JUSTIN M. LEAVITT was 17 years, 8 months and 12 days old when he enlisted in his hometown of Buxton, Maine on Dec. 19th, 1863. On his enlistment paper, he wrote "about eighteen years" for his age, and his father Alvah signed the consent form to allow his only son to join the army. From there, he was sent to Portland, Maine, where he would be mustered in for three years with the First Maine Heavy Artillery Regiment.
Originally the 18th Maine Infantry, the regiment had converted over to an artillery unit, and was in the process of recruiting more men to fill their ranks. The soldiers were then shipped to Washington, DC, where they would be trained in both artillery and infantry instruction, and serve in the defense of the capital, until otherwise needed.
The need for these troops came in the spring of 1864, when Gen. Grant began his Overland Campaign in Virginia, and sent the Army of the Potomac to Spotsylvania Court House. On May 19th, the 1st ME Heavy Art., along with four other artillery regiments converted to infantry, entered the fight at the Harris Farm.
Justin would be one of over 500 men in the regiment who fell that day, the majority of them wounded. He received a gunshot wound in his left leg that fractured his tibia. Caught under fire in the field, he had to wait until after dusk for help to reach him and get him to an aid station. They concluded that his leg would need to be amputated, and he was shipped with others to Lincoln Hospital in Washington, DC, a three day trip. Despite the pain, he continually begged for surgeons not to take his leg, and they eventually complied with his plea.
He spent four months in the DC hospital before being sent back to Maine, where his care continued, until discharged from service on the 4th of Apr, 1865.
Upon returning home to Buxton, he entered the Gorham Seminary school, and would also teach school during the months not in class. In 1871, he was appointed mail agent on the Portland & Rochester Railroad, which was later expanded to reach Nashua, NH and Worcester, MA. He was transferred to the Boston & Troy mail line (Hoosac Tunnel route) in Jan. 1878, and was promoted to head clerk.
In August of 1882, he ran for the office of Registrar of Deeds in York County and won the position. He resigned from his railroad job to accept this new line of work on the 1st of Jan., 1883. He held the job for twenty years.
Prior to 1890, he and wife Ella had moved from Buxton to Alfred, Maine and, before 1909, were residing in Kennebunkport. Justin was the owner of the "Stone Haven" summer hotel at Cape Porpoise (it burned in 1931, a couple of weeks before his death), and several islands (Milk, Savin, Bush, and part of Folly) offshore.
In 1902, the governor appointed him state liquor commissioner, a job he held until 1911. He was director of the Fidelity Trust Co. in Portland, and had served as commissioner of the Kennebunk and Wells Water District for twelve years.
He was a member of the Knights Templar and was a 32nd degree Mason, having been a member for over 60 years. He was also a member of the John H. Came G.A.R. Post in Buxton, Society of the Army of the Potomac, and the Third Army Corps Union.
He was the son of Alvah and Margaret McArthur (Libby) Leavitt, and had been born in Limington on 7 Apr 1846, moving to Buxton when seven years old. His ancestry can be found in The Descendants of Thomas Leavitt, pg 102.
First Maine Heavy Artillery Monthly Return: May 1864 (Family Search)
Biddeford Daily Journal, Fri., 1 May 1931, pg 1
Biddeford Weekly Journal, Fri., 17 Jan 1908, pg 7
Men of progress; biographical sketches and portraits of leaders in business and professional life in and of the state of Maine, pg 247 (Internet Archive)
Sanford Tribune and Advocate, Thurs, 7 May 1931, pg 1
The First Maine Heavy Artillery, by Shaw and House (1903): Leavitt on pg 358; 445
From the American Biography: A New Cyclopedia, Vol. 5, by William R. Cutter, is this photograph of JOHN PARSONS LEAVITT. He was a Lynn, Massachusetts native, born there on 14 May 1847 to William Parsons and Sarah (Jordan) Leavitt. His parents, having married in Lynn in 1837, had removed to Lebanon, NH soon after, and later went to Woodstock, VT, before returning to the city prior to John's birth. His father was a machinist, a manufacturer of parts for shoe making machinery, with a shop on South Common. He afterwards moved to Federal Street, where he would manufacture wax for the McKay Sewing Machine (for shoes).
John's mother died from consumption in February, 1863 at the age of 45. The following year, at only 16 years, 9 mos, he signed up with the 3rd Massachusetts Cavalry. He claimed to be 18 1/2 years old, and gave them his brother Albert's birthplace of Woodstock, VT, perhaps as a way for recruiters to not be able to verify his age. When a minor under 21 enlisted, a parent or guardian usually signed a consent form. John, however, told recruiters that both of his parents were dead, and "I am free to enlist if I choose."
He was mustered into Company H on 3 March 1863, for three years of service. The summer of '64 found him hospitalized in Halltown, Virginia due to sickness. Following the ending of the war, the Third Mass Cavalry rode to Washington and participated in the Grand Review on May 23rd. Expecting to then be sent home for mustering out, they instead received orders to ship out west for Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, arriving near the end of June. Pvt. Leavitt became sick again, and spent his time "on the plains" in the fort's hospital. During that time, he was transferred into Co. B, and remained on the rolls until being mustered out on 8 Aug. 1865.
He returned home, and went into the machinist trade like his father. Following his father's passing in 1870, he took over the wax manufacturing business, and ran it for about eighteen years, before selling out to a Boston company. His biography says he also had an interest in real estate but, by the 1890's, he had retired from business life. He was a member of the Golden Fleece Masonic Lodge in Lynn.
In 1869, he had been married to Josephine Cilley, the daughter of David T. and Sylvina Cilley of Nottingham, NH. In 1877, he had purchased 15 acres of land from his in-laws [Rock. Deeds, Vol. 472, pg 232], and had lived there for a time, but they returned to Lynn prior to 1886, still keeping the Nottingham place for a summer home. They had a house on Walnut Street in Lynn, just a few blocks over from where he grew up on Federal St. The home still stands today.
John P. Leavitt died on 22 Sep 1915, aged 68 yrs, and was buried in Pine Grove Cemetery in Lynn. His wife Josie passed away in 1925. They had no children.
The American Biography books were published by the American Historical Society, Inc. of New York, beginning in 1916, and compiled by a staff of editors over its 50 plus volume run through 1933. The above photograph was a scan of a separated page from Vol. 5 (1919), its pages having been dissected and the images sold individually on Ebay (2021). Link to book and bio:
Cutter, W. Richard. American biography: a New Cyclopedia. New York: Pub. under the direction of the American Historical Society. 1916. - on Hathitrust or Google
1850 Lynn, Essex, MA: hh 581/791; William P. a shoe tool maker; John P, age 2
1860 Lynn, Essex, MA census (pg 401): hh 2484/3429, John P, age 12, w/ parents
1865 MA State Census, Lynn, MA: hh 733; Wm P, 49, wax manuf, John P., 18, wax maker
1870 Lynn, MA census (pg 134): hh 898/1204; John P., 23, machinist, w/ father
1880 Nottingham, Rockingham, NH census (pg 9): hh 82/87; listed as farmer
1900 Lynn, MA census (pg 3A): lived 140 Walnut, retired, owned home
1910 Lynn, MA census (pg 23B): hh 249/386; lived 202 Walnut (same home, # changed); John, a.63, w/ Josephine, a. 58, "own income", marked a Union Army veteran
City Directories (Lynn): 1871, 1882, 1886-7, 1895, 1902
Civil War Pension Index: Co. H & B, 3. Mass Cav; filed 17 May 1909 (cert #1,155,827), widow Josie filed 15 Oct 1915 (cert #801,279)
Civil War Service Records: full file for John P. Leavitt on Fold3.com (requires subscription)
This is a photo of CHARLES W LEAVITT, one of many post-war pictures collected by the author of the "History of the Sixteenth Regiment, New Hampshire Volunteers", for use in the book, published in 1897. Charles had served as a private in Company K, enlisting from Portsmouth, NH on 18 Sept 1862, and mustered in on 25 Oct '62, to serve nine months. He was mustered out on 20 Aug 1863.
Born ca 1836 in Portland, Maine [Descriptive roll] to Daniel C and Martha W (Morton) Leavitt, he was married to MARY ANN RILEY of Quebec, on 6 Nov 1857 in Portsmouth, NH [NH Marr Rec]. They seem to have divorced (no record yet found of this), as they both remarried. Charles was secondly married to ANNIE M KEENAN, on 2 Oct 1866 in Exeter, NH [NH Marr Rec], and lived in OshKosh, Wisconsin (where his parents had moved), New York City and Chicago, Illinois. He was a widower by 1900, and was soon after admitted to the National Home of Disabled Soldiers. He died in Montgomery, Ohio on 9 July 1915, and was buried in the Dayton National Cemetery.
Charles appears to have only had two children, both with first wife Mary. In the North Cemetery in Portsmouth, NH stands a shared stone for these youngsters, both of them dying while young. LIZZIE A LEAVITT died on 15 Nov 1859, AE 15 mos, 10 das, and CHARLIE LEAVITT died on 24 July 1860.
- written by Steve (photos from personal collection). Note: Charles' ex-wife Mary (Riley) would remarry in 1866, to JOHN T H DOW. They are my 2nd Great Grandparents.
- Townsend, Luther Tracy. History of the Sixteenth Regiment, New Hampshire Volunteers. Washington, DC: Norman T Elliott, 1897 (Page 556 is Leavitt bio)
- Find a Grave entry for: Charles W Leavitt at the Dayton Nat'l Cem
- Noyes, Emily Leavitt. LEAVITT Descendants of Thomas Leavitt, the Immigrant 1616-1696, and Isabella Bland. Concord, NH: Evans Printing Co. c1953. Charles can be found on page 91, under father Daniel (Robert, Jonathan, Jonathan, Thomas, Aretas, Thomas)
A Leavitt Photo archive
Photographs of our Leavitt cousins, and brief write-ups about them