The Western Association of Leavitt Families has left us quite a memorial for John Leavitt and family, four plaques, one on each side of a spire, telling the story of his arrival and listing the many children he sired with each of his wives, Mary and Sarah.
There's nothing spectacular about his tale. He arrived at 19 years old, moved to Hingham from Dorchester in 1636 and stayed for the rest of his life. He was a civic leader for sure - a deacon, a magistrate, a representative, a selectman - and helped get the Old Ship Church constructed. So were the legacies of many early settlers, the people who built our little corner of the New World. We - if we love Hingham - certainly owe him a debt of graititude.
What caught me on the marker, though, was the description of his property: "His homestead ran along Leavitt Street, the land grant extending from the Weir River to Turkey Hill." We can't think in those terms today. We can locate each of these places on a map, but to take it from ground level, we think in terms of modern landmarks. Ok, so I'm on Leavitt Street. If I turn right at the library I can follow it to Turkey Hill Lane and climb the hill, but where the heck is the river from here? We've gridded out so much of our land, it's difficult to see historical geography.
Oddly, I lived on Turkey Hill Lane as a kid, meaning I am part of the Leavitt land legacy. But I'll bet you his experiences on the land were much different than mine.