Archives of Maryland
(Biographical Series)

Sheppard C. Leakin (1790-1867)
MSA SC 3520-12471


Source:  Wilbur F. Coyle, The Mayors of Baltimore (Reprinted from The Baltimore Municipal Journal, 1919), p. 55-57.

Sheppard C. Leakin was Mayor of Baltimore from November 5th, 1838, to November 2nd, 1840.  During this administration the Baltimore and Susquehanna Railroad was completed from Baltimore to York.  The Susquehanna and Tidewater Canal was opened; the first boats which had come through the canal at Havre de Grace, entered Baltimore. The cornerstone of a monument on the North Point Battlefield was laid in 1839.  This monument is located in a plot of ground known as Houck's Acre, which was ceded to the State of Maryland by Dr. Houck in 1839.

Ordinances for tunneling sections of Chatsworth Run (West Baltimore), walling up parts of Harford Run and Jones Falls, and authorizing the laying out of Franklin Square, were approved by Mayor Leakin.

The population of Baltimore in 1840 was 102,313.

*   *   *   *   *   *

Mayor Leakin, born in Baltimore County, was of Old English stock.  His ancestors emigrated from Northumberland, England, in 1684, acquiring an estate on the Patapsco near the Chesapeake Bay.  One authority says he was Captain in the United States Infantry during the attack on Baltimore September 12-13, 1814, while another account refers to him as "Colonel," who, for meritorious conduct, was breveted "General."  He was a printer and was also, at one time, the proprietor of a bookstore.  With Samuel Barnes he was for many years publisher of the Baltimore Chronicle.  When in politics General Leakin was an old-line Whig of the Henry Clay School.

Mr. Leakin's administration was at times very exciting.  Mob Law was not infrequent in those days, and the Mayor had to deal with several unruly demonstrations. One of these was an attack on the Carmelite Convent on Aisquith Street, which was assailed with fury, but the Mayor defended it and dispersed the mob.  He was also a leading spirit in the quelling of the riot incident to the failure of the Bank of Maryland in 1835, during which period he protected the houses of Reverdy Johnson and John Glenn.

Mr. Leakin married Miss Margaret Dobbin.  George A. and Sheppard A. Leakin, were children of this union.  The former entered the Episcopal Ministry and the latter read law, becoming a prominent member of the Baltimore Bar.  Mayor Leakin died November 20th, 1867.

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