xt702v2c8b7k https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt702v2c8b7k/data/mets.xml Townsend, John Wilson, 1885-1968. 1909  books b92-57-27063535 English J.P. Morton, : Louisville, Ky. : Contact the Special Collections Research Center for information regarding rights and use of this collection. Leonard, James Francis, 1834-1862. Crockett, Joseph, 1742-1829. Telegraph History.Price, Samuel W. (Samuel Woodson), 1828-1918. Biographical sketch of Colonel Joseph Crockett. Life of James Francis Leonard  : the first practical sound-reader of the Morse alphabet / by John Wilson Townsend. A paper read before the Filson club at its meeting, October 5, 1908. text Life of James Francis Leonard  : the first practical sound-reader of the Morse alphabet / by John Wilson Townsend. A paper read before the Filson club at its meeting, October 5, 1908. 1909 2002 true xt702v2c8b7k section xt702v2c8b7k 

   Member of The Filson Club



                        wart 3frst

                    THE LIFE OF

James Francis Leonard

                     MORSE ALPHABET
                   Member of The Filson Club
         Author of "Richard Hickman Menefee," "Kentuckians inT
                   History and Literature, etc.

A Paper read before The Filson Club
                October 5, 1908

at its MeeHng

        "The ,Marve!outs Bov,
        The Sleepless Soul "
        " ly strength is as thIe srength of ten,
        Because mv heart is pu e"



     COPYRIGHT, 1909


     Ail Rights Reserved





    Booklovers, Orators, Friends

This page in the original text is blank.



THE work of Mr. John Wilson Townsend, which com-
      prises the first part of this, the twenty-fourth annual
      publication of The Filson Club, is one equally credit-
able in its conception and in its execution. The Club, now
nearing the close of its quarter of a century since its organ-
ization, has with few exceptions directed its efforts toward
the preservation of the pioneer history of Kentucky,
presenting, as the result of its research and compilation,
much valuable matter which had previously existed in
the form of tradition or in detached detail, inaccessible
except to the diligent student. Through the well-directed
energies of the Club, it now forms an imperishable record
of the deeds and lives of those who planted civilization
west of the Alleghanies, and made possible the upbuilding
of the great Western Empire, which in area and popu-
lation comprises the largest division of the American
   In the enthusiastic pursuit of such important and
much-needed work, it is not matter of surprise that many
meritorious names of those who, in humble spheres, have
contributed to the advance of science or been public
benefactors in other ways, should have been overlooked.



It argues well, therefore, for the future, that with the
example of Mr. Townsend in bringing, through the agency
of this Club, the name of James Francis Leonard into
merited prominence for the service rendered by him as a
chief pioneer in the progress of telegraphy, the good serv-
ices of other Kentuckians, however humble, in the pro-
motion of science or the practical arts, in the past or
future, will not be permitted to repose in obscurity, but
will receive merited recognition.
   It is not claimed that Leonard was the original dis-
coverer of what is known in telegraphy as sound-reading,
but he has been shown by Mr. Townsend to have been
the first practical sound-reader of the Morse alphabet,
and recognized as such by the monument erected over
his grave at Frankfort, Kentucky, by the leading
Telegraphers' Association of America, in August, i885.
   History has developed that it is not always the original
inventor or discoverer of a principle in science or arts who
is also its practical developer for the benefit of mankind.
Franklin was the first to discover, in I749, the identity
of lightning and electricity. In I752 he made the famous
kite experiment, which immortalized his name as a scien-
tist. But beyond the introduction of the lightning rod,
now lapsed into disuse, there was no progress in the
practical use of electricity for the greater part of a century.




It remained for Morse, in I844, to demonstrate the
practicability of utilizing the power for the transmission
of messages over an insulated wire, thus inaugurating
the system of telegraphy, now world-wide. It was a
decade or more before the value of electricity as a source
of power for practical use in producing light was demon-
strated. It remained for such men as Leonard to dis-
pense with the slow process of receiving messages by the
tape, to substitute the electric light for the candle or lamp,
to devise electric motor power, to record sound as in the
graphophone, and others in other spheres, as Marconi in
the practical use of wireless telegraphy. It is in such a
group of public benefactors, though humble in his sphere,
that James Francis Leonard belongs, and Mr. Townsend
has fittingly executed his task of putting him in the niche
to which he has assigned him.

                            J. STODDARD JOHNSTON,
                               Vice-President of The Filson Club.


This page in the original text is blank.



  I.  ANCESTRY  AND  BIRTH   .1................  .......  I
  II. SCHOOL AND TELEGRAPHY  .      .  ......  4

  III. MORSE                                    7..........................   7

  V. A BROTHER OF CHRIST     ......................... 28
  VI. THE WORLD'S RECORD      .. ......      .34

VII. WITH BEAUREGARD       ............................ 43

VIII. " 30" ..........................................  50

IX. AFTER  MANY  YEARS .....................   ...  59



                                                  PAG E
John Wilson Townsend, Member of The Filson Club, . Frontispiece
James Francis Leonard,.. . . . . . . . . . . .            4
Colonel Charles Edward Taylor,.. . . . . . . . . 6o
Honorable J. Proctor Knott.......     .  . .  .   .  68
The Leonard Monument,..                            76



W     ERE an apology necessary for this biography, it
1v       could be adequately stated in a single sentence:
        Although recognized by his contemporaries and
by posterity as a genius, not a line is devoted to Leonard
by any of the historians of Kentucky; only one standard
reference work has an account of his life, and this incor-
rectly records the date of his birth, placing it thirty years
too early, and the entire sketch contains but four short
sentences, or eleven lines.'  Surely, this eminent son of
Kentucky, whose life (which may) be truthfully charac-
terized as twenty-seven beautiful years) so materially
advanced civilization, deserves more than a poorly pre-
pared sketch of seventy-seven words.
   Leonard's only living brother, the Reverend Joseph
T. Leonard, of Columbia, Missouri, has been of the greatest
assistance to me in the preparation of this work. It is
only truth and justice to say that nothing but a short
study of Leonard's life could have been made without
his brother's cooperation.  Leonard's daughter, Mrs.
Thomas 0. Baker, of Brooklyn, New York, has supplied
me with much documentary material. Mr. E. M. Fisher,

' The Encyclopedia Americana, Volunme '9.


xii                   Preface

of Nashville, Tennessee; Mr. Wm. J. Dealy, of New York
City; Professor Charles A. Leonard, of Jackson, Ken-
tucky; Mrs. Charles Watts and Colonel Edmund H.
Taylor, Jr., of Frankfort, Kentucky, and Richard W.
Knott, Esquire, of Louisville, Kentucky, have been most
kind, and merit very cordial thanks.
                          JOHN WILSON TOWNSEND.

   Lexington, Kentuckv, September 17, 1908.





                ANCESTRY AND BIRTH

THE American founders of the Leonard family were
1two brothers, James and Henry Leonard, the pio-
     neers of the iron industry in this country.' They,
with their sister Sarah and brothers Philip and Thomas,
emigrated from England early in the Sevteitritxeth C.nbry
and settled in New England. James Ljopard ongagtd
in the manufacture of iron at Tauntun,; Mas'achtisetts,
about i650, and lived there until his death 3f(i6gr) .ke
was the progenitor of many well-known men, but it was
his brother Henry Leonard who was the founder of the
more famous American branch of the family, and who
was James Francis Leonard's earliest American ancestor.
   Henry Leonard was born in England about i6i8,
Shortly after having reached Massachusetts he built an
iron works at Lynn, which he conducted for six years,
' he Leonard Family in New Jersey. By 0. B. Leonard. 1883. Pages 1-5.


2aames Francis Leonard

and then removed to Taunton. At Taunton he remained
twelve years, and then went to Rowley Village. About
i675 he left Massachusetts for New Jersey, and in that
State he died in i695. He was the father of seven children,
through one of whom, Samuel, we trace James Francis
Leonard's line of descent.
   Samuel Leonard was born in Massachusetts in 1645
and died in New Jersey in I 703. He was one of the larg-
est landowners in his adopted county of Monmouth, a
friend of William Penn's, councilor to the Governor, and
sometime Judge of the Court of Sessions.
   From Samuel Leonard, born in i645, the direct line
of the descent of James Francis Leonard may be traced
through five generations of Leonards to his father, John
Leonard, born in I 790.
   John Leonard, second child of James Whithead
Leonard, and the father of him of whom we write, was
born in Bound Brook, New Jersey, a little city on the
banks of the Raritan River, July I', 1790.'  He came
to Kentucky with his parents when but five years old, and
was educated by them in the Fayette County school. At
the age of sixteen he was bound out to Isaac Reed, of Lex-
ington, for five years, "to learn the art and mystery of a

   'John Leonard's letter to Miss Cornelia Leonard, of Philadelphia, Pennsyl-
v.iiia, dated Frankfort, Kentucky, July 25, 1829.



James Francis Leonard

cordwainer." Young Leonard worked with Reed for two
years, and then ran away to see the world. He saw parts
of it, and returned to Lexington some nine months later.
His time had been purchased from Reed by Samuel
Crosby, and with Crosby he now worked until attaining
his majority. At about this time he met Elizabeth Hale,
an early Bluegrass belle, to whom he soon became engaged
and almost as soon estranged.  In i8i3 John Leonard
answered the call for troops to reinforce the Northwestern
Army. He arrived at Fort Meigs on that long-lamented
day of the 5th of May, i813. He was wounded in the
fight, which kept him in the hospital for three months.
"On this account," as he naively said in his letter to
Miss Cornelia Leonard, "I escaped a great deal of hard
labor, such as digging ditches and erecting bomb-
proofs, etc."
   In June, I814, Leonard engaged in the making of
boots and shoes in Frankfort. On March 9, i817, he
married Harriet McQuiddy, a very beautiful woman.
She was descended from the McQuiddy family of Spott-
sylvania County, Virginia. This family removed to
Kentucky in the last quarter of the Eighteenth



4  ames Francis Leonard


 JAMES Francis Leonard was born in Frankfort, Ken-
    tucky, Monday, September 8, i834. His birthplace
    was a two-story red brick house located on St. Clair
Street, in the very heart of the city. The house was a
rather old one, and was purchased by his father in i823.
It continued to be the family home until i872, when it
was destroyed by fire.
   The future famous telegrapher was given, for the
first part of his Christian name, the given name of
his grandfather Leonard-James-and, for his middle
name, the given name of his uncle by marriage, Francis
   When "Jimmie " Leonard, as he was known from
his birth to his death, and as he is also known in
history, was a few months old, his father, with Benjamin
F. Cogle, purchased the baking and confectionery estab-
lishment of Francis Reynolds, which was located on
Main Street in Frankfort., They furnished cakes, candies,
breads, mead, and soda water, as well as many
grocery articles. We may well believe that several of
the articles on this list made a strong appeal to the
             ' Frankfort Commontealth, August 15, 1835.




This page in the original text is blank.


              James Francis Leonard                 5

baby of the Leonard home, and that much of his young
life was spent in the shadow of his father's store.
   John Leonard died at his Frankfort home April 3,
1837. He was ill only a few days, and his death was a
shock to the capital city. 'In all the relations of life,"
said the Frankfort Commonwealth for April 5th, 'he has
been respected and beloved." His body was laid beside
his father's in the old Frankfort burying-ground, which
was discarded when the State Cemetery was opened in
September, 1845.
   Though left a widow with seven children-the eldest
of whom was but sixteen years of age-and with a
rather small estate, Mrs. Leonard was just entering her
fortieth year, so she was able to take courage for the
struggle of honorably rearing her children. All of them,
save the twins, James F. and John M., she sent to
school to her husband's sister, Mrs. George Burch, and
as soon as the) received the essentials of an education
they went to work.
   At the age of six years "Jimmie" Leonard was sent
to the elementary school in Frankfort, and there he
continued until his eleventh year. At that age his
mother transferred him to Professor J. S. Crutchfield's
private grammar school. "Jimmie" studied at Professor
Crutchfield's school for three years, finishing the English


6  ames Francis Leonard

course in the early summer of 1848. The English course
consisted of finishing Doctor Joseph Ray's Arithmetic,
Samuel Kirkham's English Grammar, S. A. Mitchell's
Geography, William H. McGuffey 's series of "Eclectic"
readers, and-what was to aid him in his future work
as much or more than anything else-a course in pen-
manship, that taught him the beautiful script he always
wrote.  Professor  Crutchfield  took  great interest in
young Leonard, making him monitor of the school, and
ever predicting a splendid future for him.
   Though he had most probably assisted his mother
by working during the school vacations, it was in the
fall of I848, as he turned his fourteenth year, that
"Jimmie" Leonard chose his career. Carefully thinking
through the different vocations, he ultimately decided
to devote his life to the new science which was fast
girdling the world, and had completely astonished it-
      ' The True Presbyterian, Louisville, Kentucky, August 28, 1862.



James Francis Leonard


W      ZE must now, of necessity, delay the narrative of
NV    Leonard's life and examine the history of teleg-
        raphy, together with a note on Morse, up to 1848.
This is essential in obtaining an adequate idea of the
exact and wonderful work Leonard did, and it should
also prove most interesting.
   In I684 Doctor Hooke made the first suggestion of
the telegraph in a system of wooden blocks of different
shapes that he prepared.   A hundred and ten years
later the Chappe brothers, three Frenchmen, determined
that "a pivoted beam could be used to convey the signs
of letters, by pointing it in different directions.'' They
were able to increase the number of signals by adjusting
smaller beams at the ends of the original beam. It was
not long before they had one hundred and ninety-two
various signals. Their system was ultimately adopted
by the French government.'
   In the year I797 an Englishman, Lord George Murray,
simplified the Chappe brothers' system "by using two frames
in which six Venetian blinds were inserted, " and his system
was used by the English government for fifteen years.
  The Telegraph in America. By James D. Reid. New York, 1879. Pages 3-47.



8aames Francis Leonard

   In 1807 General Pasley, and nine years later Sir
Howe Popham, increased the usefulness of Murray's
system by adding lamps for night work. In i832 the
semaphonic system was introduced in Germany and
Russia.  And, of course, we must not forget Paul
Revere and the signal flashed from the old North Church
   Johnathan Grant, Jr., in i8oo, applied for a patent
for his hilltop telegraph which connected Boston and
Martha's Vineyard.   Twelve  vears later Christopher
Colles, a New Yorker, extracted many a fiftv-cent piece
from the innocent public to see the Prussian semaphone
manipulated, but which he called a telegraph. The
contributions of Benjamin Franklin to the telegraph
were made in the middle of the Eighteenth Century.
His Leyden jar experiment, his experiments of I 749,
which partially proved the identity of electricity and
lightning, and his kite experiment, three years later,
which proved beyond question that lightning and elec-
tricitv are identical, all paved the way for Morse.
   But we must not forget another Philadelphian,
Doctor John R. Coxe, who in i8io proposed his signal
telegraph, but did not give it a practical test. In the
same year Professor Jeremiah Day, head of the Depart-
ment of Natural Philosophy at Yale, together with his



fames Francis Leonard

colleague, Professor Benjamin Silliman, made several
experiments and discoveries that aided Morse. In i827
Harrison G. Dyar erected a two-mile line of telegraph
on the Long Island race track that, in all probability,
would have been successful had he had a Daniell battery.
The next few years saw the great inventions of Professor
Joseph Henry, whom many believe was the real inventor
of the modern telegraph, but he, like Dyar, failed
because he lacked the Daniell battery and the Morse
   Samuel Finley Breese Morse was born in Charlestown,
Massachusetts, April 27, I79I. His father was a Yale
man and pastor of the Congregational Church in
Charlestown; his mother was the      granddaughter of
President Samuel Finley, of Princeton College. Presi-
dent Finley, it is pleasant for Kentuckians to recall,
was the teacher of Kentucky's first historian, John
Filson. Young Morse was named for President Finley
and for his maternal grandfather, Judge Breese.
   Morse was prepared for Yale, which he entered
in his fifteenth year, at Phillips Academy, Andover,
Massachusetts. At Yale he studied under Professors
Day and Silliman, and from them learned all that was
then  known   concerning telegraphy.   But Morse was
more interested in art while at college, and many years



10            7fames Francis Leonard

thereafter, than he was in electricity or any other sub-
ject. The first half of his life he gave to painting; the
second half he gave to telegraphy.
   After having graduated from Yale, in i8io, Morse
returned to Boston. There he soon formed the acquaint-
ance of Washington Allston, the famous artist, and with
him he went to Europe the following year. In London
Morse met Benjamin West and many other celebrities
in art. There he painted his first great picture, The
Dying Hercules. In i8I5 he returned to America and
opened a studio in Boston. He began by exhibiting
his 7udgment of 7upiter, but it was not purchased and
he had no new commissions. The next few years found
Morse traveling from one part of the country to the
other in search of work. He was especially successful
in Charleston, South Carolina. Starvation was imminent
when he won the commission to paint the portrait of
LaFayette, in i825.   In the following year Morse, with
several others, established the National Academy of
Design, in New York, and he served as its first president.
In i829 he again sailed for Europe, and there he
remained for three years.
   It was on board the Sully, as it sailed from Havre
to New York, in the fall of i832, that Morse conceived
the essentials of the electromagnetic telegraph-" an


               James Francis Leonard                  II

 instrument  to  write  at  a  distance.   One   of his
 fellow-passengers, Doctor Charles T. Jackson, of Boston,
 always claimed that he made the suggestion to Morse,
 but he never substantiated his claim and Morse vigor-
 ously denied it. When he reached New York Morse
 went to live with his brother Richard, and immediately
 began his experiments with the telegraph.
    In i835 he was appointed professor of the Literature
of Arts of Design in the University of the City of
New York.    But he gave little attention to art, and
rigged up his home with telegraphic apparatus. Morse
began  with  complicated  devices, which   were   soon
replaced  by  simpler ones, and   thus he worked    for
twelve toilsome years. As he was very poor, he wel-
comed a partnership with Alfred Vail, who for several
years furnished the money for his experiments.
   In i840 Morse began the fight for a patent, which he
finally obtained, and in I 843 Congress appropriated thirty
thousand dollars for his work, which enabled him to con-
struct the first line of magnetic telegraph. The line con-
nected Baltimore and Washington, and Morse was assisted
in its construction by Vail, J. C. Fisher, L. D. Gale, and
Ezra Cornell, the founder of Cornell University. Over
a year was required to complete the line, and on May 24,
' S. 1. Prime's Life of Samuel F. B. Morse. New York, 1875. Pages 251, 252.


1 2

lames Francis Leonard

1844, the first message was flashed-" What hath God
wrought " '
   Though Morse benefited by the inventions of many
men, as has been indicated, in working out the electro-
magnetic telegraph, he himself originated the most
marvelous thing about it-the alphabet. His authori-
tative biographer truly said: "The grandeur of this
wonderful alphabet of dots, lines, and spaces has not
been fully appreciated. It has been translated from
one sense to another. In the Morse telegraph it may
be used, and is used, by the sight, the touch, the taste,
the hearing, and the sense of feeling."2  Very rarely,
however, Doctor Prime could have added, are any of
the senses save sight and hearing used in telegraphy.
   The United States government declined to purchase
the Morse telegraph, so a private company was organ-
ized by Professor Morse, Amos Kendall, Cornell, F. 0. J.
Smith, and a few others, to build lines connecting the
principal cities of the country. On February 27, i847,
an act for the construction and protection of Morse
lines passed the General Assembly of Kentucky. The
last day of December of the same year found a line of
telegraph in progress of erection from Maysville, Ken-

Prime's Morse, pages 251, 252.
' Prime's Morse, page 282.


f/ames Francis Leonard

tucky, to Nashville, Tennessee, connecting Louisville,
Frankfort, Lexington, Bardstown, and Bowling Green; and
a line from Maysville to Cincinnati was also being built.'
   The Morse Company finished the line from Louisville
to Frankfort on Friday, February 24, i848.2     The first
dispatch carried the news of former President John
Quincy Adams' death, which had occurred in Washington
City the previous day. On Tuesday night, March 5,
I848, the line connecting Louisville and Lexington (via
Frankfort, of course) was finished. On the following
morning the first message was transmitted. Editor D. C.
Wickliffe, of the Lexington Observer and Reporter, was ill,
so the assistant editor, Richard Marsh (not March), sent
a congratulatory message to George D. Prentice, editor
of the Louisville fournal. The famous journalist, poet,
and punster immediately replied:
                         Louisville, I254 o'clock P. M.
   Geo. D. Prentice, with many compliments to Mr.
March, rejoices at the Telegraphic connection from Lex-
ington to Louisville, but deeply regrets that the first
dispatch from the former city brings intelligence of the
indisposition of his friend Wickliffe.
   Mr. Prentice has not the pleasure of a personal acquaint-
ance with Mr. March, but ventures to hope that he is not
as cold as his namesake has been for the last few days.3
          'Collins' History of Kentucky, Volume 1, page 56.
          2Lexington Observer and Reporter, March 1, 1848.
          Ibidem, March 8, 1848.



4  ames Francis Leonard

   The most interesting and celebrated telegraphic suit
ever tried in Kentucky was the one that Professor Morse
filed against Henry O'Riellv, in Louisville, in i848. The
year previous the Morse Company had decided to build
a line of telegraph from Louisville to Nashville, to be
part of a line to New Orleans, as was above indicated.'
O'Rielly at once began a line, which he called the
People's, and he succeeded in beating Morse's line into
Nashville. He claimed that his telegraphic instrument,
the Columbian, was essentially different from Morse's,
and that Morse had an unlawful monopoly. The West-
ern newspapers took it up, and the only thing left for
Morse to do was to appeal to the courts. He applied
for an injunction against O'Rielly, claiming that the
Columbian telegraph was an infringement upon his
   The trial was begun in Louisville August 24, I848,
with Judge Thomas B. Monroe presiding. The complain-
ant, Morse, was represented by Preston S. Loughborough,
Ben Monroe, Aaron K. Woolley, and T. P. Shaffner; the
defendant, O'Rielly, was represented by Henry Pirtle,
Madison C. Johnson, and D. Y'. Gholson. The case
attracted attention throughout the entire country, and

   I Prime's .lioise, pages 557-579. Lexington Observer and Reporter, September
13, 1848.



James Francis Leonard

such distinguished men as Amos Kendall, John J.
Crittenden, Thomas F. Marshall, Robert P. Letcher, and
Jefferson Davis, then a visitor to his native State, were
among the spectators.
   Over a week was required to take the testimony of
the scientists and other witnesses, and then a full day
was allowed each attorney for his summing up. The
Louisville newspapers agreed that Mr. Loughborough
made the most logical and eloquent speech of the whole
trial, making "many points before a little obscure as
clear as sunbeams."
   On Saturday, September 9, the sixteenth day of the
trial, Judge Monroe delivered his opinion. It was, in
substance, that the Columbian telegraph was an infringe-
ment upon Morse's, and that an injunction absolute be
granted him. The Louisville Journal supposed that the
decision "will render it necessary for Mr. O'Rielly either
to put upon his Southern line some other instrument or
to discontinue, at least for the present, the use of the
line altogether. Whether he can or can not procure an
instrument that will work well and not be liable to an
injunction as an infringement upon Morse, is a point that
we are not sufficiently learned in telegraphic matters to
decide. "



7/ames Francis Leonard

   But the 7ournal was mistaken: O'Rielly, with charac-
teristic shrewdness, did neither: he now, catching at a
straw, "sought to evade its [the injunction] force by
receiving intelligence by sound." But Judge Monroe knew
that "this was one of the original modes of telegraphy
secured to Morse as its inventor," and also probably
regarding O'Rielly's statement as the prize joke of the
year (as nothing worth while had been done in sound
telegraphy), saw through this subterfuge, as well as
O'Rielly's subsequent one-to remove the telegraphic
instruments out of Kentucky, but to leave the posts and
wires in this State-so he immediately had the O'Rielly
people arrested and fined. They gave bond and then
took an appeal from the District Court of Kentucky
to the Supreme Court of the United States. There the
injunction was sustained in a very comprehensive opinion
by Chief Justice Roger Taney. Thus Morse, the real
inventor, was forever protected, and O'Rielly, the in-
fringer, was given his eternal quietus.



7ames Francis Leonard



 A  LL   of   the  facts   in  the   foregoing   chapter   were
 A     quite familiar to "Jimmie" Leonard, and they
      stirred him   so  profoundly   that he    determined    to
have a part, and a most prominent part, in the future
history of the American telegraph. Accordingly, on a
perfect autumn day in the year I848, he presented
himself at the first telegraph office ever in Frankfort,
almost opposite his home on St. Clair Street, and asked
Chief Operator Taylor for a position.' Robert B. Taylor
(i83i-i888) was young Leonard's kinsman, and he knew
him to be a very superior boy, so he at once offered to
make him a messenger. Although the salary was most
meager, "Jimmie"       accepted   the  place  and   went about
his duties. He perfonned them with such promptness
that he easily found time to ' tinker with the tape.'"
It was not long before his friends realized that he had
     "In the Spring of 1848 the first telegraph line, the New Orleans and Ohio,
from Washington via Baltimore and Wheeling to New Orleans, passed through
Frankfort, Ky. An office was opened there and made the terminal until the line
reached Louisville. The office was opened by James F. Foss and F. A. Brown,
of Boston, in February, 1848. E. H. Goulding, of Worcester, was the first oper-
ator, and Robert B. Taylor, of Kentucky, messenger. The office was opened to
the public March Ist, 1848. . . . Mr. Goulding left for St. Louis in the Fall
of 1848, and Robert B. Taylor was appointed operator, and James F. Leonard
messenger. Leonard learned the business quickly and was transferred to the
Louisville office in 1849, but he received messages by sound in the Frankfort office
in 1848.  He subsequently became known as the fastest writer in the country
E. V. Crockett and W. F. Russell came after Leonard."  Gleanings From The
Telegraph. By N. M. Booth. Page 24.

I 7


iaames Francis Leonard

the stuff in him out of which telegraphers of the first
class are made, and they urged him to continue at the
work.   This belief in his ability encouraged him    to
endeavor to excel in his chosen career. He was a tele-
graphic genius, and, as was soon to be revealed, in his
special work the mind of Morse was not the equal of his.
He seemed to have known telegraphy from infancy, or,
at any rate, to learn it intuitively; the customary
drudgery of the beginner was alien to him.'
   Most inventions and discoveries are, in their origin,
accidents, but ever based on brains. Thus it was with
Leonard's discovery. That he had visions of sound
telegraphy in the early spring of I849 we may be sure,
as he entirely discarded the cumbrous paper in June of
that year, when the wonderful discovery swam into his
ken. The exact date of it, unfortunately, is lost, but
the benefits of it will last as long as men care to com-
municate with one another by means of telegraphy.
   As has been indicated, the sound system "was one
of the original modes of telegraphy secured to Morse
as its inventor," but his patent was one of anticipation
and not of realization; he was practically ignorant of
its real usefulness, as it was practiced to no extent
whatever until Leonard made       his discovery.  Morse
           ' Reverend J. 'T. Leonard's letter to the author



James Francis Leonard

furnished the fundamentals for the discovery-just as
other men furnished him the fundamentals for the mag-
netic telegraph-but Leonard's was the perfecting hand,
as Morse's was to the magnetic telegraph. They were
both builders on other men's foundations.
   The Morse Company, in common with all other
companies, "vigorously interdicted" the sound system,
and discouraged its practice to the extent of passing a
law forbidding its use. "Yet, its superior advantage
was gradually asserting itself. The reception by reg-