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October 29, 2006


Joel Hickmann

When I was a teenager I lived on Old Farm Road, Pleasantville, NY, with woods that bordered Chappaqua and Armonk. The Leatherman's routes in the 1860's apparently included these areas also...The story I was always told was that he really died of a broken heart, from a woman back in France?? I first became aware of the story as a student at HC Crittenden School, then later at Byram Hills High School, in History class.

Dan DeLuca

The goal is not to determine his identity; “The Old Leather Man” will always remain as he lived a mystery.

The OLM’s grave is the most visited grave in the cemetery and is very close to the highway, there is a danger that someone may be hurt viewing his grave. For public safety and to show respect for the OLM, his grave will be relocated to a proper and safer resting place within the cemetery. At that time a sample will be taken to learn more about him, he will be treated with up most respect and a proper gravestone installed.

The Old Leather Man is entitled and deserves his rightfully place in history as Johnny Appleseed, Mark Twain, The Headless Horseman, Daniel Boone, and Paul Bunyan of American Folklore

After I started researching “The Old Leather Man,” and uncovered that he was not Jules Bourglay and he walked his famous circuit of 365 miles every 34 days from 1883 until he died on March 20, 1889. I also discovered before 1883 he was all over Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts, Vermont and it has been said Canada, I had a number of goals I wanted to accomplish.

1. Have the gravestone changed and have the name Jules Bourglay taken off, he has never been identified. When the name was put on the stone, the mystery of who he was; was declared solved, and researchers stopped researching him. I wanted to have him declared a mystery and an unknown, so researchers would begin researching him again. I am not interested in knowing his name, only more about him and his life.

2. To make sure his artifacts, and photographs etc, are preserved in historical societies and museums.

3. Collect as much information on him before it is lost forever and publish my research so my research will not disappear like so many researchers before me.

4. Rekindle the interest in him and pass his mysterious history and legend on to children, grandchildren and future researchers.

5. To encourage other’s to help in the research.

6. And to “Keep the Legend Alive”

If anyone has any information, wants to help in the research or has a question please email me [email protected]

Dan DeLuca


The newspaper said his remains will be removed to determine his identity, this is not true!

The goal is not to determine his identity. The Old Leather Man will always remain as he lived a mystery.

The OLM’s grave is the most visited grave in the cemetery, there is a danger that someone may be killed viewing his grave because of it's location next to the highway. The goal is to keep the public safe and to show respect for the OLM, his grave will be relocated to a safer resting place within the cemetery. He will be treated with up most respect and a proper gravestone installed.

“Keep the Legend Alive”


I have always been fascinated by this story. Did you hear that there are plans to dig up the Leatherman's grave, and perform research on his remains to determine his identity? http://leavetheleathermanalone.com/


This is weird! I stumbled on your site via google because I was looking for a map of Connecticut. It brought me to your map showing the Leatherman route. Ironically, just a few weeks ago there was an article in the Valley Gazette weekly featuring the Leatherman! Thought you'd like to see the link (since me finding your blog on the same topic can't be a coincidence)!


Joel Hickmann

I remember my 6th grade Social Studies teacher, Mr. Urso, in Armonk, NY, (in the 1960's) telling us stories about the Leatherman.. I belive the cave behind the Armonk Bowling lanes (still there?), and what used to be the site of the old Log Cabin restaurant , was one of leatherman's caves...J. Hickmann..Jan,2009


I believe recent evidence - or critically, lack of confirming evidence - reenforces the view that the Jules Bourglay identity of the Leatherman is false.

At the link you provided, Matt, there is Ray Wilson's Connecticut cave list that names many Leatherman caves in CT. The only one that I know of with a map is in Mattatuck State Forest in Thomaston.


Another researcher claims the story of Jules Bourgay was false. His name is Dan Deluca and he claims to have been researching this for 20 years... more info on that here: http://www.skyweb.net/~channy/leatherman.html

Does anyone have any maps to specific caves? I visited the one in Ward Pound Ridge Reservation in Pound Ridge NY, but am looking for maps to the others in Westchester, including Briarcliff, Armonk and Bedford Hills (I found a trail in Bedford Hills called Leatherman's Ridge, but couldn't find the cave off of those trails)>

Al Mollitor

I love stories about such unusual characters. John Hanson Mitchell talks about a modern-day wildman in the woods behind his house in Littleton, Massachusetts in one of his books ("Ceremonial Time," or, "Living at the End of Time.").

That is where I first read about the Green Man. It has become one of my favorite legends that has taken on a life of its own in my mind.


There are many Leatherman caves in these parts, and I got curious. There is a rich, regional folklore in these hills, but fewer of us are aware of it. The other post on Sarah Bishop included material from my own collection of regional history and family genealogy. I happened to have copies of many of the old texts I cited, as well as the image of her cave...

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