James Rowell Leavitt
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James Rowell Leavitt
First son of Thomas Rowell Leavitt and Antionette Davenport was born on the 22nd of October, 1862, in Wellsville, Cache Co, Utah.
On the 21st of January 1884, he married Francetta Wall Cantwell, in the Logan Utah temple, and to this union twelve children were born.
James came to Canada about 1897 . They had two wagons, one large one pulled by three horses, and a smaller one pulled by a team of two horses. In their company there were several families, one family was Manly Brown and his son Hugh B Brown, a young boy ( who became one of the apostles and later the President of the church). They arrived at Jerry Leavitt's farm, and resided in a granary, some six miles southwest of Cardston. There was nothing but boards over the roof and he split boards to cover the cracks, and it leaked for two days after the storm. The floor was boards and hard to clean.
He filed on a homestead on what later became Beazer, Alberta, and built a log house (one room) on it ,while residing on his brothers farm. When the house was completed they moved into it. They had no shingles so they put tar paper between the split boards and this prevented the house from leaking. They had one complete window, so they put one half in the front and the other in the back which gave them some light.
Poverty was the order of the day. The children went for months in the winter with just moccasins that their mother made out of canvas from the covered wagon. In the winter they moved to Leavitt to be close to school so as the children could get a little more education.
In 1916 he sold the homestead and bought a farm in Hillspring area. Due to illness and poor crops he sold and moved to a farm East of Aetna, Southwest of Cardston.
For the next several years he worked for different people. He freighted by wagon from Lethbridge to Cardston and Glenwood before the railway was built from Lethbridge to Cardston. He worked on a road gang for years and worked on the Thompson farm at Spring Coulee. James drove horses, and was most kind and understanding with the men he worked with. James was a great teamster and manager of companies.
They were wonderful neighbors to live by. They helped and loved everyone. If Francetta ever borrowed, she always paid back more than she borrowed. They were kind and ready to help anyone in need, in sickness or any kind of trouble. Francetta was very good at home nursing and helped as a midwife, caring for mothers and babies. James and his wife believed in the adage A spare the rod and spoil the child@, but even so they had good times together. They were taught good principles; to love one another, be honest in all their dealings, to work, and attend all of their church activities. When Sunday morning came the Leavitt family were always found in Sunday School. James was a proud man, proud of his religion, his wife, and his family, they were his jewels. He couldn't give them many luxuries in life, but they were taught to work and be neat and clean. The children were also taught to cook, sew, clean, milk cows, and help take care of the younger ones. If they made a promise to anyone it was kept, and they always paid their debts. Since they were very active in the church, they looked forward to parties, dances and other activities. James worked in the church in the Beazer ward, in the Sunday School Presidency and many other callings.
James was a wonderful singer. I remember as a child standing by his rocking chair while the younger children crowded onto his lap, and he would sing to us for a long time. When ever I hear 'Silver Threads Among the Gold' I think of him with loving memories. He and his wife also sang together.
James Rowell died 22 July 1924, and was buried in Leavitt