Born in 1824 in Grantham, New Hampshire, Hiram L. Leavitt was lured to California while in his late twenties by the California gold rush. His wife Eliza and infant daughter stayed behind in Boston. In November 1856, he returned for them. He brought them and their belongings by way of a sea voyage back to California. The 1860 census shows him and his family including wife, Eliza, 8 year old daughter Ida and son Alfred, one year old, living in Township #1 in Tuolumne County near today’s Sonora, California. Another child was born to them about a year later.
|Along Sonora Pass near where it joins with Hwy 395|
About 1863 Hiram Leavitt moved his family to the eastern end of road near the Little Walker River, now known as Highway 108, or Sonora Pass, linking Sonora with Mono County. The area then known as Indian Valley was later named Leavitt Meadows in his honor. He built a hostelry as a stagecoach stop to serve the growing traffic, primarily miners, traveling between Sonora and Aurora, which at first was thought to be in Mono County, California and was the designated county seat. When it was determined that the town of Aurora was actually in Nevada, not California, Bridgeport was then designated as the county seat of Mono County.
Bridgeport was a growing town, and Leavitt moved his stage stop business, called Leavitt Station, to the center of town on what is now known as Highway 395, the road which connects Reno and Carson City, Nevada to the mining towns in California further south. He commissioned builder Sam Hopkins to construct a two story inn, the Leavitt House, to serve travelers along this major thoroughfare in the eastern Sierra Nevada region. Builder Hopkins later married Leavitt's daughter Ida.
Part of my latest novella, Haunted by Love, takes place in the Leavitt House.
On October 20, 1869, Hiram Leavitt was elected as a judge of Mono County, California and served as such for several years.
Hiram and his wife Eliza Leavitt continued to live in the Leavitt House until Hiram died in 1901 at age 77.
At the end of the nineteenth century, Leavitt Peak, Leavitt Meadow, Leavitt Creek and Leavitt Lake appear on California maps. The Leavitt House was later sold, but remained a popular inn for travelers. Today it is known as the Bridgeport Inn.
Zina Abbott is the pen name used by Robyn Echols for her historical novels. The first four novellas in the Eastern Sierra Brides 1884 series, Big Meadows Valentine, A Resurrected Heart, Her Independent Spirit, and Haunted by Love are now available.
You may purchase Haunted by Love from the following: