Daniel Wagoner Leonard of Davidson Co., NC was b. 13 Feb 1817, married Mary "Polly" Fritts 27 Aug 1842, and had two children: Emily A. b. 2 Jan 1844 and Joseph Franklin b. 21 Mar 1845.
The following is from The Fritts (Fritz) Family Heritage, Vol. II, 1999, pp 308-309: "As a small lad, I (David R. Koontz) was awe stricken when I heard the tale of the "Onion Incident".I was puzzled in later years hearing my Granny Leonard refer to Papa Leonard's grandmother as "Grandma Nicholson:. I can remember sometime during my teenage years hearing that Papa Leonard (Walter Joseph) was unhappy reading an article in the Lexington Dispatch written by Dave Fritts about the "Onion Incident".That article dates sometime in the 1940's. "Tradition has always related the story of Daniel W. (W. for Wagoner, his mother, Catherine's maiden name) Leonard as follows: "Daniel, his wife, Mary Fritts, his son, Joseph Franklin and his daughter, Emily A., were planting their spring garden. Daniel told the family to plant the onion sets "upside down".Daniel then walked to the barn, saddled his horse, and returned to the garden where the family were still working.He told his wife that he was going to California to seek his fortune.This was about the time of the California Gold Rush of 1849.Daniel told Mary that he would be back when the onions came up.Everyone who has ever planted onions knows that they will seek the ground surface whether you plant them upright or upside down!The story goes that the onions never came up and that Daniel never came back.Mary, so the story goes, waited nine years for Daniel's return, than married Alfred Nicholson on 24 February, 1859.Daniel had left his wife with two small children."
"Was Daniel drawn to California by the adventures of gold mining and the lure of riches?This question has always intrigued me.As I grew more interested in my family and the history of the German families of Davidson (Old Rowan) County, I looked for additional information about Daniel W. Leonard.
" It appears that tradition, court records and newspaper notices have given up some, but possibly not all, of the full story about Daniel W. Leonard. "It appears that Daniel was attending a meeting of neighbors, a social of some kind, possibly a corn husking in the fall of 1846.The social occurred prior to the Davidson County Court Session held Wednesday morning 31 March 1847. At that court session, John Yokley was fined as a plaintiff after the jury found the defendant, Daniel W. Leonard, guilty of trespass and assault and battery!Ellen Leonard, daughter of Daniel W. Leonard and first cousin to my great grandfather, Joseph Franklin Leonard, has told her grandson, M.H. Hinkle, that John Yokeley and Daniel became involved in a fight.During the altercation at the gathering, Daniel struck Yokeley upon the forehead with the butt of his rifle.Yokeley was in grave danger for his life for some period of time.Daniel, thinking that he would be charged with murder, decided to abandon his family, thereby heading West. John Yokeley survived the wound, but in later years was killed by one of his slaves."
"Daniel Leonard, Sr's tombstone at Pilgrim Church shows death as 10 February 1848.A deed, dated 16 March 1850 and registered in Deed Book 15, page 55, Davidson Co., NC with grantors David W. Leonard and Daniel W. Leonard and with Grantee: Lafayette Leonard transfers 111 Acres more or less for $25.00 as "interest in dower of Mother." "This deed was registered in 1856 November Term of Court on 17 Nov 1856. "Henry Reeves and David R. Koontz questioned whether Daniel Jr. was out of the state in 1850.From a legal notice in the Lexington and Yadkin Flag in 1856, it appears that Daniel, Jr. was not an inhabitant of the state at that time. "The following legal notice appeared in the Lexington and Yadkin Flag Newspaper in 1856: State of North Carolina, Davidson County Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions; August Term 1856; Phoebe Fritts against Andrew Fritts, Reuben Fritts, Alexander Wilson and wife Christina, Jacob Michael and his wife Sally, and Daniel and his wife Polly, Petition for Dower.
"It appearing to the satisfaction of the Court that Reuben Fritts and Daniel Leonard are not inhabitants of the State. It is therefore ordered that publication be made for six weeks in the Lexington and Yadkin Flag published in the town of Lexington for said non-resident defendants to be and appear at the next Term of Court to be held for the County of Davidson at the Court House in Lexington on the 2nd Monday in November next then and there to plead, answer or demur to said petition, otherwise the same will be taken pro confessor and heard exparte to them."
My question is, can anyone help me with the fate of my ancestor, Daniel W. Leonard?