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
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.
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 recent addition to my personal collection, this cabinet card photo was labeled as "Grace S Leavitt, East Lexington, Mass, June 1895", and was from a collection of photos of Salem Normal School graduates from that year.
Further research found her to be Grace Sanford Leavitt, the daughter of Alonzo and Emma J (Derby) Leavitt, who was born in Lexington, MA on 5 July 1875. Records of the State Normal School in Salem, MA do show her attending classes there.
Grace went on to work as a clerk for the State House, and would later become head clerk for the Department of Corporations and Taxes in Boston. Moving from Lexington, she afterwards lived in Boston and Canton, MA. She did not marry until late in life, to the widower Nixon Waterman in 1940. He died in 1944, and she passed away in Sharon, MA on 15 Feb 1970.
She was a member of the old NALF organization, becoming the association secretary in 1938, a position she held for six years. She was Thomas line (Thomas Book, pg 103).
- posted by Steve
A Leavitt Photo archive
Photographs of our Leavitt cousins, and brief write-ups about them