THOMAS LEAVITT, of Hampton, New Hampshire and Parsonsfield, Maine, is found in the Descendants of Thomas Leavitt genealogy, pages 58-59. The placement of a first born son named William in this family has always raised questions, so research was done in an attempt to solve that mystery, while fixing noticeable errors.
1. An exact birth date (or baptism) for Thomas has not been found, but this genealogy may have got the "abt. 1747" year from the 1924 book "The Leavitts of America"(pg. 4). His parents, Amos and Elizabeth (Varrell), married on 13 Jan 1744 [Hist. of Hampton Falls, pg 136], not 1740, as printed in the History of Hampton and our own genealogy, so his birth would be from circa 1744 onwards. His death took place prior to 10 Sept. 1808, when his son Jeremiah submitted a bond for administration of estate [York County Probate, file #11296], the widow Abigail not able to do so herself. The 1815 death date belongs to another man...see next.
2. The Thomas Leavitt who was a private in the 45th Regiment, US Infantry, was from Chichester, New Hampshire. This unit did not exist until the War of 1812, and that Thomas died (8 Feb 1815) while stationed at Sacket's Harbor, New York. His widow Polly filed for a pension (the Pension Roll of 1835 lists their children). They are also in the Desc. of Thomas Leavitt genealogy, pg 98.
3. "Mr. Thomas Leavitt & Miss Abigail Tucke" were married 2 July 1772 [VR of Hampton, NH, Vol. 2, pg 215]. Dow's History of Hampton, pg 1020, lists her as a daughter of John Tuck and Sarah Godfrey, b. 30 Dec. 1749. Her brother John (Jr) removed to Parsonsfield around 1800, about the same time as she did. Thomas Leavitt was co-administrator of his father-in-law's estate in Hampton (after 1792). He and his wife were mentioned as heirs in probate [Rockingham County file #5821].
4. Thomas would have been the eldest of that name, if born ca 1747. His marriage record, along with the baptisms of his children, as well as land deeds, do NOT give him a "Junior" label. The "Jr" in Hampton would have been the son of Jonathan, born 1760. A "3rd" Thomas, seen in the tax lists in 1798-1801, was likely Thomas' son, born in 1776.
5. In the New Hampshire State Papers, Vol. 30, Thomas Leavitt is listed as one of the Hampton signers of the Association Test on 4 June 1776. The only other Leavitt name in town was Jonathan.
6. The 1810 census for Parsonsfield, as seen in the clipping below, actually says "Ww of Tho's Leavitt", the "Ww" an abbreviation for "widow". The two males in the Widow Abigail's household are unknown, aged 10-15 and 16-25. The female mark is also under the 26-44 column, though she would have been nearly 60 years of age. Jeremiah's mark in row above is also off, as he was 29 in Aug 1810, not 16-25. He didn't marry until Nov of that year, but has a female of same age in h.h.
7. The History of Hampton doesn't mention anything about Parsonsfield under Thomas, but rather says "till late in life, when he sold his estate, bought by Amos Towle, and removed from town" [History of the Town of Hampton, pg 815]. Thomas and Abigail, on 6 Sept. 1800, sold three parcels in Hampton to Samuel Brown [Rockingham County Deeds, Vol 167, pg 99]. One of those lots, in turn, was sold by Brown in Feb. 1803 to Amos Towle 3d. Thomas was still in Hampton in Jan. 1801 when he sold some meadow ground to John Drake [Rock. County Deeds Vol 156, pg 359], but soon after removed to Parsonsfield, as the 1801 Hampton Tax List only lists one Thomas (who was the son of the above Thomas).
8. As William, supposed first child of Thomas, was born in 1768, it clearly did not take place in Parsonsfield, as the Desc. of Thomas Leavitt book states. This town was not deeded to Thomas Parsons and his associates until August 1771, and again in Dec. 1774, with the settlement beginning the following spring. No evidence that Thomas had a first (unknown named) wife, or that he had a son named William, has yet been found. If the only reasoning behind his placement with the family of Thomas was due to the misreading of the 1810 census (other than the fact that they had both lived in Parsonsfield), then this connection should be disregarded, and research into other families needs to be done to find the true origins of William.
9. Thomas (Senior), in the 1790 Hampton, NH census, is listed with 2 males 16+, 2 males under 16, and 3 females. Himself and son Moses are the older males, Thomas and Jeremiah being the younger, while the three females would refer to his wife Abigail and 2 of their 3 daughters born before 1790 (likely Mehitable and Betsey, both proven to have grown to adulthood).
10. The name Thomas Leavitt is found in at least seven enlistment rolls during the Revolutionary War. Several belong to Thomas of North Hampton, proven by his pension filing. The Thomas who served as a private under Capt. Henry Elkins in Col. Poor's Regiment is likely the correct man, as this company was raised in Hampton and stationed at Pierce's Island, Portsmouth in Nov. 1775. He may have also served in Capt. Nathan Sanborn's company, Col. Stephen Evans's Reg't, from Sept to Dec 1777, sent to Saratoga, NY to reinforce the Continental Army.
No land deed was found where Thomas Leavitt purchased land in Parsonsfield, Maine. However, both he and wife Abigail sold 67 acres from lot #142, 8th range, to their son Jeremiah on 19 Jan 1807 [York County Deeds, Vol. 79, pg 72]. The original lot owner was John Mudgett, who sold the 96 acre parcel (w/ dwelling house and other bldgs) to John Tuck of Hampton on 18 Oct 1796 [York County Deeds, Vol. 62, pg 94]. Since Abigail's father was deceased in 1792, this John should have been her brother. Somehow, most of this lot would end up in Abigail's possession (no deed yet found). Thomas' probate in 1808 mentioned he still had 20 acres of land, his widow receiving her dower (about 7 acres) set off from this lot. John Tuck still owned a small piece of lot 142 in 1806, when he sold it (and other lots) to his sons John and Jeremiah Tuck.
In 1833, the surviving heirs of Thomas and "Nabby" Leavitt sold off their rights and interest of this 7 acre (dower) property, "now occupied and improved by John Leavitt" [York County Deeds, Vol. 362, pg 91]. They were Moses of Hampton, and Jeremiah Leavitt, Widow Betsey Granvill in her right, Joseph Libby and wife Mehitable, in her right, all of Parsonsfield.
This John was the son of Jeremiah, and his property can be seen as "J. Leavitt" on the 1856 map of Parsonsfield below.
The children of Thomas and Abigail (Tuck) Leavitt:
i. Moses, bpt. 16 Apr 1775, d. 27 Jan 1846. Married 7 Dec 1794, Sarah Towle, dau. of Amos
ii. Thomas, bpt. 25 Aug 1776, d. 20 Apr 1817. Marr. Polly Batchelder
iii. Mehitable, bpt. 25 Oct 1778, d. 10 Apr 1857. Married 1st, 28 Sept. 1801, Thomas Granville; 2nd. Joseph Libby.
iv. Jeremiah Tuck, bpt. 24 Sept 1780, d. 25 Nov 1839. Married 1st, 29 Nov 1810, Margaret Libby, 2nd, 3 Mar 1831, Sarah Chase.
v. Sarah, bpt. 30 Nov. 1783. No further record, perhaps died young (pre-1790?)
vi. Elizabeth (Betsey), bpt. 15 Mar 1789, d. 14 May 1866. Married, 1 Feb. 1817, George Granville.
vii. Love, bpt. 10 Jun 1792. No further record, perhaps died young.
All dates of baptisms from the Vital Records of Hampton, NH, Vol. 2 (Sanborn & Sanborn c1998), the source being the Third Book of Records of the Church of Hampton.
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.