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.