Mr. Marcus Leonard, 92, died at 12:30 a.m., Saturday, July 18,
in the Stillwater, Oklahoma, Municipal Hospital. He expired quite
suddenly after being in good health up until two days of his
passing. The last ten weeks of his life had been spent in the home
of his son in Stillwater.
Mr. Leonard was born in Lanark, Illinois, April 23, 1872, the
son of William Leonard and Nancy Jane Grigsby. In 1875, he moved
with his parents to Aurelia, Iowa, and from there to Rock Rapids,
Iowa, in 1890. He was one of 13 children, eight of whom grew to
adulthood. His twin sister, Mary, died in 1931.
His parents were frontiersmen, coming to Iowa when it was a
young state. In his young boyhood, Mr. Leonard became interested in
the steam threshing machinery which was just in its fancy in 1880.
It became such a fascination to him that he spent all the remaining
years of his life right up to within a week of his death, thinking,
dreaming, talking, and writing about his life’s work and
aspirations. At various times during his life he was a engine
operator, an owner of steam threshing rigs in Iowa and Kansas, a
salesman and collector, an inventor, and finally in his later
years, an author.
Mr. Leonard became a teacher of the ‘Old Country
School,’ at the age of 18, and taught several terms until 1903,
when he moved to Kansas City, Kansas. In the meantime he had
attended a business college in Des Moines, Iowa, and then later on
he spent one year at what was then called the Kansas Normal School,
located in Emporia. There he met Mabel W. Dix of Pratt, Kansas, who
became his wife in 1900.
To this union were born three children, Carroll of Stillwater,
Oklahoma, and Mrs. Ruth L. Meier of Evanston, Illinois, who survive
him; and the younger daughter Mrs. Florence Chambers who passed
away last year. His wife died in 1957. Mrs. Meier’s husband
preceded Mr. Leonard’s death by three days. All of his children
were named for pupils he taught in Harper County, Kansas. He has
kept in touch with many of his former pupils throughout his
Other survivors include five grandsons, a step grand daughter,
and a step grandson; four great grandchildren and one step great
granddaughter; a daughter-in-law Mrs. Carroll Leonard; and two
sisters, Mrs. Dora Meyers of Rock Rapids, Iowa, and Mrs. Pearl E.
Kirk of Wadena, Minnesota. Also surviving are several nieces and
nephews, as well as a host of friends and admirers.
When Mr. Leonard was 21 years old he became a member of the Old
Fellows (I.O.O.F.) lodge in Little Rock, Iowa. He has continued his
membership in this Order for a few days more than 71 years. In the
spring of 1914, he became a member of Salina lodge No. 60, A. F.
& A. M. and the Consistory. He also was a member of Miriam
Rebekah lodge No. 8 of Salina.
Mr. Leonard first came to Salina in the flood year of 1903,
after living for short periods in Kansas City, and Wilson, Kansas.
Also, he maintained a home in Manhattan, Kansas, for several years
while his children continued their education. He continued his
career as a salesman of threshing machinery until 1932, in what was
called the ‘Salina Block.’ His services were employed by
the Advance Thresher Co., Avery Co., and the Nichols and Shepard
While a salesman for the Avery Co. in 1913, he sold the first
truck that was purchased in Saline County. A picture of this truck
and a fine article appeared in the March 26, 1950, issue of the
Salina Journal. One year during the twenties he was third highest
salesman for his company in the United States, having sold what
would now correspond to a half-million dollars worth of machinery
in one year.
In the latter years of his life, Mr. Leonard became an author,
having had published several hundred articles in steam engine
magazines which are mailed to all parts of the U. S. and Canada.
These articles dealt with his experiences and they were all written
from memory. Actually that was the only source for such
information. Up until the last four years or his life he attended
thresher men’s reunions held in Kansas, Iowa, Minnesota,
Oklahoma, Nebraska, and Illinois. On these occasions he ‘held
court’ for his many friends and admirers who came just to
listen about his experiences. Twelve of these men came to Salina,
in 1962, to help him celebrate his birthday, one of whom came more
than 500 miles. During the last week of his life he finished what
will be the last article. The long-hand copy lies on his desk. When
he finished it he said ‘this is my last article and it is a
good one.’ So a great, but humble man, has finished his work
and gone to his reward. May his soul rest in peace.
David H. Rogers, 63, of 50 Charles St. Stoney Creek, Ont.
Canada, passed away suddenly Friday, August 7th, 1964 at his summer
home at Wasaga Beach. He was an active member of the Ontario Steam
& Antique Preserver’s Association, being a director for the
past three years, and on publicity. He had owned a large George
White and a 17 Sawyer-Massey. His engines were always at the
‘STEAM-ERA’ held in Milton, Ontario, every Labour Day
weekend. He was a retired Sgt. of the Ontario Provincial Police. He
will be sadly missed by his many Steam club friends and family.