Select Leadbetter Miscellany

Here are some Leadbetter stories and accounts over the years:

Leadbetters and Ledbetters

Early spellings were various.  But Leadbetter is now the standard form in the UK, Ledbetter in America.  The table below shows the current approximate number of Leadbetters and Ledbatters.
Numbers (000's)





The Leadbeaters

In 1794 the writer Mary Leadbeater published a short history of the Leadbeaters. 

She had grown up in a Quaker household in Ireland and had in fact married into a Leadbeater family.  Her husband William traced his descent from the Huguenot family of Le Betre who had fled France for England in the 16th century.  He had come to her home in Ballitore from the north of England to study under Mary's father Richard Shackleton. 

The Leadbeater name also crossed to America.  Edward Leadbeater, a surgeon in the British army, gave up his home in England in the early 1800's and married and settled down in Mount Pleasant, New York.  And the Leadbeater name has cropped up in more recent times in Guernsey in the Channel Islands.

Reader Feedback - Leadbetters in Meols

You made a couple of references to the Leadbetters of Fleetwood originating from Wirral.   There is indeed a Meols on the Wirral peninsula.  But the Fleetwood Leadbetters came from North Meols, which is just north of Southport - not a million miles away but not the same place.  

In fact, Wirralians pronounce their Meols as 'Mells," while the Lancashire version is pronounced 'Mee-ols."  

Best regards 
Dave Abbott (

Leadbetters in Fleetwood

1861 census
.  14 Victoria Street, Fleetwood
Peter Leadbetter, age 52, fisherman, born Meols
Jane Leadbetter, age 43, born Tarlton
Henry Leadbetter, age 17, fisherman, born Fleetwood
Mary Leadbetter, age 13, born Fleetwood
Nancy Leadbetter, age 12, born Fleetwood

Peter's eldest daughter Betsy had married James Wilson, another fisherman, in 1853 and was living nearby on West Street.

Peter was the son of Thomas and Ann Leadbetter and had grown up in Meols.  Peter's first wife Mary had died in 1846.  He remarried and the family then moved to Fleetwood.  Peter lived on until his 80's.  His family moved away.

Henry and Increase Leadbetter

There is no record of Henry Leadbetter arriving in New England.  He gave his son the name the unusual name Increase - which has led to speculation that he arrived on the vessel Increase (which came from England in 1652).

Increase passed on his name to his son who later moved to Fox Island (Vinalhaven), Maine in 1769.  The next Increase apparently died young.  Son Luther, a ship's mate, was lost at sea in 1789 while enroute to the West Indies.  So the Leadbetter name was carried forward in Vinalhaven by the next son John. 

Reader Feedback - Huddie Ledbetter

The storied blues singer Huddie (pronounced Hootie) Ledbetter probably inherited his surname as a slave.  Born in Louisiana in 1888, he was an American folk and blues musician notable for his strong vocals, virtuosity on the twelve-string guitar, and the folk standards he introduced.  He is best known as Lead Belly. Though many releases credit him as "Leadbelly," he himself wrote it as "Lead Belly", which was also the spelling on his tombstone. 

Lead Belly usually played a twelve-string Stella guitar, but he also played the piano, mandolin, harmonica, violin, and windjammer.  According to family legend, Lead Belly custom-ordered his famous Stella 12-string from Fulvio Pardini who worked for the Oscar Schmidt Company in New Jersey.

Ironically his own favorite opus was Goodnight Irene, which reached Number One in the charts six months after his death in 1949.

Dick (

The Ledbetters in Dallas

Lonnie and Perdita Ledbetter and their family lived a comfortable life in Dallas.  Lonnie had been estranged from his father Thomas but was close to his uncle Peahull, the Commissioner of Dallas county.

Their home was a showpiece in the southwest of Dallas county, with its long driveway lined with cedar and pecan trees leading to the front yeard.

Clustered around the house was a large washhouse with a leanto on the back for the carbide plant which furnished the gas for the gas lights in the house.  There was a smokehouse, two large chicken houses, a garage for Lonnie's big touring car and out back was the necessary outhouse - a two-holey.  There was a large concrete storm cellar, which saw frequent use, and at the edge of the back porch was a deep, hand-dug brick and plaster-lined cistern which collected rainwater from the roof and provided an ample supply for the laundry and hair washing.  There was a sink in the kitchen and a bathtub in the pantry supplied with running water from an elevated water tank, which was kept deliberately filled by a windmill that drew water from an inexhaustible spring.

A short distance from the house were located the usual farm buildings; barns, sheds, stock pens, granary, corn crib, blacksmith shop and a large shed for the huge thresher and steam engine.

Sadly, Lonnie's house burned down in 1938.  The estate is now occupied by a shopping center, single-family homes and apartments.

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