Spring Vale Cemetery
Tippecanoe County, Indiana

Close-Up Views of Tombstone
John and Elizabeth Forman Levering
Wm. Morton Levering
Thomas and Catherine Forman

Biography and Portrait of John Levering

COLONEL JOHN LEVERING, loans and real estate, Lafayette, Indiana, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, April 19, 1826, a son of ABRAHAM and CATHERINE (HAGY) LEVERING, who were also natives of Philadelphia, and of French and German origin.  ROSIER LEVERING left France in a very early day, on account of religious persecution, and settled in Germany.  WIGARD LEVERING, his son, immigrated to America between March and August, 1685, and settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and purchased 500 acres where a portion of that city now stands.  He died there at the advanced age of ninety-seven years.  MAJOR JOHN LEVERING, the grandfather of our subject, was a soldier in the Revolutionary War; he was a carpenter and builder in Philadelphia, and erected a large number of houses, which are still standing in that city.  The old homestead in Philadelphia is still in possession of the family.  The father of our subject came West in 1854, and settled in Tippecanoe County, Indiana, where he died in 1866.

The subject of this sketch, COLONEL JOHN LEVERING, was reared in his native city, and there received his education.  He was married in Philadelphia, in December 1847, to MISS ELIZABETH W. FORMAN, a daughter of THOMAS FORMAN, and of the four children born to this union three are living--FRANK H., an attorney-at-law, of Denver, Colorado; EMMA, wife of RALPH D. MOORE, of Lafayette; and FRED ROSIER, of Lafayette.  After his marriage MR. LEVERING started West, stopping at Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1849, where he remained one year.  He was then induced by other Philadelphians, who had preceded him about seven years to Tippecanoe County, Indiana, to come farther West, and March 1, 1850, he landed in Lafayette, coming all the way by water, there being no railroad at that time.  He then purchased a farm in what is now Randolph Township, where he followed agricultural pursuits for five years.  In January, 1856, he established his real estate and loans business, and is the oldest in this profession in the State of Indiana.  He has had over $2,000,000 invested at one time; more than all the banks in the city of Lafayette.

On the breaking out of the war, in April 1861, at the instance of GOVERNOR MORTON, he aided in equipping the Indiana troops for the field.  He made a contract for the first army tents in Philadelphia.  June 5, 1861, he was commissioned by GOVERNOR MORTON Assistant Quartermaster, with the rank of Captain, of the Second Indiana Brigade, and August 3 following he was appointed by the President, Captain and Assistant Quartermaster of the United States Volunteers, and served in the Cheat Mountain (Virginia) campaign.  In January 1862, he was ordered to Post Gauley Bridge, Virginia, and in August, 1862, to the staff of GENERAL POPE, commanding the Army of the Potomac.  September 18, 1862, because POPE was relieved, he was ordered by the Quartermaster General to report to COLONEL INGALLS, Chief Quartermaster at McCLELLAN'S  headquarters, and September 21, 1862, to report to GENERAL FITZ-JOHN PORTER, Fifth Corps.  September 27, 1862, by a special order of the Army of the Potomac, he was assigned to duty with Humphrey's Division.  November 4, 1862, ordered by GENERAL A. A. HUMPHREY, Third Division, Fifth Corps, to Washington on special duty.  November 10, 1867, by special order No. 337 of the War Department, he reported to GENERAL J.J. REYNOLDS at Louisville, Kentucky, to join the Army of the Cumberland.  February 17, 1863, by special order No. 45, Department of the Cumberland, he was appointed Chief Quartermaster at Nashville, Tennessee.  May 7, 1863, he was appointed Major and Assistant Adjutant General by PRESIDENT LINCOLN,  per Edwin M. Stanton, Secretary of War, and assigned to MAJOR GENERAL J. J. REYNOLD'S Fifth Division, Fourteenth Army Corps at Murfreesboro, Tennessee.  This appointment was thereafter confirmed by the United States Senate.

In December 1863, he was ordered by MAJOR GENERAL THOMAS, commanding department of the Cumberland, to New Orleans, with GENERAL J.J. REYNOLDS, where he served during 1864 as Adjutant General of the Defences of New Orleans and the Nineteenth Army Corps.  December 22, 1864, by special order No. 221, Military Division, West Mississippi, he was ordered with GENERAL REYNOLDS to Little Rock, Arkansas.  January 4, 1865, by general order No. 2, Department of the Arkansas, he was assigned to duty as Adjutant General of that department and of the Seventeenth Army Corps.  February 8, 1865, by War Department, special order No. 62, he was assigned by the President Adjutant General of the Seventh Army Corps and Department of the Arkansas, with rank and pay of Lieutenant Colonel.  March 2, 1865, he was commissioned by the President, Colonel by brevet, and confirmed by Senate.  May 9, 1865, under general order No. 86, of 1865, from the War Department to department commanders, GENERAL REYNOLDS awarded him the highest commendations on qualifications of staff officers.  April 20, 1865, by special order No. 95, Department of the Arkansas, he was sent to Fort Smith, and Port Gibson, in the Cherokee Nation, on special errand of inspection.  July 4, 1865, was sent to Memphis and New Orleans on special errand to GENERALS CANBY and SHERIDAN; August 7, 1865, to St. Louis on special business to GENERAL SHERMAN.  November 30, 1865, by general order No. 104, Department of the Arkansas, embracing flattering expressions by MAJOR GENERAL REYNOLDS, he was relieved from duty, and ordered to report to the Adjutant General of the army, and during December was on special errand in the Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations, with headquarters at Boggy Depot, 250 miles west of Fort Smith.  January 4, 1866, by special order No. 3, War Department, he was honorably mustered out of the service.

In application for promotion and advanced commission, which was issued by the President on March 2, 1865, GENERAL REYNOLDS, the department commander, wrote to the Secretary of War as follows: "I respectfully recommend that MAJOR JOHN LEVERING, Assistant Adjutant General, be appointed Colonel by brevet.  MAJOR LEVERING entered the service at the very beginning of the Rebellion, and has served zealously and faithfully; has never been absent from his command in the field, except when compelled to be so by sickness contracted in the line of his duty.  He served as Quartermaster in Western Virginia, at Cheat Mountain and Gauley River, and his reports now on file in Washington prove him to be a superior officer in that department.  As Adjutant General he has been equally distinguished in the Army of the Cumberland and Department of the Gulf.  He is an officer of superior business ability.  He has been recommended by myself and GENERAL CANBY, heretofore, to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, and although he has been and is now performing the duties of that position, his promotion has not been made, or not yet promulgated.  MAJOR LEVERING has been on my personal staff during nearly all this war, so I perform a simple act of justice to an intelligent and zealous officer by earnestly recommending him for increased rank, as a recognition of valuable services rendered in departments of the army which promotion seldom reaches, though merited, as in this case."    And in responding to general order No. 86, of the War Department, issued May 9, 1865, directing department commanders to report any government officer of the general staff who possessed special qualifications for continuing service, GENERAL REYNOLDS selected COLONEL LEVERING, Adjutant General of the Department of the Arkansas, and of the Seventh Army Corps, reporting him as follows: "Unexceptional habits; has served in the Quartermaster's and Adjutant General's departments from the beginning of the Rebellion; has had large experience and has made himself quite familiar with the laws and regulations of these departments, as well also of the Commissary's department.  Is peculiarly qualified for the duty of investigating irregularities, and would be unsurpassed as member of a board, or to be intrusted [sic] with individual investigations.  Although he does not desire to remain permanently in the service, might be available in the above capacity for several months."   COLONEL LEVERING was one of the most prominent Government staff officers, and as will be seen had a very large command.

While absent in the war, his brother had charge of his business at Lafayette, which he resumed after being mustered out of the service, and has since conducted a successful business.  He has a fine building and office, which he has occupied since January 1856.  For many years he has been a director of the First National Bank of Lafayette.  Before the war he was county surveyor, and also city civil engineer.  In the winter of 1854-'55 he was principal clerk of the House of Representatives of Indiana, and was also a member of the State Board of Agriculture.  He is a member of the Masonic fraternity, and also of the Grand Army of the Republic, and was a National Aid-de-Camp of GENERAL FAIRCHILD.

Biographical Record and Portrait Album of Tippecanoe County, Indiana, pp.388-392
Lewis Publishing Company, Publishers, Chicago, Illinois; 1888

Levering Family History and Genealogy by Col. John Levering, of Lafayette, Indiana (online book)

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