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Re: John James Levall - b. IN or KY - 1832
Posted by: Matt LeVault (ID *****2440) Date: September 09, 2003 at 10:28:45
In Reply to: Re: John James Levall - b. IN or KY - 1832 by Deborah Levall/Pigg of 14

Hello Deborah,

Thanks for your reply to my request for information on John James Levall. He was my great-great-grandfather, also. My connection is through his second marriage - Martha Moffett - whom he married in 1853, I think, about a year after his first wife, Sarah, died. I don't have my documentation in front of me at the moment, but I think the year is correct..

Most of my research and documents come from the work my father has done over the last 30 years or so. I believe he corresponded extensively with Dorothy McGoff on your side of the family. I have copies of all her letters, too.

My great grandfather was Richard LeVault – 3rd son of John James and Martha. Here is the census record from Jefferson county IL, 1870

69/71       LEVALL, John J       38       KY
       Martha       38       Ind.
       Sarah M       16       Ind.
       Martha J       14       Ind.
       William J       12       Ind.
       Francis P       10       Ind.       (male)
       Richard D       4       Ind.
       Dora B       2       IL
       James M 1/12       IL       (May)

I know a lot about John James, but we have yet to discover his father's name so we can't trace the line back any farther than 1832. I have copies of census, military, medical, and pension records. The reason my query said born in IN or KY is because the records I have are contradictory. Some say IN, others say KY, as you can see from the above census record.

The story from my side of the family says that John James ran off to MO with Mary around 1874 leaving Martha with 7 kids. Apparently, there was some contact between the two families in the early 1900’s. I have a taped interview from one of my great aunts made in 1979. She says they knew about the other family in MO, but it was one of those things nobody would talk about. Of course, she never knew John James, but she was still P-O’d at him 100 years after he left.

My great grandfather, Richard, changed his name to LeVault in an effort to distance himself from John James. We don’t know why he chose that name. My dad said Richard would never talk about his father and when asked about the name change he would say, “Nobody ever knew how to spell it anyway…”

We know from some records that John James’ mother’s name was Sarah J., or possibly Sally J., but we don’t know her maiden name. I have found an Isaac Levall married to Sally Hood in KY in 1823. The timing is pretty good but I have not been able to confirm any connection.

If you have anything else or want to exchange more information, please contact me. I work in Washington DC, so the National Archives building is an easy subway ride from my office. I’ve done some lunchtime research sessions there. If you have any specifics you need to look up, let me know.

Thanks for responding to my post. I hope we can find the elusive father of John James Levall. I know it would make my dad very happy.

Email me directly, if you like, at


Matt LeVault (your half, third cousin?)

See my face and my family at

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