Leonard (Liney) Tracy  (1853-1921) of Brooklyn NY, Heavy Weight Boxer, Politician  and Saloon Keeper




Leonard (Liney) Tracy


March 30, 1921 The Brooklyn Standard Union

Liney Tracy, famous sparring partner of Sullivan, buried

Leonard (Liney) Tracy has been laid to rest. The famous heavy Weight boxer of a half century ago,  sparring partner, trainer and most  intimate friend of John L. Sullivan, when the Boston "Strong Boy" was  champion of the world, was buried  this morning in Holy Cross Cemetery. Requiem mass was celebrated at 9:30| o'clock at the Church of the Blessed Sacrament, of which he was a member. It was the last act of a career that was varied in its interests and in its achievements.

Death, which occurred on Sunday was the result of a lingering Illness. He was troubled with diabetes for the past several years, which developed to dangerous proportions five months ago. He lived with his niece and grandniece at 218 Logan street. He was 68 years old.

His public career can be said to have Started nearly fifty years ago when he met Alec Brown and Jimmy Elliott in finish matches. Born in the old Seventh Ward, he early learned how to use his fists. While never a champion, he fought the best heavyweights of his clay without meeting with a decisive reverse. He toured the country several times, meeting all comers. His last appearance in the ring as a principal was in 1889, when ho engaged in a four round go with Joe McAuliffe, the San Francisco "Mission Boy" in Manhattan.

Tracy's interest in sporting events never waned, even after he left the ranks of the active participants , No fight of importance was staged anywhere in this country up to a few years ago, when illness interfered with his desires, that Tracy was not at the ringside. Of late years, he has appeared in the role of stakeholder for big wagers. On the night that Mike O'Dowd separated Al McCoy from the middleweight title, he held several thousands of dollars In bets.

His connections with Sullivan began shortly before the Latter's fight with Kilrain in Mississippi, and continued until after the battle with Charley Mitchell in Chantilly, France, He trained Sullivan for both of these scraps, and later appeared with him on a theatrical tour. Tracy acted as sparring partner for the champion in most of his exhibition bouts.

He was a member of the James P. Sinnott Democratic Club and has been very active in politics, holding several municipal positions. He was well known in political circles and claimed the warm friendship of Municipal Court Judge James Dunn and of Supreme Court Justice Aspinall.

In his younger days Tracy was something of a Beau Brummel, Handsome, and Wonderfully proportioned, he made an imposing figure while dressed in the fashions of the day. His Irish wit and ever ready smile made him a bout of friends, which he kept until the day of his death. He was an inimitable story teller, which added to his popularity.

He took particular delight in telling of his trip across the Mojave Desert on foot. He started with three companions, but the others deserted him before they went far, he continued on alone, although If took him a few weeks to complete the journey. It was believed for a while that he had been lost, but finally turned up. not seriously injured by his experiences.

Another that he liked to tell concerned the occasion on which he referred to the battle in 1884 between the rival Brooklyn middleweights. Yellow Martin and Young Horace. Not all of our best people attended the bouts in those days, and this one staged, where Wallace's Baseball Grounds are located now, was no exception. No one cared to act as referee, until Tracy was drafted into service. He accepted the job, and his verdict of a draw stood without an argument. 


January 22, 1870 The New York Clipper

The Ring

A mill on Long Island

A couple of heavy weight novices named Alex Brown and Leonard Tracy, residing in the City of Churches...[Tracy won]


10 June 1882 Brooklyn Union Argus

An Intending Prize-Fighter Arrested.

Leonard Tracey, aged 29, of 315 Franklin avenue, was arrested to-day by Detectives Powers and Ennis, charged with violating the State law concerning prize-fighting, it being alleged that be was training to fight Alex Brown, of the Ninth Ward, for the sum of $200, on the 22d inst. Tracey was at his house preparing to go to Rockaway when arrested. Justice Walsh held him to answer the charge, fixing bail at $1,000.


June 24, 1882 The sun (NY)

Prize-Fighter Tracy Held for Trial.

Leonard Tracy, who two weeks ago fought a price right with Alexander Brown, was arrested yesterday In his cousin's liquor store, at Forty sixth street and Second avenue, this city. He was taken to Gravesend, and was there held in bonds for trial by Justice Williams.


14 June 1884 New York Herald

Leonard Tracy, the stout, muscular-looking pugilist of Brooklyn, figured in a rattling glove contest In Brooklyn on June 13, His opponent was Hughey Burns, who was beaten in a four-round glove contest by Joe Pendergast. Only a select party assembled to witness the affair. It was decided to fight according lo London ring rules, with small gloves, and everything was quietly arranged, where and time were chosen and the fight began...

Round 7.—Tracy went in to do or die. and kept his arm going like a wind-mill, hitting right and left. Barns tried to get away from some of the heaviest of those blows, but In stopping a left-hander got In the way of Tracy's right duke, which caught him squarely on his jaw, and he crashed down limply on the floor, and was knocked insensible, And could not come to lime for the next round, and Tracy was declared the victor. The whole time of the fight was 13 minutes 25 seconds,   


July 1889 Brooklyn NY Daily Eagle

Waiting for Sullivan

Enthusiastic Crowds Looking for the Big Fellow.

Mr, Leonard Tracy Gets a Big Reception in the Seventh Ward and, After Some Difficulty, Succeeds In Making a Speech—He calls the Meeting to Order and Adjourns It Like a Czar.

This recherche announcement reached the EAGLE office per postal card last evening, and a reporter was immediately dispatched to cover the momentous affair:

The officers of the Leonard Tracy Association will give their standard bearer a grand reception when he comes to the club house on his return from the great fight. Yours, truly,

 ROBEBT F. GILLES, Secretary

Mr. Tracy was found in his palatial hostelry, 195 Clifton place, sipping cocoa and recounting his adventures to some favored friends, including Messrs. Charles J. Finnick, James E. Cnrran, Edward Newman, Matthew Morton, Frank Bishop, James Piorson, Thomas Kane, Nicholas Conley, Edward Grendin, Nicholas Vogt, John McGurk, Joseph Connoll. Edward Fields, John Ennis, James Hanley, John- Carroll and James Freel.

The gentlemen named were a committee from the James E. Curran Association, a most potent organization in Seventh Ward Democratic politics, to whose annual target reunions and chowder receptions only the elite of the ward are invited. They had called on Mr. Tracy to tender him the presidency of the James E. Curran Association as a token of their commendation of the manner in which he had, as personal umpired conducted to unquestioned victory Mr. John Lawrence Sullivan (an honorary, member of the club) in his fistic encounter with one Kilrain on the 8th inst. When the announcement was made to Mr. Tracy his good natured face was a study. There he sat in his neglige shirt of some Bichburg, Miss., manufacture; creole embroidered slippers and other fixings, and' as tears of gratitude came to his eyes, he said in husky tones:

"What'll ye have?"

 Bonfires and fireworks blazed in the street, been washed down the cocoa. Carriages came, and to the Finnick Assembly Booms, at Lafayette and Classoa avenues, were rolled the party.

"Yo have asked me about the forty-fourth round." said Mr. Tracy, pulling Off his amber dyed kids after his due election to the chair.

"Gentlemen, that was a round. You have asked why Mr. Kilrain did not proceed to 'do' Mr. Sullivan when the latter was forced to regurgitate."

"Be-what, Liney?" said an interrupter.

 "Re-gnr-gi-tate," said Mr. Tracy with awful scorn. "As I was saying, gentlemen, you have asked me why Mr. Kilrain did not proceed to 'do.' Mr. Sullivan in the time of his vomition—"

"Ah! come off the perch, Liney," said another young man in a back pew.

"This meetin 'll come to order, or I'll knock the stuff out o' the next man what shouts," said Mr. Tracy, smashing the foot thick marble gavel block with his fist. '"The reason that stuff Kilrain didn't go in an' 'do' John when ho was heavin' up, was because the stuff was fought to a standstill. This mcetin's adjourned."


27 Sept 1889 The Brooklyn Daily Eagle

Mr. Tracy Pounds Mr. Murray and Then Goes to Newbnrgh, to be pounded by Mr. Sullivan.

Ever since he had the distinguished privilege of being bottle holder for the Hon. J. Lawrence Sullivan at the latter's seance with the Hon. L Kilrain at Richburg, Miss., on July 8, the Hon. Leonard, alias Liney Tracy, of Clifton place, has added an extra Johnny Dwyer swagger to his strut and has been twitted thereon by the Hon. Robert Murray, of Willoughby street, formerly the "Supreme Court Justice of Coney Island." Recently Mr. Tracy met Mr. Murray and the latter being in a very tired condition Mr. Tracy punched his head severely, after which Mr. Tracy went to Newburgh where, at an entertainment at Dillon's Athletic Grounds, he put on the gloves with Mr. Sullivan, who was pleasantly exhilarated, and proceeded to sweep the ring with Mr. Tracy. Mr. Murray has proclaimed that he will do likewise when Mr. Tracy returns.


February 13 1890 The Standard Union (Brooklyn NY)

[Leonard] Martin is a nephew ot "Liney" Tracy, the pugilist. Tracy bailed Martin out last night and appeared with him before Justice Walsh this morning, to commend him to the leniency of the court. Justice Walsh imposed a line of $3 and dismissed Martin, with a warning to behave better in the future. The fine was paid by Tracy.


February 15, 1890 The Sun (NY)

Paddy Smith, the light weight champion pugilist of Brooklyn, accompanied by his backer, Leonard Tracy, called at the Police Gazette offices yesterday...To prove I mean business my backer, Leonard Tracy, has posted $100 with the Police Gazette


29 Jan 1890 The Brooklyn Daily Eagle

More County Appointments.

"Liney" Tracy Will be a Keeper in the Penitentiary

The Charities Commissioners to-day gave the appointment mill another start and ground out places for seven more Democrats, displacing as many Republican officeholders...


February 19 1890 The Standard Union (Brooklyn NY)

On Feb. 15 the pugilist "Liney" Tracy was transferred from his position of keeper at the Penitentiary to the mechanics' department as janitor.


29 Oct 1891 The Brooklyn Daily Eagle

It is known that nearly three times as many men are on the pay roll as alleged mechanics as were under nay at any one time since 1880. Here is a specimen of the kind of material found in this branch of its service: "Liney" Tracy, well known in sporting circles as a pugilist and prize fighter, and in business circles as the proprietor of a liquor saloon in Clifton place in this city, has regularly drawn a salary from the charities department as a painter since February, 1890. 


9 Dec 1897 The New York Herald 

Horse Burned To Death.

Mrs. Tracy Discovered the Fire and, Attired in Night Dress, Gave the Alarm.

Mrs. Edith Tracy, wife of "Liney" Tracy, discovered, at two o'clock yesterday morning, that a stable in the rear of her home, at No. 210 Clifton place, was in flames. Clad only in her night clothes she ran to the street to give the alarm.

Finding the thoroughfare deserted Mrs. Tracy hurried to her husband's place of business, half a block away, and made known her mission.

Tracy summoned the firemen and then accompanied his wife back home.

The stable, a frame structure, was damaged to the extent of $200.

A horse valued at $100 and owned by Edward Schultz, of No. 1.102 Bedford avenue, was burned to death. The origin of the flames is not known.    


20 Aug 1905 The Sunday Telegraph (NY)

John L.'s Old Trainer In Scrap

...Tracy is 55 years old, lives at 980 Bergen street, Brooklyn and is still a fine specimen of muscular manhood...


10 Jan 1906 The Auburn Citizen

Liney Tracy of the Fourth Assembly district of Kings, has been appointed an assistant deputy sheriff under Sheriff Flaherty. The new appointee carried his election district for the M. O. L. candidates against the opposition of District Leader Bouck of the regular Democratic organization. Liney was on the great John L. Sullivan's sparring and training staff when the big fellow was In his prime. Liney ought to be able to handle any criminal who fails into Sheriff Flaherty's care. 


September 10, 1929 Standard Union (NY)

Some of the lesser known fighters who were Brooklyn products included..."Liney" Tracy, who kept a corned beef and cabbage place in Clifton place...






Leonard Tracey, 26, single, b. 1853 Brooklyn, (s. of William Tracey & Ellen Parker) married Bridget Degnan, 30, single, b. 1849 Ireland (d. of Patrick Degnan & Margt. Dalton) 23 Mar 1879 Brooklyn, Kings, New York, United States


1880 Census - 400 Kent West Side Nytle Flushing Brooklyn, Kings, New York

Leonard Tracy             Self      M         30        New York, United States, labourer, parents born Ireland

Bridget Tracy Wife    F          33        Ireland

Ellen Tracy      Daughter         F          0y2m   New York, United States


16 April 1889 Brooklyn Daily eagle

Degnan - On Monday. April 15. Lawrence F. Degnan in the 27th year of his age. Friends and relatives are respectfully invited to attend his funeral' from the residence of his brother in law, Leonard Tracy. 195 Clifton place, on Wednesday April 17 at 2 o'clock, interment in Holy Cross Cemetery, Flatbush, L. 1.


1889 Lain's Brooklyn Directory

Tracy Leonard, liquors, 195 Clifton pi, h 463 De Kalb av


1892 Census - 21st district, seventh Ward Brooklyn  NY

Leonard Tracy, 39, U.S., citizen, liquors

Bridget Tracy, 44, Ireland, citizen


1894 Lain & Healy's elite directory of Brooklyn

Leonard Tracy 210 Clifton Place


1897-98 Lain's Directory Brooklyn

Tracy Leonard  liquors 316 Franklin av h 210 Clifton pl


1900 Census - 210 Clifton Place, Borough of Brooklyn, Election District 15 New York City Ward 7, Kings, New York

Leonard Tracey           Head   M         47        b. Aug 1853 New York, parents born Ireland, [Employed] NJ aos

Bridget Tracey            Wife    F          50        b. April 1850 Ireland, 21 years married, 1 child alive, emigrated 1853


28 May 1892 The Brooklyn Daily Eagle

Degnan - On Saturday May 28, Patrick E. Degnan, aged 35 years.

Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to attend the funeral from the residence of his brother in law, Leonard Treacy, 195 Clifton pl, on Thursday, May 31 at 2 o'clock.


1905 Census - 980 Bergen Street, Brooklyn, Kings, New York

Leonard B Tracey       Head   M         53y      United States, laborer Adj Office

Bridget Tracey            Wife    F          57y      Ireland


1910 Census - 218 Logan Street, Brooklyn Ward 26, Kings, New York

Lenoard Tracy             Head   M         55        New York, 33 when married, parents born Ireland, Inspector Corporations

Bridget Tracy Wife    F          60        Ireland, 33 when married, 1 child, none alive, emigrated 1855


24 July 1913 Brooklyn Daily Eagle

Mrs. Bridget Tracy.

Mrs. Bridget Tracy, the wife of Leonard Tracy of 218 Logan street, East New York, was accidently killed, Monday evening, in Bridgeport. Conn, where she went to visit her cousin, Mrs. Annie Morgan. She was precipitated in the darkness to the bottom of a stairway, receiving injuries from which she died the following day. The remains have been brought to Brooklyn. Leonard Tracy, the husband of deceased, is well known in Brooklyn. He was a keeper in Raymond street jail under Sheriff Flaherty, and is now an Inspector for the Department of Highways. Mrs. Tracy, who was the daughter of the late Patrick and Margaret Dagman was born in Westmeath, Ireland, 65 years ago, and formerly lived for fifty years in the Seventh Ward. She was a member of the Church of the  Blessed Sacrament and Nativity Council, C. W. B. L. She leaves her husband and a brother , James Dagman. 


1920 Census - 218 Logan Street, Brooklyn Assembly District 22, Kings, New York

Leonard Tracy             Head   M         66        New York, widowed, parents b. Ireland, Inspector City Rail Way

Elizabeth Tingley        Niece   F          47        New York, widowed, father b. Pennsylvania, mother b. Ireland

Margaret Tingley         Daughter         F          16        New York


Leonard Tracy died 27 Mar 1921 Brooklyn Kings New York, Age 67, Widowed, retired, b. 1854 Brooklyn New York (s. of William Tracy & Ellen Barker both born Ireland), buried 30 Mar 1921 Holy Cross


March 28. 1921 The Brooklyn Standard Union

Leonard Tracy.

Leonard Tracy, for fifteen years an inspector in the Department of Highways and born in the old Seventh Ward, died yesterday at his home, 218 Logan street. He was a son of the late William and Ellen Barker Logan and was a member of the Church of the Nativity. He is survived by several nieces and nephews. He was a member of the James P. Sinnott Democratic Club of the Twenty-second Assembly District. The funeral will be held Wednesday at 9 A. M., with requiem mass at the Church of the Blessed Sacrament, Fulton street and Euclid avenue. Interment will be made under direction of Thomas F. Madden, 917 Kent avenue.


March 29, 1921 New-York tribune

'Liney' Tracy, Sparring Partner of John L. Dies

Leonard (Liney) Tracy, for years sparring partner with John L. Sullivan, one of the world's greatest heavy weight ring champions, and with whom he traveled all over the country, died yesterday at 21 Logan Street, Brooklyn, where for years past he had made his home with his niece and grandniece.

Tracy, who was active in Democratic politics in the old Seventh Ward, was a friend of almost all the men in public life in this city.

For several years past Tracy had been ill from diabetes, and his condition became so serious recently that he had to stay at home. He fought the illness to the end, but weakened Sunday night. He was sixty-eight years old.



Last update: 15 March 2018