This creased and torn photograph was purchased on Ebay back in February, an unbelievable $4. special labeled as a posed haying photo, with Dr. James Leavitt mentioned in the auction headline. On the reverse side, besides the doctor, it also mentions "Laurence, Mel, Frank Leavitt". No location was written on it, but a quick search easily found the only family to match these names.
This is the family of Dr. James Mellen Leavitt of Lord's Hill in Effingham, New Hampshire. He was born 26 Jul 1852 in Effingham, NH, the son of James Bean and Mary (Lamper) Leavitt [Desc. of Thomas Leavitt v4, pg 123/180 & v4-1990 pt1 p17] and was married to Emma Estelle Leavitt, dau. of Thomas B and Elizabeth H (Jordan) Leavitt [Desc. of Samuel Leavitt v5, pg 152], born 10 Oct 1855 in Boston, Suffolk, MA. They had nine children (While the 1900-'10 censuses both say "ch 7/5", NH VR show two more children had died in infancy), five of whom grew to adulthood.
When comparing the ages of the three boys, Laurence, "Mel" (Mellen), and Frank, in the picture with the above 1910 census, it seems to show the picture was taken around that year. If Dr. Leavitt is in the foreground, then the older man standing at the right in the wagon may be a farm laborer (in 1920, the family had hired man Fred Murray living with them, aged 46). The three women would likely be Estelle and their two daughters, Mae and Gladys.
In the photo, an outline of mountains can barely be seen off in the far distance. From the 2008 Google Street View of Province Lake Road, the same range can be seen when looking westward over the former Leavitt farmland (the homestead is on opposite side of road). GPS: 43.760260, -70.997582
Below is the satellite view of this neighborhood, with the old home and the family cemetery marked. In one of the fields opposite the home this old photo was taken. Much of the landscape has likely changed in the last 100 years, but the general location of this "photoshoot" is at least known. The NALF Reunion of 1990 visited Effingham and toured many of the buildings in town.
This amazing photo of the Dr. Leavitt homestead was sent to us by Pete Michaud (Nov 2021). On the back, only James was identified, as the man with beard (he is in the center with the doctor's bag). Based on the three children in photo, it is likely dated circa 1893, with woman on steps probably his wife, and his mother (who lived with him) sitting in the chair. The man beside the horse is likely a hired farm hand.
Dr. Leavitt died at the Mass State Hospital in Boston, MA on 10 Feb 1931, while E. Estelle died in Effingham, NH on 23 Feb 1942. Both are buried in the family cemetery, opposite their late home.
A Leavitt Photo archive
Photographs of our Leavitt cousins, and brief write-ups about them