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Luella Schriver Knapp Wilson Leonard

Updated: Feb 2, 2021

Luella Schriver (or Scriber) was a daughter of Betsy Austin and Benjamin Schriver. She was born around April or May of 1850 according to the 1850 census of Springport, Cayuga, New York. At the time she was listed as four months old, living in the household of Mortimer AUSTIN (22) and Ann AUSTIN (19, female). Also living there was Betsey SCHRIVER (19), Luella's mother. She was Betsy AUSTIN. Also living with them was Roxan AUSTIN, age 39, possibly the mother of Mortimer and Betsey. Also, Sophia AUSTIN who was 14 and Maria AUSTIN who was 8. On the next census page, this family's record continues with one last person, Luella SCHRIVER, age 4 months. The census was taken on September 3, 1850, which would mean Luella was born about April or May of 1850, conflicting with other dates reported on other records.

In 1855 William and Betsey Lumbert lived in Springport. Following is their New York State 1855 Census entry:

In 1860, the family was living in Savannah. Children in the home were: Ella LUMBERT (age 10, a.k.a. Luella SCHRIVER), Benjamin LUMBERT (age 7), William LUMBERT (age 6), Mary LUMBERT (age 3), and Charles LUMBERT (age 9 months).

In 1865, Luella "Ella" was 15 years old and was living in the home of Sophronia (Burrill) Leonard Knapp, my 4th great-grandmother, with her 16-year old husband, William Knapp.

By the time the 1870 census was taken, William and Luella had their own home in Groton, and three children. William's half-brother, Charles Russell Leonard, first son of Sophronia (Burrill), was also living in Groton with his wife and first four children at the time. Both census records are shown here:

In 1880, William & Luella Knapp still lived in Groton and Charles and his family lived within 6 miles of them, in Locke (Cayuga County). Notice, William named one of his daughters Sophronia, after his mother. She was four years old when the 1880 census was taken, making her born abt. 1876. William's age was reported as 30 or 32 and Luella was 30.

Sophronia KNAPP (b. 1876), later married Betsy & William LUMBERT’s son, Charles LUMBERT (b. 1868).

In 1880, Ella's (Luella's) mother, Betsey, was still living in Rose (Wayne County) with her husband, James LUMBERT (age 60). Betsey was 50. Only one child remained in the home, Charles LUMBERT (age 13). James was a Day Laborer and was reportedly born in Illinois while his parents were born in New York.

With the 1890 census destroyed by fire, we can only rely on the 1892 New York State Census for their next chapter. What we find is that sometime between 1880 and 1885, Charles and Mary’s family was broken up.

As an important side note to prevent confusion in the future, there are some newspaper clippings regarding Charles Leonard who abandoned his wife in 1888, running off with a married woman who lived in the same house, according to the story. The time period, location, names and circumstances seem to line up perfectly, however, there are reasons to believe this was actually not Charles Russell Leonard. For one, the newspapers report that his "wife and child" were left destitute. We know that Charles Russell Leonard had nine or more children, however. Also, Luella and Charles report having been "married" 7 years when the 1892 census was taken. This would place their departure around 1885, three years before the news story. This Charles was, however, the son of Charles Russell Leonard. Adding to the confusion, this younger Charles was also married to a woman by the name of Luella. (Like father like son?) See my previous blog "Charles & Luella (Robinson) Leonard of Cortland" for more details and documentation.

In February of 1892, Charles LEONARD (age 55) was counted on the New York State Census in Rose, Wayne County, New York, 52 miles from his former home in Groton. He was living with Luella LEONARD (age 42) and three of her children from her previous marriage to William KNAPP. They were: Sophronia KNAPP (16), Murray KNAPP (12), and Malvina KNAPP (9).

It appears that Charles and Luella moved to Rose soon after the murder, probably to be closer to her aged, newly widowed mother. The census page is is poor condition but it appears that they didn't live together as they are found on separate pages.

At first glance, one would eliminate this Charles as a match for Charles Russell Leonard, mainly because the age is off by 7 years. In fact, if the search on Ancestry's site wasn't performed loosely, it wouldn't even include him in the search results. Another reason to doubt it was him was because Luella was Charles' (half) sister-in-law. Still, if you read on and you will see why this must be our Charles Russell Leonard.

Local newspapers tell a gruesome story about Luella's family - a horrific event that occurred in February of 1891. Luella's stepfather, James William Lumbert, was brutally murdered by her half-brother, George Lumbert. Several newspaper stories pertaining to the tragic event were published and shared in my previous blog but be warned - the details are quite graphic.

When the 1900 census was taken, Charles and Luella were living in Lyons. They report being married 15 years, abt. 1885, although no legitimate wedding could have taken place, since Charles and his first wife, Mary, were never officially divorced. Luella's mother, Betsy Lambert, and daughter, Malvina (Knapp), Luella & William Knapp's daughter, were living with them.

In 1905, Charles and Luella were back in Groton, living alone.

Charles died three years later, on November 23, 1908, and was buried in Groton Rural Cemetery.

Luella married Benjamin Wilson eighteen months after Charles died. The marriage was announced in the Auburn Democrat Argus, Tuesday, April 26, 1910:

Benjamin Wilson of this village and Miss Luella Leonard of Groton were united in marriage at the Baptist parsonage in Groton April 12.

The marriage license confirms this is the same Luella, daughter of Betsey (Austin) and Benjamin Scriver.

The Auburn Democrat-Argus, Tues., Feb. 6, 1912 reports:

Moravia, Feb. 5 - Ella Leonard, wife of Benjamin Wilson, died at her home in North Main street about 2 o'clock yesterday morning. Mrs. Wilson was 62 years of age and death was caused by cerebral hemorrhage. Besides her husband, she is survived by seven children. Funeral services will be held at the Baptist church in Groton tomorrow at 2 o'clock, with burial at Groton.

Luella's name on her death certificate is Luella Wilson but she is buried beside Charles Russell Leonard with the name Luella Leonard on her tombstone. Her tombstone reads only "1851-1912". Her mother, Betsey, died the following month and is buried in Groton Rural Cemetery in the same section where Charles Leonard and Luella are also buried (Section N Lot 62).


  • Melvina Knapp's marriage license filed in Syracuse, Onondaga, New York, Feb. 10, 1910 gives her parents names as William Knapp & Luella Austin. She married Carl C. Webber.

  • Sophronia Knapp married first to a Lambert because the license for her second marriage to John Goblney, which took place in Richford, Tioga, New York, April 11, 1925, gives her parents names as William Knapp and Luella Scriver. Her previous husband was living in Cortland.


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