Thomas Leggett Jr.1,2,3,4,5,6,7

M, b. 17 January 1755, d. 10 October 1843
FatherThomas Leggett b. 3 Jun 1721
MotherMary Embree b. 14 Mar 1723
Thomas Leggett Jr.
     Thomas was born on Friday, 17 January 1755 in West Farms, Westchester County, New York. He grew up on the Leggett estate in Westchester County which became a hotbed during the Revolutionary War. Soon after the start of the war, Washington was forced to retreat out the city of New York and established his line at White Plains, north of where the Leggetts lived. Meanwhile, the English moved into the city and also were encamped on the western end of Long Island. This left most of Westchester County, including the Leggett estate, lying between the two encampments, a virtual no man’s land. It became a lawless strip with Indians, Tories, English and American outlaws raiding the farms. One night in 1776, English troops under the command of Col. DeLancy surrounded the Leggett mansion and took possession of the farm and property. The family was forced to leave, and fled to a farm in Stillwater, Saratoga County. It is quite probable that the family had purchased the property before the war had begun. Unfortunately, this property became part of the Hessian Redoubt before the battle of Saratoga. With General Burgoyne approaching and a battle eminent, the family attempted to escape danger by crossing the river, however, Thomas and two of his brothers were captured with Thomas being taken to General Burgoyne’s camp where he met up with a neighbor by the name of Concklin. The two forged a pass and got past the sentinels, and were on the run staying hidden during the day as they did not know who to trust. Once they made their way to Dutchess County, Concklin was known there and he remained, staying with acquaintances. Not knowing where his family was or what had happened after his capture, Thomas continued on to the south. Upon reaching the safety of the American lines at White Plains, he hurried on to West Farms only to find his father's home burned to the ground, large noble trees cut down for firewood, and cattle & horses driven away. Thomas’ escape took place in October of 1777; there is no further information available as to the activities of Thomas for the remainder of the war. It is probable that he returned to Saratoga and lived with his family. It is known that it was his family that was the first of the Leggetts to convert to the Society of Friends and that they were the founders of that religion in Stillwater. After the war, Thomas did move into the city and began his career as a businessman. He was of course very successful and reestablished the family wealth. Thomas married Mary Haight, daughter of Samuel Haight and Rebecca Fowler, on 6 May 1781 in Phillipse Manor, Westchester County, New York. Thomas removed to Stillwater, Saratoga County, New York with his parents prior to the American Revolution. He, along with two of his brothers, were taken prisoners during the war. After he escaped, he returned to West Farms where he discovered his home burnt to the ground. He supposedly went to White Plains where he joined the service. After the war, he built a new home on the old foundation at West Farms. He resided there until 1836 when he moved to New York City. He was in the dry goods business in the city. "Thomas was a stately looking old gentleman who wore knee breeches and small bucklers, a long drab coat down to his knees, a white cravat and a broad brimmed hat. His second wife was very homely, but a very kind caring person. Her step daughters disapproved of her thinking her not to be good enough for their father." (Eliza Seaman Leggett, My Book of Life] His children were either born at the family homestead at West Farms or their home in the city. Thomas's wife, Mary, died on 26 November 1805 in West Farms, Westchester County, New York, leaving him a widower. Thomas married Mary Underhill on 3 November 1808 in New York. He and Thomas were blessed with 2 children. In 1834, he was living at 161 William Street & his business was at 307 Pearl Street.8 Thomas made his will on 24 January 1834 at West Farms, Westchester County, New York.

     I, Thomas Leggett, of West Farms in Westchester County, do make my last will and testament as to all my real and personal estate at the time of my death in form and manner following:
     Imprimis: I direct all my just debts to be paid and my just demands to be collected and in discharging this duty I authorize my executors to make compromise where they shall judge it expedient to release the debtors without compromise when they shall be satisfied of their inability to pay, and to submit all disputes and difficulties to arbitration.
     Item Second: To my wife Mary I give all my household furniture, beds and bedding, plate and other chattels of every kind forming part of my housekeeping establishment. Also I give to her during her natural life, my original homestead at West Farms in Westchester County, comprising the house and about fifty acres of land originally belonging to it, or the yearly annuity of five hundred dollars per annum in lieu thereof whenever she shall choose to leave the said homestead and release the same from her life interest, such annuity to commence at her making such choice, and release to be paid quarterly and rateably up to her decease. Also I give her the further yearly annuity of fifteen hundred dollars to commence from my decease to be paid quarterly and rateably up to the time of her death, upon condition, however, as to all the above bequests to her that she shall take the same in lieu of dower in all my estate, and upon condition also that she provide in such manner as she shall think fit a comfortable maintenance for my son Jacob U. Leggett during her life at such place as she may think best.
     Third: I authorize and direct my executors and the survivors and survivor of them in case my son Jacob shall survive his mother to provide in such manner as they shall think fit a comfortable maintenance for him at such place as they may think fit, during his life, and to defray the expense thereof out of my estate as hereinafter expressed.
     Fourth: To Phebe Leggett, daughter of my deceased brother Isaac Leggett, I give an annuity of one hundred dollars per annum to commence at my decease, to be paid quarterly and until she shall attain the age of twenty-one years or depart this life under that age, and I also give her a legacy of five hundred dollars on her attaining that age.
     Fifth: I authorize and direct my executors and the survivors and survivor of them to advance to my brother Gabriel Leggett such sums as in their judgment shall be requisite for his comfortable maintenance and support during his life.
     Sixth: I charge all the preceding legacies, annuities and provisions in favor of my wife, my son Jacob, my niece Phebe Leggett and my brother Gabriel Leggett upon the rents and income of my real estate within the City and County of New York and not upon my personal estate.
     Seventh: As to all my real estate within the City and County of New York, I give the same to my executors, the survivors or survivor of them, as joint tenants, to have and to hold the same until the year of Our Lord Eighteen hundred and fifty-eight, upon trust, to let the same from time as they shall think fit and to receive the rents, issues and profits thereof, and out of the same to defray all the expenses chargeable upon such property, of taxes, assessments, insurance, repairs, alterations and improvements, as they shall deem expedient, including the building of any of my houses or stores which they may think fit thus to improve, and also to defray all the aforesaid charges thereupon and the balance to divide at the end of every year after my decease between and amongst my children Samuel, Joseph, Charlotte, wife of William W. Fox, William H., Thomas, Ann, wife of Samuel F. Mott, Rebecca, wife of George S. Fox, Mary, wife of Thomas Pearsall, and Elizabeth, in equal shares, and on their respective deaths to their children and next of kin respectively. And on the arrival of the year Eighteen hundred and fifty-eight, I give the said real estate in the City and County of New York, subject, however, to the said charges thereon, to my said children in this item above named, in equal shares and to their heirs and assigns forever, subject to the powers following, namely: I authorize my executors, and the survivors and survivor of them, with their successors, as hereinafter provided, to be appointed, to divide my estate in the said City and County of New York among my said children, providing my surviving children shall agree thereto, or, if my executors and the survivors or survivor and such successors as aforesaid, shall think it more expedient, then I authorize, empower and direct them to sell my real estate in the City and County of New York at public or private sale and to divide the proceeds of such real estate according to the aforesaid disposition thereof, and to execute conveyances upon such sale which shall be valid to vest the title in the purchaser, but the said charges upon this part of my estate are to be first secured in such manner as the said persons making such sale shall deem best and the rents of the said real estate from the time when a sale is hereby authorized until a sale or division is made, I give to my executors to be distributed and divided among the persons to whom I give the land and its proceeds in the same proportions.
     Eighth: All the rest, residue and remainder of my estate, real and personal, I direct my executors to divide into six equal shares and I give one of said shares to my son William H. Leggett and one to my son Thomas Leggett, Junior, to them respectively, and to their heirs, executors, administrators forever. One share I give to my executors, the survivors and survivor of them, as joint tenants and to their heirs forever, upon trust, during the life of my son Joseph Leggett to receive the rents, issues and income thereof and after defraying all charges upon the said shares to apply as much of the said rents, issues and income as shall be necessary to the support and maintenance of my said son Joseph and his family to be paid to him or otherwise as they shall think most proper from time to time and the balance, if any, to pay over to his children who shall be living at my decease, investing the shares for such as shall be minors to be paid to them respectively on coming of age and upon the death of my said son Joseph then to convey and pay over to his children the said share so held by them in trust, giving one equal part on such conveyance and payment to the issue of any of his children deceased, and if he shall die without leaving any descendants then I give the same to the other five children named in this present item of my will. I give the three remaining shares of my said estate to my three daughters Rebecca, wife of George S. Fox, Mary, wife of Thomas Pearsall, and Elizabeth Leggett, one share to each, excepting and subject, however, to the deduction of eight thousand dollars from each share which three sums of eight thousand dollars, I give to my executors in trust as hereinafter expressed, to have and to hold the said shares to my said daughters respectively, and to their heirs, executors, administrators and assigns forever. And for the purpose of dividing my said real estate, I give my executors and the survivor and their survivors and their successors, as aforesaid, the power of selling the same in their discretion at public or private sale, and of conveying the same in fee simple.
     Ninth: I direct my executors to invest separately each of the said sums of eight thousand dollars and to keep the same invested either in a purchase of real estate or in a mortgage thereof, and to receive the income and interest thereof, and to pay over during the life of my said daughter Rebecca, the interest and income of one of the said investments to her, to her sole and separate use exclusively of any husband and upon her own receipt from time to time, and on her death the principal shall be given to her children or if no children then living, to her next of kin and in like manner to pay over the income and interest of the other two investments to my said other daughters Mary and Elizabeth respectively during life to their sole and separate use as aforesaid exclusively of their husbands and upon their own receipts from time to time, and upon their deaths respectively the principal to go to their children or if no children then living, to their next of kin.
     Lastly, I appoint my sons William H. Leggett and Thomas Leggett, Junior, and my son-in-law George S. Fox, Executors of this Will and Trustees of the trusts thereof, and I authorize the survivors and survivor of them as often as any of their number may be taken away by death, to nominate one of my sons, sons-in-law, or grandsons to supply his place who shall thenceforth be a trustee with such survivors for all the trusts of this will and be invested with every estate, interest, power, authority and discretion which are herein given to my executors and proper conveyances and instruments shall be executed for this purpose, and so from time to time as often as vacancies among the original or succeeding trustees shall occur. And also I authorize my executors and trustees for the time being to improve any part of my real estate, at the expense of the same, and I give to them power to appoint an agent and agents from time to time for the management of my estates under their direction. And I require all my children and all who shall claim under this will or who shall be affected by it, to submit all difficulties which may arise between them in relation to it, to arbitration and not to go to law and I earnestly charge upon all my children the duty of aiding and assisting my wife in the management of my son Jacob, and in the use of every proper means, by advice and persuasion to direct him in the path of rectitude, to keep him from the way of evil communications and to watch over him for good.
     And I declare and publish this will written on the annexed and present sheets to be my only last will and testament and have unto the preceding sheet set my hand and hereunto my hand and seal, this twenty-fourth day of first month in the year of our Lord, On thousand eight hundred and thirty-four.
               THOS. LEGGETT (L. S.)
     Subscribed, signed and published by Thomas Leggett as his last will this 24th day of January, A. D. 1834, in our presence, who at his request, and in his presence, and in the presence of each other have hereto subscribed our names as witnesses with our places of residence. The clause interlined in Line 20, 21, of page 3, being altered before execution.
     Daniel Lord, Jr., 91 Franklin St., New York.
     W. H. Drake, No. 115 Hudson St., New York.9

He wrote a codicil to his will on 30 January 1840.

     I, Thomas Leggett, of West Farms, in Westchester County, do make this Codicil to my last will bearing date the twenty-fourth day of first month, in the year of Our Lord, Eighteen hundred and thirty-four. [correct date?]
     First: I direct the annuity of Fifteen hundred dollars given to my wife in item second of my said will to be increased to Twenty-five hundred dollars and with this alteration confirm the said item in every other particular.
     Item: In relation to the item Seventh of my said will I direct that the trust therein declared as herein modified shall endure, during the life of my wife, during which period and until the sale of the property, the rents and profits shall be received by my executors and their successors in trust and the balance after defraying the annuities, charges and expenses in the said item expressed shall be applied yearly by my executors to the use of the persons in that item expressed, to be entitled thereto, leaving out my daughter Elizabeth, deceased, and on the death of my wife I give the lands in the said item mentioned (including what Elizabeth would have taken if living) in the same manner as if therein directed or expressed, to be done on the arrival of the year eighteen hundred ands fifty-eight, and with the alterations herein expressed, I do in all other respects confirm the said item of my will.
     Item: In relation to Item Eighth of my said will as my daughter Elizabeth hath departed this life and I have concluded to place my daughters Charlotte and Ann on an equality with my other daughters, under the said item, I do therefore will and direct that the estate disposed of, in item Eighth aforesaid be divided into seven shares instead of six, one of the shares I give to my daughter Charlotte, wife of William W. Fox, and another of the shares I give to my daughter Ann, wife of Samuel F. Mott, excepting and subject to the deducting of eight thousand dollars from each share, which two sums of Eight thousand dollars, I give to my executors in trust for my said daughters Charlotte and Ann respectively upon trust in their behalf respectively, exactly similar to the trust in relation to the similar sums given in trust in relation to the similar sums given in trust for my other daughters, and in all other respects I confirm the said item Eighth which shall take effect as if Elizabeth had been originally omitted, and Charlotte and Ann originally named therein.
     Item: I authorize and direct my executors to make a provision out of my residuary estate for my faithful colored servant woman Rose, for her life not to exceed the rate of One hundred and fifty dollars per annum to be computed from my decease and to be applied by my executors in such manner as they may think fit to her use and comfort.
     Item: The appointment of my executors shall not release, vary or affect any indebtedness or accounts, between me and any of them.
     Last. In all respects not hereby altered, I declare the said will and this present codicil together to contain and express my last will and testament.
     IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and seal this thirtieth day of first month in the year of Our Lord, One thousand eight hundred and forty.
                              THOS. LEGGETT (L. S.)
     Signed, sealed and declared as a codicil to his will by Thomas Leggett this 30th day of January, A. D. 1840, in our presence subscribing at his request and in his presence, our names and places of residence.
     SUSAN LORD,     ) 26 Beach Street,
     DANIEL LORD, Jr.,     ) New York City.
     PHEBE L. LORD, 26 Beach Street, New York City.

He wrote a codicil to his will on 3 July 1843.

     I, Thomas Leggett, of West Farms, Westchester County, do make this Codicil to my last will and testament, namely:
     I appoint my son-in-law Samuel F. Mott to be an executor of my last will and testament in connection with the other executors therein named.
     IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have subscribed these presents as, and for a codicil making part of my last will and testament, this third day of Seventh month (July) in the year of our Lord One thousand eight hundred and forty-three.
                         THOS. LEGGETT (L. S.)
     Signed and declared by Thomas Leggett to be a codicil of his last will and testament in our presence subscribing at his request this third day of Seventh month, A. D. 1843.
                                   JOSEPH WALKER.
                                   DAVID GRISCOM.
                                   ROBERT REYNOLDS.

Thomas departed this life on Tuesday, 10 October 1843 in West Farms, Westchester County, New York, at the family home. He was buried in the yard of the St. Peter's Episcopal Church in the Bronx in the City, County & State of New York. According to a notation in the family bible by his son, William H., "Thomas was followed to the grave by the greatest number of carriages and persons that was ever seen in the county or that probably will ever again be convened upon a similar occassion." He was first buried in a family plot at West Farms & later removed to his new resting place. It has also been noted that he was buried at the Quaker Meeting House at Westchester near Westchester Creek [noted in Eliza Seaman Leggett's Journal-klm]. His servant Rose was buried at his feet.

Family 1

Mary Haight b. 7 Nov 1762, d. 26 Nov 1805

Family 2

Mary Underhill b. 17 Aug 1770, d. a 27 Apr 1849


  1. [S77] Copied from the manuscript record of the late Rev. Theodore A. Leggett by A. Hatfield Jr., Early Settlers of West Farms, Westchester County, New York [Copied from the manuscript record of the late Rev, Theodore A. Leggett].
  2. [S101] Raymond L. Olson, Ancestory of Elihu B. Gifford [1830-1898] and Catherine Sandow Barrows [1835-1917] of Saratoga County, New York, Buffalo County, Wisconsin & Spokane County, Washomgtpm, page 145.
  3. [S248] Thomas Bogart Leggett, grandson Clinton Leggett.
  4. [S27] Robert Bolton, A History of the County of Westchester, from its first settlement to the present., page 447.
  5. [S474] W. W. Spooner, Westchester County, New York: Biographical.
  6. [S1245] Joseph Alfred Scoville, The Old Merchants of New York City, New York

    , Page 242… The Leggett family is very old. Samuel was the son of the late Thomas Leggett of West Farms, Westchester county, who among our most ancient merchants left an honored name. During the Revolution, or about 1780, Thomas Leggett commenced business in a dry grocery, (he did not sell rum) at the corner of Peck Slip and Pearl street. There he was successful in a small way. At that time there was a market in Peck Slip. The Bank of New York was six doors above Thomas Leggett's store on the same side. That was the old location (the Bank was afterwards built on the corner of William and Wall.)
    Page 242-245… As an evidenee of the simplicity of living at that period, as exhibited in the value of rents, Mr. Thomas Leggett, in anticipation of changing his business, bought in 1781 the house now known as 307 Pearl (then Queen street) but did not move into it that year. He rented it out to Comfort Sands (then a young gentleman of great pretensions) for his own occupation with his family, at the rent of $32,50 per annum. This fact will afford us a better idea of the style and cost of living at that time than anything else could do.
    … Mr. Leggett moved into his house, No. 307 in 1782, where he conducted a successful dry goods business, and lived until he retired. The firm was at first Thomas Leggett. Then he took into the firm in 1793 his brother Joseph, who left in 1803. Then, in 1803, Joseph retired. He took in his son Samuel, and the firm was Thomas Leggett & Son. He had several sons, -- Samuel, William H., Joseph, and Thomas, Jr. In 1807, the elder Leggett retired from business, and the firm was changed to Leggett, Fox & Co., consisting of Samuel, a brother, and his own brother William. In 1832 or 1833 the concern gave up business and closed up, although doing a large and prosperous business, continued for over forty years. The partners retired well off.
    In 1798 New York was afflicted with burglars. One 'night Mr. Thomas Leggett heard an outcry, in his immediate neighborhood. " Murder ! " " thieves ! ". was called, and " help " invoked. He rushed out of his own house, and ran across the way, where he saw a light in the store through the chinks of the door, which latter he promptly stove in. He saw three burglars. Two were upon the owner of the store, who was down on the floor. A third was coming towards the door. Mr. Leggett seized him, wheeled about, and jammed him against the wall with his back, and thus held him. Another burglar rushed at Mr. Leggett, but he seized him with his hands, and held him fast. The rear burglar drew a penknife, and commenced stabbing; but he made a mistake, and stabbed his confederate No. 2, that Mr. Leggett was holding on to, while keeping the other fast against the wall. He was relieved from his disagreeable situation by his neighbor, Alderman Theophilus Beekman, who came to his assistance, and the fellows were secured (save burglar No. 3, who escaped) and afterwards taken to prison, tried, convicted and executed.
    Mr. Leggett, in common with all the followers of George Fox and William Penn, was opposed to capital punishment. He was often heard to say that he was glad that he had not been obliged to appear as a witness against the two burglars whom he was mainly instrumental in capturing. (He was absent from the city at the time of their trial, thinking there was sufficient evidence of their guilt for their conviction without his testimony - particularly as one of them was a young offender whom he believed had been seduced to the committal of the deed by his more hardened companion.)
    In 1809, as I have before stated, the old gentleman retired from business, and removed to the old homestead, where he died in 1843, aged about eighty-eight years. He was born in 1755. The Leggetts came from an old stock, and we must say something of that old homestead in West Farms, where he died. His ancestors came into West Farms with John Richardson in the year 1661 - two hundred years ago.
    In 1664 Mr. Richardson bought from the Indian proprietors the equal half of the township of West Farms, comprising about three thousand acres, bounded by the sound of East river on the south, Bronx river on the east, Fordham on the north, and what is now known as Morrisania on the west.
    The English title came from John Nicolls, the governor of the province in 1666. This was seven years before Morrisania was taken up by Lewis Morris and his brother.
    Gabriel Leggett, the grandfather of Thomas, married the daughter of Mr. Richardson, and inherited the lands now occupied (1861) by Joseph Walker, Paul Spofford, Edward Faile, W. W. Fox and George S. Fox.
    The two latter married two of the daughters of Thomas Leggett, who lived from 1809 and died in the house now occupied by his daughter, Mrs. George S. Fox, and was the home of his ancestor Gabriel in 1670.
    Page 245-247… In the year 1774 Gabriel Leggett, grandfather of Thomas, was driven out of West Farms township by Colonel Delaney and his partisans, who were arrant tories. The Leggett family then went up on their new lands in Saratoga ; from whence they were taken by Burgoyne's Indians. The male part of the family were conveyed to Burgoyne's camp, where they all remained prisoners except Thomas Leggett, who made his escape, swam over the North River in October, and came back to the old homestead in West Farms.
    The farm on which the Leggetts lived at Saratoga was a part of the battle-ground afterwards. The wheat fields were manured by many dead bodies; the wheat showed where they lay the following year, when it was harvested ! General Frazier was also mortally wounded in a ravine near Mr. Leggett's house.
    But to return to Thomas Leggett. After be made his escape and safely reached the homestead, he found it vacated and dismantled, even to the weather boarding, which had been stripped off for kindling wood. The entire neighborhood was a scene of desolation. The negroes belonging to the property. had been kept in the house for tory use, and were found entirely destitute. Luckily for all parties, fishing was good. The nets had been left 'untouched-the fishing season was just approaching. The other proprietors came in about the same time, and they fished as a joint-stock concern. They cleared that season 83,000 ; one third fell to the share of Thomas Leggett, who, finding impossible to live in that disturbed region, removed to New York, and went into the grocery business, as already stated, in Peck Slip, corner of Pearl street, in 1780. When in 1809 Mr. Thomas Leggett left business, he was succeeded by his sons Samuel and W. H. Leggett, and his son-in-law W. W. Fox, under the name of Leggett, Fox & Co., as before stated.
    Samuel was the first person in this city who attempted to furnish the city with water from the neighboring river. He proposed the Bronx. From some cause unknown to me, the plan failed. The money subscribed for this object was returned to the subscribers. The idea thus suggested was not lost, however. It culminated in other hands, and the Croton 'was substituted for the Bronx.
    Page 248-249 ...There are other descendants of the old Gabriel Leggett, the grandfather of Thomas. William Leggett, at one time connected with the Post - editor of the Plaindealer - a famous political meteor in the day of General Jackson, and a great friend of Edwin Forrest, was a lineal descendant of old Gabriel. William's great-grandfather was mayor of Westchester many years ago. As a race, the Leggetts are famed for their agility, strength, indomitable courage and perseverance. Old Thomas Leggett never experienced such a sensation as fear. William, of the Post, was also remarkable for his personal disregard of danger. Thomas Leggett always refused while in business to give an endorser for his auction purchases. in accordance with the customs of auctioneers, which was a source of trouble between him, John Hone, Robert Punter and David Dunham. He also resisted the tyranny of the banks, at that time, 1800, a great power in the city and for many years afterwards. Even now banks are not quite powerless. He was one of the greatest of the old school merchants who left an unstained name, a comfortable estate, and a large family to enjoy his fortune and give vigor to the State in which they were born.
  7. [S1247] Martha J. Lamb, History of the Ciy of New York: It's Origin, Rise, and Progress, page 728 - . . . He [Samuel Leggett] introduced gas into his own handsome private residence in Franklin Square [1823].
  8. [S1246] Longworth's American Almanac: New York Register & City Directory
    , page 429 - Thomas Leggett Jr. resided 161 Wlliam Street & business Leggett & Fox at 307 Pearl.
  9. [S349] Roeser, & Storck Ferriss, Petition & Order To Show Cause In The Matter Of The Application For The Appointment Of A Trustee To Execute The Power Of Sale Remaining Unexecuted Conferred By The Last Will & Testament Of Thomas Leggett, Deceased, Notes his will & many of his descendants.