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
The Fourth of July, 1824 - For the residents of the small town of Shelburne, New Hampshire, in Coos County, the celebration of our nation's birth had to be put on hold that Sunday morning. 15-year old Abigail Y. Leavitt, who was residing with Mr. Robert Ingalls, had gone missing the night before, failing to return from gathering evergreens. A party of 60-70 townspeople, comprised of those who were able to trek the heavily forested mountains above the Ameriscoggin (ie. Androscoggin) River, began their search. Concord's New Hampshire Patriot was one of many newspapers to write about the actions that day, as described in these clippings:
Did her mother remarry after 1820, when the pension payments ended, and then moved out to Illinois? Did any of her children accompany her on this trek? There are a couple of them not yet accounted for. [Note: pension file not yet available on Fold3's War of 1812 online collection]
Who WAS her mother, other than "Lois"? The marriage intents of Joseph Leavitt in 1804 [Bethel Town Recs, no pg #] failed to name his bride to be. A clue, perhaps, is found in the name of this daughter, "Abigail Y." Leavitt. "Y" surnames were not common, and early Bethel had the York family residing there. Standing out among them is one Abigail York, who was the wife of Jonathan Bean, and they did have a daughter named Lois Bean, born 1786 [Hist. of Bethel, pg 479]. A lead to work on!
Abigail was born on 16 Jan 1810 [Bethel Town Records, pg 78]. She married John E. Swan by 1832 and had two children before she died in 1835. She is buried in the Middle Intervale Cemetery, Bethel. She is found in the Desc. of Thomas Leavitt v.4, pg 50, though there are errors in that connection. The History of Bethel, ME, pg 581, also shows problems with the family genealogy, as copied from the Town Records (pg 64 and 78).
With many annual Fourth of July celebrations, the following day's newspapers are usually filled with stories about the exciting fireworks displays, along with the mishaps that always seem to follow them. The summer of 1859 was no different, and included a Leavitt family member from New Hampshire:
The above news report was printed in the Mirror and Farmer on 9 July 1859, recounting a fireworks accident that occurred in Pittsfield, NH at 9:30 PM that past Monday evening, during a Fourth of July celebration. BENJAMIN F. LEAVITT of Chichester [Desc. of Thomas Leavitt v.4, pg 104-5] was one of several persons who were injured when a pile of fireworks were accidentally set-off and struck the gathered crowd.
While the Manchester newspaper stated that a rocket had struck the right side of his nose, breaking it, and then gouging out his left eye, other accounts claimed "the whole of one side of his face stricken off, carrying with it the eye and nose" [Boston Post, 7/7; and copied by other New England papers]. The papers added: "although alive this morning, cannot survive but a few hours at most".
The Boston Daily Traveller, on the 7th of July, had given a more detailed account about Benjamin F. Leavitt Esq. himself. The New York Herald copied their version, and printed it on the 9th [below, clipped from the Chronicling America website]. Though off on his age by a few years, they added interesting details about his life, including time spent in California, earning enough to pay off family debts back home, and serving in the N.H. Legislature in 1857 and '58.
The Dover Enquirer, dated Thurs., July 14th, while continuing with the horrific description of Mr. Leavitt's face, followed with the postscript:
"We are informed by Mr. Freeze, the driver of the Pittsfield stage, that only three of the above persons (Leavitt, Garland, and Willey) were injured, and that all are in a fair way to recover. - The injury which they received was not so great as reported".
Benjamin Franklin Leavitt survived more than a "few hours". In fact, he lived until 16 May 1882, dying from bronchitis at age 73 [buried in Leavitt Cem, Chichester]. Mr. Calvin Drew (initially called "Daniel" in early reports) Garland, the other man "fatally wounded", would live until 1896. The young boy John Willey was perhaps the son of Hazen Willey, and had just turned 7 years old that July 4th day. He died in 1914.
Joseph Parsons Leavitt, the son of Major John and Mary (Parsons) Leavitt, was born in Effingham, New Hampshire on 4 Sept 1800 [Descendants of Thomas Leavitt, v. 4, pg 77/132]. The twelve acres in Effingham he had purchased from Morris Leavitt in 1823 were sold off in 1826, Joseph having moved to Dover, NH by that time. He remained here through 1833, as the next city directory in 1837 no longer finds him there (though sister Lucinda is now here). He removed to Kingston, Ulster, NY by the 1840 census, which is possibly where his wife Abigail died in 1842. He remarried the following year, with son Charles born "in New York" in 1844. From there he went south to Virginia, and was in the settlement called "New England" by 1847. This unincorporated place was within the Harris District, Wood County.
His younger brother, Samuel Quarles Leavitt, even after buying half of his father's farm in 1832, instead decided to join his brother, either while still in New York, or perhaps after he reached Virginia. Sister Susan, with husband Asa Pease and their children, also made the trek, along with Asa's brother Sylvester. Lucinda P. Leavitt, the youngest child of Major John, who had been living in Dover, NH in 1843, also removed to Wood County with her siblings. Considering the method of travel at that time, where they "traveled from Philadelphia over the Allegheny mountains by stage to Pittsburgh, then down the Ohio River by boat" [Desc. of Thomas, pg 132], it is likely they would made the journey together.
Here on an 1877 map of New England (Harris), West Virginia, the several Leavitt names are marked out. If that straight road from the town center to "Leavitt's Landing" existed, it didn't last long, considering the hilly landscape. The later 1886 map shows that Joseph took an easier way around, using the flatlands to reach his homestead. The blacksmith (B. S.) shop on map was on a 1/2 acre of land owned by Samuel Q. Leavitt, whose home was next door (#3). That house lot of 3 acres was willed to daughter Mary Rhodes in 1877 (on 1886 map, marked as "L. Rhodes Heirs").
Below is the New England community from an 1886 map, now with the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad running along the Ohio River. The Leavitt related locations are numbered, with comments below.
1. "J. P. Leavitts Heirs" - family of Joseph P. Leavitt (1800-1881), his wife Mary died in 1887. Purchased 1400 acres of land on the Ohio River in 1847 (Wood County Deeds: Bk 14 pg 215 and 14-337); sold portions off to relatives soon after.
2. "Cem" - The New England Baptist Cemetery
The family of Joseph P. Leavitt is buried here - over a dozen Leavitt names found in the cemetery transcription: Wood County Cemetery Transcriptions, Vol. 1, pg 207 (his family monument includes his first wife Abigail and two young sons, who died before he settled in western Virginia).
3. "P. Leavitt" - Pierce Leavitt (1853-1927), son of Joseph. Bought 56 1/2 acres from his father in 1879, "on the North Fork of Lee Creek". He later moved to Chattanooga, TN. His former homestead may still be standing, though long abandoned. Image clipped from Google satellite view. Located at GPS: 39.202908, -81.699695
4. "V. W. Leavitt" - Virgil Warren Leavitt (1858-1891), son of Joseph
5. "G. E. Leavitt - Store & P.O., Res" - George Elmendorf Leavitt (1848-1930), s/o Joseph. There is a house dated 1860 on south side of the Ridge Road, which is either George's or his neighbor "D. C. Whitlock". A few outbuildings on property are also very aged. Hard to pinpoint, even when trying to trace back land deeds.
6. "Asa Pease" - married to Susan Leavitt, sister of Joseph. Arrived in Wood County, 1847 (dau Lucinda b. Nov 1846 in NH). The house currently standing in area where Asa's property is marked on map is dated 1884, so not original home he lived in.
7. "S. Pease" - Sylvester E. Pease, brother of Asa; married to Lucinda P. Leavitt, sister of Joseph P., in 1857.
On the Vintage Aerial website, there are multiple rolls of film that cover this area in the 1980's and 1990's. I've marked many of them with "New England" for ease of finding. https://vintageaerial.com/photos/west-virginia/wood
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