The Life of Sophronia Leonard Knapp

Updated: Aug 10, 2019



Sophronia, mother of Charles Russell Leonard, is supposed to have been born about 1815 in either Broome or Chenango County. (On the 1855 census "Chenango" is given under the column for the county of her birth. On the 1875 census, however, "Broome" is given as her county of birth. Note that the boundaries of these counties were already in place by 1810, so they were fairly well established by 1815, when she was supposedly born. There is a town called Chenango in Broome County. Was this the place she was referring to? See notes at bottom).


Sophronia's eldest son, Charles, was supposedly born in Union Springs in 1830, although at the time it was Springport. The village of Union Springs was not incorporated until Nov. 1848, from part of Springport.


The first solid mention of Sophronia, wife of Russell Leonard, is in 1834 when she published a missing persons ad in the newspaper. She asked for any information to be given to the postmaster at Port Byron. Whether or not she ever found out what happened to Russel remains a mystery.


We are told that her maiden name was Sophronia Burrill (or Burlet) and that she remarried to Thomas Knapp. This may be a mixup. Her true maiden name has yet to be confirmed.


On Sept. 11, 1837, Thomas H. Knapp and Sophronia (Leonard) were married, in Genoa, Cayuga County, New York. He was born about 1810-1811 in Fort Ann, Connecticut. According to his 1863 enlistment card, he was 5 feet 8.5 inches tall and had blue eyes, light hair, and light complexion.

In 1840 we find Thomas "Napp" living in Scipio, Cayuga, New York and his household contained two boys under 5 years old (their son Joseph Knapp was age 3 and Thomas Knapp Jr. was age 2), one man age 20-30 (Thomas Knapp was 29), one girl age 5-10 (Jenette Leonard was 7), and one woman age 20-30 (Sophronia was 25). Based on this information, her son Charles R. Leonard, who would have been about 9-10 in 1840, either did not live with his mother, or this is not the correct household of his mother.

In 1850 Thomas Knapp's family appears in Genoa, Cayuga County, New York. Her son, Charles would have been 19-20, but is, again, not found in the Knapp home. Charles' location in 1850 has yet to be found. The census was taken on Sept. 24, 1850:

  • Thomas Knapp (age 39)

  • Saphronia Knapp (age 35) est. 1815

  • Joseph Knapp (age 13)

  • Thomas Knapp (age 12)

  • Mariah Knapp (age 9)

  • Sophia Knapp (age 7)

  • Lydia Knapp (age 4)

  • Dewey Knapp (age 2)

  • William Knapp (age 6 mos)

In 1850 they lived next door or near to Sophronia's daughter, Jenette (Leonard) and Nelson Reynolds and their baby daughter, Virginia:

  • Nelson Reynolds (age 22)

  • Genette Reynolds (age 17)

  • Virginia Reynolds (age 3 months)

Nelson and Jenette were also counted on the census of Lansing, that same year. Lansing is 15 miles south of Genoa.


"United States Census, 1850," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MCTG-K87 : 12 April 2016), Saphronia Knapp in household of Thomas Knapp, Genoa, Cayuga, New York, United States; citing family 217, NARA microfilm publication M432 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).


Note: In 1850, the only Charles Leonard age 19 in all of New York was one in Marshall, Oneida County. He was a farmer residing on the farm of John & Mahitable Green. John Green was 71 and born in Massachusetts and Mahitable was 63 and born in Wales.

In 1855 the family was living in Locke, Cayuga County, New York. The census was taken on June 28th and they report living in the town only two months*. In the home was:

  • Thomas Knapp (age 44, born Connecticut), Laborer

  • Saphrona Knapp (age 43, wife, born Chenango**)

  • Joseph Knapp (age 17, son, born Cayuga)

  • Thomas H. Knapp, Jr.*** (age 15, son, born Cayuga)

  • Mariah Knapp (age 14, daughter, born Cayuga)

  • Sophia Knapp (age 12, daughter, born Cayuga)

  • Lydia A. Knapp (age 9, daughter, born Cayuga)

  • Dewey Knapp (age 6, son, born Cayuga)

  • William Knapp (age 6, son, born Cayuga)

  • Saphrona Knapp (age 2, daughter, born Cayuga)

  • Arnold Knapp (age 6 mos.,, son, born Cayuga)

*On the same census, Charles and Mary Leonard were living in nearby Genoa with their first son, Joseph R. Leonard, who was 1 year old. Charles was 23 and Mary was 17. It is interesting to note that they, too, report living in the town only two months. Did they move into Sophronia's house?


**"Otsiningo or Chenango, an important Indian town abandoned and destroyed by Indians in the winter of 1778-9, located four miles north of Binghamton in the present town of Chenango, Broome County" [Source: The Journal of Lieut. John L. Hardenbergh]


***The 1855 census reveals the name of Thomas and Sophronia's son was Thomas H. Knapp, Jr., indicating that Thomas Sr.'s middle name began with an "H" as well.


"New York State Census, 1855," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:K67R-YWB : 19 November 2014), William Knapp in household of Thomas Knapp, Locke, Cayuga, New York, United States; count clerk offices, New York; FHL microfilm 1,435,218.


Note: There were at least 112 people with the Knapp name living in Cayuga County in 1855.

In 1860, "Sofronia" was 45 years old, living in Springport, New York, with her 49-year old husband, Thomas, the following people, all born in New York:

  • Maria Knapp (age 19)

  • Thomas Knapp (age 20) - born in Venice, Cayuga Co., NY as per muster roll abstracts

  • Sophia J. Knapp (age 17)

  • Lydia A. Knapp (age 15)

  • Dewey Knapp (age 12)

  • William Knapp (age 9)

  • Arnold Knapp (age 5)

  • Sophronia Knapp (age 7)

  • Oscar Thompson (age 21)

  • Abner Thomson (age 19)

  • John Hix (age 26)

Source: "United States Census, 1860", database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MCW9-J1V : 26 July 2017), Sophronia Knap in entry for Thomas Knap, 1860

Thomas Knapp, Sr., enlisted in the 16th Regiment, Third New York Heavy Artillery*, Company K, on Nov. 12, 1861. He mustered in the same day and mustered out on June 2, 1863. (*Formerly 19th Infantry). Another enlistment dated Oct. 26, 1863 was also found. He mustered in as a Private in 16th Artillery, Company D, on Dec. 1, 1863 and mustered out on Aug. 9, 1865. His son, Thomas Knapp, Jr., also enlisted and served at least three times.


Source: "United States Civil War Soldiers Index, 1861-1865," database, FamilySearch(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:FSM9-J29 : 4 December 2014), Thomas Knapp, Private, Company D, 16th Regiment, New York Heavy Artillery, Union; citing NARA microfilm publication M551 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 78; FHL microfilm 882,134.

In 1865, Sophronia was 50 years old, and was head of her household in the village of Union Springs. Birthplace: "Can't tell". She reported having 11 children and two marriages. She reports being "now married" instead of widowed. Her neighbors appear to be the same as in 1860 so it was probably still the same house. In 1865 it was specified as a "Stone" house with the following people living in it:

  • Saphrona Knapp (age 50)

  • Sophia Thompson (age 22), her daughter

  • Albert Thompson (age 28), her son-in-law, husband of Sophia

  • Sarah Thompson (age 2), her granddaughter

  • Lydia A. Hicks (age 18), her daughter

  • Anna V. Hicks (age 3), her granddaughter

  • William Knapp (age 16), her son

  • Ella Knapp (age 15), her daughter in law (Luella?)

  • Saphrona Knapp (age 13), her daughter

  • Edward Thompson (age 23), her nephew (?), born in Cayuga County, "Army"

  • Laura Thompson (age 19), her niece (?), born in North Carolina

Source: "New York State Census, 1865," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QVNJ-CXKX : accessed 25 December 2016), Saphrona Knapp, , Union Springs, Cayuga, New York, United States; citing source p. 10, line 15, household ID 69, county clerk, board of supervisors and surrogate court offices from various counties. Utica and East Hampton Public Libraries, New York; FHL microfilm 853,201.


On that 1865 Union Springs Census their possible neighbors are:

Mary Schoby (wood house)

Hiram Finch (wood house)

Nathan Howland (wood)

Lucinda Reeves (wood)

Laura McCossens (brick)

James Everitt (wood)

Charles Adams (wood)

Deborah Moore (wood)

Charles Day (wood)

John Hoff (wood)

Sophronia Knapp (stone)

Alvin Coburn (wood)

Sarah Griffing (brick)

Edward Eldredge (wood)

John Vickery (wood)

Thomas Knapp reportedly died May 10, 1869.

In 1870, Sophronia appears to have been missing from the census. There are two blank entries between the Hoff and Coburn homes, indicating the homes were vacant or did not participate.


Source: "United States Census, 1870," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-6Q19-KTD?cc=1438024&wc=92K4-G5S%3A518819101%2C519929201%2C519935501 : 22 May 2014), New York > Cayuga > Spring Port > image 40 of 58; citing NARA microfilm publication M593 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).


Anna Hicks and Sophia Thompson were living in Springport with Loren and Lilian Thompson, ages 27 and 24, respectively. A baby, Derel Thompson, age 2 ("female"?), appears to have been Sophia's child. Two other children appear to have been Loren and Lillian's: Joseph Thompson (age 3) and Charles Thompson (age 2).


Source: "United States Census, 1870," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-6Q19-V2S?cc=1438024&wc=92K4-G5S%3A518819101%2C519929201%2C519935501 : 22 May 2014), New York > Cayuga > Spring Port > image 25 of 58; citing NARA microfilm publication M593 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).

In 1875, Sophronia was living alone in Springport. She was widowed. Her age was given as 57 and her county of birth, Broome. The census was taken June 25, 1875.


Source: "New York State Census, 1875," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-95MB-9Q9P?cc=1918735&wc=M6LY-R29%3A209415601%2C209591801 : 21 May 2014), Cayuga > Springport > image 18 of 41; State Library, Albany.

In 1880, Sophronia was living in Summerhill, Cayuga County, New York, with her son-in-law, Benjamin Wilson (age 37), and his wife, Nellie S. Wilson (age 26). They had two children: Ada Wilson (age 10) and Calvin W. Wilson (age 8).


Source: "United States Census, 1880," database with images, FamilySearch(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MZZ4-ZKR : 20 August 2017), Benjamin Wilson, Summer Hill, Cayuga, New York, United States; citing enumeration district ED 40, sheet 377B, NARA microfilm publication T9 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 0814; FHL microfilm 1,254,814

Sophronia died in Moravia, December 3, 1883, at the age of 69. Her burial may have been in Union Springs. Her death was announced in the December 6th edition of the Union Springs Adverstiser.

Other Notes

For interesting reading about Union Springs see The Indian and the Pioneer.

Chenango County towns:

  • Afton

  • Bainbridge

  • Columbus

  • Coventry

  • Earlville (village)

  • German

  • Greene

  • Guildford - Formed from Oxford and called Eastern from 1813-1817

  • Holmesville (hamlet)

  • Lincklaen - Formed from German in 1823

  • McDonough - Formed from Preston n 1816

  • Mount Upton (hamlet)

  • New Berlin - Formed from Norwich in 1807. Name was changed to Lancaster briefly from 1821-1822.

  • North Norwich

  • Norwich - Settled by people from Norwich, Connecticut

  • Otselic - Formed from German in 1817.

  • Oxford

  • Pharsalia

  • Pitcher - Formed from German and Lincklaen in 1827.

  • Plymouth

  • Preston

  • Rockdale (hamlet)

  • Sherburne - John Burrel (1820) four people in the home

  • Smithville - Israel Burrell (1820) 7 people in the home

  • Smyrna

A look at Burrills and Leonards in Chenango County and Broome County in the census:


1810:

Asa Leonard (10 people in the home) in Berkshire, Broome, NY

Samuel Burwell (9 people in the home) in New Berlin, Chenango, NY

(No Leonards in Chenango County. No Burrills in Broome County.)


1820:

Arnold Burrell (9 people in the home) in Chenango, Broome, NY

Aurora Burrell (5 people in the home) in Chenango, Broome, NY

Israel Burrell (6 people in the home) in Smithville, Chenango, NY

John Burrel (3 people in the home) in Sherburne, Chenango, NY


Ainga Leonard (10 people in the home) in Chenango, Broome, NY

Joseph Leonard (5 people in the home) in Chenango, Broome, NY

Seth Leonard (7 people in the home) in Chenango, Broome, NY

Solomon Leonard (11 people in the home) in Berkshire, Broome, NY

Asa Leonard (7 people in the home) in Berkshire, Broome, NY

Stephen B Leonard (9 people in the home) in Owego, Broome, NY

Betativer Leonard (3 people in the home) in Guilford, Chenango, NY

Elexes Leonard (3 people in the home) in Otselic, Chenango, NY

Heman Leonard (9 people in the home) in Columbus, Chenango, NY

Isaac Leonard (3 people in the home) in Green, Chenango, NY

James Leonard (3 people in the home) in Green, Chenango, NY

Jonas Leonard (7 people in the home) in German, Chenango, NY

Joseph B. Leonard (6 people in the home) in Smyrna, Chenango, NY

Thadeus Leonard (4 people in the home) in Otselic, Chenango, NY

Timothy Leonard (6 people in the home) in Smyrna, Chenango, NY


1830:

Aurora Burrell (9 people in the home) in Chenango, Broome, NY

Isaac Burwell (5 people in the home) in Union, Broome, NY

Anson Burrel (5 people in the home) in Norwich, Chenango, NY

Hannah Burrel (3 people in the home) in New Berlin, Chenango, NY


Joseph Leonard (10 people in the home) in Chenango, Broome, NY

Seth Leonard (11 people in the home) in Chenango, Broome, NY

Joseph Leonard (7 people in the home) in Lisle, Broome, NY

Zenas Leonard (3 people in the home) in Union, Broome, NY

Alexer Leonard (8 people in the home) in Otselic, Chenango, NY

Hane Leonard (8 people in the home) in Oxford, Chenango, NY

Hernan Leonard (4 people in the home) in Columbus, Chenango, NY

Jonas Leonard (5 people in the home) in German, Chenango, NY

Joseph B. Leonard (6 people in the home) in Smyrna, Chenango, NY

Joshua Leonard (3 people in the home) in Lincklaen, Chenango, NY

Noah Leonard (3 people in the home) in Coventry, Chenango, NY

Pettyre Leonard (6 people in the home) in Guilford, Chenango, NY

Stephen A. Leonard (8 people in the home) in Smyrna, Chenango, NY1840:

Awra Burrell (7 people in the home) in Chenango, Broome, NY

Giles Burnill (7 people in the home) in Oxford, Chenango, NY


Amasa Leonard (7 people in the home) in Chenango, Broome, NY

Jos. Leonard ( 4 people in the home) in Chenango, Broome, NY

Z. Leonard (6 people in the home) in Union, Broome, NY

George W. Leonard (5 people in the home) in Bainbridge, Chenango, NY

Isaac Leonard (8 people in the home) in Oxford, Chenango, NY

Joseph B. Leonard (2 people in the home) in Smyrna, Chenango, NY

Letitia Leonard (5 people in the home) in New Berlin, Chenango, NY

Rufus Leonard (5 people in the home) in Smyrna, Chenango, NY

Sabina Leonard (3 people in the home) in Oxford, Chenango, NY

Other notes:


Checked "Reminiscences, anecdotes and statistics of the early settlers and the olden time in the town of Sherburne, Chenango County, N.Y.". No Burrells or Leonards found.


Checked "Book of biographies : this volume contains biographical sketches of leading citizens of Chenango County, New York", by Biographical Publishing Company, 1898.


Checked "History of Chenango county, containing the divisions of the county and sketches of the towns; Indian tribes and title", by Hiram C. Clark, 1850, and found no mention of Burrell or Burrill.


The Annals of Binghamton says this: "The same year (1809) Arnold Burrell, a wagon-maker, and the father of Arora Burrell, built upon the south west corner, and opposite Mr. Brownson. The house is a part of the present dwelling of Mr. Myron Merrill. (South-west corner of Main and Front Streets)" *Note: One of Sophronia's sons was named Arnold.


Broome County reports on p. 85 the first newspapers pubished in Binghamton stating, "In 1818 the Republican Herald was started by Abraham Burrell".


The book The Knapp Family in America reveals no clues but there is a strikingly similar occurrence on p. 40 under Hiram Knapp, born 1804 who married in 1835 to Sophronia, daughter of Edward B Brown and his wife Lucy Risley. Sophronia was born in Hanover, N.H., on Feb. 10, 1815.


If you have any information or comments to contribute, please feel free to comment below. We would like to find proof of her name and her parentage. Was she Native American?

Click here for my genealogy tips and resources

Click here for more about the Leonard family


#sophronia #leonard #Leonard #burrill #ChenangoCounty #BroomeCounty #timeline #sophroniaburrill #sophroniaknapp #sophronialeonard

0 comments

Related Posts

See All
If you enjoyed this article, please consider supporting my work.

Sign up or log in to save this page to your Site Favorites.

SITE INDEX

MyGenealogyAddiction.com may earn an Affiliate Commission for purchases made through recommended links or ads on this page. © 2019 MyGenealogyAddiction.com Privacy Policy.

Help keep MyGenealogyAddiction.com up and running for years to come by making a small contribution! Your support is appreciated!