The son of Phineas and Caroline Whitney, Leonard was born in Nebraska in 1885. He came to the Ypsilanti, North Dakota community with his parents, as a boy, to farm northeast of Ypsilanti, in Stutsman County. He attended the Ypsilanti schools.
He was married to Anna Schultz, the daughter of William and Wilhelmina Schultz, and a native of the Ypsilanti community. He farmed with his father for a while, then moved into Ypsilanti, where he worked at the elevator.
In their later years, they moved to Jamestown, where Leonard was employed as cream buyer. They had one son, Clarence, who married Helen Elliot.