Amos T. Leavitt of Hampton

Sponsor for the New Name "New Hampshire"

From New Hampshire: The Granite State Monthly

January 1929, pp. 36-7

It is peculiarly fitting that the new name, New Hampshire for the old state magazine, The Granite Monthly should have been first suggested by Mr. Amos T Leavitt of Hampton. Hampton is one of the oldest town in the state and the Leavitt family progenitors were numbered among the earliest settlers of New Hampshire And the Granite Monthly is the oldest state magazine in the country.

It was 1638 that the Rev. Stephen Bachiler with a small group of followers sailed up the Hampton river in a shallop and made the first settlement in the historic town which has given Hampton Beach to New England and the nation as a shore playground which is unsurpassed. In the following year the Leavitt family came to Hampton and it has been represented there ever since.

Amos T Leavitt was born in the Leavitt Homestead at the North Beach, Hampton on July 23, 1869. It may truthfully he said that he was of "good old New England stock" for his paternal ancestors came to Hampton the year after it was settled and on the maternal side, the Godfreys, his mother's family, became residents of Hampton in 1649. He was educated in the public schools of the town of his birth and graduated from Hampton Academy in 1887.

While still in the grammar schools, at the age of twelve, young Leavitt caught a turtle of the black snapping variety on the shell of which were the initials "Z. B". which stood for Zachias Brown with the date 1854 and the initials "J. W. D " which had been carved in the turtle's shell by J. Warren Dow and he also carved the date -----1866. To this queer record, young Leavitt added his own initials and the date 1881, and turned the turtle loose, little thinking that nearly half a century afterwards he would be called upon to pose with "Winnicummet", as the turtle was called before a queer machine which recorded both sight and sound and to relate the episode of the capture and recapture of the ancient creature. But more of that later.

In October 1897 Mr. Leavitt entered the employ of Silas Pierce & Company, wholesale grocers of Boston. In 1900 he became a managing director of this well-known firm and continued as such for a quarter of a century when ill health forced his retirement in 1925. Since that time Mr. Leavitt has been taking things easy and enjoying life to the utmost He spends the winters at Altamonte Springs, Florida and the balance of the year he lives at his attractive bungalow near the North Beach in Hampton where he takes real pleasure in entertaining a host of friends.

While in business Mr. Leavitt's favorite diversion was fishing and the folks up around Lake Waukewan in Meredith all remember the reputation which Mr. Leavitt achieved as a bass fisherman. In those days he spent every day possible on his beautiful little lake in central New Hampshire. Nowadays he has taken up golf and his ability in this direction almost equals his fame as a fisherman for he has won the annual Altamonte Springs Golf Tournament for a number of years and is down there now getting in shape for another championship.

Last summer "Winnicummet", the turtle was captured by Phillip Blake, who immediately turned the ancient creature over to Mr. Leavitt who is considered by the townspeople of Hampton to be it's owner. It was the first time it has been captured since 1905 and the third time that it has been "dated" by the Hampton Man.

The Fox Movie Tone people heard of the fame of "Winnicummet" and sent a representative up to Hampton to get pictures and a talking record of the turtle and its owner. Mr. Leavitt is naturally of a retiring disposition and he consented to pose and tell the story only with the understanding that his face should not show in the picture, This was agreed to by the operator, but the camera slipped into proper focus and recorded not only the picture of Mr. Leavitt and "Winnicummet" but also the story of how he captured the creature as a boy in 1881.

Mr. Leavitt's wife died some time ago and he has one son, Amos T. Leavitt Jr., who is a junior at Bowdoin College. Mr. Leavitt is a trustee of Hampton Academy and a director of the Hampton Cooperative Bank. He is a member of the Masonic fraternity. When a representative of the Granite Monthly called to present Mr. Leavitt with a check for twenty-five dollars, the prize for suggesting the most appropriate name for the state magazine, he was not at home. In fact he was due to arrive that day in Altamonte Springs, Florida for his winter vacation.

But the magazine representative did find Mr. Frank Leavitt the genial president of the Hampton and Hampton Beach Chamber of Commerce and brother of the subject of his sketch. It was from Mr. Frank Leavitt that we learned a few of the facts in connection with the life of his brother. In view of the man's modesty as evidenced by his experience with the Fox Movietone people it is fortunate the Mr. Amos T. Leavitt was in Florida, else the state magazine would probably have been unable to present any facts relative to the New Hampshire citizen to whom it is indebteded for its new name -- New Hampshire.

Obituary of Amos T. Leavitt

Hampton Union & Rockingham County Gazette, February 10, 1938, p.1

Amos T. Leavitt passed away at the Huntington Hospital in Boston.

Mr. Leavitt in July would have been sixty-nine years of age. He was a native of Hampton although he has been away from his home a greater part of the time.

For many years Mr. Leavitt was connected with the Silas Pierce Co. of Boston, but in recent years he lived at his summer home here in Hampton spending a greater part of the winter seasons in Altamont Springs, Florida.

Funeral services will be held from Mt. Auburn Chapel in Cambridge and will be private.