Leonard, Frederick J. (1849–1928)

By: H. Allen Anderson

Type: Biography

Published: March 1, 1995

Frederick J. Leonard, participant in the second battle of Adobe Walls was born in London, England, on November 24, 1849. When he was nine, his family immigrated to the United States and settled in Lawrence, Kansas. He was there at the time of the infamous raid of William C. Quantrill on August 21, 1863, but whether or not Christopher Leonard, one of the 150 massacre victims, was related to him remains in doubt. Fred Leonard moved westward to the new railroad town of Dodge City in 1873. With A. C. Myers he formed a business partnership and established a mercantile and freighting firm that catered to the buffalo hide hunters. In the spring of 1874 Leonard assumed management of a branch store he and Myers built out of pickets at Adobe Walls, in the Texas Panhandle. It was from that store that Leonard fought during the Indian attack on June 27. At the height of the battle he and Billy Tyler ran into the stockade to check on the horses but were driven back by gunfire; Tyler was killed. Afterward Leonard remained at the scene until the relief party arrived on July 17.

For the next few years he was the proprietor of one of Dodge City's most popular restaurants, reputed for its dignified atmosphere and fine food, including fresh oysters in season. He was a dandy, prominent in community circles, and organized many dances, balls, and other social events. In May 1877 he married Mary Anne O'Halloran; the couple had a son. Leonard remained in Dodge City until 1879, when he went into the hotel business, and in 1883 he moved from Kansas to Salt Lake City, Utah. There he engaged in selling real estate and stocks and bonds, and served for a time as county tax collector. He also worked as a mining broker; in that capacity he was involved in different ventures in Utah and Colorado. In 1893 Leonard was among the unsuccessful claimants who petitioned the United States Court of Claims for financial losses inflicted by the Indian depredations of 1874. Around 1910 he became manager of the Cullen Hotel, founded in Salt Lake City by his friend Matthew Cullen; he remained there until his death, supposedly from arthritis, on August 4, 1928. Billed as the last surviving Adobe Walls veteran, he was buried in Salt Lake City.

T. Lindsay Baker and Billy R. Harrison, Adobe Walls: The History and Archaeology of the 1874 Trading Post (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1986). William Elsey Connelley, Quantrill and the Border Wars (New York: Pageant, 1909; rpt. 1956).


  • Peoples
  • English
  • Business

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

H. Allen Anderson, “Leonard, Frederick J.,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed September 27, 2021, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/leonard-frederick-j.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

March 1, 1995