John F. Leighton, a prosperous dairyman of Franklin, was born where he now resides, May 27, 1832, son of Edward and Judith (Rand) Leighton. His father, who was a native of Portsmouth, N.H., came to Franklin in 1816, settled upon the farm now owned by his son, and tilled the soil successfully during the rest of his active period, attaining the age of ninety-two years. He first married February 20, 1806, Lydia Rand, whose only child, Moses, is deceased. For his second wife, on April 24, 1813, he Judith Rand, a cousin of his first wife and a native of Somersworth. Of this union there were born eight children, namely: Lydia, July 8, 1814; Thomas, March 11, 1817; John S., June 13, 1819, who died in childhood; Mary, November 8, 1821; Edward, August 11, 1825; Judith, August 8, 1827; John F., the subject of his sketch; and Loren S., January 2, 1838. Lydia is the widow of Samuel Brown, late of Northfield, N.H. Thomas and Edward are no longer living. Mary is the widow of James Gardner, and now lives in Concord, N.H. Judith is the wife of Benjamin Sargent, formerly of Tilton, and now a merchant in Chicago, Ill. Loren S. married Tirza French, October 16, 1859, and is residing in Alma, Minn. Mrs. Edward Leighton died at the age of eighty-two.
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John F. Leighton was educated in the common schools of Franklin and Tilton. He has always resided upon the home farm, and has managed it since reaching his majority. His property consists of two hundred acres of desirably located land, and he has made various improvements in the buildings. He carries on a large and profitable milk business, keeping about thirty cows on the average.
On August 27, 1857, Mr. Leighton married for his first wife Mary A. Hanaford. She was born in Northfield, September 19, 1839, daughter of John A. and Mary A. (Park) Hanaford, the former of whom, now deceased, was a native of that town and a prosperous farmer; while the latter, born in Lowell, Mass., now resides with Mr. Leighton. Mrs. Mary A. Leighton died June 5, 1886. On February 9, 1888, Mr. Leighton married Emma L. Colby, who was born in Canterbury, N.H., December 29, 1852, daughter of Leonard and Mary Ann (Page) Colby. Her father was a native of Bow, N.H.; and her mother was born in St. Johnsbury, Vt. They were industrious farming people, and resided in Canterbury many years. The father is no longer living. The mother is residing with her son, Osborn L., a farmer of Canterbury. By his first union Mr. Leighton had three children, namely: Maria F., born June 13, 1858, who died July 30, 1881; Nellie A., born September 9, 1860; and George E., born October 15, 1864. George is now in business in Providence, R.I. Nellie A. married Benjamin Kimball, and died July 20, 1893, leaving four children-Mary E., Rena E., Bertha L., and Harry M. The children by Mr. Leighton’s second marriage are: Leonard C., born June 13, 1889; and Mary E., born March 12, 1895.
Mr. Leighton holds a warm place in the hearts of his neighbors, who are familiar with his liberality and kindness of heart. He is connected with the Patrons of Husbandry, and both he and Mrs. Leighton are members of the First Baptist Church in Franklin Falls. In politics he is a Republican.