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.
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.
BRACKETT LEAVITT (Nathaniel, James, James, Aretas, Thomas) was born abt Oct 1789 in Limerick, Maine, the son of Nathaniel (a Revolutionary War soldier) and Mary (Elkins) Leavitt. He died 21 Apr 1866, and is buried in the Hillside-Baptist Cemetery in Limerick.
He married, on 28 Oct 1811, to MARY WORMWOOD of Alfred, Maine. She was born 30 Apr 1790 and died on 9 Oct 1878.
Brackett (also spelled Brackett, Bracet) was a War of 1812 veteran. He served as a private in Capt Solomon Strout's Company, Lt Col John Spring's regiment, which was raised at Limington, and served at Saco [Massachusetts, Dist of Maine]. He enlisted on 10/30/1814 and was discharged on 11/13/14. He also served in Merrill's 4th MA Militia under Capt Strout.
They had the following children:
I. George Washington Leavitt, born 12 May 1812
II. Lydia Wormwood Leavitt, b. 4 June 1815
III. Shubael Leavitt, b. 26 Jan 1822
IV. Sarah Anne Leavitt, b. 8 July 1829
V. Louise Stevens Leavitt, b. 27 Feb 1832
VI. Julia A. Leavitt
Family data from LEAVITT Descendants of Thomas Leavitt, the Immigrant 1616-1696, and Isabella Bland, pg 53,65.
According to the 1856 York County map, "B. Leavitt" lived on the corner of what is now Route 5 and Range E Road. A clipped image (below) from Google Street View shows the house at this location, which may have been Brackett's. The home has a "1795" plaque on the front.
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.