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.
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).
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.
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.
This gravestone is located in the Woodlawn Cemetery, Buxton, Maine, formerly called "Emery Cemetery". This "Wm. P." is WILLIAM P LEAVITT, born in Buxton, Maine on 30 Jan 1811, the son of Bradbury Leavitt [Buxton VR, Bk 4,pg 65]. He died on 7 Aug 1844, AE 33 yrs. 7 mos. [grave]. On the same stone is Charles P. Leavitt, son of Wm P. and Martha Leavitt, who died "May 16, 1844" AE 10 mos.
The Portland Weekly Advertiser newspaper, dated 6/11/1844, has Charles P. dying "in this city, 2d inst", which matches that of his record of burial in Eastern Cemetery, A Tomb 75 [note: this tomb has only 7 members of the Brooks family inscribed on its cover, so perhaps Charles was placed here temporarily] while the city vr (recorded in Jan 1846) lists his death as 4 June 1844. This same newspaper, on 8/13/1844, published "In Buxton, 5th inst, Mr William P. Leavitt, merchant tailor, of this city", so dates differ for both William and his son.
William P. Leavitt and Martha Brown were married in Portland, Maine on 31 May 1841 [ME vr]. This was his second marriage, having been divorced from Anna Berry in Nov 1839 [Cumb County SJC Vol 13 pg 239]. He and Anna had been married on 25 Dec 1831 in Buxton [Buxton VR Bk 3, pg 101]. The Buxton town records [Bk 4 pg 160] has the family of William and Anna:
The date this family information was recorded in the town book is unknown, but the full birth dates of his two children (by 1st wife) were not written down. The "Sept 1830" birth of dau Elizabeth, 15 months prior to her parents' marriage, may be wrong [she died on 16 Jan 1896 in Brockton, MA, aged 63 yrs 4 mos, calculating a birth date of Sept 1832, though too close to brother Wm H's birth]. Portland vital records [Vol 4, pg 292] list their birth dates as "Elizabeth b. Sept 1829, William H, b. Mar 1833, and Charles P, b. Aug 1843".
The will of William P. Leavitt of Buxton, gentleman, is recorded in York County Probate [file #11299], and was dated 16 July 1844, just a few weeks prior to his death. Mentioned in the papers are his wife Martha, daughter Elizabeth, son William Henry, as well as brother Daniel, who was appointed executor. These two children would live with their Uncle Daniel, William being listed as an "adopted son" in Daniel's family record [Buxton VR Bk 2 pg 21], with Elizabeth seen in his household in 1850 census [hh 393/414]. William stayed in Buxton, where he married Roxanna Harmon, while Elizabeth married Timothy Haseltine, and moved first to Abington, MA, then to Brockton.
William P Leavitt was a merchant tailor, and had a store on Middle Street in Portland, Maine, where he sold clothing, furnishings, and had a tailoring business. His home was on Federal, near Temple [1841 Portland City Dir, pg 56]
He is found in the Descendants of Thomas Leavitt book, pg 153, though wrongly listed as a son of Samuel of Buxton, who was born in 1797. Only wife Anna Berry is listed in the write-up, and the deceased infant son Charles is listed with a wife and dau, a totally different Portland couple [from an unknown Canadian Leavitt line]. Daughter Elizabeth, living with her Uncle Daniel Leavitt during the 1850 census, is erroneously listed as a dau of him [Thomas Leavitt gen, pg 108].
Below is an 1841 advert from the Portland, Maine City Directory:
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.