In 1906, my great grandfather, Daniel Leonard the 2nd died after returning from a trip to Mexico. His vital record from the state of Arizona says the cause of death was Pulmonary Tuberculosis commonly known at the time as Consumption. His pension had just been approved on September 25 of 1906. He was dead by November8 of the same year at the age of 61.
The Arizona Gazette obituary reads:
Death of Daniel Leonard
Daniel Leonard died at his home on East Lincoln Street of consumption.
He came here from his home near Mazatlan, Mexico. He was about fifty years of age and a native of Alabama but had lived in the southern republic for a number of years, having married a Mexican woman there. Two daughters were with him at the time of his death. His wife and several other children are yet at Mazatlan winding up his affairs there, preparatory to coming to Phoenix.
In fact he was not a native of Alabama, though he spent much of his time during the Civil War in the Huntsville Alabama area fighting the Confederates. Although he was probably born in Virginia, according to the record signed by his own hand he was from Claiborne County with a P.O. Box of Tazewell Tennessee. Daniel Leonard was 130 pounds and stood at just 5’8” with grey eyes and black hair. In 1862, at the height of the Civil War, Confederate troops occupied Tazewell as part of the greater struggle for the strategic Cumberland Gap. When the Confederates evacuated the town in November of that year, a fire followed, destroying much of Tazewell. In July 28, 1862 Daniel enlisted as a private in the 2nd Regiment Tennessee Volunteer Cavalry at Cumberland Gap, just up the road from the family farm. He was only 16 but lied about his age and since soldiers were badly needed, he was accepted without question. We have to assume he owned his own horse since the cavalry could not afford to issue out horses. (see Daniel’s reports from the field) According to the story, the family disowned him after he had joined the Union as they were strong Confederate sympathizers. They gave him a thousand dollars and told him never to return. He never went back to Tennessee and after his discharge in June 28th 1865 at Nashville he had a second period of service with Company B 5th U.S. Cavalry beginning in December 27 1867. In 1866, soon after the end of the Civil war, Congress had initiated additional legislature to expand the number of cavalry regiments. This sent U.S. Cavalry troopers, many who had former service in the Civil war, to oversee and protect the western bound settlers in an era when Indians roamed the western frontier and pioneering settlers were in constant danger. The 1st, 4th, 5th, 7th, 8th and 10th Cavalry regiments fought with the Sioux, Comanche, Arapaho, Apache and the Indian Nations during the Indian Wars. Daniel’s five years with the cavalry ended on December 27 1872 in California. In a questionnaire for the Bureau of Pensions he states that after his five years in the 5th Cavalry he lived “5 years in California and lived in Mexico since 1880” and that his occupation as “Miner”. He has a home in Phoenix Arizona, where he may have been attached to fort McDowell during his days with the 5th Cavalry. But he is now working the mine in El Rosario, Sinaloa, Mexico. In May 11 1888 he and Aurelia Navarro were married in Trinidad Mexico.
Aurelia had been born on October 20, 1860 in Tarachi, Sonora Mexico. Her father was Dolores Navarro also born in Mexico who had been employed by the Mexican government as an Indian fighter. It is said that he was killed by Apache’s while resting under a tree. Her mother Lorenza Gomez was from Spain. She was probably well educated, (as we shall see) as opposed to Daniel who was more than likely uneducated since he took on the phonetic spelling of the name Lenard probably after he had watched someone else’s spelling. Daniel may have considered himself fortunate to wed a woman with an education.
Aurelia had a daughter also named Aurelia who was called Nina by the family. She was born from Aurelia’s previous marriage to David Molina. They had six children who all died in a fire in Tarachi. Nina used the last name Leonard when the family migrated to the U.S.
It is said that he was killed by Apache’s while resting under a tree...
After Daniel and Aurelia’s first child Josefa, also known as Josephine, was born in Trinidad, Sonora, sometime between 1889 and 1892, Daniel and Aurelia moved to El Rosario just West of Mazatlan. El Rosario was the richest town in Southwest Mexico because of the local mine operations there. It is now mostly known as the birthplace of Lola Beltran, one of the best known singers of her time. All the rest of the children were born in El Rosario. Daniel and Aurelia had 5 children together. Four girls and one boy the one male was Daniel the 3rd , my Grandfather who was just eleven when his father died. Alice, the youngest was just five. Just months after Daniel the 2nds death, Aurelia and the family moved from Mexico to Arizona to take up residence in Daniel’s home in Phoenix on E Lincoln Street. The following is the information copied from a facsimile of the actual 1907 border crossing document.
Aurelia Navarro de Leonard
Birth about 1887
Port of arrival: Naco, Arizona
Accompanied by: daughter Josefine Leonard Santnerz (misspelled)
A note was scribbled at the top of the document and was difficult to read:
“Widow to Daniel Leonard in Trinidad Sonora Mexico
by the civil laws. He lived in Phoenix USA in 1906”
Daniel 2nd is buried close to downtown Phoenix in the Pioneer Cemetery. There is a wrought iron fence around a cement slab that marks his grave. The inscription on the grave marker reads:
Dan’l Lenard, Company K. 2 Tenn Cav
Throughout his terms in the Cavalry the spelling of his name remained Lenard so when Aurelia attempted to file for her husband’s pension, she had to use the same spelling of Aurelia Lenard after which she went back to using the alternate spelling of Leonard. The Census in 1910 for Phoenix lists the household (as copied from an online document):
From 1910 Federal Census: Phoenix Maricopa AZ; All Born in Mexico
|Daniel A Leonard||13||1897||Son|
|Marie C Gomez||4||1906||Granddaughter|
|Cruz Michael Smith||42||1868||Roomer|
In the 1910 Census Aurelia seemed to have changed addresses. They are now shown at 1421 E Monroe Street on the other side of town. After 8 years in Phoenix she and the children moved to Los Angeles. Most women with a family of five would not under most circumstances attempt to move their family alone for such a distance so why they moved, aside from the merciless Arizona heat is anybody’s guess. There is nothing to suggest they knew anyone in California. Daniel had spent some time with U.S. Cavalry there and another five years after his discharge from the 5th Cavalry but what he did while there is unknown. The expense alone would be enough a factor for most people but it appears that Aurelia had the confidence that came with some wealth. Wealth she either had from what her husband had accumulated or that may have come from the immensely rich Navarro family. Her grandson Dan Santa Cruz would mention times when he would see grandmother Aurelia handling bags of gold coins. Despite this, she went to great lengths to secure Daniel’s pension from his service in the cavalry which was an additional twelve dollars a month.
In the 1920 Census for the Township of Los Angeles, the record shows Aurelia and four girls living on West 22nd Street. Nina (Aurelia 2nd) may have been married because she is listed as Aurelia McDonald though there is no record of a husband living there. She was 27 years old. Mary was not there so it may be safe to assume that she was married to James Checos by then. Rose was 24 and Alice was 19. A strange addition was listed as yet another Aurelia, This one’s listed as Grandchild. She is 1 ½ years old and carries the last name of Leonard. The only person to fit that description would be little Lita (short for Aurelia) who would later come to be known as Dolores Shirley Shelton. At age 22, Daniel was also gone by now. Possibly still in the service. He’d enlisted when Lita, who was at the time believed to be his illegitimate daughter was still two months from being born. Josefa still in Phoenix, would die in June 21, leaving her children to her sisters Mary and Rose in California. Josefa is buried at Greenwood Memory Lawn Cemetery in Phoenix, where an upright cross marks her grave. The marker reads:
E.P.D. Josefina L. Santa Cruz 1888-1921 Esposo Hijos Y Madre
On January 15, 1942, at age 81 Grandmother Aurelia died at her home on 860 West 75th Street in Los Angeles of a heart attack due to articular disease. The same house had been originally situated on West 22nd Street but was moved to a new lot which she purchased for 1,000 dollars, in 1923. She had been living in Los Angeles for 28 years, having brought her family the long road from Mexico to Phoenix to Los Angeles. She was buried at Holy Cross in Culver City. Her daughter Rose, now married to Larry Mollica signed the death certificate.