Solomon Leach was my husband’s great-great-grandfather. Studying his life prior to 1835 is challenging to say the least. For example, census records in 1870 state he was born in New York, while in 1860 his birthplace is listed as Ohio and in 1850 the census taker lists the place of birth as “unknown.” Adding to the confusion is his gravestone which shows a death date of January 19, 1892 at the age of 76 years, 11 months and 2 days making his birthdate February 17, 1815. However, Martha Shafer, a granddaughter states in her autobiography that Solomon Leach was born March 17, 1814. But even though there are challenges, there is much we can gather about the life of Solomon Leach from the data that is available.
His three marriages produced 13 children plus there were two step-sons brought to the family with Susan (Higley) Hoard, Solomon’s third wife. From at least 1835 to 1850 he lived in Ohio, but by 1856 he had moved to Michigan where he married Susan. During the years in Michigan Solomon Leach was a farmer but also had a sawmill and was a carpenter. According to family history the sawmill was located on his son-in-law John “Jack” Nelson’s land. Solomon built a log cabin on arriving in Michigan, and many years later his son Alison told his Uncle Al Carr he’d been told “he was born next to a log at the center of the township.” In 1865 Solomon moved a mile south and built a plank house and may also have built the original township hall and framed many of the early barns in the area. It’s been said he had the ability to play the violin and often performed for his family and at local gatherings.
Exactly when Solomon died is unclear, but the following article appeared in “The Tuscola County Advertiser” July 25, 1891: “Mr. Solomon Leach fell and severely injured his limb last week and is now in a serious condition.” Whether or not he recovered from this injury is not known. Solomon Leach died at home on January 19, 1892.