Welcome to Leonard!

The City of Leonard, on U.S. Highway 69 and State Highway 78 in Southwestern Fannin County, had its beginning on February 8, 1845 as a grant from Anson Jones, President of the Republic of Texas.  This original tract of 3520 acres, known as Martin Moore survey, was sold to Solomon Langdon Leonard in February 1859.  The land was not settled until the Southeastern, Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railroad came through the area.   The town came into existence with the sale of town lots, which had been surveyed, platted and donated by Leonard heirs, at an auction on the public square. A post office and school were established the next year. Residents numbered fifty in 1881 and by 1885 Leonard had a population of 350. At an election held on September 14, 1889, with a population of 400, Leonard was declared an incorporated town. The first City Hall was located on the first floor of a two-story building in the town square. The first newspaper, the Leonard Graphic was established in 1890 and is still in publication today.

 

On May 23, 1894, Leonard Collegiate Institute was organized and in 1906 occupied a three-story building with the name Dodson College but it closed in 1914. In the middle 1930s Dr. J.J. Pendergrass established a hospital in Leonard which was then the trading center of southwest Fannin County. The town was known for its outstanding cotton market. The principal crops were cotton, corn, wheat and grain sorghum. In 1989 ranching had replaced some of the farming. The population of Leonard slightly exceeded 1,000 for most of the twentieth century, then grew to 1,509 in 1980 and 1,744 in 1990. In the last population census of 2010 the population had reached close to 2,000.

 

The sale of town lots on July 22, 1880 was the first occasion of a picnic where over 150 people were served.  By the next year the population had grown and another picnic was held celebrating the town’s birthday.  This “Leonard Picnic” festival has continued throughout the years with two exceptions, 1918 and 1945, due to World War I and II.  Each year as the 22nd of July approaches, arrangements are made for the town's annual celebration that brings larger, enthusiastic crowds and additional festive attractions.

 

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Mon, 11 Jan 2016
The City will begin replacing street signs with the newly designed, blue sign with the city logo.Read more...
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