Intellectual Nourishment

The nice part about living in a small town is that when you don't know what you are doing, someone else does.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The First Lemuel and Laura Leavitt

Submitted by Jane Osmond
In celebration of Pioneer Day and since several families here in Gunlock are direct descendants of Lemuel and Laura Leavitt; I thought the town would enjoy this courageous and highly interesting pioneer story.

Lemuel Sturdevant Leavitt arrived in the Salt Lake Valley to make preparations for his family beginning in 1849. At age 22, he found himself attracted to a Mormon lady named Laura MelvinaThompson (16). She was introduced as his fiancee to his mother and siblings at their arrival in August, 1850. Lemuel and Laura were wed on October 15, of that year. Within the next month, Lemuel set about making a new cabin for them at Pine Canyon, just east of Tooele. It is presumed he also helped his brothers, Dudley and Thomas in building their cabin at Pine Canyon. Their first four children were born there:
Laura Melvina 4 Aug 1851
Lemuel Sturdevant Jr. 6 Nov 1852
Edward Washington 1 Jan 1854
Deborah Jane 15 Jan 1856
"In 1856, Lemuel assisted in planting the first grain in Cache Valley. He located at Santa Clara, Utah, 1857. There, Laura gave birth to their addition four children:
Thomas Dudley 8 Nov 1857
Orange Decater 10 Dec 1859
Lovisa (twin) and 22 Oct 1861
Lovina (twin) (d 22 Oct 1862)
Of Laura, her future daughter-in-law wrote, "Hard work proved too much for her. Her health failed. She was the mother of eight children under twelve years of age. …She would pick cotton with the help of her older children, pick our the seeds by hand, cord and spin and weave it into cloth to make their clothes. It proved too much for her. She died on the 8th of October 1862 when the twins were eleven months old. One followed her in three weeks."
The following year, Lemuel was called to take his ox team to accompany and assist emigrants making their way to Utah from Council Bluffs. Among the group he assisted was a Danish girl, Betsy Amelia Mortensen. He brought her to Santa Clara, where they wed October 13, 1863. Their only child together would be:
Mary Matilda 6 Nov 1864

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