So…I can’t remember the first time I heard about the legend of Ol’ Leathery, but all I remember was how his story just resonated with me. I became fascinated with researching all things Leatherman, and even started sharing his story with anyone who would listen. People want to know who the “strange looking guy” is in the pictures I have hung in my small barn, so at first I tell them it was my great, great, great uncle Jules Bourglay – I really feel like he could have been. This happens to others too. Then the storytelling begins, and soon the books, articles, songs, and pictures come out, and his legend lives again.
The Leatherman took the secrets of his identity to his grave – he fiercely guarded his privacy and lived humbly on the roads and hills of Connecticut and New York for over 30 years. Rarely did he speak, and his solitary life was one of mystery and wonderment for those that encountered him. That’s why at first I was excited to see his picture on the front page of the Waterbury Republican-American on Monday, November 29. The title of the article read “Who Was The Leatherman?” and a caption under his photo stated “Researchers are planning to dig up the Leather Man’s grave next year in an attempt to determine his identity.”
My stomach turned.
I went online and fired off a pretty nasty comment, some of the wording of which I now regret. I haven’t stopped thinking about it since.
Read the article from the Nov. 29, 2010 Republican-American.
If you are not able to read the full article, a text-only version appears here
I have created this site to inform and educate, and give myself and others a forum to speak their minds on this topic. All comments are welcome, and please feel free to sign the guestbook. I only ask that we all take a cue from Old Leathery himself, because although he didn’t use words and he looked a wreck, he somehow still managed to represent himself with dignity to the strangers he met.