Rhode Island Archival and Manuscript Collections Online

For Participating Institutions

Elinor A. Leonberger collection of Redwood, Ellery, and other related families (RLC.Ms.026)

Redwood Library and Athenaeum

50 Bellevue Avenue
Newport, RI 02840
Tel: (401) 847-0292
Fax: (401) 841-5680
email: redwood@redwoodlibrary.org

Biographical note

Elinor A. Leonberger (1908-1984) was born July 17, 1908, and lived in Baltimore, Maryland, before settling in Florida with her husband, Walter Leonberger (1894-1968). She died in October 1984.

Elinor and her sister, Mrs. Boker Bond of Baltimore, Maryland, were descendants of the Redwood, Ellery, and Anderson families, described below:

Abraham Redwood Ellery (1773-1820), grandson of Abraham Redwood (1709-1788) – the founder of the Redwood Library and Athenaeum - was born in Newport, Rhode Island, on May 24, 1773. He was the son of Mehetable Redwood (1731-1794) and Benjamin Ellery (1725-1797). His father was the older brother of William Ellery (1727-1820), the Rhode Island signer of the Declaration of Independence. Abraham Redwood Ellery attended Harvard and later studied law under Theophilus Parsons of Newbury, Massachusetts. After completing his education, Ellery joined the Army and rose to the rank of Assistant Adjutant General in 1799. Ellery retired from the Army in 1803 and went on to pursue a successful career as a lawyer in New Orleans, Louisiana. He married Sarah Charlotte Weissenfels (1784-1837) of New York on July 24, 1802, and had the following children: Martha Maria (1803-1880), Charlotte Weissenfels (1807-1872), Abraham Redwood (1809-1822), Orleana (1810-1899), and Charles Frederic (1812-1819). The Ellerys moved from New York down south to New Orleans in 1803 and at times lived close to the city in Second Creek, Mississippi. Abraham Redwood Ellery died from yellow fever on November 1, 1820.

Abraham Redwood Ellery’s older sister was Martha Redwood (Ellery) Champlin (1772-1847). She married Christopher Grant Champlin (1768-1840) of Newport, Rhode Island, on April 14, 1793. The couple had no children and continued to live in Newport while Champlin served in the United States Congress as state Representative from 1797 to 1807 and Senator from 1809-1811. Martha died on February 28, 1847.

Abraham Redwood Ellery’s wife, Sarah Charlotte Weissenfells (1784-1837), was the daughter of Rhoda Salter (1760-1805) and Charles F. Weissenfels (1760-1795). Her grandfather, Frederick von Weissenfels (1738-1806), came to New York from Prussia in 1756. Both her father and her grandfather fought in the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783). Sarah died on December 23, 1837, in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Abraham Redwood and Sarah Charlotte Weissenfels Ellery’s oldest daughter, Martha Maria Ellery (1803-1880), married Elbert Jefferson Anderson (1800-1888), a merchant from New York City, on October 3, 1825, in Newport, Rhode Island. The couple had the following children: Sarah Charlotte (b. 1826), Elbert (b. 1827), Martha Maria (b. 1829), Orleana Redwood Ellery (b. 1831), Redwood Ellery (1835-1841), and Rosalie Redwood (b. 1837). Martha Maria (Ellery) Anderson inherited the Redwood family farm in Portsmouth, Rhode Island, due to the early deaths of her brothers. She and her husband eventually made the farm their permanent residence after having all of their children in New York and spending some years travelling throughout Europe. The Andersons had a large circle of friends in Newport, many of whom they invited to their golden wedding anniversary in October 1875. Martha Maria died in Newport on April 22, 1880, and was later followed by Elbert on February 13, 1888. Both were buried in the Island Cemetery in Newport.