Henry Ledyard

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Henry Ledyard
Mayor of Detroit
In office
Preceded by Oliver Moulton Hyde
Succeeded by Oliver Moulton Hyde
Personal details
Born March 5, 1812
New York City
Died June 7, 1880
London, England
Spouse(s) Matilda Frances Cass
Alma mater Columbia College

Henry Ledyard (March 5, 1812 – June 7, 1880) was the mayor of Detroit, Michigan and a state senator, briefly served as assistant secretary under Secretary of State Lewis Cass, and was the president of the Newport Hospital and the Redwood Library in Newport, Rhode Island.

Early life and family[edit]

Henry Ledyard was born in New York City March 5, 1812, the son of prominent New York lawyer Benjamin Ledyard and Susan French Livingston (the daughter of Revolutionary War Colonel and US Supreme Court justice Henry Brockholst Livingston and granddaughter of New Jersey governor William Livingston).[1] Henry Ledyard graduated from Columbia College in 1830, and began practicing law in New York. When Lewis Cass was appointed Minister to France, Ledyard accompanied him to Paris, eventually becoming chargé d’affaires of the embassy.[1]

In 1839, Ledyard married Cass's daughter Matilda Frances.[1] The couple had five children:[2][3]

  • Elizabeth Ledyard, born October 1, 1840, and married to Francis Wayland Goddard in 1862.
  • Henry Brockholst Ledyard, born February 20, 1844 (Susan's twin), and married to Mary R. L'Hommedieu. Henry Brockholst Ledyard was president of the Michigan Central Railroad and the Union Trust Company, and a great philanthropist:[4]
    • He is the father of Matilda Cass Ledyard (January 24, 1871 – November 30, 1960), wife of German diplomat Baron Clemens von Ketteler.
  • Susan Livingston Ledyard, born February 20, 1844 (Henry's twin), married to Hamilton B. Tompkins in 1876, and she died the next year.
  • Lewis Cass Ledyard, born April 4, 1851, and married to Gertrude Prince in 1878. After Gertrude's death in 1905, Lewis married Isabelle Henning Morris in 1906. Lewis Cass Ledyard was a prominent New York lawyer in the firm Carter Ledyard & Milburn, president of the New York Public Library, and personal counsel to J. Pierpont Morgan.[5]
  • Matilda Spancer Ledyard, born May 27, 1860.

Politics and later life[edit]

Ledyard returned to the United States in 1844 and moved to Detroit, where he was active in the city and managed Cass's property holdings.[6] He was one of the founders of the State Savings Bank, one of the original promoters of the Elmwood Cemetery, and was a member of the Board of Education.[1] He also organized and promoted the first plank road company in Michigan, and was involved in a number of other ventures that promoted communication between Detroit and the interior of the state.[3] In 1849-1850 he was an alderman of the city, and served as mayor in 1855 and was one of the original commissioners on the Board of Water Commissioners.[1]

Ledyard was a Democrat, and was elected as a state senator in 1857.[1] However, when Lewis Cass was appointed Secretary of State under James Buchanan, Ledyard resigned his post in the legislature[3] and accompanied him to Washington, DC, and remained there until 1861,[1] briefly serving as assistant secretary of state.[6] Afterwards, he moved to Newport, Rhode Island, where he lived for the rest of his life. He raised funds for and was the first president of the Newport Hospital, and was the president of the Redwood Library in Newport.[1]

Henry Ledyard died June 7, 1880, in London, England, during a brief European visit.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Silas Farmer (1889), THE HISTORY OF DETROIT AND MICHIGAN, pp. 1041–1043 
  2. ^ The Magazine of American history with notes and queries 7, A. S. Barnes, 1881, p. 195 
  3. ^ a b c Compendium of History and Biography of the City of Detroit and Wayne County, Michigan, Henry Taylor & Co, 1908, pp. 251–254 
  4. ^ Clarence Monroe Burton; William Stocking; Gordon K. Miller (1922), The city of Detroit, Michigan, 1701-1922; Volume 4, The S. J. Clarke publishing company, pp. 5–6 
  5. ^ Psi Upsilon (1932), The diamond of Psi Upsilon 18 (3), Psi Upsilon Fraternity, pp. 170–171 
  6. ^ a b Stephen D. Bingham (1888), Early history of Michigan: with biographies of state officers, members of Congress, judges and legislators, Thorp & Godfrey, state printers, pp. 410–411 
Political offices
Preceded by
Oliver Moulton Hyde
Mayor of Detroit
Succeeded by
Oliver Moulton Hyde