From Biographical Memoirs of Huntington County, 1901, pages 487-489
The subject of this biography is a representative of one of the first families of Huntington county, and traces his ancestral history back to the times of the colonies. His great-great-grandfather, John F. Leverton, a native of England, came to America prior to the war for independence and settled in Maryland. At the breaking out of the Revolution he espoused the patriotic cause and served throughout that struggle, winning distinction on a number of battlefields. At its close he immigrated to North Carolina and there married Hannah Wilson, who bore him a family of fourteen children, among whom was Anderson Leverton, the grandfather of James. A.
Anderson Leverton married Phoebe Starbuck, whose family figured prominently in the early annals of North Carolina, and later, in company with the Levertons, came to Indiana, about the year 1819, locating in Wayne county. To Anderson and Phoebe Leverton ten children were born, five sons and five daughters, the oldest in the family being James, the father of the subject of this article.
In September, 1835, the Levertons immigrated to Huntington county, settled in Wayne township and entered one hundred and sixty acres of land, which is now known as the Chineworth farm. At the time of arrival there were but two families living within the present limits of Wayne township, John Ruggles and Joh Buzzard.
James Leverton being the oldest of the family, much of the work and care of preparing a home in the woods fell to him, his father being afflicted and unable to perform any considerable amount of physical labor. The burden thus cast upon the shoulders of the young man was cheerfully borne, and in consequence thereof he was obliged to forego many privileges enjoyed by others of his years, among which was the almost total lack of educational advantages. His only schooling consisted of two terms after his twenty-first year, but being a thoughtful boy he subsequently made up in part for this deficiency by a wide course of reading and taking advantage of every opportunity for obtaining knowledge.
He continued to look after the interests of his parents and younger brothers and sisters until such time as the latter were able to support themselves, and then set up a domestic establishment ofhis own by entering into marriage relations with Miss Lucinda Mahoney, the ceremony being solemnized on the 4th day of February, 1844. Mrs. Leverton was born January 1, 1825, in Tennessee, from which state her family immigrated to Rush county, Indiana, and about 1842 to the county of Huntington. Four children resulted from this marriage, the oldest, Amanda J., marrying Edward Hartsel, after whose death she became the wife of George W. Clark; being again left a widow, she for the third time entered into the matrimonial state, her present husband being Cal Slater, with whom she lives in the town of Warren.
John A. Leverton, the second in order of birth, was born April 28, 1850. He is unmarried, and at the present time manages the home farm. Mary E., the youngest, was born October 23, 1862; she first married Silas Brinneman,and after his death became the wife of Jacob Kimmel, also deceased; at the present time she is living at home with her parents.
James Leverton, the father of these children, has always been an industrious, hard-working farmer, and by ecomony has succeeded in surrounding himself with a generous share of this world's goods, owning a fine farm, on which he expects to finish life's journey. He has taken an active part in the industrial development of this county, which he has seen transformed from its primitive condition of woods and swamps to its present proud place in the galaxy of counties constituting the state of Indiana. During the early years of the country he was one of Wayne's active local politicians, and is proud of the fact that he cast his first vote for Henry Clay. While the Whig party was in existence he was true in his allegiance to the same, and after its dissolution he cast his lot with its successor, the Republican party, with which he has since voted.
No man has done more for the cause of religion and morality in his part of the country than James Leverton. He assisted liberally with his means to the introduction of church organizations of different kinds, and was the prime mover and leading spirit in establishing the first Sunday-school in Huntington county. Although quite old he has never lost interest in Sunday-school work, and at the present time is a potent factor in the one connected with the church to which he belongs, the Methodist Episcopal church. His good wife, with whom he has trodden life's uneven pathway for nearly fifty-seven years, has been his true helpmeet in every sense of the word, and now, as hand in hand they await the twilight hours of life's journey in tranquil, happy age, they form a picture which their children and many friends will ever cherish in their hearts, and only regret their inability to stay the hand of remorseless time.
James A. Leverton, the third child of the above, was born in Huntington township August 11, 1856. His father's farm was the scene of his early experience in life and the common schools furnished him the means of obtaining a good English education, which was later supplemented by a term in a normal school in the city of Andrews. At the age of seventeen he began earning money for himself as a farm hand, and he was thus engaged the greater part of the time until reaching manhood's estate; meanwhile, by putting in practice the lessons of ecomony instilled into his mind by his father, he carefully saved his earnings, so that at the age of twenty-four he found himself the possessor of nearly four hundred dollars in cash. With this as a nucleus he established himself in life by entering into the bonds of wedlock, November 18, 1880, with Miss Lydia J. Mankin. Mrs. Leverton's father was a native of Germany, but came to America when a young man and was twice married, she being a daughter of the second wife.
Immediately after his marriage Mr. Leverton rented a farm in Lancaster township and operated the same for a period of four years, devoting a part of the last year to carrying the mail between the tows (sic) of Mt. Etna and Huntington. In 1886 he accepted a position as salesman with the firm of Purviance & Callison, dealers in agricultural implements at Huntington, and later purchased an interest in the establishment. After one year he disposed of this interest, and severing his connection with the firm entered the employ of A. Q. Kenower, dealer in furniture and undertaking, with whom he remained four years, obtaining a thorough knowledge of every detail of the business.
Mr. Leverton has for many years been one of the leading Republicans in Huntington county, and in recognition of valuable services rendered the party was nominated, in 1894, for sheriff. In the election which followed he went into the office by one of the largest majorities ever received by any candidate within the history of the county, a most gratifying compliment to his great personal popularity and a fiting recognition of his ability to fill such a position of responsibility and trust. His official functions were discharged in such an able and impartial manner as to prove the confidence of his constituents to have been well placed, and at the expiration of his term he was unanimously renominated and again elected in the fall of 1896, running ahead of the national ticket over four hundred votes.
It is universally conceded that Mr. Leverton was one of the best sheriffs Huntington county has ever had. Absolutely honorable in his relations with the public, courteous to all whom he came in contact in an official capacity and a terror to evil doers and lawbreakers, he discharged his duty with great credit to himself and made a record without a blemish.
For some years past Mr. Leverton's abilities as a public auctioneer have been in great demand in Huntington and other counties of northern Indiana. His success as a crier has caused him to be retained where large stocks of merchandise are to be disposed of to advantage; also by farmers and others all over the country and in many of the larger cities. At the present time he has a half interest in a large feed and livery barn in Huntington, which returns him handsome financial profits, and additional thereto he is identified with other business interests in the city.
Financially he has met with encouraging success, having accumulated a handsome fortune and is now in independent circumstances. By his friends and fellow citizens he is held in much respect and esteem, and enjoys a wide acquaintance throughout the county, has filled important trusts with ability and dignity, and in the private walks of life is always the same genial, even-tempered gentleman, whether engaged in business or pleasure.
The family of Mr. Leverton consists of four children: Iva M., born November 25, 1881, a graduate of the Huntington high school; Elmer, born January 11, 1883; J. Eddie, born June 10, 1884; and Ralph, whose birth occurred on the 10th day of May, 1890.