John D Leavitt of Meredith, NH
The broken stone of JOHN D LEAVITT, who died on 27 March 1866, at the age of 39 years. It lies in the Churchyard Cemetery in Meredith (see cemetery page).
He was the son of Nehemiah and Nancy (Howe) Leavitt [Descendants of Nehemiah Leavitt v6, pg 41], born about 1826 (age 24 in July 1850 census), and was a farmer in Meredith.
Terrible accident at Meredith
On Tuesday morning, March 13th, 1855, the residents of Meredith gathered at the new town house, to cast their votes for town moderator. Some 800 men had filled the building by 10 o'clock when the eastern end of the floor collapsed, sending 300 bodies falling through a 30 x14 ft gap some 18 feet below. The structure had been built on a hill, so the entrance way was level with the street, and was built up to extend back above the sloping hillside. A rotten center beam had been used in the new construction, causing the collapse once the building was full of voters.
Among the six reported to be fatally injured (with 75-100 others listed with having severe to slight injuries), and not expected to "survive many hours", was John Leavitt, with a leg badly broken. While the papers gave him no hope of survival, as he was "beyond hope of recovery" [Farmer's Cabinet, 22 Mar 1855], he did live on for eleven more years.
He lived on the farm formerly belonging to his father, northeast of the homestead farm of (distantly related) Dudley Leavitt and his heirs. Following the death of Nehemiah in 1850, John began purchasing the rights to the estate from his siblings.
When John, an unmarried man, died in 1866, his heirs sold off the estate to neighbor Arthur E. Leavitt [Belknap County Deeds: Vol 44, pg 155 and 156].
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gravestones and their stories
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