From the collections at the Leavenworth County Historical Society and Museum. Reprinted with permission from The Leavenworth County Historical Society and Museum and the Leavenworth Times. Donated by Debra Graden.
Editor's Note: This story of the Leavenworth family appeared 40 years ago in The Leavenworth Times. The author, Henry Shindler, was a retired soldier and veteran of the Indian Wars. He was a newspaper correspondent and lived at 412 Pottawatomie. Shindler was a student of pioneer history and sponsored the campaign to raise money to bring the body of General Leavenworth to the Fort where it now lies. The money was also used to build the monument at his grave.
The next Army Register will again contain the name of "Leavenworth," from which it has been absent since 1863. Its restoration has been made possible by the appointment of John Parke Leavenworth of Mitchell, Ind., to a lieutenancy in the coast Artillery. This young man is a direct descendant of the progenitor of the Leavenworth family of which the late General Henry Leavenworth was a most distinguished member.
The appointment of this young man calls attention to the fact that the Leavenworth family has never been unmindful of the country when the services of men to bear arms were needed. The name of Leavenworth can be found upon the records of ever war in which the country has been engaged. It has produced clergymen, lawyers, judges, physicians, manufacturers, merchants and agriculturists.
The loyalty of the Leavenworth family in colonial days is a record for patriotism which will never fade. At any rate its male members instead of playing a skin game with the aborigines, or buying up real estate at the bargain counter down on Manhattan Isle, were busily occupied in the successful struggle of laying the foundation for the best government on earth! And that surely is glory enough.
The young officer who bears the name of Leavenworth can look back with pride on the performances of his ancestors. He needn't take off his hat to any son of the A.R. The record of his ancestors is second to none.
The progenitor of the Leavenworth in America, Thomas, emigrated from England about 1660, and landed at New Haven, Conn., later removing to Woodbury. this emigrant had two sons, Thomas and John. The elder, later known as Dr. Thomas, became the father of 11 children, and these are the foundation of the present family, which is scattered from the Atlantic to the Pacific, from Canada to the Gulf. It is doubtful whether there is another family in America, the descendants of one common progenitor, which can make the same numerical showing.
Dr. Thomas became the grandfather of 73 children, the majority of whom were boys. That the family was religiously inclined, as were, of course, most of those who landed about that period from the other side, is evident by their christian names. The Bible must have been thoroughly gone over to find names suitable, as will be observed: Hezekiah, Abel, James, David, Ebenezer, Zebulon, Mark, Isaac, Gideon, Eli, Samuel, Joseph, Abijah, Jahodah, Benjamin, Amos, Elissha, Elihu, and Calvin, of course. Small families were the exception among Leavenworths.
It is the purpose, in this letter, to refer only to the men of the family who have won fame and reputation in the profession of arms. It furnishes an interesting fund of information of a family in which Kansas is more or less interested from a historical standpoint.
The Leavenworth name is found on the rolls of the Army many years prior to the Revolution.
General Leavenworth's grandfather, Mark, a son of Dr. Thomas, served as a chaplain in colonel Whiting's regiment during the French war. His son Jesse, the father of General Henry, was a lieutenant in this regiment. He was also a lieutenant in the "Governor's Foot Guards," the distinguished military company of the state, of which Benedict Arnold was captain.
Jesse's father took an important part in the early stages of the Revolution to secure freedom for the colonies. He was placed on the state committee by the legislature, for raising troops for the revolution, and his name heads the list of those in Waterbury who took the oath of fidelity after the declaration of independence. Captain Jesse took a very prominent and active part in all public affairs. He was a graduate of Yale and a member of the legislature for 10 years. He died Dec. 12, 1824, at Sackett's Harbor, N. Y., at the home of his son, Henry, then stationed there.
An incident is related of his wife, the mother of Henry, which shows her hatred of the British at that time. Captain Jesse's house in those days was on the water side of New Haven. In high tides the water came up almost to the rear of the house, and there, during the revolution some marauding British soldiers landed. The husband was assidently[sic] absent from the city. She refused to leave the house.
The British pillaged the house, took her silver buckles of her shoes, ripped open her feather beds and emptied them into the sea, while she took what revenge a woman could by giving them "a piece of her mind."
The young officer who bears the (line ends here unexpectedly)
Captain Jesse was the father of seven children of which Henry was the youngest. He was born in Danbury, Vt., in 1783. He entered the service during the War of 1812, in which he won distinguished laurels in the battles of Chippewa and Niagara. On conclusion of the war he was appointed to the regular Army with the rank of major. He established Fort Snelling, Minn., in 1819, the Cantonment of Leavenworth in 1827, and later commanded all the troops in the southwest, and while on an expedition to secure a treaty of peace with hostile Pawnees, died. His remains were, early in 1835, carried to Delhi, N.Y., from which place he entered the Army and re-interred. In 1902 the remains were taken up and brought to Fort Leavenworth, where they lie at rest in the national cemetery.
Jesse Henry, son of the general, the second member of the Leavenworth family to enroll in the regular Army, was a graduate of West Point of the class of 1830; appointed to the Fourth Infantry, and resigned in 1836 to engage in civil engineering. In 1862 he was appointed colonel of the Second Colorado Cavalry, known as the "Rocky Mountain Rangers." He served for some time on the Kansas plains, defending the Santa Fe trail. He resigned in the fall of 1863, and died at Milwaukee in 1885.
We now come to a branch of the family of which Mark, a brother of Gen. Henry Leavenworth, was the head. The eldest was Dr. Melinus Congling Leavenworth. He was born at Waterbury, Conn., in 1796, a graduate of Yale's Medical College in 1817. He entered the Army as an assistant surgeon in 1883, and remained in the service for nearly 10 years when he resigned. He served at many western stations, among them Fort Leavenworth. He was with his uncle, General Henry, at the time of his death in 1834.
Capt. Mark Frederick Leavenworth was a great grandson of Mark the grandfather of General Henry. He was born at Bennington Iron Works, Vt., in 1882. He attended West Point for one year, resigning in 1850. In 1851 he was appointed a lieutenant of the Third Cavalry, and died as captain of the Eighteenth Infantry, March 18, 1863, of disease contracted in the swamps of Tennessee.
John Parke Leavenworth, the young Indianian, who is expected to uphold the record of his military ancestors, belongs to the tribe of Zebulon. the latter was a brother of Mark, whom General Henry Leavenworth recognized as grandfather. The young man's immediate ancestor is Hudson Parke, a native of Indiana, his father before him having settled there early in the last century, and after whom Leavenworth, Ind., was named.
Another member of the Leavenworth family who was honored with the title of brigadier general was Nathan, of the fifth generation. His father was David, a brother of General Henry's grandfather. He was born at New Milford, in Connecticut, in 1765, where he joined the first military company organized in the town of Hinesburg, Vt., to which his father had removed. He was chosen a lieutenant and rose to the rank of brigadier general of state troops. He represented the town of Hinesburg in the legislature for 20 years, from 1796 until 1828; was two years in the state senate and a member of the governor's council; a presidential elector, and at different times filled every town office, from constable up.
Capt. Edmund Leavenworth, a brother of General Henry's grandfather, was, in 1777, a captain of a company of infantry raised at Ripton by the authority of the state, called the "Alarm List company," or the "Householders," which company belonged to Colonel Whiting's brigade. This Leavenworth was really the fighting member of the family, though none were wanting in their duty in those trying times.
Not only was Captain Edmund in the field, hut his two sons, Gideon and Eli, commanded companies; and his son, Abijah, who was a lieutenant in the Army, lost his life by exposure and hardships, and even his son Edmund, though but a boy, served as a soldier. Thus every male member of the family was in the war.
Ebenezer Leavenworth, a grandson of Dr. Thomas, served in the revolution as a lieutenant; David Leavenworth, a cousin of Ebenezer, served as captain of the Fourth Company, Thirteenth Regiment of the Colony of Connecticut, in 1776, and later under Washington.
John Leavenworth, a son of the last named, served in the revolution. Lemuel, a brother of John, was one of those who took up arms to resist the invasion of Burgoyne, and was at the battle of Bennington. Mark Leavenworth, an uncle of Henry, was a member of a committee appointed by the legislature of Connecticut, from various parts of the state, to secure recruits for the Army under Washington. Dr. Nathan, an uncle of Henry, a graduate of Yale, joined the continental army in 1778 as a surgeon's mate. He remained until its close. Gideon Leavenworth of the fifth generation, served in the revolution, and was a commissary under LaFayette. Morse Leavenworth, a brother of Gideon, served as a soldier in the revolution.
Many Leavenworths served in the Civil War. The most noted of these, perhaps, in addition to the two named above--Frederick and Jesse H.--was Abel Edwin, who answered the "first call" entering the ranks and serving for four years, emerging as an adjutant general of volunteers. In the fifties he held the position of principal of Bolivar, Mo., college for males and females. He disagreed, however, with the trustees of the institution on the uppermost Kansas question, resigned and went back east, notwithstanding the very extraordinary inducement held out to him to remain.
A most distinguished member of the Leavenworth family was E. W. Leavenworth, of Syracuse, N.Y. He was secretary of state from 1850 to 1854. He, too, was identified with the military, but entirely with New York state organizations. He held the rank of brigadier general, and many important civil positions. In fact, he was considered to be one of the very big men, of that big state, in his day.
Before concluding it is only proper to remind Leavenworth readers that in their midst is a descendant of the Leavenworth family--Dr. J. J. Edic. The doctor doesn't travel on the reputation of his ancestors, but, or course, is exceedingly proud of their record. He is the son of Jacob Edic of Indiana, who was married to Isabel L. Leavenworth, a granddaughter of John, a brother of Mark, the grandfather of General Henry. Mrs. Jacob Edic, nee Leavenworth, was the mother of 12 children, of which Leavenworth's Doctor Edic was the youngest. He was born in 1836.
On his mother's side, John Parke Leavenworth has an equally distinguished ancestry quite well worth referring to. His mother was a Saterlee. The first ancestor to settle in America was a captain of the Royal Navy, who visited New London with a squadron. There he met the "widow Dymond." Pleased with the climate, he resigned his commission after returning to England, came back to Groton, Conn., and married her on Aug. 2, 1862.
Among the Saterlees in the service, all descendants of this common ancestor, was the doctor, who was Purveyor General of Medical stores in the Civil War and after whom the large Saterlee Hospital in Philadelphia of war times was named, Lieutenant Charles Saterlee of the U. S. Revenue office, and Herbert L. Saterlee, assistant secretary of Navy under Roosevelt.