Cynthia was the daughter of William and Rachel Hicks Van Name. Her mother was Rachel Hicks, daughter of Benjamin and Cynthia Ward Hicks.
Before her marriage to Charles E. Leonard, a publisher, she and her sister Catherine Celeste Van Name were dress makers in Buffalo, living with their widowed mother Rachel.
Cynthia and Charles were married in Buffalo, New York, on October 10, 1852. Shortly after their marriage the moved to Michigan. They became parents of seven children born in Michigan, Iowa, and Chicago, Illinois: Ida Kate, Jennie Harriet, Leona Frederica "Nannie", Helen Louise "Nellie", Susan Beatrice, Samuel Jarvis and Emma Blanche.
Their daughter Nellie was the famous Lillian Russell.
Cynthia was enumerated on the 1900 U.S. Census of Manhattan, New York, as a widowed mother-in-law in the home of Edward and Ida K. Schultz.
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