James Franklin Leatherwood and Mattie America Stewart, my great grandparents

The following pages are taken from my book, Family Trees and Memories. Homestead documents, land deed, census, and civil war records are included. I would love to know more about my great grandfather, particularly about his life after the civil war. He had a family prior to marrying Grandma Mattie. I would be interested in any information regarding those years.



Saying Goodbye to the Leatherwood Farm 1892 – 1998

IMG_0001 IMG_0004 IMG_0005 

Public Auction – May 16, 1998

For about 106 years, the Leatherwoods were caretakers and farmers of the land that Great Grandpa, James F. Leatherwood, homesteaded in 1892.  From 1892 to 1998, James F., his son Jessie Burrell, grandchildren  JB, Jimmie Dee, Nina Vee, Butch Valgene, Ronald Vincent, and great grandson, Jimmie Dee Leatherwood Jr. (Bud),  worked this farm, breaking sod, planting crops, and harvesting.  When the farm sold, the heavy impact was only softened a little by the fact that the buyer of the home place was Russell Trissel, a longtime close friend and neighbor. Russell made it clear that our family would always be welcome to visit the farm.

Generations were born on the Leatherwood Farm. James and Mattie Leatherwood had two children, Willie and Jessie Burrell, who were both born in the dugout on Little Elk Creek in 1901 and 1902. Jessie Burrell’s five children, Nina Vee, JB, Jimmie Dee, Butch Valgene, and Ronnie Vincent, grew up on the farm. The last Leatherwood to be born on the land was Jeremy Dee Leatherwood in 1975. Jeremy is the great great grandson of James F. and Mattie Stewart Leatherwood.

Grandpa referred to the old house on the southeast eighty acres of the farm as  “the weaning off house.” It was located just south of the original home place.  When Grandpa’s oldest child, Nina Vee, married John Wesley Walker in 1942, they were given the use of the little house until they could afford one of their own. When JB married Eva Mae in 1948 they lived there. A short time later, Jimmie Dee and Elsa Rae were married and spent their  honeymoon on the front porch of the old house. Over the years, several different families made a home in the old house as well as the house located on the original homestead.

The years of work and play on Grandpa’s farm have passed. But family roots to this land are strong. We are blessed to have had many years there and now wonderful memories of the red dirt, fishing, hunting, muddy pond, horses, playing in the creek, barns, and many holidays together on the farm.


Powerful are the actions of one that  touch so many for generations.

Thank you Great Grandpa, James F. Leatherwood.

Homestead Documents

About 1990, I obtained James F. Leatherwood’s homestead documents from the U.S. Departments of Interior. James F. Leatherwood was in the Oklahoma land run of 1892. He filed claim on 160 acres for $14.80. The area later became Port, Washita County, Oklahoma.

The following documents include a Homestead Affidavit filed in 1892 and Homestead Proof filed in 1901. The Homestead Proof is a glimpse in the life of gr grandpa James F. Leatherwood.

More documents are available upon request.

James' Homestead ProofHS 11

James F. Leatherwood 1838-1915

Following the Civil War in 1865 until 1892, there is little information about the life of James Franklin Leatherwood. He had married Mary C Milford in Georgia. They had about three children. Mary’s father was James Milford and mother, Elizabeth Hinton. He filed a homestead claim in 1892 and married Mattie America Stewart about 1900.

The Homestead

On 19 April, 1892, Cheyenne and Arapahoe land opened to homestead settlement by the government.  At the age of about 52, James Franklin Leatherwood was in the land run. He laid claim to 160 acres in Washita County, OK.

Interesting Bit of Info

The following information was received by Terry Leatherwood from an ancestor of fellow homestead neighbor, Walter Coleman.

“I thought replying to this address might be the best way to pass on this info and possibly find info I am looking for. My grandfather Walter S. Coleman was in the 1892 Cheyene-Arapaho run in OK. He was accompanyed by a man by the name of Jas.F. Leatherwood. They claimed property adjoining each other in Washita Co, T22GN20 W Section 23. This is West of Cordell, OK about 10 miles. We have been told that Leatherwood loaned my grandfather a horse for the run and staked out adjoining parcels of 180 acres. 3 men came and ran my grandfather off the property he had staked. Leatherwood came and killed all 3. It was reported sometime later and nothing was done because of grpa’s legetimate claim. We didn’t know of any connection between Coleman & Leatherwood although you might suspect that they knew each other more than casually. I was recently in Iuka, MS where my grandfather was born we are told and found that there was a Leatherwood Hotel prior to the Civil War as well as Coleman Bros. Mercantile. Now you know about all I know. I hope this info may be helpful and may shed some light on this relationship. I don’t know of any marriages at this time between the 2 families. Walter’s birth date was May 4, 1862 and he would have been 30 yrs old at the Land Run.”

NOTE: Walter Coleman is a WITNESS on James F. Leatherwood’s homestead proof papers.

Fun on the Farm (Memory)

Growing up, we loved going to the old farm. The boys hunted and I enjoyed scouting the area known as “Peach Tree Hill”. This is the location where the original home was built near the dugout on the north east side of Little Elk Creek. Also the area where James had planted his orchard.

James Franklin Leatherwood

James F. Leatherwood 1838-1915
James F. Leatherwood

James Franklin Leatherwood

Father of Jessie Burrell Leatherwood

B: 1838 Georgia D: 1915 Washita Co., OK

Buried: Port Cemetery, Washita Co., OK

Married 1900 to  Mattie America Stewart B: 14 May 1865 D: 1939

Son of Zachariah and Elizabeth Thornton Leatherwood

1st Married: Mary C. Milford B: 1841 GA

Daughter of James Jefferson Milford and Elizabeth Jane Hinton

I believe that 3 children were born to this marriage

2nd Married: Mattie America Stewart      

Two children were born to this marriage:

Daughter, Willie Francis Leatherwood, born 1901 Washita Co., OK

Son, Jessie Burrell Leatherwood, born 13 Dec., 1902 Washita County, OK. died 3 Mar, 1978

During the Civil War, James F. served the Confederate States of America.

His rank and company, Private, 11 June, 1861, Company C, 19th Regiment, Georgia Volunteer Infantry Palmetto Guards.

Honorable Discharge surrender Bentonville, NC May 1865.

I am the great granddaughter of James Franklin Leatherwood.

He was born about 1838 in Campbell County, Georgia to Zachariah and Elizabeth Thornton Leatherwood.

Four children were born to Zachariah and Elizabeth:

William Y. B:1837, James F. B:1838, Martha A. B: 1839, and Peter M. B: 1840

On June 11, 1861, at about the age of 23, Great Grandpa James Leatherwood and younger brother Peter M. joined the Georgia Volunteer Infantry, Palmetto Guards. When the Palmetto Guards mustered in Fulton County, the unit became Company C 19th Regiment, Army of Tennessee, Confederate States of America. On 16 Feb., 1862. his older brother, William Y. Leatherwood joined Company C, 35th Regiment, Georgia Volunteer Infantry, Army of Northern Virginia, C.S.A., Campbell County, Georgia.

Great Grandpa James’ unit fought in all of Robert E. Lee’s major battles except Gettysburg. They fought at Seven Days, Second Manassas, Antietam, Fredericksburg, and Chancellorsville. They were part of General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia until the summer of 1863 when they were transferred to Charleston, South Carolina. They fought at the Battle of Olustee in 1864, the largest battle of the war in Florida. Then the Palmetto Guards went back to the Eastern Theater, fighting at Cold Harbor before the war ended in Bentonville, North Carolina as part of General Joseph E. Johnston surrender in 1865.The 19th regiment lost thirty-two soldiers and one hundred fifty-seven were wounded during the Seven Days’ Battles. Thirteen were killed and seventy-six wounded in the Maryland Campaign. At Chancellorsville, three were killed and forty wounded. The regiment sustained ninety-six casualties at Olustee.

 James fought the entire war before the Confederate surrender at Bentonville, North Carolina. He was honorably discharged. I am not sure if Grandpa James was wounded, but it was noted in a letter from the War Department that a J.F. Leatherwood was hospitalized at Windsor Hospital and released to return to duty on 23 June, 1863. His younger brother, Peter M. was wounded twice, once at Spartanburg and again at Chancellorsville and then died on November 20, 1863 at Charleston, South Carolina. His older brother, William Y. Leatherwood, was killed at Seven Pines, Virginia on 31 May, 1862.

I believe his sister Martha Ann Leatherwood married Jefferson Joshua Smith about 1860. She died in 1904 and is buried in Austin, (Travis) Texas.

I would like to know more about James’ first family – Mary Milford and children. Let’s chat!