Leonard Hodges, for so many years one of Stoughton's leading manufacturers, was born in Taunton, Mass., July 8, 1794. His father, Samuel Hodges, was a man of solidity and good repute, and for many years an "innkeeper" (a position of consequence in those days) in Taunton and Easton. He married Lucinda Austin, of Dighton, and had several children, among whom were Samuel, Lucinda, and Leonard. Samuel was one of the incorporators of the Gay Cotton Manufacturing Company, established in Stoughton in 1813, on the site where afterward stood Leonard Hodges' Satinet Mills. In the war of 1812 he rendered distinguished services as an officer in the army, and in 1819 was appointed United States consul at the Cape Verde Islands, where he died about 1825, aged thirty-four. Lucinda married Rev. Calvin Park, a Congregational clergyman of reputation, who was at that time pastor of the church in Stoughton.
Leonard Hodges lived in Taunton till 1820, when he removed to Stoughton, and established himself as a working jeweler and merchant of jewelry. About 1822 he began the manufacture of satinets in a small way, the weaving being done by hand. This business, conducted with care, diligence, and unswerving industry, grew steadily in importance, and after a few years, with new and improved machinery, he began to make hosiery-yarn, employing at first about twenty-five hands. Under his shrewd management the business assumed large proportions, and in 1851, after accumulating a large property, he retired from active labor, letting his mills to his nephew, Samuel W. Hodges, who, with Calvin Tuck, founded the firm of Tuck & Hodges. After five years Mr. Tuck retired, and in 1857, Mr. L. Hodges sold the mill to Charles H. French, of Canton, thus closing his connection with manufacturing.
Mr. Hodges married, Jan. 12, 1848, Jane, daughter of Elijah and Ruth (Tisdale) Atherton, of Stoughton. Their children are Anna A., born Aug. 20, 1855, married Claude Wilson, M.D., of Waterville, N. Y.; and William L., born July 13, 1858, inherited the old homestead in Stoughton, and married May 10, 1883, Lillie Gray, daughter of David M. and Lydia A. Simmonds, of Boston.
Mr. Hodges was a diligent, hard-working man, not given to boasting nor display; but by patient industry was truly the architect of his own fortune, attending closely to business and caring not for public honor office. He was a careful counselor in all practical' matters; for many years a director of the Neponset Bank of Canton, and possessed great strength of character and steadfastness of purpose. While quiet and reserved in his intercourse with others, he had a lame circle of attached friends, and was considered one of Stoughton's representative men, and when he died, March 1, 1871, in the fullness of nearly seventy-seven years, the community lost a valuable member, and business circles an honest man.
Source: D. Hamilton Hurd, History of Norfolk County, Massachusetts, with Biographical Sketches of many of its Pioneers and Prominent Men. (Philadelphia, Pa., J. W. Lewis & Co., 1884), pgs. 418-419.
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