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MIGRATIONS OF THE PETER LEVALLEY FAMILY WESTWARD FROM RHODE ISLAND

Updated April 13, 2004

    This is a streamlined and updated version of the report on migrations of the Peter LeValley family that first appeared in Rhode Island Roots in December 1993.  For full bibliographic detail, click here.
 

    Peter1 LeValley (c.1683-1757) arrived at Marblehead MA with his family by 1718.  Five branches of the family tell similar stories of being attacked at sea by pirates, a deal being struck, and the pirates dropping the LeValley family off surreptitiously at Marblehead (hence no landing record).   No one knows where the LeValleys came from or where they were trying to go.  Some clues point to an origin in the Channel Islands.  In 1727, Peter moved to Warwick RI, where his house still stands on the Coventry border at 42 Fairview Avenue, West Warwick.
    Now into the twelfth generation, more than 1100 descendants have been born with the LeValley name--about 400 of them presently living.  Of that large number, only those who moved are mentioned here.  Moves within recent memory are generally not mentioned.  Nine of Peter's ten LeValley grandsons founded lines.  Three of those lines--each founded by a youngest son--stayed in or near Rhode Island.  All the others headed westward.

I.  PETER3 LEVALLEY SR. (Peter2, Peter1) did not leave Marblehead MA for Coventry and Warwick RI until 1757.  Most of his descendants remained in the Warwick area, with a few venturing only as far away as Providence.
    But Peter's grandson Stephen5 (William4) was at Plainfield CT by 1813, and his widow and daughter went to Auburn NY before 1850.  Stephen's brother William Jr.5 set up a cotton mill at Canterbury CT in 1827.  William Jr.'s son William A.6 was in East Dubuque IL probably by 1868.  In the next generation, Charles J.7 moved to Sheffield IA in 1900, before going to Los Angeles CA in the 1920s.  Charles' grandson Chauncy U.9 (Chauncy T.8) settled his family in Walla Walla WA.
    Another grandson of Peter Sr., George5 (Thomas4) began farming at Sturbridge MA in the early 1840s.  George's son George W.6 went to Valatie NY in 1852, and possibly lived for a time at South Brookfield MA, but returned eventually to Mansfield CT before 1882.  His cousin Darius A.6 (Darius B.5, Thomas4) moved to White Plains NY in 1877.
    A second cousin, Alonzo6 (Cromwell5, Stephen4) followed a route similar to that of George W.6--Buffalo NY during the 1860s, but back to Mansfield CT before 1882.

II.  CHRISTOPHER3 LEVALLEY (John2, Peter1) of Warwick RI died about 1776, a captain in the Revolutionary War.  His first son James4 migrated to Lockport NY, with many stops along the way; known locations include 1800 Floyd, Oneida Co. NY; c.1808 Lee, Oneida Co. NY; 1810 Kingsburg Centre, Sullivan Co. NY; 1820 Royalton, Niagara Co. NY (where his son S. Gardner5 preceded him in 1809); after 1830 Lockport, where many descendants remained.  Gardner's grandson Cassius7 (Franklin Jackson6) crossed Ontario to Middleville MI in 1881; Cassius' widow and children went to Shiawassee Co. MI in 1902.
    James' grandsons Leander6 and George III6 (sons of George Thomas5) moved to farms in Marathon Twp., Lapeer Co. MI (near Columbiaville) in 1845, their brother Frederick Mortimer6 and uncle John Cook5 following in 1853.  While many descendants remained there, Leander's son Orlando7 removed slightly to Fairgrove MI by 1876, John Cook's grandson William7 (Oliver6) following in 1879.  Many descendants remain there also.  Four from this line went off to big cities: George III's son Christopher Columbus7 to Portland OR probably in the 1890s; Frederick Mortimer's sons Frederick B.7 to Chicago by 1902 and Edwin7 to Milwaukee by 1900; William's first son Mortimer8 to Denver in 1908.
    Christopher's second son George4 was in Steuben, Oneida Co. NY 1800-1810, back in Waterbury CT in 1819, and finally set up a lime-burning kiln at Lockport NY in 1821.  George's fourth son Randal5 removed from Lockport NY to Lockport IL by 1843.  Around 1862, George's fifth son, Moreau5 went to Waverly IA, where the eighth son George W.5 had already established himself as a builder and merchant in 1855 after one or more trips to California.  Moreau's son Alfred6, after a brief misadventure at Antelope (later renamed Cordes) AZ in 1878, retreated to Liberty Twp., Coffee Co. KS by 1880, and finally settled his family at Hutchinson KS before 1900.
    Christopher4 is assumed to be the third son of Christopher3, but conclusive proof is lacking.  The censuses of 1800 and 1810 found him in the same locations as James4, but by 1820, he had settled into commerce in Lansing, Tompkins Co. NY.  His son William5 moved to Naples, Ontario Co. NY in 1841 to partner in the hat shop established by his youngest brother Elkanah5 a year earlier.  Elkanah's son Orville6 went to Kankakee IL in 1893.

III.  JOHN3 LEVALLEY JR. (John2, Peter1) left Warwick in 1788 after losing a legal dispute with his father.  The 1790 census found him at Watervliet, Albany Co. NY.  But by 1800 he was in Oyster Bay, Queens Co. NY, reportedly manufacturing clocks.  By 1809, his three sons all lived in Oneida Co. NY--Richard4 and Holden4 in Florence, and Christopher4 at Paris Hill.  The last two moved to Hartland, Niagara Co. NY by 1816.  Holden's second son Eri5 in 1838 scouted out land at Ionia MI, where he and his younger brother Iri5 pioneered in 1844.
    Their cousin John I5 (Christopher4) had gone land speculating to Flint and Owosso MI in 1837, returning to Shelby Basin, Orleans Co. NY about 1844.  It was his reports that set off migrations to Michigan in two separate branches of the family.  His grandson John III7 (John II6) lived at Painted Post NY.  The younger brother of John I5, Christopher Columbus5, began farming at Flint MI about 1847.

IV.  PELEG3 LEVALLEY (John2, Peter1) also left Warwick about 1790 after losing the legal dispute with his father.  He was in Albany Co. NY in 1800, but settled at Summit, Schoharie Co. NY by 1802.
    His first son Rhoderick4 built a sawmill at Fernwood NY (Fremont Twp., Sullivan Co.) in 1848.  After 1870, he spent some of his retirement years near his daughter in Floyd Co. IA.  Rhoderick's grandson Newell6 (David5) in 1875 moved onto land in nearby Fish's Eddy NY in Hancock Twp, Delaware Co., where the family had already been buying and selling land (probably for timber) for two generations.  Newell's brother Wellington6 set himself up as a photographer in Honesdale PA in 1893.  But by 1917, Wellington was in Binghamton NY, the third brother Solon6 at Long Eddy NY (Hancock Twp., Delaware Co.), and the fifth brother Seward6 at Hornel NY.  Because this family started misspelling their name as LaValley or LaValle around 1900, they have been hard to trace, and have not yet all been located.
    Peleg's second son James4 lived in Remsen, Oneida Co. NY during the 1840s and '50s, then, as an old man, moved to Hamilton MO in 1867.  James' son Levi5 then went from Booneville, Oneida Co. to Otsego Co. NY, moving again in the 1890s to Vassar MI, near where his son D. Wilford6 was practicing law in Saginaw MI by 1884.
    Peleg's third son Hiram4 settled in 1837 at Delhi, Delaware Co. NY, where the records trail off.

V.  COOK3 LEVALLEY (John2, Peter1) left his blacksmith business at Coventry RI in 1786, the first of the entire family to venture out.  His Revolutionary War pension file indicates that he moved around a lot: Killingly CT in 1786; Coeymans, Albany Co. NY in 1790; Summit, Schoharie Co. NY in 1805; Davenport, Delaware Co. NY in 1818; Worcester, Otsego Co. NY in 1832.  Names of two of his sons have been determined but not yet proven.
    His presumed son John4 in 1844 went to Hendersonville, Knox Co. IL, near where his son Christopher5 had begun farming at Victoria IL two years earlier.
    Cook's presumed son William4 was in Charlton, Saratoga Co. NY by 1827--widow at Glenville, Schenectady Co. by 1850.
    Cook's son Rufus4 reportedly lived at Troy, Bradford Co. PA before moving about 1829 to Elmira NY, where descendants still live.  In 1846, Rufus' son Leonard5 settled at Covington, Tioga Co. PA, where many descendants remained.

    Cook's presumed son Benjamin4 moved slightly to Fulton, Schoharie Co. NY in the 1840s.  Late in that same decade, Benjamin's presumed son Francis5 became a blacksmith in nearby Richmondville, where the records break off.
    Cook's youngest son James Nelson4 established two large settlements of LeValleys--the first in western Luzerne Co. PA, where many descendants remained.  His grandson Martin6 (Daniel5) moved to Wilkes Barre by 1870.  Martin's son Harrison7 was in Dallas Twp., Luzerne Co. by 1930, where he and his descendants began spelling their name LaValley.
    In 1857, James Nelson LeValley established a second large settlement at Victoria IL near his brother and his son George Cook5, who preceeded him about 1850.  George Cook's oldest son Ira Nelson6 wandered Kansas all through the 1880s before settling at Ogden UT in 1891, Nampa ID in 1902, and finally dying in California.  Ira Nelson's younger brother G. Edwin6 went to Glenn CA in 1913, establishing a large family throughout the northern part of the state.
    James Nelson's youngest son Stephen5 settled at Dayton IA in 1876, where another large group developed.  Stephen's fifth son Fred6 settled at Braman OK by 1910.  Stephen's seventh son Chancy6 had several sons who moved to southern California in the 1940s.

VI.  GARDNER3 LEVALLEY (John2, Peter1), apparently the only surviving son of John's second marriage, stayed at Warwick until about 1812 when he began doing machinery business out of Seekonk MA.  By 1823, he had moved his machinery business to Providence RI.  Before 1835, he turned to carpentry on Long Island at Riverhead NY, where most of his descendants remained.  A grandson William5 (T. Gilbert4) married at Buffalo NY in 1903; his further whereabouts are unknown.  Another grandson Rene5 (Mary4) became an early science teacher in Englewood NJ.  This is the smallest branch of the family, with the male line all but extinct.

VII.  PETER3 LEVALLEY JR. (Michael2, Peter1), so called to distinguish him from his older cousin Peter Sr., sold his land holdings at Warwick RI in 1789, and left for Hancock, Berkshire Co. MA; he was apparently in New York City in 1800, then finally settled down to farming in Brutus, Cayuga Co. NY before 1810.  He produced a bunch of wanderers.  His only son Henry4 had two sons born in Vermont about 1805; was in Cayuga Co. NY in 1810; settled in Grayson Twp., Shelby Co. OH before 1820; began homesteading in 1830 in Montgomery Co. IN; and moved on two years later to Fountain Co. IN.
    Henry's first son Levi5 homesteaded in Noble Twp., Wabash Co. IN in 1837.  Levi's first son Hugh6 moved to Lake Fork precinct, Logan Co. IL about 1859; was in Lincoln IL in 1870; moved to Ough NB about 1887, and back to Woodbine IA in 1894.  Hugh's first son Charles7 settled in Delta Co. CO in 1912, where descendants remain.  Levi's second son Isaac6 settled at Lincoln IL in 1860, but had moved to Gibson City IL by 1900.  Levi's third son David6 was in Val Verdi Twp., Sumner Co. KS in 1880, but had settled in Carson Twp., Pottawattamie Co. IA before 1900.   Levi's fourth son Joseph6 accompanied his oldest brother to Ough NB, then went on to Longmont CO about 1894.
    Clark5, second son of Henry4, was in Knox Co. IL briefly in 1840 before settling in Sarcoxie Twp., Jasper Co. MO, then made a fatal journey to Sacramento Co. CA in 1852.  His first son W. Henry6 had already traveled to Oregon in 1846, then Sonoma Co. CA two years later, where the rest of the family joined him before 1857.  Clark's second son Daniel6 did lumbering in Mendocino Co. CA in the late 1860s, where some of the family remained, and then went down to Ventura Co. before 1900.  This large and incompletely identified group seem to have been the only LeValleys in California before the twentieth century.
    Henry's third son Henry Jr.5 began farming in Monroe Co. IA about 1847.
    Henry's fourth son George5 was in New Braunfel Twp., Grayson Co. TX by 1850--thus becoming the only LeValley to fight on the Confederate side in the Civil War.  He was illiterate, and his orphaned children grew up spelling their name LaValley.  His oldest son Reuben6 reportedly raised a large family in the Choctaw nation, Indian Territory (Oklahoma), but spent his final years somewhere in Arkansas.  George's second son Joseph6 lived in the Chckasaw Nation IT in 1900--which may or may not be another name for his 1910 residence: Taliaferro Twp., Marshall Co. OK.   George's third son Pinkney6 moved to Saint Jo TX early in the 1890s, before settling at Yeager OK around 1901.  Pinkney's second son H. Conley7 was at Wetumka OK by 1906.

VIII.  BENJAMIN3 LEVALLEY (Michael2, Peter1) left Warwick RI in 1793 for Frankfort, Herkimer Co. NY, moving again to Sandy Creek, Oswego Co. NY aout 1821.
    His only son Henry4 sailed through the Great Lakes to Sharon WI in 1853, where descendants remained.  by 1919, children of Frederick Henry Sr.6 (Benjamin Franklin Sr.5) were in Wessington Springs SD, before moving on to Portland OR.
    Henry's third son George5 went to Hamilton Co. IA in 1871.  George's second son M. Henry6 moved about 1898 to Iola KS, leaving many descendants in the area.
    Meanwhile, the fourth son of Henry4, Lafayette5 had gone to Butler Co. IA in 1877, moving to Black Hawk Co. about 1891, and Waterloo after 1900.  Lafayette's second son Alfred6 emigrated to Bulyea, Saskatchewan in 1919.

IX.  CALEB3 LEVALLEY (Michael2, Peter1) stayed at Coventry RI, though the censuses show some unexplained absences from his family.
    His oldest son Uriah4 traveled first in foreign countries, then headed westward in 1817; nothing more is known of him.
    Caleb's second son Sterry4 was a machinist in Manchester CT by 1830.  In the late 1870s, Sterry's second son Christopher5 went to St. Paul MN, where he invented the chain drive, then to Milwaukee WI in 1891 to manufacture it.
    Caleb's third son Benjamin4, another machinist, was at Fall River MA by 1827, Lowell MA all through the 1840s, and in Philadelphia by 1854.
    Caleb's fourth son Warren4 spent the 1830s and '40s shuffling between Rhode Island and Fall River MA, where he settled his family before making a fatal journey to San Francisco in 1852.  Warren's descendants remained at Fall River, except that his great grandson George7 (Roland6, Benjamin5) eventually moved to Ramsey NJ.
 

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