Mary Gysin Leonard was born around 1845. She was a pioneer attorney
in the state of Oregon. As a Swiss immigrant who moved to the Northwest
territory after the Civil War. Her two-year marriage to Daniel Leonard ended
in divorce. Her ex-husband, who refused to honor a court order for providing
support, was found dead in 1878 from a gunshot wound. Leonard was charged
but acquitted of murder that many believed she had committed.
After her trial, she studied law and became the first female lawyer admitted to
the bar in the Washington Territory and in the state of Oregon in 1884. She
continued to practice law in Portland until June 1912. Leonard died October
24, 1912 at the Multnomah County Hospital of heart disease. The Oregon
Woman Lawyers’ chapter in Marion County is named in her honor.