| LAND BOUNTY ACTS
LEYTHAM FAMILY STORY | ETYMOLOGY
| NEW WEB SITE
Developer hopes name helps sell neighborhood.
Read Omaha World-Herald article now»
|There is a saying among the new
urbanists: "Most developers name their
projects after whatever it is that they destroyed by developing
the project." Think about the names of many of the
Omaha area's conventional subdivisions and you will see what
they mean. Not so on State Street. Both in terms of its historic
significance and its literal meaning, the perfect name by
which we shall call the Omaha area’s first new traditional
neighborhood is . . . Leytham.
Leytham is a real place...with a real name.
As you may remember, during the design charrette we
announced a contest with a $500 prize to the person who submitted
the name that was selected for the new traditional neighborhood
on State Street. Well over two hundred names were submitted and
all were carefully considered, but no one submitted the actual
name. However, a few people contributed significantly to the process.
Some said, “Why don’t you check the history of the
property and see what that suggests.” A title search revealed
that Richard Leytham was the first private owner of the land.
Some in-depth research uncovered his story. One person suggested
looking at the etymology of British place names. That produced
the derivation of the Leytham name and confirmed its selection
as the name for Omaha’s first greenfield new traditional
neighborhood. I guess one could say that the process produced
the name. You were part of that process if you submitted a name
for consideration because you helped me focus my thinking. Thank
you to all those who submitted a name. I appreciate your interest
and support very much!
Since no one person actually submitted the name,
the prize has been donated to Habitat for Humanity where it may
do a bit of good to bring quality housing to those who most need
it. To learn more about Habitat for Humanity of Omaha's work go
20, 2007 - Herb presented the donation to Amanda Jedlicka,
Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity of Omaha at HfHO's
LAND BOUNTY ACTS
The United States of America, in a series of Bounty Land Acts
dating from the Revolutionary War in 1776 through 1855, followed
a policy of rewarding those who served the country with bounty
land grants. Eligibility was gradually extended to include officers
and soldiers of the regular army, navy, militia and Native Americans
mustered into the service of the United States in time of war.
By the middle of the nineteenth century, Congress had authorized
the transfer of sixty million acres of the public domain to veterans
as a way for the government to induce men to enlist, to further
compensate those who had served, to provide for their widows and
children and to settle the west. The land bounty was granted in
the form of a warrant. The warrant did not actually convey title
to the land, but with his bounty land warrant the veteran could
apply for a land patent whereby actual title to the land was transferred
to him from the public domain. Most who received a land bounty
warrant did not actually take title to any land. Rather, through
a wide spread business involving agents, the land bounty warrants
were sold to others who redeemed them for the actual land. And
so it was that William Scripter, having served in Captain Beach's
company of the New York State Militia in the War of 1812, received
land bounty Warrant 25,027 and subsequently sold it.
The original patent for the land which will become Omaha area’s
first new traditional neighborhood proclaims:
“In pursuance to the Act of Congress, approved March
3, 1855, entitled ‘An Act in addition to certain Acts
granting Bounty Land to certain Officers and Soldiers who have
been engaged in the military service of the United States’
there has been deposited in the General Land Office, Warrant
No. 25,027 . . . .”
Warrant No. 25,027 was redeemed for a patent that, on the first
day of October in 1860, the 15th President of the United States
of America, James Buchanan, caused to be issued.
The patent land had been owned by the federal government since
it was acquired in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. Before that
the French had laid claim to the land which the Omaha Tribe of
Native Americans had lived upon for centuries without any concept
of private ownership of the land. The Omaha arrived here after
having come “up stream,” the literal meaning of “Omaha.”
John Lee Webster, President of the Nebraska State Historical Society,
noted in his annual address of January 16, 1913:
There is a well authenticated tradition among the Omaha
Tribe, that, impelled by a spirit of migration . . . , they
took up their journey from their eastern home near the headwaters
of the Ohio and followed that river to the union of its waters
with the Mississippi, and thence up the eastern side of the
Missouri, and eventually permanently settled three and a half
centuries ago in what afterward became known as the Nebraska
LEYTHAM FAMILY STORY
The same spirit that drives all human migration and which impelled
the Omaha to come up stream to Nebraska also prompted a certain
Englishman in 1855 to sail to America, and then to find his way
to Nebraska Territory to settle in Omaha in 1856, and then in
1860 to obtain Warrant 25,027 and to redeem that warrant for a
patent from the federal government for 160 acres of virgin prairie
in Douglas County, Nebraska Territory. His name was Richard Leytham
and he was a farmer. Here is his story and that of his family.
The Nebraska Territorial Census reveals that in 1860 Richard
was 37 years old. His wife, Elizabeth, was 31. The Leythams were
both born in Lancashire, England. Their eleven year old son, John,
and eight year old Thomas were born in Liverpool. Two year old
Eleanor was born in Nebraska. Five years later the Leytham family
moved to Shelby County, Iowa.
Some twenty-nine years after he received the patent on the 160
acres in Nebraska, the 1889 Biographical History of Shelby County,
Iowa records that:
RICHARD LEYTHAM is one of the oldest pioneers of Cass Township,
having come there in 1865. He was born in Lancashire, England,
March 3, 1823, and is the son of John and Eleanor (Singleton)
Leytham. He was reared to the occupation of a farmer. November
12, 1848, he was married to Elizabeth Taylor, a native of England,
and a daughter of James and Eunice (Oibin) Taylor. In 1855 Mr.
and Mrs. Leytham sailed from Liverpool to America; they landed
at Boston and proceeded to Canada, but remained there only a
short time comparatively. In the spring of 1856 they removed
to Omaha, Nebraska. Omaha then had a few shanties, one hotel,
the Douglas House, a small boarding-house called Little Ireland,
and lots of whisky. A three days' residence in Omaha satisfied
Mr. Leytham and his wife, so they went to Florence, Nebraska,
six miles north of Omaha, where they were among the first settlers.
They built them a home, and remained there nine years. In 1865
they came to Shelby County, and Mr. Leytham bought sixty acres
of land, ten of which were broken; there was a log-cabin on
the place, and there was no other between Cass Township and
Harlan. Mr. Leytham now owns 220 acres of well-improved land,
stocked with a large number of cattle and horses. Mr. and Mrs.
Leytham are the parents of fifteen children, nine of whom are
living -- John, Thomas, Eleanor, Robert, Richard, Ann Jane,
Sarah, Eunice and William; those deceased are -- Eunice, the
first child so called, Elizabeth, James, Maggie, Samuel and
Charles. The parents are members and zealous supporters of the
Latter-Day Saints church, Mr. Leytham being a teacher in the
church. He and his wife were brought up in the Church of England,
but changed their views after coming to America, and united
with the church of the Latter-Day Saints. In politics Mr. Leytham
is inclined to the principles of the Democratic party. He is
a good conversationalist, genial in his disposition, and an
honored and respected citizen of Cass Township.
Source: 1889 Biographical History of Shelby County, Iowa,
The Leythams lived on into an old age in Shelby County, Iowa.
Elizabeth died on September 26, 1909 at the age of 80. Richard
lived to 88, passing away on April 10, 1911. Mr. and Mrs. Leytham
are buried Cass Township Cemetery southeast of Portsmouth, Shelby
County, Iowa with several of their children and grand children.
Through a series of eight title transfers, from the original
1860 Leytham patent to the founding of the Omaha area’s
first new traditional neighborhood, the land has always remained
intact. Each owner has passed on the entire 160 acres. Now, after
nearly 150 years of private ownership, it is time for the current
owner of the land, Herb Freeman, to found a new and enduring traditional
neighborhood so that many may benefit from the respectful improvement
and wise use of this land.
The Leythams exemplify the pioneer spirit. They came to the new
world from the old and lived on the wild frontier. Through industry
and effort and living good lives, they began the transformation
of the land. The people who live in this new neighborhood will
be the next links in the long chain of those, unknown and known,
titled or not, who have occupied and used this land over the centuries.
It is only fitting and proper that we name this new community
after the family who were the pivot point at that unique hinge
in time between the unknown who used the land without title and
those who come down known to us in the chain of private title.
It is only fitting and proper that we name the new neighborhood
after the Leythams.
The etymology of British place names reveals that the meaning
of “Leytham” perfectly symbolizes the new neighborhood
on State Street. “Ley” is the second most common element
in British surnames. It comes from the Old English “leah”
and the Middle English “leye” meaning clearing, grassland
or meadow. The “(t)-ham” ending is a common Anglo-Saxon
suffix meaning a home or homestead, and later a village, manor
or estate. How appropriate it is that “Leytham” means,
quite literally, “Village in the Meadow?”
NEW WEB SITE
Watch for a new website soon at www.Leytham.com.
There will be much more information on the new website about the
history of the Leytham family. Additionally the new website will
feature the most current site plan and other current information
on Omaha’s new traditional neighborhood.
Thanks again for your continued interest and support
and, as always, I invite your comments and suggestions to herb@FullCircleVentures.com.