A few highlights regarding our ancestor Deacon John Leavitt.
In 1628, Four Brothers by the name of Leavitt fled from England on account of religious persecution. The story has been handed down that they came on the Mayflower which, eight years earlier, had brought the “Pilgrim fathers” to Plymouth. the four young men were grandsons of William Leavitt, Tittleworth, County of Essex on the east coast of England. It is supposed that the ancestors of the brothers came to England with William the Conqueror in the Years 1066 semicolon for in the church in Normandy, several Leavitt names are said to be listed as having gone to England with William the Conqueror.
The Leavitt Brothers settled first in Dorchester, near Boston. In 1636, two of the brothers, John and Josiah went to the new town of Hingham, on the coast, some twenty miles south of Boston. The other two went North into New Hampshire, in or near Dexter.
John Leavitt was born in England in 1608, and died November 28th, 1691, full of years and full of honors. As early as I can find out, he was married to Mary sometime about 1636. She died July 4th, 1646 leaving five children. John Leavitt, now with the title of Deacon, married a second time. His second wife Sarah, daughter of Edward Gilman , and he were married on December 6th, 1646. Sarah died on May 26th, 1700, leaving 8 children.
John was granted 6 acres of land by the town of Hingham, July 7th, 1636, and in the same year he was made a freeman. He received additional allotments which were made from time, and on July 3rd, 1665, an Indian named Sagamore Josiah requested that a town meeting be held to vote Deacon John Leavitt an additional two acres from the public lands. When this was done the Indians signed the Deeds which gave the Indian lands to the town of Hingham. In the published history of Hingham there was no record of the cause of this act, but it is supposed that Deacon John had shown some outstanding kindness to the Indians. The little farm is on Leavitt Street, on the edge of Hingham. The original house is not standing but the house now there is said to be over 200 years old.
John Leavitt was an outstanding man in his community. In the Years 1644, 1656 and 1664 he was elected representative of the general court, as the legislature was then called in Massachusetts. In 1644 he was also elected to a committee of 7 who are charged with the business of the town. On June 15th, 1650 he was chosen Sealer of Heights. On January 16th, 1660 he was selected, along with two others, to end small causes and suits in the town. On August 15th, 1665 he was placed on a committee of five to seat people in the meeting house. The elders and deacons sat in pews, facing the audience and the men and women set apart. In 1681 he contributed or was taxed 7 Pounds, 13 Shillings, 4 Pence toward a new meeting house which is still standing at Hingham and is the oldest Meeting House in the United States. It is called the”Ship Meeting House” and has been used by the Unitarians for about a hundred years. On January 10th, 1669 the town lands were put into 700 shares of which John received 14 1/2 shares. He was chosen Selectman for the years 1661 / 63 / 65 / 68 / 72 / 74 / 75, showing the confidence his fellow citizens had in him.