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Leighton family history from their hands.

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Date: 19 Oct 2017 to 11 Nov 2017
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William S Leighton [AKA Sr] 1808-1891.

My family is in possession of Wm Leighton's family bible the great "Illuminated Bible" published by Harper in 1846.

It contains much information on his parents and their children, and their families and their children and other associated families.

Notes on the Bible

The materials written on the reverse sides of pages must be dated after WV Statehood, and indeed, no earlier than 1881, which is the last date recorded. The bold first hand must be dated ca. 1855 or perhaps later: note the publication date of this bible is 1846, so it cannot be earlier than that. The "paler smaller" hand on these same pages records events from 1857 to 1880, so it must be the middle hand. In short: the first hand probably belongs to a period when the bible belonged to William Leighton Sr; it was updated once again after Mary Leighton, his wife, died in 1880, probably by the second hand; at this point the bible passed to William Leighton Jr, who was the only surviving child, I think. Then a third hand, in 1881, or sometime thereafter, included the materials on the reverse of the pages: this included material on the Reed family, and so must be linked to (or identical with) Mary Jane Reed, wife of William Jr.

William Srs comments on his own life: "Having a taste for experimenting in Colored glass and enamels and fancy work generally, he had a favorable opportunity of indulging this taste and turning it to profitable account in consequence of his Father being superintendent of the works, the Agent (Mr Henry Whitney) kindly allowing him to proceed with his experiments. He succeeded in finding purchasers for the products of his leisure hours among the jewelers of Boston Attleboro + Providence. For a number of years a large part of his leisure time was occupied in this way and he found a fair recompense in it. He made imitation Cameos and enclosed them in glass for breast pins, door knobs, etc. He made fancy glass work at the blow-pipe, boxes and bird-cages of colored and twisted threads of glass. He bought tubing from the New England Glass Co. and hired young men to make it into prescription vials. He made the first silvered glass produced in this country. Also the first fancy paper weights, and he succeeded in making Gold Ruby glass equal to any imported."

Transcript of William Leighton Sr’s manuscript family history.

Transcribed from his own handwriting.


Thomas Leighton was born on the 8th of March 1786, in the famous old Borough Town of New Castle Upon Tyne in Northumberland England. He married Ann Irwin (also of Newcastle) when he was about 19 years of age, she being a few months the oldest having been born September 25th 1785. He was a Glassmaker, and being a skillful workman in the summer of 1808 he received an offer of advancement in his art from the proprietors of glassworks in Belfast Ireland. He accepted this offer and went there. Later in the year he was joined there by his wife and two sons (James and Thomas) and on September 30th of the same year he had an addition to his family of another son (William). In the spring of the following year (1809) he had a still more advantageous offer from Mr Samuel Ford Proprietor of the Caledonian Glass Works in the City of Edinburg Scotland which he accepted and immediately moved to this new field of labor with his wife and three sons. In a few years Mr. Ford died. A new manufactory was built in another part of the city, and the name changed from Caledonian to Mid Lothian Glass Works by the new Firm of William Bailey + Co. Thomas Leighton continued to superintend the glass works all this time, and until the fall of 1826. During his sojourn of 17 years in Scotland a large addition had been made to his family. Eight children had been born and seven survived. Margaret – Ann (who died young) John Hamilton – George Charles – Mary Ann – Catherine – Robert Eubank – and Peter Hill. The three oldest boys James Thomas and William had each served an apprenticeship of seven years in the glass works, James as a glass cutter, Thomas and William as glass makers, Pot makers, etc. In the fall of 1826. An Agent (Mr Joseph Wing) from the Directors of the New England Glass Company in East Cambridge Massachusetts United States of America called to see Thomas Leighton and offered him the superintendence of the Company’s works in East Cambridge. The inducement offered was tempting and together with the consideration that this change might, and probably would result in much benefit to his numerous family decided him in accepting this offer, and he accompanied Mr Wing on his return to the United States. His family joined him \in East Cambridge/ the following Spring in May 1827. The New England Glass Company was eminently successful under his management and became the leading Glass Manufactory in the country. He was a fortunate man in many respects, bless’d with a cheerful, happy disposition, uniform good health, a handsome person and fine physique, a large capacity for enjoyment, liberal hearted and possessing much sound common sense. He was successful in his business and he enjoyed the pleasures of life freely, while at the same time he accumulated a competence. His ten children all lived to be men and women and were a source of much pride and pleasure to him. He died in his 64 year before the infirmities of old age had fallen heavily upon him. His wife, thoroughly worn out with the care’s and labor’s of a large family died about a year previous to his death.

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For some time previous to July 1848, Father was not feeling well generally and thinking that a change in air and scene might perhaps remove some of his unpleasant feelings. He had his trunk packed, and he started for New Bedford. He returned in two days, having in some unaccountable manner lost his trunk, and he could not conveniently continue his journey without it. Mother though far from well, assisted by sister Kate got another trunk ready and the old gentleman recommenced his journey. The next day Brother John went to Boston and found Fathers trunk there \the/ contents all right. On August 16th /48, we received a letter from Father, from which it was evident that he was beginning to feel home sick, and another letter on the 24th dated from Niagara Falls and saying he was coming home. He arrived at home on the 28th of August, not much, if any better in health than he was when he left home on the last day of July. Mothers health had been gradually failing for a long time \was very feeble/ and on Sunday morning September 3rd She died peacefully. Sister’s Mary + Kate had taken her out of bed, given her some nourishment, washed her, comb’d her hair and changed her clothes. She said “ I feel comfortable, and I would like to lie down.” they laid her gently on her bed, and with a faint sigh she passed away. She would have been 63 years of age had she lived untill the 25th which would have been her birth day. She was thoroughly worn out with the care’s and labor’s inseperable from bringing up a large family to whose welfare she devoted her life, and she actually died of premature old age. She was buried in Mount Auburn Cemetery on the 5th of September 1848. Fathers indisposition continued and on September 11th feeling quite unwell he sent for Dr Hooker who after a careful examination told him that the cause of all his trouble was in his heart, where he was afraid there was some organic disease at work, and advised him to go no more to the glass house, to keep perfectly quiet, and to live sparingly on a farinaceous diet, and to avoide carefully every kind of excitement, and take no stimulant of any kind. The Dr did not know that following this advice would cure the disease, but he thought it would certainly retard its progress, and mitigate the suffering incident to this disease. This advice was very distasteful to Father, it being so entirely opposed to his lifes experience of what had afforded him much enjoyment and he was very sad and low spirited for some time, which was an unusual condition for him. He followed the Drs advice for a few weeks and feeling a little better he commenced going to the glass work house again. His convivial friends called too often to see him and they sometimes induced him to attend public and private entertainments which always resulted in injury to his condition. When he was not able to attend to his duties at the glass house his sons William and John H. saw that they were not neglected and kept the business moving along in a satisfactory manner. On December 30th he went to Boston and consulted Dr Hayward who gave him much the same advice as Dr Hooker had given him. Early in 1849, he was alternately better and worse, he called in Dr Hooker but of course with little benefit, and feeling very miserable he consulted Dr Warren of Boston who gave him some medicine which he thought was doing him good, but he soon grew worse \again/ and suffered severely. He gradually \continued to grow/ worse till the 17th of August when Dr Hooker was again called to see him to see if he could afford him any relief. He said nothing could be done but to let him inhale Chloroform which would relieve his suffering, this was immediately done and he ceased to suffer. His children were all present except James and George C, who was dead. It was necessary to apply the Chloroform constantly, he grew gradually weaker and died about midnight on the night of August 21st 1849 after inhaling 10 pounds of Chloroform, thus proving the immense strength of his constitution. He was buried by the side of his Wife in Mount Auburn Cemetery on the 23d of August 1849.

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William Leighton arrived in East Cambridge from Edinburg Scotland early in May of 1827, he was then in his 19th year, having been born September 30th 1808. Having served an apprenticeship of seven years to the glass business before leaving Scotland he went to work for the New England Glass Company then in \full/ operation in East Cambridge. Having a taste for experimenting in Color'd glass and enamels and fancy work generally, he had a favorable opportunity of indulging this taste and turning it to profitable account in consequence of his Father being superintendent of the works, the Agent (Mr Henry Whitney) kindly allowing him to proceed with his experiments. He succeeded in finding purchasers for the products of his leasure hours among the jewelers of Boston Attleboro + Providence. For a number of years a large part of his leasure time was occupied in this way and he found a fair recompense in it. He made imitation Cameo's and inclosed them in glass for breast pins, door knobs, etc. He made fancy glass work at the blow-pipe, boxes and bird-cages of color'd and twisted threads of glass. He bought tubing from the New England Glass Co. and hired young men to make it into prescription vials. He made the first silvered glass produced in this country. Also the first fancy paper weights, and he succeeded in making Gold Ruby glass equal to any imported. All this, was of course the work of several years, and during all this time he attended regularly to his duties as Castor Place workman at the New England Glass Company’s works. On the 8th of March 1829, \Wm Leighton/ he married \Miss/ Mary Needham a native of Danvers Mass. and commenced house keeping in a house on Cambridge Street East Cambridge and lived there six months. He then moved into a house in a brick-block on the corner of Gore and 3rd streets, and lived there nine months—than to a small house in a brick block on Bridge Street (owned by A. H. Stevens) and lived there over a year, his first child (Mary Ann) was born in this house November 1st 1830. He then moved to Dr Sheds house on Gore Street and lived there for more than a year. \He/ and than he bought an old house on Bridge Street and moved into it, his second child (William) was born in this house the 22d of June 1833. he fitted up a staining oven and work room in an old building on his land and commenced staining and painting sheets of glass, assisted by his brother George C. during their leasure time, this did not prove profitable and was discontinued. He lived in this house over three years, and then exchanged it for a new double house just finished by A. H. Stevens, and immediately moved into the new house, his twins (Stephen \N/ + Eliza) were born here on October 19th 1837, And Elise died here on the 24th of September 1838, he lived in this house about two years, and then sold one half of it to his Brother John H. and the other half to his Father. Having previously bought a Farm in Concord Mass to which he moved his family \there/ in October 1838. And here another daughter (Eliza) was born June 25th 1840, his oldest child (Mary Ann) died here October 13th 1842, and another son (George) was born April 8 1844. His family lived on the farm at this time about seven years, he retaining his situation at the glass works, and attending to his own pivate matters four or five days of the week in Cambridge, the other two or three day’s he spent with his family on the farm in Concord. In the February of 1846, he hired a house on Gore Street East Cambridge and moved his family from the farm into it. \And/ He ramined in this house one year, and then returned to the farm, and remained there about three years in much the same manner as formerly. His Father died on the 21st of August 1849, and he took his fathers position as superintendent of the New England Glass Company’s works. And his presence being now more necessary at the works than formerly, he let his farm and moved with his family to East Cambridge and occupied his father’s homestead on Winter Street. His youngest son (George) died in this house February 27th 1850. The business of the Company was very good at this time and the demend for their goods so great that the Directors decided to increase their production by the erection of another furnace. In the meantime Wm Leighton was sent West on a tour of inspection to pick up any, and all the information that might be useful in the business. His son (William Leighton Jr) having gone through the public and private schools, about this time got a situation as Invoice Clerk in the Company’s office. Being muchin want of skilled workmen the Directors decided to send William Leighton to Europe to see what useful information he could obtain there, and, if possible, procure some good workmen. He left his Brother John H. Leighton in charge at the Factory, and on the 14th of August 1850, he sailed from new York for Liverpool accompanied by Mr Edward Bettinson. They visited England, Scotland, Ireland and Paris, and they enjoyed the trip exceedingly, but in a business sense but in a business though he obtained many useful hints \in regard to skilled workmen/ it was not a great success. He found great difficulty in selecting the kind of workmen he wanted, he could not get into any of the glass houses to see the men \at/ work (no one being admitted except by special permit) and being an entire stranger to all, he was compelled to select his men from what he could learn by talking to them and from what they said to each other. Of course they did not all prove to be the kind of men that he expected or wanted. He engaged \about a dozen men/ and saw shipped \and started/ for Boston about a dozen men, and then he started \sailed/ for home by way of New York on the 9th of October 1850. Mr Bettinson had left the previous week for Boston \and/ he remained \ing/ to see the men he had engaged off. He arrived at home in East Cambridge on the 24th much improved in health. The increase of business added greatly to the duties \labor/ of the superintendent and he soon began to feel its effects. Setting the moves to work (after a time) became so irksome to him that he found it absolutely necessary to his health that he should be relieved of this part of his duty, and after a serious talk with the Agent (Capt. Joseph N. Howe) an arrangement was made by which his duties were made less onerous. His Brother John H. Leighton was given the charge of the workmen in the glass houses, while he himself attended to all other matters, and at the same time had a general supervision of the whole. This new arrangement gave general satisfaction and the business progressed pleasantly for some years. In the early part of 1853, his head, which had been troubling him for some time with severe pains, became so distressing as frequently to unfit him for attending to his duties properly at the glass works. He consulted with Dr. Hooker of East Cambridge who thought the case a serious one, that he probably had inflammation on the membrane of the brain, and advised him to rest, and \to/ live sparingly on a farinaceous diet. His head ached more or less all the time and some times the pain was excruciating. Leeches, and ice were applied to his head with little benefit, he was irritable and violent to an alarming degree, making it anything but pleasant for his family. By keeping quiet for a time, and living sparingly the pain in his head became less severe. Thinking that he could keep quiet better in the country, and that a change of air might perhaps be beneficial he decided to return to his farm in Concord with his family, and go to the glass works (in the cars) every day if he was able. And on the 6th day of July 1853, he returned to Concord and the change seemed to benefit his general health, though his head continued to trouble him more or less all the time, and he was not always able to go to Cambridge every day. About this time he sent his son (William) to the scientific school in Cambridge to study for a civil engineer. His health gradually improved and he was able to attend to his duties at the glass house nearly every day. On July 11th 1855, his son (Stephen N) died. \In the fall of the same year/ His son William (now his only son) graduated at the scientific school and obtained his Diploma from the Harvard University, and having a prospect of a situation on some Rail Road in the vicinity of Rochester New York he went there, but from some cause he did not succeed in obtaining the situation he expected. At this time (September 12th 1855[)] his Father, Mother, and Sister went on an excursion to Niagara Falls. They called at Rochester and took their son \the young man/ with them to the Falls, and he returned to Concord with them. Soon after their return he put his son to work in the Silvering department of the New England Glass Co. until the general business of the Country (which had been greatly depressed for some time) revived. In the summer of 1856, his head was again troubling him and he consulted Dr Wyman of Cambridge who gave him much the same advice as was given him by Dr Hooker about three years previous. No medicine, but rest and abstinence was recommended by both physicians. He followed the advice received in a degree, and continued to attend to his duties at the glass house when he was able. Finding the care of the farm more than was good for him, he sold it, and on the June 21st 1856, and on the 3d of July following he moved with his family to a house on Spring Hill Somerville. This house did not suit him exactly, and in three months he moved to a house on Spring Street East Cambridge. All this time he retained his situation at the glass works, and about this time he took his son into the mixing department and instructed him in the preparation of the various kinds of glass and enamels, his son having previously become thoroughly acquainted with all the details in the Silvering department. Every thing went on at the in a pleasant and satisfactory manner at the glass works for some time, his head troubling him less than usual. His son was married to Miss Marietta B Melven July 20th 1857, and the new married pair started for the White Mountains. In the fall of 1857, business was so dull that the Directors decided to run one furnace only, and to reduce the pay of the employee’s 20 per cent. It thus became necessary for William Leighton to resume the entire management, and this he did do for a time, but before long he began to feel some indications of his old hed ache returning, an in the early part of January 1858, his head was in such a condition as to make it imperatively necessary for him to resign his situation in the Company’s service. He accordingly gave the Agent (Capt. Joseph N. Howe) notice that being unable any longer to perform the duties of his office he must resign. The Captain expressed his regret in a kind and feeling manner, both men having been intimately associated in the business had for many years, had grown to have a mutual regard for each other, the Captain asked Mr Leighton to come in again when he felt well enough and talk the matter over. He called again and the interview resulted in John H. Leighton being given the entire management of the glass works and the workmen, and to William Leighton Junior was given the management of the Mixing and Silvering departments. This arrangement seemed satisfactory and continued in operation for some years. On March 22d 1858, William Leighton moved with his wife and daughter to a house on Main Street in Concord which he had bought in the fall of 1857. His general health did not improve very fast, his head was more or less troublesome and he was not really well enough to attend to his private affairs. On April 13th 1858, his son’s wife was taken sick and \she/ died in a week. She was burind on the 23d in Mount Auburn Cemetery. Mr Leightons health was not very good in the summer and fall of 1858, but he was able to a little work in his garden. Early in December \of the same year/ his head was unpleasantly afflicted and he had a peculiar numbness, and prickling in his hands, he consulted Dr H A Barrett of Concord, who gave him some medicine and advised him to abstain from every thing that could excite the brain unduly. He continued to grow worse, and at midnight on the night of the 17th of Decenber 1858, he had a sudden and severe attack if what Dr Barrett called Apoplexy and Epilepsy combined, he was seriously sick and confined to his bed for three months and he recovered strength very slowly. On July 26th 1859, he went to the Sea Side for a few weeks accompanied by his wife and daughter, and retuned much improved generally. On August 8th he went to Cambridge the first time in eight months and was able to attend to his private affairs, though still far from well. On July 31st 1860, his son went with a party to the White Mountains, and he felt well enough to attend to his son’s duties in his absence at the glass house during his absence. His sone was married to Miss Mary Jane Reed January 1st 1861. And during this year his own health was gradually but permanently improved. On the 22d o\of June 1862, his first Grandchild was born, a handsome little girl, but in about five weeks she died. Having \recovered his health and/ become tired of the Country he sold his house in Concord and on September 25th 1862, he moved with his family to a house on Thorndyke Street East Cambridge owned by his son. His second Grandchild (George William) was born June 10th 1863. His third Grandchild (Mary) was born January 30th 1866. In the Summer of 1863, William Leighton had a pressing invitation to join the Firm of John H. Hobbs Brockunier + Co., Glass Manufacturers in South Wheeling West Virginia. Feeling pretty well in health he accepted this invitation and on the 1st day of August 1863 he became a member of the firm and assumed the \general/ superintendence of the works. He went to Cambridge, Mass, and was present at the marriage of his daughter to Dr. Henry A. Barrett of Concord Mass, on the 30th of September 1863. He then returned to West Virginia with his wife. The first years business was entirely satisfactory to all parties. In the course of the next year, and after a few inespensive experiments Mr Leighton \he/ succeeded in making a Lime glass in some respects superior to the general quality of Lead glass, and at half its cost, which gave the Firm a reputation in the business, and was a sourse of much pecuniary benefit. In the Spring of 1868, he sent for his son to join hi in Wheeling that he might become thoroughly acquainted with the working of the glass business in the West. The object and intention of this move was to prepare him to take his Fathers place in the Firm at the close of another year, which he did. And After a time he succeeded in making still greater improvement in the production of uniform clear colorless glass, fully equal, and perhaps superior, to any Lime glass manufactured in this Country. William Leighton now retired from active business and in the Spring of 1869, he returned to Massachussetts and joined his Wife at the residence of his daughter (Mrs H. A. Barrett) in Concord.

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I bought the farm in Oct 1838 Anna L. Wallace was born March 11th 1835 Peter was married Jany 21st 1847 Kates Birth day Feby 10th Janes “ “ April 2d John H Leighton 2d was born April 9th 1847 Henry broke his Arm in Lancaster May 2d 1847 Robert was married July 1st /47 to Sarah Cummings Peters \23d/ Birth day September 10th 1847 Father + Thomas went to Mount Auburn and bought a lot May 19th 1848 James Harvey Leighton was born Feby 18th 1849 Thomas gave up housekeeping in East Cambridge and went to live with his Mother in Law July 11th 1849. The monument was set up in the lot at Mount Auburn March 9th 1850 Thomas returned to work from Lancaster April 1850 Kate was married to James Carr Nov 21th 1850 Sept 4th 1851, was Thomas’s 45 Birth day Dr Shed died April 10th 1853. Peters wife was delivered of a daughter (Lizzie) Aug 8th /51 “ “ “ “ “ “ “ (Kate) Oct 23d 1853 And on Nov 1st following Peter went with his family to Wheeling W. Va. To work for Hobbs Barnes + Co. April 2d 1855. Jane was 40 years of Age today. May 17th 1855. Louisa was 13 years of Age today. July 17th 1855. Tom “ 20 “ “ “ “ Aug. 23d 1855. Tom left the mold shop of NEGCo. Septr 1855. Tom went to work for E. Robinson Dec 6th 1855. Thomas has been married 22 years today. Novr 19th Wm Jr. went to work in the silvering room Dec Mary May was 4 years old today. Decr 28th 1855. We, Thomas , John, and myself, sent Robert to Wheeling to see Peter who was very sick. He returned on the 9th of January 1856. Peter still sick. Septr 11th/ 56. John and Jane started for New York with R. L. Bruce and wife, they found Kate quite sick and went to the St. Nicholas, they were in New York three days, Kate sick all the time. They went to Niagara Falls and to Wheeling, calling at New York on their return they found Kate still very sick and returned home. Kate died September 29th 1856. The Homestead was sold at Auction Dec 1oth /56. And John bought it for $2600. May 6th /58 was Henrys 21st Birth day. June 22d /54 William Junior was 21 years old [altered from “Junior’s 21st year”] Aug 25th 1854. Wm + son started for New York and returned September 2d. Novr 1st 1854. William came down and made paper weights. Novr 9th 1854. John H. Leighton was invited to a supper provided by the Glass makers and presented with a service of Plate valued at $180. The present was sent to Barkers store and was on Exhibition for a few days. Peter came from Wheeling in the middle of Feby 1859 to see William who was sick, remained a few days and started on his return home on the 21st of the month. July 12th 1860. Thomas, William, and Eliza started for New York to see the Great Eastern. Thomas died October 24th 1863. William came to Wheeling in April 1868. After hearing the funeral service of his Sister’s only child a beautiful little girl of fifteen months. I went to Concord in September and returned to Wheeling with Jennie and her children, and remained there in Peters family with them untill the next April when I left Wheeling for good and joined my wife at our daughters house in Concord.

James Born April 21st 1805 – Died Novenber _ 1830 Thomas “ September 4th 1806 – Died October 24th 1863 William “ “ 30th 1808 Margaret “ October 26th 1810 Ann “ August _ 1812 _ Died Young John H. “ Feby 28th 1814 _ Died June 5th 1879 George C. “ “ 14th 1816 _ Died March 5th 1839 Mary A. “ Decr 6th 1818 _ Died July 18th 1877 Catherine “ Feby 10th 1821 _ “ September 1856 Robert E. “ Octr 14th 1822 Peter H. “ Septr 10th 1824

Thomas Leighton.

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