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Leonard Sleno (1850-1914)
Maritime Biography.

Courtesy of "Links to the Past" website. (Mar. 2006)

History of the Great Lakes, Vol. 2 by J.B. Mansfield
Published Chicago: J.H. Beers & Co. 1899.



L. Sleno, a marine engineer of the first class, was born in Oakville, Ontario, June 20, 1850, son of Joseph and Eleanor Sleno. He removed with his parents to the United States in 1857, the family locating in Saginaw, Mich., where the father, who was a machinist, opened a shop which he conducted up to the time of his death, in 1879. The mother died in 1894. Mr. Sleno’s oldest brother, Talbert, is a practicing physician of Jackson, Mich. His other brothers are Charles and Samuel, the latter of whom is a millwright.

After a few years’ attendance at the public schools Leonard Sleno, then a well grown lad of thirteen years, enlisted, in January, 1863, in the Twenty-seventh Mich. V. I., his regiment being at that time incorporated with the Ninth Army Corps. He joined his command in the field, participated in the battle of Halls Gap and many skirmishes, and was with General Burnside at the siege of Knoxville, Tenn. After the siege was raised he crossed the Cumberland mountains with his regiment, which was afterward made a component part of the Army of the Potomac and took an honorable part in the battles of the Wilderness, Spottsylvania, Cold Harbor, North Ann River, and the operations before Petersburg. During the hottest part of the engagement at Petersburg Mr. Sleno received a serious and painful wound through the right shoulder which incapacitated him for further service, and from the effects of which he has never recovered. He was taken to the Howard hospital, in Washington, where he was confined four months, at the end of that time receiving his honorable discharge from the army on account of his wound, and returning home he again took up his studies at the public school.

In 1866 Mr. Sleno entered the employ of Mr. McKenzie, of Saginaw City, to learn the machinist’s trade, afterward going to work in a blacksmith shop with his father. In the spring of 1868 he was appointed engineer of the tug Barleycorn, subsequently serving in the same capacity in various tugs on the Saginaw river — notably the Prairie Flower, Emma, Elizabeth White, Star No. 1, Challenge, Witch of the West, Fannie Tuthill and Kate Fletcher — until 1878, when he entered the employ of Capt. B. Boutell as engineer of the tug Dixon. He followed with a season in the tug Sol S. Rumage, and in the spring of 1880 was appointed chief engineer of the lake tug Ella Smith, running her four seasons and transferring to the Peter Smith also as chief engineer, holding that berth another four seasons. In the spring of 1888 Mr. Sleno took charge of the steamer tug Traveler, formerly the Chief Justice Fields, and ran her three seasons. He then stopped ashore about a year to do repair work to the machinery of the line, after which he was appointed chief engineer of the large tug Winslow, retaining that position two seasons. In the spring of 1894 he was again placed in the Traveler, and after two years on her as chief, was transferred to the Winslow for two seasons. During the winter months of each year he is employed on repair work to the various tugs of the line and during the winter of 1897-98 he was engaged in overhauling the machinery of the notable tug Sweepstakes, which he takes charge of as chief engineer. By industry and thrift and the help of his wife Mr. Sleno has acquired quite a block of improved real estate in West Bay City, and a fine farm in Bangor township, about one-half mile west of town.

Mr. Sleno was married on December 23, 1871, to Miss Mary J., daughter of Robert and Hannah Hough. Their only daughter, Blanche, has attended the public schools of West Bay City, and graduated with the class of 1898. The family homestead is on the farm adjacent to West Bay City. Fraternally Mr. Sleno is a Master Mason, belonging to Winona Lodge, West Bay City; a charter member of the Marine Engineers Beneficial Association No. 27; a member of the Knights of the Maccabees, and one of the youngest members of the Grand Army of the Republic.

Contributed by Jim Petrimoulx. (Feb. 2007)

Saginaw Daily News -- December 9, 1914 (Page 3)


Sleno -- Lenoard Sleno died at his home, 401 North Wenona avenue, Bay City, Dec. 2. He was born in London, Ont., 65 years ago and while a child moved with his parents to Mt. Clemens, Mich. When eight years old he moved to Saginaw, where he received his education. While he was living in Saginaw the civil war broke out and Mr. Sleno enlisted, being one of the youngest men in the Union army to carry a musket. He was 14 years old when he joined Co. F, of the mounted infantry of the 27th Michigan. He was wounded in the battle of Gettysburg and was confined to an army hospital for 18 months. Upon convalescing he was given a discharge and then returned to Saginaw where in 1889 he married Miss Mary Hough of this city. Later Later the couple moved to Bay City, Mr. Sleno being employed as a marine engineer. He later went into service with the Smith & Boutell company and for 26 years was chief engineer of their fleet of lake tugs. Four years ago he retired from active service after a serious illiness.

Related Pages/Notes

1867 Great Lakes Map
(click to enlarge)
Related Bay-Journal Pages
None at this time.
People Referenced
Boutell, Benjamin Capt.
Burnside, (General)
Hough, Hanna Mrs.
Hough, Mary J.
Hough, Robert
Sleno, Blanch
Sleno, Charles
Sleno, Eleanor Mrs.
Sleno, Joseph
Sleno, Samuel
Sleno, Leonard (bio.)
Sleno, Talbert
Smith, Peter
Subjects Referenced
9th Army Corps 27th Michigan, Co. F. Army of the Potomac
Bangor twsp.
Cold Harbor
Halls Gap
North Ann River

Cumberland mtns.
Grand Army of Republic
Howard hospital
Jackson, MI
Knights of Maccabees
Knoxville, TN
London, Ont., Canada
Marine Eng. Benefial Assoc.
Mt. Clemens, MI
Oakville, Ont., Canada
Saginaw, MI
Saginaw City, MI
Saginaw River
Smith & Boutell Co.
Chief Justice Fields
Elizabeth White
Ella Smith
Fannie Tuthill
Kate Fletcher
Prairie Flower
Sol S Rumage
Star No. 1
Witch of the West

Winona Lodge
Washington, DC
West Bay City, MI
Internet References
Link to the Past
Online book, "History of the Great Lakes," Vols. 1 & 2, by J.B. Mansfield.
WRITINGS: History As It Was Written Then.