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.
F. ALBERT LEAVITT was a few months shy of his eleventh birthday when he left his home that Saturday morning, the 2nd of January 1886, telling his mother that he was going up to visit his grandmother. Instead, he headed out onto the river with a few of his friends to go ice skating.
The river was not totally iced over, however, and young Albert ventured too close to the edge and fell in. Jack Hayes, a local man being close by, made an attempt to grab Albert, but he also slipped into the water. He was able to pull himself out, but the boy was lost under the water.
Once word got back into the city, crowds of people came down to the river, to help in the search. Solon S. Andrews, a Biddeford man, arrived that afternoon with diving equipment, to search for Albert's body, while men in boats and rafts dragged the river with grappling hooks and poles. Several of the searchers fell into the river on Sunday, due to the thin ice, but were saved by others close by.
The distraught mother, widow Mrs B. Frank Leavitt, would even offer a $500 reward for whoever was able to find her son's body.
Young Albert's body was found that Friday, January 8th, down by Cow Island. He was buried in Laurel Hill Cemetery, in Saco.
While the majority of Leavitt names living in Saco, Maine descend from the "Thomas line" (ie. Descendants of Thomas Leavitt of Hampton), this particular family can be found in the Descendants of Samuel Leavitt book, on 134. Father Benjamin Franklin Leavitt, son of Benjamin and Sarah E (Stevenson), had come from Exeter, NH. This volume, however, only listed a daughter for B. Frank and his wife Laura (Patterson), but left out son F. Albert Leavitt.
The above 1872 map of Saco shows (in red) where "F. Leavitt" (Benjamin Franklin) and his family lived on Common Street, while the blue circle was the home of "E. Patterson", who was the widow Eunice, Albert's maternal grandmother.
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.