BENSON LEAVITT, was the eldest son of Thomas and Hannah (Melcher) Leavitt, born 21 Jun 1797 in Hampton Falls, New Hampshire. As the U.S. flag and its holder suggests, he was a veteran of the War of 1812.
A member of the New Hampshire Militia, he was in the company of Capt. Samuel James, under Col. Case Waldron. He served as a private with a detachment of artillery from the Third Regiment, raised for the defence of Portsmouth Harbor in Sept. 1814. He would have only been 17 years of age at the time of his enlistment.
He moved to Boston, Massachusetts in 1826, establishing a wholesale grocery and fish store with his brother Joseph M. The 1831 City Dir. listed their business on Battery Wharf, but later references show their store on the Philadelphia Packet Pier. Following the death of his brother in 1849, the store of "B. & J.M. Leavitt" would change to "Benson Leavitt & Co." as he co-partnered with son Charles B. [Glouc. Telegraph, 4 Mar 1868]. The 1842 Dir. listed Benson as living at 11 Fleet, with Joseph at 10 1/2 (it was the same building). In 1831, they had been on Hanover.
He was a Justice of the Peace, as well as an alderman, in Boston for many years. In Nov. and Dec of 1845, as Chairman of the Board of Aldermen, he served as acting mayor in the city when the current official had passed away and elections needed to be held to secure a new leader. He was also among the list of bank directors, and was on the school committee in Ward 1, Boston. Party-wise, his name was often submitted on the ballots of several political parties in the years of running for an alderman position, but was noted as being either a Whig or American Republican (ie. Native American).
When his father died in 1852, both Benson and brother Joseph received the homestead farm in Hampton Falls (but remained in Boston), with their sister Hannah having the right to live there as a single woman [Rock. County Probate, file #16376]. From the 1856 map of Rockingham county, the location of the home is marked "C & B. Leavitt". This home still stands today. The cemetery where they are buried, not yet established when this map was drawn, is opposite the Old West View Cemetery, highlighted on the map.
Benson died from pneumonia on June 1st, 1869, in Watertown, MA, aged 72 [MA VR]. His body was a shipped back to Hampton Falls, where he was buried in the family plot at West View Cemetery. Newspaper accounts called him "the oldest fish dealer in Boston". One death notice read as follows:
His wife, Abigail Ward, had predeceased him in 1851, as did two of his children. He was survived by three daughters (Theresa, Susan, and Emily) and son Charles.
20-year old DANIEL WESTON LEAVITT enlisted on 15 Jan 1864 at Gray, Maine, signing up to serve three years with the newly formed 32nd Maine Infantry Regiment. He was mustered in on 23 March, a private in Company C (raised in Cumberland County). In a hurry to supply fresh troops to the southern battlefields, the unit was only at battalion strength when they shipped off at the end of April. The remaining four companies, which would include Daniel's older brother Libbeus H. Leavitt in Co. H, would join them in a month.
In a few short weeks the regiment would be engaged in the Battle of Spotsylvania, on 12 May 1864. Eleven men were killed or mortally wounded, with 29 wounded, on this day. Private Leavitt was among those wounded - the History of the 32nd Maine, on pg 139-140, lists him in the casualties, but with no further information. The 1890 Raymond, ME Veterans Schedule shows he was wounded in the right forearm.
As seen in the newspaper clipping below, Daniel was sent to the 1st Division Hospital in Alexandria. How long he was an inmate is unknown.
In just half a year, the 32nd Maine Infantry had been decimated, with only a couple hundred soldiers left fit for duty. On the 12th of Dec 1864, all survivors were consolidated with the 31st Maine, Daniel Leavitt included. He was subsequently transferred to the 5th Company, 2nd Battalion, Veteran Reserve Corps on 22 Feb 1865. He stayed in service until 21 Oct 1865, when mustered out.
He was married to Miss Loantha Frank on 29 Sept 1866, in Gray, Maine [Daily Eastern Argus, 13 Oct 1866, pg 3]. They lived in Raymond, Maine through 1890, and had five children there (all recorded in town VR). They would move to Gray, Maine prior to 1900, where they remained until their deaths.
An 1871 map of East Raymond (below) shows where Daniel "D.W.", his father Seth "S", and brother-in-law Aaron "A.T." Barrows had lived.
Daniel was a member of the George F. Shepley G.A.R. Post in Gray, at one time having served as commander [Portland Daily Press, 19 Jan 1897, pg 7].
He was the son of Seth B. and Ann (Libby) Leavitt, born about Nov 1844 [1900 census; or 24 Nov 1842, if age at death was correct] in New Gloucester, ME [as noted in Raymond, ME Town Records; his enlistment says Gray, ME as birth place]. He died from heart disease in Gray on 3 Jan 1907, aged 64 yrs, 1 mo, 10 das. He can be found in the Descendants of Nehemiah Leavitt v6, pg 80/95.
CHARLES HENRY LEAVITT was the son of John Phillips and Mary Smith (Taylor) Leavitt, born in Exeter, NH on 25 Dec 1827 [Desc. of Moses Leavitt v1, pg 100].
An Exeter, New Hampshire resident, he was working as a clerk at the Squamscott House Hotel when he left for Boston, Mass and signed up for three years with the 29th Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. He served with them from 18 May 1861 until 1 Feb 1864, when he was transferred into Co. I of the 36th Mass Inf.
On 22 Feb 1864, the Exeter Newsletter printed a letter from someone in the 11th NH, who mentioned seeing Charles Leavitt:
He was wounded at the Battle of the Wilderness on May 6th, 1864, when a musket ball struck him in the neck, near the jaw [Exeter Newsletter, 5/16/64, pg 4]. The projectile was extracted, and only resulted in a slight flesh wound, with a week in the hospital. His 3 years were up on 18 May '64, but he was not mustered out of service until 2 Sept [service recs on Fold3].
In the Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors [Vol 3, pg 329], it says that Charles reenlisted in "Co. K, 7th Regiment Hancock Corps, to the credit of New Jersey". His step-mother, in her pension application (not approved), listed the unit as Co. K, 7th US Vet. Vols". His exact service dates during this time are not yet known, but he was in Exeter, NH on 29 March of 1865, during which time he filed a will.
The regiment was part of Hancock's 1st Corps, stationed at Camp Stoneman, Washington, DC. He died there in the General Hospital on 3 July 1865, from diarrhea, aged 38 yrs, 6 mos. His body was not returned to Exeter, NH until Nov, where he was buried on the 16th of that month [Exeter Newsletter, 11/20/65, pg 3]. He was buried in the Exeter Cemetery.
He was a single man, and left the income of his estate, both real and personal, to his step mother Sarah Jane [Rock County Probate, file #19626]. After her decease, his siblings would equally divide it. He had a house on a 1/4 acre of land on the road to Hampton (High Street) in Exeter (his father also lived on same road).
His half-brothers, Joseph W. and John W. Leavitt, also served during the Civil War. They both survived.
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].
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.