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.
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].
This interesting grave stone is located in the High Street Cemetery in Hampton, New Hampshire, and belongs to ABRAHAM MARSTON LEAVITT. He was the son of Thomas and Mary (Marston) Leavitt, born in Hampton on 6 Mar 1827 [Descendants of Thomas Leavitt, pg 150/155].
He moved to Boston, Mass, where he worked as a police officer in the 1860's. In 1868, he became a truant officer for the city [Boston Traveller, 3/31/1868], a position he held until his death in Roxbury on 7 Oct 1898.
His wife was SARAH J SANBORN, the daughter of William and Hannah (Chase) Sanborn of Seabrook, NH [death rec]. She died in Stoughton, MA on 13 Jan 1910, and was buried in Hampton, NH [MA Death Rec].
They had two sons, William Sanborn Leavitt and Alfred Marston Leavitt, both of whom lived in Boston, and were also buried in the High St Cemetery.
- Hampton, NH Cemetery page
- Boston Evening Times, 8/28/1860 (pg 4): Abraham appointed officer on 27 Aug.
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.