17 June 1743, Cornwall, Connecticut to Thomas Tanner, Sr. and Martha Borden.
17 January 1817/18, Cooperstown, New York.
30 October 1765, Cornwall, Connecticut to Anna Baldwin. She was born in October 1741, probably at Goshen, Connecticut, and died in 1821 or 1822, probably at Cooperstown, New York.
4 sons and 3 daughters.
2nd Lt. Thomas Tanner’s father was Thomas Tanner who was born about 1695, probably at Haddam, Connecticut, and who died before 19 June 1750. His mother was Martha Borden who was born on 11 September 1700 at Lyme, Connecticut, and died after 1753 at Cornwell, Connecticut. 2nd Lt. Thomas Tanner’s parent were married on 26 December 1727 at East Haddam, Connecticut.
French and Indian War:
Enlisted at age 18 (abt. 1761), and served 2 years.
Second Lieutenant, Bradley’s Connecticut State Regiment, Captain Smith’s Company, 10 June 1776; Taken prisoner at Fort Washington, 16 November 1776; Billeted and paroled as a prisoner of war at Flat Bush, Long Island, New York; Released after 4 years a prisoner of war.
First represented in 2017 by Ryan James Corker.
From Genealogy of the Descendants of Thomas Tanner, Sr. ,(1893):
“In October 1773, a war with England pending, he was made ensign of a “trainband” of his townsmen. In May [sic] 1776, he was appointed second lieutenant of Capt. Smith’s company, Col. Bradley’s battalion, Gen. Wadsworth’s brigade. He was in the Battle of Long Island, August 27, in the retreat to New York, Harlem, Washington Heights and into Fort Washington; where, with more than 2,000 Connecticut and Maryland troops, he was taken prisoner November 16. During the night, he and his comrades were marched through New York to Brooklyn, where he was held 4 years a prisoner, meanwhile following his carpenter trade for his support. Released then on parole, he returned to his family in Cornwall, to their great joy and relief. Soon after, in 1781, he moved with his family to New Lebanon, New York, where some of his brother William’s family had doubtless preceded him, and where he remained some twelve years, pursuing his trade, and where his two youngest children were born. In 1793, he removed to Cooperstown, where his two oldest sons had preceded him. Here in this young thriving town, he continued working at his trade till old coming on, he died in 1817, aged 74, and was buried in the old Christ Church cemetery. His wife, Anna, followed him some four years later. Of his moral and religious character, of his personal traits, habits and manners there is nothing known. Family tradition says he was a large, heavy man, while his wife was a quite slim and small woman; hence perhaps the medium size of most of his descendants. His army trunk, hair covered and iron bound, still exists in a great grandson’s family at South Cortland, N. Y.”
Bates, Albert C., ed. Lists and Returns of Connecticut Men in the Revolution: 1775-1783, in Collections of the Connecticut Historical Society, Vol. XII. Hartford, CT: Case, Lockwood, & Brainard Company, 1909. https://archive.org/details/collectionsofcon12conn.
Ford, Worthington Chauncey. “Prisoners of War: British and American, 1778,” The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography (1893): 11-12. https://archive.org/details/prisonersofwarbr00ford.
Heitman, Francis B. Historical Register of Officers of the Continental Army During the War of the Revolution, April 1775 to December 1783, New, Revised and Enlarged Edition. Washington D. C.: The Rare Book Shop Publishing Company, Inc., 1914. https://archive.org/details/franheitmanreg00bernrich.
Johnston, Henry Phelps, ed. Record of Connecticut Men in the War of the Revolution. Hartford, CT: The Case, Lockwood, and Brainard Company, 1889. https://archive.org/details/waroftherevolution00recorich.
Tanner, Elias F. Genealogy of the Descendants of Thomas Tanner, Sr. Lansing, MI: Darius D. Thorp, Printer and Binder, 1893. https://archive.org/details/genealogyofdesce00tann.
The National Archives. “Thomas Tanner: Bradley’s Regiment, Revolutionary War” in Compiled Service Records of Soldiers Who Served in the American Army During the Revolutionary War. NARA M881, Record Group 93, Roll 363. https://www.fold3.com/image/16839154.
________. “A Pay Roll of Capt. Simeon Smith’s Company in Col. Philip B. Bradley’s Regiment” in Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775-1783. NARA M246, Record Group 93, Roll 27, Folder 195. https://www.fold3.com/image/ 10109216.
________. “Return of the American Officers and Other Prisoners on Parole on Long Island” in Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775-1783. NARA M246, Record Group 93, Roll 136, Folder 6. https://www.fold 3.com/image/9685388.
Biographical information provided by Ryan James Corker.
(1) 26-Apr-1764 Dorothy Huntington who died on 6-Jul-1765
(2) 08-May-1766, Bristol, RI, Mary Greene, b. 18-Aug-1742, Bristol, RI, d. 13-Jan-1818, Lewiston, NY
All children were probably born in Woodstock.
of Abiel and Dorothy (Huntington) Leonard:
i. Dorothy Huntington, b. 18-Jan-1765
of Abiel and Mary (Greene) Leonard:
ii. Mary Greene, b. 07-Mar-1767, bp. 05-Apr-1767, d. 16-Apr-1804 at the Springfield, MA home of Nathaniel.
Iii. Nathaniel, b. 04-Oct-1768, d. 20-Feb-1844, Fayette, MO, m. Mary Greenleaf Leverett on 18-Dec-1792 in Windsor, VT, She was b. 28-Jul-1763 in Boston, MA and d. 14-Oct-1839 in Lewiston, NY. Capt. Nathaniel was commandant of Ft. Niagara during the War of 1812 when it was captured by the British.
iv. Margaret Luscombe, b. 22-Jul-1770, bp. 22-July-1770, m. Mr. Church of New York City. She d. 27-Jan-1793
v. Thomas, b. 05-Jul-1772, bp. 12-July-1772, d. 18-Sep-1778
vi. Philip Doddington, b. 20-Mar-1774, bp. 12-Mar-1774, went as supercargo of vessel to the Indies and was lost at sea.
vii. Abiel, b. 08-Apr-1776, bp. 14-Apr-1776, died in Liverpool, England.
Harvard M.A, 1759; Yale D. D., 1776
Chaplin 3rd Connecticut, 1st May to 16th December 1775; Chaplin of Knox’s Regiment Continental Artillery, 1st January to 31st December, 1776, Died 1778 [sic]. (Heitman, page 347)
Died during the war, so not an original member. He has been represented by his great-great-grandson Col. Joseph Stephens Leonard in 1934 who died 12-Aug-1963, by his great-great-great-great-grandson Charles Edward Leonard in 1964 who died 3-Feb-2015, and currently by his great-great-great-great-great-grandson (Charles) Nelson Leonard, 2016 who was born 14-Jun-1958 (son of the foregoing) who joined Feb. 2016. His great-great-great-great-grandson, Gregory Bell Smith (editor of this biography) is a Connecticut member through descent from Col. John Ely.
The following text in italics is from Dennis K. Boman’s Leonard Family Memoir, (unpublished manuscript portion of PhD. Thesis, pages 13-44), c1997, quoted with permission of the author.
Abiel was Pastor in Woodstock, CT 1763-1777 of The First Congregational Church organized 1690. At his ordination, £10 16s were expended for liquor, sugar and lemons, so the affair must have gone off with a good deal of spirit.
A patriot himself, his brothers George (who removed with his son to New Brunswick, Canada in 1783) and Daniel were loyalists.
Abiel . . . entered Harvard, ranked eighth in a class of forty-five students. He graduated in 1759. As an undergraduate he was awarded the Gibbs and Hollis scholarships and spoke at the commencement when he received his undergraduate degree. For his masters’ examination, he took the affirmative of the question, “An Creatio sit Actio Dei solius propria.” (Is creation exclusively an act of God alone?)
Abiel received his D. D., from Yale in 1776, and received an Honorary S. T. D. from Princeton (then the College of New Jersey) in 1777. The sketch below was made of Rev. Abiel as a young man. The original has been handed down in my family and is now in the possession of Richard Dana Smith, Jr.
In June 1762, Abiel was overcome by an affliction which Robert Treat Paine, later signer of the Declaration of Independence and justice to the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, described as being marked by periods of “Distraction, Sometimes Dumb and inattentive, sometimes Raving.” By November Abiel had recovered. On 10-Jan-1763 he was called to serve as minister to the First Congregational Church at Woodstock, CT, having preached there ’for some time past.” His appointment was contingent on his agreement to the principles “exprest in the Church Covenant . . . which is Congregational.” By the next month, Abiel’s acceptance letter was received and he was ordained on 23- Jun-1763. Some concern at the time still existed about his mental state, for the Reverend Nathan Bucknam of Medway at the ordination service exhorted the members of the Woodstock church to “do nothing that tends to weaken his hands, or discourage his heart, and this I the more earnestly entreat, as knowing the peculiar tenderness of his mind.
On 26-Apr-1764, Abiel married Dorothy Huntington, the daughter of Colonel Hezekiah and Hannah Huntington. Reverend Benjamin Lord performed the ceremony at Norwich. His wife Dorothy, however, died on 6-Jul-1765 and was survived by an infant daughter. Abiel then married Mary Greene, daughter of Lieutenant-Governor Thomas and Elizabeth Greene of Rhode Island, on 8- May-1766 at Bristol, RI. The Reverend John Burt conducted the marriage. Presumably, Leonard’s financial situation was in good order for on 22-Dec-1764 he bought thirty-three acres at the price of four hundred pounds. Almost five years later he purchased twenty-one acres more with a barn attached for the price of one hundred and twelve pounds.
During the years preceding the outbreak of hostilities with England, Leonard became well known throughout New England for his published sermons, two of which were printed at the time. In the first of these – perhaps echoing the New Light doctrine of his father – he praised the British constitution’s protection of the common man’s liberties. Despite the difficulties that America was then experiencing, Abiel expressed the opinion that the county would not come into “poverty and ruin . . . I cannot but think that God hath great things in store for us, notwithstanding some threatening circumstances; and he designs to make of us a great and mighty people.” He also noted that in the past royal charters to the American colonies had guaranteed “the continuation of those inestimable liberties and privileges granted to these several governments.” Though for a time America’s constitutional rights has been “in danger of being subverted;” nonetheless, he was confident that God would continue to protect the colonies and calm their “fearful expectations.”
In another discourse, given on the occasion of the ordination service of George Wheaton in Clermont, NH on 19-Feb-1772, Leonard preached a sermon that was described by the Essex Gazette as “elegant, instructive, warm and pungent . . . to a well-pleased and admiring audience, consisting of about five hundred.” In it Abiel exhorted Wheaton to encourage the practice of the open confession of one’s faith, – another New Light tenet – the close study of the scriptures, and upright conduct befitting a minister of God’s word.
With the opening shots of the American Revolution in 1775, Leonard’s patriotism and concern for the welfare of the soldier – some of whom were members of his church – became evident when he volunteered for the position of chaplain to the Third Connecticut. This regiment was commanded by General Israel Putnam and had been authorized during a special session of the CT legislature in April and May of 1775. The troops were recruited from Windham and New London counties. Abiel’s desire to serve his country during its time of peril prompted him to sell his parsonage to Samuel Dexter for one thousand pounds. The sale included all his real estate in Woodstock “consisting of Upland, Meadow & Woodland, situated near the meeting house in the first Society in said town, containing fifty-four Acres, having a large dwelling House, Barn & other Outhouses thereon standing.” On 20-May-1775 Leonard called a church meeting after the service and told the congregation of his appointment as chaplain to the Third Connecticut. While he met no opposition, there was no enthusiasm for his departure either; instead, “the Church by their silence manifested their resignation to said Appointment.” This move required not only the sacrifice of his minister’s salary and the proceeds which he earned from holding private grammar school, but he was also “obliged to provide and pay a preacher to supply his Pulpit during his Absence.” After having thus set his public and private affairs in order, he “marched with his regiment.”
In addition to performing his duties as chaplain, Leonard composed a prayer to be distributed among the soldiers. “A Prayer Composed for the Benefit of the Soldiery, in the American Army, to Assist them in their Private Devotions; and Recommended to their Particular Use”, not only provided for the spiritual wellbeing of the soldiers, but also justified America’s course in taking up arms against Britain. According to Leonard, Great Britain had “sent over a great multitude . . . to deprive [the American people] of their liberties and properties.” Americans had been forced to make a decision either to “submit to arbitrary laws and despotic government” or to defend “those rights and privileges.” Written a year before Thomas Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence, Leonard stated that the colonists’ goal “was to establish the liberties of America . . . upon a firmer foundation that ever,” as well as to effect “a glorious reunion” between the American people and the Britains. His hope was “that [soon] the Britains and the Americans may rejoice in the King as the minister of God to both for good.”
The Third Connecticut marched to Boston in May and was positioned at the center of Putnam’s division during the siege and fought at the battle of Bunker Hill in June. At this time of improvisation, before the establishment of the Continental Army and the appointment of George Washington as commander in chief, Leonard and Samuel Langdon, president of Harvard, appear to have been the only chaplains available to minister to the entire American army. Both men conducted services every day to make up for this deficiency.
On 18-Jul-1775 Leonard addressed the entire army at Prospect Hill with a special message from the Continental Congress. In the manifesto to the troops Congress justified its decision to fight. Reverend Leonard concluded with a short prayer, after which the troops were dismissed “with three cheers, the firing of a cannon, and a war-whoop” by Indians of the Stockbridge tribe who had stood by the colonists during the battle.
Soon after Abiel’s address to the army he received permission to return home on furlough and wrote a letter from Woodstock to his friend, Samuel Blachley Webb, an aid to General Putnam and later a member of Washington’s staff. The letter, dated 22-Aug-1775, provides insight into the camaraderie that existed between the American officers at this time and also reveals something of Leonard’s congenial personality and popularity. His trip from Boston to Woodstock had taken two days by horse. He thanked Webb for the gift of “a very tasty wig . . . which I have worn once or twice . . . If fits me admirably well and my own people are pleased with it, and say it becomes me the best of any I ever wore.” Despite enjoying his stay at home where he was surrounded by “the pleasure of an agreeable wife and pleasant children,” nevertheless, he was anxious to learn of events transpiring at Cambridge during his absence and requested Webb to write “a few minutes of what has passed.” At the end of his letter, Abiel sent greetings to General Putnam, to the Commissary General, Joseph Trumbull, and “to all friends as tho’ personally named.”
At the end of 1775 Leonard again aided the American cause by encouraging soldiers to reenlist since many regiments’ terms of service were coming to an end. In a letter to Governor Jonathan Trumbull Washington commended Leonard for his service in the revolutionary cause and requested that he remain with the army. In arguing for Leonard’s retention as a chaplain of the army, Washington stated that
His general conduct has been exemplary and praiseworthy; in discharging the duties of his office, active and industrious; he has discovered himself a warm and steady friend to his country, and taken great pains to animate the soldiery and impress them with a knowledge of the important rights they are contending for. Upon the late desertion of the troops, he gave a sensible and judicious discourse, holding forth the necessity of courage and bravery, and at the same time of obedience and subordination to those in command. In justice to the merits of this gentleman, I thought it only right to give you this testimonial of my opinion of him, and to mention him to you as a person worthy of your esteem and that of the publick.
This letter prompted Trumbull to request that Leonard receive an extension of leave from his duties to the First Congregational Church at Woodstock. The request was granted on 12-Jan-1776.
He then served as chaplain to the Twentieth Continental–the Third Connecticut reorganized–and Knox’s Artillery. His salary was $33 a month. During this time he not only held services for the two regiments to which he was attached, but also for the entire First Division. On 18 February 1776 he read to the First Division a proclamation from the General Assembly of Massachusetts “for the reformation of manners.” At the end of the three months’ extension of leave of absence Generals Washington and Putnam sent a joint letter to the congregation at Woodstock in which they argued that Leonard was providing useful aid to the army in attending to the morals of the soldiers “who are fighting for . . . the liberties of all America”. His work as a chaplain was especially important they believed, for without it their efforts to train and discipline the troops for the upcoming campaign would be all the more difficult.
Because of the financial hardship which his continued service in the army had caused him, Leonard petitioned Congress to compensate him for his eight months’ service in 1775. A committee was established to determine whether a reward should be made or not. A letter from General Putnam in favor of his claim appears to have made the difference in gaining the committee’s support. On 16 August 1776 the committee recommended that Leonard be paid three hundred dollars for he had “performed the duty of a chaplain” to regiments other than the Third Connecticut and that services “were very necessary and useful.”
In April 1776 the Twentieth Continental, known also as Durkee’s regiment, “marched from Boston to New York [City],” remaining there throughout the summer until ordered to Fort Lee in southern New York. The fort was captured by General William Howe on 20 November, but the garrison escaped “and then accompanied Washington on the retreat through New Jersey.” Part of the regiment fought at the battle of Trenton on Christmas day 1776. With American arms close to collapse, some of Durkee’s soldiers dutifully remained in the army six weeks beyond their term of service and fought at Princeton on 3 January 1777. It is unclear whether or not Leonard was then present with the army for on 10 December 1776 he requested a furlough beginning on fifteenth. Perhaps he had hoped to return home by Christmas it is probable that Leonard postponed his departure when the army began to move again. In endorsing his request, Henry Knox, colonel of artillery, stated that
the Revd. Doctor Abiel Leonard having fully, faithfully, & honorably discharged the duties of his profession in the Course of a laborious & uncomfortable Campaign has my most hearty thanks in his unwearied industry & permission to return to his flock and Family after the 15th instant.
When he returned home, Leonard received inoculation for small pox, causing a prolonged illness. This malady, however, did not prevent his return to the army and participation in public affairs.
In 1777 Leonard lobbied Congress to establish the new position of brigade chaplain in the army. His purpose was to increase the pay of chaplains to the same level as that of colonels’, enabling them to serve in the army without financial hardship. Leonard may have formulated this plan when he sought his own appointment as “Chaplain to the whole of the artillery with the pay of a Colonel.” In response to this request on 2 May 1777 General Nathaniel Greene wrote to John Adams and stated that:
Doctor Lennard [Abiel Leonard] of Connecticut who was Chaplain to the Artillery last Campaign offers his service again in the Artillery department. There will be several Regiments this Year. They are commonly detacht to different Brigades and divisions of the Army. The Doctor thinks he can serve the whole. But he cannot think of engaging in the service unless there is a more Ample provision made than at present. If the Doctor would answer for the Three Regiments he would Merit some extraordinary allowance. He thinks his services will deserve the pay of a Lt Col of the Train. If any Man deserves it the Doctor does. He engaged early in the Army and has been indefatigable in the duties of his Station. In a word he has done everything in his power both in and out of his line of duty to promote the good of the service. The Clergy are most certainly useful and necessary in the Army and ought to be decently provided for. It is General Knoxes opinion and wish that the Doctor may be appointed to the office of Chaplain for the whole Artillery of this division of the Army. You will please to consider of the propriety of the measure.
Adams replied favorably to Greene’s suggestion.
Chaplains are of great use, I believe, and I wish Mr. Leonard might be in the Army, upon such Terms as would be agreeable to him, for there is no Man of whom I have a better Opinion. But there is So much difficulty in accomplishing any Thing of the Kind, that I wish G. Washington would either appoint him or recommend him to Congress.
Leonard also wrote to Joseph Trumbull, the commissary general in Philadelphia, that he had enlisted the support of “Generals Greene & Knox [who had written] to some of the Gentlemen in Congress.” Leonard asked Trumbull to speak to members of Congress about his proposal and added that he had already arranged matters with the Woodstock congregation so that he could remain with the army:
My people have consented that I should continue in the Army thro’ the Controversy–and my pastoral relation to them not to be dissolved, and I am now come forward with a design to devote myself to the service provided I can by doing Justice to a large family which cannot be done with the present pay of the Chaplains.
While Leonard gained the position of brigade chaplain for himself, Congress made no other appointments because of General Washington’s objection to the plan. This failure troubled Leonard very much at a time when his health was deteriorating and may have contributed to a recurrence of the mental disorder which had afflicted him when he was a young man. Returning to the army from Philadelphia where he had preached before Congress and received an honorary doctoral degree from Princeton, he stayed at Judge Coe’s tavern in Kakiate and “cut his own throat” during the night of 27 July. General Putnam and Doctor Turner rushed “to the scene of horror” and found Leonard with a cut to his throat so severe that he was not expected to live. The cut was near the chin and the tongue was wounded, preventing him from speaking, though according to Dr. Albigence Waldo of Woodstock he was conscious and wrote of his “great desire to get well.” Another physician, Doctor Eustice, reported that though he was comfortable “his Case [was] extremely critical.” On 2 August Leonard improved enough to travel to Peekskill and then later to Danbury, but his health worsened and he died on 14 August 1777 and was survived by his wife and seven children.
Abiel’s wife Mary was the second cousin, once removed of the great Revolutionary War General Nathaniel Greene. She is buried in Lewiston, NY where her gravestone reads:
Bristol, RI Vital Records
Bowen, Clarence W., History of Woodstock, CT, 8 vols, 1926-43, v1 p146-50, 243-4
Colonial Collegians: Biographies of Those Who Attended American Colleges before the War for Independence. CD & Online database at NewEnglandAncestors.org. New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2008
Collections of the Connecticut Historical Society, v20 p183-4, 355-7
Fowler, William Chauncey, The Ministers of Connecticut in The Revolution, 1877, p80-82
Headley, J. T., Chaplains and Clergy of the Revolution, 1861, p63
Heitman, Francis Bernard, Historical Register of Officers of the Continental Army During the War of the Revolution, 1893, p347
Larned, Ellen Douglas, History of Windham County, Connecticut: 1760-1880, (vol. 2), p98, 149, 152, 156-7, 160-1, 167, 179, 194
2d Lieutenant of Silliman’s Connecticut State Regiment, 20th June to 25th December, 1776; 1st Lieutenant 5th Connecticut, 1st January 1777; Captain-Lieutenant, 1st June, 1778; Captain, 1st April, 1779; transferred to 2d Connecticut, 1st January, 1781; resigned 17th December, 1781.
Connecticut, Adjutant-General’s Office. Record of Service of Connecticut Men In the I. War of the Revolution, II. War of 1812, III. Mexican War. Hartford: [Case, Lockwood & Brainard Co.], 1889. p. 355.
Francis B. Heitman, Historical Register of Officers of the Continental Army during the War of the Revolution April, 1775, to December, 1783. Washington, D.C.: The Rare Book Shop Publishing Company, 1914. p. 579.
Ebenezer Dagget was born at New Haven, Connecticutt on 21 December 1760. He was the son of the Rev. Naphtali Daggett, D.D., and Sarah.
Ebenezer Dagget died of smallpox on 20 November 1781 at Head of Elk, Maryland on the return march from Virginia and Yorktown.
Ensign 7th Connecticut 20th June, 1779; transferred to 1st Connecticut, 1st January, 1781; died 20th November, 1781.
Two of Ebenezer Daggett’s siblings had issue. His brother, Henry (1758-1843), married Anna Ball. They had nine children. His brother, Ezra (1765-1844), married Eunice Tuttle. They had eleven children.
Ebenezer’s brother, Henry Daggett, served as a Lieutenant with the 2d Connecticut until 3 June 1783. During course of the war Henry Daggett not only lost his brother, he lost his father.
During the British raid of New Haven, Connecticut in July 1779, Ebenezer’s father, the Rev. Naphtali Daggett, took up arms against them. He actively opposed the British, incited his students at Yale against them, and openly preached and prayed against them. British troops captured him and after beating him severely left him for dead. He was taken to a nearby house, and when the British troops came to collect him as a prisoner, the mistress of the house refused to surrender him. He died 18 months later from the effects of his beating by British troops.
Connecticut. Adjutant-General’s Office. Record of Service of Connecticut Men In the I. War of the Revolution, II. War of 1812, III. Mexican War. Hartford: [Case, Lockwood & Brainard Co.], 1889. p. 352.
Samuel Bradlee Doggett, A History of the Doggett-Daggett Family. Boston: Press of Rockwell and Churchill, 1894. pp. 119-120 & 147
Francis B. Heitman, Historical Register of Officers of the Continental Army during the War of the Revolution April, 1775, to December, 1783. Washington, D.C.: The Rare Book Shop Publishing Company, 1914. p. 184.
Henry Phelps Johnston, Yale and her honor-roll in the American revolution, 1775-1783. New York : Privately printed [by G.P. Putnam’s Sons], 1888. p. 340.
Biographical information compiled by V. Allen Gray.