DANIEL S. LEATHERWOOD represents one of the pioneer families of Montague county. He was born in Cook county, Tennessee, February 3, 1845, and was reared to farm life, while in the common schools he acquired his education. His paternal grandfather, Thomas Leatherwood, was a native of Virginia, and removed from the Old Dominion to South Carolina, while later he became a resident of Tennessee. He served in the war of 1812 and in some of the Indian wars, gave his political allegiance to the Democratic party and was a member of the Baptist church. His death occurred in Tennessee. His children were four in number: Daniel, Sarah, Francis and Willis.
Willis Leatherwood, father of Daniel S. Leatherwood, was born in South Carolina but was married in Tennessee to Miss Elizabeth Shults, a native of that state and a daughter of Martin Shults, a well known agriculturist, whose death occurred in Tennessee. She was one of a family of eight children, namely: Philip, who served in the Federal army in the Civil war and died in Tennessee; Jacob; John; Pleas; Preston; Polly; Mrs. Elizabeth Leatherwood; and Anna. This family was Methodist in religious faith.
Following his marriage Willis Leatherwood began farming, in which he continued successfully until the Civil war. His sympathies were with the Confederacy and while not able to do active field service he did duty with the state militia and used his influence to advance the southern cause. Through the ravages of war his estate was largely reduced in value and in order to make a new start he came to Texas in 1866, taking up a homestead claim of one hundred and sixty acres on a branch of Clear Creek in Montague county. Here he built a cabin and began farming. The county at that time was sparsely settled and little farming was done, but he was soon raising crops sufficient to support his family. Game of all kinds was plentiful and there were many wild beasts. Hardships and trials were to be borne in the reclamation of this district for the purposes of civilization. Mr. Leatherwood, had to do his milling and trading at Gaines Ville and Sherman. The Indians were hostile, frequently raiding the country, murdering the inhabitants and stealing the stock. Although they made raids into the neighborhood where the Leatherwood family lived they were never molested at the house. Two of the sons, John and Daniel, were on the range hunting stock when a large band of Kiowas overtook them when they were unarmed and helpless. The Indians, however, had good firearms and shot John Leatherwood, killing him instantly, then scalping him and taking his horse. As Daniel Leatherwood rode a better horse he managed to make his escape and lives to tell the tale of the horrible atrocities committed by the red men. The alarm was spread among the settlers, who followed the Indians and a fight ensued. It is thought that a number of the red men were killed but how many could not be ascertained, as they carried their dead away with them. During this raid, ten white people were killed, including Nathan Long, Mr. Manasko, A. Parkhill. T. Fitzpatrick, his wife and one child and three of the children of the Shegog family. This occurred in January, 1868. There were many raids after that time and fighting frequently occurred. Much stock was stolen and the settlers lost heavily by reason of the Indian depredations, which were kept up until 1872.
Soon after the big raid and the murder of his son John, Mr. Leatherwood removed his family to Grayson county, where he remained until 1870, when he returned to the old homestead and again resumed farming here. He made a good start in this work and in stock-raising and was thus identified with agricultural pursuits in the county until his death, which occurred in 1881 when he was seventy-two years of age. He was a Baptist preacher for many years and one of the pioneer ministers of Montague county, who assisted in organizing the churches, spreading the gospel and promoting the moral development of the frontier district. He underwent all the hardships and privations of pioneer life in order to make possible the introduction of civilization that others might follow and find a habitable region. His wife survived him and died in 1887. They were the parents of four children: Thomas; Daniel; Marion, who was killed in the siege of Petersburg in the Civil war while serving in the Confederate army; and John, whose death is mentioned above.
Daniel Leatherwood, born in Tennessee, accompanied his parents to Montague county and assisted in the development of the homestead farm, remaining under the parental roof until his marriage in 1876. He then settled on an adjoining tract of land, which he purchased and transformed into a cultivable property. He cared for his parents during their remaining days and at the same time conducted his farming interests. He now owns two hundred and thirty acres of rich and valuable land, of which eighty acres is under cultivation, being given to diversified farming, whereby he supplies the family with many of the products needed. He also raises some stock, and both branches of his business are bringing to him a good financial return. He has always carried on agricultural pursuits here save for the period of the Civil war, when in 1862 he volunteered as a member of Company C, Twenty-sixth Tennessee Infantry. The regiment was assigned to the Army of the Tennessee under General Bragg and Mr. Leatherwood thus continued in active service until the battle of Resaca, where he was made a prisoner of war and sent to Camp Douglas, Chicago, May 16, 1864. He was there held until the close of hostilities, in June, 1865, when he was released and given transportation home. He was in many skirmishes and a number of hotly contested battles, including the engagements at Missionary Ridge and Resaca. Many times he was in the thickest of the fight and again on the lonely picket line, but wherever stationed he was true and loyal to the cause which he espoused. Following his return home he accompanied his parents on their various removals in Texas and has since devoted his attention to farming interests with excellent success.
Mr. Leatherwood was married to Miss Amanda Wisdom, a representative of a well known pioneer family of Texas. She was born in this state in 1857 and is a daughter of T. N. Wisdom, who came from Arkansas to Texas at an early day, settling in Collin county and later in Montague county. He is a farmer by occupation is now living in Oklahoma at an advanced age. He served as a Confederate soldier in the Civil war, has always been a stanch Democrat in politics and is a consistent member of the Baptist Church. His children were: Mrs. Amanda Leatherwood; William; Josephine, the wife of D. O. Davis; Diadama, the wife of J. Morris; John, of Oklahoma; Miller of the Indian Territory; Sina, the wife of Z. King; and Mattie. Mr. and Mrs. Leatherwood have nine children: Joseph M., at home; Emily, the wife of W. A. McGee; Jane; Anna, the wife of T. M. Brown; Flora; John, at home; Katie; Henry; and Grace. The parents are members of the Christian church and Mr. Leatherwood has taken the degrees of the Blue Lodge in Masonry and is also a member of the Farmers’ Union. Few citizens of Texas are more familiar with the history of pioneer life and none have had to undergo greater hardships and dangers in settling up this district. His mind bears the impress of the early historic annals of Montague county and on his memory are pictured many events and scenes of thrilling interest, which if written in detail would serve once more to enforce the statement that “truth is stranger than fiction.”
Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. II, pp. 645-647.