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)
Earlier this year I purchased the above family group picture, which is encased in glass and taped up along the edges. On the back is written "CHRISTMAS 1891", followed by the names of the individuals gathered for this occasion. They are, left to right:
Mrs. Julia Angeline (Fifield) Danforth, wife of George
Mrs. John B. D. Leavitt, Hannah (Moody) Leavitt
Leon E. Leavitt (son of John & Hannah)
Mr. John B. D. Leavitt
Mrs. Ida Belle (Danforth) Leavitt
Mr. George U. L. Leavitt
The family of John Bell DeMerritt Leavitt can be found in the Descendants of Nehemiah Leavitt VI, pg 105-106. His son George was married to Ida B. Danforth, the only child of George L. and Julia A. (Fifield) Danforth. Her parents were divorced in 1891 (though the 1900 census and city directories called Julia a widow), and they lived at her mother's home on Mascoma Street in Lebanon, New Hampshire. There are other blog entries for both John and son George.
It is unclear whose house this Christmas meeting was photographed in, whether that of John B. D. Leavitt (long since demolished), or the Danforth/Leavitt home at 40 Mascoma (still standing).
MERRY CHRISTMAS, LEAVITT COUSINS!!
This is George Ulysses Lincoln Leavitt, the son of John B.D. and Hannah E. (Moody) Leavitt, and a flyer for his 1932 run for sheriff of Grafton County, New Hampshire.
Per the "Descendants of Nehemiah Leavitt" genealogy , pg 106/153, he held various governmental jobs in Lebanon, NH, including assistant postmaster and assistant deputy sheriff in 1891. He was appointed deputy sheriff in 1920 and continued with that until the Superior Court appointed him sheriff, prior to this election, when he ran to keep this position.
He won with 1539 votes; Carl Crowley, the Democratic candidate, received 1072.
John Bell DeMerritt Leavitt, the son of Samuel P and Mahala (Watson) Leavitt, was born in Nottingham, NH on 17 Dec 1825 [Desc. of Nehemiah Leavitt, pg 105]. He died in Boston, MA on 18 Oct 1894 [MA vr], and was buried in Stowe, Vermont [Find a Grave].
He was a machinist and inventor, and was part of the foundry firm of "Cole, Bugbee and Leavitt" in Lake Village, NH in the 1860's. They relocated to Lebanon, NH in 1868, and John was superintendent of the machine shop there. Some time following the 1880 census, he went to work in Boston, and is seen in the street directories of the city until his death in 1894.
The Nehemiah genealogy mentions that John "built a home on Bank Street in Lebanon in 1870, razed in 1925 to build the Lebanon High School, now the Junior High". Using an 1892 map of the city, his home was found on the 1884 "bird's eye view" map of Lebanon. A current view in Google maps does show the Jr High School at that location.
A Leavitt Photo archive
Photographs of our Leavitt cousins, and brief write-ups about them