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J. S. Leggett Mfg. Co.
Leggett Carriage Co., (1870s-1885?) Brockville, Ontario, Canada; J.S. Leggett Co., 1887-1902; J.S. Leggett Mfg. Co., 1902-1904; Iroquois Motor Car Co., 1904-1905, Syracuse, New York; Iroquois Motor Car Co. , 1905-1907, Seneca Falls, New York; Iroquois Motor Vehicle Company 1907, Syracuse, New York
 
Associated Builders
Franklin, Iroquois
     

In addition to manufacturing his own automobiles, the Leggett and Iroquois, John S. Leggett’s carriage company is known to have manufactured small numbers of wooden automobile bodies for a handful of Syracuse, New York-based early automobile manufacturers. Leggett’s customers included many early automobile tinkerers and manufacturers. Their names include; Frank L. Wightman, E.L. Corey (Stearns), John Wilkinson, Edward C. Stearns, George Erwin DeLong, C.W. Lower and Herbert H. Franklin. It is also likely early Century automobiles (Century Motor Vehicle Co.) bore Leggett coachwork as the plants was located down the street from the Leggett factory.

John Shaw Leggett was born in May of 1844 in the County of Leeds, Ontario, Canada to two Irish immigrants. The 1900 US Census states his father was born at sea, his mother in County Armagh.

After a public education Leggett was apprenticed to a local builder after which he travelled to New York City where he acquired a thorough knowledge of the carriage business through internships at a number of the metropolis’ most prominent vehicle constructors.

During that period Leggett met Sarah Louise Guild, the daughter of a prominent Amenia, New York businessman, named Lewis Hale Guild. The American ancestor of the Guild family came to this country in 1636 and registered as a church member at Dedham Massachusetts in 1640.

Sarah Louise was born in Bethlehem, Litchfield county, Connecticut on March 19, 1846 to Lewis Hale and Sarah Jane Merchant Guild and following a public education, and attendance at the Bethlehem Academy, moved with her family to Amenia, Dutchess County, New York in 1862 where she was enrolled in the Amenia Seminary, a private Methodist secondary school and college.

Sarah’s father, Lewis Hale Guild (b. 1817), was the son of Jeremiah Guild, a Milton, Connecticut millwright and carpenter. As a youngster Lewis learned the trade of his father and after an internship in Kentucky, returned to Connecticut where he practiced his profession in Milton, New Haven, and Bethlehem. Coinciding with his two daughter’s 1862 enrollment in the Amenia Seminary, he established a furniture and undertaking business in that well-regarded Dutchess County community. Lewis’ brother, Clark O. Guild, embarked upon a career in the carriage business and along with his son George C. ran a prosperous manufactory and repair business back in Bethlehem.

After completing his Manhattan internship, John S. Leggett, the subject of this biography, stopped off in Amenia, on his way back to Canada. He happened upon the beautiful and well-educated daughter of the village’s undertaker, and the two were married on January 2, 1868 and by the end of the year, the young couple had been blessed with the birth of a son, St. Claire Merchant Leggett.

The August 1, 1870 US census lists Leggett as a resident of Amenia, Dutchess County, New York, his occupation, carriage painter. Residents of the household include John S. Leggett, 25 yo., born in Canada, his wife Louisa [sic], born in US, aged 24, and a son, St. Claire, aged 2.

Coincidentally, Stephen G. Odell, another carriage maker by trade, married Sarah’s younger sister Adrianna D. Guild (b. Aug. 15, 1848) on December 30, 1868. Guild family genealogy states that Odell was employed by his father-in-law so it’s probable the Guild Furniture and Undertaking works also dealt in carriages, as was the custom for many furniture stores in small communities.

The Leggett family returned to John’s native Ontario, Canada where he established his own carriage works which by 1879 had become well-known for its high quality work as evidenced by the following entry in Thad W.H. Leavitt’s History of Leeds & Grenville, Ontario from 1749 to 1879:

“Leggett’s Carriage Works

“John Street

“Mr. John S. Leggett was born in the County of Leeds, and having acquired a knowledge of the carriage business removed to New York City, where he was employed in several of the largest carriage factories on this continent. Returning to his native Province, he established the present factory in Brockville. During his sojourn here he has built some of the finest carriages that have ever been constructed in Canada. His motto is "The best work in the market," and he well deserves the excellent reputation which he has acquired.”

The Leggett’s fine residence is pictured on page 192 of the same volume. Unfortunately success in business was paired with personal tragedy as they lost their only child, St. Claire Merchant Leggett, in 1878.

The 1881 Ontario Census lists John S. Leggatte [sic] as a resident of the South Ward of Brockville, Ontario, Canada. His occupation as carriage builder, age 37 years, his ethnicity, Irish. Wife’s name is Sarah L. Leggatte [sic], 35 yo. Owner of the residence was a hotel keeper, so it’s assumed the Leggetts lived in a hotel.

Charles Burleigh’s Genealogy and History: Guild, Guile and Gile Family, pub. 1887, mentions that Leggett’s Brockville carriage factory was destroyed by fire sometime during the mid-1880s, and that prior to moving to Syracuse in 1887, he held the position of superintendent at a Watertown carriage manufacturer, most likely the H.H. Babcock Buggy Co. although the Watertown Spring Wagon Co. was another large concern located in the seat of Jefferson County at that time.

The error-filled entry in Burleigh’s book, which details the history of Leggett’s wife’s family follows:

“Sarah Louisa Guild b. March 19, 1846 m. Jan. 2, 1868, John S. Leggett. He owned a currying [sic] establishment at Brooksville [sic] Ont. until it was destroyed by fire is now superintendent of one at Watertown NY, had one child who died young.”

Following the death of their son, Sarah Louise Guild Leggett pursued a career in medicine, graduating from the Homoeopathic Medical College of St. Louis, Missouri in 1888 with her M.D. certification after which she attended the Hahnemann Post Graduate School of Homoeopathies in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, graduating with her H.M. degree in 1893. By this time her husband’s Syracuse-based carriage and furniture manufacturing business, founded in 1887, had gained some notoriety, although profitability has escaped his grasp as evidenced by the following story in the September 14, 1894 Syracuse Evening Herald:

“FAILURE OF J. S. LEGGETT.

“He Has Not Been Successful in the Carriage Business

“Yesterday afternoon Deputy Sheriff Hurd took possession of the place of business of John S. Leggett in Mulberry street on an execution issued after a confession of judgment in favor of S. Louise G. Leggett for money loaned, amounting, with interest and costs, to $2,562.80.

“Mr. Leggett gave a chattel mortgage to Samuel B. Larned for $3,000 covering the carriages on hand. This is said to secure Mr. Larned for money loaned.

“The stock will be sold on September 19th. Mr. Leggett has been in business here for about seven years and at his present site for two years.”

The 1892 New York State Census lists the Leggetts as residents of Ward 4, Syracuse, Onondaga County, New York, his occupation, merchant.

By this time Leggett’s wife had started a homeopathic practice in Syracuse, helping to establish the Homoeopathic Free Dispensary as well as the Homeopathic Hospital which subsequently became the General Hospital of Syracuse.

John S. Leggett became interested in the horseless carriage in the late 1890s, his first vehicle, a 2-cylinder horizontally-opposed runabout, was constructed in 1897 in collaboration with Syracuse mechanic Frank L. Wightman. It was reported the car was sold to a South Bend, Indiana businessman who subsequently sold it to one of the Studebaker brothers.

C. W. Lower, an engineer with the Syracuse Chilled Plow Co. (absorbed by John Deere in 1910), which shared Leggett’s South Street factory, built an experimental Leggett-bodied automobile in the Leggett factory that was announced in the December 1899 issue of the Cycle and Automobile Trade Journal.

A single Leggett-built horseless carriage survives. Looking very much like the John Wilkinson designed protoype constructed for the New York Automobile Company in 1900, it features a large Leggett script on the front of the body, and is powered by a circa 1908 Holsman air-cooled 12 h.p. horizontally-opposed dry sump engine. Painstakingly restored over a three-year period by Michael Pawelek of Brookshire, Texas, the vehicle features a large open parcel compartment in the rear and is said to reach a top speed of 14 mph at 850 rpm.

In a recent MTFCA forum entry Pawelek writes:

“I spent 3 years rebuilding this 1899 Leggett Buggy which also included a lot of email, snail mail and phone calls to Central New York to get the history on this buggy where Leggett first made furniture and then the ill-fated Iroquois automobile line. The engine was a 12 h.p. Holsman engine which ended up costing an arm and a leg to get internal parts machined from scratch. These are interesting "dry sump" engines. All in all I could have restored two brass era Model T's for what this project cost but I did eventually re-coup some expense from a fellow in New York who desperately wanted the Holsman engine for a Holsman High Wheeler Buggy.”

The Holsman was built by Chicago architect Henry K. Holsman from 1902 to 1911. In addition to being one of the first American high wheelers, it is sometimes credited with having the first reverse gear. As to why Pawelek’s 1899 Leggett is powered by a circa 1908 engine, it’s likely that the original powerplant (possibly a Syracuse-built 2-cylinder opposed Brennan) was replaced early in the Leggett’s long life, perhaps more than once as was often the case. Pawalek simply restored the vehicle as it was received from the previous owner.

In early 1899 Leggett built the coachwork for an electric automobile designed by F.L. Corey, an engineer with Syracuse’s E.C. Stearns & Co. The recently organized Stearns Automobile Co. exhibited the vehicle during the New York Automobile Show which was held at Madison Square Garden the first week of November, 1900.

The August 23, 1899 issue of the Horseless Age remarked:

“The electric carriage of E. C. Stearns & Co., bicycle manufacturers, Syracuse, N. Y., has been successfully tested, and the company has decided to enter upon the manufacture of electric vehicles. Wire wheels are used, and a 4 h.p. motor. The weight of the vehicle is about 2,000 lbs.”

The April, 1900 issue of the British-based Automotor Journal included a large feature on the Stearns Electromobile which was taken from an early 1900 issue of Electrical World and Engineer:

“Stearns Electromobile

“This vehicle, of which we give an illustration, has been built by Messrs. E. C.& Stearns and Co., of Syracuse, New York. It is of that type known in the States as a “Runabout.” The following description we take from the ‘Electrical World and Engineer' — The side bars are rigidly attached to the rear axle sleeve by forged steel through braces, and to the front axle by tore and aft quarter springs held to the side bars about mid-length by clips, and to the underside of the axle by links and bolts. The side bars are clipped to a front crossbar with a half spring attached to the front axle by goosenecks and links, this form of construction affording great elasticity in accommodating wheels to roadbed.

“The steering mechanism consists of an improved form of ball-bearing knuckle joint close to the hubs of the forward wheels which are so connected with a center triangle actuated by a vertical hand lever with fore and aft movement, that each of the two forward wheels is brought to a true radial position 'with regard to the common center, around which the carriage may be made to turn. A slight understanding of machines will convince any one of the importance of this feature, as without it unnecessary and excessive strains are brought upon the wheels, with a tendency to roll the tires from their seats in the rims.

“Wire wheels with 3-inch pneumatic tires, of 32 and 36 inches diameter respectively, are used, of regular Stearns bicycle construction, with wooden rims. The hubs are 7 inches long, and the wire spokes are 3/16 inch. The front and smaller wheels have ball-bearing hubs. The rear wheels are driven by means of a compensating gear placed upon the rear axle at the right side of the carriage. This compensating gear is not an easy thing to describe, and is not generally understood even by mechanical men. It is a positive drive upon the two wheels connected by it; at the same time it allows either to turn faster or slower than its mate, according to whether the wheels run in a straight line, or curve to the right or left. The shaft carrying the rear wheels and compensating gear runs upon ball bearings at four points, and has a clutch joint in its middle which admits of setting the wheels slightly nearer together at the bottom than at the top. This feature is believed to be a strong point, and is peculiar to the Stearns carriage. By its use, the unsightly sagging apart of the driving wheels at the bottom, so common in motor carriages, is avoided, and the wheels are given just the proper undercut to bring an equal distribution of strain upon both the inner and the outer rows of spokes.

“The electric power outfit of this carriage consists of a storage battery of 44 cells of 60 ampere-hours capacity. A series-wound motor of 2 ½ H.P., capable of safely withstanding an overload up to 4 H.P., drives the compensating gear by a rawhide pinion, the reduction being 3 to 1. There is a special form of series-parallel controller with three speed positions, of 5, 8, and 12 miles per hour, forward and backward, and a charging position; also a powerful drum brake upon the motor, all actuated by one lever at the left of the operator. The first speed is rarely used for running. At this paint the controller arranges the batteries in four sets and in multiple. The second speed is about eight miles per hour, and is mostly used in crowded streets and for downtown work; at this speed the controller arranges the batteries in two sets of two parallels. The last and highest speed is 12 to 13 miles per hour, and is used for boulevard runs, hill climbing, &c., and at this speed all the cells are in series, giving the highest voltage obtainable. The brake on the motor is so arranged in connection with the controller lever that the brake cannot be applied to the motor without first shutting off the current from the motor. Neither can the current be applied to the motor without releasing the brake automatically. Other features are a foot push-button for reversing the current to the motor, an electric gong located under the carriage and operated by a small button in the end of the handle of the controller lever, a charging terminal with double plug connection at rear under the end of the carriage, and the usual fuse block and circuit breaker, with a plug which may be removed and the carriage left standing safely where curious people are apt to meddle with details. A combination volt and ammeter completes the electric outfit, although it is intended to add coach lanterns and searchlight.

“The carriage body, painted dark bronze green, is properly of the Stanhope model with deep seat upholstered in ecru broadcloth. The rear end board of the body swings outward and downward as a footboard with chain supports, and the back top hinges up to form the back of a dos-a-dos seat over the battery box, all richly upholstered and cushioned to match. The mechanical details of the carriage were built entirely in the shops of the Company. Most of the small parts are of nickel, the main parts of the gear being painted a rich carmine.

“The total weight of the vehicle, with two passengers, 900 lbs. of battery, and 200 lbs. of motor and controller, is only about 2,200 lbs.”

The September 29, 1900 issue of Electrical World and Engineer contaioned a follow-up article to the preceding one:

“STEARNS AUTOMOBILE COMPANY. — Some months ago the Stearns bicycle people, of Syracuse, N. Y., began experimenting with an electric automobile, which was illustrated in these pages. We are now advised by Mr. E. C. Stearns that the Stearns Automobile Company has been formed with a capital stock of $1,000,000 for the manufacture of vehicles of the hydrocarbon type, with himself as president, and W. W. Gibbs, of chloride accumulator fame, of Philadelphia, as vice-president. This new company succeeds to the American and Canadian rights of the patents owned and controlled by the Anglo-American Rapid Vehicle Company, and will enter very extensively upon the manufacture of motor vehicles. It has leased and is now operating the factory plant in Syracuse formerly occupied by the Barnes Cycle Company in the halcyon days of the wheel.”

The January 1901 issue of Automobile Review also covered the Stearns electric in great detail. The bodywork is detailed below:

“The carriage body, painted dark bronze green, is properly, as stated above, of the Stanhope model, with deep seat upholstered in ecru broadcloth. The rear end-board of the body swings outward and downward, as a foot-board, with chain supports, and the back top hinges up to form a dos-a-dos seat over the battery box, all richly upholstered and cushioned to match. Most of the small parts are of nickel, the main parts of the gear being painted a rich carmine.”

It is believed that Leggett supplied coachwork to both the Stearns Automobile Co. and its successor, the Stearns Steam Carriage Co. (organized in November 1901). E.C. Stearns’ Syracuse operations were unrelated to F.B. Stearns’ better-known Cleveland, Ohio automobile manufacturing concern.

The 1900 US Census lists Leggett b. May 1844 in Canada (his father born at sea, his mother born on the Island Of Armagh [sic]). His wife S. L. Guild Leggett (b. March 1846 in Connecticut). They were married in 1868 and he emigrated to the US in 1882.

Fire, the perennial foe of the carriage and auto body builder, struck the Leggett works on September 27, 1900. The September 28, 1900 Syracuse Post-Standard reported:

“FIRE DESTORYS COSTLY WAGONS

“Carriage Warehouse of John S. Leggett Badly Damaged

“A lot of smoke and water but not so much fire caused a damage of about $7,000 last evening to the four story brick block, Nos. 105-109 South State street, owned by Lena J. Bach of this city and occupied by John S. Leggett, a carriage manufacturer.

“Policeman August Decker was standing at East Fayette and South State streets at 8:50 o’clock when he discovered flames in a top story window on the south side of the building. He turned in an alarm from box No. 25.

“A passenger train, bound east, held up fire apparatus at the Montgomery street crossing and again at the crossing at South State street, causing a delay of a couple of minutes. When the firemen did reach the place the blaze had gained considerable headway.

“Smoke was coming from windows in the rear of the block and the flames had spread throughout the entire upper floor, threatening to descend through an elevator shaft on the south side. Chief Quigley, determined upon taking no chances, had a general alarm sent in and in a few minutes every piece of fire apparatus in the city was on the ground.

“Line of hose were run up the big extension ladder from State street and others were taken up the fire escapes in the rear. The fire fed upon finished carriages and furniture and the work of fighting was difficult. Within an hour, however, the firemen had the blaze cornered.

“The first floor was used as a show room and the most valuable of the finished stock was kept there. Less costly finished stock occupied the second and third floors and on the top floor were stored valuable cutters and wagons belonging to William Burns, C.H. Balcomb, E.C. Stearns, Charles A. Denison and others.

“Also on the top floor was about $3,000 worth of household furniture belonging to David K. McCarthy. In the rear there was a work room and a room used exclusively in the manufacture of rubber tires. Mr. Leggett had but little stock on that floor.

“Storage Goods Consumed

“The storage goods were practically all consumed by the flames, about the only article saved form utter destruction being a piano owned by the Misses Poliman and upon which there was no insurance. Water enough to fill a small reservoir poured into the lower floors and nearly every carriage in the building was damaged to some extent.

“Mr. Leggett said he carried a total stock of about $7,000 and he believed there was an insurance on it amounting to $5,000. He said he thought his damage by fire, smoke and water combined would not reach $1,700, although there was no way of telling definitely at that time.

“The carriages, furniture and tools on the top floor were damaged to the extent of $5,000 and as nearly as could be learned a majority of those who suffered are protected by insurance. The damage to the building itself will not reach $500.

“The origin of the fire has not been accounted for. Mr. Leggett said several of his men had been working all the afternoon in the rubber tire manufacturing room and he believed there had been no fire of any kind left in the building when they went away. The blaze is thought to have started in the neighborhood of that room.

“The police obeyed to the letter the recent instructions of Commissioner of Public Safety Duncan W. Peck in regard to the establishment of fire lines. A large force of patrolmen under Captain Quigley and Roundsmen Dwyer and Salmon were on hand and roped that were stretched held thousands of people at a distance at which they could not possibly interfere with the work of the firemen.”

John Wilkinson, the Cornell-educated chief engineer of the New York Automobile Co. built two air-cooled prototypes of his own design in 1900/1901 whose bodies were constructed at the Leggett Carriage works on a special chassis for which he was awarded US Pat No. 691831 (filed April 2, 1900, issued Jan 28, 1902).

The July 25, 1901 issue of The Motor Review stating: “it is reported that the company will get to work in a short time, and put its vehicle on the market.”

Apparently Wilkinson was never paid for his development work and following a chance meeting with Syracuse die-casting manufacturer, Herbert H. Franklin, got him interested in his automobile project. Franklin financed a third prototype which served as the basis for Franklin’s first production automobile, which was introduced to the trade in late 1901. It is believed the firms first few automobiles and prototypes were equipped with Leggett coachwork. The December 15, 1901 issue of the Syracuse Herald states: "The company will place gasoline carriages on the market in the spring. The factory includes a woodworking department in which all the bodies will be made".

In late 1901, Leggett’s superintendent, George Erwin DeLong, left his job in order to work for the Industrial Machine Company of Phoenix, New York. I.M.C. had recently announced the introduction of the Phoenix automobile whose manufacture was to commence in early 1902. No production vehicles were forthcoming, so later that year DeLong announced the introduction of his own car, the DeLong, which was to be manufactured by the Syracuse Automobile and Motor Co. (aka Syracuse Automobile Co.) sometime during 1903. No vehicle was forthcoming and in March of 1904 he was hired to manage the recently organized Central New York Garage Co., who dealt in automobiles and automobile boats. DeLong returned to the Leggett organization a few months later and was placed in charge of their Mitchell distributorship. In 1906 DeLong was back with two more firms, the De Long Motor Co. of Syracuse which hoped to manufacture engines for boats, automobiles, etc., and the associated Elbridge Motor & Tool Co. of Elbridge, New York. Manufacture is doubted.

The November 9, 1902 issue of the Syracuse Post Standard formally announced Leggett’s plan to manufacture his own automobiles on a much larger scale:

“IS TO MAKE AUTOMOBILES

“Leggett Manufacturing Company Organized.

“WILL BUILD A LARGE PLANT

“Temporarily Will Use Structure Now Occupied by John S. Leggett at South State and East Water Streets

“Attorney E. B. Goodrich forwarded to the Secretary of State at Albany yesterday the necessary papers for the incorporation for a new Syracuse company, to be known as the Leggett Manufacturing Company. The capitalization of the company is $100,000 and the directors are as follows: John S. Leggett, Forest G. Weeks, William Wynkoop and Charles W. Tooke - of this city and Edwin R. Redhead of Fulton.

“The company will manufacture automobiles and motor cycles and the building at South State and East Water Streets now occupied by John S. Leggett will be occupied temporarily. It is the purpose of the company to buy a site and erect a large plant within a year.

“The Leggett building is four stories high and it will be possible to start the work on a moderately large scale at this plant.

“The company will commence at once to install modern machinery and the complete equipment of the plant will involve an expenditure of $25,000. Employment will be given to between fifty and 100 men. The output will consist of a runabout and tonneau automobile propelled by gasoline.

“The directors will hold a meeting in a few days for the purpose of electing officers and formulating detailed plans for aggressive work. Mr. Leggett will devote all his time to the interests of the new company and will retire from the manufacture of any carriages other than automobiles.”

The New Incorporations column of the November 12, 1902 Horseless Age announced the firm to the trade:

“The John S. Leggett Manufacturing Company has been formed at Syracuse NY to manufacture automobiles and motor cycles. The capitalization is $100,000. The directors are John S. Leggett, Forest G. Weeks, William A. Wynkoop, and Charles W. Tooke of Syracuse and Edward R. Redhead of Fulton. The Leggett Carriage Factory will be equipped as a plant.”

Further details appeared in the November 19, 1902 issue of the Horseless Age:

“The J.S. Leggett Manufacturing Company Syracuse NY, whose incorporation was announced in our last issue, will manufacture two, four and six passenger machines with French type of body, Two cylinder motors will be used in the larger machines, The first car is promised about February 1,”

By this time, Frank L. Wrightman, Leggett’s former collaborator, had formed a firm to sell automobiles, as announced in the New Incorporations column of the June 3, 1903 issue of Horseless Age:

“Central City Automobile Company, of Syracuse. N. Y., to deal in all kinds of motor vehicles; capital stock, $10,000; directors, Myron C. Blackmail, Charles L. Kennedy and Frank L. Wrightman, all of Syracuse.”

The proposed Leggett-built automobile, previously un-named, was christened the Iroquois, and its specifications were announced to the trade in the June 10, 1903 issue of The Horseless Age:

“The Iroquois Touring Car.

“The J. S. Leggett Manufacturing Company, of Syracuse, N.Y., are building a four cylinder gasoline touring car weighing 1,650 pounds, and 1,500 pounds with tonneau removed. The engine is of upright construction, water cooled and placed under a bonnet in front. The ignition is by jump spark, four separate coils being used and current furnished by a dynamo.

“The power is transmitted to a countershaft by meads of a chain and the speed varied by means of a planetary transmission giving two forward speeds and one reverse and being controlled by a single lever.

“The running gear frame is built up of sectional steel, reinforced with angle irons. The car has a double truss rear axle and is fitted with wood artillery wheels with detachable tires. It is fitted with wheel steering and with a double acting brake. The body and bonnet are designed on French lines, and when the tonneau is removed a very graceful single seat car is obtained with ample space in the rear for touring baskets. The wheel base is 78 inches and the tread standard.

“The water cooling system includes a radiating coil, dropped below the frame in front, and a rotary circulating pump, driven by gear from the motor. The engine cylinders are automatically lubricated. An electric battery used for starting is automatically recharged from the dynamo while the car is running. The car is claimed to be of elegant and elaborate finish and is provided with grain leather covered wheel guards, hand stictched.”

Within six months of giving his car a name, Leggett announced its demise in the December 5, 1903 Syracuse Herald:

“J.S. Leggett Manufacturing Company, makers of automobiles on South State Street, announce impending liquidation of business.”

Two months later the January 31, 1904 Syracuse Sunday Herald announced that Leggett was back in business:

“TO MAKE AUTOS AGAIN - J.S. LEGGETT MANUFACTURING COMPANY TO START WORK ONCE MORE.

“Factory Has Been Closed Down —

“The J. S. Leggett Manufacturing company tomorrow morning will resume the manufacture of automobiles and automobile parts at its factory in South State street. The factory has been shut down for several months, and it was generally understood in business circles that the company had been dissolved. But the outlook is so favorable that the same men who were interested in the company before have got together and work will be started again. The number of men employed at first will be comparatively small, but will be increased steadily. The company will make the Iroquois again, and will also pay particular attention to the manufacture of automobile bodies for other concerns, both in this city and elsewhere.”

The February 3, 1904 Syracuse Herald confirmed Sunday’s news item:

“The J. S. Leggett Manufacturing company has started manufacturing Iroquois automobiles at its plant in South State street and also making automobile bodies for other companies.”

The March 3, 1904 issue of Motor Age gave details of the firm’s reorganization:

“Several changes have been made in the J.S. Leggett Mfg. Co. - J.S. Leggett now being president and treasurer. The company's factory was reopened February 1 and new men are being put to work continually Mr. Leggett says the outlook is first rate for a big season. This company is now putting the market a four cylinder 15 horsepower touring car with direct or chain drive. The machine is known as the Iroquois. The firm has also begun the manufacture of bodies.”

Although evidence is circumstantial, it’s likely Leggett was supplying bodies or subassemblies to both the Syracuse-built Century and Franklin automobiles. Orders for the new air-cooled Franklin automobile had doubled over the previous year, and outsourcing some coachwork would have freed up valuable manufacturing space. Soon afterwards Franklin started offering aluminum-clad composite bodies and a vacant Syracuse bicycle factory was acquired to serve as Franklin’s body plant.

By this time Leggett’s former superintendent, George E. DeLong, had gone into the automobile sales and storage business as evidenced by the following item in the March 19, 1904 Automobile Review:

“The Central New York Garage Co. of Syracuse, N. Y., have opened two places. The large salesroom is located at 309-311 E. Fayette street, and the garage at 310 Harrison street. They have storage capacity for 50 automobiles and a well-equipped machine shop to do all kinds of repair work. At 309-11 Fayette street they handle the Northern and at 310 Harrison St the Queen and the Imperial. They also carry supplies and do electric charging. G. E. DeLong is manager.”

The March 24, 1904 issue of Motor Age gave further details of DeLong’s operation:

“Articles of incorporation for the Central New York Garage Co. were forwarded to the secretary of state Saturday. The capital stock to begin with is $10,000. The officers and directors are: President, Edward I. Rice; vice-president, C. C. Truesdell; secretary and treasurer, C. W. Barker; general manager, George Erwin DeLong. The temporary headquarters of the concern, which is to deal in automobiles and automobile boats, is at 311 East Fayette street, in the place formerly occupied by the now defunct Central City Automobile Co., but the Central New York Garage Co. has just leased the building in South Warren street formerly occupied by the Syracuse Automobile Co. It also has a large repair and storage shop at 310 Harrison street, giving it a total capacity of 100 machines.”

A rumored third revival of Leggett’s Iroquois automobile was hinted at in the June 9, 1904 issue of Motor Age:

“Two months before the close of the old year it was announced that the factory of the J.S. Leggett Mfg. Co. had been closed and the company had decided to liquidate its affairs, J.S. Leggett resigning as president and general manager. The company was perfectly solvent and paid 100 cents on a dollar. One mechanic is still at work there finishing up a few machines. It is rumored at the present writing that this company will be reorganized and will turn out a machine in 1904. The trouble with the Leggett was that its stockholders did not put up enough capital to conduct a business large enough to yield profits.”

Apparently there was a handful of finished Iroquois looking for buyers as the very same issue - June 9, 1904 – of Motor Age announced the appointment of a Manhattan sales agent for the car:

“Handles the Iroquois — W. C. Spencer, formerly a salesman with the Cadillac and Georges Richard-Brazier concerns, has taken the New York agency for the Iroquois, a four-cylinder 20-horsepower car selling for $2,000, and opened headquarters at 140 West Thirty-eighth street.”

In addition to manufacturing automobile bodies, Leggett had served as the Syracuse distributor of the Mitchell automobile, the August 13, 1904 issue of The Auto Review reporting:

“The J. S. Leggett Mfg. Co., of South State street, are meeting with considerable success in the sale of the Mitchell touring cars, manufactured at Racine, Wis.”

The very next issue - August 20, 1904 - of The Auto Review reported that George E. DeLong was now back with Leggett selling the Mitchell and hinted at the resumption of Iroquois production:

“The J. S. Leggett Manufacturing Company will put on the market next year a side door tonneau of 24 horse power and 4-cyIinder motor. G. E. Delong, formerly of the Central New York Garage Company, is now connected with the Leggett company, which has recently taken the agency for the Mitchell automobile.”

The November 3, 1904 issue of the Syracuse Post Standard confirmed that Leggett was out looking for backers for his planned resumption of Iroquois production:

“SEEKS A SITE IN ONEIDA.

“John. S. Leggett Would Manufacture Automobiles There.

“ONEIDA, Nov. 1 - John S. Leggett of Syracuse was here with a view of establishing an automobile industry in this city. Mr. Leggett is the inventor of a machine called the Iroquois which he is at present manufacturing in Syracuse. The industry has outgrown its present quarters, however and more commodious ones are desired. Mr. Leggett and party talked with Rhody Toher, president of the Chamber of Commerce, John Maxwell, Charles A. Lee and several others. This is their second visit here, their first visit being at the instance of Dewitt C. Hadcock. The men desire either to form a stock company to manufacture the machine or to be provided with a site and building appropriate to their needs. Just what encouragement they were given is not known.”

The November 12, 1904 Syracuse Post Standard announced that a suitable site in Oneida had been selected:

“SITE SELECTED AT ONEIDA.

“John S. Leggett May Make Automobiles at Oneida. - It was stated in Oneida yesterday that John S. Leggett of this city, who is seeking a plant there in which to manufacture automobiles, had practically completed the arrangements. A site for the plant has been selected. ”

Apparently Leggett was burning the candle at both ends as the December 1904 issue of Carriage Monthly claimed Leggett was courting another group of businessmen in another Central New York community:

“Lyons, N. Y., to have Auto Factory.

“The Lyons (N. Y.) Business Men's Association is endeavoring to induce the Iroquois Motor Car Co. to locate in that city. The corporation has a capital stock of $450,000, and will manufacture a touring car of 1,950 pounds weight and 20 horse-power velocity. A factory requiring a ground space of 50 x 200 feet, five stories high, and employing 200 hands, will be necessary.”

The December 24, 1904 issue of the Automobile Review announced the resumption of Iroquois production in a third, previously un-named community, Seneca Falls, New York:

“BUSINESS CHANGES IN SYRACUSE

“Several changes have been made in Syracuse, N. Y., automobile circles during the past few weeks preparatory to the opening of next year's business. John S. Leggett Mfg. Co., who have been making the Iroquois in a building in South State street, will now make the machine at Seneca Falls under the management of a newly organized company.

“The Amos-Pierce Company have opened a garage in the building vacated by the Leggett company and will store, rent, sell and make cars. M. C. Blackman, who has been conducting a garage in South Warren street at the old Syracuse automobile plant for a year, has given a bill of sale of four automobiles to Milton J. Vogel of New York City. The consideration named is $1. The cars are: an Eldridge, a Haynes-Apperson with canopy, a Locomobile and one Conrad auto, with tools going with them.

“The new Seneca Falls Company will be capitalized at $450,000, and will be known as the Iroquois Motor Car Company. Two cars will be made, a 12 h. p. and a 24 h. p. machine. This company will take over the Leggett company, and H. Chamberlain of Seneca Falls, a wealthy woolen manufacturer, has turned In a large five-story building where the machines will be made. Fifty men will be employed at the start and others added as they are needed.”

The December 24, 1904 issue of the Automobile announced the organization of Amos-Pierce, but didn’t mention the Iroquois:

“NEW SYRACUSE GARAGE COMPANY

“Special Correspondence, SYRACUSE Dec. 19 - The recently incorporated Amos Pierce Automobile Company of this city has just opened for business in the six story Leggett building in South State street of which it will occupy three stores and five complete floors. The company has the sales agencies for the Pope Hartford, Pope Toledo, Pope Tribune, Pope Waverley, Peerless, Olds, Stevens-Duryea, Columbia and Buffalo electric cars, and the Racine launches. Its territory includes eight counties in central and northern New York. Each of the five floors occupied by company is 120 by 95 feet. The first is handsomely equipped for a showroom. In the basement are all the requirements for electric charging, battery building and testing. The second floor will be used for storage as will also a portion of the third floor upon which also will be located a paint shop. The repair shop will be on the fifth floor. William H. Bey, for a long time superintendent of the H.H. Franklin Company's manufacturing establishment here, will act as the Amos Pierce company's manager. Both Mr. Amos and Mr. Pierce are young and prominent members of the Automobile Club of Syracuse. Mr. Amos was in charge of arrangements for the reception which was given to the St. Louis tourists when they spent a night here last July.”

However, the next issue of The Automobile, December 31, 1904, did:

“TO BUILD THE IROQUOIS

“Newly Incorporated Company to Begin Making Touring Car January 1.

“Special Correspondence – SYRACUSE, Dec 27 - Papers were filed with the Secretary of State at Albany and the clerk of Onondaga County today incorporating the Iroquois Motor Car Company with a capitalization of $450,000. Charles A. Fox of the firm of Fox & Rich of this city promoted and organized the company, the incorporators of which are Thomas V. Pelham and Frank H. Clement of Buffalo, Charles T. Blanchard and L. Frank Ormsbee of this city and Leonard F. Mahan of Fayetteville. The company will establish a factory and commence the manufacture of cars January 1. There will be a meeting of the incorporators within a few days to decide upon a site. Several offers have been received and the company has an option on two factories. The company will manufacture the gasoline touring car formerly built by the J. S. Leggett Company of this city. Mr. Leggett, it is understood, will be connected with the Iroquois company.”

The January 5, 1905 issue of Motor Age added a few more details:

“Iroquois Company Incorporated – Papers have been filed with the secretary of New York State incorporating the Iroquois Car Co. of Syracuse. This company will take over the stock of the J.S. Leggett Mfg. Co. and will locate at Seneca Falls. The capitalization is $450,000 of which is preferred and $300,000 common stock. Charles A. Fox of Syracuse promoted and organized the company and the incorporators are Thomas W. Pelham and Frank H. Clement of Buffalo, Charles T. Blanchard and L. Frank Ormsbee of Syracuse, and Leonard F. Mahan of Fayetteville. It was expected that the manufacture of cars would begin January 1.”

The new Iroquois was featured in the February 1, 1905 issue of Cycle and Automobile Trade Journal:

“Iroquois 20 H. P. Gasoline Car

“The J. S. Leggett Mfg. Co., of 109-111 S. State street, Syracuse, N. Y., are again on the market with a gasoline car called the 'Iroquois.' This car is equipped with a 20 H.P., 4-cylinder, water-cooled, vertical engine placed in front under the hood. The valves are mechanically operated and are very accessible. The carburetor is throttled by hand and governor-controlled. The spark and throttle control levers are located on the brass steering post.

“An improved clutch, absolutely free of all end thrust, is operated by a foot pedal. A sliding transmission gear gives three speeds forward and one reverse with direct shaft drive on the high speed, all enclosed in an oil-tight and dust-proof case, having oilers on all main bearings. Connection with the clutch is by a universal joint, and with the rear axle through a shaft with two universal joints and permanently attached to the frame, and are entirely is of rigid construction and equipped with Timken roller bearings throughout. The front axle is also fitted with Timken roller bearings. The frame is 3 1/2 in. deep, rolled steel, reinforced with angle irons, mounted on four elliptic springs. The wheel base is 90 in. for rear entrance and 100 ins. for side entrance. A positive force automatic sight feed oiling system leading to all main bearings is provided. The steering gear of rigid construction extends through the dash with direct connection to the forward steering bar on the front wheel.

“A set of double acting brakes on the rear wheels is operated by a hand lever at the side of the driver, which automatically disengages the clutch, also a brake operated by the foot pedal is placed on the shaft back of the gear case.

“The body has a divided front seat and capacity for three passengers in rear seat with side door or rear entrance. It is upholstered with hand huffed leather and finished in the most luxurious style to give comfort and pleasure to the tourist.

“The tires are 32 in. x 4 in., heavy type. Two oil lamps, and two gas headlights and tail lamp, together with a long-tube French horn, and a full set of tools, automobile clock and water gauge on dash are furnished. The car weighs 1950 lbs. and has speed possibilities of 40 miles an hour. List price is $2,500 canopy or folding tops are furnished at extra cost.”

The February 6, 1905 issue of the Syracuse Post-Standard provided details of the Iroquois Motor Co.’s Seneca Falls factory and revealed that John S. Leggett would serve as vice-president of the new firm:

Iroquois Motor Car Company Buys Plant In Seneca Falls

“Business and Equipment of the J. S. Leggett Company of Syracuse Will Be Installed in Old Factory of the National Yeast Company.

“Special To the Post-Standard

“SENECA FALLS, Feb. 5, - The Iroquois Motor Car Company has purchased of Harrison Chamberlain the property in this village formerly occupied by the National Yeast Company and will utilize it at once in the manufacture of automobiles. The main building has a frontage of 150 feet and there are two L’s and a boiler-house, giving the company a total of 90,000 feet of floor space. The property is valued at about $75,000.

“The new company purchased the business and equipment of the J.S. Leggett Manufacturing Company in Syracuse and the machinery was shipped to Seneca Falls yesterday. It will be installed at once and the factory placed in operation in about ten days.

“The officers of the company are: President, Thomas W. Pelham; vice-president, J. S. Leggett; secretary and treasurer, Charles A. Fox.”

The May 25, 1905 issue of Motor Age revealed that George E. DeLong held a financial interest in the Leggett Mfg. Co.:

“Leggett Tangle in Court - Some of the incidents of promoting a company were told municipal court at Syracuse the other when the case of George A. Newman, John S. Leggett and G. Erwin DeLong was tried. Newman holds a claim against Leggett and DeLong who started the J.S. Leggett Mfg. Co. The claim was assigned to him by Frank P. Costigan who claims to have promoted the company. A peculiar feature of the trial was the appearance of Mr. DeLong on the stand as a witness for the plaintiff when he was one of the defendants. It was claimed by Mr. Costigan that he was to have received $500 when the new company was formed and when Mr. Leggett should have received from the new company $3,500 for the business he was seeking to sell to the concern. Costigan claims he received only $185 for the work he did and sues for the rest. DeLong and Costigan are now engaged in looking about for a site to manufacture automobiles at Auburn. They intend to lease or erect a plant. Mr. Leggett is now manager of the Iroquois Motor Car Co., Seneca Falls, NY, which grew out of J. S. Leggett Co. formerly of Syracuse.”

The September 20, 1905 issue of The Horseless Age included a small article and picture of a 1902 Leggett 12-h.p. convertible delivery car:

“Motor Delivery of Jeweler's Goods.

“Michael A. Lemp, a jeweler at No. 113 North Salina street, was the first Syracuse merchant to install a motor vehicle delivery service. After three years of the experiment Mr. Lemp declares that nothing could induce him to return to the use of horses, as the automobile has doubled his business. When Mr. Lemp was using a horse and a delivery wagon he was known to but few. Now any person in Syracuse can tell you who "Lemp" is, and where his store is located.

“The delivery wagon used is a 12 horse power vehicle manufactured by the J. S. Legget [sic] Company, which was located in Syracuse at the time the machine was purchased, three years ago, but which has since been taken over by the Iroquois Motor Company, now located at Seneca Falls. Mr. Lemp is himself an expert mechanic, and with the assistance of his chauffeur, who understands the repair end thoroughly, is able to keep the car in good repair with a minimum of expense. The machine is kept at the garage of the Syracuse Motor Company in South State street when not in use, but it is usually kept running either for business or for pleasure, for when the day's work is done the delivery body can be removed and a tonneau put on. The total expense of running the machine, including wages of the chauffeur, the fuel and the repairs, will not exceed $25 a week, which is cheap, considering the effect it has had upon the business.

“The work was formerly done by a horse, but it took a week to do what is now done in two days. Calls have been attended to in ten minutes which formerly required an hour. The machine makes 35 to 40 miles every day. Mr. Lemp is the only jeweler in town who calls for and delivers goods, the result being that the people appreciate this attention, and have patronized him largely. Since he has been using the car Mr. Lemp has had frequent inquiries from grocers and others using delivery wagons, asking about the expense of running and how he liked it. To all he has given the same reply, that he would not return to the old system for hundreds of dollars. Among those who made inquiries was one milkman.”

The 1905 New York State Census lists the Leggetts as residents of the 12th Ward, Syracuse, Onondaga County, New York. His occupation (61yo.) auto manufacturer, born in Canada, lived in United States for 40 years. His wife’s name is listed as Sarah L.G. Leggett (age 46 [sic]) occupation, physician. Their address was 352 West Onondaga Street.

The December 14, 1905 issue of The Automobile provided details on the new $2,500 25/30-h.p. 4-cyl. Iroquois Model D touring car:

“Iroquois Touring Car

“A single model a large touring car with 25/30 horsepower motor will be manufactured for the coming season by the Iroquois Motor Car Company of Seneca Falls NY. The car will be known as Model D and in general construction will follow regular touring car lines - having a four cylinder vertical motor side entrance body with individual front seats, roomy tonneau, and moderately long wheelbase. The weight is 2,400 pounds and the maximum speed forty miles an hour.

“The motor has four cylinders cast in pairs with integral water jackets heads and valve chambers and mechanically operated valves. Jump spark ignition is used and two sets of dry cells supply the necessary current. Throttling is effected by hand as is also the regulation of ignition the spark and throttle levers being placed on the top of the steering column above the wheel. The carbureter is placed on the right hand side of the motor and gas is led to the cylinders through a single straight pipe with a short branch leading off at right angles to each cylinder.

“The spark plugs are placed in the screw covers which close the valve inspection holes on the inlet side and compression relief cocks are placed in the covers over the exhaust valves on the opposite side. Six arms are cast on the crankcase for the support of the motor and are bolted to an angle steel sub frame which extends back and supports the transmission gearcase also. The clutch is of an expanding type and the manufacturers state that it is free of all end thrust it is operated by means of a pedal.

“The transmission gearing of the clash type gives three forward speeds, and a reverse with direct drive on the high gear. Drive to the rear axle is by propeller shaft and bevel gears, there being two universal joints in the shaft. The transmission gearing is as usual enclosed in an oil tight case and runs in oil with special provision being made for the lubrication of the shaft bearings. A large hand hole in the top of the gearcase covered by a plate gives access to the interior. The universal joints are all large and substantial.

“The live rear axle runs on roller bearings. Radius rods pivoted on the main frames maintain the proper relative position of the rear axle. The framing of the car is of rolled steel 3 1/2 inches deep throughout, including the end members. Angle iron re-enforcing strips are riveted inside the main frames and cross members of the same material support the ends of the longitudinal sub frames to which the motor and transmission gearcase are attached.

“Springs are all full elliptic the rear springs of the scroll end type being 41 1/2 inches long and the front springs made without scroll ends are 36 inches long. The road wheels are all 32 inches in diameter and are fitted with 4 inch tires. Timken roller bearings are fitted to all the wheels as well as to the live rear axle. Wheelbase is 100 inches and tread, 56 inches. The steering column passes through the straight dashboard and spark and throttle levers work in sectors inside the wheel rim.

“All main bearings are lubricated by a force feed lubricator located in front of the dashboard sight glasses are attached to the left hand side of the engine. The body has the popular divided front seat and a rear seat roomy enough for three adults the upholstering is of hand buffed leather. The body is of wood and is finished in olive green with black moldings and wine colored frame and running gear. The equipment of the car as sold is unusually complete consisting of two oil side lamps, two gas headlights, an oil tail lamp, French horn with long tube, automobile clock, dashboard water gauge, and full set of tools.”

The February 1906 issue of The Gas Engine reported on the Iroquois’ display at the New York Auto Show:

“One of the few instances of rear entrance to the tonneau is in the Iroquois car. The four-cylinder motor has separately cast water-jacketed cylinders, each bolted to the top half of the crank case.”

A $3,000 40 h.p. Iroquois Type E 7-passenger touring was also advertised for the 1906 model year, but it’s doubtful if many if any were produced. The company is noticeably absent from the Syracuse papers and automobile trades following the debut of the 20/30 h.p. Model D save for an announcement of the February, 1907 sale of their Seneca Falls plant and the following announcement published in the July 23, 1908 Syracuse Herald:

“City Regains Auto Industry.

“It is announced that the Iroquois Motor Vehicle Company of Seneca Falls will move to Syracuse at once. This company moved from here to Seneca Falls some time ago, but a notice of change has just been filed in the County Clerk's office and the return trip to Syracuse will now he made. John S. Leggett of this city, Edwin R. Redhead of Fulton and J. B. Scovell of Buffalo are interested in the firm.”

In a list of no-starts and failed Canadian automobile manufacturers, authors Hugh Durnford and Glenn Baechler (Cars of Canada, pub 1973) state that in 1906: “A company planned to build the US Iroquois car in Wellend, Ontario.“

No evidence of Canadian manufacture has been located and in fact, very few – an estimated 12 to 20 in all – Leggett and Iroquois automobiles are thought to have been produced during the two firm’s combined 6-year life span. Approximately 12 Iroquois and 6 Leggetts were built with no clear distinction between the later Leggetts and early Iroquois which could have been re-badged unsold Leggetts.

An article detailing the transportation history of Syracuse published in the March 20, 1939 Syracuse Journal (“Syracuse Sought Niche As Auto Manufacturer”, Section K, Page 2) mentions Leggett produced a dozen Iroquois:

“Joe [sic] Leggett’s Iroquois - of which a dozen were made –“

However, if they couldn’t get his name right, it’s doubtful the number of Iroquois is correct either.

By the time the final iteration of the Iroquois Motor Vehicle Co. was disbanded, John S. Leggett was at retirement age and he went to work for H.H. Franklin, serving in various capacities until his retirement a few years later. His obituary states he was well-known for his detailed monograms which he perfected in his early career as a carriage painter, so it’s likely he applied his talent to some custom-ordered Franklins.

John S. Leggett was preceded by his beloved wife in death, whose obituary from the May 28, 1928 Syracuse Herald follows:

“Homeopathic Founder Dies; Woman Doctor Practiced Here 40 Years

“Dr. S. L. Guild Leggett, 89, wife of John S. Leggett and one of the founders of the Homeopathic Hospital, now the General Hospital, of Syracuse, died last night at her home 300 Baker Ave.

“Dr. Leggett had been a practicing physician in this city for more than 40 years. She was born in Bethlehem, Conn., daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Lewis Guild.

“She graduated from the Homeopathic College at St. Louis, Mo., and later took a post-graduate course at the Hahnemann Homeopathic College at Philadelphia. Following the completion of her studies Dr. Leggett conducted a lecture course at the college for several years before coming to Syracuse.

“She started a homeopathic practice here and was one of the founders of the Homeopathic Hospital in East Castle street which later became the General Hospital of Syracuse. Dr. Leggett was for many years secretary and treasurer of the Central New York Homeopathic Society.

“Surviving besides her husband is a sister, Mrs. Stephen G. O'Dell of Torrington, Conn., and a niece, Mrs. E. R. Blinn.

“Prayer services will be conducted at 10 o'clock Wednesday morning at the undertaking rooms of A. C. Schumacher, by the Rev. Dr. Herbert G. Coddington, rector of the Grace Episcopal Church. Burial will be in Amenia.”

The March 19, 1935 Syracuse Herald announced her husband's passing:

“J. S. Leggett, Auto Pioneer, Dies at 93; Taken to Hospital From Room at Yates Hotel on March 11.

“Invented Gas Engine; Was in Employ of H. H. Franklin Until His Retirement

“John S. Leggett, one of the pioneers in the automobile business in Central New York, died Monday night at St. Joseph Hospital, where he was taken from his home at the Yates Hotel, on March 11. He was 93 years old.

“Mr. Leggett, according to friends, in spite of his advanced age, had remained active and interested in life until several weeks ago, when he began to fail perceptibly. When the condition of his health no longer permitted him to get around, he was sent to the hospital by the management of the hotel.

“That remarkable physical alertness did not desert him until recently is indicated by the fact that he did much of his own housekeeping, including some cooking, until only a few months ago. Mr. Leggett came to Syracuse from his native Canada when he was about 20 years old. A skilled painter then, he engaged in carriage manufacturing and painting work, finally establishing his own concern with display rooms at 115 South State Street.

“Mr. Leggett, his friends say, kept abreast of the times, and when popularization of automobiles prophesied the doom of the carriage as a means of transport, he entered the employ of H. H. Franklin, sharing in the work of designing the machines.

“He invented a gasoline engine, which, for a time seemed likely to make his fortune, for it was well received by engineers and mechanics in this vicinity. For some reason not known to his most intimate friend, W.P. Wood, also of the Yates Hotel, the sale of the engine was never promoted, and nothing came of the work he had expended on it.

“For a time he attempted to make a go of his own automobile sales business, but he spent most of the last years before his retirement in the employ of Mr. Franklin. He was widely known as a monogram designer and painter.

“His body will be buried beside that of his wife, the late Dr. Louise Guild Leggett, who was one of the first widely known, women spiritualists in Central New York. A. C. Schumacher, funeral director, will arrange the burial and services.”

The old Iroquois plant in Seneca Falls, located at 221-229 Fall St., remains in use today serving as the home of Peter Koch Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep. Leggett’s Syracuse factory was used by various auto-related firms into the 1980s when it was raised to make way for a parking lot for the adjacent State Office building.

The only known Leggett is Michael Pawelek’s 1899 2-cylinder delivery and although I found mention of a surviving Iroquois light delivery car, I believe it's the same car that Pawelek now owns.

© 2011 Mark Theobald - Coachbuilt.com

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References

Charles Burleigh – Genealogy and History Guild, Guile and Gile Family, pub. 1887

Thad W.H. Leavitt - History of Leeds & Grenville Ontario - from 1749 to 1879, pub. 1879

Hugh Durnford & Glenn Baechler - Cars of Canada, pub. 1973

James F. Bellamy - Cars Made in Upstate New York, pub. 1988

Dwight J. Stoddard - Notable Men of Central New York: Syracuse and Vicinity, Utica and Vicinity, Auburn, Oswego, Watertown, Fulton, Rome, Oneida, Little Falls; XIX and XX Centuries, pub. 1903

William Harvey King - History of homeopathy and its institutions in America, Volume 4, pub 1905

Beverly Rae Kimes & Henry Austin Clark Jr. - Standard Catalog of American Cars 1805-1942

   
 
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