An ‘Evening at Oakwood’ Plantation July 16

Everyone is welcome to join members of the Boonslick Historical Society July 16 for an “Evening at Oakwood,” the Fayette antebellum home built in 1834-36 by Abiel Leonard, Yankee Slaveholder, eminent jurist, and passionate Unionist.

The meeting begins at 7 p.m. Missouri historian James M. (Jim) Denny, who drafted the official Nomination to place Oakwood and its outbuildings on the National Register of Historic Places, will give a brief overview of the property and of Abiel Leonard (1797-1863). Visitors will be able to tour the house and grounds containing additional historic structures.

The property is now owned by Dr. Reuben Merideth, a veterinarian, who purchased it from the family estate of the late Jasper and Elizabeth Meals, long-time Fayette residents. Oakwood is located at 101 Leonard Avenue—the intersection of Leonard and East Morrison. Parking is available along the semi-circular driveway around the residence and in a grassy lot on the north side of the property.

Oakwood is a Federal style brick mansion with alterations occurring in 1850-51, 1856-58, ca. 1890’s, and 1938. It occupies a wooded 30-acre setting amidst an ensemble of outbuildings on the eastern outskirts of Fayette. By 1860, Oakwood was a 500-acre estate with some 15 slaves living in 3 slave quarters. Significant outbuildings of antebellum origin include a brick slave house, a second brick slave house built in 1857 adjoining an existing brick smokehouse with distinctive diamond-shaped ventilation openings on its three exposed sides, an ice house with a brick-lined pit, and a fruit cellar with beehive vaulting.

Oakwood was the home of Abiel and Jeanette-Reeves Leonard. Abiel Leonard was a prominent Missouri lawyer, landowner, political figure and slave owner. Leonard, who began practicing law in Missouri in 1819, was also a State Supreme Court Justice during the 1850s.