From Maine to Minnesota
JOSEPH D LEAVITT was born in Lincoln, Penobscot, Maine on 30 Dec 1829, the son of Joseph and Mary (Walls) Leavitt [Cambridge, ME Town Recs, 1792-1868; pg 24]. He moved to Cambridge with his family in 1844, and married there on 22 Nov 1855 to LOANN MARIA ROGERS [Camb. VR, pg 8; intents filed 20 Nov 1855, pg 7].
He is seen in Cambridge, Somerset, Maine for the 1870 census [pg 4; hh 31/32], with wife and children, his brother Ralph listed directly next to him, also married with children.
Both Joseph and Ralph then went west, listed together in a household in Princeton, Mille Sacs, Minnesota during the 1875 State Census. Both of their ages are off by several years, though.
Ralph soon returned home to Maine, while Joseph remained in MN. He began staking out land claims in Big Stone County, MN, and in neighboring Grant County, Dakota Territory. He worked with members of the Townsend family on these transactions [in the 8 Sept 1881 Princeton Union, their partnership was called "Townsend Bros & Leavitt"]. They (Joseph Leavitt, with brothers William and Freemont Townsend) can be seen in the 1880 census for Township 121, Range 48 in Grant County, Dakota Territory. They also frequented Inkpa (later Big Stone City), D.T., and cleared land there for farming and their logging operations.
In many newspaper articles that mention Joseph and his actions in Minnesota and the Dakota Territory, he was sometimes called "Judge". As this title was usually printed in quotations, I'm assuming this was an unofficial name given him. While researching this article, I did not find any instances of him acting as a judge in an official (or elected) position.
The Leavitts and Townsends relocated to Dickinson, (North) Dakota, where they operated a cattle raising business. They occasionally returned to Princeton, where they purchased young cattle and shipped them back to their ranch. The fattened up livestock would later be sent via rail to Chicago for slaughter [Princeton Union, 24 Mar 1892; 25 Aug 1892].
Joseph returned to Princeton a few years prior to his death due to illness, purchasing a property near the fair grounds in 1896 [The Princeton Union, 1 Oct 1896]. Below is a portion of an 1898 map of Princeton, showing where "Joseph Leavith" had property northeast of Fog Lake. The fair grounds can be seen near bottom of map, the "race track", with the cemetery (Oak Knoll) adjacent to it.
Joseph Leavitt died in Princeton on the 11th of January, 1899, and was buried there in Oak Knoll Cemetery. The following obit was printed in the Princeton Union, 19 Jan 1899 [MN Hist Soc]:
The 1900 census for Princeton shows Elisha as a beekeeper, boarding in the household of the Walter Brown family [Pg 7B, hh 141/148]. His mother Loann was not found on this census, though.
The Princeton Union newspaper reported, in their 22 Oct 1903 issue, that Elisha Leavitt sold his house and lot on "the west side of the Great Northern tracks" [note: this railroad line is seen in above 1898 map, but Elisha's name was not found near it], and that he and his mother were returning to Maine, where she was planning on spending the winter. The widow Loann Leavitt was listed in the following week's paper, involving a real estate transfer of property in ("lot 5 in block 3" in Oakland).
Elisha (or "E.K.", as the 11/12/03 paper called him) returned to Princeton after a few weeks, but he did not remain there. He continued westward, and settled in Seattle, Washington. That only lasted for a couple of years, as he was back in Princeton in 1905. His mother was with him by then, as a newspaper article published in Princeton on 1 June 1905 said that "Lish" and his mother were moving to Massachusetts, where they planned on staying. They didn't - it was back to Maine for them. They settled in Parkman, Piscataquis County, where Joseph's brother Daniel G Leavitt was living. Loann Leavitt died there in 1912, and Elisha returned to Washington State. He is last seen in the 1930 census, living in Aberdeen [pg 4B; he was a lumber mill watchman, aged 67; single]. His death date is not yet known.
In the "Descendants of Nehemiah Leavitt" Genealogy, pg 37, Joseph D. and his siblings were wrongly placed in the household of a different Joseph, one that lived in Wakefield, NH. The proper placement of his father Joseph some where among one of the many Maine Leavitt branches has yet to be proven.
Below is an 1860 map of Cambridge, Maine, showing where Joseph D Leavitt was living, prior to his move out west. Of interest is his neighbor, Elisha Knowles. Is he the namesake of Joe's son, Elisha K. Leavitt? The "N.P. Leavitt" living across the street from J.D. Leavitt is Nehemiah P, another individual from the Nehemiah genealogy, pg 37, though he was also listed with the wrong family in the book.
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