallace.

Back on page 201 is a notation that he rode 20 miles to and from Frankford with Brother Leech's child dead. (Cuthbertson had married Sarah, one of Walter Moore's daughters, so we may assume that "Brother Leech" was his wife's brother-in-law. Of course the minister habitually used the term 'brother' referring to his 'brothers in Christ'.)

(Unfortunately I have not found the first name of 'brother Leech' in the book. Nor have I had any success in identifying Walter Moore; but I did find a Walter Moore with Alexander Moore and other Moores buried at Bethel cemetery near the Leech property in SW York Co. SC. That Walter lived 1798-1861.)

Various members of the Leech family settled successively in the counties immediately west of Philadelphia and in Augusta Co., Va, from which they spread further into western Va., W.Va, and the states south. In the middle of the 18th Century thousands of Scotch Irish and German settlers peopled the Carolinas, coming largely from Augusta Co. Among them were a number of my ancestors. 

Rowan Co. NC

In 1762 John Leech patented 226 acres on the east side of the Catawba River at the western edge of the existing settlement. The same year he purchased 200a just below the "Governor's line" in what later became Mecklenburg Co. Two years later he sold this second property, and in 1781 he sold the first.

Linda Boyd Lawhon in described the 1805 Wilson Co. TN will of John Leech leaving 600 acres of property in Rowan Co. NC to sons William and Thomas Leech and daughters Martha, Margaret, Elizabeth and Isabel (or to their descendants). Elizabeth and Isabel married John and William Boyd respectively.

1. John Leach (ca 1730-1806), is said to have married Margaret Courtney in 1752 in PA and left his will in Wilson Co., Tn. It was proven in 1807 and recorded in Book B on page 146. His estate was probated in 1809. His exors were his son William Leach and his neighbor Ezekial Alexander. (The relationship of this John Leach to the family of David Leech of York Co. SC is unclear.)

John Leach's daughter Martha married Alexander Witherspoon, and their daughter, another Martha, born about 1793, married another John Boyd. They lived in Rutherford Co. TN. 

York Co. SC

William Leech (the Founder?)

I have found certain information about an early marriage of William Leech (perhaps two of them).
1.Marriage Records of First Presby Church in Philadelphia (in a book at Greenville):
*1745 Leech William Pa Phila. license to marry Mary Ross.

 Other researchers assert that a William Leech married Charlotte Wolfe, and this couple is given as the ancestors of the upstate SC Leech family. As will be set forth below David Leech Esq had a brother named William Leech who married Margaret Sadler and lived in York Co.

A certain William Leech is to me at this point a shadowy figure remembered on the basis of one record: he died in back country Carolina ca 1753, and administration was granted to James Kilpatrick by the court of Anson County, N. C., which at that time had jurisdiction over the entire area. That's all the records tell about the man. (Anson Co. at that time included what later became York Co. SC.)

We know more about James Kilpatrick: in 1754 he took out many patents of land on and around Turkey Creek in what later became York County, SC. After the Revolution Capt. David Leech acquired many acres on Turkey Creek. One of his land grants appears to be a S.C. confirmation of a 1754 N.C. patent.

This link between the two names leads to the supposition that David Leech may have been the son or other relative of the William Leech who died in 1753.

It is said that in 1754 David Leech, Sr. acquired a patent on Turkey Cr. in Anson Co. It was renewed in 1786 for 646 acres. (Annie Laurie Griffith p. 4)

In 1796 David Leech's estate was in York Co. SC court. Administrators were Andrew Huey and Dr. Samuel Huey, who entered into bond and took the oath prescribed by law.

The 1796 appraisal of David Leech estate was made by Andrew Love, Sam Ewens, and John Stinson and included silver spurs, pistol, Bible, lots of medical books, negro boy and girl, sworn before Wm Love, JP. There is an extensive inventory of 10 pages (abstract in The Carolina Genealogist page 53-5 County Records York County Estates (In Clemson I think) Copy in David Leech folder (This record suggests that the medical books may have come from Charleston brother Dr. John Leech, and may have gone to Capt. David's nephew, Dr. David Leech. 1796 is too early to be inventory of Dr. David Leech of Chester.)

The names Kilpatrick and Leech continue to appear close to one another in York County, SC, further west in SC and later in Franklin Co., Tenn., but I have found no record setting forth a direct relationship except for the one mentioned above.

In 1789 the will of Dr. John Leech was written, and proved in Charleston the following year. He gave his origin as Strabane, Ireland. If as we suppose, he was the kinsman of David Leech of York County, then Strabane may be the point of origin of our family. Second, Dr. John Leech left one third of his estate to brother David. Our man in York County seems the most likely candidate. Third, he named Ann and Eleanor Hughey, both of Cumberland, Pa. to inherit the rest. From this we may assume that he, and perhaps the rest of the family came through Cumberland, which was indeed the primary jumping off point for the Scotch-Irish moving into the back country from Pennsylvania to Georgia. Finally, Dr. John Leech's executor was his "brother" , Robert Miles. Once again we find the Miles family located close to and otherwise related to the York County Leeches.

The relationship between David Leech and the SC upcountry Hueys/Hugheys, his exors, certainly points toward the connections suggested here. A later David Leech in Chester County (d. 1820) was also a doctor, and perhaps Dr. John's book had come into his possession.


John Leech of Spartanburg Co., SC

If Dr. Leech was the brother of David Leech, the patriot, of York County, perhaps John Leech of Spartanburg was the brother of David Leech, the elder, thought to be the father of Capt. David Leech. In 1769 and 1770 he acquired property in the Tyger River area of Spartanburg Co. One of these tracts is adjacent to Richard Sadler, and David Leech was one of the chain bearers. In 1770 David Leech also got land there as did Henry Leech (perhaps another brother).

(A woman named Griffith wrote extensively about the descendants of John Leech of Spartanburg. She believed that he was the son of David. His children largely migrated to Kentucky, but some of them later settled in North Mississippi near the Alabama line.)

Some of the descendants of John Leech of Spartanburg, in particular the family of his son, John, have been described in the web site of Steven Leech.


David Leech the Patriot

David Leech (1740?-18??) appears to be the most prominent of the York County Leech clan. A Revolutionary soldier he was given the name of captain, and with the formation of York County in 1786 he became a member of the original county court; he was later elected to the state legislature. He was most often identified as David Leech, Esq.

Before the war David Leech had property on Fishing Creek in the southeastern part of York County. He appears to have acquired this property from James Moore and in 1779 he made it over to John Moore. One may suppose that there may have been a familial relationship.

1779 Leech David, tanner of Camden District SC York, deed to John Moore, Jr. planter of 126a both sides of south fork of Fishing Creek, adj Charles Beatty's land, being part of grant to James Moore, 21 Dec, 1763, and conveyed to Leech, and now in possession of John Moore. wits: John McElheney, Jr. and Jacob Rickard. (p. 568 of Some SC County Records, Vol 2. York Co Deed Book A.)

I stumbled across data from Kershaw court records that appear to bear on the two above families. From Mr. Caldwell, posting to the rootsweb moore mailing list on 6 May 1999:
will of John Moore, filed in Kershaw Co. Court in 1781:
John Moore -- Est. Admr. Samuel Moore; bond dated Aug 20, 1782, sureties, Isaac Ball, James Mitchell; Apprs. James Moore, William Mitchell, William Adair, Sr. and William Adair., Jr. File shows paper as follows: "In case of death of John Moore doth bequeath as follows, viz., all my real and personal estate to my brother Samuel Moore, to distribute as he sees cause. Given under my hand this 9 day of July, 1781." (sd.) John Moore, and
witnessed by David Leech and Isaac Ball. Proven Aug 23, 1781.
Looks like these two gentlemen must have gotten around.
But another file gives the place as Camden District. Did Mr. Caldwell just get it confused?

In 1770 he had made over some of it to a family connection, Richard Sadler, also a Captain of the Revolutionary forces. David Leech married Prudence Mackhanne (McElhaney) in 1774 according to the DAR entry of Miss Gladys Vickers Cauble (94551).

After the war David Leech moved a few miles west and acquired some 1000 acres on Turkey Creek. This land appears to be near or perhaps identical with land acquired on Turkey Creek in the 1750's by James Kilpatrick, administrator of William Leech. (Those records are found in Anson Co.)

In 1786 David Leech for 10 shillings was
deeded 120 acres adjoining his property
on Turkey Creek by Elizabeth Riggs,
widow of John Riggs.  The deed was
proven by Hugh Simpson before David
Leech, Esq. and witnessed by William
Boyd, William Brown and Hugh Simpson
(York Co. Deeds A-113).

David Leech represented the "New Acquisition" (later York Co.) in the 4th and 5th General Assemblies in 1783 and 84. In 1785 he was named to the original court, and in 1798 he was a road commissioner.

In 1792 he divided his estate among several of the younger generation. His sons David and John Leech obtained shares, as did another David Leech, named "Jr.", son of William, said to have married the older David Leech's daughter, Eleanor. Other property went to Joseph Leech. (Fri 06-20-97 It seems likely from further study that this may have represented at least partially the division of old William Leech's estate, which had been administered by James Kilpatrick beginning 1754. David is thought to have had two brothers: William and Joseph.)

In 1799 John Leech, James Mc???, and John Black signed bond for $500 to make inventory of the estate of David Leech, Jr. (copy on file).

Here are the children of David and Prudence McElheney Leech as listed by Mr. Hart of York Co.:
David Leech died after 1816 (actually earlier)
James (1780-1816) FBG (will names siblings)
David (Hart has nothing.)
Eleanor (md David, son of Wm Leech)
William (Hart has nothing.)
Joseph (Hart has nothing.)
John (Hart has nothing.)
"others in New York")
In addition DAR records indicate that David's daughter, Martha married Dr. James Oliver, MD. He was son of another Rev. patriot, Alexander Oliver and Mary Slaughter, his wife.

(The relationships among the Leech families in York Co. are unclear to the present writer, who feels that much work still needs to be done in this area. However a circumstantial determination has been made that the man listed as John here is the John Leech who went to Lawrence Co. AL. about 1818.)

In 1812 David Leech Esq of York Co. SC entertained Franics Asbury, with brandy and the Bible (Francis says in his journal (Dec. 8) that he took only one.)(One writer intimates that this "Esquire Leech" was Joseph Leech, but that seems to be unlikely.)

However David Leech was numbered among the "first bench of elders" of Bullock's Creek Presby. Church of York Co., along with John Dickey, Joseph Feemster...Alex Dowdle...John Feemster, John King , Henry Dowdle. ( Rev. Geo. Howe, Hist. of the Presby Church in SC, p. 511)

The 1816 will of James Leech (b. 1781), gives some information about his siblings (James is buried at the Leech Family Burial Ground in sw York Co. as is Prudence, his mother.):

1816 Leech James SC York decd; appraisor John King!!!! also Wm Givens and James Scott (Scott and James Leech together in Augusta County.)
Exors: John and Wm Leech
Siblings: David, Eleanor, Wm, and Joseph plus others in New York.
"John Leech and my dear Sister Eleanor be fully remunerated for their trouble care and kind attention to me." (In 1836 Eleanor Leech was the widow of John Leech of Lawrence Co. AL.)
Excludes his "dear brother and sister in New York" from his modest estate as the SC group are more necessitous.
Provides headstones for deceased mother and deceased father.


Dr. Leech

We have already met Dr. John Leech of Strabane, Sunbury, and Charleston. Dying in 1789, he left 1/3 of his estate to his brother, David. We assume that was the elder David Leech of York. Two other Dr. Leeches appear in the upstate around the turn of the century.

Dr. David Leech died in York County in 1796. Intestate, his administrators were Andrew and Dr. Samuel Huey. The estate records indicate he was a doctor. His inventory includes a number of medical books which apparently showed up 20 years later in the inventory of the second Dr. David Leech, this one in Chester. (Note the name similarity in the estate records of Dr. John Leech in Charleston and Dr. David Leech in York. Both had close relationship with the Huey/Hughey family.)

The second Dr. David Leech appears to have moved from southern York County to northern Chester Co (likely a very short distance) around 1809, when he acquired property from Esq Clayton Rogers, who had married a daughter of Isaac Sadler before 1785. The property was on Turkey Creek; very likely Dr. David already had property on Turkey Creek, above the county line. He seems to have moved down nearer the mouth of Turkey Creek and engaged in medical practice, primarily in Chester, but also with some York County patients.

(In 1805 Andrew Hughey and another David Leech were on Indian Creek in Franklin County, Ga. David Leetch had had property in Franklin County as early as 1789, and he may have been the man disposing of his property in York County (largely to his family connections) in 1792.)

William Leech was another patriot, who married Margaret Sadler, sister of the Richard Sadler who became successively York County tax collector, County trustee and High Sheriff. William died in 1791. In his will he referred to himself as "late of Pennsylvania". He left all his estate to his wife, Margaret Leech and named her brother Richard Sadler as executor. He mentioned, but did not name his children.

David Leech, Jr. is described elsewhere as the son of William. He married his first cousin, Eleanor Leech. 

John Leech of Lawrence Co. AL and his Descendants

William Leetch of Mecklenburg Co. married Naomi Knox, aunt of President Polk, and moved to Lawrence County, Ala. He and his family appear to have been considerably more prominent than the Leitch/Leeches of 6S-9W Sec 1 in Lawrence Co. William and his brother, James apparently came to America from Ireland near the end of the 18th Century, much later than the York Co. Leech family. His brother James married Sophia Kennedy.

The 1830 Lawrence Co. census shows 2 John Leitch's. One of the them was the John Leech of western Lawrence Co., discussed below, and other was probably the son of the wealthy William Leetch in the paragraph above.

[Over a period of several years the writer has gradually pieced together the identity of John Leitch, my ggg grandfather. Although no documentary evidence has been found proving his York Co. SC origin, the indirect evidence appears to be conclusive]:

The SC Militia was active in the War of 1812. John Leach/Leech is listed as a private in Youngblood's Regiment 1. Many of Andrew Jackson's army returning from the Battle of New Orleans were said to have settled in the Mt. Hope area of Lawrence Co. John Leech of York Co. SC may have been one of these. There were three Youngblood families in the 1820 (state) Lawrence Co. census.

Capt. David Leech had large holdings on Turkey Creek in sw York Co. He divided the property among his children. By 1816 his son, James Leech had died and mentioned his deceased parents. He also mentioned John and Eleanor Leech.

In 1818 John Leech sold his 223 acres on Turkey Cr. to Thomas Gwyn. It was bounded on the south by property of James Leech. The same year 531 acres on Turkey Creek from the estate of James Leech was conveyed to John Blair (perhaps the John Dickey Blair who in 1820 married John Leech's daughter Clarissa Finetta Leech). The same year James Dickey, acting as executor of John Dickey conveyed 300a on Bullocks Creek to John Blair. (These two deeds may have been to John Dickey Blair, or they may have been to another John Blair, a man who had lots of property in the area.)

William Ash and William Ash, Jr. lived nearby. William Ash, private, and William B. Ash, corporal, are list in McWillie's 2nd Regiment SC Militia for the War of 1812. (A William Ash in the 1820 Lawrence Co. (State) census was married to Sarah Leech, Clarissa's sister.)

In Lawrence Co. AL about 1820 John Leach acquired 320a from the state in the se quarter of Sec. 1 and the ne quarter of Sec. 12 of Twp 6S R9W from the Huntsville Meridian. This is in western Lawrence Co. a few miles north of the Mt Hope community. This was the John Leitch who appeared in the 1820 census, and his son was David Leech who appeared next door to him. This John Leitch/Leach/Leech appears to be the son either of Capt. David Leech of York or of his brother William Leech of York.) His sons were David and William Clarke Leech.(In 1810 there was a William Clarke in York Co., which suggests the possibility that he may have been William Clarke Leech's grandfather.)

The 1830 Lawrence Co. census shows a number of families congregated around John Leitch/Leech in what became the Hatton area:
John Leitch (Leech)
William Ash (his son-in-law)
William Davis (he appraised Leech's estate in 1835)
John Moore (there were Leech-Moore connections in SC, and before that in PA.)
James Moore
William Dickey
Samuel T. King (father of Rev. Robert King)

 All of these surnames are found earlier in York Co. SC in close proximity to the Leech family there.

For example William Davis and his brother, Josiah, were sons of Capt. William Davis and his wife, Martha Spence, who were married in York Co. SC in 1783. The other surnames show up at various places in this file.

In 1836 William Clarke Leech acquired 40 acres immediately west of his father's farm. John Leech had died perhaps a few months before. The estate papers of John Leech in Lawrence Co. give us a good picture of the size and shape of his family at his death. Administrators were William Clarke Leech and William Ash.

1835 July term of Orphans court: Re the estate of John Leech Wm C. Leitch and William Ash appointed admins on bond of Abel Johnson and Samuel Henderson. (There was a Samuel Henderson, son of Nathaniel Henderson and his first wife Esther in York Co. Nathan died in 1794 ad Esther in 1789 and both had wills.)

1835 Appraisors were appointed for John Leech's estate: David Martin William Johnson William Moore William Davis Josiah Davis

The final settlement in 1838 names John Leech's wife and children: Following heirs to share an equal part of his estate:
David Leetch
William Ash, in right of his wife Sarah, formerly Leetch.
Abel Johnston, in right of his wife Jane, formerly Leetch.
John D. Blair, in right of his wife Clarissa F., formerly Leetch.
William C. Leetch (In another document the C appears as Clarke)
Eleanor Leetch, widow of the deceased.

The Ash, Johnston/Johnson, and Blair families were all neighbors of John Leech in sw York Co. SC, although Abel Johnston was said to have been born in KY (A number of upstate SC Scotch-Irish settlers went to western KY about 1800 to claim bounty lands there.)

Some of the descendants of William and Sarah Leetch Ash live in Lawrence Co. today, and perhaps on the very land owned by their ancestors in the early 19th century. A descendant who lives at or very near the original Leech and/or Ash property reported that Sarah Leech Ash (1795-1877) was buried at Fergason, Lawrence Co. AL (From the listing above one might assume that David was born ante 1795, and the various census reports place him roughly in the decade of the nineties.

in 1818 Andrew Blair entered 80a in Sec. 15 of 6S9W. That's immediately south of John Leech's farm. Andrew was the father of John Dickey Blair, who in 1820 married Clarissa F. Leech. John Dickey Blair's mother was Jane Dickey Blair, daughter of John Dickey of York Co.SC and Logan Co. KY. Jane, although a native of York Co. SC, married Andrew Blair in Logan Co. KY. He was from Guilford County NC. Surprisingly another John Blair had land dealings in York Co. with Dickey and Leech.

 Before 1830 John D. and Clarissa Leetch Blair moved to Gibson Co. TN and had the following children:

1. Andrew Burney Blair, born October 11, 1825 in Huntsville, Alabama, who married Harriett Amanda Dullap on October 10, 1850. 2. Martha J. Blair, born November 12, 1821 in Alabama, who married a Mr. Harley. 3. Albert G. Blair, born August 31, 1823 in Alabama, who married Sarah J. Cupp. 4. Sarah Eleanor Blair, born May 8, 1828 in Gibson County, Tennessee, who married John Rankin Billingsley on May 10, 1854. 5. John L. BLair, born April 14, 1830 in Gibson County, Tennessee. 6. Mary Caroline Blair, born November 4, 1832 in Gibson, COunty, Tennessee, who married a Mr. Baker. 7. Amanda E. Blair, born February 6, 1835 in Gibson County, Tennessee who married Simeon Smith. 8. Lucy A. Blair, born December 6, 1837 in Gibson County, Tennessee. 9. James Hester Blair, born February 18, 1843 in Gibson County, Tennessee, who married Lenora Adeline Ham on December 26, 1878. 10. Syrena A. Blair, born October 28, 1839 in Gibson County, Tennessee.

John D. Blair's grandfather was John Dickey, a name that appears as a close neighbor of Leech in York Co. SC.

Abel Johnston's origin is unclear (There was an earlier man of that name in upstate SC.). KY is given as the birthplace of our Abel. In 1830 there were three William Johnson's in the Lawrence Co. census, and one of them, who had property adjacent to or near the Leech farm, may well have been the father of Abel Johnston. (Thanks for the help of Bill Hodges, Tony Collier, and other Johnston researchers.)

Abel Johnston married Jane Leetch in Lawrence Co. in 1824. Abel Johnston's wife, Jane Leetch, died in 1844 in Marion Co. Al and was buried at the Free Will Baptist Church cemetery in Detroit, Lamar Co. AL, a few miles from Mississippi.Abel moved on to Lafayette Co. MS where in 1850 he married Ruth Frazer. He acquired property a few miles from the farm of John A Leech, the son of David Leech. Abel and Ruth are both buried in the cemetery at the old (extinct) town of Dallas in SE Lafayette Co.

The children of Abel and Jane Leech Johnston were:

1. Elizabeth, born 1825 md James M Jones.
2. Robert born 1826 md Margaret M.Y.Frazier in 1853.
3. Mary C Johnston b 1828
4. Wm Charles b 1834 md 17 year old Jane Emeline King in 1856, dau of James Harvey and Jane Madison Hope King. They had 2 children: Roxie and Charles William Johnston.(8 children) Charles William and family lived and died in Toccapola in Pontotoc, just across the Lafayette line. (Wm Charles died in the Civil War and was buried at Shiloh.)
5. John I. Johnstone was listed in the 1850 census, age 13, birthplace Alabama. John Johnston md Margaret Dunlap in Lafayette County on 30 October 1855. (another correspondent, Jerry Johnstonstated that John Lewis Johnston, b 1837 md Amanda Bowles in 1960.)
6. Samuel M. Johnston was listed in the 1850 census, age 11, born Alabama.
7. Albert Monroe Johnston was listed in the 1850 census, age 9, birthplace Alabama. Albert M.Johnston md Eliza K. Bowles in Lafayette County on 17 January 1867. (They were the ancestors of Jerry Johnston (
8. David F. Johnston was listed in the 1850 census at the age of 6, birthplace Alabama.

A William C Leech is found in the 1850 census for Lowndes Co. MS. He may likely be the son of John Leech of Lawrence Co., but he seems to have lived with the Leech family who had come from western KY after moving from Spartanburg SC at the turn of the century.

William Clarke Leech mentioned by Annie Laura as one of the Ky clan who came down to MS: p. 12: "There was another Leech that was in Columbus MS and buried in the Tabernacle cemetery in Pickens Co. AL.....near Columbus, that I could not place, but feel sure he should be added to this family.

"William Clark Leech, born 1808 in S.C. and died 1864 in Lowndes Co., MS, buried in the Tabernacle cemetery, Carrollton, aL. He married Jane McReynolds, born 1820 and died 1864 in MS. Two known children. 1. Lavonia Annie Leech, md 1881 in Alcorn Co. MS to Thomas Andrew Lofton. 2. William Peden Leech, b. 29 Feb. 1852; died 1 Mar 1853 in MS, buried in the Tabernacle cemetery.

If this (Lowndes Co.) Wm Clark Leech is the son of our John Leech of Lawrence Co. AL, it demonstrates that there was a continuing relation between the York Co. and Spartanburg Co. Leech cousins who had gone to western Ky, some of whom came back south to eastern MS. More infomation on this man's identity would be very welcome.


Joseph Leech, brother of John Leitch

Recall that Hart's list of the children of David Leech, Esq included a Joseph as well as a John. He had no information about either of these two men (We've described John Leech, whom we suppose to be his son John. There was also a Joseph Leech in and around Lawrence Co. AL in the 19th century. We may suppose that he was John's brother.

David Leech Esq, of course, also had a brother named Joseph Leech (1748-1826). He was buried in the Leech Family Cemetery in sw York Co. The younger Joseph Leech, David's son, appears to have gone by the name of Joseph A. Leech.

In 1810 Joseph Leech (the son?) was living in York Co. quite near his father, David Leech.

Joseph Leech appears on the roster of Capt. Robert Caldwell's York Co. SC militia company for the War of 1812.

Two deeds appear in York Co. records 1811 Leech Joseph, SC York , deed: 500a to Jas Leech 500a on Turkey Creek. (Perhaps he conveyed the property to his brother, preparatory to leaving the area.)

Or alternately: 1826 Leech Joseph A SC York 168a Turkey Creek to Eleanor Leech. Eleanor was sister to James, David and Joseph, mentioned in the 1816 will of James Leech, other siblings in New York.

In 1827 Josiah and Rachel Norwood conveyed to Joseph A. Leech lots 77 and 81 in Moulton for 133, which had been conveyed by Abraham Rayles to Norwood and Leech probably the year before.


Joseph A Leech in Alabama

1818 Leech Joseph A Ala Lawr Land grant 7s-7w (3 of them: cert # 1735; 1736; 2040)

1831 Leach Joseph A. Ala Land entry 9S - 7W 80 acres, in Walker Co., south of Lawrence.

In 1838 the final report of the administrators of the estate of John Leech in Lawrence Co. included a note dated 1831 to Joseph a Leech with interest - $16.87. A man named William Reneau had received $166.

Joseph A. Leech had died by 1845 when Joseph A. Leech, presumably his son, acted as administrator of the estate of Joseph A Leech. Robert R. Reneau was the highest bidder at the sale of the Walker Co. proerty (The relationship of the Reneau family to LEECH is a mystery to the writer.)

The final settlement of the estate of Joseph A. Leech came in 1847: 1847 (Orphans Court I 1846-49 p. 201) 1847 Joseph A. Leech admin of Joseph A. Leech final settlement: sale of negro Tom $615 sale of real estate 87 balance against adm 519.53 Sarah Leech, wid 84.50 Mary Leech 84 David 84 John McCracken 84 guardian ad litem of: James Leech John Leech Sarah Leech, all minors of said Joseph A Leech.


Joseph A. Leech in Mississippi

In the 1850 census for Itawamba Co. MS a Dr. Joseph H Leach, 31, is listed on page 323 in the home of Wm L. McGaha 66, farmer b. in TN. McGaha had 10 children in his home and also Nehemiah Harris, 66, b. TN. We may speculate that he was the brother of Mrs. McGaha (McGaughey). One of the children was Nehemiah R. Harris, aged 16.

(This from a McGaughey correspondent: William McGauhey lived in Washington Co. VA, then Green Co. TN, then Maury Co. TN. He had three sons who moved to Lawrence Co. AL in 1818: Samuel, George Washington, and James Harvey. GW's son, Wm L.M., b. 1804, md Mary Harris, moved to Itawamba. [I haven't found a marriage record.] where the family appears in the 1850 census. His age however was given as 66. The presence of Dr. Joseph Leach in the home of this McGaughey-Harris family is another instance of the frequent association between LEECH and HARRIS in several other places.)

In 1860 we find Dr. Joseph Leach, 41 phsycian in Richmond P.O. with Cynthia, 22. Two doors away is Dr. Nehemiah McGaughey, 26.

In 1882 in Lee County J.A.Leech was buried at Unity Presbyterian Church, 1/2 mile north of the Plantersville and Richmod Rd., a few miles east of Plantersville. The old Presby church still active. organized before the Civil War. Two years later Cynthie Leech was buried adjacent to her husband.

This Dr. Joseph Leach/Leech seems most likely to be the man who served as administrator of his father's estate in 1848 in Lawrence Co. However there is some question as to whether he was the son of Joseph Leech or of David Leech, also of Lawrence. The 1840 census shows David Leech in Lawrence Co. in the neighborhood of several McGaugheys and adj to James Robinson.

In 1850 there was another Joseph A. Leech, b. 1810 in SC, living in De Soto Parish, Louisiana. That made him virtually the same age as the Itawamba Dr. Joseph A. Leech. Perhaps he is the son of Joseph A. Leech, who died in Lawrence Co. ca 1847. Or he may be the son of David, also of Lawrence. At least one of this La. Leech's children was said to have been born in Lawrence Co. ca 1838.


David Leech, son of John Leitch and his Family

David Leech appears in the 1820 state census of Lawrence Co. Ala from which we surmise that he was born before 1800. With a wife under 21 and a single child, a son, he appears to have been recently married. He was next door to John Leitch, his father. David and his wife, Nancy, had a son named Malcolm J. Leech, who died in 1841 and was buried in the Courtland, Ala public cemetery. (Failing to find a Malcolm in the Leech family, one would suppose the name may have come from the boy's mother.)

You may recall that the 1820 Lawrence Co. (state) census showed John Leitch and David Leech in adjacent houses. The 1830 census shows John Leech, but not David Leech living in the same neighborhood in Lawrence County. We find David Leech in Franklin County, Tenn living next door to Mynas B Feemster. Some time after 1830 Minus B. Feemster moved down to Marshall County Ala briefly and then on westward to Pontotoc County, Miss. David moved back to his old neighborhood in Lawrence Co. Ala.


David Leech of Lafayette Co. MS and his Descendants

David appeared in the 1840 Lawrence Co. census and died some time after 1846 either in Alabama or in North Mississippi. We have no evidence that he ever lived in Mississippi. However the one record we have found of David Leech after the census was as a witness in two 1846 deeds in Lafayette Co. MS. Both of them concern the purchase and subsequent sale of a piece of property by David's son-in-law, Abel Johnston/Johnson:

Lafayette Deeds: 1846 Leech David and S.W in Lafayette Co. MS were witnessess to a deed from W.H.Carothers, admin of Samuel M Carothers decd of Lafayette Co. to Able Johnson 165a, known as a fractional part of Sec. 13 of Twp 8, Range 4W of the base meridian of the Chickasaw survey for $150, $75 in one year and $75 a year later. David Leech was named as joint security for the bonds. This was in probate court 3rd Mon in Aug. in 1846. Able was the highest bidder at the auction of this property. He sold the property back to W.H.Carothers 14 Oct. 1846, for same price with same two wits. (This farm was about a mile NW of Oxford.)

In another interesting deed Benjamin Franklin King on Sept. 10, 1849 deed some live stock to Able Johnson to settle a debt of $6. (Lafayette Deed Book E, page 441)

Two other Lafayette Co. deeds relate to David Leech's family. In 1849 John Leech, the son of David Leech, bought in Lafayette Co. Mississippi for $100 the SE quarter of Sec. 16 Twp 9 Range 2W from John Davis and his wife Julia. (Deed Book E, p. 518; this is on Roll 5 of Jackson films.)

Some 10 years later John A. Leech of Izard Co. Ark sold the above parcel for $250 to George W. Oliver. This section is just north of state road 6 from Oxford to Pontotoc or Oxford-Cornish road, about 7 miles se of Oxford on Pumpkin Creek. (It's interesting to speculate whether this George W. Oliver may belong to the family of Dr. James Oliver who had married Martha, daughter of David Leech Esq.)

In Izard Co. AR in 1860 John A. Leech entered 80 acres and 120 acres in Sec 2 of Twp 18N Range 11W; in 1861 he entered 80 acres in Sec. 11 of the same Township.


Children of David Leech

The writer's great grandfather was James McGrady Leech, son of David Leech. (Family members believed that James McGrady Leech was born in Coffeeville, Miss., fought in the Civil War, and had 13 brothers and sisters. However the census and military records together indicate that he was born in Lawrence Co., AL in 1834.)

The census entries for David Leech (1820-40) and of Mrs. Ella B Leech (1850) when combined suggest a family of about the right size to agree with the above:

1820 Leech David Ala Lawr state census page 21.
One male over 21,
one male under 21,
one female under 21.
It thus appears to be a man with a wife and one minor son.

1820 John Leitch Ala Lawr state census page 21 (David's father)
one male over 21,
one male under 21, (William C)
one female over 21,
two females under 21 (in 1835 he had 3 married daughters: Sarah, Jane, and Clarissa.)

1840 David Leech Lawrence Co. AL census Page 183:
1 male -5 could be Minus B
1 female -5 could be Lucy C
2 males -10 could be James M and Wm A
1 male -15 could be Samuel W
2 females -15 could be Sarah
2 males -20 could be John A and Joseph A
1 female -20
1 male -30 Could be Malcolm (1820-41)
1 male -40 Could be Joseph A. Leech
1 male -50 could be David
1 female -50 David's wife.
(Family tradition holds there were 13 children in this family.)

In 1841 David and Nancy Leech of Lawrence Co. Ala burid their son Malcolm J. Leech in Courtland Public Cemetery.
Born 1820; Died Dec. 11, 1841.
(Since Nancy was Malcolm's mother and still David's wife in 1841, it seems certain that she was the mother of the larger part of his family.)

That is the last datum found on David Leech in Lawrence Co. (See above for description of his appearance in Mississippi.) A family that appears to be his appears in the 1850 census in Lafayette Co., AL:

1850 in Lafayette Co.

House 1038:
S.W. Leach, aged 39? (25) born Ala?
Lucinda A 21 b. SC.
(This is Samuel Leach-See 1860 census.) (1870 S.W.Leach 52 born Ala, wife L.A. 42)

House 1039:
Mrs. Ella Leach 45 $200 born in S.C.
Sarah 20 born Ala.
Wm A 18 laborer born Ala
Jas M 16 laborer born Ala (the writer's great grandfather)
Lucy C 14 born Ala
Minus B. 12 Male Ala (as in Minus Feemster, 46 year old minister)

An older daughter, Margaret Leech lived next door:
House 1040:
Samuel Whitfield King, 24, b. AL
Marg T. 25
David T. 2

In these three houses we have David Leech's widow and 7 of his children. In the home of Rev. Minus B. Feemster is another:
In 1850 John A. Leach, 26, was living in the home of Rev. M.B.Feemster in Pontotoc County. He certainly appears to be an older son of David Leech. Recall that in 1830 David Leech was in Franklin Co. TN, next door to Rev. Feemster--probably a cousin.

Joseph A. Leech was living in DeSoto Parish in LA. 1850 DeSoto Parish LA census: household #527
J A Leech 40 m planter $800 SC
Margaret Leech 40 f KY
Margaret Leech 16 f Miss
Intha Leech 13 f Ala
Levi W Leech 12 m Ala
Sarah E Leech 11 f Ala
John A Leech 8 m Miss
Francis Leech 4 f LA
(This Joseph A. Leech may have been a son of David Leech, but we haven't found any documentary evidence.)

Information about this family was provided by Margaret Whitehead.

In 1853 John A. Leach was witness to the will of Mrs. J. M. (Eliz. B.) Lewis in Lafayette Co. Miss. (In 1860 John A's brother W.A. and Wm R. Lewis had moved together to Craighead Co. AR. and John A., a Cumberland Presbyterian minister, had moved to Izaard Co. AR with his King cousins)

We see Mrs. Ella Leach in MS no more, but in the 1860 Lafayette Co. census on page 086 a J.M.Leach is found living in household #570, the home of a 55 year old farmer named Jos Goodwin from Kentucky. The household included machinists, mechanics and laborers: J.M.Leach, 28, laborer, born in Tenn. His birthplace doesn't agree with the 1850 son of Mrs. E.M.Leach, nor does his age, but otherwise it looks like the man.


The Family Goes North

The 1860 census indicates that various members of David Leech's family were living in 3 states:

J.M.Leech and Samuel W. Leech were living in Lafayette Co. James M was in Household 570, in what appeared to be a boarding house operated by Joseph Goodwin.

John A. Leech, 36 was living in Izaard Co. Ar near the family of his sister, Margaret (Mrs. Samuel Whitfield King).

The rest of the family had moved with Wm R. Lewis to Craighead Co. Ark.

Jonesboro in Craighead Co. AR

1860 census House 185:
W.A.Leech, 27 born TN Farmer
E.M. Leech 63 F SC (But the age of Ella Leech in Lafayette in 1850 was said to be 45.)
M.B. Leech 21 M AL Farm Laborer
E.M.V. Leech 19 F AL
[S?] B. King 11 M MS (probably David)
M.E. King 36 F TN (M.E. Leech King)
Samuel L. King 9 M MS
(Here we see elements of the families living in Lafayette MS in houses 1039 and 1040.

William A Leech may be single or a widower at this time. In 1852 a William H. Leech had married Catherine Harris in Itawamba Co.

Next door to W.A.Leech's family is another that appears to be related to or at least associated with the Leech's: House 184:
Wm. R. Lewis 36 M TN Farmer 7000 3700
Sarah Lewis 30 F TN
Benjamin Lewis 7 M
TN Thomas Lewis 5 M TN
Josephine Lewis 4 F TN
Nancey Lewis 2 F TN

The reader may recall that in 1853 John A. Leech witnessed the will of Mrs. J. M. (Eliz. B.) Lewis in Lafayette Co. Miss. Here are the details of Mrs. Lewis' will: Will Book 1 pages 85-87, Packet #595, dated 28 June 1853 exor son, William B. Lewis; son-in-law, James M Dooley (married to dau Eliz F) wit: John A Leach, Leroy B. Gaston, Samuel B. Parks names son Wm B, dec son John Allen Lewis (Son-in-law to be appointed guardian of John's two daughters, Josephine Angeline and Mary Allen

It appears that "son Wm B" is the "Wm R" found here in the 1860 Craighead Co. AR census in Jonesboro, adj to the brother of the John A. Leech who signed his mother's will in 1853 in Lafayette Co. This is borne out by the coincidence of the name Josephine as his daughter as well as his brother John's daughter.


The Civil War

The records of the Confederacy offer considerable detail about the career of James M Leech (and also his brother, Minus B. Leech): Miss. 19th Regiment Co. E: James M Leech Pvt. in Capt. J.W.C.Smith's Co. of Miss Volunteers. joined May 15, 1861. ........... Apr 6, 1863 detailed on Pioneer Corp. made his escape from Germania Bridge, but lost arms and accouterments. ............................ Jan 4, 1865 Deserter's report: Clarksburg W Va: age 30, 5 ft 8 in. blue eyes; born Lawrence Ala. residence Lafayette Co, Miss. enrolled Oxford Miss May 1861 reported Dec. 18 at Beverly Brigade: Harris remarks: took the oath and released Dec. 24

(This deserter's report looks like more than the words imply, perhaps a general rout at Clarksburg in which a unit dissolved. James seems to have found his way back to Beverly. Perhaps there was no unit for him and he was sent home. Or perhaps it was more like a surrender and a parole. Which army was at Beverly on Dec 18? At any rate the war was approaching its end. Grant faced Richmond and Sherman occupied Savannah. James M Leech had served for almost four years when the end came for him.)

(The "deserter's report" was a key document enabling the writer to trace his ancestry from AL to MS. It provided the only record of James M Leech's birthplace and pointed clearly to the movement of the Leech family from Lawrence Co. AL to Lafayette Co. MS.)

It appears that James M Leech and his younger brother, Minus B. Leech, enlisted in different states:

From "THE ROSTER OF CONFEDERATE SOLDIERS; 1861-1865"; Volume IX Broadfoot Publishing Company; Wilmington, North Car: p. 62 Soldiers with the SURNAME of "LEECH": FROM ARKANSAS - Leech, Minus B. 13th Infantry, Company I. In all liklihood the son of David Leech, who had gone to Arkansas with his step-mother and his older brother, W.A.Leech. Another older brother, John A. Leech was in Izard Co. AR about this time.

FROM MISSISSIPPI Leech, James M. 19th Infantry, Company E- My great grandfather


After the War

In 1877 James M Leech married Ella B. Hendricks in Lafayette Co. MS: 1877 Marriage Bonds: Jas M Leech and A.B.Harding for $200 condition that Jas M Leech and Miss Ella B. Hendricks to wed. Before E Andrews Lafayette Co. clerk of court made oath of statutory age. William E. Andrews Clerk issued license. 26 March, 1877 rite of Matrimony celebrated between Mr. Jas M Leech and Mis Ella B. Hendricks. signed by Jas N Boon.

Older Siblings of James Leech

As described above the 1850 Lafayette Co. census showed James M Leech with 4 siblings--two sisters and two brothers. Two older men may be presumed to belong to this family also, Samuel W. and John A. Note that Samuel W. was associated with David Leech, probably David's son, in the Able Johnston deed in Lafayette Co. in 1846. In 1850 S.W. had his own household, and it was next door to Ms. Ella Leach and her 5 listed children. John A Leech appeared in a Lafayette Co. deed in 1847. In 1850 he was in the Pontotoc residence of Rev. Minos B. Feemster.

Reading Stephen Ambrose's biography of Merither Lewis I learned that young men "often got their education by boarding with teachers, almost always preachers or parsons.." It seems likely that David Leech may have gone to Franklin Co. TN to facilitate the instruction of his sons by his cousin, Rev. M.B.Feemster. Some years later, when both families had moved to North Mississippi, John A. was boarding with Feemster, shortly before he was licensed as a Cumberland Presbyerian Minister.)

In 1850 S.W.Leach in Laf, next door to Mrs. E.M.Leach, born Ala, wife Lucinda A, aged 21 b S.C.

1860 Miss Laf census p 7 household 43: Samuel Leach 35 farmer Ala with Lucinda 32 from S.C. Louisa 11 from Miss. Benj 5 from Miss. Lander ? from Miss. this is Paris Post Office.

1860 King James 36 SC Miss Laf census 008 household 42 (next door to Samuel Leach, brother of James M Leach.) This is James King, son of Benjamin King-not the James Farr King I had entered here earlier. He went to Izaard Co. AR with his family. This James King is his cousin.


A Relative in Water Valley?

On page 28 of the Yalobusha Pioneer, (Winter of 1990), there appeared the following quotation from the Dec. 9, 1897 City Itemizer of Water Valley: "Rev. A.P.Leech, 71 yr old boy wonder of the North Mississippi Conference stopped over a day or two in Water Valley on his way to the Conference. Mrs. Leech will stay over during the Conference. Son Mr. W.E.Leech dau Mrs. N.B.McLean." Alfred P. Leech was the twin brother of Capt. Elbert C. Leech; both are buried at Tabernacle Cemetery. They were sons of William Leech and grandsons of John Leech of Spartansburg. Rev. Leech was thus a distant cousin of James McGrady Leech.


Bernard Odell Leech; Son of James Leech

My grandfather, Bernard Odell Leech, was born in 1879 in Taylor, MS, a few miles southwest of Oxford in Lafayette Co.

According to the 1880 census James M Leech, 47, born in MS had wife Ella and son Bernard. James was said to have been born in MS and both of his parents in AL. Ella is said to have been born in MS, her father in AL and her mother in MS:

1880 Miss Yalobusha Co. census Twp Water Valley (Taylor and Water Valley are quite close, although in different counties) Leech James M 43 born MS Leech Ella A 22 born MS Leech Bernard 10/12, born MS

The 1890 census was unfortunately burned.

Some time before the turn of the century James Leech and family moved from rural Mississippi to the city of Memphis. No doubt then as now people leave the country to make their fortune in town.

1900 Tenn Shelby census ed. 102 sheet 10, line 42 Leach James, age 66; Shaw St., Memphis. Born 1833 in Alabama. carpenter (house), literate, a renter Leach Ella E b. May 1857 age 43 mother of 2 children, 1 living Bernard O son born July 18, 1879; aged 20, born in Miss laborer (riveter iron) literate.

Descendants of Bernard Odell and Minnie Mae Holmes Leech

Two daughters were born in Memphis: In 1904 Mary Maud Leech. In 1921 she married Robert L Clayton in New Orleans.
In 1905 Mae Leech. In 1920 she married Vernon H. Bray. The Brays had 3 children: Vernon, Jr., born 1923 Betty Jean, born ca 1927, died of diphtheria at age of 3. William, born ca 1942 in Glendale, CA.

Ca 1936 Vernon and Minnie Mae Bray moved from Memphis to Glendale CA. Soon thereafter Minnie Mae's parents followed them. They were members of the Broadway St. Methodist Church. Life was better for the family than it had been in depression days in Memphis. In 1953 most of the Leech family were in California: the Brays and the two Clayton grandchildren, Margaret having moved there in 1942 and Larry serving in the U.S.Navy.

The Bray family is subject for another discourse.

© 2001 Larry Clayton
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