James A. Leitch

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ames A. Leitch, MD
Leitch, James A.JPG
Mayor Leitch

Electoral District At-large (elected)
Term Start 1858
Preceded by Eugene Davis
Succeeded by William T. Early

Board of Aldermen
Term Start 1856
Preceded by Patrick Martin
Succeeded by J. C. R. Taylor

Electoral District At-large (elected)
Term Start 1852
Succeeded by Drury Wood

Biographical Information

Date of birth James A. Leitch
July 28, 1814
County of Augusta, Virginia
Date of death June 5, 1862 (aged 47)
Charlottesville, Virginia
Maplewood Cemetery
Spouse Anne Leitch (1814-1842)
“Ludie” Poore Leitch (m. 1846)
Children Samuel G. Leitch (1840-1923)
James S. Leitch (1848-1892)
Residence 1115 East High Street, formerly Maiden Lane
Alma mater University of Virginia
University of Pennsylvania
Profession Physician
Public official

James A. Leitch (July 28, 1814-June 5, 1862) was a physician, former mayor of Charlottesville and reportedly a Civil War surgeon who was at the first Battle of Bull Run.

In 1834, he received a medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania. He was Grand Master of Masons in Virginia in 1855-1856. In 1852 he was elected mayor of Charlottesville, receiving every vote. In 1856 he was elected to the Board of Aldermen, and in 1858 he was again elected mayor.

Dr. Leitch lived in downtown Charlottesville, first on Market Street and then in a home he had built at 115 East High Street, formerly Maiden Lane. He kept a tame bear that frequently escaped and bothered his neighbors. His first wife, Anne, died in 1842. She is buried next to him in Maplewood Cemetery and was the mother of his two older children. In the 1850 census his household included his second wife, 30-year-old Louisiana, and an additional son, James S. Leitch (1848-1892) and a daughter. He was the owner of six slaves, from ages eight to 45, in 1850. Another son was born in the late 1850s.[1]

Given the reputation of Dr. Leitch for being wild as a young man it is ironic that he was the one known fee bill signer who agreed with the sentiment in a letter written to express opposition to a pardon for John S. Mosby for shooting George Turpin, “believing that an example should be made; he has been a very troublesome young man.” He was a prominent and enthusiastic Free Mason and the Grand Master of Masons in Virginia in 1855-1856.

Civil War

Leitch was reportedly a Civil War surgeon who was at the first Battle of Bull Run. The battle was fought on July 21, 1861, in Prince William County, Virginia, just north of the city of Manassas and about thirty miles west-southwest of Washington, D.C. He later died on June 5, 1862, at his home in Charlottesville, after contracting pneumonia while serving in the Confederate Army.[2]


His father, James Leitch (d. 1826), a Charlottesville merchant, dealt extensively with Thomas Jefferson, who died owing him $2,807.40 (equivalent in purchasing power to about $84,200.00 in 2022). Leitch was an original donor for the founding of Central College (now the University of Virginia).

Mary Walker Lewis Leitch, was known as "Captain Molly."

Lt. Col. Banastre Tarleton and his dragoons camped the night of June 4, 1781 in Charlottesville at "The Farm." There they imprisoned in the coalhouse one delegate who did not escape, namely Captain Daniel Boone. Tarleton and his men rode up to the house through the rose garden and exclaimed to Mrs. Lewis, ‘What a paradise!’ She retorted, ‘Then why do you disturb it!’ Mrs. Lewis was hostess to Col. Tarleton, and ever after preserved the chair (originally Meriwether’s) he had used. When they left the next morning, his soldiers took her flock of ducks. She ordered a servant to take the veteran drake to Tarleton with her compliments since it was no longer of use to her. After this episode, she became known as "Capt. Molly".

His son, with second wife Louisiana Poore (1820-1897), James S. Leitch (1848-1892) was proprietor of the "Jefferson Republican" newspaper and the manager of the Charlottesville Book Bindery. He was married to Nannie Carver, daughter of Col. D. C. Carver.


Dr. James A. Leitch died on June 5, 1862 (aged 47), at his home on East High, after contracting pneumonia while serving in the Confederate Army.[3] He was buried in the family section at Maplewood Cemetery.

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