Lavit, Joseph (d. c.1728), merchant, appears to have settled in Cork around 1690. He was a huguenot, but nothing more is known of his life in France (where his name was probably Lavitte) except that when he arrived in Ireland he was apparently a man of little or no means; nor is it possible to verify the traditional account of his manner of setting himself up in trade, namely by selling brandy to the soldiers of the Williamite army. However, there is no doubt about the rapidity of his rise to wealth, or the extent of his involvement in the trade of Cork. His interests included sugar refining, iron and paper mills, and property, while his shipping activity was the background to his initiative in reclaiming land from the river, and in building the quay that was named after him. In 1712 he made a plot of land available for the building of a church for the French congregation in the city. He was made a freeman of the city of Cork in 1696, becoming sheriff in 1713 and mayor in 1720.
He married, but all that is known of his wife is that she was called Christiana and was living in 1720. They had three daughters, and two sons, Walter and Nathaniel, both of whom married landed gentry, became in their own right substantial figures in the trade of Cork, and, like their father, were active members of the city council.