JOHN H LEAVITT was a farmer in Shapleigh, Maine, where he was born on 27 May 1821, the son of Jeremiah and Abigail (Hasty) Leavitt. Except for his time serving during the Civil War, he lived his entire life there, and died in town on 19 Jan 1911. He was buried in Riverside Cemetery, in the neighboring village of Springvale, Maine.
The 1856 map of York County shows "J. Leavitt" in Shapleigh, located on what is today Shapleigh Corner Road, on the east side of the road. On the 1872 Shapleigh, Maine map, his homestead is on the west side of the road "from Shapleigh to Sanford". There is an old building on this spot, but currently not clear if this is the home of John H. or one built later. [GPS: 43.538218, -70.851348]
Online access to York County Deeds aren't available at the time of this writing, but the 1880 Census Agriculture Schedule lists John H having 42 acres (28 improved, and 14 woodland/forest) valued at $1000. In the inventory of his probate, his real estate was still valued at this dollar amount.
His first wife, Eliza Bragdon, is buried in Maple Grove Cemetery, Acton, ME (see cemetery records). They didn't have any children. He secondly married, on 11 Oct 1862 in Shapleigh, to Pauline A Cooper. At that time, he was on leave from Camp Lincoln in Cape Elizabeth, having been mustered into Company K, 27th Maine Infantry, on the 30th of Sept., and would ship out for Virginia a week later.
He received a disability discharge on 7 Jan 1863 and returned home to Shapleigh.
John and Pauline had six children, their names all inscribed on the above family monument. Some of them are not buried in this plot, however; they are elsewhere with their husbands.
According to his obituary, published in the Springvale Advocate on Jan. 27th, 1911, John had gone blind some years prior. He was the oldest resident of Shapleigh when he passed away at his home, from Bright's Disease.
Obituary: Springvale Advocate, 27 Jan 1911, pg 2
Map: York County, Maine, 1857 (Shapleigh)
Map: Shapleigh, ME, 1872 (at Digital Maine)
Maine State Archives Collection: Civil War (Co K, 27th ME Enlistment Rolls)
York County, ME Probate (File #54949) - he left real estate to his wife, while remainder of estate equally divided between three daughters. Grandson Edward Ham received $500.
In the 1860 census, both Lorenzo and his brother Henry were living in Lawrence, MA, working as laborers. They soon went back home to Turner, as Lorenzo enlisted from there on 29 Sept 1862, to serve in Co D, 23rd Maine Infantry. He was mustered in the same day, aged 25, as a private (later promoted to corporal), and served until 15 Jul 1863, when the nine-month regiment was disbanded. He afterwards returned to Lawrence, and reenlisted with the 6th Massachusetts Infantry, Co K, on 11 Jul 1864. Mustered in as a sergeant on 14 July '64, he was mustered out on 27 Oct 1864.
He was a farmer back in Turner for the 1870 census, living together with his brother Henry and his family. Henry was a "canvasser for fruit trees", an occupation Lorenzo took with him when he returned to Mass.
Lorenzo was living in Newburyport by 1877, where he was a seller of fruit and ornamental trees [street directories]. Following the death of his wife, he moved to Boston and sold real estate.
In the book LEAVITT Descendants of John Leavitt, the Immigrant, Through His Son, Israel and Lydia Jackson (pg 46), it is noted that this couple had no issue that lived. They had at least one child:
i. HENRY BROOKINGS LEAVITT, born 28 Sept 1876 in Newburyport, MA. He died 1 Jan 1877 in Newburyport [MA vr vol 292 pg 244].
Brothers Aubrey and Archibald D were early participants in the Civil War, taking part in the raising of a company that would be part of the 16th Maine Infantry, a 3-year unit. Both were mustered into service on 14 Aug 1862, Aubrey as sergeant of Co E (later promoted to 2nd Lt). Arch, initially captain of the same company, would become Major of the regiment, but was mortally wounded (in left clavicle) in battle, and died in Douglas Hospital, Washington, DC on 30 May 1864 (the 29th is also seen for death date). While the "Register of Deaths of Volunteers" lists him as buried in the Soldiers' Home Cemetery in DC, the Sixteenth Maine book (pg 230) says "His remains were brought to Turner and buried with Masonic honors".
The Colby College website has a photo of Arch D Leavitt:
Arch was a graduate of Colby College, Waterville, Class of 1862. His fellow fraternal brothers in Delta Kappa Epsilon, upon hearing of his death, had the following "Tribute of Respect" printed in the Portland Daily Press, on 30 June, 1864 (pg 3).
REUBEN TOWLE LEAVITT Jr, the son of Reuben T and Nancy M (Brown) Leavitt, was born in Pittsfield, NH on 11 Nov 1839 [NH vr]. He died on 30 Aug 1919 and was buried in Floral Park Cemetery, Pittsfield, NH [NH Death Rec].
He was married, on 4 Sept 1871 in South Berwick, Maine [ME Marr Rec], to EMMA A WATSON, the daughter of John and Betsey (Kenniston) Watson. She was born 26 Aug 1845 in Pittsfield, NH, and died there on 13 June 1932 [NH Death Rec].
During the Civil War, he enlisted on 16 Aug 1862 and was mustered in on 5 Sept, serving in Co. F of the 12th NH Infantry. He was wounded in the Battle of Chancellorsville on 3 May 1863, being shot through the left knee, and was taken prisoner. He was released 12 days later, having had no care given his wounds and, as a result, would be disabled for life. Sent to an army hospital, he would not consent to his leg being amputated, and was discharged on 21 Nov 1863. See the "History of Pittsfield, N.H. in the Great Rebellion" [pg 104-105, on archive.org]
He and his family removed to Concord, NH prior to the 1850 census, and had lived in Kittery for seven years (while father Reuben Sr was a lighthouse keeper), but was soon back in Pittsfield.
Reuben and Emma had three children:
i. Lila Maude Leavitt b. 26 Sept 1872, d. 2 July 1882
ii. Harry Edgar Leavitt b. 5 Apr 1879; d. 12 Oct 1969
iii. Inez Maude Leavitt b. 22 July 1883; d. 13 May 1902
According to the book LEAVITT Descendants of Thomas Leavitt, the Immigrant 1616-1696, and Isabella Bland (pg 143), his ancestry was: Reuben T Jr (Reuben T, Reuben T, Benjamin, Thomas, Aretas, Thomas)
John Wood Leavitt was sixteen years and six months old when he left the family farm in East Winthrop, Maine , and took the 10-mile trek to Augusta. He had just enlisted, on the 20th of November 1863, as a "20"-year old, enrolled by "A.S." (Arnold Sweet) Richmond, a fellow townsman and acting deputy provost marshal. As a private in the Seventh Maine Battery (of Light Artillery), he was mustered into service for three years, on 30 Dec. 1863.
Through the month of January, 1864, while other volunteers continued to arrive, the men were formed into detachments and drilled on a daily basis at Camp Coburn in Augusta. At the end of the month, John Leavitt received a state bounty of $100, as well as a U.S. bounty of $60 and $13 monthly advance pay. The unit left the capital on the morning of 1 Feb. and headed south.
Transported via rail and steamer, the 7th Battery arrived in Washington, DC on the morning of 5 February 1864, and settled into Camp Barry, the Artillery Camp of Instruction. Having already left a few men behind in Augusta due to sickness, the camp life and change of climate continued to take its toll.
A letter, written by someone stationed at Camp Barry and published in the Oxford Democrat on 8 April 1864, pg 2, mentioned the 7th Battery:
"It came here with 143 men...[ ]. There has been much sickness in this company since its arrival. Four have died..."
John W Leavitt was one of those four men, succumbing to double pneumonia on the 16th of March, 1864. He was two months shy of his seventeenth birthday.
His body was returned home, where he was buried in the East Winthrop Cemetery, beside his sister Mary, who had died in 1860, at age 14.
Photos taken 21 Sept 2019 (by S. Dow)
Descendants of John Leavitt Through His Son, Israel and Lydia Jackson (pg 77)
History of the Seventh Maine Light Artillery (archive.org)
Seventh Maine Battery Descriptive Roll (pg 63); Monthly Return (pg 195); Muster In Roll (pg 108 pay, pg 109); Muster Out Roll (pg 130)
Maine, Civil War Enlistment Papers: John W Leavitt (Declaration of recruit) - being under 21 years of age, a parent or guardian needed to sign a consent form. As seen below, John's father Hiram H. Leavitt signed off on his son being 20 years old.
gravestones and their stories
More than just names and dates engraved on a grave stone, a look into the Leavitt families found in our cemetery photographs.