George Leviston was a California Ď49er, a conspicuous lawyer, an early settler
at Benicia, and one of the outstanding figures in the professional and public
affairs of the early state.
He was born in New York State, was educated and studied law there, and as a
young man moved to Illinois and settled at the City of Springfield, where he
was elected and served a term on the bench and also in the State Legislature.
In 1849 he joined a party that set out from the Missouri River with wagons and
ox teams for California. In one of the wagons he put his library of law books,
but before reaching the end of the journey this library had to be abandoned. It
was a six monthsí journey. George Leviston located at Benicia, where he erected
the first brick building. One of the first sessions of the State Legislature
met in his building. He was soon busy with an extensive private practice, and
was one of the early judges elected in the community. His education, his broad
experience and his character well fitted him for the influential leadership he
In Illinois he married Harriet Woodsome, native of New York. They brought with
them to California their two children, William and George. Both sons became
lawyers, and for many years were partners in practice at San Francisco. William
was born in 1845 and died in 1906. He studied law under B. S. Brooks, and
devoted his life to his profession. George Leviston, Jr., born in 1846, studied
law in the office of Clark & Carpenter of San Francisco, and his
attainments brought him many honors of his profession. He died in 1907. He was
past master of Pacific Lodge No. 136, Free and Accepted Masons, and was affiliated
with San Francisco Chapter No. 1, Royal Arch Masons, and California Commandery
No. 1, Knights Templar.
George Leviston, Jr., married Stella May (Phelps) Reed, daughter of William K.
and Eliza F. Phelps. Her American ancestors settled in Connecticut in 1630, and
Mrs. Leviston is a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Her
father traveled overland to California in 1849, and was lost on the plains.
Mrs. Leviston came with her mother to the Pacific Coast in 1862 by way of the
Isthmus of Panama. They embarked on the ship Ariel. It was during the Civil War
that the Ariel was overtaken and captured by the famous Conferate cruiser
Alabama, and the passengers were held prisoners for three days. Mrs. Levistonís
mother died in November, 1922, at the venerable age of ninety-four. The first
husband of Mrs. Leviston was James Chittenden. Mrs. Levistonís two children
are: Stella, wife of Dr. W. R. Lovegrove, a retired dentist at San Francisco;
and Frank E., a farmer at Santa Cruz.
Transcribed by Donna L. Becker
Source: "The San Francisco Bay Region" Vol. 3 page 322-323 by Bailey Millard.
Published by The American Historical Society, Inc. 1924.