LEONARD P. WALDO
LEONARD P. WALDO, a venerable pioneer and retired farmer, resides on his farm in Oneida Township, one and one half miles southeast from the city of Grand Ledge, and during the long years of his residence in the county he has contributed materially to its development and upbuilding, ordering his life in such a way as to merit and command the respect and confidence of his fellow men. Mr. Waldo was born in Jefferson County, New York, October 28, 1826, and is a son of Jonathan H. and Lovina (Colwell) Waldo, both of whom were likewise native of that county, where the respective families settled in an early age. Jonathan H. Waldo was the owner of a farm in his native county and eventually exchanged the same for land in Ohio, to which state he removed with his family when the subject of this sketch was six years of age, locating in Lorain County, where he remained fourteen years, reclaiming a considerable portion of his land, which was in the wild state when he came into possession of the same. In February 1846, he removed to Eaton County, Michigan, and located in Oneida Township, having traded his Ohio farm for two hundred acres of timbered land in what was called the Canada Settlement. He developed a good farm here and continued to reside on the homestead until his death, at the age of fifty-six years. He was born in January 1801, and died in March 1857. His first wife died in 1847, at the age of forty-four years, and he later consummated a second marriage, his second wife dying a year or so before his own death. He was a Democrat in his political adherency but was never active in public affairs. He was a member of the Baptist Church and his first wife held membership in the Presbyterian Church. At the time of his death he owned one hundred and twenty acres of land in Oneida Township. Jonathan H. and Lovina (Colwell) Waldo became the parents of eight children: Lovina became the wife of Dr. Hiram Rathbun, of Lansing, and both are now deceased; Jonathan died in Kansas; the subject of this sketch was the third in order of birth; Silas died in Oneida Township, at the age of seventy years; Charles E. resides in Delta Township; Andrew died in the city of Lansing, at the age of seventy years; Isaac resides in the city of Coldwater, Branch County; Ellen is the wife of Albert Fitzgerald, of Bellevue, Eaton County; and Chester, a son of the second marriage, is a resident of Clinton County. Leonard P. Waldo gained his rudimentary education in Ohio. He early began to aid in the work of the farm and learning the valuable lessons of consecutive industry. He remained at home until he was eighteen years of age when his father “gave him his time,” as the expression of the day put it. He then began working for himself, remaining in Ohio after the removal of the family to Michigan, but in October of the same year joining the other members in Eaton County, where he bought from his father eighty acres of wild land, in Oneida Township. He reclaimed the land to cultivation, erected good buildings on the place and there remained for many years. He then sold the farm and purchased an adjoining eighty acres–property, which he still owns. He remained on his first farm forty-three years and then removed to Grand Ledge, where he erected a house and made his home for some time. He then sold his town property and removed to his second farm, much of which he cleared from the forest, erecting the buildings now on the place. He is now living retired from active labor on his farm. Mr. Waldo has a fund of most interesting reminiscences concerning the pioneer days and his experiences in connection therewith. He and one of his brothers chopped the timber on fully two hundred acres of land in this county, this being the only means by which they could secure needed money. When he came to the county the present beautiful little city of Grand Ledge was represented by a single shanty, the nearest house having been the home of John Russell, one mile west. The first 4th of July celebration in Oneida Township was held at the home of Mrs. Waldo’s father, and the flag that was proudly floated on that occasion was made by Mrs. Nichols, mother of Mrs. Waldo. A bed sheet was utilized for the white stripes, red calico for the red, and the blue field was cloth home died with indigo. Mr. Waldo has always been aligned as a supporter of the principles and policies of the Democratic Party, and he served as highway commissioner of Oneida Township nine years, making an excellent record and gaining special commendation for his method of road building. Instead of expanding the public funds in hauling and scraping dirt he expanded it for gravel, the result being that Oneida Township can justly claim to have better roads than any other in the county. Mr. Waldo is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1849 Mr. Waldo married Miss Maria Cheney, who died shortly afterward. June 24, 1851, he was united in marriage to Miss Malinda Nichols, who was born near London, province of Ontario, Canada, November 24, 1833, being a daughter of Truman W. and Betsey (Mitchell) Nichols, the former of whom was born in Massachusetts, April 15, 1782, and the latter in Jefferson County, New York, April 27, 1794, both passed the closing years of their lives in Eaton County, Michigan, having been honored pioneers of Oneida township, where the father died at the patriarchal age of ninety-six years and the mother at the age of sixty-nine years. They were married in the state of Vermont, whence they removed to Canada. Rather than swear allegiance to the crown of England Mr. Nichols left the dominion, coming to Michigan in 1837, the year, which marked the admission of the state to the Union, and making Eaton County his destination. The trip was made with ox teams and wagons, by which means the household goods and the family were transported, and he also drove to the new home a number of cows. It was found necessary to cut timber for a distance of twelve miles in order to make a road by which to reach the land, which he had secured. He was the first settler in that part of Oneida Township, which was later and is still known as the Canada settlement. His eldest son had preceded the other members of the family and had built a log shanty, which served as the original home in the forest. Mr. Nichols secured a large tract of government land, reclaiming a considerable portion of the same before his death. He was twice married, his first wife having been Olive Mitchell, after whose death he married her sister Betsey. Five children were born of the first union and nine of the second. Mrs. Waldo having been the youngest. She and the sister Maria, wife of Abraham Smith, of Grand Ledge, are the only survivors of the immediate family. Mr. and Mrs. Waldo have three children: Duran, who was born July 8, 1852, and who is a veterinary surgeon by profession resident in Balfour, North Dakota, married Miss Ella Grinnell and they have one child, Trellis; Eva M., who was born July 6, 1858, and who now resides with her parents, and twice married, her second husband, Peter Hulett, having been killed in July, 1905, by the falling of a building. Mrs. Hulett has one child, Dorris Johnson, born of the first marriage; Charles W., who was born April 4, 1865, and who resides upon and manages his father’s farm, married Miss Edna Ward, and they have two children, Russell and Roy.