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John Leavitt

Birthdate: (83)
Birthplace: Beverly, Yorkshire, England
Death: November 20, 1691 (83)
Hingham, Suffolk County (Present Plymouth County), Province of Massachusetts
Immediate Family:

Son of Percival Leavitt, Jr. and Margaret Leavitt
Husband of Deliverance Leavitt; Mary Leavitt and Sarah Leavitt
Father of John Leavitt; Hannah Lobdell; Lt Samuel Leavitt; Elizabeth Judkins; Jeremiah Leavitt and 8 others
Brother of Sarah Ann Leavitt (Levett); Elizabeth Leavitt (Levett); Josiah Leavitt; Abigail Leavitt; Samuel Leavitt and 5 others

Occupation: Tailor, moved to Dorchester 1634, Religious
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About John Leavitt

John Leavitt of Hingham, Massachusetts was certainly the first by this name to settle in America and to bequeath American soil to his progeny. Authors disagree as to the year of his arrival and the name of the ship he sailed on. Names of four different ships are given by as many authors. The most likely account is provided by "The History of Ancient Woodbury, Conn." which states: "John Leavitt came to New England and settled in Dorchester in 1628." This information was very likely given to the author by immediate descendants of John who were early settlers in this part of the State. The Dudley genealogy states: "John ran away from an apprenticeship at the age of 19." All early authors and family tradition agree on this assertion. If still an apprentice he would have to have been under the age of 21 as apprentices were freed of their commitment at age 21. So being born in 1608, he would have reached the age of 19 in 1629. This makes it very likely 1628 was the year he arrived in America.

As an apprentice John learned the trade of tailoring and went into business in Dorchester. After he became possessed of some property in Dorchester his Master learned of his whereabouts, came overseas and took from him his possessions, as by law he was entitled to do. "History of Rockingham County, N.H." states: "His master came from England and took away his little property in Dorchester so Deacon John went to Hampton and Exeter N.H. for a time". This statement has possibilities. It may be the reason for five of his sons settling in and near Exeter. It may be where he found his first wife, supposed to be a Mary "Lovet," whom he married in 1637. Perhaps Mary was not a Lovet until after her marriage to John and an error was simply repeated time after time. It is also possible she was the sister of Thomas who lived in Exeter before moving to Hampton. The Thomas branch early on spelled their last name in various ways, mostly Lovet, but also Lovatt, Levett and Leuit. In early days the letters "o" and "e" were similar and often confused.

Mary died in July 1646 and John married second, Sarah Gilman, daughter of Edward and Mary Gilman, in December 1646. She was born in Caston, England in 1622 and lived with her parents in Hingham. In 1636 and 1637 and again in 1647, 1648 and 1665 a number of lots were granted to John Leavitt at Hingham, Mass.

John was declared a freeman on Dec. 15, 1636, meaning he was a church member. Only freemen could hold office or vote for rulers. He was a representative to the General Court in 1656 and again in 1664. He was a Selectman for several years and frequently engaged in town business. He was a Magistrate, which meant he was a member of the Governor’s Council.

John had 13 children; three sons and two daughters with Mary and four sons and four daughters with Sarah. Five of his seven sons married and had children. These were Israel and Josiah, who remained in Hingham and brought up their families there, and Samuel, Moses and Nehemiah, who all moved to and settled in the Exeter, New Hampshire area. The six girls all married, four of them twice. Only one had no offspring. The other five all had children and the Leavitt bloodline quickly passed into other families.

The preceding text was downloaded June 2009 from

John married first Mary Lovet in 1637. They had issues #1-5. John married second Sarah Gilman in Hingham, MA on 12/16/1646.

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John Leavitt's Timeline

November 20, 1608
Beverly, Yorkshire, England
July 19, 1637
Age 28
Hingham, Massachusetts Bay Colony
April 1, 1639
Age 30
Hingham, Plymouth, Massachusetts
April 7, 1641
Age 32
Hingham, Massachusetts Bay Colony
April 28, 1644
Age 35
Hingham, Suffolk County, Massachusetts Bay Colony
March 1, 1646
Age 37
Hingham, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA
April 23, 1648
Age 39
Hingham, Plymouth, MA, USA
August 12, 1650
Age 41
Hingham, Suffolk County, Massachusetts Bay Colony