Located in the online "Printed Ephemera Collection" of the Library of Congress is this pamphlet (the above being a portion clipped from it) , printed in the memory of Captain Porter Leavitt, who was lost at sea in 1827. The author is unknown, with only "Written by his father" as a clue to the person who penned the poem.
Captain Leavitt had left Portland, Maine for St. Michael's (now São Miguel Island) in the Azores, cleared to leave the port on 31 Jan [Eastern Argus, 3 Feb. 1827, pg 3]. 1500 miles out in the Atlantic, in the early hours of Monday, February the 19th, the vessel was struck by a series of gales, snapping off the main mast and flooding the interior of the ship. The cook and ship's mate were drowned while stuck within the cabin, leaving the master and two men on the main deck, adrift and dead in the water. Four hours later came the "dawning of the day", 5:00 A.M., and the wave that would wash Captain Leavitt overboard.
Later that same day, the Brig Comet came upon the wreck of the still afloat Leander, its two remaining seamen clinging to life. She herself had been battered by the storms, losing her cook overboard, but was able to complete the voyage, and bring the story of Leavitt and the Leander back with her.
Who was Captain Porter Leavitt?
When news of his death first reached the American ports, he was reported to be Capt. Lovitt or Loveitt, out of Portsmouth, NH. This city claimed no masters of this name, and said he must have been out of Portland, which was confirmed by the Portland papers. By then, the correct surname of "Leavitt" was being printed.
As the pamphlet stated, Porter was "aged 25 years, 4 months, and 16 days" on the day of his death, calculated out to him being born on/or about 3 Oct. 1801. There is no birth record found for him in Maine VR, nor in the town records researched. He is also not found in any of the printed LEAVITT genealogies. What is known:
In 1817, Porter Leavitt of Portland, Maine was a student at Bradford Academy [Students of Bradford Acad., 1803-1853]. No other Leavitt attended there.
During the 1820 census, he would have been nearly 19 years of age, but was not enumerated by name, so probably still in the household of his parents.
He was married, on 23 Dec 1824, in Boston, MA [Boston Marr., Vol. 15, pg 338], to MARY STEVENSON. She was born ca 1798, and died 10 Jun 1873, aged 75 yrs, 6 mos.
"On Thursday evening, by the Rev. Mr. Wisner, Capt. Porter Leavitt, of Portland, to Miss Mary Stevenson, of Saco" [Boston Comm. Gazette, Mon., 27 Dec 1824, pg 3]. The widow Leavitt was remarried, on 29 Mar 1843 [Portland Wkly Advert., 11 Apr 1843, pg 3], to Edmund P. Dennett of Buxton, ME. Mary is buried with her children in Laurel Hill Cemetery, Saco.
The Cumberland County Probate, having been lost in a fire, is an unusable source, and no probate notices were printed in local newspapers following his death. The Registry of Deeds for this county show no land transactions with a Porter Leavitt, so it seems he was a renter while he lived in Portland.
There are two known children of Capt. Porter and Mary (Stevenson) Leavitt:
i. ALBERT PORTER LEAVITT, b. abt 1825; died 26 Nov 1847 in Saco, from consumption, aged 22 [Saco VR, Vol. 2, pg 22]. He is buried in Laurel Hill Cemetery, Saco. He was married to SUSAN D. GUILFORD [intents filed 3 Nov 1846 in Dover, New Hampshire - Dover, NH Marr, 1824-47, Vol. 1, pg 252]. She was the dau. of William and Mary Guilford, b. 7 Mar 1823 [Buxton, ME VR, Bk 4, pg 256]. She died on 2 Jan 1849 [grave; Buxton VR, Bk 4, pg 256; Saco VR, v.2, pg 26 says 3 Jan], aged 26 yrs, and is buried in Laurel Hill Cemetery. He attended Saco's Thornton Academy in Sept., 1839 [List of Students, 1813-1848].
ii. JANE ALMIRA LEAVITT, b. ca Mar 1827; d. (as "Miss Almira") 5 Sep 1843, aged 16 yrs, 6 mos [Saco VR, vol. 2, pg 13; grave]; bur. in Laurel Hill Cem, Saco. She attended (as "Almira Jane"), Thornton Academy in 1842 (age listed as 13).
Albert and his wife Susan, along with Jane and their mother Mary, are all buried in the same plot in Laurel Hill Cemetery, Saco. Photos of their stones are on the Saco, Maine cemetery listings page we have on this website (here).
While there are no sources (found so far) that directly link Porter Leavitt to a set of parents, there is a good possibility he was the son of DR. JOSHUA LEAVITT. The Doctor [in Descend. of Moses Leavitt, pg 80-81] had married, in Otisfield, Maine on 20 July 1800, to SALLY PORTER. By 1810, they were in Portland, Maine, and he lived there until at least 1829, as he frequently ran ads for his business in the Portland papers, the last one printed in Jan. 1829. Not found in 1830, he is in Naples, Maine for the 1840 and 1850 censuses (both of those living by himself). He was living with son Samuel R. Leavitt in 1858 Portland Dir., but had returned to Naples the following year, dying there on 11 May 1859, aged 84 [Portland Wkly Advert., 24 May 1859, pg 3]. In the (August) 1820 census, Dr. Joshua had 1 son "aged 16-18", and Porter would have been two months shy of 19 yrs old at that time. More convincing is the fact that Samuel R. named a son Albert Porter Leavitt (born ca. Feb 1849, according to 1880 army enlistment), which was the name of Capt. Porter's only son, who had died 15 months earlier in Saco.
Here is the complete page...LINES, In Memory of PORTER LEAVITT
Library of Congress link to item: https://www.loc.gov/resource/rbpe.02603300/
ALBERT LEAVITT was born in Alfred, Maine on 24 Dec 1829, the son of James and Nancy (Stevens) Leavitt [Desc. of Nehemiah Leavitt, pg 34/48]. He moved with his parents to Waterboro Center by 1840, where his father was a merchant and a successful businessman. Albert and his brothers followed in their father's footsteps, also becoming traders and merchants. While sons Benjamin Leavitt and Alonzo remained in Maine, Charles left for Chicago (later settling in Iowa) and Albert, the focus of this writing, followed the "gold rush" to California.
The (Nov.) 1852 state census for California shows "A. Leavitt", age 22, a miner in Tuolumne County. In June, 1854 [Columbia Gazette, 6/17/1854, pg 2], "Mr. Leavett" purchased half of the Columbo Saloon building on the corner of Main and State St. This building, along with most of the other structures in town, went up in flames on the 10th of July, 1854. All were quickly rebuilt, many now constructed with "fire-proof" brick and mortar. By 1855, Albert joined into a partnership with Robert H. Towle, as "Towle & Leavitt", who had occupied the building on the northwest corner of Main and State Streets (formerly the business of bookseller Charles J. Brown).
The above image was clipped from a lithograph of the town, published by the said "Towle & Leavitt" in 1855, showing the building they operated their business from [note: this place still stands today - see links at end of this writing].
See: Miners and business men's directory for the year commencing January 1st, 1856 - with a full page by Towle & Leavitt on pg 24 [Internet Archive].
He badly burned both of his hands while saving his watch and jewelry display. His losses were valued at $10,000 [Sacramento Daily Union, 08/29/1857, pg 3], but he rebuilt, though eventually moving on shortly after.
In 1859, he sold all of his stock to D. C. Travis [Columbia Wkly News, 03/24/1859, pg 4]. "A. Leavitt" boarded the overland stage in Sacramento on 18 May 1860, and headed east towards St. Louis. On the 30th of June of same year, he was married in Waltham, MA to Miss Ellen Bagley. In the newspaper notice [Waltham Sentinel, Fri., 6 July, 1860, pg 3], he was listed as "of Columbia, Cal." Note: A few years earlier, an 1857 report [parks.ca.gov] stated the overland express would take 25 days to make a run from Cali. to St. Louis. He then likely took a train east from there, a roughly 2 1/2 day run (in 1848 time - ARJ, vol. 21, pg 357). Less than 2 weeks later, he was married!
The couple had three children during their residence in Saco:
i. Harry Burton Leavitt, b. 10 Jun. 1861;
ii. George Albert Leavitt, b. 6 Feb. 1863
iii. Mary Ella Leavitt, b. 12 Feb. 1866
In March of 1866 [Maine Democrat, 3/20/1866, pg 3], Albert closed out his business in Saco and removed to Cambridge, Massachusetts. Street directories show him with several different occupations, including general book agent (with W.H. Graves, as "Graves & Leavitt"), advertising agent, and a travelling agent. The family moved to West Medford, Massachusetts in the 1870's, where he sold steamless cookers [1895 W. Medford Dir.] and, a few years prior to that, worked with son George (as Geo. A Leavitt & Co.), selling "hollow ware".
Wife Ellen died in Medford in 1905, and Albert died there in 1908, both being buried in Oak Grove Cemetery in town. Their children are also buried there.
While John Leavitt was the first of that surname to own land in Meredith [see: The Proprietors of Meredith], it wasn't until much later when a Leavitt family actually moved into town to settle.
No Leavitt was found as a Revolutionary War soldier serving from Meredith. Prior to this, a check of the 1776 Association Test for Meredith lists the names of 48 men [NHSP, Vol. 30, pg 93], though none had the Leavitt surname. Joseph "Roberds" (Roberts) was on this list, having moved there with his wife Eunice (Leavitt) [Desc. of Nehemiah v.6, pg 15/21] some time after 1771 [Joseph purchased, from his widowed mother Abigail Roberts, the original rights in Meredith of Oliver Smith on 18 Mar 1766. He was still in Brentwood at this time - Strafford County Deeds, Bk. 2, pg 415].
By the time of the 1790 census for "Merideth", (then in) Strafford County, the following six Leavitt names are now found in town: Amos , Levi , Nehemiah, Samuel, Stephen, and Weare Leavitt. This blog entry will focus on these early settlers.
AMOS LEAVITT (1759 - 1843)
On 18 April 1787, Amos Leavitt "late of Raymond but now of Meredith" purchased 50 acres from east end of lot #47 in the 2nd Division, from Jonathan Dow [Strafford County Deeds, Bk. 20, pg. 25]. He purchased another 20 acres that bordered him, in 1793, and a 15 acre piece out of Lot 48, 2nd Div., from Stephen Leavitt [Strafford Deeds, Bk. 20, pg. 26 and Bk. 50, pg. 128]. He sold all of this to James Glines in August 1805, himself buying the said Glines property in New Hampton [Bk. 50, pg. 129]. Amos would later return to Meredith, where he died in 1843. He was a Revolutionary War veteran. - Descendants of Nehemiah Leavitt, v.6, pg 18/19
LEVI LEAVITT (1761 - 1840)
A 1797 delinquent tax list for Meredith shows a Levi Leavitt living on the "S. Lane" farm, which was located in the 2nd Division, Lot 8 (115 acres). He and wife Sarah (Pearson) of Meredith, sold property (in her right) of Joseph Parsons (or Pearson) of Meredith in 1799 [Strafford Cty Deed, Bk. 30, pg. 283]. The census numbers (2 males under 16, 1 male 16+, and 2 females) match that of the Levi found in the Desc. of Samuel Leavitt, pg 94-95. He later moved to Vermont.
NEHEMIAH LEAVITT (ca 1752 - 1829)
With 3 males under 16 yrs of age in the 1790 census, this would likely be the Nehemiah from the Desc. of Nehemiah Leavitt book, pg 25-27. He married Sarah Philbrick in Chichester, NH, 1777, and moved then to Gilmanton, serving several times during the Rev. War. A 1781 deed [Straff. Cty, Bk. 4, pg 29] shows him selling property in Gilmanton, so perhaps moved to Meredith following this. No deed found with him purchasing land in Meredith prior to this census.
SAMUEL LEAVITT (1770 - 1852)
Descendants of Nehemiah Leavitt, v.6, pg 27/43. In Meredith by 1789, when he married Mary Smith, and purchased land on 24 Sept 1790 [Strafford Cty Deed, Bk. 19, pg. 282]. The 20-acre tract was part of Lot #47 in 2nd Division, and bordered that of Amos Leavitt (see above), his uncle. He sold part of his homestead farm in 1793, the bounds mentioned being on "southwest side of highway from Amos Leavitt's home to Sanbornton line".
STEPHEN LEAVITT (abt 1745 - after 1800)
"Moved from Poplin (Fremont) to Meredith when son Samuel [see above] was a boy" - written in a letter from W. B. Leavitt to JPL , 28 Dec 1877 [quoted in Desc. of Nehemiah Leavitt book, pg. 27/45-46]. Land deeds prior to 1800 not seen. Relatives say he went to the British Dominion, or went east, while family remained in Meredith. Wife Mary (Roberts) lived to age 102.
WEARE LEAVITT (1742 - 1829)
Descendants of Moses Leavitt, pg 63. Living at Meredith Neck by June 1788, when he signed a petition to incorporate a new town from the eastern portion of Meredith, and north through New Hampton (to be called Watertown) - it was rejected [NH State Papers, Vol. XI, pg. 277]. No deed was found (so either a town grant or through a relative's probate), but he had at least 50 acres in Lot #42, in 3rd Division on the Neck, as he sold off tracts from it in 1805-06.
Below is a part of the 1770 map of Meredith, New Hampshire, with the lots in the Second Division marked out with the Leavitt owners. They didn't own the complete 120-acre lots, and the land deed descriptions are vague at times, making it difficult to properly determine their exact bounds. Note: some of these deeds took place after the 1790 census, so are not mentioned above. Randlett Pond (GPS: 43.579067, -71.568975) can be seen drawn on the border between Lots 41 and 42.
On the 31st of December, 1748, two land grants were made in the vicinity of Lake Winnipesaukee: the "First Township", petitioned by proprietors led by John Sanborn of Hampton, New Hampshire, would become Sanborn's Town (Sanbornton). The "Second Township" was first called "Palmer's Town", after Samuel Palmer, Esq., also of Hampton. This settlement would later be named New Salem, before receiving its current name of Meredith, after being incorporated on 30 Dec, 1768.
Over sixty men signed the 1748 petition for this town, the majority of them being from Exeter and Stratham, as well as Hampton and neighboring communities (see the NH State Papers, Vol. 27, pg 478-479 for listing of names). 20 others (to make the required eighty equal shares) were not yet named but included many moving up from Salem, NH [in the Proprietors Recs, pg 12, at a meeting dated 31 Oct 1752, "Salem" was first used as the township's name].
There was one Leavitt named among those original petitioners, JOHN LEAVITT Jr. of Exeter, New Hampshire, a descendant of Moses [Vol. 1, pg 55]. He would be the first man to draw lot numbers on 3 May 1754. Prior to this, the land needed to be surveyed and lot lines drawn up. This was done in 1750 and 1753, by Jonathan Longfellow, surveyor.
Each proprietor would first draw a lot number from the first division (100 acres) - John Leavitt received #6 in the 4th Range. They then drew a second number, which provided them with corresponding lots in the 2nd (120-ac) and 3rd (95-ac) Divisions. John picked #37 from that drawing. See: Meredith, 1770 for the lot maps, with each proprietor named (this map differs from the original 1753 one, when lot lines had to be adjusted).
There were conditions that needed to be met as part of the grant: each proprietor was required to "build a house of eighteen foot long & of fourteen foot wide, or equal thereto". They also needed to clear three acres for tillage or mowing within eight years. A meeting house also needed to be built (on a lot specifically laid out for that purpose) within ten years, and a minister hired to preach the gospel there.
The terms and conditions of the 1748 charter were to be met "provided there be no Indian war". Unfortunately, the French & Indian War would soon begin, less than a year having passed since the survey work was done. The settlement would have to be put on hold until the fighting had ended, which did so in 1760 (the official end of the war wasn't until three years later).
Proprietor meetings would take place in 1762 and 1764, where voters levied taxes in order to pay for cutting a road to the new settlement, and to begin work on the saw mill there [NH Gazette, 11 Apr 1766]. By this time, some of the land "owners", having defaulted on their agreed terms, would lose their lots. Those lands were now granted to new settlers.
By 16 June, 1768, seventeen families had settled in New Salem and became residents, with four more on their way. A petition was filed on this date, to incorporate the town. The inhabitants were granted this, and the settlement became known as Meredith on 30 Dec, 1768 [NHSP: Vol. 12, 582].
John Leavitt Jr. never made the move to Meredith, instead remaining in his native Exeter, NH. In the State Papers [Vol. 27, pg 489-491] there is a list comprised of all those first division lots where improvements had been made by 1770, with Mr. Leavitt not among them. Being delinquent in his taxes for his three lots, he began to sell them off.
John first sold an acre piece from his First Division lot, which bordered the center square of town, with the intended purpose of the town to use as a burying ground and meeting house. A town vote in April 1774 approved the building of a 40 ft. by 32 ft. structure there [Hist. of Merr. and Belk. Counties, pg 836]. The remaining 99 acres was sold in 1776 to John Gilman [Strafford County Deed, 7-361]. James McCrillis purchased [Strafford Cty Deed 22-409] the 90-acre lot in the 3rd Div, 1778, while Daniel Smith bought #37 in the 2nd Div. in 1799 [Strafford Cty Deed 41-288].
From the 2013 Google Street View, this image shows the Parade Rd (Rt 106) in Laconia, looking south. The "old pound" is on the left, next to telephone pole, while the old town burying ground, now called Blaisdell Cemetery, is on the right. John Leavitt's lot would have included everything seen to the right. The GPS co-ords for this location are: 43.596340, -71.496652
The above sketch was taken from the Pittsfield Advertiser, dated Thursday, 28 Sept 1893, under the "Well Known People" column on page 2. Albert Leavitt can be found in the Descendants of Nehemiah Leavitt book, pg 53/86, the son of Caleb and Mary (Bradbury) Leavitt. The paper included the following biography:
Albert Leavitt was born in Athens Apr. 11, 1830, and was educated in the common schools, and Bloomfield and Somerset Academies. At the age of 15 he began going with his father on surveying expeditions each summer, and sometimes in the winter, following this course for seven years.
In 1852 Mr. Leavitt went to Bangor where for several years he was engaged in mercantile pursuits. He returned to Athens after a time, bought a stock of goods and went into trade. H. C. Tobey was associated with him in business until their store burned in 1864. Mr. Leavitt then bought his partner's interest in the goods saved, acquired the stock of Charles Lord and moved into his store. Two years later he sold out and moved away for a year or so. In 1867, Mr. Leavitt returned to Athens and built a large saw mill and has been in active business there since.
Mr. Leavitt was treasurer of Somerset County during the war, member of the House in '76, was elected a member of the board of County Commissioners in 1886, and was re-elected in 1890 for six years. He has also held important town offices.
The 1860 Somerset County map shows, in its detailed view of Athens Village, the home of Albert Leavitt, on the street to the Somerset Academy. The "Athens Directory", printed on the map, listed: Albert Leavitt (Leavitt & Tobey), Merchant Dealers in dry goods, groceries, produce, &c. There were numerous buildings in town marked as "stores", but none specifically marked as their business place.
The East Somerset County Register, which includes brief histories of each town, shows that Albert Leavitt was the town clerk for Athens from 1861 to '63. He was also a selectman, in 1883, '84, and in '91.
The 1883 map (above) shows Mr. Leavitt's home next to the Academy, as well as his saw mill on the river. His brother-in-law, Horatio C. Tobey, is on the east side of the waterway with his flour (grist) mill. In the 1876 ME State Register, they were in business together as "Leavitt & Tobey", dealing in "long lumber, shingles, planing, and a grist mill". Leavitt's father-in-law, Dr. James Sullivan Tobey, can be seen labeled on several buildings in town.
Mr. Albert Leavitt died in Athens on 4 June 1899, and is buried in Mt Rest Cemetery. His gravestone, and many others, can be found in the cemetery section on this site.
It is not currently known (the online tax listings weren't functioning correctly) if the house located on Academy St. is the same place that Albert Leavitt owned, or is a former part of the building. The GPS is: 44.926554, -69.672643
See Digital Maine: [search: Caleb Leavitt] for maps surveyed by Albert's father Caleb
1851, 1855 Bangor City Directories: Albert NOT seen in these listings
1860 Athens, Somerset, ME census (pg 1): hh 4/4; Albert a merchant
Map of Somerset County, 1860 [Library of Congress]
1870 Athens, ME census (pg 19): hh 146/155; Albert a lumber manfr, val $4200/300
Maine State Yearbook, 1876: (pg 143) Albert a State Rep.; also a surveyor of land for Athens
1880 Athens, ME census (pg 3): hh 22/24; Albert a mill owner
Atlas of Somerset County, 1883 [Internet Archive]
Maine Register or State Yearbook, 1889 [Google Books]; (pg 621-2) "A. Leavitt", manuf. lumber; surveyor of land
Pittsfield Advertiser newspaper [28 Sept 1893, pg 2]
East Somerset County Register, 1911-12 [Athens History, pg 22 and 24]
So it was, at the conclusion of our 2019 reunion in Hingham, Massachusetts, time to make the trek over to the Centre Cemetery, where lies the man who was the reason many of us had gathered in this town that day . Lying beside the monument and plaque of his great-great grandson, Jacob Leavitt (who, it is said, was responsible for his reinterment here), are the stones of Israel Leavitt (on left in photo), and his father, the Deacon John Leavitt.
It was here, during the NALF reunion on June 25th, 1949, the following plaque was unveiled and dedicated. It read:
John S. Leavitt, who had the honor of being the first person to hold the office of president when the association was formed in 1934, read the following dedication during the event:
"We have come to Hingham to honor the memory of John Leavitt who was born in England in 1608, came to New England in 1628 and died in Hingham, Mass. in 1691.
We, his descendants, can look upon a land that was very familiar to him during his long life here. The old church is still active where he worshipped.
Perhaps Leavitt Street was a roadway in his time, and the old Leavitt House is probably on the site of his home.
The hills and valleys that we look upon would be familiar to him were he with us. - All this and the circumstance that we are gathered at his grave, tend to make us fell at the moment, a sense of nearness to him.
It would be interesting to try to formulate an idea as to what manner of man he was. We know that he was a tailor, a deacon in the Old Ship Church, that he held town offices, was a representative to the Great and General Court at Boston and his will showed that he was a man of considerable property.
But ancestors were not concerned about their descendants of the far distant future. They almost never left any record of their forebears.
It would never have occurred to John Leavitt that some 250 years later there would be a society formed in part of his descendants or that our genealogist and historian would spend arduous years in a quest after the facts of all the Leavitts and particularly of himself.
No man who is a pioneer, and who must practice all the trades in his daily life, in order to rear such a large family, has time nor opportunity for such ideas.
But we are proud of him, proud of his life's record, proud of the name we bear. And so today we honor ourselves as well as he, as we dedicate this plaque to his memory.
May it be a shrine from which we can gather inspiration to preserve the type of life he so well exemplified."
- "Centre" Cemetery is/was also known as "Center" and "Plain" Cemetery
- photos by S.Dow (2019 reunion)
- the above speech was printed in the June 1949 newsletter
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.
In the Descendants of Samuel Leavitt, pg 80, there are two children of Andrew and Sarah (Hastings) Leavitt listed as being "born before 1774", William and Nathaniel Leavitt. The History of Amherst, pg 669, places them further down the order of children's births, though that book did not give them any dates. William's was an easy one to solve, as he is seen in the censuses of 1850-1870 with an age coinciding with a 1795 birth year. He was also seen first in the Amherst tax lists in 1817 with a poll tax, showing he turned 21. Nathaniel, however, was not seen on any of the tax lists for that town (the online film on FamilySearch ends in 1819), and so more research was needed.
The following timeline is all of the data I have gathered on this Nathaniel (aka Nathaniel Kimball) Leavitt to determine a year of birth, and to find more about the "d. in Calif." statement given him in the Leavitt genealogy.
Nathaniel Leavitt is born, probably in Amherst, New Hampshire (father Andrew there in 1800 census); San Francisco Funeral Home Records listed age at death as 56 yrs, as did several local newspapers reporting his death in 1855.
27 Feb 1821
Marriage intents [Boston Marr Int, 1817-1823: Vol 9, pg 261]
1 May 1821
In Boston, Mr Nathaniel Kimball Leavitt (of Amherst, NH) married to Hannah Sewards (of Portsmouth, NH) [Boston Marr, 1800-1849; V.2 pg 36; Farmer's Cabinet (Amherst, NH), 5/19/1821]
1821: Boston Tax List
Lived on Green Street, Ward 6 (house of Jonathan Simonds)
12 Apr 1822
Born in Boston, Andrew Kimball Leavitt, son of Nath'l and Hannah [note: Andrew would change his middle name to Jackson at a later date]
Abt September 1825
Daughter Sarah E. Leavitt born (calculated from age at death) in MA [1860 San Fran census; funeral record] or NY [1850 census]. One paper [Daily Alta, 5/11/66], said she was a "native of Lowell, MA".
Nathaniel K. an "insolvent debtor", per court of common pleas in Albany [notice in Albany Argus, 4/10/1827]
Daughter Hannah Ann Leavitt born, probably in Albany [Excelsior, pg 56]; the four children of Nathaniel are mentioned in the journals of the Hutchinson Singers, their 1st cousins, when they were touring in the Albany, NY area in 1842
Daughter Anna Leavitt born, likely in Albany [Excelsior, pg 56-57]
1830 US Census, Albany Ward-3 (pg 285)
Nathaniel K. "Laivit" (Laint/Saint on indexes)
1 male, 5-10; 1 m, 30-40; 3 females, under 5; 1 f, 30-40
24 August 1835
Captain Nathaniel K. Leavitt elected Lieut Col. of the 246th Regiment [Albany Argus, 8/28/1835]
1840 US Census forAlbany, Ward-3
1 male, 15-19; 1 m, 40-49; 3 females, 10-14; 1 f, 40-49
25 July 1844
Mr Heman (or Herman) H. Squires married to Miss Sarah E., dau of Col N.K. Leavitt, all of this city [Albany (NY) Argus paper, 8/2/1844, pg 3]
1844, 1845 Albany, NY Street Directories
N.K., constable, h. 124 Broadway [son Andrew, barber, at 126 Broadway]; Nath'l not listed in following years, only Andrew
7 Apr 1847
The Albany Evening Journal, on this date, prints death notice and obituary for Andrew Leavitt of Amherst, NH, "the father of Nathaniel K Leavitt of this city". He had died back on 29 Aug 1846, w/ an obit printed in the 9/3 issue of the Farmers Cabinet and copied in this paper 7 months later.
13 Nov 1847
"N.K." listed as a member of grand jury in Albany [Albany Evening Jrnl, 11/15]
6 Feb 1849 issue of New York Herald (pg 1)
sailed Saturday in ship Panama for San Francisco, "N.R.(sic) Leavitt"
"Officers Mullen and Leavitt" mentioned in Daily Alta article, 2/7/50; Col. N K Leven(sic) was again appointed policeman in Nov 1852 [Daily Alta, 11/16/52]
Wife Mary joins Nath'l in San Francisco. "his second wife came to this state about three years ago" [Daily Alta, 11/21/1855]
1852, month not known [California State Census, pg 443]
N.K. Leavitt, 54, agent, b. New Hampshire; last res: New York
Mary C, 26, b. New York; last res: NY
26 Sept 1852
son Isaac M born (based on age at death, see 1/10/54)
20 Sept 1853
Sailed from New York for San Juan, in steamship "Star of the West": N.K. Leavitt, lady, infant and son [NY Daily Times, 9/21/53]; The New York Morning Courier (exact date not known) gives the listing as "N.K. Leavitt, wife, infant and boy, Miss E. Leavitt".
15 Oct 1853
"N.K. Leavitt and family" arrived on steamer Cortes at San Francisco on Saturday afternoon [17 Oct '53 Sacramento Daily Union paper, pg 2]
10 Jan 1854
Isaac M Leavitt, son of Col. N.K. and Mary C, died of whooping cough in San Francisco, aged 15 mos, 15 das. [Sacramento Daily Union,1/15/1854]
Circa Feb 1855
Nathaniel and Mary are divorced [Sacramento Daily Union, 11/23/55, pg 2]
18 March 1855
Col. N.K. Leavitt, of this city, and Miss Ann Paddock, of New York City, married "in this city" [California Farmer (San Francisco, CA) newspaper, 3/29/1855]
1 Nov 1855
Ann Leavitt separates from her husband
Tues, 20 Nov 1855
Nathaniel hangs himself in his stable, at his coal and wood yard on the corner of Pacific and Powell Streets. [Marysville Daily Herald, 11/23/1855; Sacramento Daily Union, 11/23/55; Daily Alta,11/21/1855, 11/22/55]
21 Nov 1855
Col N K Leavitt is buried in Lone Mountain Cemetery (Lot 23, Tier 7, Chain(?) Plot 1) [San Francisco Funeral Home Records: N. Gray & Co, Vol 1854-1861, pg 75]
Nathaniel's second wife, Mary C, married J. A. Moody, and had a son, Louis [1860 San Fran census, pg 148]. She died in San Francisco on 13 Apr 1864, aged 38 yrs, 6 mos [Daily Alta, 4/14/1864]. His third wife, Ann (Paddock), died in the city abt 30 May 1860, aged 65 [CA Cem Records], and was buried in Lone Mountain Cem.
Lone Mountain Cemetery was later renamed Laurel Hill Cemetery and, in the 1930's, was one of many burial places located within city limits that were closed down and entirely removed. Any bodies not claimed by family were buried in a mass grave in Cypress Lawn Cemetery in Colma, CA, while their former grave stones were used around the city by the Dep't of Public Works for construction projects (see article: here). Nathaniel is probably the "Col R. R." Leavitt listed on the cemetery website. "A. P. Leavitt" (Anna) is also among those buried here.
Daughter Sarah E., the only (known) child of Nathaniel and Hannah to follow their father westward, died in San Francisco on 9 May 1866, aged 40 yrs, 8 mos [The Pacific, 5/17/66]. She was buried on the 11th in Lone Mountain Cem, and now lies in Cypress Lawn, where reinterred in a mass grave. With husband Heman/Herman Henry Squires, she had three children: Nathaniel Leavitt Squires, Edwin/Edward Squires and Margaret Squires. As if her father's suicide being printed in all the local papers wasn't bad enough, her marital problems and her attempt to divorce the neglecting husband also made the news [San Fran Bulletin, 3/8/1860, 3/9/60, 10/25/65], as did Herman's court cases.
With the addition of several children for Nathaniel and Hannah, much more research still needs to be done, to find out exactly what became of them. One genealogical "case" solved, several more now added!
For those who have read the original genealogies by Emily Noyes [see our PUBLICATIONS page for more info], you would have noticed the name of Joseph P Leavitt (or JPL), of Chicago, mentioned numerous times as a source. Who was he?
Joseph Parker Leavitt was thrice descended from Moses Leavitt, son of Deacon John Leavitt, the immigrant [Descendants of Moses Leavitt, pg 144], born in Dover, NH in 1830. He married in Lowell, MA in 1850 to Mary Apphia Smith, then proceeded west to Cincinnati.
At this time, he began gathering addresses of those with a Leavitt surname (mostly from the New England states), and proceeded to send out form letters, hoping to receive genealogical information back from the recipients, in order to start organizing a genealogy of the descendants of Dea. John Leavitt of Hingham, MA and Thomas Leavitt of Hampton, NH.
Below are two versions of the blank forms he mailed out. The later version (on right) was amended to include all of New England, instead of the original plan of just the New Hampshire Leavitt families.
Below is a notice from an 1880 New England Historical and Genealogical Register periodical, announcing JPL's book in progress.
"A Genealogical Record of the Leavitt families of New England, and Their Descendants" was never completed. Joseph's wife Mary died on 4 March 1883 and, three weeks later, both Joseph and his daughter Rosalind were declared insane and sent to a state asylum. Joseph died the day following his sentence, on the 23rd [death record unavailable online at this time to view cause of death], while Rosa passed away the following March. From the following newspaper article, Rosalind was committed due to anxiety and lack of sleep, because of her mother's passing. Joseph's mental strain, however, was the result of "waking up the genealogical history", according to the testimony in court.
At the time of his passing, Joseph had already written some 1000 letters to Leavitt kin around the country. The information he gleaned from his correspondence had been copied into notebooks, 12 volumes in total. His estate donated this material to the Chicago Historical Society, where Emily Noyes found this treasure trove of information while she was compiling her books, and integrated his research into her own.
The works of JPL were later moved to the Newberry Library in Chicago, where they are still housed today. In 2004, NALF genealogist Ray Thomas visited the library and photocopied a large amount of the JPL papers. What he could not do while there, he arranged to have done by the staff, and mailed to him. With much of the Joseph P. Leavitt research now in hand, we (the NALF genealogist team) could compare his work with that of Emily's books, in order to properly source all of the data, and to (hopefully) find where all of the names and dates had originated and to give proper credit where needed.
This work continues, and the research on the new genealogy books still moves forward.
GEORGE KITTREDGE LEAVITT died on this day, the 6th of August, back in 1916. A former native of Newmarket, New Hampshire, he had moved with his wife out to Pasadena, CA to live with their daughters.
George and his wife are buried in Mountain View Cemetery, in Altadena, Los Angeles, California. [link to his: Find a Grave entry]
George K Leavitt is from the "Samuel" line, found in the genealogy Descendants of Samuel Leavitt on pg 126, as well as the 1990 Update, pg 58-59. The latter source contains an image from a newspaper article, dated 1952, which printed photos of both George and Josie, as well as their home on South Main St. A current view of the road on Google Street View shows a house matching that of the 1952 picture, and corresponds with its location on the 1892 town map.
Updates about our Leavitt genealogy research, our DNA projects, and other notes to keep our membership informed.