John L. Richardson Leake Sr, our common ancestor, was born March 19, 1869 in Tennessee. Family legend has it that he was raised for a time by the former owners of his mother, Lucy. In the 1880 Federal Census he was reported as living with his parents, Reverend Dennis Richardson Sr. (1846-1916) and Lucy Maple-Richardson (1851-1891) in Fayette County, Tennessee.
As a boy and young man John did farm work with his parents and his brothers and sisters:
Laura Richardson (Mrs. Wesley Smith) (1866-1954)
James Richardson Sr. (1872-1922)
William (Bud) Richardson (1876-1911)
Isaiah (Munch) Richardson (1881-1948)
Lena Richardson (Mrs. Jerry Reynolds) Nesbit (1883-1943)
Judge (Juda) Richardson (1887-after 1930)
Louella (Dink) Richardson (Mrs. James) White-(Mrs. Jerry) Mathews (1887-1963)
Jenny Belle Richardson (Mrs. Wallace) Buford (1898-1928)
Dennis Richardson Jr. (1899-1924).
Jenny Belle Richardson-Buford and Dennis Richardson Jr. were the children of Rev. Dennis Richardson Sr. and his second wife, Alice Paton-Richardson. Rev. Dennis Richardson inherited at least five (5) children from his second wife's first marriage. This marriage was in 1894.
On April 14, 1889 while living in Desoto County, Mississippi John married Gillie Carpenter (daughter of Haywood and Fannie Carpenter).
Having saved much of his farm wages, John was given chances to purchase some farm land. The land which he bought, in 1889 and 1901, has remained ours even until this day. John purchased 80 acres of land from Amma Horn, Maggie Gray and J. Marion Gray for $700 at 10 percent a year interest. He purchased another half quarter section (80 acres) of land from W. S. Danner. The original land deeds were destroyed in a fire that burned the family home built on the land. However, quit claim deeds filed in DeSoto County, Mississippi and in Crittenden County, Arkansas in 1920 identify both parcels of land. The new house which was built to replace the burned house still stands and is over 90 years old. (This house on Brights Road in Hernando, Mississippi is the home today of Marvin Leake Sr. and his family.)
John and Gillie had six (6) children:
John Leake Jr. (1890-1935)
Lucy Leake (Mrs. George) Collins (1893-1922)
Fannie Leake (Mrs. Booker T.) West (1894-1939)
James Eugene Leake (1896-1922)
Haywood Leake Sr. (1897-1983)
Fostoria Leake (Mrs. David) Spencer (Mrs. Robert) Wilkerson (1900-1937).
Gillie Carpenter-Leake was born on October 28, 1870 and died on October 28, 1902 (on her birthday).
John married a second wife, Rebecca Celia Miller (daughter of Lewis Miller and Violet Carpenter-Miller) on March 7, 1903 in DeSoto County, Mississippi. John and Rebecca had no children then divorced in 1905. Rebecca continued to live near the Leake family although back in the home of her own parents.
Rebecca Celia Miller-Leake was born in February 1869 and was the first cousin of Gillie Carpenter-Leake. (Rebecca's mother, Violet Carpenter-Miller, and Gillie's father, Haywood Carpenter, were sister and brother). She died after the 1930 Federal Census but before the 1940 Federal Census.
John's third wife was Cora Freeman (daughter of Joseph "Joe" Freeman Sr. and Caroline Fletcher-Freeman). They were married in 1905 in Desoto County, Mississippi.
John and Cora had two (2) sons:
Joseph "Joe" Leake (1905-1985)
Marcellus James "Jim" Leake (1907-1987).
Cora Freeman-Leake was born on February 12, 1878 and died on November 3, 1908.
John married his fourth wife, Victoria Rice-Crawford (daughter of Reuben Rice and Delia Reece-Rice) on October 7, 1911 in Desoto County, Mississippi.
Victoria brought two children from her first marriage to Burel Crawford into this marriage. Those children were
Edna Mae Crawford (Mrs. Henry Williams) (1907-1986)
Reuben Crawford Sr. (1909-1989).
John and Victoria had three (3) sons:
Charles Leake (1912-1995)
Marvin Leake Sr. (born on July 23, 1917)
Winston Freeman Leake (1922-1974).
Victoria Rice-Crawford-Leake was born on August 4, 1886 and died on March 10, 1989.
John worked his farm but he, also, worked as a travelling peddler selling items from his covered wagon to nearby families. While he peddled to raise money to pay for land and his family's living expenses, his wife and children kept the farm going. Victoria Rice Crawford Leake worked as a public school teacher while supervising work on the farm as well.
At some point between the 1880 Federal Census and the 1900 Federal Census, John changed his last name from Richardson to Leake. We are unsure of the exact year or reason for the name change (the when and the why). All of his brothers and sisters carried on with the Richardson last name. The spelling of the last name also changed over time from Leek to Leak to Leake. (Several descendants have added to the variation in spelling adding Leaks and Leakes.) John L. Richardson Leake died on March 27, 1937.
John, along with three of his wives, Gillie, Cora, and Victoria are all buried in Enon Springs Church Cemetery in De Soto County, Mississippi. We are unsure of the burial place of Rebecca Miller Leake.
In 2012, Leake descendants live in 33 (Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Colorado, Nevada, California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska) of the 50 states of the USA. Additionally, we have been born in, lived in, have served in or have worked in the following places - Australia, Afghanistan, Canada, England, Germany, Iraq, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, Nigeria, South Korea, Syria, Tanzania, Turkey and Vietnam.