Original Art Canvas, 29 sq. ft. (32" x 40") by Artist Frank M. Thomas - Artist's Collection
Historical Background: Sarah Sturdevant Leavitt embodies all of the finer traits of the sturdy Mormon pioneer woman, willingness to labor without complaint, despite dreadful tragedy, and with a firm belief in the love of her Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. She also had a firm and abiding belief in Joseph Smith as a Prophet of God, and was living in Nauvoo at the time he and Hyrum were martyred in Carthage.
She was born Sarah Sturdevant in 1799, in Lime, New Hampshire, the daughter of Lemuel Sturdevant and Priscilla Thompson.
Sarah wrote, "When I was 18 years old the Lord sent me a good husband (Jeremiah Leavitt II). We were married at my father's house, March 6, 1817, in the town of Barton, County of Orleans, State of Vermont."
After being influenced by her husband's sister, she read the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants. These confirmed her faith in the work. She said that she knew it was the word of God and as revelation from Heaven and received it as such. The next thing she felt was to gather with the Saints, but they did not have much means for such an undertaking. Selling their farm, they left for Kirtland, Ohio, ("the Ohio") in July of 1835, a journey of 800 miles. Since she had no chance to be baptized earlier, upon arrival in the Kirtland Village, she was baptized in the Chagrin River. Their money all spent by the time they arrived, they stayed in the Mayfield area of Ohio more than a year while Jeremiah worked with his team.
Finally they were able to resume their journey on to Nauvoo, Illinois, and the center of the Church, and were living there when word came that Joseph & Hyrum had been killed by powder and ball in the Carthage jail. She wrote in her history, "When the news came, the whole city of Nauvoo was thunderstruck; such mourning and lamentation was seldom ever heard on the earth. We went to the city and was there when the bodies of the martyred prophets were brought into the city."
Soon the Leavitt's realized they had to leave...to save their lives. Armed rogue militias were coming night after night to drive the Saints out of their homes, burn their farms. They traded their beautiful farm and a stack of 40 thousand bricks for what little they could get, a blanket and a yoke of oxen. Said Sarah, "I never had a murmuring thought pass my mind." They crossed the Mississippi River into Iowa Territory with the rest of the Saints, bound for the West.
At last they got to Mt. Pisgah, Iowa, in April 1846, where a few of the Saints had stopped, built small houses, put in crops, expecting to winter there. Jeremiah built his family a cabin, planted crops then prepared to go back to Bonaparte, Iowa, to work for provisions, to last his family until harvest. Upon his departure for Bonaparte, he told Sarah of his love and asked her not to associate with any other. He died the 29th of August 1846, in Bonaparte, Iowa.
She learned of her husband's passing when a messenger arrived at her door before dawn with a letter containing news of his death. She said, "It would be impossible for anyone to imagine my feelings...expecting him to come...It never entered my heart that he would die... My feelings were too intense to weep." She later recorded in her history in 1873, "Now to look at it, the spirit knew he would be gone till the resurrection and he did not want me to get married to any other one. When I heard of his death I thought I will keep that request sacred. Although I have had good offers I never was tempted to marry. I have lived a lonely life as a widow, but my heart leaps for joy at the thoughts of meeting him at the great resurrection, never more to part."
Widowed for 32 years, she passed away in April 1878 in Gunlock, Utah Territory, the mother of twelve, the grandmother to more than a hundred. She was and is today revered as the beloved matriarch of Western Leavitt descendants numbering into the hundreds of thousands.
The artist's wife Patreecia Leavitt Thomas, a second great granddaughter of Sarah Leavitt, was used as the model for this painting since there are no known photographs of Sarah's likeness. Patreecia, at the time of this painting was the same age as was Sarah Sturdevant Leavitt in 1862.
Canvas Art Print Offerings:
12" x 15" (signed by artist/rolled - ready to stretch)……...$64.80
12x15 (signed by artist/stretched - ready to frame)……..$80.60
16x20 (signed by artist/rolled - ready to stretch)………..$115.20
16x20 (signed by artist/stretched - ready to frame)…….$137.20
24x30 (signed by artist/rolled - ready to stretch)………$259.20
32x40 (signed by artist/rolled - ready to stretch)……….$460.80
NOTE: The rolled canvas print may be stretched in most frame shops before framing. Also the art image (above) may be quite beautifully printed on heavy art paper (same price as canvas art...slightly different technique) and then shipped flat.