A Leader Trip

The following letter describes a "Leader" trip made after Christmas, 1971. A note following the letter describe one of the recipients and identifies the author. 

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The history and genealogy of the Leader family

Dublin, Ireland

January 4, 1972

Mrs. William B. Sefton
318 S. Washington
Hinsdale, Illinois           and

Mr. Richard A. Moore
Special Council to the President
The White House
Washington, D.C.

Dear Maire and Rich:

After Christmas we made a "Leader" trip that I want to tell you about because it was really most interesting. I had had a letter from a Leader family in Cork who had read in the newspapers that Mother's family came from there and they asked us to drop in, which we did. There are four of them and they own a very large business which is manufacturing and selling men's clothing. The business is mostly run by cousin William and his unmarried sister, Mary, who is the image of Mame. They explained to us that the Leaders all originated with one Leader who was apparently an English soldier in the Cromwell days. Like many of them, he married an Irish girl and settled down in Ireland and got a fairly substantial grant of land in a town in north County Cork called Millstreet. That would have been somewhere in the middle of the 17th century. So that all the Leaders are still in County Cork and they are all related since they all started with one man. They reeled off the names of a number of relatives and the names of Richard, William, Julia, John, Henry and Mary, Margaret, Hannah and Nellie kept popping up all the time. They recommended that we should visit Millstreet where there are old Leader houses and this was arranged through Dr. Leonard Leader who was born in Millstreet and lives and practices medicine in the nearby village of Boherbue.

We drove through the beautiful shore villages of south Cork to Bantry where we had dinner with Reverend Liam (William) Leader, who is very pleasant and extremely well educated and told us a lot more about the Leaders.

Dr. Leader invited us to lunch and we went to Boherbue and met his family. His wife is a doctor and practices with him. His father was a farmer in Millstreet. They couldn't be more delightful people. After lunch he took us to visit a very fine Georgian house called Keale House near Millstreet which is now owned by a prosperous farmer named William Cramin who bought it from a Mrs. Somebody who had been a Leader. It is stone and on one of the stones is carved the name of Henry Leader as a builder along with some Latin which we couldn't read. Then we were taken to the Leader pride and joy, which is a very large and handsome Georgian house called Mount Leader which sits on the top of a hill with a lovely view and has a beautiful central hall with a staircase a la Dromoland Castle and four very fine big rooms on the first floor with some lovely things in them, including ancient Chinese wallpaper which would make Bill Sefton's mouth water. This too has a stone with an inscription stating that it was built by John Leader in 1834. It must have about eighty acres around it.

Then we drove to see what is left of the first large Leader house which was named Ros na Lea. This house was dismantled and all that is left is some stone pillars. It must have been a wonderful place once.

Apparently the history of the Leaders is that they had their ups and downs and some held on to property and others did not and became small farmers, mainly around Millstreet. We did not do any poking into church records to try to establish which branch our own Leaders were but the ones we met were all the kind you would be very pleased to be a cousin of.

Mount Leader is now owned by a veterinary named Pomeroy who is quite old and I expect it will be coming on the market one of these days but I am resisting all temptations to inquire about that. It would need quite a bit of modernizing although structurally it does seem in fine shape. I took some Minox pictures which will be weeks getting developed and I hope they come out although the light wasn't very good.

Anyway, it was a most interesting trip and made us all, of course, want to know more about the history of the Leader family in that part of Cork. There is a man in London named Leader who is reportedly preparing some sort of a record of the family and I asked the various Leaders to please see that we get one when and if it is ever published.

An earlier version of this page speculated that the identity of the author of this page was John D. J. Moore, the American Ambassador to Ireland in 1972. Ambassador Moore (1910 to 1988) was appointed by President Nixon in 1969 and served until 1975. He had been a member of the OSS and CIA. He was also a Knight of Malta.

One of the addressees is Richard A. Moore (1914-1995), a Washington insider. He was a member of the "Skull and Bones" society at Yale. Other members include both George W. Bush and his 2004 opponent, John Kerry. During World War II he started working for the OSS and was in the CIA after that was formed. He was Special Council to President Nixon during the Watergate years and was appointed Ambassador to Ireland in 1989 by President George H.W. Bush. He served as ambassador until 1992. At his confirmation hearing for the ambassadorship he vehemently denied that he was one of the unindicted co-conspirators of Watergate fame. Thus it appears that the letter was written by an American Ambassador to Ireland and addressed to a future American Ambassador to Ireland.
This information has been confirmed by a descendant of the Moore family who read an earlier version of this page. John D. J. Moore wrote the letter to his brother and sister.

I have found a record of the Moore family in the 1930 census of a family in New York

John D. Moore, Age 54, born in Massachusetts, father born in the Irish Free State, mother born in Massachusetts.

Julia L. Moore, Age 52, born in Maine, both parents born in the Irish Free State.

Mary F. Moore, Age 24, born in New York.

John Moore, Age 19, born in New York.

Richard Moore, Age 16, born in New York.

Julia Leader Moore can't be a descendent of John Hall Leader. I have not found a Julia among John Hall Leader's daughters nor any daughter who married a Moore. She cannot be a granddaughter of John Hall Leader because then her parents would not have been born in the Irish Free State.

There is an additional connection. The post of Ambassador to Ireland is a political post and not a career post. Each incoming President appoints a favored supporter. When John D.J. Moore was appointed in 1969 by President Nixon, he replaced an ambassador appointed by President Johnson. This was Leo J. Sheridan. His wife, Irene Leader Sheridan, was a granddaughter of John Hall Leader. It is probably through the coincidence of two successive American Ambassadors to Ireland, both having a connection to the Leaders of Millstreet, County Cork, that this letter came to the attention of our family.

The last paragraph of the letter mentions "a man in London named Leader" who was preparing a record of the family. This is almost certainly the late Michael Leader. His material is available through the Irish Genealogical Research Society.

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This page last modified on Sunday, November 18, 2007

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Millstreet in 1844

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A Leader Trip