Submitted by Descendant: Jeannette Marie SAY
Ellen Louisa Leonardy was the sixth child and second daughter of Vicente Leonardy and Venancia Andreu, born circa 1861 in Tampa, Florida.
On 27 February 1878, Ellen married George Wesley Meares. Shortly thereafter she and George moved to the recently purchased acreage located on the lower point of Hillsborough County. Together this couple would raise 11 children.
Ellen devoted herself to the church and her family. Her home was often the scene of birthday parties, picnics, and holiday celebrations. As many as 20 different fruits were grown in the Meares’ grove making summer a bounty of treats from Ellen’s kitchen.
In an interview given to the newspaper in the early 1930’s, Ellen spoke of the changes she had witnessed during her life. In the early years all supplies were brought to the county by boat from Tampa and mail was delivered only once a week. In 1890 the census recorded only 272 persons living in the area where as at the time of the interview, the city boasted a winter population of greater than 100,000. Transportation had gone from ox and buggy to airplanes.
Following the death of her husband, Ellen remained on their homestead where she resided until her death 3 September 1947. Her body was laid to rest in the Royal Palm Cemetery next to her husband.
Ellen Louisa Leonardy was first established as a Florida Pioneer in 2011