The History of the Connors Family

William J. Leader's Biography

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The following biography is from the Commemorative Biographical Record of the Upper Lake Region, published by J.H. Beers & Co., 1905. William Leader was the oldest son of John Hall Leader and Honora Donoghue Leader. In 1918 (or maybe 1917) William wrote to Colonel John Leader at the University of Oregon. Col. Leader's reply is reproduced on this site. William was the brother of Francis Emmet Leader and the uncle of Catherine Leader Connors. Many of the details of John Hall Leader and Honora Donoghue Leader given here do not match other sources. See John Hall Leader's obituary and Honora Donoghue Leader's obituary.

WILLIAM JOSEPH LEADER is one of the most efficient and popular officials of Douglas county. He was born in Galena, Ill., a son of John and Lenora (O'Donoghue) Leader.

The ancestors of the Leader family migrated in the sixteenth century from England to Cork, Ireland, where members of the family have ever since been prominent. John Leader, father of William Joseph, came from Cork about 1840 and located at Syracuse, N. Y. In 1850 he went to Galena, where for several years he taught school. After this he spent a few years in gold mining in Idaho, and still later was employed as a clerk by the Illinois Central Railroad. His last years were spent in retirement, and he died in January, 1894, at the age of sixty-six. Mrs. Lenora Leader comes of an old family of County Kerry, Ireland, where she was born. She is still living at Galena, aged seventy years.

William J. Leader was graduated when sixteen years old from the Galena high school. He learned telegraphy in the Illinois Central station, and was employed as telegrapher at various places in Illinois, Missouri, Texas and other States. For five years he was train dispatcher for the Wabash Railroad at Springfield, Ill. In 1884 he went to Washburn in charge of a crew of longshoremen on the docks built by the Omaha Railway Company. He became first cashier of the Omaha station at Superior in the fall of 1884 and remained there until the spring of 1887, when he was elected assessor for the town of Superior, which included most of Douglas county. The following year he was made deputy county clerk, in 1890 deputy county treasurer, and in February, 1891, was appointed county clerk to fill a vacancy. He filled the latter position about two years, and he has ever since been connected with that office, being now deputy county clerk. Mr. Leader has held his position under successive incumbents of the office of county clerk and is considered one of the most capable of the public officials of Douglas county. In 1887 the value of property in West Superior began to rise rapidly. Mr. Leader has invested quite extensively in real estate and has bought and sold considerable property.

Mr. Leader married in 1882 at Dallas, Texas, Maggie Caton, a daughter of Michael Caton, a farmer of New Diggings, Wis. Mr. Caton is now living at Desmet, S. D. Mr. and Mrs. Leader are the parents of three children, Cora, Catherine and Honora.

Mr. Leader is secretary of St. Francis Xavier Church at Superior. He is a member of the B. P. O. E. and C. O. F. He has always been an advocate of free trade, and contributes liberally to campaign literature and other political publications. Mr. Leader is a Democrat, but is very popular with local Republicans.

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This page last modified on Sunday, March 23, 2008

New Diggings is located in the southwestern corner of Wisconsin and is only a few miles from William Leader's home town of Galena, Illinois. It would be interesting to know why he had to go to Dallas, Texas, to marry a local girl .

Main Leader Page

Donoghues of County Kerry

The Origin of John Hall Leader

Millstreet in 1844

Young Ireland

John Hall Leader Obituary

Honora Donoghue Leader Obituary

William J. Leader Biography

Colonel John Leader's Letter

From Colonel Leader to Patrick Cleburne

St. Michael's Cemetary

A Leader Trip