Addendum: James, son of Philip The Thumb

In June 2019 I received an email from Catherine (Kate) Woodward, eldest daughter of Patrick Leonard of Australia, with some interesting information on Philip The Thumb’s descendants in America:

Hi Niall

It’s Catherine (Kate) Woodward, eldest daughter of Patrick Leonard from Australia.

You probably are aware that both our parents have now passed so I am now the oldest of the next generation.

I have always had an interest in family history and still have childhood notes I took about our ancestors. In more recent years I have been interested in genetic genealogy and a few surprises have popped up.

One in particular is that I can 99 % confirm that Phillip the Thumb had an older son by name of James as was alluded to in your father’s memoirs.

I have just returned from NYC (June 2019) and spent some time in the archives and in the Historical and Biographical Museum and found some good supporting evidence to this end.

James Leonard also has descendants living still in the US with whom I met with and spent a couple of days talking to about our connection. These I found via DNA initially and they presented as 2-3rd cousins. So it all makes sense.

James Leonard married Bridget Farmer in New York and had 3 known children-Phillip, Mary Jane and Rosanna. Both Mary Jane and Rosanna married Schmidts, who anglised to Smith, and our newly-found cousins descend from Rosanna but they know of others from Mary Jane.

Phillip Leonard died a widower in 1913 at the age of 35 under unfortunate circumstances; I am still tracking down the inquest. But it’s a possibility that there were surviving children.

Back to the elusive James: he emigrated from Ireland at about 17 years old in 1865 approximately. He was born between 1846 and 1848 – record dates vary. His marriage certificate does not name his parents at all, although Bridget’s are named. His death certificate cites his father as Phillip but both his spouse and mother are listed as Bridget Farmer, obviously an error.

I ran out of time before I could visit his grave. He is not the James in the Leonard family grave at Calvary, but is buried in the same cemetery somewhere else. Hopefully with his wife Bridget…