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My Great-Grandaunt Elma Leonard

Elma Leonard was the sister of my great-grandfather, Albert Jay Leonard. She was born Oct. 23, 1887, in Summer Hill, Cayuga County, New York.

Elma married first to Bert Delos Wilkins. They were married on May 17, 1902, at Trumansburg, Tompkins County, New York. He was born Nov. 12, 1882, and lived in Cayuga County most of his life.

Elma and Bert had one known child, a son named Howard L. Wilkins. Howard was born in Genoa, Cayuga County, New York, on August 20, 1903.

The family was counted on the census in Genoa, Cayuga County, in 1905 and 1910. On the 1910 census, the couple reported that Howard was still their only child.

Elma underwent an operation to have her appendix removed in April of 1913 and her son was ill with typhoid fever the following year, in October of 1914. Remember, Elma's father. Lewis Leonard, had died from Typhoid fever when she was a little girl, just a week before her 10th birthday, so her son being diagnosed with it must have been a terrifying ordeal.

Notice, the news reported his name as Harold, which was either an error, or perhaps another son who was born between 1910 and 1914. I failed to find the family on the 1915 census, but I believe they were still in Genoa. Large sections of the 1915 census of Genoa are too faded to read.

A search for more articles about the Stickles and Wilkins produced an interesting find. Apparently, in December of 1907, John Stickles and Bert Wilkins went into business together, operating the Central Street restaurant in Moravia.

It appears that Bert and Elma split up sometime between 1918 and 1920. On September 12, 1918, Bert registered for the World War I military draft at Auburn, he was living in Moravia and listed his wife, "Alma M. Wilkins" as his next of kin. He was described as being medium height and medium build, with light blue eyes and red hair.

When the 1920 census was taken, Elma and Howard were no longer in Bert's home. Elma was living in Willet, Cortland County, a "boarder" in the home of Louis and Dorothy (Sternburgh) Osborn. Louis's brother, Lee Osborn, was also living in the home, but Elma's 16 year old son, Howard, was not. Howard was living in the home of an Englishman, Edwin Redman, in Moravia. He was a "hired man".

When Howard registered for the draft in 1942, he listed his mother, Mrs. Lee Osborne, as next of kin. Howard was 5' 8" and weighed 157 lbs. with light skin, brown hair, and blue eyes.

On Aug. 24, 1922, Howard married Leona A. Devine, in Moravia, Cayuga, New York. She was born July 6, 1906, in Moravia, and was a daughter of Arthur and Clara Devine. Three known children of Howard and Leona are:

  • Irene R. Wilkins (1923-2014) was married Joseph Ventafido and had David F. Ventafido (1943-2007), Donna Lee (Ventafido) Curry (1946-2016), and Margaret (Ventafido) Woodcock (1948- ). Donna had two children. Irene later married Henry N. Kimari and is buried in Throop.

  • Marion Ione Wilkins (1924-1999) who was born in Auburn and married Walter W. Dyson (1922-2004). Three known children of Marion and Walter are: Barbara (Dyson) Dixon (1945- ), Nancy J. (Dyson) Ryan (1947-2014), and Charles Dyson. Marion is also buried in Throop.

  • Howard L. Wilkins Jr (1931- ) married Marcia Isabel Taylor (1937- ) on Aug. 29, 1959, in Springfield, Illinois.

Howard was living in Auburn in 1925, and was a Teamster, living with his wife, Leona, and two daughters - Irene and Marian. Howard and Leona were divorced on March 15, 1933, and he married Genevieve "Jean" Maricle on Jan. 27, 1934 at Susquehanna, Pennsylvania. In 1960, he and Jean were living on North Greenbush Street, in Cortland. He was employed by S. D. Wilcox & Son, Inc.

Elma and Lee T. Osborne were finally married on October 9, 1936, by N. H. Wilmarth, in New Milford, Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania.

Howard died Dec. 7, 1971, and is buried in Cortland Rural Cemetery. His father, Bert, died August 21, 1937, in Auburn, Cayuga County, New York.

Elma and Lee never had any children as far as I know. Lee Osborne died in January, 1963, and Elma died in March of 1978, at the age of 90. They are buried in Willet Cemetery, where I recorded a video a couple years ago because some of my Hollenbeck family is buried there, too. Elma and Lee Osborne share a grave, which can be seen on Findagrave, here.


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