Aldrich History Project

Chapter LII

Leon M. Coudrift

COUDRIET, LEON M.   The portion of Clearfield county that is embraced within the township of Covington, was settled between the years 1830 and 1840 by French colonists, who were induced to locate there by the proprietors of a large tract of land for which they held warrants.  Among the first of these colonists was Francis Coudriet and his family.  Both he and his wife were natives of France. They came to America in the year 1831.  When at Lebanon, Pa. , they stopped for a short time, and there the subject of this sketch, Leon Mitchell Coudriet, was born, on the 10th day of May, 1831.  Soon after this event the family came to Bellefonte, Centre county, where Francis was, for a time, employed working at the furnace.  While so engaged he made one or two trips to this region, and to the "Keating lands" (such being the name by which the lands in Covington were styled), and subsequently he made a purchase of fifty acres, receiving as a bonus, twelve acres additional.  Soon after this the family moved to Clearfield town.  From this point the father would walk to his tract, which was entirely covered with timber, and, with his ax alone, cleared the land sufficient for the erection of a log house, after which he, with his family, moved to the place.

Francis Coudriet was an enterprising, thrifty, honest, and progressive man.  By hard work and good judgment he acquired a comfortable fortune, and by his integrity and moral worth he gained that which is more to be desired, the respect and confidence of his fellowmen.  The stone used in the erection of St. Mary's Church at Frenchville was contributed by him, and taken from his land.   For a period of eighteen years he was postmaster at Frenchville.

Leon Mitchell Coudriet, the second of eleven children, sons and daughters of Francis Coudriet, seems to have possessed much of his father's enterprising spirit, and to have taken up that father's business upon the death of the latter in 1877, although Leon commenced his business operations several years earlier.  Up to the age of twenty-three years he worked at home with his father on the farm and in the woods, and having but little chance for an education.  In the year 1853 he married Gonpiere Guenot, an orphan girl, who had come to this country with relatives.  Of this marriage twelve children have been born, ten of whom are still living.  For a period of nearly a year after marriage, Leon lived with his parents, working at such business in which his father was engaged, and receiving no money compensation for his service. He then moved to Girard township and began life for himself.  In 1866 he opened a store on Buck Run, which he managed successfully until 1866, when he succeeded to the business formerly managed by Captain P.  A. Gaulin, at Mulsonburg, and then moved to that point.  Besides this mercantile business Mr. Coudriet has been, and still is engaged in extensive lumber operations, and in this direction has acquired a vast amount of real estate and some of the most desirable timber lands in the county.  By his several purchases his land, in acres, reaches an aggregate of nearly ten thousand, and much of it is underlaid with valuable coal deposits.  Upon the division of his father's estate he became the owner of most of it by purchasing the interests of the other heirs.  He is the owner of the flour and grist-mill at Frenchville; also has a saw-mill at the same place, and owns in other places, in whole, or in part, several saw-mills, all of which are in successful operation.  More than this he has, at Middletown, Dauphin county, an extensive sash, blind and door factory, and saw-mill.  

From his vast business interests it will be observed that Leon M. Coudriet is a very busy man, and finds but little time to devote to public affairs; nevertheless, there is no man in the northern part of the county that takes greater interest in the welfare of the community, or of his people, than he.  His sound judgment and business capacity, together with a reputation he bears for honesty and integrity, places him in an enviable position before the people, and has gained for him their unbounded confidence and respect.   Political aspirations, he has none, yet in every campaign his influence is felt in support of the Democracy.  To the building and support of St. Mary's Church he contributed generously of his means.  For about eight years he has been the postmaster at Frenchville post-office.

Source: Pages 703-704, History of Clearfield County, Pennsylvania, edited by Lewis Cass Aldrich, Syracuse, NY:   D. Mason & Co., Publishers, 1887.
Transcribed January 2011 by Alice J. Gayley for the Clearfield County Aldrich Project
Published 2011 by the Clearfield County Genealogy Project

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