CHARLES WELLFORD LEAVITT was an ore and metal importer, his firm "C.W. Leavitt & Co." operating in New York City throughout the 1880's. In 1890, with John R. Fell of Philadelphia, they organized the (New York) Suburban Land Company, and purchased the 1,000 acre former estate of Gen. William Gould in Caldwell, New Jersey. With Leavitt as the company's president, they advertised this new development as "One of the three healthiest places in the United States", with its mountainous location, a fine water supply, and a modern sewage system.
Charles moved to Essex Fells with his family in 1892, and lived here until his death in 1904. Having returned from a day-trip to Philadelphia, he walked into this home, and began conversing with his wife, when heart failure struck him down. Medical help did not arrive in time to offer any assistance [Caldwell News, 20 Feb 1904].
Charles W. Leavitt was the son of John Wheeler Leavitt, who is found in the Descendants of Josiah Leavitt, pg 42. Charles himself, in a printing error, is found at the end of the Samuel book, on pg 183-4.
Above is a clipping of the town of Meredith, from a Belknap County, N.H. map, drawn by E.M. Woodford, and published by Smith & Peavey in 1859 and 1860 (the full map can be found on the Library of Congress website). There were seven Leavitt households found on it - these families can be identified by comparing their names with the census of 1860. PART II will focus on the eastern side of town [Part I here]:
5. "S. Leavitt" - Samuel Leavitt (1800-1869) lived in Meredith Village, on High street. While both the 1850 and 1860 censuses show him as a carpenter, the Desc. of Nehemiah book (pg 78) called him a Free Will Baptist minister.
Not marked on the map, but seen as owning land in the 1860 census, is George A. Leavitt. He was the son of Emerson Leavitt [Desc. of Nehemiah, pg 32/33], and lived on Water Street. On the above map, the home of "Mrs. S. Fogg" is highlighted. She is Susannah G. Fogg, who George and his family were living with at the time.
6. "I. & A. E. Leavitt" - Isaac Leavitt (1798-1881), son of the well-known Dudley Leavitt, and his son Arthur E. (1831-1911), lived on Lot 45 in the 3rd Division, land purchased by Dudley after moving to Meredith from Gilmanton [Strafford County Deeds, 66-222; 97-162]. They are from the "Moses line", found in the Desc. of Moses Leavitt genealogy, on pg 97/120.
7. "J. D. Leavitt" - John D. Leavitt (1827-1866) was the son of Nehemiah [Desc. of Nehemiah Leavitt, pg 41. The 1860 census shows him being in the household of Ebenezer Sturtevant, though John was the owner of the land.
Having been severely injured in the town hall collapse back in 1855, John led a pain filled life, until his death in 1866. His land, formerly that of his father, was sold by his heirs [Belknap Deeds, 44-155] to their (distant) cousin next door, Arthur E Leavitt (see #6). The 150 acres included Lot 47, which bordered on Lake Winnipesaukee, and would later become "Leavitt Park & Beach".
Below shows the 1770 map of Meredith, showing where lots 45 and 46 were in the Third Division, northeast of "Little Pond". A map from the 1980's has the Dudley Leavitt cemetery marked out, just north of the pond.
Another person not found on the 1860 map is Dorothy J. Leavitt, widow of Samuel T. Leavitt [Desc. of Nehemiah, pg 44]. At the time of the enumeration, she was living in the household of Daniel Hilton and his family. He lived on Main Street, opposite Cross St., on the 1860 Village map [see Library of Congress map].
Above is a clipping of the town of Meredith, from a Belknap County, N.H. map, drawn by E.M. Woodford, and published by Smith & Peavey in 1859 and 1860 (the full map can be found on the Library of Congress website). There were seven Leavitt households found on it - these families can be identified by comparing their names with the census of 1860. PART I will focus on the western side of town:
1. "B. Leavitt" - This is Bradstreet Leavitt, son of Samuel [Desc. of Nehemiah, pg 52].
Also written as "Broadstreet" in early papers, he purchased half of his father's holdings in Lot 16, 2nd Div., in 1837, including land in Lot 16, 4th Div., which bordered it [Strafford Deeds, v. 180, pg 459]. He purchased another 39 acres from adjoining lot 60 in 1839, from David G. Smith [Straff Deeds, v. 180, pg 435]. He died in 1883, and was buried in the family cemetery on the property, along with his wife, parents, et al [See LEAVITT Cem on Find a Grave].
2. "T. Leavitt" - Thomas Leavitt (1794-1880)
A descendant of Nehemiah [Vol. VI, pg 83], he lived on the north side of "Saddle Hill", which would be renamed Leavitt Mountain. He owned land in Lot 63, 2nd Division. He first purchased 1/2 of the 120 acre lot from his father John in 1817 [Straff. Deeds v.116, pg 435], and another 30 in 1828 [v.151, pg 462]. His brother Ebenezer had property in Lots 60 and 61, which their father had sold him in 1832.
He is buried, along with his wife Jane (Randlett) and their three unmarried children, on the old homestead. Daughter Nancy J. was the last to live on the property, her will, dated 1888 (proved in 1902), left 100 acres (in two lots) to Warren L. Glidden, provided he live on the farm and "take care of the farm in a husband like manner" and care for her "in sickness and health" [Belknap County Probate, Vol. 26, pg 512]. His parents, John and Sally (Ward) Leavitt, are buried nearby in the Sanborn Cem. (Asahel Sanborn purchased the westerly end of the "burying yard" from Ebenezer K. Leavitt in 1851).
3. "T.L. Leavitt" - on the south side of "Saddle Hill" was Thomas L. Leavitt (1828-1902) another member of the Nehemiah line [Vol. VI, pg 65], the son of John and Sarah (Edgerly). His father had purchased Lot 42, 2nd Div., in 1818 [Straff. Deeds, v. 6, pg 228], later selling it to Thomas' eldest brother Levi in 1844. Levi would, in turn, "sell" it back to his parents in 1852, for use during their natural lives. Following their father's death in 1855, Levi sold the lot to Thomas [Belknap Deeds, v. 27 pg 525].
Thomas and his sister, Mary J., didn't marry, and shared the household. Sarah, his widowed mother, was with them in the 1860 census. The siblings are both buried in Laconia's Union Cemetery [see our cemetery page for Laconia], sharing a plot with their Uncle Ebenezer K. Leavitt.
4. "J. Leavitt" - Likely the home of Joseph Leavitt (1807-1858)
Though deceased at the time of the 1860 census, his widow Julia was still living there with two children. Her father, Levi Smith, had sold the property to her husband in 1841 [Belknap Deeds v.2, pg 41], which was all he then owned in town. The deed included the stipulation that Joseph and Julia cared for her parents and let them stay in the household, along with their other children.
Julia's brother, Noah W. Smith, seen on the opposite of the road on the map, had earlier purchased 1/2 of his father's estate. Both Joseph and Julia (who died in 1864) and their dau. Addie C. were buried in the Smith Cem, but their son George S. Leavitt (in his 1905 will) asked that they be re-interred in his New Hampton Village Cem. lot. This may not have happened, as his stone [Find a Grave] has all of their names inscribed, with "buried in Smith Cemetery, Meredith" at bottom. The entry for the Smith Cemetery on Find a Grave doesn't list any Leavitts, and no disinterment forms were filed in NH VR.
Joseph Leavitt, son of Samuel, is found in the Desc. of Nehemiah VI, pg 68-69.
Found in the 1860 census living in Meredith, but NOT marked on the 1859/60 map of Meredith, was the family of Jeremiah W. Leavitt. He spent most of his life in New Hampton, but had apparently briefly crossed over the border just in time for the census. Looking at his household, there is a "Ruth Ranlet", aged 55, listed with him.
On the 1859/60 map, marked just north of the J. Leavitt homestead (see #4 above), is a "Mrs. R. Randlett". The order of enumeration would place him in this vicinity. The home probably belonged to Ruth, as other censuses find her around this location, so the estate value should have been listed beside her and not Jeremiah.
Jeremiah Leavitt is found in the Desc. of Nehemiah VI book, on pg 35/63.
MEREDITH, NEW HAMPSHIRE in 1860 - continued in PART II
Holman F. Day was a Maine native and a well known author of numerous novels and poems about Maine and its people. His writings were based on both fictional and real life Downeast characters. The following poem, published in the Lewiston Journal, was reprinted by the Boston Globe on Sunday, 31 May 1896. It reads...
When Israel Leavitt Kneeled to Pray.
He wore a sun-tanned, old, brown coat,
His corded hands were stiff and gnurled,
And every seam upon his face
Spoke eloquently, where the world
Had writ the toiler on his brow.
- The years had held no beds of ease
For this old Christian, who had fought
So long and nobly on his knees.
And yet, upon that gnarled old face
Such gentle kindness ever glowed;
Through all the wrinkles and the tan
- So good the man within him showed.
So patient was he with his lot
Of steady toil and little gain,
So quick to share his meagre store,
So slow to censure or complain,
That when his townsmen sought a word
For perfect good a synonym,
With one consent they earnestly
And soulfully referred to him.
- A faded, toiling, simple man,
Unlettered and uncouth in speech,
And yet those homely talks of his
Were mightier in their humble reach
Than smooth appeal and rounded phrase
That rolled so unctiously down
From that young college-bred divine
Who held the pulpit in our town.
And this I know, we impish lads,
Who buzzed and nudged and acted so
Each Sunday evening meeting time,
Far back on dusky "Devil's row,"
Were prompt to stifle every laugh
And cease our silly, boyish play,
To bow our heads in reverence
When Israel Leavitt kneeled to pray.
We liked that man; he always had
A sympathy for boyish woe;
When youthful tribulation nagged,
To Uncle Leavitt we would go;
He understood a boy, you see,
Although he had none of his own.
And always smoothed our little griefs
With kindly smile and hearty tone.
Our earthly parents oft forgave
Through Uncle Leavitt's kindly care,
And when he knelt we dimly felt
That God must likewise hear his prayer.
He didn't pray as some folks pray,
- He didn't proffer sage advice
On managing the universe,
Nor with mock meekness first entice
The Gracious Father to bend down
And give to him a listening ear,
To then indulge in homilies
On how He'd best run matters here.
Ah, no! He had one simple prayer;
He humbly asked that God might sift
The thistles from the soul's good wheat,
And give us poor, weak chaps a lift.
"Jest as I, Lord, will give a lift
To any neighbor when I can;
I only want to get from Thee
Jest what I give my fellow-man."
And do you wonder when we saw
That frayed, old, sun-tanned coat sink down
Between the pews each Sunday night!
- No graceless youngster in the town,
But what would bow his tousled head,
Smooth all his saucy smiles away
And hide his eyes in reverence
When Israel Leavitt kneeled to pray.
Who was ISRAEL LEAVITT? Was he a work of fiction, or, as the poem suggests, a person from Holman's early childhood? Holman, who was born in Vassalboro, Maine in 1865, had moved with his family to Richmond, ME prior to the 1880 census. Living in town at the time of that enumeration was one Israel Leavitt, an 80-year old widower, residing in the household of his daughter Jane and her second husband, John Banks. By this time he had gone blind - the prior census did not mention that fact. The poem states that he had no sons of his own - that is true of this Israel, as he only had one daughter, Jane Thomas Leavitt.
Israel Leavitt, who was the son of Ebenezer and Sarah (Wallace) Leavitt, died on 7 March 1887, and was buried in Newell Cemetery, in the north part of town. His wife Lydia is there as well, having died decades earlier. He is found in Descendants of Israel Leavitt v2, pg 30. A grave photo can be found here: Find a Grave
In Hampton, New Hampshire's Pine Grove Cemetery stands a large boulder, with a plaque attached, honoring THOMAS LEAVITT. It reads:
Frank E. Leavitt of Hampton, NH, one of the founding members of this organization, was chosen at the 1937 Reunion in Hingham to represent the Thomas line in laying a wreath on the grave site of Thomas Leavitt every Memorial Day. It was also agreed upon that two permanent markers, one for Thomas and the other for John Leavitt of Hingham, would be purchased to mark their graves.
There was no known burial place for Thomas Leavitt, however. At the following annual reunion, Frank was authorized "to provide a suitable place and foundation for a marker to be placed in the cemetery most likely to be the burial place of Thomas Leavitt" [1938 Reunion Minutes]. With Pine Grove Cemetery being the first burial place of the original settlers, this was the spot chosen for a future memorial.
As mentioned in the Leavitt Leaves newsletter in May 2020, the original 1930's plaque was stolen (date unknown), and the one now on the stone is a replacement.
For those interested in visiting this cemetery, it is located on Winnacunnet Road (Rt 101E) in Hampton, NH. GPS: 42.935235, -70.829727
Updates about our Leavitt genealogy research, our DNA projects, and other notes to keep our membership informed.