November 15, 2012

A Settlement Called Leland

From Sicily Island:  A Partial History, compiled by Mickie Smith:

The inland settlement of Leland was named for Mr. William Leland who settled there.  However, in the early records it was referred to as 'Leland Place'.

Dr. A. R. Kilpatrick talked to Mr. Leland in 1851 and gives this history:
William Layland (Leland), a Revolutionary soldier, now living on Sicily Island, was born in Berkley County, Virginia near Slinker's Gap, on the Shenandoah River, May 3, 1742.  His parents were from New Jersey, of the upper Freehold; his mother's maiden name was Sarah Ellison.  In 1773, there was so much agitation and excitement amongst the people and dread of the savages, that his parents returned from Virginia to New Jersey, in the neighborhood whence they had migrated.
In 1776, he enlisted as a volunteer in the Continental service, and after several more enlistments, was honorably discharged May 13, 1789, while in Natchez, Mississippi.  He married Miss Elizabeth Swayze, the youngest daughter of Samuel Swayze, near Washington, Adams County, Mississippi on the 9th of January 1799, and lived in that county until March 1835, when he moved to Sicily Island.  His wife died on the 9th of March 1837, leaving two daughters and five sons.  (De Bow's Review, Vol 12, 1852)

In the Clerk of Court records for the year of 1835 (Clerk of Court, Harrisonburg, La. Conveyance Record, Bk. J. p. 27.):
...David Holstein sold for $2300 to Wm. d. Leland situated "at the first of hills" on Sicily Island, containing 237 1/2 acres.  Formerly owned by Henry Holstein.
1840 U.S. Census - Catahoula Parish Link

There is recorded an overseeing account for the years of 1836 to 1845 of W. E. Leland in account with W. D. Leland.

In 1845, there is recorded:
...Leland traded to John Higgins 140 acres of land on Sicily Island for a house and lot in Harrisonburg, fronting on Water Street. (Clerk of Court, Harrisonburg, La. Conveyance Record, Bk. J. p. 444.)
Then another entry:
...Higgins purchasing for himself the residence lately occupied by Wm. E. Leland and his father and brother, situated on Sicily Island.  (Clerk of Court, Harrisonburg, La. Conveyance Record, Bk. J. p. 445.)
Evidently, Mr. Leland didn't live many years after Dr. Kilpatrick talked with him.

From Peck, IV Will, History of Sicily Island, 1976:
He was at the battle of Trenton under the General-in-Chief, and with the army in 1777, when encamped at Valley Forge, with General Washington. Mr. Layland will always be remembered, first for his exciting adventures as a Revolutionary soldier and second for his name being given to the settlement on Sicily Island now called Leland. His descendents, including the Florence Duncle Meyers family, still live in the area. 

Leland Water Tower, 2011

Leland Store, 2011


  1. I am thrilled to see this blog! I am descended from Elizabeth Swayze’s brother, James Swayze. Did not know where she went. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Hi Nancy, Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment. Always makes me happy when information shared helps someone with their research!