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Coton  of  Hitcijfielb,  Connecticut 



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tlToton  of  Hitcttieto,  Connecticut 



Alain  C.  White 


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who,  as  a  citizen  of  Litchfield 

and  as  President  of  the  Historical  Society, 

preserves  the  interest 

in  the  traditions  of  the  Town 

begun  by  his  great-great-uncle, 


and  continued  by  his  father, 


this  book  is  dedicated 

with  admiration  and  esteem. 


At  a  meeting  of  the  Litchfield  Historical  Society,  held  on  October  6,  1919, 
Miss  Cornelia  B.  Smith,  Miss  Esther  H.  Thompson  and  Miss  Florence  E.  Ennis 
were  appointed  a  Committee  to  prepare  a  History  of  Litchfield  in  connection 
with  the  Bi-Centennial  celebration  planned  for  Aug^ust,  1920.  On  November 
10,  this  Committee  asked  me  to  undertake  the  work  for  them ;  and  it  was 
found  necessary  to  have  the  manuscript  ready  for  the  printer  to  begin  work 
in  January.  At  first  it  appeared  that  it  would  be  a  serious  handicap  to 
endeavor  to  prepare  a  book  of  this  character  in  so  short  a  time ;  but  as  the 
work  progressed  it  has  proved  in  some  ways  a  distinct  advantage. 

In  the  first  place,  the  nature  of  the  book  has  more  or  less  shaped  itself. 
There  were  clearly  several  things  which  the  time-limit  precluded  the  possi- 
bility of  attempting ;  but  which  otherwise  would  have  required  consideration. 
It  was  not  practicable  to  undertake  what  might  be  called  a  biographical 
history.  Litchfield  has  been  fortunate  in  having  had,  in  proportion  to  its 
population,  a  large  percentage  of  men  and  women,  many  still  living,  whose 
biographies  would  be  of  general  interest.  To  collect  and  classify  these 
was  clearly  impracticable.  It  will  be  found,  therefore,  that  many  of  our 
important  names,  past  and  present,  are  mentioned  only  casually,  and  in  some 
cases  not  at  all.  Consequently,  by  the  necessities  of  the  case,  this  book  is 
strictly  the  story  of  the  township,  and  not  the  story  of  the  individual 

Again,  it  was  impossible  to  attempt  more  than  a  compilation  from  sources 
readily  at  hand.  These  sources,  fortunately,  were  numerous,  taken  together 
astonishingly  complete,  and»  what  is  especially  important,  in  the  main  admir- 
ably written.  Many  chapters  have  written  themselves  by  the  simple  process 
of  quotation,  and  the  temptation  to  rewrite  such  parts,  which  would  have 
been  no  gain  to  the  reader,  has  been  removed  by  the  pressure  of  the  work. 

The  task,  therefore,  was  to  compile  the  story  of  the  town  on  the  founda- 
tion afforded  by  the  earlier  Histories  of  George  C.  Woodruff,  1845,  and 
Payne  Kenyon  Kilbourne,  1859,  with  such  elaboration  as  suggested  itself, 
bringing  the  book  more  nearly  to  date.  These  two  Histories  are  quoted 
throughout,  the  name:  Woodruff  or  Kilbourne,  followed  by  the  page  num- 
ber, being  a  sufficient  reference.  The  Statistical  Account  of  Several  Towns 
in  the  County  of  Litchfield,  by  James  Morris,  while  much  shorter  in  its 
contents,  is  also  of  extreme  importance  because  of  its  early  date.  It  forms 
pages  85  to  124  of  a  book  called :  A  Statistical  Account  of  the  Towns  and 
Parishes  in  the  State  of  Connecticut,  published  by  the  Connecticut  Academy 
of  Arts  and  Sciences,  Volume  i,  Number  i.  New  Haven,  181 1.  It  appears, 
however,  that  Morris'  section  was  not  written  until  between  1812  and  1814, 
and  that  probably  it  was  bound  into  the  volume  in  1815,  the  earlier  date 
being  retained  on  the  title  page.  This  little  work  must  always  remain  the 
starting  point  for  the  historian  of  Litchfield.       Morris,  Woodruff  and  Kil- 

viii  PREFACE 

bourne  laid  little  stress  on  the  period  after  the  Revolution,  which  to  us 
now  is  one  of  the  most  interesting  parts  of  the  story.  Fortunately  other 
writers  have  supplemented  this  deficiency. 

The  work  of  Dwight  C.  Kilbourn  on  the  Bench  and  Bar,  191 1,  with  the 
many  lights  it  throws  upon  the  Litchfield  Law  School,  and  the  Chronicles 
of  a  Pioneer  School  by  E.  N.  Vanderpoel  (Mrs.  John  A.  Vanderpoel)i  1903, 
with  its  fascinating  picture  of  the  life  of  Litchfield  in  the  days  of  Miss 
Pierce's  Academy  as  revealed  in  the  diaries  and  letters  which  she  has  col- 
lected; the  many  graphic  little  sketches  and  anecdotes  compiled  by  Rev. 
George  C.  Boswell  in  his  Book  of  Days,  1899 ;  Miss  Alice  T.  Bulkeley's  His- 
toric Litchfield;  two  works  important  for  tracing  Litchfield  genealogies, 
George  C.  Woodruff's  Residents  of  Litchfield,  written  in  1845,  but  not 
published  till  1900,  and  Charles  T.  Payne's  Litchfield  and  Morris  Inscriptions, 
1905;  the  many  volumes  dealing  with  single  families  or  individuals^  such  as 
the  splendid  Wolcott  Memorial,  1881,  the  two  editions  of  the  Memoirs  of 
Colonel  Benjamin  Tallmadge,  1858  and  1902,  and  the  Lyman  Beecher  Auto- 
biography, 1866;  the  records  of  exercises  on  particular  occasions,  including 
the  County  Centennial  of  1851,  and  the  Presentation  of  the  Litchfield  Law 
School  to  the  Historical  Society  in  191 1 ;  the  War  literature,  comprising  the 
Litchfield  County  Honor  Roll  of  the  Revolution,  published  in  1912  by  the 
Mary  Floyd  Tallmadge  Chapter,  D.  A.  R.,  and  the  two  Histories  of  the 
Litchfield  County  Regiment  in  the  Civil  War,  by  Theodore  F.  Vaill,  186&, 
and  Dudley  Landon  Vaill,  1908;  the  published  Sermons,  especially  those  of 
a  memorial  nature;  the  several  works  on  the  County;  the  publications  of  the 
Litchfield  County  University  Club;  the  books  dealing  only  in  part  with 
Litchfield,  HoUister's  History  of  Connecticut,  1858,  on  the  one  hand,  or  the 
Personal  Memories  of  E.  D.  Mansfield,  1879,  on  the  other;  the  collections 
of  County  or  State  Biographies,  such  as  Payne  K.  Kilbourne's  Litch- 
field Biographies,  1851,  and  the  Leading  Citizens  of  Litchfield  County, 
1896;  the  files  of  the  newspapers  which  have  been  published  in  Litch- 
field, and  of  the  Morris  Herald  and  the  Northfield  Parish  Paper ;  the 
files  of  the  Litchfield  Historical  Society,  embracing  the  manuscripts  of 
lectures,  bound  and  unbound  selections  of  letters,  scrap-books  and  other 
collections,  such  as  the  Record  Book  of  the  Seth  F.  Plumb  Post.  No.  80, 
G.  A.  R.,  and  the  box  of  Civil  War  papers  left  by  Dwight  C.  Kilbourn : — all 
these  and  others  make  up  a  body  of  material  as  rich  as  the  most  omnivorous 
lover  of  Litchfield's  history  could  desire.  There  are  even  novels  with  their 
scenes  laid  in  Litchfield  and  their  incidents  based  on  the  history  of  the  town 
and  the  character  of  its  people,  notably  Harriet  Beecher  Stowe's  Poganuc 
People  and  Jennie  Gould  Lincoln's  An  Unwilling  Maid. 

This  book,  then,  is  only  a  digest  of  so  much  of  this  material  as  time 
has  permitted  the  sifting  of,  supplemented  by  contributions  from,  and  the 
help  of,  many  members  of  the  Litchfield  Historical  Society  and  other  persons. 

I  have  been  fortunate  in  securing  the  collaboration,  throughout  the 
preparation  of  the  work,  of  Miss  Dorothy  Bull,  who  in  particular  has  writ- 
ten the  chapters  on  the  Revolutionary  War  and  on  Modern  Litchfield;  and 
the  assistance  of  Miss  Florence  Elizabeth  Ennis  and  Miss  Ethel  M.  Smith. 
Miss  Ennis  has  written  the  chapter  on  the  World  War  and  has  compiled 



I  >.    SkS  MiUK.    IJ.U. 
DKIFK.     Pi<K>i|ii-.N':\ 

IK   Pkksiuknt.  a  \1' 

HFIKI.l.    H\>TnKlrA 

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Captain-  Edcar  B.  \'av   W'ixki.k,  i.ate  Trk\si-rkk, 
Lttchfiki.d  Historu\\i.  SOCIKTV 


five  sections  of  the  Appendix.         Miss  Smith  has  prepared  the  two  other 
sections  of  the  Appendix,  and  has  rendered  valuable  and  constant  assist- 
ance in  seeing  the  book  through  the  press.      To  Miss  Elizabeth  Kenyon  Coit, 
also,  are  due  hearty  thanks  for  aid  in  preparing  a  part  of  the  manuscript. 
Help  in  matters  of  detail  has  been  given  by  so  many  persons,  that  it  is 
impossible  to   acknowledge  all.       I   wish,   however,   to   thank   in   particular 
Hon.  George  M.  Woodruff,  President,  and  Mrs.  John  A.  Vanderpoel,  Vice- 
President  and  Curator,  of  the  Litchfield  Historical  Society,  for  their  con- 
stant  help,    encouragement   and    suggestions    in    the    work;    Dr.    Arthur    E. 
Bostwick  for  the  contribution  of  the  original  reminiscences  forming  Chapter 
22;  Mr.  Albert  M.  Turner,  Mr.  Herman  Foster,  Miss  Edith  L.  Dickinson, 
and  Mrs.  Henry  C.  Alvord,  for  materials  relating  respectively  to  Northfield, 
Bantam,  Milton,  and  Morris;  Mrs.  John  Laidlaw  Buel  (Elizabeth  C.  Barney 
Buel),  for  the  loan  of  three  manuscript  lectures;  Professor  Henry  S.  Munroe 
and  Miss  Mary  Perkins  Quincy,  for  the  use  of  their  Lectures  on  the  Trees 
of  Litchfield;   Mr.   Frederick  K.  Morris,   for  an  account  of   the  geological 
history  of  the  region;  Professor  James  Kip  Finch,  for  information  regard- 
ing the  local  topography;  Miss  Anna  W.  Richards,  for  material  relating  to 
the  Congregational  Church;   Miss  Esther  H.  Thompson,   for  reminiscences 
of    former   days;    Mrs.    Dwight   C.   Kilbourn,    for   access   to   her   husband's 
Library;   Mr.  R.  Henry  W.  Dwight,   for  an  account  of  the  early  Mission 
movement  in, the  County;   Miss   Cornelia  Buxton    Smith,   Rev.  William   J. 
Brewster,  Hon.  Thomas  F.  Ryan,  Mr.  Travis  A.  Ganung,   Mr.  George  H. 
Hunt,  Mr.   Frederick  Deming,   Mr.  George   C.  Woodruff  and  the  Wolcott 
and  Litchfield  Circulating  Library  Association,   for  the  loan  of  books  and 
manuscripts;    Miss    Clarisse    C.   Deming,    Miss    Mabel    Bishop,    Mrs.    L.    P. 
Bissell,  Mr.  Cornelius  R.   Duffie,  and   Mrs.   George  McNeill,   for  the  loan 
of   photographs;  the   Mary  Floyd   Tallmadge   Chapter,   D.  A.  R.,    for  per- 
mission to  quote  from  the  Honor  Roll  of  Litchfield  County;  Mr.  Howard 
W.  Carter,  Secretary  of  the  Litchfield  County  University  Club,  for  permis- 
sion  to   quote   from   the  publications   of   the   Club;    and   Miss    Mary  Alice 
Hutchins,  Assistant  Curator  of  the  Litchfield  Historical  Society,  for  much 
help  and  many  valuable  suggestions  during  my  researches  at  the  room  of  the 
Society.      Finally  I  am  indebted  to  the  courtesy  of  the  Litchfield  Enquirer, 
and  in  particular  to  the  energy  and  unflagging  interest  of  its  superintendent. 
Mr.  S.  Carl  Fischer,  for  preparing  the  work  in  the  limited  time  available, 
and  to  Mr.  George  C.  Woodruff,  editor  and  proprietor,  for  much  assistance 
in  proof-reading. 

In  quoting  directly  from  older  textsv  the  original  spelling  has  been  pre- 
served, no  matter  how  incongruous  to  the  modern  eye.  The  punctuation 
has,  however,  sometimes  been  modified. 

Absolute  accuracy  in  a  work  so  hastily  compiled  is  improbable,  and 
notification  of  any  errors  that  are  discovered  will  be  much  appreciated. 
Supplemental  material  relating  to  the  history  of  the  Town  will  always  be 
welcomed  by  the  Litchfield  Historical  Society  and  all  contributions  of  such 
material  will  be  filed  for  future  use.  As  the  history  of  a  community  is 
embodied  not  only  in  books  but  in  the  objects  that  have  played  a  part  in 
the  life  of  the  community,  the  reader  is  urged  to  visit  the  rooms  of  the 


Society,  if  this  volume  awakes  in  him  a  desire  to  understand  more  fully 
the  spirit  of  the  two  centuries  here  described.  Contributions  of  new 
objects  of  historic  or  scientific  interest  are  always  valued  and  are  assured 
a  permanent  place  in  the  collections  of  the  Society. 

A.  C.  W. 
Litchfield,  Conn.,  May  17,  1920. 

XTable  of  Contents 

1.  lutroductorj'               1 

2.  The  Settlement  of  Litchfield            7 

3.  The   Indians               ---------  16 

4.  The  Church  on  the  Green        -        - 27 

5.  Colonial  Days            38 

6.  The  Age  of  Homespun,  hy  Horace  Bushnell         -        -        -  50 

7.  Litchfield  in  the  Kevolution,  by  Dorothy  Bull       -        -        -  65 

8.  The  Golden  Age 92 

9.  The  Litchfield  Law  School 98 

10.  Miss  Pierce's  School 110 

11.  Amusements                121 

12.  Industries  and  Merchants;  Newspapers         .        -        .        -  128 

13.  The  Wolcott  Family 141 

14.  Slavery -  151 

15.  The  Temperance  Movement 156 

16.  Federalists  and  Demlocrats 162 

17.  Trees  and  Parks ;  Domestic  and  Wild  Animals      -        -        -  168 

18.  South  Farms;  the  Morris  Academy;  Northfield;  Milton; 

Bantam            178 

19.  The    Churches:     the    Third    and    Fourth    Congregational 

Churches ;  the  Episcopal  Church ;  the  Methodist  Church ; 
the  Baptist  Church;  the  Roman  Catholic  Church;   the 

Cemeteries 195 

20.  The  Old  Order  Changes 204 

21.  The  Civil  War          ---------  217 

22.  Impressions  and  Post-Impressions,  by  Dr.  A.  E.  Bosttvick  230 

23.  The  World  AVar,  by  Florence  E.  Ennis         -        -        -        -  245 

24.  Modern  Litchfield,  by  Dorothy  Bull 263 

APPENDIX— 5^  Florence  E.  Ennis  and  Ethel  M.  Smith         -  277 

Xist  of  miustrations 

1.  Plan  of  the  Village  of  Litchfield,  1720-25       -        -        -        Frontispiece 

2.  The  Rev.  Storrs  O.  Seymour,  D.D.,  late  President,   1893-1918; 

and  the  Hon.   George   M.  Woodruff,    President,    1918- ,   of 

the   Litchfield    Historical    Society  _        _        .        _        .      viii 

3.  Captain  Edgar  Beach  Van  Winklei,  late  Treasurer,  the  Litchfield 

Historical   Society,    1895-1920  ------        ix 

4.  Mrs.  John  A.  Vanderpoel,  Vice-President  and  Curator,  the  Litch- 

Historical  Society,  1898- ,  Portrait  by  W.  J.  L.  Foster        -      xvi 

5.  The   Bronson   Store,    1819;   First  Home  of   the   Litchfield   His- 

torical Society,  1893-1 901 ;  now  occupied  by  the  Sanctum 
Club,  1906 _-._  I 

6.  The  Litchfield  Hills,   from  Chestnut  Hill;   Photograph  by  Wil- 

liam  H.   Sanford  ________  4 

7.  Bantam  Lake  from  the  North;  Photograph  by  Wm.  H.  Sanford  5 

8.  North  Street  -.._._-.        -.14 

9.  South  Street;  Photograph  by  W.  H.  Sanford        -        -        -        -        15 

10.  Primeval  Oak,  still  standing  West  of  the  Gould  House  on  North 

Street;   Photograph  by  W.   H.   Sanford       -        -        -        -        24 

11.  Litchfield  from  Chestnut  Hill;  from  Barber's  Historical  Collec- 

tions, 1836         -_--_-----        25 

12.  The  Second  Congregational  Church,  176a,  from  a  sketch  by  Miss 

Mary  Ann  Lewis,  copied  by  E.  N.  Vanderpoel ;  from  Chroni- 
cles of  a  Pioneer  School.  (The  building  in  right  of  picture 
is  the  Mansion  House!)  -        -        -        -        -        -        -        32 

13.  The  Rev.  Lyman  Beechen,  Pastor  of  the  Congregational  Church, 

1810-1826  ----------        33 

14.  Ebenezer  Marsh  House,   1759.     Site  of  the  Wolcott  and  Litch- 

field Circulating  Librarj^  -_---_.        48 

15.  Samuel  Seymour  House,  1784.    Now  St.  Michael's  Rectory  -        49 

16.  The  First  Episcopal  Church,  formerly  situated  a  Mile  west  of 

the  Center.  1749.    From  a  drawing  by  Chas.  T.  Payne         -        58 

17.  The  Rev.  Truman  Marsh.  Rector  of  St.  Michael's,  1799-1829        -        59 

18.  Governor   Oliver  Wolcott),    Signer  of  the  Declaration  of   Inde- 

pendence. Portrait  by  Ralph  Earle,  1782 ;  From  the  Wol- 
cott Memorial  ---------68 

19.  Mrs.    Oliver    Wolcott,     (Laura    Collins).       From    the    Wolcott 

Memorial.        Painted  by  Enis,  1782.        -----        69 


20.     Major  Moses  Seymour.      From  a  Portrait  by  Ralph  Earle,  in  the 

collection  of  Hon.  Morris  W.   Seyroour       -        -        -        -        78 

21     .The  Moses  Seymour  House,  1735.       Site  of  Residence  of  Hon. 

George  M.  Woodruff        --------        7^ 

22.  Colonel  Benjamin  Tallmadge;  from  a  Portrait  by  Ralph  Earle,  in 

the  collection  of  the  Litchfield  Historical  Society  -        -        86 

23.  Mrs.  Benjamin  Tallmadge.  (Mary  Floyd,  after  whom  was  named 

the  Mary  Floyd  Tallmadge  Chapter,  D.  A.  R.)  From  a  Por- 
trait by  Ralph  Earle,  in  the  collection  of  the  Litchfield  His- 
torical  Society  ---------87 

24.  The  Tallmadge  House,  1775.  Residence  of  Mrs.  John  A.  Vanderpoel        92 

25.  Milestone  erected  near  Elm  Ridge  by  Jedediah  Strong,  1787        -        93 

26.  View  of  the  Center  about  i860,  showing  Mansion  House,  1800, 

and  the  Second  Court  House,  1798       -----  96 

27.  Preparing  the  Winter's  Woodpile  for  the  Mansion  House         -  97 

28.  Chief  Justice  Tapping  Reeve,  from  an  Engraving  by  George  Catlin  100 

29.  Moving  the   Reeve  Law   School   from  its   original  location   on 

South  Street  to  West  Street  in  1846 lOi 

30.  Judge    James    Gould.      Portrait   by   Waldo.      From    Hollister's 

History  of  Connecticut  -------       104 

31.  The  Gould  Law  School,  after  it  was  removed  one  mile  west  of 

the  Center  on  the  Bantam  Road  and  used  as  a  Tenement. 

It  has  since  been  destroyed  by  fire        -----      105 

32.  The  Tapping  Reeve  House,   1774;  later  owned  by  Hon.  Lewis 

B.  Woodruff,  and  now  the  Residence  of  his  grandson,  Lewis 

B.  Woodruff    (Jr).  -        - 108 

33.  The  James  Gould  House,  built  in  1760  by  Elisha  Sheldon;  later 

the  Sheldon  Tavern,  where  Ge  ^ral  Wasiiington  visited; 
afterwards  owned  by  Senator  Uriah  Tracy,  son-in-law  of 
Judge  Gould ;  Professor  James  M.  Hoppin  of  Yale  bought 
the  house  in  187 1  from  Judge  Gould's  daughter.  It  is  now 
owned  by  Hon.  John  P.  Elton,  and  it  has  recently  been 
rented  as  a  summer  home  by  Mr.  and  Mrs.  E.  H.  Sothern 
(Julia   Marlowe)  .____---      109 

34.  Miss    Sally   Pierce  -        -        -        -        -        -        -        -        -H2 

35.  The  Litchfield  Academy,   1827       -        -        -        -        -        -        -       113 

36.  Miss  Lucy  Sheldon  (Mrs.  Theron  Beach).    From  a  Miniature  by 

Anson  Dickinson,  born  in  Milton,  1779,  afterwards  a  dis- 
tinguished miniaturist  in  New  York  City      -        -1        -        -      116 

37.  Miss  Lucretia  Deming.      From  a  Miniature  by  Anson  Dickinson       117 

38.  The  United  States  Hotel.     Formerly  and  now  again  known  as 

Phelps'  Tavern         ---------122 

39.  Dr.  Daniel  Sheldon  ---------123 

40.  Julius  Deming  Esq.  -        -        -        -        -        -        -        -        -136 


41.  The  Lindens,  built  by  Julius  Deming  in  1793;  later  occupied  by 

his  daughter,  Miss  Lucretia  Deming;,  and  afterwards  by  his 
grandson,  Hon.  J.  Deming  Perkins ;  now  the  Residence  of 
the  Misses  Kingsbury      --------      137 

42.  George  C.  Woodruff  (Jr.),  Editor  of  the  Litchfield  Enquirer      -      140 

43.  Frederick  Wolcott  Esq.     Portrait  by  Waldo,  1835.     From  the 

Wolcott  Memorial  -_._-_-_      141 

44.  The  Wolcott  Housev  built  in  1753,  by  Governor  Oliver  Wolcott 

Senior;  later  enlarged  by  his  son,  Frederick  Wolcott,  now 

the  Residence  of  Miss  Alice  Wolcott.    From  an  old  Print.    -       150 

45.  The  Wolcott  House,   from  a  modern  Photograph  in  the  Book 

of   Days  --_.-.----      151 

46.  The  First  National  Bank,  showing  the  Drug  Store  taken  down  in 

1914  and  replaced  by  the  Annex  occupied  by  the  Litchfield 
Savings  Society       -        -        -        -        -        -        -        -        -166 

47.  Governor  Oliver  Wolcott  Jr.     From  a  Crayon  Sketch  by  Rem- 

brandt Peale.     From  the  Wolcott  Memorial         -        -        _      167 

48.  The   Beecher   Elm,   marking   the   approximate   location   of    the 

Beecher  House,  which  is  no  longer  standing       -        -        -       170 

49.  The  Whipping-Post  Elm  and  Litchfield  County  House  and  Jail, 

erected  1812  and  added  to  1896        ------      171 

50.  Morris  Woodruff.    From  a  Portrait  by  Anson  Dickinson      -        -       178 

51.  Maplehurst,  the  Residence  of  Horatio  Benton  in  South  Farms, 

later  the  South  Farms  Inn,  demolished   1917       -        -        -  i79 

52.  The  old  Marsh  House,  Northfield  Hill 184 

53.  The  Major  David  Welch  House,  Milton,  1745      _        -        -        -  185 

54.  The  Third  Congregational  Church,  1827-29;  removed  to  the  Tor- 

rington   Road  in    1873,   and  known   as   Armory  Hall;   now 

Colonial   Hall  -___ 194 

55.  The  Fourth  (Present)  Congregational  Church,  1873      -        -        -  195 

56.  The  Third  (Present)   St.  Michael's  Episcopal  Church,  1851        -  198 

57.  The  Fallen  Steeple  at  St.  Michael's  Church,  April  11,  1894      -  199 

58.  The  Second  (Present)  Methodist  Church,  1885      -        -        -        -  200 

59.  Interior  of  the  Second  (Present)  St.  Anthony's  Roman  Catholic 

Church,  1888     ----------      201 

60.  The  Blizzard  of  March  12,  1888,  showing  the  Snowdrift  near  the 

House  of  Dr.  Henry  W.  Buel  ------      206 

61.  South  Street  after  the  Ice  Storm  of  February  20,  1898         -        -      207 

62.  Hon.  George  C.  Woodruff      -        -        -        -        -        -        -        -210 

63.  The  Centennial  Celebration  of  Litchfield  County,  1751 ;  from  an 

old   Print  -        -        -        -        -        -        -        -        -        -211 

64.  Chief  Justice  Origen   Storrs   Seymour  -        -        _        _        .      214 

65.  Judge  Lewis  B.  Woodruff      -        -        -        --        -        -        -215 


66.  Dwight  C.  Kilbourn         _--------220 

67.  Presentation  of  Colors  to  the  Nineteenth  Connecticut  Infantry, 

by  Hon.  William  Curtis  Noyes,  September  10,  1862      -        -      221 

68.  Charge  of  the  Second  Connecticut  Heavy  Artillery  at  the  Battle 

of  Cold  Harbor,  June  i,  1864.     From  an  old  Print  in  D. 

Vaill's  The  County  Regiment 224 

69.  The  Triumphal  Arch  on  East  Street,  August  i,  1865     -        -        -  225 
Hon.  J.   Deming   Perkins       --------  232 

Dr.  Henry  W.  Buel -        -        -  233 

Judge  Edward  W.  Seymour  -------  238 

Mrs.  Edward  W.  Seymour   (Mary  Floyd  Tallmadge)        -        -  239 

74.  Mrs.   John   Laidlaw    Buel    (Elizabeth    C.    Barney   Buel),    State 

Regent,  Daughters  of  the  American  Revolution     -        -        -      248 

75.  Charles  H.  Coit,  Chairman,  Liberty  Loan  Campaigns    -        -        -      249 

76.  Dr.  John  Laidlaw  Buel,  Chairman,  American  Red  Cross  Home 

Service  Bureau        --- 260 

Tj.  The  Morgan-Weir  Post,  American  Legion :  Front  row,  standing 
left  to  right:  Eugenio  Cucchi,  Gino  Valmoretti,  Frank  B. 
Weir,  William  L.  Herbert,  T.  Joseph  Kelly,  James  H.  Catlin, 
Clarence  E.  Perkins,  Colombano  Sassi,  William  Mooney, 
Albert  W.  Clock,  William  F.  Slawson,  William  M.  Foord; 
Second  row,  standing  left  to  right :  Thomas  F.  Weir,  Charles 
H.  Turkington,  James  E.  Conroy,  Charles  I.  Page  Jr.,  Clif- 
ford H.  Danielson,  Sutherland  A.  Beckwith,  Macklin  Cun- 
ningham, William  D.  Roberg,  Alexis  Doster,  E.  Carroll 
Johnson,  James  L.  Kirwin,  Philip  W.  Hunt,  Arthur  D. 
Deacon,  Archibald  A.  MacDonald,  John  F.  Barrett,  Thomas 
Carr,  James  W.  Drury,  Edward  J.  Brahen,  Frederick  Noz- 
zioli,  Clarence  F.  Ganung,  Edward  A.  Brennan,  Edwin  B. 
Perkins,  Thomas  J.  Knox,  Timothy  F.  Higgins.  James  F. 
Burke,  Albert  S.  Fabbri  -------261 

78.  Frederick   Deming   Esq.  --------266 

79.  The  Ruins  of  the  Mansion  House  and  Business  Block,  after  the 

Fire  of  June  II,  1886       --------      267 

80.  John  Arent  Vanderpoel  --------      270 

81.  The    Noyes    Memorial    Building,    showing    the    Sign-Post    Elm. 

Built  in  1901,  enlarged  in  1906.  Home  of  the  Wolcott  and 
Litchfield  Circulating  Library,  and  of  the  Litchfield  His- 
torical  Society  ---------      271 

82.  Rear-Admiral  George  Partridge  Colvocoresses      -        -        -        -      272 

83.  Colvocoresses  Day,  November  la,  1899.     Presentation  of  Sword      273 

84.  Hon.   Morris  Woodruff   Seymour  ------      274 

85.  The   Ozias    Seymour    House,    1807.       Later    occupied   by    Chief 

Justice  Origen  S.  Seymour;  now  residence  of  Hon.  Morris 


W.  Seymour    ----------      275 

86.  Hon.  James  P.  Woodruff,  Judge  of  Court  of  Common  Pleas,  1920      300 

87.  Philip  P.  Hubbard,  Town  Treasurer,  and  Hon.  John  T.  Hub- 

bard, Judge  of   Probate,   1920       ------      301 

88.  Miss  Cornelia  Buxton  Smith,  Clerical  Assistant  to  the  Clerk  of 

the  Superior  Court,  1920        -------  304 

89.  Frank  H.  Turkington,  Sheriff,  1920 -  305 

90.  John  H.  Lancaster,  County  Commissioner,  1920     -        -        -        -  306 

91.  Board  of  Selectmen^  1920.    Seated :  H.  M.  Richards,  P.  C.  Burke, 

H.  T.  Weeks ;  standing :  C.  L.  Dudley,  W.  M.  Murphy   -        -  307 

92.  George  H.  Hunt,  Town  Clerk,  1920      ------  308 

93.  Hon.  Thomas  F.  Ryan,  Postmaster,  1920      -----  309 

94.  Parade  of  the  Litchfield  Fire  Company,  July  4,  1892     -        -        -  334 

95.  Picnic  of  the  Sanctum  Club,   1910 :   Front  Row,   seated :   J.   C. 

Barnard,  R.  C  Swayze,  Dr.  J.  E.  Keller,  Dr.  J.  L.  Buel, 
William  H.  Sanf ord ;  Second  Row,  seated :  S.  L.  Husted  Jr., 
Rev.  S.  O.  Seymour,  D.D.,  William  G.  Wallbridge,  Seymour 
Cunningham,  William  Ray,  H.  R.  Towne,  L.  A.  Ripley, 
Rev.  John  Hutchins,  A.  R.  Gallatin ;  Third  Row,  seated : 
J.  H.  Bronson,  Col.  A.  E.  Lamb;  standing:  B.  S.  Clark, 
John  Lindley,  William  Colgate,  G.  M.  Woodruflf,  Frank 
Blake,  E.  D.  Curtis,  J.  P.  Elton,  C.  H.  Coit,  A.  A.  Kirkham, 
C.  R.  Duffie,  C.  T.  Payne,  Abbott  Foster,  H.  B.  Lewis        -      335 

96.  Floyd  L.  Vanderpoel,  President,  Trumbull-Vanderpoel  Company      340 

97.  William  T.  Marsh,  Presidenft.  Litchfield  Water  Company      -        -      341 

98.  Hon.  Winfield  Scott  Rogers,  Chairman,   Bantam   Ball   Bearing 

Company  ----__-__-      342 

99.  Miss  Nellie  M.  Scott,  President,  Bantam  Ball  Bearing  Company      343 

100.     View  of  the  Center,  about  i860      -------      350 

loi.    View  of  the  Center,  1920       --------      351 

102.     Country  Road   in  Winter,   Litchfield.      Photograph   by  William 

H.  Sanford       ----------      360 

Mrs.  John  A.  Vandkrpoki.,  Cihiator.  Litchfield  Historical  Society 





The  town  of  Litchfield  is  the  coimty-seat  of  Litchfield  County, 
Connecticut,  and  is  situated  among  the  Litchfield  Hills,  which  form 
the  south-eastern  foothills  of  the  Berkshires.  The  Soldiers'  Monu- 
ment in  the  Center  Park  stands  in  Latitude  41°  44'  48"  North,  Longi- 
tude 73°  11'  25"  West  of  Greenwich.  The  exact  elevation  of  the 
Center  above  sea-level  has,  strangely  enough,  not  been  accurately 
determined.  The  Government  survey  in  1889  gave  an  approximate 
elevation  of  1,080  feet,  while  a  later  private  survey  showed  1,113 
feet;  but  as  other  points  on  the  Government  map  are  decidedly  too 
high,  and  some  on  the  private  map  somewhat  too  low,  the  dis- 
crepancy is  still  unexplained.  It  would  be  a  simple  matter  to 
determine,  as  the  Engineering  classes  at  Camp  Columbia,  the  sum- 
mer school  of  Columbia  University,  which  is  located  at  the  southern 
end  of  Bantam  Lake,  have  brought  a  series  of  very  accurate 
measurements  as  far  as  the  north  end  of  the  Lake. 

The  highest  point  in  the  township  is  the  summit  of  Mount  Tom, 
with  an  actual  elevation  of  1,291  feet;  the  figure  1,325,  given  in  the 
Government's  topographical  map  of  1889,  is  therefore  not  at  all 

The  original  area  of  the  township,  which  included  the  present 
town  of  Morris,  and  also  a  large  tract  of  land  set  off  to  the  Town 
of  Torrington  in  1866,  was  71.9  square  miles.  The  present  area  is 
48.6  square  miles. 

The  largest  natural  sheet  of  water  in  Connecticut,  Bantam  Lake, 
lies  in  part  in  the  township.  Before  the  separation  of  Morris,  1859, 
it  lay  entirely  in  the  town  limits.  The  Lake  varies  about  seven 
feet  in  surface  elevation  between  low  water  and  flood,  namely 
between  892.5  and  899.7  feet  above  sea  level.  At  a  surface  elevation 
of  893.5  feet,  the  students  of  Camp  Columbia  have  determined  its 
area  to  be  916  acres,  its  maximum  length  2%  miles  and  its  maximum 
width  %  miles,  the  length  of  the  shore  line  91^  miles,  the  average 
depth  16.1  feet,  and  the  capacity  4,800,000,000  gallons. 

The  name,  Litchfield,  is  supposed  without  reasonable  doubt  to 
be  derived  from  Lichfield,  the  Cathedral  city  of  Staffordshire, 
England;  but  no  tradition  is  preserved  as  to  why  the  name  was 
given.  Much  ink  has  been  spent,  to  little  purpose,  to  explain  why 
the  letter  T  has  been  added  in  the  name  of  our  town.  Usually  its 
insertion  is  laid  to  an  inaccurate  clerk  at  Hartford;  but  it  is  not 
at  all  necessary  to  suppose  such  an  explanation.  We  shall  see,  in 
our  quotations  from  the  early  records,  how  variable  all  spelling 


was  until  after  1750,  and  this  was  the  case  in  England  as  much  or 
nearly  as  much  as  in  New  England.  In  the  English  records  of  the 
early  Seventeenth  Century,  Lichfield  is  spelled  Litchfield  very  fre- 
quently; and  there  is  still  a  small  village  of  Litchfield  in  the  north- 
ern part  of  the  county  of  Hampshire.  In  Windsor,  where  so  many 
of  our  first  settlers  came  from,  we  find  resident  about  1700  a 
certain  John  Wichfield,  whose  name  was  also  often  spelled  Witch- 
field  and  gradually  took  this  form  exclusively.  On  the  whole  it 
appears  that  a  simple  philological  cause  would  explain  the  change 
as  plausibly  as  any  other.  Be  that  as  it  may,  all  the  other  later 
towns  of  the  same  name  in  the  United  States  have  adopted  our 
spelling,  as  well  as  several  families  of  the  name. 

The  Indian  name  of  the  region  was  Bantam,  a  name  whose  deri- 
vation will  be  discussed  elsewhere.  The  first  explorers  called  the 
region  by  several  different  names.  Sometimes  it  was  the  New 
Plantation,  sometimes  it  was  the  Western  Lands,  sometimes  the 
Western  Wilderness,  and  sometimes  the  Greenwoods.  The  last 
name,  derived  from  the  great  tracts  of  both  pitch-pine  and  white- 
pine  which  were  native,  is  particularly  pleasing  and  Ave  must 
regret  its  disappearance  locally.  The  country  around  New  Hart- 
ford is  still  spoken  of  infrequently  by  this  name,  and  a  trace  of  the 
old  Greenwoods  Turnpike  from  Hartford  to  Canaan,  through  Nor- 
folk, is  still  preserved  in  the  designation  of  one  of  the  Norfolk 

The  geologic  history  of  Litchfield  is  extremely  interesting,  as  is 
that  of  every  region  where  some  of  its  varied  pages  can  still  be  read 
by  those  qualified  to  do  so.  We  are,  however,  concerned  so  urgently 
with  the  story  of  the  last  two-hundred  years,  that  the  hundreds  of 
millions  of  years  preceding  must  be  dismissed  in  the  remainder  of 
this  brief  introductory  chapter.  The  details  given  are  summarized 
from  an  admirable  account  of  this  geologic  history  specially  pre- 
pared by  Frederick  K.  Morris,  of  the  Department  of  Geology  of 
Columbia  University. 

The  oldest  type  of  rocks  around  Litchfield  may  be  that  called 
the  Becket  Gneiss,  which  covers  a  large  area  to  the  north,  notably 
in  Torrington,  Winchester,  Norfolk  and  Colebrook,  and  to  the  south- 
west, west  of  Mount  Tom,  into  Warren  and  New  Milford.  These 
rocks  tell  of  an  old  sea  into  which,  in  the  modern  way,  rivers  poured 
their  muddy  waters.  This  sea  covered  all  the  parts  where  this 
Gneiss  is  now  found,  and  doubtless  stretched  on  elsewhere,  so  that 
all  of  our  town  would  have  been  fine  sailing.  For  untold  years 
mud  was  deposited  by  the  rivers,  and  limestone  was  forming  too; 
but  whether  the  limy  matter  was  made  by  live  organisms  or  was 
simply  a  chemical  precipitate  cannot  be  determined.  The  muds 
and  limes  cemented  into  rock,  in  level-lying,  orderly  strata,  layer 
hardening  upon  layer. 

Then  began  a  very  slow  thrusting  and  folding  and  lifting  of  the 
earth's  crust,  which  with  succeeding  ages  modified  the  shore  line  of 


our  sea  and  built  up  mountains  possibly  as  high  as  the  Rockies 
now  are.  No  trace  of  these  mountains  survives  in  the  shapes  of 
our  Litchfield  HUls,  which  shapes  are  of  infinitely  more  recent 
origin,  as  we  shall  see.  The  importance  to  us  of  these  older,  vastly 
greater  mountains  lies  in  the  fact  that  their  formation,  thrusting 
great  masses  of  rock  away  from  the  center  of  the  world,  released 
the  pressure  which  heretofore  had  kept  more  or  less  rigid  the  deep, 
hot  interior  of  the  earth.  This  rich  material  from  within,  the 
molten  sources  of  our  present  granites,  together  with  the  eager 
gases  and  vapors  we  associate  with  volcanoes,  came  pushing  towards 
the  surface  ever  more  insistantly  and  searchingly  as  the  pressure 
was  more  and  more  relieved.  They  filled  the  natural  crevices 
between  the  upthrust  rocks,  until  perhaps  some  great  mass  of  this 
upthrust,  stratified  rock  was  completely  surrounded  by  the  molten 
matter  from  below.  With  nothing  to  support  it,  the  mass  would 
sink  engulfed  into  the  underlying  liquid  depths,  and,  for  aught  now 
known,  the  liquids  and  gases  may  have  reached  the  surface  and 
built  noble  volcanoes. 

The  chief  work  of  the  dissolved  vapors  from  within,  in  the 
Litchfield  region,  was  not  however  volcanic.  The  most  volatile 
substances,  water,  fluorine,  boron,  and  the  rest,  were  concentrating 
in  the  upper  chambers  of  the  molten  realms  below,  with  an  outward 
pressure  quite  beyond  our  conception.  Eeaching  at  last  the  old 
sedimentary  bottom  of  our  ancient  sea,  now  upthrust  into  moun- 
tains, they  soaked  into  the  rock  as  into  a  sponge,  between  its  beds 
and  its  mica  flakes,  in  large  and  small  streaks,  until  the  bedded 
rock  and  the  molten  visitors  were  blended  so  inextricably,  that 
to-day  one's  hand,  in  many  places,  may  cover  a  dozen  alternations 
of  rock  type ;  while  elsewhere  long  streaks  of  large-crystaled,  glitter- 
ing rock  may  be  found  cutting  through  the  native  rock  for  hundreds 
or  thousands  of  feet.  Such  streaks  are  called  Pegmatites,  and  bring 
many  of  the  rarer  minerals  from  great  depths  to  within  our  reach 
long  after  their  formation. 

The  so-called  Becket  Gneiss,  then,  is  a  compound  of  the  old 
sediment  first  described  and  of  the  various  igneous  or  molten  infil- 
trations and  saturations  to  which  it  was  subjected-  Rare  traces 
of  the  original  sediment  are  still  found.  According  to  the  Con- 
necticut State  Geological  Survey's  Report,  1906,  the  oldest  clear 
sediment  consists  of  what  is  called  the  "Poughquag  Quartzite  and 
Schist",  which  is  mapped  by  Prof.  Rice  and  Dr.  Loughlan  as  sur- 
rounding Bantam  Lake,  except  on  the  West  and  North-west.  There 
are  exposures  of  it  also  on  the  road  toward  Mount  Tom. 

Litchfield  itself  lies  upon  the  next  rock  to  be  described.  This 
is  the  Hartland  Schist,  which  was  originally  undoubtedly  a 
sediment,  partly  limestone,  partly  sandstone,  but  mostly  clay  shale. 
It,  too,  has  undergone  profound  burial,  great  heating,  and  complex 
injection  by  igneous  fluids.  It  is  more  markedly  modified  than 
the  Poughquag  Schist.  It  is  a  light  colored  mica-schist,  silvery 
smooth  when  fine-grained,  crystalline  and  glittering  when  the  mica 


flakes  are  large.  It  is  full  of  garnets,  none  of  which  are  of  gem- 
quality,  but  many  are  decidedly  handsome.  Blue  and  white  blade- 
like crystals  of  Kyanite,  three  inches  long,  and  brown,  double-ended 
crystals  of  Staurolite,  an  inch  long,  are  common. 

Among  the  oldest  invaders  in  these  original  sediments  are  the 
dark  igneous  rocks  that  once  were  black  masses  of  basalt  or  trap. 
These  quite  possibly  date  from  an  igneous  invasion  even  older  than 
the  one  described  for  the  Becket  Gneiss,  an  invasion  characterized 
by  dark  molten  rocks  instead  of  by  light  ones.  These  black  rocks 
were  changed  by  the  squeezing  of  the  earth's  crust  during  the  moun- 
tain making  into  the  sheeted,  streaked,  dark,  pepper-and-salt  rocks 
now  called  Amphibolite  Gneiss  or  Schist.  Mount  Tom  and  Little 
Mount  Tom  are  made  of  it,  and  there  is  a  patch  of  it  west  of  the 
road  from  Litchfield  to  East  Morris. 

North  of  Mount  Prospect  lies  another  great  belt  of  yet  another 
schist,  the  Berkshire  Schist,  probably  younger  than  the  Becket 
Gneiss.  The  problem  of  the  relative  ages  of  the  schists  is  indeed 
a  profoundly  difficult  one,  still  far  from  satisfactory  settlement. 
All  the  tentative  tables  that  have  been  published,  such  as  those  of 
the  Connecticut  State  Geological  Survey,  are  liable  to  revision  at 
any  time.  All  we  can  say  with  certainty  is  that  it  all  happened 
very  long  ago,  and  that  the  present  complex  folding  and  thrusting 
of  these  oldest  rocks  are  evidence  that  the  mountains  they  tell  of 
formed,  at  one  time  or  at  different  times,  a  great  area  of  many 
ranges.  Beyond  the  old  sea  which  preceded  these  mountains  we 
are  powerless  to  look. 

Now  followed  a  third  great  series  of  events,  the  shifting  of 
shallower  seas  over  the  land,  the  patient  downwear  of  the  first 
great  mountains,  the  later  sinkings  and  re-elevations  of  the  land. 
The  changes  came  so  gradually  that  perhaps  the  world  from  century 
to  century  seemed  not  much  less  stable  then  than  it  does  to  us  to-day. 
The  changes,  too,  involved  so  vast  an  area  than  no  one  region  con- 
tains more  than  a  fraction  of  its  record-  The  rocky  mass  of  Mount 
Prospect  is  possibly  a  witness  of  this  period.  It  is  a  dome  of 
molten  rock,  of  a  different  and,  it  would  appear,  a  much  later  type 
than  its  neighbors.  The  hill  contains  many  varieties  of  igneous 
rocks,  some  light,  some  dark  in  color,  among  which  are  found  the 
half  melted  fragments  of  those  earlier  rocks  already  described,  which 
the  uprising  liquid  masses  broke  off  and  engulfed.  Here  are  the 
oldest  limestones,  too,  but  wholly  changed  by  the  hot  juices  that 
have  attacked  them.  Here,  finally,  are  the  ores  which  caused  so 
much  excitement  about  I860;  these  were  among  the  last  ingredients 
to  crystalize  and  were  brought  last  of  all  to  their  present  resting 
places  by  the  molten  energies  from  within.  All  this  may  have 
happened  at  about  the  time  that  the  Appalachians  were  being  folded 
and  uplifted,  the  time  also  when  the  leisurely  dinosaurs  were  about 
to  start  on  their  upward  evolution. 

The  next  period  lies  almost  wholly  outside  of  the  Western  High- 
land.     It  includes  the  making  of  the  red  sandstones  and  the  red 


and  dark  shales  of  the  Connecticut  Valley  Lowland.  It  was  the 
time  when  the  dinosaurs  were  becoming  numerous  and  large.  But 
for  Litchfield  the  importance  of  the  age  lies  in  the  occurrence  of  a 
renewed  and  extended  volcanic  activity,  the  last  outburst  of  vol- 
canism  known  anywhere  between  New  England  and  the  Kocky 
Mountains.  Dark  lavas,  rich  in  iron-bearing  minerals,  were  injected 
into  the  earth's  crust  and  poured  liberally  upon  its  surface  from 
Nova  Scotia  to  Virginia;  and  some  found  their  way  through  the 
crust  in  our  township,  a  part  of  this  last  crop  of  igneous  rocks. 

In  the  following  age  arose  a  new  series  of  mountains,  of  a  shape 
and  structure  like  the  present  mountains  of  Utah  and  Nevada, 
which  must  not  be  confused  with  those  earlier  mountains  when  the 
schists  were  made.  This  renewed  splitting  and  tilting  of  the 
earth's  crust  necessarily  left  many  cracks  and  zones  of  crushed 
stone  called  faults,  into  which,  as  well  as  into  the  less  frequent 
earlier  cracks,  we  bore  hopefidly  for  artesian  water. 

Then  came  two  geologic  periods,  during  which  the  slow  attrition 
of  weather  and  time  wore  the  mountains  down  again  into  one  great 
level  plain,  upon  which  roamed  the  last  of  the  dinosaurs.  The 
remarkably  even  sky-line  of  our  hilltops  to-day  marks  where  the 
level  of  this  plain  used  to  be,  for  our  hilltops  are  all  that  is  left 
of  the  surface  of  the  plain. 

During  the  next  age,  a  slow  uplift,  with  many  and  long  halts, 
raised  the  whole  plain,  enabling  the  rivers  and  streams  to  cut  their 
present  deep  valleys  inch  by  inch.  Our  hills,  as  we  know  them, 
are  the  foundations  of  the  ancient  mountains,  the  remnants  of  the 
great  plain  in  which  the  valleys  have  been  carved  by  erosion.  None 
of  our  hills  are  the  direct  result  of  a  special  upthrust.  But  they 
trend  north  and  south  exactly  as  did  the  mountains  of  which  we 
see  the  roots. 

There  was  only  one  more  period  in  the  making  cf  our  landscape, 
the  time  of  the  ice-age,  that  most  recent  great  event  in  geologic 
history.  A  sheet  of  ice  thousands  of  feet  thick  moved  out  over  the 
continent  from  centers  in  Canada.  The  part  that  crossed  Western 
Connecticut  melted  upon  I^ong  Island.  It  has  been  asserted  that 
it  was  not  less  than  1,500  feet  thick  where  it  passed  over  New  Haven. 
Such  a  masterful  glacier  would  freeze  into  its  mass  and  carry 
along  with  it  every  particle  of  soil  from  the  land  it  traversed;  it 
would  even  attack  the  bed  rock  and  tear  out  large  and  small  blocks 
by  simply  freezing  fast  to  them  and  ripping  them  out  of  their  places  as 
it  moved  gradually  onward.  The  hills  that  form  Long  Island's 
backbone  are  the  general  dimiping  place  of  whatever  materials, 
from  fine  clay  to  huge  boulders,  the  melting  ice  still  retained  at  its 
journey's  end. 

As  the  ice  melted  back  from  off  the  country,  it  deposited  sheets 
and  piles  of  bouldery  soil  over  all  the  land  it  had  once  covered.  All 
the  soil  of  Connecticut,  except  recent  swamps  and  river  bottoms, 
was  laid  down  by  the  glacier,  or  by  streams  of  melting  water  gush- 
ing from  the  ice,  or  in  lakes  formed  and  held  in  by  dams  of  ice 


across  valley  outlets.  Sometimes  the  valley  outlets  were  dammed 
by  glacial  drift,  which  remained  after  the  ice  had  melted;  then  the 
lakes  were  permanent  or  gradually  subsided  into  swamps-  Most 
conspicuous  of  the  glacial  formations  are  the  shoals  of  boulder  clay 
formed  under  the  ice,  much  as  an  overloaded  river  builds  long 
shoals  in  its  bed.  The  ice  glided  over  these  deposits,  smoothing 
and  slicking  them,  plastering  them  with  fresh  material  and  model- 
ing them  into  long,  oval,  gently  rising  hills.  Such  hills  we  call 
Drumlins,  and  they  are  among  Nature's  most  gracefiQ  forms.  Their 
long  axis  lies  in  the  direction  in  which  the  ice  moved,  just  as  the 
river-shoal  is  elongated  parallel  to  the  water  current.  There  are 
many  Drumlins  about  Litchfield,  notably  on  all  sides  of  Bantam 
Lake,  except  on  the  south.  Signs  of  the  glacial  action  are  about 
us  on  every  hand:  the  stray  boulders,  like  the  famous  Medicine 
Kock  on  Chestnut  Hill ;  the  peat  swamps,  like  the  one  on  the  land  of 
the  Litchfield  Water  Company,  where  great  deposits  have  been 
dumped;  the  beds  of  sand  or  gravel,  deposited  by  the  streams  within 
the  ice  sheet,  or  as  the  deltas  of  streams  rushing  out  of  it;  Bantam 
Lake  itself,  which,  with  its  tributary  ponds,  covered  a  much  larger 
tract  than  it  does  now,  probably  including  South  Plain,  Harris 
Plain  and  the  Little  Plain.  These  and  others  testify  to  us  con- 
stantly of  the  past  history  of  Litchfield. 

We  must  turn  now  to  the  story  of  the  last  two-hundred  years, 
but  let  us  not  forget  as  we  go  about  the  roads  and  fields  of  our 
township  that  we  can  read,  in  the  whale  backs  of  our  drumlin  hills, 
in  the  level  sky-line  which  was  once  the  level  plain,  in  the  uplifted 
edges  of  bedded  rock  which  are  the  roots  of  once  mighty  mountains, 
in  the  shining  schists  that  were  once  sea-bottom  clays  and  have 
been  as  it  were  through  water  and  fire,  and  everywhere  in  the  sheets 
and  streaks  and  greater  masses  of  molten  volcanic  crystalline  rock, 
an  infinitely  greater  story  wherein  the  only  measures  of  time  are 
the  thicknesses  of  deposited  strata,  the  periods  of  mountain  build- 
ing, the  forever  unknowable  periods  of  the  patient  wearing  down 
again  of  the  mountains  by  the  rivers  and  waves  and  weather, 
periods  in  which  the  pulse  of  years  beats  too  rapidly  to  be  counted 
and  into  which  our  whole  two  centuries  will  ultimately  merge  as  an 
undistinguished  instant. 



The  following  statement  of  the  conditions  prevailing  before  1715 
ia  the  region  in  Connecticut,  in  which  Litchfield  is  situated,  is  from 
Kilbourne,  pp.  17-18:  "In  1630,  about  ten  years  after  the  landing  of 
the  pilgrims  on  Plymouth  Eock,  the  whole  of  the  territory  of  the 
present  State  of  Connecticut  was  conveyed  by  the  Plymouth  Com- 
pany to  Eobert,  Earl  of  Warwick.  On  the  19th  of  March,  1631,  the 
Earl  executed  the  grant  since  known  as  the  Old  Patent  of  Connecti- 
cut, wherein  he  transferred  the  same  tract  to  Viscount  Say  and  Seal, 
Lord  Brooke,  John  Hampden,  John  Pym,  Sir  Richard  Saltonstall, 
and  others.  In  the  summer  of  1635,  the  towns  of  Hartford,  Wethers- 
field  and  Windsor,  on  the  Connecticut  River,  first  began  to  be  settled 
by  emigrants  from  the  vicinity  of  Boston.  StUl  a  year  later,  the 
Rev.  Thomas  Hooker  and  his  congregation  made  their  celebrated 
journey  through  the  wilderness,  from  Cambridge,  Mass.,  to  Hartford, 
where  they  took  up  their  permanent  residence.  In  1637,  the  Pequot 
War  was  begun  and  terminated,  resulting  in  the  expulsion  and 
almost  total  annihilation  of  the  most  formidable  tribe  of  Indians 
in  the  colony. 

"The  first  Constitution  adopted  by  the  people  of  Connecticut 
bears  date,  January  15,  1638-9.  This  continued  to  form  the  basis 
of  our  colonial  government  until  the  arrival  of  the  Charter  of 
Charles  II.,  in  1662,  when  it  was  nominally  superceded.  Alternate 
troubles  with  the  Dutch  and  Indians  kept  the  settlers,  for  many 
years,  in  a  perpetual  state  of  discipline  and  alarm.  But  while  the 
political  commotions  in  the  old  world  sometimes  agitated  the  other 
American  colonies,  the  people  of  Connecticut  had  from  the  first  felt 
that  their  civil  rights  were  guaranteed  to  them  beyond  the  reach 
of  any  contingency.  The  Royal  Charter  was  but  a  confirmation  of 
privileges  which  they  had  long  enjoyed.  No  king-appointed  Gov- 
ernor or  Council  annoyed  them  by  their  presence  or  oppressed  them 
by  their  acts;  but  the  voters  were  left  to  choose  their  own  rulers 
and  enact  their  own  laws.  Indeed,  the  influence  of  the  crown  was 
for  a  long  period  scarcely  felt  in  the  colony.  On  the  accession  of 
James  II.,  however,  in  1685,  the  whole  aspect  of  affairs  was  changed. 
It  was  soon  rumored  that  His  Majesty  had  determined  to  revoke  all 
the  charters  granted  by  his  predecessors.  The  arrival  of  Sir  Edmund 
Andros  at  Boston,  in  December  1686,  bearing  a  commission  as  Gov- 
ernor of  New  England,  was  an  event  not  calculated  to  allay  the 
apprehensions  of  the  people  of  Connecticut.      His  reputation  was 


that  of  a  selfish,  grasping  despot,  bent  upon  enriching  himself  and 
immediate  friends  at  the  expense  of  the  colonists.  At  this  time, 
the  entire  region  now  known  as  the  County  of  Litchfield,  except  a 
solitary  settlement  at  Woodbury,  on  its  southern  frontier,  was  an 
unexplored  wilderness  denominated  the  Western  Lands.  To  save 
these  lands  from  the  control  and  disposal  of  Andros,  the  Legisla- 
ture granted  them  to  the  towns  of  Hartford  and  Windsor,  at  least 
so  much  of  them  as  lay  east  of  the  Housatonic  Kiver.  When  the 
usurpations  of  Andros  were  over  and  the  Charter  had  found  its 
way  back  from  the  hollow  of  the  oak  to  the  Secretary's  office,  the 
Colonial  Assembly  attempted  to  resume  its  title  to  these  lands;  but 
the  towns  referred  to  steadfastly  resisted  all  such  claims.  The 
quarrel  was  long  kept  up,  but  no  acts  of  hostility  were  committed 
until  efforts  were  made  to  dispose  of  the  tract.  Collisions  then 
became  frequent.  Explorers,  agents  and  surveyors,  of  one  party, 
were  summarily  arrested  and  expelled  from  the  disputed  territory 
by  the  contestants." 

In  May  1725  a  mob  broke  open  the  Jail  in  Hartford  and  liberated 
the  prisoners  therein.  Kilbourne  and  others  have  usually  assumed 
that  this  occurred  in  connection  with  the  arrests  in  the  Western 
Lands;  Frederick  J.  Kingsbury,  in  an  address  before  the  Litchfield 
Historical  Society,  1909,  attributed  the  riot  to  other  causes,  adding, 
however,  that  "while  the  Litchfield  disturbance  was  not  the  imme- 
diate cause  of  the  jail  delivery,  the  feeling  engendered  by  it  had 
doubtless  infused  a  spirit  of  disregard  for  colonial  legislation  which 
made  the  jail  delivery  more  easy  than  it  might  otherwise  have  been." 

However  this  may  be,  a  compromise  was  presently  arrived  at 
between  the  colony  on  the  one  hand  and  the  towns  of  Hartford  and 
Windsor  on  the  other,  by  which  title  to  the  territory  of  the  Western 
Lands  was  divided  between  the  claimants  of  both  parties.  The 
township  of  Litchfield  was  included  in  the  share  assigned  to  the 
towns  of  Hartford  and  Windsor.  Meanwhile,  the  towns  were  not 
waiting  the  consent  of  the  colony,  but,  as  we  have  seen,  were  pro- 
ceeding with  explorations  and  settlements  on  their  own  responsi- 
bility, and  were  endeavoring  to  substantiate  their  claims  by  pur- 
chases of  the  Indian  rights  to  different  parts  of  the  Western  Lands. 

"As  early  as  the  year  1657",  (Woodruff,  p.  7),  "I  find  certain 
Indians  of  the  Tunxis  or  Farmington  tribe  conveyed  to  William 
Lewis  and  Samuel  Steele  of  Farmington,  certain  privileges,  as 
appears  by  the  following  copy  of  their  deed: 

"This  witnesseth  that  we  Kepaquamp  and  Querrimus  and 
Mataneage  have  sould  to  William  Leawis  and  Samuel  Steele  of 
ffai-mington  A  p  sell  or  a  tract  of  land  called  Matetucke,  that  js  to 
say  the  hill  from  whence  John  Standley  and  John  Andrews  brought 
the  black  lead,  and  all  the  land  within  eight  mylle  of  that  hill  on 
every  side;  to  dig;  and  carry  away  what  they  will  and  to  build  in 
jt  for  ye  use  of  them  that  labour  there;  and  not  otherwise  to  improve 


ye  land.  In  witness  whereof  wee  have  hereunto  set  our  hands,  and 
thos  Jndians  above  mentioned  must  free  the  purchasers  from  all 
claymes  by  any  other  Indyans. 

Witnes  ;  John  Steel.  William  Lewis, 

february  ye  8th  1657.  Samuel  Steele. 

The  mark 
f ebru  ye  8th 

of  Kepaquamp. 

The  mark 
f ebru  ye  Sth 

of  Querrimus. 

The  mark  0/ 
february  ye  8 


This  title  was  confirmed  fifty  seven  years  later,  August  11,  1714, 
by  a  quit-claim  deed  to  the  same  parties  and  their  heirs  by  the 
Indians  of  these  same  tribes  then  living.  The  deed  is  given  in 
full  in  Woodruff's  History,  pp.  9-11.  It  is  extremely  quaint,  but 
not  sufficiently  important  to  the  story  of  Litchfield  to  reprint  here 
entire.      It  begins: 

"To  all  christian  people  to  whom  these  presents  shall  come, 
Pethuzso  and  Taxcronuck  with  Awowas  and  ye  rest  of  us  ye  sub- 
scribers, Indians  belonging  to  Tunxses  or  otherwise  ffarmington  jn 
theyer  majesties  Colony  of  Connecticut  jn  New  England  send  greet- 
ing", and  continues  to  reconvey  the  Hill  whence  the  black  lead 
came.  Just  where  this  hill  known  as  Mattatuck  was  has  caused  a 
good  deal  of  discussion.  Woodruff  most  plausibly  supposed  it  to 
be  in  the  southern  part  of  Harwinton,  embracing  that  town  and 
also  some  portion  of  Plymouth  (then  Mattatuck  or  Waterbury)  and 
Litchfield,  possibly  what  we  now  know  as  Northfield  and  Fluteville. 
CertaiJi  it  is  that  on  the  11th  of  June  1718,  the  Farmington  claimants 
relinquished  whatever  rights  they  held  under  these  two  deeds  to 
Hartford  and  Windsor,  and  in  lieu  thereof  received  one-sixth  of 
the  whole  township  of  Litchfield  in  fee. 

Meanwhile  Hartford  and  Windsor  had  been  busy  getting  a  title 


of  their  own  to  the  township.  The  affairs  of  the  Western  Lands, 
(Kilboume,  p.  19),  were  "transacted  by  committees.  In  1715,  these 
towns  took  the  initiatory  steps  towards  exploring  that  portion  of 
the  wilderness  now  embraced  within  our  corporation  limits,  and 
purchasing  whatever  rights  the  natives  possessed  to  the  soil.  It 
would  be  interesting  to  know  who  was  the  first  individual  of  the 
Anglo-Saxon  race  that  ever  visited  the  localities  so  cherished  by  us 
all.  The  earliest  record  evidence  is  contained  in  an  entry  in  the 
first  Book  of  Eecords  in  our  Town  Clerk's  of&ce,  which  is  as 
follows : 

"The  Town  of  Hartford,  Dr. 

To  John  Marsh, 
May  1715,  For  5  days,  man  and  horse,  with  expenses, 
in  viewing  the  Land  at  the  New  Plantation,  £    2    0    0 

The  Town  of  Hartford,  Dr. 

Jan.  22,  1715-6,  To  6  days  journey  to  Woodbury,  to 
treat  with  the  Indians  about  the  Western  Lands, 
by  Thomas  JSeymour, 
To  expenses  in  the  journey, 

The  Town  of  Hartford,  Dr. 

To  Thomas  Seymour,  Committee, 

May  1716,  By  2  quarts  of  Bum,  i 

Expenses  at  Farmington, 

Expenses  at  Waterbury, 

Paid  Thomas  Miner  towards  the  Indian  purchase. 

Expenses  at  Woodbury, 

Expenses  for  a  Pilot  and  protection. 

Fastening  horse-shoes  at  Waterbury, 

Expenses  at  Waterbury, 

Expenses  to  Col.  Whiting,  for  writing  40  deeds, 

"         to  Capt.  Cooke  for  acknowledging  18  deeds, 

"         to  Ensign  Seymour, 

"         at  Arnold's, 

"         by  sending  to  Windsor, 

August  4, 1718.— Sold  11  lots  for  £ 

Expenses  for  writing  20  deeds,  to  Mr.  Fitch, 

"         to  Capt.  Cooke  for  acknowledging  deeds, 

"for  making  out  a  way, 

at  Arnold's, 

"         to  Thos.  Seymour  for  perambulating  north 

"         at  Arnold's, 

£  1  4 
1  14 


£  2  18 


0  2 






7  10 


2  11 


1  10 






1  10 




1  0 


1  0 




49  10 






2  0 




1  6 


1  0 


37  17 











Feb.  10,  1718, — At  a  meeting  of  the  Committees,  then  sold 
16  lots  reserved  by  Marsh  for  Hartford's  part, 
At  same  meeting,  paid  by  John  Marsh  for  expenses, 
At  same  meeting,  loss  of  money  by  mistake  in  acc't., 
April  14,  1719. — A  meeting  of  the  Committees,  expenses 
April  27. — At  a  meeting  of  the  Committees,  expenses. 

By  the  earliest  of  these  entries,  we  learn  that  John  Marsh  was 
sent  out  from  Hartford  to  view  the  lands  of  the  New  Plantation,  in 
May  1715.  He  may,  therefore  be  regarded  as  emphatically  the 
pioneer  explorer  of  this  township", 

Dwight  C.  Kilbourn,  in  the  Connecticut  Quarterly,  September 
1896,  has  given  us  a  most  pleasing  account  of  this  memorable  trip, 
which  could  to-day  be  made  in  a  morning's  ride.  "So  John  Marsh 
left  his  wife,  Elizabeth  Pitkin,  and  their  seven  small  children,  to 
spy  out  this  land  rumored  to  be  so  wonderful,  and  started  on  what 
seemed  to  him  a  perilous  journey,  for  the  Indian  lurked  behind  the 
forest  trees  ready  for  his  scalp.  He  had  had  in  his  Hadley  birth- 
place too  intimate  an  acquaintance  with  their  methods  to  think 
lightly  of  their  presence,  and  then  there  were  bears,  panthers,  and 
other  unpleasant  companions  likely  to  greet  him.  With  his  horse  and 
flint-lock  musket  he  started, — the  first  dozen  miles  through  Farming- 
ton  to  Unionville  was  through  a  settled  country,  with  good  farms  and 
houses,  then  crossing  the  Tunxis  and  entering  the  wilderness  of 
Burlington,  he  could  only  follow  over  the  hills  the  trails  of  the 
hunters  and  trappers,  and  wind  his  way  from  one  summit  to  another 
as  best  he  could,  through  the  deep  valleys  and  gorges  of  Harwinton. 
Beaching  the  Mattatuck  he  forded  it  a  little  below  the  present 
railroad  station  at  East  Litchfield,  at  the  old  fording  place,  and 
began  to  climb  the  steep  ascents  to  Chestnut  Hill,  and  arrived 
there  as  the  sun  was  beginning  to  hide  itself  behind  the  moun- 
tains beyond.  Before  him  was  as  beautiful  a  panorama  as  mortal 
eye  could  rest  upon, — the  Lakes  sparkling  in  the  sunset,  and  the 
broad  meadows  around  them  with  the  newly  started  grass,  a  living 
carpet  of  emerald  spreading  before  him  for  miles  with  here  and 
there  a  fringe  of  fresh  budding  trees,  all  inviting  the  weary  traveler 
to  rest  and  refresh  himself.  Descending  the  hill  he  crossed  the' 
river  near  South  Mill,  and  pitched  his  camp  for  the  night  near 
the  big  spring  at  the  southern  end  of  Litchfield  Hill,  where,  a  few 
years  later  he  chose  his  home  lot. 

"All  of  this  fair  region  which  he  had  seen  was  called  by  the 
Indians  'Bantam',  and  comprises  large  portions  of  the  present 
towns  of  Litchfield,  Morris,  Bethlehem,  Washington,  Warren,  and 
Goshen;  and  for  three  days  he  explored  the  beautiful,  fertile  hills 
and  plains.  The  Indians  were  friendly,  the  fish  plenty,  game 
abundant,  and  the  spicy  perfumes  of  the  opening  buds  and  wild 
blooming  flowers  wafted  to  his  old  Puritan  heart  a  new  sense  that 
softened  his  soul  and  let  him  enjoy  for  once  his  natural  blessings; 
instead  of  encountering  dangers  and  tribulations,  his  journey  had 


been  one  of  rest  and  pleasure.  On  the  fifth,  day  he  returned  to 
Hartford.  What  report  he  made  of  his  trip  is  not  now  known. 
That  he  made  a  favorable  report  is  almost  certain,  for  the  next 
January  Thomas  Seymour  was  sent  to  Woodbury  to  treat  with  the 
Indians  about  these  Western  Lands,  was  gone  six  days,  and  suc- 
ceeded so  well  in  his  negotiations  that  John  Minor,  the  noted  magis- 
trate of  ancient  Woodbury,  executed  a  deed  of  land,  from  eleven 
Indians,  covering  substantially  the  township  of  Litchfield  as  origin- 
ally laid  out". 

This  deed  is  given  herewith  in  full,  from  Woodruff's  History, 
pp.  13-15.  "To  all  people  to  whom  these  presents  shall  come  — 
Know  ye  that  we  CHUSQUNNOAG,  COEKSCKEW,  QUIUMP, 
TONCKQtTY  —  Indians  natives  belonging  to  the  plantation  of  Pota- 
tuck  within  the  colony  of  Connecticut,  for  and  in  consideration  of  the 
sum  of  fifteen  pounds  money  in  hand  received  to  our  full  satisfaction 
and  contentment,  have  given  granted  bargained  and  sold  and  by 
these  presents  do  fully  freely  and  absolutely  give  grant  bargain  sell 
and  confirm,  unto  Colo  William  Whiting,  Mr.  John  Marsh,  and 
Mr.  Thomas  Seymour,  a  Committee  for  the  town  of  Hartford, — 
Mr.  John  Eliot,  Mr,  Daniel  Griswold,  and  Mr.  Samuel  Kockwell,  a 
Committee  for  the  Town  of  Windsor,  for  themselves,  and  in  the 
behalf  of  the  rest  of  the  Inhabitants  of  the  Towns  of  Hartford  and 
Windsor, — a  certain  tract  of  Land,  situate  and  lying,  north  of 
Waterbury  bounds,  abutting  southerly,  partly  on  Waterbury  and 
partly  on  Woodbury, — from  Waterbury  Kiver  westward  cross  a 
part  of  Waterbury  bounds,  and  cross  at  the  north  end  of  Woodbury 
bounds  to  Shepaug  Eiver,  and  so  notherly,  in  the  middle  of  Shepaug 
River,  to  the  sprains  of  Shepaug  River  below  Mount  Tom,  then  run- 
ning up  the  east  branch  of  Shepaug  River,  to  the  place  where  the 
said  River  runs  out  of  Shepaug  Pond,  from  thence  to  the  north  end 
of  said  Pond,  then  east  to  Waterbury  River,  then  southerly  as  the 
River  runs,  to  the  north  end  of  Waterbury  bounds  upon  the  said 
River;  which  said  Tract  of  Land  thus  described,  To  Have  and  to 
Hold,  to  the  said  Col.  William  Whiting,  Mr.  John  Marsh,  and  Mr. 
Thomas  Seymor,  Mr.  John  Eliot,  and  Mr.  Daniel  Griswold,  and 
Mr.  Samuel  Rockwell,  Committees  for  the  Towns  of  Hartford  and 
Windsor,  as  aforesaid,  in  behalf  of  themselves  and  the  rest  of  the 
Inhabitants  of  said  Towns,  to  them,  their  heirs  and  assigns,  to 
use  occupy  and  improve,  as  their  own  proper  right  of  Inheritance, 
for  their  comfort  forever;  together  with  all  the  privileges,  appur- 
tenances and  conditions  to  the  same  belonging,  or  in  any  wise  appur- 
taining.  And  further,  we  the  said  Chusqunnoag,  Corkscrew,  Qui- 
ump,  Magnash,  Kehow,  Sepunkum,  Poni,  Wonposet,  Suckqunnok- 
queen,  Toweecume,  Mansumpansh,  and  Norkgnotonckquy,  owners 
and  proprietors  of  the  above  granted  Land,  do  for  ourselves  and  our 
heirs,  to  and  with  the  above  said  William  Whiting,  John  Marsh, 



Thomas  Seymor,  John  Eliot,  Daniel  Grriswold,  and  Samuel  Kock- 
well,  committee  as  aforesaid,  them,  their  heirs  and  assigns,  covenant 
and  engage,  that  we  have  good  right  and  lawful  authority,  to  sell 
the  above  granted  land, — and  further,  at  the  desire  and  request  of 
the  aforesaid  committee,  and  at  their  own  proper  cost  and  charge, 
will  give  a  more  ample  deed. 

And  for  a  more  full  confirmation  hereof,  we  have  set  to  our 
hands  and  seals,  this  second  day  of  March,  in  the  second  year  of  his 
Majesties  Keign,  Annoq.  D.  1715. 

Memorandum;  before  the  executing  of  this  instrument,  it  is 
be   understood,   that  the  grantors  above  named  have  reserved 
themselves  a  piece  of  ground  sufficient  for  their  hunting  houses, 
near  a  mountain  called  Mount  Tom. 

Signed  sealed  and  deliv 
ered  in  our  presence. 

Chusqunnoag   clL^  his  mark.  [l.s. 

Weroamaug  UV        his  mark.        Corkscrew     ^^  his  mark.  [l.s. 

Quiump     Q^  his  mark.  [l.s. 

Magnash       /  his  mark.  [l.s. 

Kehow  ^"r  his  mark.  [l.s. 

Sepunkum   ff\  his  mark.  [l.s 

Wognacug     l^\    his  mark. 

Tonhocks       •+-      his  mark. 

John  Mitchell 
Joseph  Minor. 



his  mark,  [l.s 
his  mark.  [l.s. 


/      his  mark.  [l.s. 
Taweeume^^^j  l^is  ^^ark.  [l.s. 
Mansumpansh     |         his  mark.  [l.s. 

The  Indians  that  subscribed  and  sealed  the  above  said  deed, 
appeared  personally  in  Woodbury,  the  day  of  the  date  thereof,  and 
acknowledged  the  said  deed  to  be  their  free  and  voluntary  act  and 
deed.  Before  me  JOHN  MINOK,  Justice." 

The  Committees,  named  in  this  deed,  conveyed  all  their  interest 
in  said  Lands,  to  the  Towns  of  Hartford  and  Windsor,  by  Deed 
dated  August  29,  1716. 

"The  title  to  this  Township",  continues  Woodruff,  p.  16,  "having 
been  entirely  vested  in  the  Towns  of  Hartford  and  Windsor,  and  in 


certain  inhabitants  of  Farmington;  in  1718,  a  company  was  formed 
for  the  settlement  of  the  Town.  The  Township  was  divided  into 
sixty  rights  or  shares^  three  of  which  were  reserved  for  pious  uses. 
Purchasers  having  been  found  for  the  remaining  fifty-seven  shares, 
on  the  twenty-seventh  of  April,  1719,  deeds  of  conveyance  of  that 
date,  were  made,  by  committees  of  the  Towns  of  Hartford  and  Wind- 
sor, and  certain  inhabitants  of  Farmington,  conveying  to  the  pur- 
chasers the  whole  plantation  called  Bantam.  Exclusive  of  the 
three  rights  reserved  for  pious  uses,  the  consideration  paid  for  forty- 
eight  of  the  shares  was  £229.10.0.,  in  bills  of  public  credit.  That 
paid  for  seven  shares  was  £31.4.0.  The  deeds  of  the  above  fifty-five 
shares,  are  recorded  on  our  Kecords.  How  much  was  paid  for  the 
remaining  two  shares,  which  were  purchased  by  John  Marsh,  does 
not  appear.  The  three  home  lots,  with  the  divisions  belonging 
thereto,  forming  one  twentieth  of  the  whole  plantation,  devoted  to 
public  purposes,  were,  one  home  lot  with  the  divisions  and  commons 
thereto  pertaining,  to  the  first  minister,  his  heirs  forever;  one,  to 
the  use  of  the  first  minister  and  his  successors;  and  one  for  the 
support  of  the  school.  As  the  Township  included  about  44,800 
acres,  the  cost  per  acre  did  not  exceed  one  penny  three  farthings. 

"It  was  provided  in  the  Deeds,  that,  'the  Grantees  or  their  sons, 
should  build  a  tenantable  house  on  each  home  lot,  or  on  their 
division,  not  less  than  16  feet  square,  and  personally  inhabit  them, 
by  the  last  day  of  May  1721,  and  for  three  years  ensuing;  and  do 
not  lease  or  dispose  of  their  share  for  five  years  hereafter,  without 
consent  of  Inhabitants  or  first  Planters'. 

"The  title  thus  acquired,  was  immediately  after  stUl  further 
confirmed  by  Act  of  Assembly  in  May,  1719,  as  follows: 

"At  a  General  Assembly  holden  at  Hartford,  May,  A.  D.  1719: 
Upon  the  petition  of  Lieut.  John  Marsh  of  Hartford,  and  Deacon 
John  Buel  of  Lebanon,  with  many  others,  praying  liberty,  under 
committees  appointed  by  the  towns  of  Hartford  and  Windsor,  to 
settle  a  town  westward  of  Farmington,  at  a  place  called  Bantam: 

"This  Assembly  do  grant  liberty,  and  full  power,  unto  the  said 
John  Marsh  and  John  Buel  and  partners  settlers,  being  in  the 
whole  fifty-seven  in  number,  to  settle  a  town  at  said  Bantam;  the 
said  town  to  be  divided  into  sixty  rights,  three  whereof  to  be 
improved  for  pious  uses  in  said  town.  And  the  other  fifty-seven 
shall  be,  as  soon  as  may  conveniently  be,  settled  upon  by  the  under- 
takers, or  upon  their  failure,  by  others  that  may  be  admitted.  Said 
town  to  be  in  length,  east  and  west,  eight  miles  three  quarters  and 
twenty  eight  rods,  and  in  breadth  seven  miles  and  a  half,  being 
bounded  eastward  by  Mattatuck  Eiver,  westward  the  bigger  part 
upon  the  most  western  branch  of  the  Shepaug  Kiver,  and  south  by 
Waterbury  bounds  and  a  west  line  from  Waterbury  corner  unto 
Shepaug  Kiver;  said  town  to  be  known  by  the  name  of  Litchfield, 
and  to  have  the  following  figure  for  a  brand  for  their  horse  kind. 


viz :  9.  And  the  same  power  and  privileges  that  other  towns  in  this 
Colony  do  enjoy,  are  hereby  granted  to  said  town'. 

"A  Patent  was  afterwards  granted  to  these  Proprietors,  dated 
May  19,  1724,  which  may  be  seen  in  the  Appendix- 

"The  township  was  originally  divided  into  sixty  home  lots  of 
fifteen  acres  each,  as  near  as  could  conveniently  be  done,  and  any 
deficiency  there  might  be,  was  made  up  to  the  owner  of  the  deficient 
lot,  elsewhere;  and  still  farther  divided  from  time  to  time,  into 
Divisions  and  Pitches  of  4,  20,  60,  and  100  acres. 

"A  few  individuals  commenced  the  settlement  of  the  town  in 
the  year  1720.  In  the  year  1721,  a  considerable  number,  chiefly 
froiu  the  towns  of  Hartford,  Windsor  and  Lebanon,  moved  on  to  the 
trace."  Kilbourrie  says,  p.  28,  that  the  first  settlers  who  came  in 
1720  were  Capt.  Jacob  Griswold,  from  Windsor,  Ezekiel  Buck,  from 
Wethersfield,  and  John  Peck,  from  Hartford. 

''The  choice  of  home-lots",  continues  Woodruff,  p.  19,  "was 
decided  by  lot.  The  first  lot  selected  was  about  half  a  mile  south 
of  the  Court  House,  and  next  to  Middle  Street  or  Gallows  Lane". 
All  these  selections  of  lots  are  shown  in  Plate  I,  as  well  as  the 
names  of  the  old  streets.  The  second  choice  was  half  a  mile  still 
further  south;  the  third  three  quarters  of  a  mile  west  of  the  Court 
House,  the  site  of  the  present  Elm  Eidge.  The  eleventh  choice  was 
the  lot  thirty  rods  next  west  of  the  County  Jail  corner,  which  sub- 
sequently the  Town  voted,  was  not  fit  for  building  a  house  upon. 
The  Library  corner  on  South  Street  was  the  twenty-fifth  choice.  The 
County  Jail  corner  on  North  Street  was  the  thirty  third  choice. 
Ten  lots  were  selected  on  Chestnut  Hill,  on  both  sides  of  the  road. 

"The  home  lot  of  the  first  minister,  was  located  on  the  comer 
of  North  and  East  Streets,  where  now  stands  the  house  owned  by 
Miss  Edith  D.  Kingsbury ;  and  the  twenty  acre  division  appurtenant 
thereto,  was  laid  adjoining  on  the  north.  The  home  lot  and  twenty 
acre  division  for  the  use  of  the  first  minister  and  his  successors, 
adjoining  on  the  north;  and  the  home  lot  and  twenty  acre  division 
for  the  school,  adjoining  the  latter  on  the  north. 

"The  highway  from  Bantam  river,  running  westerly  through 
the  village,  was  laid  out  twenty  rods  wide,  and  called  Meeting  House 
Street,  now  called  East  and  West  Streets.  That  now  called  North 
Street,  twelve  rods  wide,  was  called  Town  Street.  That  now  called 
South  Street,  eight  rods  wide,  was  called  Town  Hill  Street.  That 
now  called  Gallows  Lane,  twenty  eight  rods  wide,  was  called  Middle 
Street.  That  now  called  Lake  Street,  four  rods  wide,  was  called 
South  Griswold  Street;  and  that  now  called  North  LEike  Street  or 
Griswold  Street,  eight  rods  wide,  was  called  North  Griswold  Street. 
That  now  called  Prospect  Street,  twenty  rods  wide,  but  soon  reduced 
to  seventeen  rods,  was  called  North  Street. 

"The  first  Church,  Court  House,  and  School  House  stood  nearly 
in  the  center  of  Meeting  House  Street,  the  Court  House  about  oppo- 
site the  center  of  Town  Street,  the  Church  east,  and  the  School 
House  west  of  the  Court  House". 



According  to  DeForest  (History  of  the  Indians  of  Connecticut, 
1852),  Litchfield  County  was,  before  the  coming  of  the  white  men 
into  the  State  of  Connecticut,  1630-1635,  almost  a  desolate  wilderness, 
so  far  as  human  habitation  was  concerned.  He  estimates  that  the 
Indians  in  the  whole  State  at  that  time  did  not  exceed  six  or  seven 
thousand,  and  that  these  were  clustered  in  small  groups  along  the 
shores  of  the  Sound  and  along  the  larger  rivers,  where  the  lands 
were  best  adapted  for  corn  and  where  they  could  depend  largely 
on  fishing  for  their  food  supply.  The  occasional  raids  of  the 
Mohawks  from  the  Hudson  Kiver  were  a  further  discouragement  to 
the  Connecticut  tribes  from  inhabiting  the  western  forests  of  the 
State.  As  the  white  men  arrived  in  increasing  numbers,  the  Indi- 
ans were  pushed  back  into  the  western  wilderness,  so  that  probably 
their  numbers  in  Litchfield  County  increased  very  much  between 
1630  and  1720;  but  their  total  numbers  in  the  whole  State  decreased 
proportionately  much  more.  Many  were  killed  in  the  Pequot, 
Philip's,  and  the  French  and  Indian  wars;  while  those  who  withdrew 
into  the  western  wilderness  found  the  lands  much  poorer  for  corn 
and  the  fishing  greatly  inferior. 

"At  the  time  of  the  Litchfield  settlement,  therefore",  says  Albert 
M.  Turner  of  Northfield,  "the  woods  were  not  by  any  means  full  of 
Indians;  and  though  Litchfield  was  for  some  years  a  true  frontier 
town,  the  settlement  became  immediately  too  strong  to  fear  being 
overcome  by  them.  All  the  same  the  terrors  of  Philip's  war  must 
have  been  constantly  present  in  the  thoughts  of  the  colony",  and 
we  shall  see  presentily  something  of  their  fears  and  alarms. 

Cothren  (History  of  Ancient  Woodbury,  1854),  gives  by  far 
the  most  detailed  account  of  the  Pootatuck  tribe,  tracing  them  back 
to  1639.  Their  principal  encampment  was  near  the  mouth  of  the 
Pomperaug  Kiver,  so  named  by  the  English  after  their  sachem,  Pom- 
peraug,  who  died  ten  or  twelve  years  before  the  arrival  of  the 
first  settlers  in  1673.  The  Wyantinucks,  of  New  Milford,  he  con- 
siders also  a  branch  or  clan  of  the  Pootatucks,  and  their  sachem 
in  1720  was  Weraumaug,  whose  name  appears  in  the  Litchfield  deed 
of  1716  as  a  witness.  At  least  three  of  the  signers  of  that  deed  seem 
to  have  signed  earlier  grants  to  Woodbury  settlers,  though  the  spell- 
ing of  the  names  varies  somewhat.  Thus  Corkscrew  in  earlier  deeds 
appears  to  have  been  called  Cocksure. 

Probably  the  Bantams,  like  the  Wyantinucks,  were  mere  out- 
lying fringes  of  the  Pootatucks.     The  Scatacooks  of  Kent,  who  were 


the  last  Indians  in  the  County,  did  not  exist  as  a  tribe  until  1735, 
when  they  were  collected  from  various  scattered  remnants  by  Mau- 
wehu,  himself  a  Pequot  and  a  wanderer. 

The  chief  relics  of  the  Indians  to-day  are  the  arrow-heads,  which 
are  still  turned  up  occasionally  by  the  plough.  Thirty  years  ago 
th^  were  very  common,  though  now  they  are  rarely  found.  An 
admirable  collection  of  these,  from  different  sources,  will  be  found 
in  the  latchfield  Historical  Society's  rooms,  embracing  many  differ- 
ent shapes  and  colors.  Occasionally  the  arrow-head  was  grooved  in 
such  a  way  as  to  make  the  arrow  rotate,  so  that  its  flight  would  be 
more  direct  and  its  effect  on  entering  the  body  more  deadly.  Usually 
however  rotation  was  provided  for  by  the  feathering.  Occasionally 
larger  objects,  pestles  and  mortars,  spear-heads,  axes,  bowls  and 
rude  knives  have  been  found.  A  fine  collection  was  unearthed  in  a 
grave  or  deposit  by  the  late  Amos  C,  Benton,  when  he  opened  the  sand- 
pit west  of  his  residence  on  the  South  Plain.  In  the  autumn  of  1834  a 
piece  of  'aboriginal  sculpture*  was  found,  of  which  a  long  account  is 
given  in  the  Enquirer  of  October  2, 1834,  beginning,  "A  discovery  of  a 
singular  carved  stone  image,  or  bust,  representing  the  head,  neck 
and  breast  of  a  human  figure,  was  made  a  few  days  since  on  the 
Bantam  River,  about  forty  or  fifty  rods  above  the  mill-dam,  half  a 
mile  east  of  this  village".  Kilbourne,  p.  66,  says  that  this  curious 
relic  is  preserved  in  the  Cabinet  of  Yale  College.  Since  this  was 
written,  unfortunately,  «11  trace  of  the  image  appears  to  have 
been  lost.  It  is  not  in  the  Peabody  Museum,  nor  is  there  anj 
record  of  its  accession. 

One  other  relic  of  the  Indians  survives  in  their  signatures  to 
the  deeds  of  their  lands.  These  Kilbourne  omitted  as  being  mere 
scrawls.  We  have  copied  them  from  Woodruff's  History.  Possibly 
some  at  least  were  individual  marks,  like  a  brand.  Certainly  in 
some  of  the  Woodbury  deeds,  Nonnewaug's  mark  is  quite  plainly 
a  snowshoe,  and  perhaps  some  of  those  on  our  deeds  have  their 
meaning  if  we  could  read  them.  At  any  rate,  these  marks,  how- 
ever rude,  were  made  by  the  red  man  himself,  and  add  a  distinctive 
touch  to  the  deeds. 

In  his  Centennial  Address,  1851,  Judge  Church  spoke  rather 
bitterly  of  these  deeds,  p.  26 :  "There  are  other  monuments",  he  said, 
"to  be  sure,  of  a  later  race  of  Indians;  but  they  are  of  the  white 
man's  workmanship:  the  Quit-claim  deeds  of  the  Indians'  title  to 
their  lands!  These  are  found  in  several  of  the  Towns  in  the 
County,  and  upon  the  public  records,  signed  with  marks  uncouth 
and  names  unspeakable,  and  executed  with  all  the  solemn  mockery 
of  legal  forms.  These  are  still  referred  to  as  evidence  of  fair  pur- 
chase! Our  laws  have  sedulously  protected  the  minor  and  the 
married  woman  from  the  consequences  of  their  best  considered  acts; 
but  a  deed  from  an  Indian,  who  knew  neither  the  value  of  the  land 
he  was  required  to  relinquish,  nor  the  amount  of  the  consideration 


he  was  to  receive  for  it,  nor  the  import  nor  effect  of  the  paper  on 
which  he  scribbled  his  mark,  has  been  called  a  fair  purchase!" 

Certainly  the  price  of  fifteen  pounds  paid  to  the  Indians  for  the 
township  of  Litchfield  does  not  seem  a  munificent  sum  now-a-days; 
but  it  can  easily  be  pointed  out  that  the  Indian  himself  had  no  legal 
title  to  the  lands  he  was  conveying,  that  the  lands  were  of  no  value 
to  him  except  for  hunting  and  that  he  distinctly  reserved  for  his 
own  use  the  best  hunting  land,  that  on  Mount  Tom.  Surely,  when 
we  recollect  the  general  treatment  of  the  American  Indian  by  the 
whites,  the  Litchfield  deeds  may  be  considered  as  a  model  of  fairness! 
In  connection  wtih  the  Indians'  reservation  of  rights  on  Mount 
Tom,  it  should  be  explained  that  this  name  probably  means  the 
Indians'  mountain,  Tom  being  the  generic  name  applied  by  early 
settlers  to  any  Indian,  just  as  the  English  soldier  is  called  a  Tommy, 
though  for  quite  a  different  reason  doubtless.  Possibly,  Tom  was 
an  affectionate  diminutive  of  Tomahawk?  Certainly,  the  expres- 
.sion  Indian  Tom  is  found  not  infrequently  in  old  writings.  Here 
is  an  anecdote  from  the  Monitor,  January  30,  1787:  "The  Indian 
tribes  consider  their  fondness  for  strong  liquors  as  a  part  of  their 
character,  A  countryman  who  had  dropped  from  his  cart  a  keg 
of  rum  met  an  Indian  whom  he  asked  if  he  had  seen  his  keg  on  the 
road;  the  Indian  laughed  in  his  face,  and  said:  "What  a  fool  are 
you  to  ask  an  Indian  such  a  question;  do  not  you  see  that  I  am 
sober?  Had  I  met  with  your  keg,  you  would  have  found  it  empty 
on  one  side  of  the  road,  and  Indian  Tom  asleep  on  the  other". 

Of  direct  adventures  with  the  Indians  only  two  authenticated 
stories  are  preserved,  both  by  James  Morris,  in  his  Statistical 
Account,  pp.  96-97:  "In  May,  Captain  Jacob  Gris would,  being  alone 
in  a  field,  about  one  mile  west  of  the  present  court-house,  two  Indi- 
ans suddenly  rushed  upon  him  from  the  woods,  took  him,  pinioned 
his  arms  and  carried  him  oflf.  They  travelled  in  a  northerly  direc- 
tion, and  the  same  day  arrived  in  some  part  of  the  township  now 
called  Canaan,  then  a  wilderness.  The  Indians  kindled  a  fire,  and 
after  binding  their  prisoner  hand  and  foot,  lay  down  to  sleep.  Gris- 
would  fortunately  disengaging  his  hands  and  his  feet,  while  his 
arms  were  yet  pinioned,  seized  their  guns,  and  made  his  escape  into 
the  woods.  After  traveling  a  small  distance,  he  sat  down,  and 
waited  till  the  dawn  of  day;  and  although  his  arms  were  still 
pinioned,  he  carried  both  the  guns.  The  savages  awoke  in  the  morn- 
ing, and  finding  their  prisoner  gone,  immediately  pursued  him; 
they  soon  overtook  him,  and  kept  in  sight  of  him  the  greater  part 
of  the  day,  while  he  was  making  his  way  homeward.  When  they 
came  near,  he  turned  and  pointed  one  of  his  pieces  at  them:  they 
then  fell  back.  In  this  manner  he  travelled  till  near  sunset;  when 
he  reached  an  eminence  in  an  open  field,  about  one  mile  north-west 
of  the  present  court-house.  He  then  discharged  one  of  his  guns, 
which  immediately  summoned  the  people  to  his  assistance.  The 
Indians  fled,  and  Griswould  safely  returned  to  his  family. 


"The  capture  of  Griswould  made  the  inhabitants  more  cautions 
for  awhile;  but  their  fears  soon  subsided.  In  the  month  of  August 
of  the  year  following  (1723),  Joseph  Harris,  a  respectable  inhabitant, 
was  at  work  in  the  woods  alone,  not  far  from  the  place  where 
Griswould  was  taken;  and  being  attacked  by  a  party  of  Indians, 
attempted  to  make  his  escape.  The  Indians  pursued  him;  and  find- 
ing that  they  could  not  overtake  him,  they  shot  him  dead,  and  scalped 
him.  As  Harris  did  not  return,  the  inhabitants  were  alarmed,  and 
some  search  was  made  for  him;  but  the  darkness  of  the  night 
checked  their  exertions.  The  next  morning  they  found  his  body 
and  gave  it  a  descent  burial.  Harris  was  killed  near  the  north 
end  of  the  plain,  where  the  road  turns  towards  Milton,  a  little  east 
of  a  school  house,  now  standing;  and  for  a  long  time  after  this 
plain  was  called  Harris  Plain".  It  is  said  that  the  body  of  Harris 
was  found  at  the  foot  of  a  large  elm  near  the  comer  of  the  plain. 
This  elm  has  long  since  disappeared;  a  younger  tree  now  stands 
alone  near  the  same  spot,  and  bears  a  small  tablet.  A  monument 
to  Harris  was  placed  in  the  West  Cemetery  in  1830  by  popular 

"There  has  been  but  one  instance  of  murder  in  this  town",  wrote 
Morris  further  in  1814,  p.  98,  "since  its  first  settlement,  and  that  was 
perpetrated  by  John  Jacobs,  an  Indian,  upon  another  Indian,  in  the 
month  of  February,  1768.  The  murderer  was  executed  the  same 
year".  This  murder  created  so  much  excitement,  that  a  distinguished 
divine  from  Farmington,  Timothy  Pitkin,  was  asked  to  preach  a  ser- 
mon to  the  condemned  man  before  the  execution.  This  remark- 
able discourse  has  been  preserved  in  an  old  pamphlet,  described  at 
length  by  Dwight  C.  Kilboum,  (Bench  and  Bar,  1909,  p.  341). 

In  spite  of  the  fact  that  the  Indians  did  no  serious  damage  to 
the  inhabitants,  beyond  the  murder  of  Harris,  the  possibility  of 
trouble  was  always  present.  The  condition  of  Litchfield  in  its 
very  first  years  is  well  described  by  Kilbourne,  p.  37,  "Here  and 
there,  little  openings  had  been  made  in  the  primeval  forest,  by  the 
axes  of  the  settlers.  Forty  or  fifty  log  cabins  were  scattered  over 
the  site  now  occupied  by  this  village  and  its  immediate  vicinity.  A 
temporary  palisade  stood  where  our  court-house  now  stands,  and 
four  others  were  erected  in  more  remote  parts  of  the  town  for  the 
protection  of  the  laborers  at  the  clearings:  all  soon  to  give  place  to 
stronger  and  more  permanent  structures.  The  nearest  white  settle- 
ments were  those  at  New  Milford  on  the  south  west  and  at  Wood- 
bury on  the  south,  both  some  fifteen  miles  distant.  An  almost 
unbroken  wilderness  stretched  westward  to  the  Dutch  settlements 
on  the  Hudson,  and  northward  two  hundred  and  fifty  miles  to  the 
French  villages  in  Canada.  Without  mail  or  newspapers,  and  with 
no  regular  means  of  communication  with  their  friends  in  the  older 
towns,  they  seemed  indeed  shut  out  from  the  world,  and  dependent 
on  their  own  little  circle  for  intdlectual  and  social  enjoyment.      Is 


it  to  be  wondered  at,  that  some  of  the  first  proprietors  should  have 
fled  from  scenes  so  nninyiting  and  hazardous,  even  at  the  risk  of 
forfeiting  the  lands  they  had  purchased? 

"In  the  autumn  of  1722,  a  war  had  broken  out  between  the 
Province  of  Massachusetts  and  the  Eastern  Indians,  and  in  a  short 
time  its  direful  influences  were  felt  in  Connecticut,  some  of  which 
have  already  been  adverted  to.  The  savages  on  our  borders,  many 
of  whom  had  previously  manifested  a  peaceful  and  conciliatory 
spirit,  gave  evidence  that  their  professions  of  friendship  were  not 
to  be  relied  upon.  In  the  spring  of  1723,  the  Committee  of  War, 
in  Hartford,  sent  a  military  corps  to  keep  garrison  at  Litchfield-  At 
this  time,  there  were  about  sixty  male  adults  in  the  town,  a  large 
proportion  of  whom  had  families".  (See  the  lists  of  original  pro- 
prietors and  of  first  settlers  in  tlie  Appendix). 

"Such  was  the  apprehension  of  danger  from  the  Indians,  during 
this  period,  that  while  one  portion  of  the  men  were  felling  the  for- 
ests, plowing,  planting  or  reaping,  others,  with  their  muskets  in 
hand,  were  stationed  in  their  vicinity  to  keep  guard".  We  cannot 
help  thinking,  however  that  the  picture  is  a  little  exaggerated,  when 
Kilboume  adds,  "The  yells  of  the  Indians  at  the  war-dance,  an  omi- 
nous sound,  were  heard  on  the  distant  hills,  and  at  midnight  their 
signal-fires  on  Mount  Tom  lit  up  the  surrounding  country  with  their 
baleful  gleam".  Be  that  as  it  may,  in  August  1723  the  murder  of 
Harris  made  the  settlers  keenly  alive  to  their  danger.  A  meeting 
was  held  immediately  "to  consider  of  and  agree  upon  some  certain 
places  to  fortify  or  make  Garrisons  for  the  safety  and  preservation 
of  the  inhabitants".  At  this  meeting  it  was  resolved  to  build  four 
outlying  Forts,  to  supplement  the  one  on  the  site  of  the  present 
court-house.  Nearly  two  years  later,  at  a  Town  meeting,  May  ID, 
1725,  "it  was  voted  and  agreed,  that  there  shall  forthwith  be  erected 
one  good  and  substantial  Mount,  or  place  convenient  for  sentinels 
to  stand  in  for  the  better  discovering  of  the  enemy  and  for  the  safety 
of  said  sentinels  when  upon  their  watch  or  ward;  that  is  to  say, 
one  Mount  at  each  of  the  four  Forts  that  were  first  agreed  upon  and 
are  already  built  in  said  Town,  which  Mounts  shall  be  built  at  the 
Town's  cost,  by  order  and  at  the  discretion  of  such  men  as  the  Town 
shall  appoint  to  oversee  and  carry  on  the  above  said  work.  At  the  same 
meeting,  Voted,  that  Joseph  KUbourn  shall  take  the  care  of  build- 
ing the  Mount  at  the  North  Fort,  and  Samuel  Culver  shall  take  the 
care  of  building  the  Mount  at  the  East  Fort,  and  Jacob  Griswold  at 
the  West  Fort,  and  Joseph  Bird  at  the  South  Fort". 

A  letter  from  John  Marsh  to  Governor  Talcott  written  at  this 
time  has  happily  been  preserved.  It  will  be  noted  that  an  exchange 
of  letters  between  Litchfield  and  Hartford  once  in  twenty  months 
was  taken  as  a  matter  of  course  at  this  time: 

"Litchfield,  June  ye  1, 1725.  To  ye  Hon'ble  John  Talcott,  Gov'r. 
Sir:  Knowing  full  well  ye  interest  that  you,  our  lawful  governor, 
dothe  feel  and  hath  often  exprest  about  our  little  settlement  in  this 


wilderness,  I  am  moved  to  write  you  about  our  affairs  once  more., 
Since  I  was  honored  by  writing  to  you  aboute  twentie  months  ago, 
our  four  fourts  or  Garresons  have  been  built,  all  but  some  mountes 
for  the  convenience  of  Sentinnels.  The  Garreson  at  the  west  our 
townes  men  have  named  fourte  Griswold,  and  the  north  one  fourt 
Kilbourn  because  of  the  godly  men  who  helped  most  to  bild  them. 
The  other  fourts  one  at  the  south  end  of  the  town  and  on  Chestnut 
Hill.  These  Garresons  have  done  our  settlers  great  good  in  quiet- 
ting  their  fears  from  the  wild  Ingians  that  live  in  the  great  woods. 

"But  we  have  been  so  long  preserved  by  God,  from  much  harm, 
and  we  praise  his  nam  for  it,  and  take  hope  for  the  time  to  come. 
Many  of  our  people  morne  for  there  old  home  on  the  Great  Biver,  but 
they  are  agread  not  to  go  back. 

"About  the  moundes  at  the  fourtes.  I  am  enstructed  by  ye 
select  men  to  make  known  to  you  their  desires  that  the  CoUony  shall 
pay  for  them. 

"With  many  and  true  wishes  that  God  will  preserve  you  and  his 
CoUony  for  the  working  out  of  his  good  pleasure,  I  am  yours  inost 
truly,  John  Marsh,  Town  Clerk". 

Of  these  forts,  Morris  wrote  ,  p.  94,  "Between  the  years  1720 
and  1730,  five  houses  were  surrounded  with  palisadoes.  One  of 
these  stood  on  the  ground  near  the  present  court-house;  another 
about  half  a  mile  south;  one  east,  and  one  west  of  the  centre;  and 
one  in  South  Farms.  Soldiers  were  then  stationed  here,  to  guard 
the  inhabitants,  both  while  they  were  at  work  in  the  field,  and 
while  they  were  attending  public  worship  on  the  Sabbath". 

These  forts,  however,  were  not  considered  adequate  to  protect 
the  settlement  during  these  critical  years.  "On  the  1st  of  April, 
1724",  Kilbourne,  p.  39,  "John  Marsh  was  chosen  agent  of  the  town 
'to  represent  their  state  to  the  General  Assembly  concerning  the 
settlement  and  continuing  of  their  inhabitants  in  times  of  war  and 

"In  May,  the  subject  of  the  Indian  disturbances  in  this  quarter 
occupied  much  of  the  time  and  attention  of  the  Council  of  War  and 
of  the  Legislature.  The  Indians  on  the  western  lands  were  ordered 
to  repair  immediately  to  their  respective  places  of  residence,  and 
not  to  go  into  the  woofts  without  Englishmen  in  company  with  them, 
'nor  to  be  seen,  contrary  to  this  order,  anywhere  north  of  the  road 
leading  from  Hartford  to  Farmington,  Waterbury,  and  so  on  to  New 
Milford'.  They  were  warned  to  submit  to  this  order  on  pain  of 
being  looked  upon  as  enemies,  and  treated  accordingly.  Two  hun- 
dred men  from  Hartford,  Wethersfield,  and  Windsor,  were  directed 
to  hold  themselves  in  readiness  to  march  at  the  shortest  notice;  and 
sixty  more  from  each  of  the  comities  of  New  Haven,  Fairfield  and 
New  London,  with  their  proper  officers,  were  called  for  to  supply 
the  garrisons  at  Litchfield  and  New  Milford,  when  the  soldiers  then 
at  those  posts  should  be  withdrawn.      Friendly  Indians  were  to  be 


employed  in  scouting  with  the  English,  and  twenty  pounds  each  were 
to  be  paid  for  the  scalps  of  the  enemy  Indians.  An  effective  scout  was 
to  be  kept  marching  in  the  woods  north  of  Litchfield  between  Sims- 
bury,  Westfleld  and  Sackett's  Farm,  (Sharon).  The  thirty  two 
men,  sent  on  to  scout  from  Litchfield  were  directed  to  be  drawn  off 
in  ten  dayB'^  During  the  Legislative  Session  of  May  1725,  Nathaniel 
Watson,  of  Windsor,  and  Matthew  Woodruff,  of  Farmington,  each 
presented  a  petition  for  a  bounty  for  having  shot  an  Indian  during 
the  preceding  summer,  while  in  the  King's  service  at  Litchfield. 

Among  the  papers  on  file  in  the  office  of  the  Secretary  of  State 
is  the  following  memorandum  made  by  Governor  Talcott  (Kil- 
bourne,  p.  41). 

"A  brief  account  of  the  minutes  of  the  Council  of  War  Book,  of  men 
sent  into  the  service  this  summer,  from  May  24,  to  October  6,  1724 : 

After  the  Assembly  rose,  ten  men  were  sent  to  Litchfield,  till  June  24. 

June  25 — Four  men  sent  to  Litchfield  from  Hartford. 

June  30 — Major  Burr  sent  ten  men,  and  Major  Eles  ten  men,  to  New 
Milford  and  Litchfield. 

July  27 — Six  men  sent  from  Woodbury  to  keep  garrison  at  Shepaug 
twenty  days. 

August  18 — Fifteen  men  were  improved  in  scouts  under  the  command 
of  Sergt.  Joseph  Churchill,  at  Litchfield  and  New  Milford;  have  orders 
sent  to  the  sth  instant  of  October  to  draw  off  and  disband. 

October,  1724.  JOSEPH  TALCOTT." 

At  the  General  Assembly,  in  May  1725,  Joseph  Churchill,  of 
Wethersfield,  mentioned  in  tie  preceding  paragraph,  presented  a 
Memorial,  stating  that  he  had  served  for  fifteen  weeks  at  Litchfield, 
but  had  received  no  pay  for  Sundays.  He  therefore  aaked  pay  for  fif- 
teen Sundays.  This  was  granted  in  the  Lower  House,  but  lost  in  the 

"By  our  Town  Records  it  appears",  (Kilbourne,  p.  42),  "that  on 
the  151ii  of  October,  1724,  a  Memorial  to  the  General  Assembly  was 
agreed  upon  and  ordered  to  be  signed  by  John  Marsh,  in  the  name 
of  the  town,  and  sent  to  New  Haven  by  lie  hand  of  Timothy  Collins, 
to  be  delivered  to  the  Court.  This  Memorial  is  not  on  record  in  Litch- 
field, but  is  fortunately  preserved  among  the  files  in  the  Secretary's 
office  in  Hartford.  It  is  an  impressive  and  interesting  document, 
and  eloquently  details  the  trials  and  perils  encountered  by  our 
fathers : 

"A  Memorial  of  the  distressed  state  of  the  inhabitants  of  the  Town 
of  Litchfield,  which  we  humbly  lay  before  the  Honorable  General  Assembly 
now  sitting  in  New  Haven : 

May  it  please  your  Honors  to  hear  us  in  a  few  things.  Inasmuch  as 
there  was  a  prospect  of  the  war's  moving  into  these  parts  the  last  year,  the 
Governor  and  Council — moved  with  paternal  regards  for  our  safety — ordered 
Garrisons  forthwith  to  be  erected  in  this  town.      In  obedience  thereto,  laying 


aside  all  other  business,  we  engaged  in  that  work,  and  built  our  fortifications 
without  any  assistance  from  abroad,  whereby  our  seed-time  in  some  measure 
was  lost,  and  consequently  our  harvest  this  year  small  The  seat  of  the 
war  in  this  colony  (in  the  whole  course  of  the  concluding  summer),  being 
in  this  town,  notwithstanding  the  special  care  taken  of  us  by  the  Honorable 
Committee  of  War,  and  the  great  expense  the  colony  has  been  at  for  our 
security^  yet  the  circumstances  of  our  town  remain  very  di£Ficult  in  several 
respects.  The  danger  and  charge  of  laboring  abroad  is  so  great,  that  a 
considerable  part  of  our  improvable  lands  remote  from  the  town  lie  unim- 
proved, whereby  we  are  greatly  impoverished,  so  that  many  of  our  inhabitants 
are  rendered  incapable  of  pajnng  their  taxes  which  have  been  granted  for 
the  settling  and  maintaining  of  our  ministry  and  building  a  meeting-house, 
which  we  are  yet  destitute  of,  whereby  that  great  work  seems  to  be  imder  a 
fatal  necessity  of  being  neglected. 

Many  of  our  Inhabitants  are  drawn  off,  which  renders  us  very  weak 
and  unable  to  defend  ourselves  from  the  common  enemy,  and  the  duties 
of  Watching  and  Warding  are  become  very  heavy. 

By  reason  of  the  late  war,  our  lands  are  become  of  little  value,  so 
that  they  who  are  desirous  of  selling,  to  subsist  their  families  and  defray 
public  charges  which  necessarily  arise  in  a  new  place,  are  unable  to  do  it. 
Your  humble  petitioners  therefore  pray  this  Honorable  Court  would  be 
pleased  to  take  thought  of  our  difficult  circumstances,  and  spread  the  gar- 
ment of  pity  over  our  present  distress,  which  moves  us  to  beg  relief  in 
several  respects : 

1.  That  our  deserting  proprietors,  who  do  not  personally  inhabit,  may 
be  ordered  to  settle  themselves  or  others  upon  their  Rights,  which  will  not 
only  be  an  encouragement  to  those  that  tarry,  and  render  our  burden  more 
tolerable,  but  prevent  much  charge  to  the  colony. 

2.  That  our  Inhabitants  may  be  under  some  wages,  that  they  may  be 
capable  of  subsisting  in  the  town,  and  not  labor  under  the  difficulty  of  war 
and  famine  together. 

3.  That  some  addition  be  made  to  the  price  of  billeting  soldiers,  especi- 
ally for  this  town,  where  the  provision,  at  least  a  greater  part  of  it,  hath  been 
fetched  near  twenty  miles  for  the  billeting  of  soldiers  this  year. 

4.  That  some  act  be  made  concerning  Fortified  Houses,  that  the  peo- 
ple may  have  free  liberty  of  the  use  of  said  Houses  as  there  is  occasion- 

5.  That  there  may  be  an  explanation  of  the  Act  of  the  Governor  and 
Council  made  the  last  summer,  which  obliges  every  proprietor  of  a  home 
lot  to  attend  the  military,  by  himself  or  some  other  person  in  his  room,  as 
the  law  directs,  in  case  a  person  hath  fifty  pounds  in  the  public  list;  for 
many  of  our  deserters  have  put  off  their  home  lots  and  some  of  their  lands, 
so  that  many  of  them  have  not  a  whole  Right  or  a  home  lot  in  this  place, 
and  so  escape  execution  upon  that  act. 

As  to  the  Indians  himting  in  our  woods,  we  submit  to  your  Honors' 
ordering  that  affair  as  in  your  wisdom  you  shall  think  best  for  us. 

All  of  which  we  humbly  recommend  to  the  consideration  of  this  Honor- 
able Assembly,  and  ourselves  your  servants  desiring  Heaven's  blessing  to 
rest  upon  you,  and  that  God  Almighty  may  be  with  you,  to  direct  in  all 


weighty  affairs  which  are  before  you,  and  make  you  rich  blessings  in  your 
day  and  generation,  your  humble  petitioners  shall,  as  in  duty  bound,  ever, 


In  the  name  and  by  desire  of  the  rest". 

Another  petition  wa«  presented  by  John  Marsh  and  others  at 
the  next  Legislative  Session,  May  1725;  this  and  the  Resolutions 
adopted  as  a  result  by  the  General  Assembly  are  given  at  length  by 
Ejlboume,  pp.  4346.  It  will  be  sufficient  to  reprint  here  the  follow- 
ing Resolutions,  passed  by  the  General  Assembly  at  the  spring  ses- 
sion of  1725. 

"This  Assembly,  taking  into  consideration  the  difficulties  of  the  Town 
of  Litchfield  in  this  time  of  trouble  with  the  Indians,  and  that  sundry  per- 
sons claiming  Rights  in  said  Town  are  not  resident  in  the  same,  have  there- 
fore Resolved : 

1.  That  each  person  claiming  a  Right  or  Rights  in  said  Town,  that 
shall  not  be  constantly  residing  in  said  Town,  shall  pay  and  forfeit,  towards 
defraying  the  public  charges  in  defending  the  same,  the  sum  of  thirty 
pounds  per  annum  for  each  Right  he  claims,  and  so  pro  rata  for  any  time 
he  shall  be  absent  without  allowance  from  Capt.  Marsh,  John  Buel  and 
Nathaniel  Hosford,  or  any  two  of  them ;  and  by  the  same  rule  of  propor- 
tion for  part  Rights.  And  if  any  such  claimer  shall  neglect  payment  of 
the  said  forfeiture  at  the  time  and  to  the  Committee  hereafter  appointed  in 
this  Act,  the  said  Committee  are  hereby  fully  empowered  to  sell  so  much  of 
the  lands  in  Litchfield  claimed  by  such  non-resident  person,  as  will  answer 
the  sum  so  forfeited ;  and  all  sales  and  alienations  made  of  such  Lands  by 
the  Committee,  shall  be  good  for  the  holding  the  same  to  the  grantees  and 
their  heirs  forever.  And  this  Assembly  appoint  Major  Roger  Wolcott, 
Capt.  Nathaniel  Stanley,  Esq.,  and  Mr.  Thomas  Seymour,  a  Committee  to 
take  account  of  all  forfeitures  that  shall  arise  by  force  of  this  act,  and 
upon  the  non-payment  of  the  same,  to  make  sale  of  the  Lands  as  aforesaid. 

And  it  is  further  ordered,  That  all  such  forfeitures  shall  be  paid  to  the 
said  Committee  at  the  State  House  in  Hartford,  on  the  first  Monday  in 
June,  which  will  be  in  the  year  1726;  and  the  said  Committee  are  to  deliver 
all  such  sum  or  sums  as  they  shall  receive  by  force  of  this  Act,  unto  the 
Treasurer  of  this  Colony,  taking  his  receipt  for  the  same — the  said  Com- 
mittee to  make  their  accounts  with  the  Assembly  in  October,  provided  never- 
theless that  the  Right  of  Joseph  Harris  is  saved  from  any  forfeiture  by 
force  of  this  Act  And  it  is  further  provided,  that  if  any  such  claimer 
shall  keep  an  able-bodied  soldier  in  said  Litchfield,  who  shall  attend  duty 
as  the  Inhabitants  do,  such  claimer  shall  be  excused  for  his  non-residence 
during  such  time. 

2.  And  it  is  further  enacted,  That  all  houses  that  are  fortified  in  said 
Town,  shall  be  free  for  the  use  of  the  people  and  soldiers  in  the  garrison. 

3.  That  the  Inhabitants  of  said  Town  shall  be  allowed  five  shillings  and 
sixpence  per  week  for  billeting  soldiers. 

4.  That  Mounts  shall  be  built  in  the  Forts  that  are  already  made  in 
said  Town,  at  the  public  cost  of  the  Colony.  ... 

Primf.val  Oak 


5.  That  all  able-bodied  young  men  that  are  dwellers  in  said  Town  and 
are  eighteen  years  old  and  upwards,  and  have  no  right  to  any  Lands  in. 
said  Town,  and  shall  constantly  reside  therein  until  October  next,  and  do 
duty  with  the  Inhabitants,  shall  be  allowed  three  shillings  per  wedc  out  af 
the  Public  Treasury,  until  October  next,  unless  the  Committee  for  the  War 
in  Hartford  shall  order  to  the  contrary  for  part  of  said  time. 

6.  That  every  able-bodied  man  that  is  fit  for  service  to  the  acceptance 
of  the  commissioned  officers,  that  hath  a  Right  in  said  Town,  and  shall 
constantly  reside  therein  and  do  his  duty  according  to  the  command  of  the 
captain  until  October  next,  shall  be  allowed  out  of  the  Treasury  eighteen 
pence  per  week,  unless  the  Committee  for  the  War  shall  order  to  the  con- 
trary for  part  of  the  time". 

There  was  another  side  of  the  matter,  which  affected  the  incon- 
venience of  the  men  drafted  to  help  in  the  garrisoning  of  Litchfield, 
as  we  find  from  another  petition  submitted  to  Governor  Talcott  in 
May  1725: 

"To  the  Honorable  Joseph  Talcott,  Governor  of  His  Majesty's  Colony 
of  Connecticut — Whereas,  When  your  humble  Petitioners  were  impressed 
to  come  up  to  Litchfield  to  keep  garrison,  we  were  encouraged  by  our  offi- 
cers to  come,  because  it  was  but  for  a  little  while  we  should  be  continued 
here,  just  till  the  Inhabitants  could  get  their  seed  into  the  ground.  That 
business  being  over,  and  our  necessity  to  be  at  home  being  very  great,  we 
humbly  pray  your  Honor  to  dismiss  or  exchange  us  by  the  beginning  of 
June ;  whereby  your  Honor  will  greatly  oblige  your  Humble  Petitioners. 

Litchfield,  May  23,  1725.  In  behalf  of  the  rest". 

"During  the  summer  of  1725",  (Kilbourne,  p.  47),  "the  war  with 
the  Eastern  Indians  still  continued,  though  it  does  not  appear  that 
the  people  of  Litchfield  suffered  in  consequence,  except  in  being  kept 
in  a  state  of  suspense  and  anxiety. 

"It  is  not  until  a  year  later,  October  1726,  that  the  records  give 
indication  that  any  immediate  danger  was  again  apprehended  by 
the  people  of  this  Town.  At  this  date,  'upon  news  that  the  Indian 
€nemy  were  coming  down  upon  our  frontier*,  it  was  resolved  'that 
there  be  forthwith  thirty  effective  men  raised  in  the  towns  of  New 
Haven  and  Wallingford  to  march  to  Litchfield,  to  be  under  the 
direction  and  command  of  Capt.  John  Marsh,  of  Litchfield,  for  the 
defense  of  said  town  —  twenty  of  whom  shall  be  raised  in  New 
Haven,  and  ten  in  Wallingford;  and  that  a  Sargeant  march  with 
them  directly  from  each  of  said  towns;  and  that  the  Major  of  the 
County  make  out  his  orders  to  the  Captain  in  said  town  accord- 

"Twenty  effective  men  were  at  the  same  time  ordered  immediately 
to  be  raised  in  Milford,  and  marched  to  New  Milford,  to  be  under  the 
command  of  Capt  Stephen  Nobles,  for  the  defence  of  that  town.  Cap- 
tains John  Marsh  and  Stephen  Nobles  were  directed  at  once  to  *send 
forth  small  scouts,  to  call  and  in  the  name  of  the  Assembly  to  com- 


mand  all  the  friendly  Indians  to  retire  to  their  respective  towns  or 
plac^  where  they  belong,  and  not  to  be  seen  in  the  woods  except 
with  English  men'.  The  friendly  Indians  were  to  be  employed  for 
the  defense  of  the  frontiers  and  for  scouting,  and  were  to  be  paid 
eighteen  pence  per  day  while  engaged  in  the  latter  service  and 
twelve  pence  per  day  for  warding  and  keeping  garrison  in  towns. 
Five  men  were  directed  to  be  sent  from  Woodbury  for  the  defense 
of  Shepaug  until  the  danger  should  be  over". 

This  was  the  last  serious  alarm  caused  by  the  Indians,  but 
(Kilbourne,  p.  68),  "Other  Memorials,  of  a  later  date  than  those 
given,  complain  of  the  difficulties  which  the  settlers  still  encountered, 
and  asked  for  legislative  interference  in  their  behalf.  Indeed  for 
more  than  thirty  years  after  the  Garrisons  were  erected,  they  were 
resorted  to  with  more  or  less  frequency,  by  individuals  and  families, 
on  account  of  apprehended  danger.  One  of  these  Garrisons  stood 
on  Chestnut  Hill  and  was  remembered  by  Elisha  Mason,  who  died 
in  Litchfield  on  May  Ist,  1858". 



The  earliest  records  of  the  town  of  Litchfield  are  found  in  the 
Becord  Book  of  the  Proprietors  in  Hartford  and  of  the  Town  Meet- 
ings in  Litchfield.  This  old  manuscript  covers  all  the  ground  from 
1715  to  1803.  The  long  narrow  pages  are  often  difficult  to  decipher 
from  age  and  from  the  unusual  characters  of  the  ancient  caligra- 
phy.  It  is  without  doubt  the  most  valuable  and  curious  single 
volume  in  our  town.  Through  the  wise  forethought  of  our  Town- 
Clerk,  George  H.  Hunt,  these  old  pages  have  been  faced  with  trans- 
parent silk  and  strongly  bound,  and  may  be  consulted  by  those  inter- 
ested at  the  Court  House.  They  should  be  examined  by  all  who 
are  curious  about  old  Litchfield  history. 

The  Proprietors'  meetings  occupy  one  end  of  the  book  and  the 
Town  meetings  the  other.  Apparently  the  first  entry  of  a  town 
meeting  is  undated.  "Deacon  John  ^uel  and  Nathaniel  Smith  were 
appointed  a  Committee  to  hire  a  minister,  and  to  'make  and  gather 
a  rate*  to  pay  him  for  his  services  among  us*.  This  Committee 
employed  Mr.  Timothy  Collins,  of  Guilford,  a  young  licentiate  who 
had  graduated  at  Yale  College  in  1718.  At  the  next  Meeting,  held 
Kovember  6, 1721,  it  was  voted,  'that  Mr.  Collins  be  forthwith  called 
to  a  settlement  in  this  place  in  the  work  of  the  ministry';  and  it 
was  stipulated  that  he  should  receive  fifty-seven  pounds  per  year  for 
four  years,  and  thereafter,  as  follows:  'the  fifth  year,  sixty  pounds; 
the  sixth  year,  seventy  pounds ;  the  seventh  year,  eighty  pounds ;  and 
so  to  continue  at  eighty  pounds  per  year*  so  long  as  he  should  remain 
in  the  pastoral  office.  It  was  also  agreed  to  pay  him  one  hundred 
pounds  previous  to  the  1st  day  of  July,  1722,  and  to  furnish  him  with 
firewood".  (Kilboume,  p.  28). 

"The  amount  of  his  firewood  for  a  series  of  years  was  by  vote 
to  be  eighty  cords  per  annum.  This  provision,  very  liberal  for  the 
times,  was  accepted  by  Mr.  Collins  on  December  12, 1721 ;  he  entered 
upon  his  labors,  was  ordained  on  June  19,  1723,  and  continued  to  be 
the  minister  of  the  Congregational  Society  till  the  15th  of  November 
1752,  when  he  was  dismissed.  He  afterwards  continued  here,  acting 
as  a  Justice  of  the  Peace,  and  in  the  practice  of  Medicine,  and  died 
in  1776".       (Woodruff,  p.  21). 

Timothy  Collins  is  referred  to  ajs  eccentric,  but  we  shall  never 
know  what  his  peculiarities  were.  On  the  whole  he  does  not  appear 
to  have  been  the  right  man  to  start  the  new  colony.  Dissension 
arose,  first  over  pecuniary,  and  then  apparently  over  personal,  mat- 


ters.  His  salary  was  liberal,  as  Woodruff  says,  but  doubtless  Ms 
expenditures  were  considerable  also.  He  claimed  that  it  was  insuf- 
ficient; and  a  long  and  bitter  discussion  arose,  which  lasted  for  the 
greater  part  of  his  stay.  Naturally  the  population  did  not  want 
higher  rates,  and  they  were  already  burdened  with  many  charges. 
The  foundation  of  an  Episcopal  Society  as  early  as  1745  was  probably 
due  in  part  at  least  to  disafifection  with  Mr.  Collins.  It  is  at  least 
noteworthy  that  in  December  of  that  year  a  Committee  was  appointed 
"to  eject  Mr.  Collins  from  the  Parsonage  Eight".  The  year  before 
this,  1744,  the  Town  voted  "not  to  make  any  rate  for  Mr.  Collins 
under  present  difficulties",  and  at  the  same  time  a  Committee  was 
appointed  to  treat  with  him  respecting  his  salary  and  "absence  from 
the  work  of  the  ministry".  On  two  occasions,  1751  and  in  1753, 
after  his  withdrawal  from  the  ministerial  oflBce,  charges  were  brought 
against  him  before  the  Consociation  and  in  Town  Meeting,  for 
unfaithfulness  in  his  office.  Both  were  protested  against,  but  the 
pecuniary  troubles  lasted  for  a  few  years  longer.  Mr.  Collins  had 
his  supporters,  as  well  as  his  detractors,  as  is  shown  by  his  subse- 
quent election  to  various  civil  offices,  such  as  Lister  and  Selectman; 
and  it  should  be  noted  that  the  only  lawsuit  brought  against  him 
was  decided  in  his  favor.  In  1755,  he  was  appointed  Surgeon  of 
one  of  the  Connecticut  Regiments  in  the  Expedition  against  Crown 

"In  April  1723,  the  inhabitants  voted  to  build  their  first  Church ; 
and  the  house  was  finished  within  three  years.  It  was  built  in  a 
plain  manner  and  without  a  steeple.      Its  dimensions  were  45  feet 

in  length  and  35  in  breadth At  the  raising,  all  the  adult  males  in 

the  whole  township,  being  present,  sate  on  the  sills  at  once.  In 
the  year  1760,  the  inhabitants  agreed  to  build  their  second  church; 
and  completed  it  in  1762.  Some  time  after  a  bell  was  procured". 
(Morris,  p.  96). 

As  George  C.  Woodruff  says,  p.  26,  it  was  probably  in  view  of 
the  construction  of  the  first  Meeting  House,  that  the  town  voted, 
December  9, 1723,  that  "whos6ever  shall  sell  or  tranceport  any  pine 
boards  out  of  the  Town,  shall  forfit  ten  shillings  per  thousand". 

The  first  church  stood  in  Meeting-House  Street,  a  little  to  the 
north  of  its  center,  and  nearly  opposite  the  northern  extremity  of 
Town  Hill  Street   (South  Street),  as  it  now  runs. 

The  second  church  was  near  the  same  site,  and  was  63  feet 
long  and  42  feet  wide.  After  its  completion,  the  old  church  was 
sold  at  auction  in  November  1762. 

This  second  church  was  the  most  justly  celebrated  of  any  of  the 
two  dozen  or  more  church  edifices  that  have  been  erected  within  our 
town  limits.  Here  were  enacted  the  most  stirring  home  scenes 
of  the  Revolution;  here  Judah  Champion  preached  for  nearly  fifty 
years;  and  here  Lyman  Beecher  thundered  against  intemperanca 
Here  the  law  students  and  the  girls  of  the  Litchfield  Academy  wor- 


shipped;  here  were  the  pews  of  all  the  distinguished  families  of 
the  town. 

Inside,  it  was  not  at  all  a  church  such  as  we  would  recognise 
to-day.  Of  it  Harriet  Beecher  Stowe  wrote:  "To  my  childish  eye, 
our  old  meeting-house  was  an  awe-inspiring  thing.  To  me  it 
seemed  fashioned  very  nearly  on  the  model  of  Noah's  Ark  and  Solo- 
mon's Temple . . .  Its  double  row  of  windows ;  its  doors,  with  great 
wooden  quirls  over  them;  its  belfry,  projecting  out  at  the  east 
[west?]  end;  its  steeple  and  bell;  all  inspired  as  much  sense  of  the 
sublime  in  me  as  Strasbourg  Cathedral  itself;  and  the  inside  was 
not  a  whit  less  imposing.  How  magnificent,  to  my  eye,  seemed  the 
turnip-like  canopy  that  hung  over  the  minister's  head,  hooked  by  a 
long  iron  rod  to  the  wall  above!  and  how  apprehensively  did  I  con- 
sider the  question  what  would  become  of  him  if  it  should  fall! 
How^  did  I  wonder  at  the  panels  on  either  side  of  the  pulpit,  in 
each  of  which  was  carved  and  painted  a  flaming  red  tulip,  with  its 
leaves  projecting  out  at  right  angles,  and  then  at  the  grape-vine,  in 
bas-relief,  on  the  front,  with  exactly  triangular  bunches  of  grapes 
alternating  at  exact  intervals  with  exactly  triangular  leaves.  The 
area  of  the  house  was  divided  into  large  square  pews,  boxed  up 
with  a  kind  of  baluster  work,  which  I  supposed  to  be  provided  for 
the  special  accommodation  of  us  youngsters,  being  the  loophole  of 
retreat  through  which  we  gazed  on  the  remarkabilia  of  the  scena . . . 
But  the  glory  of  our  meeting-house  was  its  singers'  seat,  that 
empyrean  of  those  who  rejoiced  in  the  mysterious  art  of  fa-sol-la-ing. 
There  they  sat  in  the  gallery  that  lined  three  sides  of  the  house, 
treble,  counter,  tenor  and  bass,  each  with  its  appropriate  leader 
and  supporters.  There  were  generally  seated  the  bloom  of  our 
young  people,  sparkling,  modest  and  blushing  girls  on  one  side, 
with  their  ribbons  and  finery,  making  the  place  as  blooming  and 
lively  as  a  flower-garden,  and  fiery,  forward,  confident  young  men 
on  the  other".  (Autobiography,  VoL  I.,  p.  211). 

The  pews  opened  onto  two  aisles,  which  ran  up  and  down  the 
diurch,  the  seats  occupied  the  other  three  sides  of  each  pew,  so  that 
when  the  pews  were  full  one-third  of  the  congregation  were  seated 
with  their  backs  to  the  pulpit. 

The  first  church  was  never  heated,  though  individual  members 
of  the  congregation  would  bring  their  own  foot-stoves  in  very  cold 
weather.  No  stove  was  introduced  into  the  second  church  until 
1816,  when  there  occurred  the  great  Stove  War,  about  which  much 
has  been  written.  Kilboume,  p.  165,  quotes  the  account  of  the 
editor  of  the  Hartford  Courant,  who  claims  to  have  been  a  pro- 
tagonist in  this  famous  struggle:  "Violent  opposition  had  been  made 
to  the  introduction  of  a  stove  into  the  old  meeting-house,  and  an 
attempt  made  in  vain  to  induce  the  Society  to  purchase  one.  The 
writer  was  one  of  seven  young  men  who  finally  purchased  a  stove, 
and  requested  permission  to  put  it  up  in  the  meeting-house  on  trial. 
After  much  difficulty,  the  Committee  consented.  It  was  all  arranged 
«n  Saturday  afternoon,  and  on  Sunday  we  took  our  seats  in  the 


Bass,  rather  earlier  than  usual,  to  see  the  fun.  It  was  a  warm 
November  Sunday,  in  which  the  sun  shone  cheerfully  and  warmly 
on  the  old  south  steps  and  into  the  naked  windows.  The  stove 
stood  in  the  middle  aisle,  rather  in  front  of  the  Tenor  Gallery. 
People  came  in  and  stared.  Good  old  Deacon  Trowbridge,  one  of 
the  most  simple-hearted  and  worthy  men  of  that  generation,  had 
been  induced  to  give  up  his  opposition.  He  shook  his  head,  however, 
as  he  felt  the  heat  reflected  from  it,  and  gathered  up  the  skirts  of 
his  great-coat  as  he  passed  up  the  broad  aisle  to  the  Deacons*  Seat. 
Old  Uncle  Noah  Stone,  a  wealthy  farmer  of  the  West  End,  who  sat 
near,  scowled  and  muttered  at  the  effects  of  the  heat,  but  waited 
until  noon,  to  utter  his  maledictions  over  his  nut-cakes  and  cheese 
at  the  intermission.  There  had  in  fact  been  no  fire  in  the  stove, 
the  day  being  too  warm.  We  were  too  much  upon  the  broad  grin 
to  be  very  devotional,  and  smiled  rather  loudly  at  the  funny  things 
we  saw.  But  when  the  editor  of  the  village  paper,  Mr.  Bunce,  came 
in,  who  was  a  believer  in  stoves  for  churches,  and  with  a  most 
satisfied  air  warmed  his  hands  by  the  stove,  keeping  the  skirts  of  his 
great-coat  carefully  between  his  knees,  we  could  stand  it  no  longer, 
but  dropped  invisible  behind  the  breastwork.  But  the  climax  of 
the  whole  was  when  Mrs.  Peck  went  out  in  the  midst  of  the  service! 
It  was,  however,  the  means  of  reconciling  the  whole  society;  for, 
after  that  first  day,  we  heard  of  no  more  opposition  to  the  warm 
stove  in  the  meeting-house". 

Once  they  became  accustomed  to  the  stove,  even  the  opponents 
to  its  introduction  must  have  appreciated  its  warmth  in  the  very 
cold  weather.  The  services  were  very  long,  and  were  continued  in 
the  afternoons.  The  congregation  went  home  for  a  meal  between 
the  two  services,  but  those  from  out-of-town  had  to  rely  on  the 
hospitality  of  those  near  the  church,  or  on  the  convenience  of  the 
Sabbath-day  Houses,  Sabbaday  Houses,  as  they  were  colloquially 

"At  a  town  meeting,  December  1753,  liberty  was  voted  to  Isaac 
Hosford  and  others  'to  erect  a  house  for  their  convenience  on  Sab- 
bath Days,  east  of  the  meeting-house'.  In  January  1759,  liberty 
was  granted  to  John  Farnham  to  'set  up  a  Sabbath-Day  House  in 
the  highway  a  little  north  of  the  School  House'.  Capt.  Edward 
Phelps  erected  a  similar  house  in  the  middle  of  East  Street  nearly 
opposite  the  present  Congregational  church;  and  still  another  was 
remembered  by  the  late  Elisha  Mason,  which  stood  on  the  south 
side  of  East  Street,  near  the  present  Hinsdale  house. , . .  These 
houses  generally  consisted  of  two  rooms,  each  about  twelve  feet 
square,  with  a  chimney  between  them  and  a  fire-place  in  each  room; 
and  in  such  cases  were  erected  at  the  expense  of  two  or  more 
families.  If  the  cold  was  extreme  the  hired  man  or  one  of  the 
sons  might  be  sent  forward  in  advance  of  the  family,  to  get  the 
room  well  warmed  before  their  arrival.  The  family,  after  filling 
the  ample  saddle-bags  with  refreshments,  took  an  early  start  for 
the  sanctuary.       Calling  first   at  their  Sabbath-Day  House,  they 


deposited  their  luncheon.  At  noon,  they  returned  to  their  room, 
with  perhaps  a  few  friends.  The  fire  was  re-kindled,  the  saddle- 
bags were  brought  forth  and  their  contents  placed  upon  a  prophet's 
table,  of  which  all  partook.  The  patriarch  of  the  household  then 
drew  from  his  pocket  the  notes  he  had  taken  of  the  morning  ser- 
mon, which  were  fully  reviewed,  all  enjoying  the  utmost  freedom 
in  their  remarks.  All  then  returned  to  the  church.  Before  start- 
ing for  home  at  the  close  of  the  afternoon  service,  they  once  more 
repaired  to  their  Sabbath  House,  gathered  up  the  saddle-bags,  saw 
that  the  fire  was  left  safe,  and  in  due  time  all  were  snugly  seated 
in  the  sleigh,  and  bound  homeward".  (Kilboume,  p.  74). 

"The  subject  of  seating  the  meeting-house  often  came  up  for 
action  in  town  meeting  and  produced  not  a  little  commotion.  Vari- 
ous standards  were  used  in  other  towns  to  secure  a  fair  seating  list, 
such  as.  Long  public  service,  Dignity  of  descent.  Rank  in  the  Grand 
List,  Age,  and  Piety.  In  December  1735,  a  Committee  was  appointed 
in  Town  Meeting  to  proceed  as  follows:  'Every  man's  list  for  four 
years  past  shall  be  added  together,  and  every  man's  age  be  reckoned 
at  twenty  shillings  per  year,  to  be  added  to  his  list;  and  for  them 
that  have  not  four  lists,  they  shall  be  seated  by  the  last  list,  or 
according  to  the  discretion  of  the  committee'.  The  Committee  pro- 
ceeded according  to  these  instructions,  but  the  result  did  not  suit. 
Their  doings  were  ordered  to  be  set  aside;  on  April  12,  1736,  a  new 
committee  was  appointed,  with  no  other  instructions  than  to  act 
in  accordance  with  their  best  judgment.  Their  action,  for  a  won- 
der, was  acquiesced  in",       (Kilboume,  p.  58). 

"All  ecclesiastical  as  well  as  school  affairs  were  transacted  in 
town  meeting  until  the  year  1768.  The  Second  Ecclesiastical  Society 
having  been  incorporated  in  South  Farms  in  1767,  the  First  Society 
met  for  the  first  time.  May  9,  1768.  There  was  little  done  at  these 
Society's  meetings,  from  year  to  year,  except  to  appoint  officers, 
Committees  and  Choristers.  Now  and  then  we  find  an  entry  of  a 
different  character.  Thus,  December  1772,  measures  were  'taken  for 
coloring  the  meeting-house  and  putting  up  Electrical  Rods'.  At 
the  same  meeting,  the  Society's  Committee  were  directed  'not  to  let 
the  Town's  stock  of  Powder  and  Ball  to  be  stored  in  said  house'." 
(Kilboume,  p.  173).  To  this  Miss  Esther  H.  Thompson  (Water- 
bury  American,  March  8,  1906)  has  added  the  following  reflections: 
"This  measure  may  have  been  taken  because  some  of  the  more  con- 
servative men  were  not  quite  sure  whether  increasing  safety  or 
danger  might  be  the  result  of  the  other  vote  to  provide  Electrical 
Ro<l8  for  the  church!  When  we  remember  the  comparative  isola- 
tion of  our  town  and  the  slowness  with  which  changes  of  any  kind 
were  then  effected  we  are  surprised  at  the  intelligence  and  enterprise 
of  our  former  townspeople  as  shown  by  this  record  of  December 
1772,  only  20  years  after  Benjamin  Franklin,  far  away  in  Phila- 
delphia, was  flying  his  first  kite  to  bring  down  lightning  from  the 
skies,  and  only  17  years  after  his  invention  of  the  lightning  rod! 
Ninety  years  later,  when  in  the  Avinter  of  1861-2,  the  Third  Con- 


gregational  church  was  struck  by  lightning  it  is  curious  that  dam- 
age should  have  been  caused  by  a  defective  lightning  conductor, 
possibly  the  identical  rod  of  heavy  links  that  had  served  on  the  ol«i 
church !" 

After  Mr.  Collins  had  left  the  church,  in  February  1753,  the 
Town  voted  to  call  the  Rev.  Judah  Champion,  of  East  Haddam^  a 
graduate  of  Yale  1751,  and  to  offer  him  two  thousand  pounds  in  old 
tenor  money  for  his  settlement,  and  a  yearly  salary  of  eight  hundred 
pounds,  old  tenor  money. 

Mr.  Champion  accepted  the  call,  was  ordained  July  4,  1753,  and 
continued  in  the  ministry  till  1798.  His  salary  was  continued  till 
his  decease  in  1810,  in  his  82nd  year.  For  the  purpose  of  paying 
the  settlement  of  Mr.  Champion,  it  was  voted,  on  June  14,  1753,  to 
lease  to  him  so  much  of  the  Parsonage  Right  as  should  be  necessary 
for  that  purpose,  for  the  term  of  999  years.  And  on  January  15, 
1754,  a  lease  of  the  home  ^ot  and  twenty  acre  division  adjoining^ 
was  given  to  Mr.  Champion,  in  consideration  of  said  settlement. 
This  land  was  known  later  as  the  glebe  land,  and  the  title  is  pre- 
served in  the  name  of  the  house  owned  by  Mrs.  W.  W.  Rockhill, 
which  is  called  The  Glebe. 

In  personal  appearance,  Judah  Champion  is  described  as  shorty 
erect,  with  an  elastic  gait;  hp  had  a  frank,  open  countenance,  that 
bespoke  his  sincerity  and  fearlessness.  He  exercised  unbounded 
influence  over  his  parish.  As  a  preacher,  he  was  ardent  and  elo- 
quent, though  he  is  said  to  have  lacked  somewhat  of  'discrimination 
in  his  theology'.  This  was  so  severe  a  fault  in  those  days,  that 
Dr.  Bellamy,  the  great  theologian  of  Bethlehem,  once  jocosely  said 
that  *he  would  like  to  have  brother  Champion  made  over  again'. 
During  his  pastorate,  1753  to  1798,  280  persons  were  added  to  the 
church  upon  the  profession  of  their  faith;  he  officiated  at  2,142 
baptisms,  658  marriages,  and  1,530  funerals. 

The  subject  of  the  minister's  salary  still  gave  continued  trouble, 
owing  to  the  fluctuating  currency-  Judah  Champion  was  so  uni- 
versally beloved,  however,  that  the  matter  was  never  allowed  to 
make  the  personal  difficulty  which  it  had  caused  with  Timothy  Col- 
lins. In  1779,  the  Society,  in  an  endeavor  to  stabilize  his  salary, 
voted  to  pay  him  seventy-five  pounds  sixteen  shillings,  as  a  year's 
salary,  "in  the  following  articles  at  the  prices  affixed.  Wheat  at 
four  shillings  per  bushel;  Rye  at  three  shillings;  Indian  Corn  at 
three  shillings;  Flax  at  sixpence  per  pound;  Pork  at  twenty-five 
shillings  per  hundredweight;  Beef  at  twenty  shillings  per  hundred- 
weight; Tried  Tallow  at  sixpence  per  pound;  Lard  at  fivepence; 
Oats  at  one  shilling  per  bushel". 

Mr.  Champion's  successor  was  the  Rev.  Dan  Huntington,  a 
tutor  at  Yale  College.  He  was  ordained  in  October,  1798.  "During 
his  ministry,  a  remarkable  religious  awakening  overspread  this  and 
the  adjacent  parishes,  resulting  in  the  conversion  of  about  three 
hundred  persons  among  the  different  denominations  of  Litchfield. 

rr^^U    „,      lib?,.    Ja^Ct-nAolvn      ij,      Ij^y 

Thf.  Secoxo  Cuxgr^xatioxai.  Church,  1762 

From  a   Sketcli   l:v  Miss  M:irv   Ann   I.ewis 

Rev.  Lyman  Beecher 


'This  town*,  says  Mr.  Huntington,  'was  originally  among  the  num- 
ber of  those  decidedly  opposed  to  the  movements  of  former  revival- 
ists; and  went  so  far,  in  a  regular  church  meeting  called  expressly 
for  the  purpose  under  the  ministry  of  Mr.  Ck)llins,  as  to  let  them 
know,  by  a  unanimous  vote,  that  they  did  not  wish  to  see  them. 
The  effect  was,  they  did  not  come.  The  report  circulated,  that 
Litchfield  had  'voted  Christ  out  oi  their  borders'.  It  was  noticed 
by  some  of  the  older  people,  that  the  death  of  the  last  person  then  a 
member  of  the  church,  was  a  short  time  before  the  commencement 
of  our  revival'."    (Kilboume,  p.  174). 

Again  the  difficulties  of  salary  arose,  and  finally  in  1810,  Mr. 
Huntington  decided  to  leave,  though  with  much  mutual  regret.  In 
March,  1810,  the  Society  voted  a  unanimous  call  to  the  Rev.  Lyman 
Beecher,  which  was  accepted,  and  he  was  installed  on  May  30,  1810. 
Litchfield  was  so  fearful  that  the  salary  might  be  inadequate  to  a 
preacher  of  the  reputation  which  Lyman  Beecher  had  already  estab- 
lished at  East  Hampton,  that  it  awaited  his  arrival  with  some 
trepidation.  Happily  all  turned  out  for  the  best,  and  the  sixteen 
years  of  Beecher's  pastorate  were  memorable  ones  for  the  town. 

He  has  left  us  his  own  first  impressions  of  his  reception.  (Auto- 
biography, Vol.  I.,  p.  185) :  "I  found  the  people  of  Litchfield 
impatient  for  my  arrival,  and  determined  to  be  pleased,  if  possible, 
but  somewhat  fearful  that  they  shall  not  be  able  to  persuade  me  to 
stay.  The  house  yesterday  was  full,  and  the  conference  in  the 
evening,  and  ,  so  far  as  I  have  heard,  the  people  felt  as  I  have  told 
you  they  intended  to.  Had  the  people  in  New  York  been  thus  pre- 
disposed, I  think  I  should  not  have  failed  to  give  them  satisfaction. 
My  health  is  good,  and  I  enjoy  good  spirits  some  time  past;  am 
treated  with  great  attention  and  politeness,  and  am  becoming 
acquainted  with  agreeable  people". 

The  following  notice  of  Lyman  Beecher  is  abbreviated  from 
Morgan's  Connecticut  as  a  Colony  and  as  a  State,  Vol.  IV.,  pp.  285- 
286 :  "...  Lyman  Beecher,  great  father  of  great  children,  who,  on  the 
bleak  Litchfield  hills  and  in  the  seething  discussions  of  Boston, 
brought  up  his  children  in  such  fashion  that  they  became  a  power 
for  good  in  their  generation. 

"Possibly  his  life  did  not  seem  to  him  successful;  it  was  at 
least  full  of  struggla  Descended  from  one  of  the  original  settlers 
of  New  Haven,  he  was  graduated  from  Y'ale  in  1797,  and  after  a 
brief  settlement  in  Easthampton,  Long  Island,  went  to  Litchfield, 
where  he  remained  for  sixteen  years.  Dr.  Beecher  was  a  preacher 
of  powerful  sermons,  rather  than  a  writer  of  monumental  works. . . 
Removing  to  Boston  as  the  pastor  of  the  Hanover  Street  Church, 
he  encountered  the  Unitarian  movement  in  its  aggressive  stage; 
and  so  strong  was  the  feeling  against  such  rebutting  influences  as 
his  that  when  his  church  burned  down,  the  firemen  refused  to  put 
out  the  fir&  Again  at  Lane  Seminary,  Cincinnati,  he  struggled  for 
twenty  years  to  found  a  Western  institution,  only  to  be  defeated  at 


last  by  the  triumpliant  pro-slavery  party.  Here,  all  unknown,  were 
influences  that  were  shaping  the  future  Uncle  Tom's  Cabin.  Dr. 
Beechers  sermon  on  Duelling  at  the  time  of  Hamilton's  death  at 
the  hands  of  Aaron  Burr,  was  verj'  impressive;  and  his  Views 
on  Theology,  and  Political  Atheism  were  read  with  much  attention, 
Dying  in  1863,  he  sleeps  in  New  Haven,  the  place  of  his  birth". 

E.  D.  Mansfield  wrote  of  him,  (Personal  Memories,  p.  138) :  "His 
house  was  just  across  the  street  from  Mrs.  Lord's,  where  I  boarded, 
and  as  my  window  was  on  that  side  of  the  house  I  used  often  to 
see  him  and  hear  his  violin,  of  which  he  was  very  fond,  sending 
forth  merry  tunes.  It  is  said  that  he  would  return  from  a  funeral 
and  send  forth  the  quickest  airs  from  his  fiddle.  He  was  of  the 
most  cheerful  temperament. . . .  He  was  called  the  'great  gun  of  Cal- 
vinism', and  it  seemed  to  me  the  very  irony  of  fate  to  see  him  tried 
ten  years  after  by  the  Presbytery  of  Cincinnati  for  heresy  in  Cal- 
vlnistic  Theology". 

Theodore  Parker  once  said  that  Lyman  Beecher  was  the  father 
of  more  brains  than  any  other  man  in  America.  Little  can  be 
said  here  of  these  children,  as  only  their  childhood  was  spent  in 
Litchfield.  The  lives  of  Harriet  Beecher  Stowe,  Henry  Ward 
Beecher,  Isabel  Beecher  Hooker,  the  pioneer  of  women's  rights, 
Thomas  Beecher,  and  the  rest  belong  elsewhere.  We  may  at  least 
give  an  anecdote  of  each  of  the  first  two  during  their  lives  in  Litch- 

It  was  while  a  pupil  at  Miss  Pierce's  Academy  that  Harriet 
Beecher  first  distinguished  herself  in  the  literary  line.  At  a  public 
exhibition  of  the  school,  three  of  the  best  compositions  of  the  year 
were  read  aloud  by  the  teacher.  "When  my  turn  came",  she  wrote 
in  after  life,  "I  noticed  that  my  father,  who  was  sitting  on  high  by 
Mr.  Brace,  brightened  and  looked  interested,  and  at  the  close  I 
heard  him  ask,  'Who  wrote  that  composition?'  'Your  daughter.  Sir,' 
Avas  the  answer.  It  was  the  proudest  moment  of  mj^  life".  The 
subject  of  this  essay  by  so  young  a  child  is  perhaps  the  most 
remarkable  part  of  the  story.  It  was:  'Can  the  Immortality  of  the 
Soul  be  proved  by  the  light  of  Nature?' 

Clarence  Deming  had  many  stories  of  the  Beechers.  which  he 
collected  from  David  C.  Bulkley  and  William  Norton.  He  has 
described  the  Henry  Ward  Beecher  of  Litchfield  as  a  stout,  florid 
youngster  of  the  stocky  type,  running  around  in  short  jacket,  with 
a  fresh  and  rather  moonish  face,  fair  hair,  pretty  closely  cropped 
above,  but  with  one  of  those  curls  plastered  before  the  ear  which 
our  ancestors  used  to  style  'soap-locks',  from  the  chief  agent  used 
in  their  construction. 

"A  little  way  back  from  their  school",  Mr.  Deming  used  to  tell, 
''was  an  old  barn  with  full  hay  mow,  where  the  boys  played  during 
recess.  On  the  crest  of  the  mow,  Henry  built  himself  a  ridge  of 
hay  into  the  rough  likeness  of  his  father's  pulpit.  By  making  a 
hole  l)ehind  it,  he  lowered  himself  so  as  to  bring  the  pulpit's  edge 


to  his  chest;  in  some  way  he  got  hold  of  an  immense  pair  of  blue 
goggleg.  which  gave  him  a  most  whimsical  air.  Then  he  would 
mount  his  airy  perch,  and  begin  his  sermon  to  his  school  mates; 
he  used  no  articulate  words,  but  a  jargon  of  word-sounds,  with 
rising  and  falling  inflections,  wonderfully  mimicking  those  of  his 
father.  The  rotund  phrasing,  the  sudden  fall  to  solemnity,  the 
sweeping  paternal  gesture,  the  upbrushing  of  the  hair,  were  all 
imitated  perfectly  by  the  son.  At  the  end  of  this  novel  service,  by 
way  of  benediction,  he  would  take  off  the  goggles,  dash  away  the 
front  of  the  pulpit,  double  himself  up  and  roll  down  the  slope  of 
the  hay  mow  into  the  midst  of  his  merry  congregation". 

Harriet  Beecher  was  born  in  Litchfield,  June  14,  1811,  and 
Henry  "Ward  Beecher,  June  24,  1813.  The  Beecher  house  was  the 
scene  of  many  happy  days  with  all  the  chOdren.  Here  too  occurred 
some  of  those  famous  showers,  of  which  the  minister's  home  was 
the  recipient  in  those  generous  old  days.  Catherine  Beecher  has 
left  us  an  account  of  one  of  these,  in  the  Beecher  Autobiography, 
Vol.  I.,  p.  325:  "The  most  remarkable  and  unique  of  these  (demon- 
strations of  the  affection  of  his  parishioners  after  his  wife's  death) 
was  what  in  Ncav  England  is  called  the  minister's  wood-spell,  when, 
by  previous  notice,  on  some  bright  winter  day,  every  person  in 
the  parish  who  chooses  to  do  so  sends  a  sled  load  of  wood  as  a 
present  to  the  pastor.  On  this  occasion  Ave  were  previously  notified 
that  the  accustomed  treat  of  doughnuts,  and  loaf-cake,  cider  and 
flip,  must  be  on  a  much  larger  scale  than  common.. .  .When  the 
auspicious  day  arrived,  the  snow  was  thick,  smooth,  and  well  packed 
for  the  occasion;  the  sun  shone  through  a  sharp,  drj'  and  frosty 
air;  and  the  whole  town  was  astir.  Toward  the  middle  of  the 
afternoon,  runners  arrived  with  news  of  the  gathering  of  the 
squadrons.  Mount  Tom  was  coming  with  all  its  farmers;  Bradley- 
ville  also;  Chestnut  Hill,  and  the  North  and  South  settlements; 
while  the  Town  Hill  gentry  Avere  on  the  qui  vive  to  hunt  up  every 
sled  and  yoke  of  oxen  not  employed  by  their  owners.  Before  sun- 
down the  yard,  and  the  lower  rooms  of  our  house  Avere  swarming 
with  cheerful  faces.  Father  Avas  ready  with  his  cordial  greetings, 
adroit  in  detecting  and  admiring  the  special  merits  of  every  load  as 
it  arrived.  The  kind  farmers  Avanted  to  see  all  the  children,  and 
we  Avere  busy  as  bees  in  waiting  on  them.  The  boys  heated  the 
flip-irons,  and  passed  around  the  cider  and  flip,  while  Aunt  Esther 
and  the  daughters  were  busy  in  serAdng  the  doughnuts,  cake  and 
cheese.  And  siich  a  mountainous  wood-pile  as  rose  in  our  yard 
never  before  Avas  seen  in  ministerial  domains!" 

In  this  connection  Ave  Avill  reprint  the  foUoAving  account  of  a 
shower  to  the  second  minister  at  South  Farms,  from  the  columns 
of  the  Litchfield  Monitor,  May  16,  1798.  It  has  already  been 
(luoted  by  Elizabeth  C.  Barney  Buel,  (Mrs.  John  L.  Buel),  in  her 
admirable  essay.  The  Spinning- Wheel,  1903:  "On  Wednesday  the 
second  instant,  A'isited  at  the  house  of  the  Rev.  Amos  Chase  about 
<>0  of  his  female  friends  parishioners,  who  made  the  A-ery  acceptable 


presentation  of  seventy  run  of  Yarn  to  his  family.  In  the  course 
of  the  decent  and  cordial  socialities  of  the  afternoon,  the  ladies 
were  entertained  by  their  pastor  with  a  sermon  adapted  to  the 
occasion, — from  these  words,  Gen.  XXXI.  43,  'What  can  I  do,  this 
day,  unto  these  my  daughters?'" 

Clarence  Deming  has  told  many  anecdotes  of  the  elder  Beecher, 
as  well  as  of  his  children.  Several  have  to  do  with  two  of  his 
chief  characteristics,  his  absent-mindedness  and  his  love  of  fishing, 
and  one  combines  both;  sometimes  when  the  hour  for  a  week-day 
service  came,  he  would  still  be  down  on  the  Little  Pond,  a  mile 
away,  in  his  boat,  the  Yellow  Perch.  Then  would  follow  the  hasty 
dash  up  the  hill  behind  his  pastoral  nag.  At  the  end  of  one  of 
the  hasty  returns,  it  is  related  that  a  small  fish  dropped  from  his 
coat  tail  pocket  as  he  mounted  the  pulpit  stairs. 

Lyman  Beeclier's  sermons  were  never  inferior;  but  they  were 
long,  as  was  the  wont  of  the  day,  and  Mansfield  has  told  us  that 
they  were  also  sometimes  dull,  but  always  likely  to  become  inspired 
again  with  a  fresh  burst  of  eloquence.  "The  long,  closely  argumenta- 
tive discourses  of  100  years  ago",  says  Miss  Esther  H.  Thompson, 
in  the  Water  bury  American,  1906,  "while  drilling  the  hearers  to  be 
close  listeners  and  deeply  logical  thinkers,  most  certainly  were 
wearisome.  An  old  friend  remembered  the  time  when  on  warm 
summer  afternoons  frequently  men  took  off  their  coats  in  church 
and  sat  in  their  shirt-sleeves.  One  of  our  own  earliest  memories 
is  that  of  a  good  old  neighbor,  who,  following  the  custom  of  long 
ago,  often  walked  by  to  church  with  no  coat,  only  a  vest  and  the 
whitest  of  shirt-sleeves.  Farmers,  wearied  with  the  week's  unceas- 
ing toil,  found  their  best  clothes  and  cramped  position  on  hard 
seats  all  too  trying  for  them  easily  to  keep  awake.  As  sleep 
threatened  to  overpower  them,  one  and  another  man  would  arise, 
shake  his  cramped  and  tired  legs,  stretch  well  his  arms  above  his  head, 
then  fold  them  over  the  top  of  the  pew  door,  while  he  stood  for  a 
little  time  before  settling  down  again  in  his  seat,  refreshed  to  endure 
the  remainder  of  the  service.  All  was  so  decorously  and  solemnly 
done,  and  the  occurrence  so  common,  that  no  one  thought  of  smil 
ing  or  criticising.  Nor  was  it  unusual  for  many  a  wearied  woman 
to  take  her  handkerchief,  a  corner  of  her  shawl,  anything,  to  cushion 
the  hard  rest  for  her  head  on  the  seat  back  in  front  of  her,  and 
soothe  eyes  and  brain  by  a  change  of  position.  The  much  rldi- 
clued  carrying  of  dried  orange  peel,  'meetin'  seed'  (fennel  and  carro- 
way)  to  be  frugally  distributed  among  the  family  and  munched 
during  service  time,  was  almost  an  act  of  devotion,  a  visible  struggle 
to  keep  awake  and  receive  the  benefits  of  the  exercises.  In  still 
earlier  times  the  same  end  was  accomplished  through  the  services 
of  a  Tithing  man,  who  with  long  pole,  spiked  at  one  end,  and  with 
knot  or  squirrel  tail  at  the  other,  would  prick  or  tickle  into  wake 
fullness  the  sleepy  or  punch  into  submission  the  disorderly.  Tithing 
men  continued  to  be  appointed  for  all  the  churches  in  town  till 
after  1815". 



Lyman  Beecher  was  very  much  liked  and  admired  throughout 
his  stay.  CJoL  Tallmadge,  especially,  was  always  endeavoring  to 
do  something  to  give  him  satisfaction.  In  the  last  years  of  Rev. 
Dan  Huntington's  ministry,  he  was  instrumental  in  obtaining  the 
Christening  Bowl  for  the  church,  and  in  1825  he  and  Julius  Deming 
purchased  the  Communion  service  which  is  still  in  use. 

With  the  departure  of  Lyman  Beecher,  the  old  Church  on  the 
Green  was  taken  down,  and  the  third  church  erected  on  the  site  of 
the  present  Congregational  church.  We  have  lingered  on  the  old 
churches  for  several  reasons.  In  the  first  place  their  ministers, 
especially  Judah  Champion  and  Lyman  Beecher,  were  very  remark- 
able men;  but  further  than  this,  the  early  Congregational  church 
in  New  England  was  typical  of  the  whole  population.  It  was 
the  established  church,  so  far  as  there  has  ever  been  any  such  in  our 
country.  The  church  affairs  were  voted  upon  in  town  meetings,  the 
rate  to  maintain  the  church  was  laid  alike  on  all  citizens  until  the 
first  steps  in  toleration  began  to  be  taken,  and  politics  even  found 
their  way  into  the  pulpit.  The  North  and  South  Consociations, 
which  included  all  the  parishes  in  the  County,  were  reputed  to 
have  a  great  power  in  the  nominations  for  local  and  state  officials. 
And  finally  the  customs  of  this  church  were  the  customs  of  all  the 
people.  They  gave  the  early  settlers  of  Litchfield  much  of  their 

To  quote  the  explanation  of  Arthur  Goodenough,  made  in  a  like 
case:  in  The  Clergy  of  Litchfield  County,  published  by  the  Litch- 
field County  University  Club,  1909,  p.  idii,  "From  my  own  point  of 
view  I  excuse  myself  in  part  for  the  lack  of  proportion  in  treatment 
by  assuming  that  the  Congregational  ministry  was  a  part  of  the 
indigenous  element  which  made  Litchfield  County  to  differ  from  the 
rest  of  the  world,  and  so  to  be  worthy  of  special  mention,  while  those 
of  other  name  represent  the  invasion  of  a  cosmic  influence  that  is 
making  us  like  other  people". 

The  great  changes  which  were  to  take  place  in  Litchfield  in  the 
thirties  were  foreshadowed  by  nothing  more  strongly  than  by  the 
passing  of  the  church  from  the  individual  position  it  held  in  the 
Green  to  its  humbler  setting  on  the  street,  where  houses  and  stores 
could  command  positions  on  an  equal  footing.  As  though  loath  to 
go,  the  old  spire,  which  had  been  considered  unsafe,  showed  an 
unexpected  strength.  Even  after  half  of  its  timbers  were  ont  and 
ropes  had  been  attached  to  it  and  carried  long  distances  in  all 
directions,  a  line  of  a  hundred  men  and  boys  and  two  yoke  of  oxen 
could  not  move  it  at  all.  Then  the  remaining  great  timbers,  one  by 
one,  were  sawed,  till  the  last  support  was  gone,  and  the  graceful 
spire  trembled,  tottered,  then  suddenly  sprang  forward,  turning  a 
somersault,  and  fell  burying  its  point  deep  in  the  ground  close  by 
the  large  west  door. 



The  first  meeting  of  the  inhabitants  of  Litchfield  for  the  elec- 
tion of  Town  Officers  was  held  on  December  12,  1721,  and  resultet! 
as  follows: 

John  Marsh,  Town  Clerk. 

John  Buel,  Nathaniel  Hosford,  John  Marsh,  Selectmen. 

John  Collins,  (Caulkins?),  Grand  Jure. 

William  Goodrich,  Constable  and  Collector. 

Benjamin  Gibbs,  Thomas  Lee,  Surveyors. 

Eleazer  Strong,  Samuel  Root,  Fence  Viewers. 

Daniel  Culver,  Hay  ward. 

Joseph  Bird,  Collector  of  Minister's  Rate. 

The  only  other  business  done  at  this  meeting  was  to  admit  an 
inhabitant,  Joseph  Kilbourn,  of  Wethersfield,  who  had  recently  pur- 
chased two  Rights,  one-thirtieth  of  the  whole  township,  from  two  of 
the  original  proprietors,  who  had  evidently  been  discouraged  from 
coming  to  Litchfield  to  take  up  their  own  Rights.  It  is  interesting 
to  notice  that  newcomers  had  to  be  passed  upon.  As  Woodruff  has 
pointed  out,  p.  27,  "the  first  inhabitants  were  peculiarly  careful 
that  none  but  persons  of  good  character  should  be  permitted  to 
settle  among  them.  If  a  stranger  made  a  purchase  in  the  planta- 
tion, a  proviso  was  sometimes  inserted  in  the  deed,  that  the  Inhabit- 
ants should  accept  of  the  purchaser,  and  that  he  should  run  'the 
risk  of  trouble  from  the  Grand  Committee'.  On  the  1st  of  April, 
1724,  it  was  voted  that  'the  Commite  of  hartford  and  Windsor 
Chouce  Inhabitance,  In  Cace  any  new  are  brought  into  town,  and 
the  town  judg  them  not  holsome,  then  to  be  Judged  by  indifrant  men, 
and  by  them  Judged  Good  inhabitance,  the  cost  to  be  paid  by  Litch- 
field, if  not  the  cost  to  be  paid  by  the  Commite  that  made  Choice  of 
said  Inhabitantse'." 

This  vote  was  a  wise  one,  as  it  insured  the  growth  of  the  settle- 
ment through  the  accession  of  a  fine  group  of  pioneers.  Henry 
Ward  Beecher  bore  testimony  later  to  the  character  of  these  men, 
in  a  passage  quoted  by  Emily  Noyes  Vanderpoel,  (Mrs.  John  A. 
Vanderpoel),  Chronicles  of  a  Pioneer  School,  p.  29:  "The  early 
settlers  were  men  of  broad  and  liberal  mould,  and  began  their 
work  upon  this  hilltop  in  a  characteristic  fashion.  They  laid  out 
their  streets  and  staked  off  the  village  common,  with  such  generous 
breadth  that  they  remain  the  delight  of  residents  and  the  admira- 


tion  of  strangers  to  this  day.  They  made  such  liberal  provision  for 
education  and  religion  that  the  settlement  soon  became  noted  for 
the  excellence  of  its  schools  and  the  commanding  influence  of  its 

It  is  probable,  as  stated  elsewhere,  that  the  wide  streets  were 
planned  more  for  the  convenience  of  the  cattle  than  the  delight  of 
the  residents  and  strangers ;  but  the  result  to  us  is  the  sama  In  the 
early  days,  the  streets  were  considerably  wider  even  than  they  now 
are,  as  may  be  seen  by  pacing  off  the  measurements  given  in  a  pre- 
vious chapter.  The  hill  was  very  swampy,  from  the  hardpan  sub- 
soil, so  that  when  the  trees  had  been  cleared  alders  grew  up  rapidly 
in  the  streets.  Part  of  the  hill,  at  least,  was  said  to  be  an  alder 
swamp  even  at  the  time  of  the  arrival  of  the  settlers.  Just  how 
far  this  was  so  cannot  now  be  determined.  There  is  a  legend  that 
part  of  the  swamp,  about  where  Crutch's  Drug-Store  now  is,  or  a 
little  to  the  north,  was  so  boggy  that  the  line  of  South  Street,  Town 
Hill  Street  as  it  was  then  called,  was  laid  out  to  the  east  to  avoid 
it,  so  that  North  Street  and  South  Street  to-day  are  not  a  continu- 
ous line.  There  is  another  tale  of  a  very  large  oak,  somewhere  in 
the  area  of  our  present  Center  Park,  so  beautiful,  that  the  settlers 
laid  out  North  Street,  Town  Street  as  they  called  it,  to  the  west,  to 
avoid  having  to  cut  it.  Neither  of  these  stories  is  entirely  con- 
vincing. The  line  of  the  streets  at  first  had  no  resemblance  what- 
soever to  their  course  at  the  present  day.  Their  width  was  so 
broad,  that  the  present  Library  Building  would  have  encroached 
materially  into  the  theoretical  roadway.  Through  this  wide 
expanse  of  alders  and  grass  and  hummocks  wound  along  at  first 
nothing  more  than  a  footpath,  then  came  a  variety  of  footpaths,  one 
on  either  side  of  the  tract  and  others  crossing  it  where  convenient. 
Gradually  regular  roads  were  developed,  not  much  more  than  wheel 
tracks  going  up  and  down  the  tract,  with  a  wide  green  belt  of  grass 
between.  This  double  driveway  extended  along  both  North  and 
South  Streets,  it  is  said,  while  oddly  enough,  on  East  and  West 
Streets,  which  then  constituted  Meeting  House  Street  and  which 
to-day  is  divided  by  the  parks  into  two  streets,  one  by  the  stores 
and  one  bj  the  County  House,  was  then  just  one  Street,  running 
past  the  Meeting  House,  the  School  House  and  later  the  Court 
House.  The  story  of  the  big  oak  is  further  rendered  improbable  by 
the  settlers'  hard  struggles  with  the  forest  in  general.  Their  only 
use  for  trees  was  to  cut  them  down.  The  probable  explanation  of 
the  discontinuity  of  the  two  streets  running  north  and  south  is 
simi)ly  that  it  was  most  convenient  to  follow  the  natural  crest  of 
the  hill  in  a  more  or  less  winding  fashion,  and  that  when  later  on 
the  actual  driveway  was  straightened  out  it  would  not  adjust  itself 
into  one  continuous  line.  As  the  line  was  broken  anyway  by  the 
buildings  then  in  the  Green,  this  did  not  matter  very  much  at  the 

It  is  difficult  to  think  of  our  beautiful  streets  as  still  so  unkempt 
in  the  period  of  the  Kevolution,  that  little  Mary  Pierce,  a  younger 


half-sister  of  Miss  Pierce  who  kept  the  Academy,  got  lost  in  the 
alder  bushes  when  sent  across  the  street  on  an  errand  to  a  neigh- 
bor's house. 

The  streets  have  been  narrowed  from  their  great  early  width 
by  repeated  town  votes,  granting  strips  of  land  to  the  abutting 
house-owners  for  the  purposes  of  front  yards.  The  earliest  houses 
were  built  right  on  the  road.  As  new  strips  of  land  have  been 
given  up  by  the  town  some  of  the  newer  houses  have  been  built  out 
onto  this  sometimes  restricted  land.  A  case  in  point  is  the  house 
now  owned  by  Miss  Thurston  on  North  Street.  When  this  property 
was  last  transferred,  it  was  found  that  a  part  of  the  dwelling  was 
on  restricted  land,  so  that  the  town  could  have  insisted  on  its  being 
moved  back.  The  matter  was,  however,  arranged  more  simply  by 
a  release  of  the  restriction. 

The  widest  of  all  the  streets  was  the  present  Gallows  Lane, 
which  was  then  called  Middle  Street  and  as  we  have  seen  was  laid 
out  28  rods  wide.  The  present  name  was  not  given  until  after 
May  8,  1780,  when  Barnet  Davenport,  a  young  man  from  Washing- 
ton, who  had  committed  several  murders,  was  executed  there. 

Boads  outside  of  the  immediate  center  were  also  laid  out  gradu- 
ally, though  it  would  appear  that  there  was  no  established  con- 
nection for  two  years  between  what  really  constituted  two  separate 
settlements,  one  on  Litchfield  Hill  and  one  on  Chestnut  Hill.  On 
December  26,  1722,  it  was  voted  to  lay  out  a  highway  from  Bantam 
River  to  the  Chestnut  Hill  home  lots,  "in  the  range  where  the  foot- 
path now  is".  This  vote  was  so  popular  that  another  town  meet- 
ing was  held  the  next  day,  December  27,  1722,  at  which  it  was  voted 
"to  lay  out  a  highway  from  John  Marsh's  home  lot  to  the  south 
bounds;  and  the  highway  by  Mr.  Collins  house  to  be  continued  to 
the  north  bounds;  and  the  highway  running  east  to  be  extended 
to  the  east  bounds;  and  west,  or  south-west,  from  Thomas  Pier's, 
according  to  the  best  skill  of  the  Committee;  and  the  highway  run- 
ning north  from  Pier's,  to  be  continued  to  the  north  bounds". 

The  holding  of  town  meetings  on  two  consecutive  days,  as  in 
the  case  just  mentioned,  was  due  sometimes  to  the  rule  requiring 
the  adjournment  of  these  meetings  at  the  coming  of  evening,  "No 
act  of  the  town  should  stand  in  force",  so  ran  the  vote,  "that  was 
passed  after  day-light  failed  to  record  it".  This  regulation  lasted 
for  a  long  time;  the  only  reference  found  to  its  abrogation  is  at  a 
Town  meeting  of  January  3,  1782,  when  it  was  voted  that  "the 
Selectmen  bring  in  candles  so  that  further  business  may  be  done 
this  evening". 

Sometimes  the  convenience  found  in  this  singular  regulation  has 
a  slightly  ironical  flavor,  as  when,  on  April  14,  1731,  it  was  "Voted, 
after  dark,  that  Mr.  Collins  have  the  choice  of  pews  for  himself  and 
family".  Taking  into  account  the  many  difficulties  encountered  in 
seating  the  meeting-house  and  the  debatable  popularity  of  Timothy 


Collins,  it  looks  as  though  the  meeting  was  reserving  to  itself  a 
loophole  of  escape  if  the  minister  took  an  advantage  of  this  vote 
which  was  not  to  the  general  liking! 

Many  of  these  early  votes  are  quaint  to  our  eyes.  Sometimes 
the  spelling  appears  grotesque  to  us:  "Voted  to  ajurn  this  meeting 
to  to  morah  Sun  half  an  hour  High  at  Night";  "Voted  that  ye  owners 
of  schoolers  sent  to  school  for  time  to  come  shal  find  fire  wood  for 
ye  schooll".  Sometimes  it  is  the  character  of  the  business  trans- 
acted that  constitutes  the  quaintness:  "Voted  liberty  to  Mr.  Collins, 
to  erect  a  Blacksmith's  Shop  joining  to  his  fence  the  backside  of  the 
meeting-house";  "Voted  that  James  Morris  and  Nathaniel  (Joodwin 
be  added  to  the  Nuisance  Committee";  "Voted  a  Committee  to 
assist  the  Clerk  in  perusing  the  town  votes  and  to  conclude  what 
shall  be  transcribed  into  the  town  book,  and  what  not";  "Voted 
unanimously  to  grant  permission  for  the  Small  Pox  to  be  com- 
municated and  carried  on  by  Innoculation  on  Gillets  Folly  so  called, 
it  being  a  Peninsula  or  neck  of  land  belonging  to  Stephen  Baldwin 
in  the  Northern  part  of  the  Great  Pond". 

This  last  vote  is  from  the  town  meeting  of  March  11,  1783,  and 
takes  us  back  to  the  terrible  Small-pox  scare  that  passed  over  the 
whole  country  during  and  at  the  close  of  the  Revolution.  For  a 
time  the  columns  of  the  Monitor  were  filled  with  notices  of  physici- 
ans offering  to  inoculate  in  different  parts  of  the  county,  though  it 
would  appear  that  the  practise  of  inoculation  in  our  town  was  care- 
fully restricted  and  supervised  during  the  whole  period  of  twenty 
years  that  Pest-houses  were  continued. 

Several  applications  for  new  establishments,  if  they  deserved 
so  high-sounding  a  name,  are  found  in  the  votes  of  the  Town. 

April  7,  1783:  "A  Petition  of  sundry  Inhabitants  of  South 
Farms  praying  for  Liberty  to  set  up  Inoculation  for  the  Small  Pox 
on  Marsh's  Point  being  read  and  considered  was  negatived". 

October  15,  1798:  "Uriah  Tracy  was  chosen  Moderator.  At 
which  Meeting  there  was  a  written  request  exhibited  by  several 
Gentlemen  of  said  Town  of  Litchfield,  praying  for  the  establish- 
ment of  two  or  more  Pest  Houses  in  the  Western  part  of  the  said 
Town  for  the  greater  convenience  of  inoculation  to  the  people  resid- 
ing in  the  Western  part  of  the  South  Farms  Society  and  so  in  the 
Society  of  Milton.  Voted  not  to  add  to  the  number  of  Houses 
already  assigned  by  said  Town  for  said  purpose". 

The  most  elaborate  description  in  the  records  of  the  conduct 
of  these  houses  is  contained  in  another  vote,  which  may  be  quoted 
at  some  length,  as  showing  the  nature  of  such  an  early  Hospital, 
and  the  fear  of  contagion  which  surrounded  it: 

March  20,  1797:  "Voted  that  permission  be,  and  the  same  is, 
hereby  granted  to  the  civil  Authority  and  Selectmen  of  the  Town 
to  give  liberty  for  the  Small  Pox  to  be  communicated  by  inoculation 
at  the  house  of  Daniel  Lord,  standing  on  Chestnut  Hill,  purchased 
by  him  of  the  heirs  of  Michael  Dickinson,  also  the  house  of  Ros- 


well  Harrison,  lately  the  property  of  Thomas  Harrison:  Places  in 
the  Town  and  at  no  other  Place;  and  the  Hospitals  so  to  be  opened 
shall  be  governed  by  the  following  rules  and  regulations  and  such 
others  as  the  Civil  Authorities  and  the  Selectmen  shall  from  time 
to  time  adopt,  to  wit: 

"First,  that  limits  be  proscribed  over  which  the  Person  infected 
shall  not  be  suffered  to  go. 

"Second,  that  the  limits  thus  proscribed  do  not  extend  within 
forty  rods  of  any  public  road  except  those  necessary  to  be  improved 
for  said  Purpose  on  which  signals  shall  be  placed  at  least  the  afore- 
said number  of  rods  from  each  side  of  said  Hospital  by  which  Per- 
sons may  acquaint  themselves  of  the  Business. 

"Third,  that  Captain  William  Bull  and  James  Morris,  Esqr., 
be  and  the  same  are  hereby  appointed  Overseers  to  appoint  or 
approve  of  the  Nurses  or  Tenders  necessary  to  be  employed,  to  give 
orders  respecting  the  Time  the  Persons  infected,  their  Nurses  and 
Tenders,  shall  continue  in  the  aforesaid  Hospital,  and  also  respect- 
ing their  changing  and  coming  out,  and  such  other  order  and  direc- 
tion as  shall  be  judged  most  expedient  (for)  preserving  the  inhabit- 
ants from  taking  the  Infection,  for  which  service  a  recompense  shall 
be  paid  by  those  concerned. 

"Fourth,  that  no  Person  thus  infected  be  suffered  to  depart  with- 
out first  obtaining  from  said  Committee  or  some  Physician  by  them 
appointed  a  Certificate  giving  his  or  their  Approbation. 

"Fifth,  and  that  each  Person  before  inoculation  do  procure  good 
and  sufficient  Bonds  to  answer  the  Penalty  of  the  Statute  in  such 
case  made  and  provided:  that  he  or  they  will  strictly  comply  with 
all  and  singular  the  foregoing  Rules  and  Regulations  and  such 
others  as  the  Civil  Authority  and  Selectmen  shall  adopt,  which 
Bonds  shall  be  taken  by  the  aforesaid  Overseers. 

"Sixth,  that  the  several  Physicians  shall  also  procure  Bonds  for 
security  against  spreading  the  infection  through  their  means  and 
not  to  inoculate  anyone  who  shall  not  procure  a  Certificate  from 
one  or  more  said  Overseers. 

"Seventh,  that  the  Nurses  and  Tenders  shall  also  procure  Bonds 
not  to  admit  any  Person  in  said  Hospital  without  the  consent  of  the 
Overseers  and  to  use  all  due  attention  to  prevent  the  spreading  the 
same  through  their  means  or  neglect". 

We  have  no  record  of  any  casualties  in  Litchfield  from  the 
Inoculation,  fortunately,  but  may  of  the  people  were  infected.  The 
beautiful  and  sprightly  Mariann  Wolcott,  about  whom  we  shall 
write  more  presently,  was  one  of  these,  as  we  learn  from  a  letter  from 
her  father,  Gov.  Oliver  Wolcott  Sr.,  to  Mrs.  Wolcott,  March  22, 
1777:  "I  have  this  instant  rec'd  a  Letter  from  Dr.  Smith,  of  the  12th. 
wherein  he  tells  me  that  you  and  the  children  have  been  inoculated 
for  the  Small  Pox,  and  that  he  apprehended  you  was  so  far  thro' 
it  as  to  be  out  of  Danger,  casualties  excepted, — News  which  is  very 
agreeable  to  me,  as  I  have  for  some  time  been  much  concerned  lest 
you  should  take  the  infection  of  that  distressing  Disease  unpre- 


pared.  I  perceive  that  Mariana  has  had  it  bad;  he  writes,  'very 
hard'.  I  am  heartily  sorry  for  what  the  little  child  has  suffered 
and  very  much  want  to  see  her.  If  she  has  by  this  lost  some  of  her 
Beauty,  which  I  hope  she  has  not,  yet  I  well  know  she  might  spare 
much  of  it  and  still  retain  as  much  as  most  of  her  sex  possess".  • 
(Wolcott  Memorial,  p.  168). 

In  another  letter  from  Dr.  Reuben  Smith  to  Oliver  Wolcott  Sr., 
dated  April  17,  1777,  is  preserved  an  account  of  the  origin  of  the 

"Some  soldiers  having  brought  home  the  small  pox,  I  found  a 
number  had  ventured  upon  innoculation  without  making  proper  pro- 
vision that  it  might  not  spread  in  the  town.      The  people  were  much 
divided;  some  warmly  engaged  for  innoculation,  others  as  warmly 
opposed.      Unhappily  for  me,  I  was  chosen  one  of  the  Selectmen  this 
year  and  was  therefore  under  a  necessity  of   interposing  in  the 
matter;  and  thought  best,  as  it  was  against  law,  neither  to  encour- 
age or  oppose,  but  endeavor  to  bring  it  under  a  proper  regulation, 
in  which,  however,  I  failed  of  the  wished  for  success,  our  counsels 
being  very  much  divided.       Several  having  taken  in  the  natural 
way  from  those  that  were  inoculated.  Captain  Marsh  was  engaged 
to  crush  innoculation  wholly ;  and  some  people  have  been  so  unreason- 
able as  to  say  Mr.  Strong  was  both  for  and  against  it.      Be  that  as 
it  may,  it  served  as  a  game.      Both  had  like  to  have  been  losers." 
No  accurate  record  has  been  preserved  as  to  who  was  the  last 
survivor  of  the  original  settlers  of  Litchfield.      Supply  Strong,  the 
father  of  Jedediah  Strong,  lived  to  the  age  of  90,  and  died  in  1786; 
but  it  is  possible  that  others  lived  to  a  later  date.      Among  the 
children  whom  the  settlers  brought  with  them  into  the  wilderness, 
should  be  mentioned  Zebulon  Gibbs,  who  was  only  nine  years  old 
when  his  father,  Benjamin  Gibbs,  came  to  Litchfield  in  1720.      He 
died   in   1803,    at   the    ripe    age   of   92   years.          It    so    happened 
that  the  first  male  child  born  in  the  settlement  was  his  younger 
brother,  Gershom  Gibbs,  born  July  28,  1721.      We  recognize  in  the 
latter's  name  the  old  Puritan  knowledge  of  the  Bible;  for  in  Exodus, 
11.22,  it  is  written:  "And  she  bare   (Moses)   a  son,  and  he  called 
his  name  Gershom :  for  he  said,  I  have  been  a  stranger  in  a  strange 
land".       In  the  Revolution,  Gershom  Gibbs,  was  taken  a  prisoner 
by  the  English  at  Fort  Washington,  and  died  in  prison.      The  first 
white  child  born  in  Litchfield  was  Eunice,  the  daughter  of  Jacob 
Griswold;  she  was  born  on  March  21,  1721,  and  was  afterwards  the 
wife  of  Captain  Solomon  Buel. 

Certainly  the  two  most  prominent  of  this  gallant  band  of  men 
were  John  Marsh  and  John  Buel,  of  whom  we  will  quote  the  follow- 
ing accounts  from  Kilbourne,  p.  70: 

".John  Marsh  had  long  been  a  prominent  citizen  of  Hartford 
before  he  interested  himself  in  the  Western  Lands;  and  from  the 
time  when  he  came  out  to  'view  the  new  plantation'  in  May,  1715, 
till  about  the  year  1738,  his  name  was  intimately  associated  with 


the  history  of  Litchfield.  He  served  this  town  in  the  various 
offices  within  her  gift  during  the  entire  period  of  his  residence  here. 
While  an  inhabitant  of  Hartford,  he  was  often  a  Representative  in 
the  Legislature,  a  Justice  of  the  Peace,  an  Associate  Judge  of  the 
County  Court,  and  a  member  of  the  Council  of  War.  He  returned 
to  Hartford  from  Litchfield  in  his  old  age,  and  died  there.  He  was 
interred  in  the  old  Burying  Ground  back  of  the  Center  Church.  His 
children  remained  in  this  town,  and  his  descendants  here  and  else- 
where are  very  numerous. 

"John  Buel  was  about  fifty  years  of  age  when  he  became  a 
resident  of  this  town,  and  had  previously  filled  the  office  of  Deacon 
of  the  church  in  Lebanon.  He  was  repeatedly  elected  to  almost  every 
office  within  the  gift  of  his  fellow  citizens,  besides  being  appointed 
on  nearly  all  the  most  important  Committees.  As  a  Deacon  in  the 
Church,  Captain  of  the  Militia,  Selectman,  Treasurer,  Representa- 
tive, and  Justice  of  the  Peace,  he  discharged  his  duties  efficiently  and 
faithfully.  A  brief  anecdote,  as  given  by  Mr.  Powers,  in  his  Cen- 
tennial Address  at  Goshen,  will  serve  to  illustrate  the  benevolence 
of  his  character:  In  the  winter  of  1740-41,  a  man  came  from  Com 
wall  to  purchase  some  grain  for  himself  and  family,  who  were  in 
great  need,  and  was  directed  to  Deacon  Buel.  The  stranger  soon 
called,  and  made  known  his  errand.  The  Deacon  asked  him  if  he 
liad  the  money  to  pay  for  the  grain.  He  answered  affirmatively. 
"Weir,  said  the  Deacon.  'I  can  show  you  where  you  can  procure  it'. 
Going  with  the  stranger  to  the  door,  he  pointed  out  a  certain  house 
to  him  saying,  'There  lives  a  man  who  will  let  you  have  grain  for 
your  money.  I  have  some  to  spare,  but  I  must  keep  it  for  those 
who  have  no  money'.  Deacon  Buel  died  April  6, 1746,  aged  75  years. 
His  wife  survived  him  22  years.  Both  were  interred  in  the  West 
Burying  Gi'ound". 

These  two  leaders  of  Litchfield  were  associated  in  every  move- 
ment for  the  progress  of  the  town.  On  the  6th  of  February  1722,  the 
use  of  the  stream  of  Bantam  River  and  thirty  acres  of  land  was 
voted  to  them,  on  condition  that  they  would  erect  a  Grist  Mill  and 
keep  the  same  in  order.  And  it  was  they  again  who  were  directed 
to  petition  the  General  Assembly  the  same  year  "for  liberty  to  set 
up  a  church  and  society  in  Litchfield". 

They  were  also  among  those  appointed  to  negotiate  a  settlement 
of  the  Iwundary  line  between  Litchfield  and  Waterbury.  The  sev- 
eral boundaries  of  the  township  continued  to  be  a  cause  of  dispute 
for  over  fifty  years,  but  as  the  bounds  as  finally  adjusted  appear  to 
be  satisfactory  to-day,  and  wholly  a  matter  of  course,  it  is  not  neces- 
sary to  review  all  the  transactions  that  took  place  in  detail.  The 
bounds  on  the  east  and  west  being  formed  by  the  Naugatuck  and 
Housantonic  Rivers,  there  was  little  question  as  to  their  where- 
abouts. But  on  the  north  and  south,  the  various  white  oak  trees 
and  trees  with  stones  about  them  which  are  mentioned  in  the  Town 
Patent  were  naturally  open  to  increasing  variety  of  interpretation 
as  the  years  passed.      The  North  line  was  run  by  Roger  Sherman, 


afterwards  a  signer  of  the  Declaration  of  Independence.  He  lived 
in  New  Milford,  and  was  appointed  Ck)unty  Surveyor  of  the  then  new 
County  of  Litchfield  in  1754,  and  his  manuscript  account  of  our 
northern  boundary  is  still  preserved-  The  determination  of  the 
southern  bounds  was  a  more  disputatious  business  and  no  one  of 
such  distinction  was  involved  in  its  settlement.  After  the  settle- 
ment of  the  Waterbury  boundary  in  1722,  the  Woodbury  boundary 
remained  in  dispute  for  some  twenty  years.  A  committee  of  Litch- 
field men  'perambulated'  this  part  of  the  wilderness  in  1727  with  a 
committee  from  Woodbury.  In  1728,  two  Agents  were  chosen  to 
act  in  the  'controversy'.  In  1731,  they  were  re-appointed  to  enquire 
"what  light  can  be  had  concerning  our  line".  Taxes  were  laid  in 
the  same  year  and  again  in  1742,  to  defray  the  expenses  involved  in 
all  this  perambulating  and  searching.  As  no  one  could  know 
where  such  a  line  did  run,  there  never  having  been  any  carefully 
defined  line  anyway,  the  matter  dragged  on,  and  apparently  adjusted 
itself  in  the  end,  for  no  definite  record  of  the  settlement  has  sur- 
vived, though  the  line  is  now  happily  established  somehow.  When 
Old  Judea  was  set  off  from  the  town  of  Woodbury  in  1779,  under  its 
present  name  of  Washington,  the  boundary  came  up  once  more,  the 
inhabitants  of  the  new  township  arbitrarily  changing  the  line  in 
their  petition  for  an  incorporation  so  as  to  include  Avithin  their 
limits  all  of  Davies'  Hollow  and  the  adjoining  sections  of  Mount 
Tom.  At  first  the  Litchflelders,  in  great  excitement,  resolved  to 
defend  their  claim  before  the  General  Assembly,  appointing  Andrew 
Adams  to  appear  for  them.  Finally,  perhaps  because  of  the  strong 
Episcopalian  sentiment  in  that  region,  which  was  not  considered  any 
too  desirable  at  a  period  when  the  Church  of  England  and  the 
tories  were  always  linked  together,  it  was  decided  not  to  oppose 
the  change  in  the  line,  and  Colonel  Adams  was  again  appointe<l. 
this  time  to  appear  before  the  General  Assembly  with  a  petition 
that  Washington  be  allowed  to  "regulate  the  line  of  the  town"  iu 
its  own  way. 

The  boundaries  of  South  Farms  were  established  and  definetl 
in  1767;  those  of  Northfield  in  1794;  and  those  of  Milton  in  1795, 
when  each  of  those  separate  parishes  was  organized.  Much  later, 
in  1859,  South  Farms  was  set  off  as  a  distinct  township  under  the 
name  of  Morris. 

"It  is  an  interesting  fact",  (Kilbourne,  p.  61),  "that  the  town 
of  Goshen  was  organized  at  the  house  of  Deacon  John  Buel  in  West 
Street.  On  September  27,  1738,  the  proprietors  of  Goshen,  then 
called  New^  Bantam,  met  there,  and  again  on  the  following  day, 
when  the  organization  of  the  town  was  completed.  Dating  from 
this  day,  the  Centennial  anniversary  of  Goshen  was  celebrated  on 
September  28,  1838,  on  which  occasion  an  interesting  historical 
discourse  was  delivered  by  the  Rev.  Grant  Powers.  Several  of 
the  original  proprietors  of  Goshen  were  residents  of  Litchfield".  A 
fuller  account  of  the  meetings  held  in  Deacon  Buel's  house  is  givou 
in  Rev.  A.  G.  Hibbard's  History  of  Goshen,  1897,  pp.  31-35. 


Kivalry  between  Woodbury  and  Litchfield  again  developed  in 
connection  with  the  establishment  of  the  new  County,  and  this  time 
Goshen  was  also  a  rival,  not  to  speak  of  Canaan  and  Cornwall. 
The  rivalry  was  over  the  location  of  the  County  Seat,  which  was 
established  finally  in  Litchfield,  and  the  County  was  called  Litch- 
field County.  Woodbury  had  of  course  no  chance  to  be  made  the 
County  Seat,  because  of  its  remote  position,  but  it  took  the  oppor- 
tunity to  try  to  organize  a  separate  County,  or  to  be  re-annexed  to 
Fairfield  County.  These  and  later  attempts  of  the  same  kind  were 
not  successful.  The  claims  of  Goshen  to  be  the  County  Seat  were 
much  more  considerable,  chiefly  because  of  its  central  position  in 
the  territory.  Several  families  who  were  coming  into  these  parts 
at  that  time  moved  to  Goshen  in  the  expectation  that  its  claims  to 
leadership  would  be  successful;  among  those  who  did  so,  and  who 
came  to  Litchfield  when,  in  1751,  the  matter  was  finally  decided, 
was  Oliver  Wolcott,  who  was  appointed  the  first  High  Sheriff,  The 
County  Treasurer  was  John  Catlin;  the  County  Clerk  was  Isaac 
Baldwin;  one  of  the  Associate  Judges  was  Ebenezer  Marsh;  all  of 
Litchfield;  the  remaining  County  officers  and  Judges  were  from 
other  parts  of  the  County. 

The  formation  of  the  County  was  a  most  important  event  for 
the  prosperity  of  Litchfield;  legally,  commercially,  socially,  and 
indirectly  educationally,  much  of  the  success  and  prestige  of  Litch- 
field dates  from  this  time.  All  the  Courts  for  the  County  met  in 
Litchfield,  including  the  Supreme  Court  of  Errors,  and  the  Superior 
and  County  Courts.  These  Courts  all  continued  to  meet  in  Litch- 
field and  not  elsewhere  in  the  County  until  1873,  In  that  year 
thirteen  of  the  towns  in  the  County,  but  not  including  Litchfield, 
were  constituted  a  Judicial  District,  known  as  the  District  Court 
for  the  First  District  of  Litchfield,  with  sessions  at  Winchester 
(the  Courts  sitting  at  Winsted),  Canaan  (the  Courts  sitting  at 
Falls  Village),  and  New  Milford.  This  Court  was  abolished  in 
1883  and  the  Court  of  Common  Pleas  for  Litchfield  County  consti- 
tuted with,  sessions  at  Litchfield  and  the  three  towns  just  named. 
In  1881  the  District  Court  of  Waterbury  was  given  jurisdiction 
over  several  towns  in  this  County.  In  the  same  year  Litchfield 
County  was  included  with  Hartford,  Tolland,  Middlesex  and  Wind- 
ham Counties  in  the  first  judicial  District  of  the  Supreme  Court 
of  Errors  with  sessions  only  at  Hartford.  In  1897  an  act  was 
passed  providing  for  sessions  of  the  Superior  Court  at  Litchfield. 
New  Milford  and  Winchester.  These  changes  have  greatly  reduced 
the  importance  of  Litchfield  as  a  judicial  center  in  the  last  fifty 

The  importance  which  the  formation  of  the  new  County  gave 
to  Litchfield  led  to  a  singular  contrast,  for  we  find  Litchfield  in 
the  position  of  a  County  Seat,  with  its  courts  and  other  business, 
yet  with  no  newspaper,  no  mail-service,  no  means  for  passenger 
travel ! 


It  was  a  life  that  centered  witliin  itself  to  a  degree  that  we 
cim  with  difficulty  picture  to-day.  The  condition  of  the  roads,  so 
far  as  there  were  any  roads,  prevented  travel  except  on  horseback, 
save  when  the  snow  made  sleighing  a  possibility.  Kilboume  says, 
p.  166;  'Horses  were  trained  to  carry  double;  and  it  was  not  an 
uncommon  thing  to  see  father,  mother  and  at  least  one  child  mounted 
on  the  same  horse.  Long  journeys  were  sometimes  taken  with  this 
triple  load.  For  years  after  the  Old  Forge,  in  the  western  part  of 
the  town,  was  erected,  the  ore  for  its  use  was  brought  from  the  iron- 
mines  of  Kent  in  bags  slung  across  the  backs  of  horses;  and  the 
bar-iron  manufactured  there,  was  bent  in  the  form  of  ox-bows  and 
carried  to  market  on  horseback.  Ox-carts  and  ox-sleds  were  com- 
mon, and  journeys  of  hundreds  of  miles  were  not  infrequently  made 
in  these  tedious  vehicles.  Many  of  the  ambitious  and  hardy  young 
men  of  this  town,  who  emigrated  to  Vermont,  to  the  Genesee  Country, 
and  to  New  Connecticut,  went  on  foot,  each  carrying  a  pack,  in 
which  was  enclosed,  as  an  indispensable  part  of  his  outfit,  a  new 
nxo.      Some  who  thus  went,  became  men  of  wealth  and  distinction. 

"There  was  no  public  conveyance  between  Litchfield  and  the 
neighboring  or  more  remote  towns,  for  a  period  of  nearly  seventy 
years  after  the  settlement  of  the  place  commenced.  As  early  as 
1766,  it  is  true,  William  Stanton  was  a  post-rider  between  Litch- 
field and  Hartford;  but  as  it  is  said  that  his  journeys  were  per- 
formed on  horseback,  the  inference  is  that  he  did  not  make  a  practice 
of  carrying  passengers!  Indeed,  during  the  Revolution,  all  regular 
communication  between  the  interior  towns  was  suspended,  even 
where  it  had  before  existed;  but  expresses  were  sent  hither  and 
tliither,  as  the  exigencies  of  the  hour  might  demand.  Litchfield 
Avas  on  the  great  inland  route  from  Boston  to  New  York,  as  well 
as  on  that  from  Hartford  to  Westpoint,  so  that  the  travel  through 
the  tow^n  was  very  great. 

"Tlie  establishment  of  a  weekly  paper  in  this  village,  in  1784, 
sseemed  to  call  for  some  method  of  obtaining  and  circulating  the 
news.  Tliere  was  not  a  Post-Office  or  a  Mail  Koute  in  the  County 
of  Litchfield;  and  how  the  subscribers  contrived  to  get  their  papers 
may  well  be  regarded  as  a  mystery  by  the  publishers  of  our  day. 
In  1789,  Jehiel  Saxton,  a  post-rider  between  New  Haven  and  Lenox, 
passed  through  this  town  on  his  route,  at  stated  intervals.  In 
1790.  another  of  this  interesting  class  of  primitive  k-tter-carriers  and 
errand-men,  commenced  his  long  and  lonely  rides  over  the  almost 
interminable  succession  of  hills,  between  the  Litchfield  Court-House 
and  the  city  of  New  York,  leaving  each  place  once  a  fortnight.  That 
was  a  proud  day  for  Litchfield — perhaps  for  New  Y'ork  also!" 
(Kilbourne,  p.  167). 

It  is  readily  conceived  that  in  such  a  state  of  isolation,  the  early 
settlers  of  Litchfield  were  more  immediately  concerned  with  laying 
out  the  Little  Plain,  where  the  West  Cemetery  now  is.  and  with 
draining  the  adjacent  swamps  along  the  river  into  four  acre  meadows 
for  the  use  of  those  who  M^ere  working  up  their  herds,  than  with  the 


great  concerns  of  the  outer  world.  Kilbourne  notes  that  the  First 
French  War,  1744-1748,  came  and  went  without  leaving  a  trace  on 
our  minute  book  of  the  town  meetings.  The  matter  of  the  new 
County,  which  was  just  then  coming  up,  was  a  business  of  vastly 
greater  importance  to  the  town  than  how  a  war  which  was  in  pro- 
gress at  such  a  distance  should  be  decided. 

When  the  Last  French  War,  1755-1763,  began,  Litchfield  had 
developed  so  rapidly  as  to  be  ready  to  do  its  share  from  the  begin- 
ning. At  the  start  of  the  war,  Connecticut  raised  a  force  of  a 
thousand  men,  and  this  was  gradually  increased  to  five  thousand, 
which  was  maintained  through  all  the  campaigns.  Unfortunately, 
but  a  single  list  of  the  soldiers  raised  in  Litchfield  during  this 
period  has  been  preserved,  and  many  of  the  names  on  it  are  of  men 
who  came  to  Litchfield  to  enlist.  This  is  the  pay-roll  for  Capt. 
Archibald  McNeile's  Company,  in  the  second  regiment  of  Connecti- 
cut Forces,  for  the  year  1762,  which  is  on  file  in  the  office  of  tht^ 
Secretary  at  Hartford.  This  list  is  reprinted  in  the  Appendix. 
Some  of  the  officers  who  i*eceived  commissions  in  these  years  were 
undoubtedly  at  the  War,  but  it  is  no  longer  possible  to  say  which 
ones.      The  list  of  these  is  as  follows: 

1756:     Captain  Solomon  Buel; 

1757:  Colonel  Ebenezer  Marsh;  Captain  Isaac  Baldwin;  Lieu- 
tenant Joshua  Smith;  Ensign  Abner  Baldwin; 

1758:    Ensign  Zebulon  Qibbs;  Captain  Archibald  McNeile; 

1760:    Lieutenant  Stephen  Smith;  Lieutenant  Eli  Catlin; 

1761:  Lieutenant  Isaac  Moss;  Lieutenant  Josiah  Smith;  Lieu 
tenant  Asa  Hopkins;  Ensign  Gideon  Harrison;  Ensign  David  Lan 

1762:    Ensign  Lynde  Lord. 

We  also  know  that  Timothy  Collins  was  Surgeon  of  one  of  the 
Connecticut  Raiments  at  the  battle  of  Crown  Point.  The  only  nar- 
rative of  service  is  the  very  laconic  one  made  by  Zebulon  Gibbs: 
•'I  was  active  in  the  French  War  in  the  year  1756  till  the  year  1762. 
I  was  conductor  of  teams  and  horses,  by  which  means  I  obtained 
the  title  of  Captain". 

The  names  of  the  more  prominent  settlers  and  those  of  the  men 
of  action  in  the  wars  of  the  time  will  not,  however,  paint  for  us  a 
true  or  complete  picture  of  those  early  days.  More  than  any  other 
period  that  has  followed  it  was  a  time  whose  real  character  was 
typified  in  those  who  were  not  men  and  women,  as  we  say,  of  action. 
In  his  Centennial  Sermon  in  1851,  the  Rev.  Horace  Bushnell  pointed 
this  out  in  what  is  really  an  address  describing  the  life  of  the 
times,  which  for  beauty  of  style,  not  less  than  for  truth  of  obser- 
vation and  dignity  of  thought,  is  probably  the  finest  address  that 
has  been  delivered  at  any  time  in  our  town.  The  changing  fashions, 
if  the  word  can  be  used  of  Sermons,  have  not  made  The  Age  of 
Homespun   one  whit  less   striking  than   it   was   the  morning  the 



great  Divine  delivered  it.  Tlie  same  humanizing  influence  whicli  he 
brought  to  his  interpretation  of  the  old  Calvinistic  theology  and 
which  made  his  preaching  appear  so  advanced  to  the  Hartford  of 
eighty  years  ago  will  be  found  in  his  kindly,  yet  always  just,  analy- 
sis, of  Colonial  life  as  it  existed  in  our  town  and  those  like  it.  The 
address  is  better  history  than  the  Historical  Address  delivered  the 
preceding  day;  it  is  better  history  than  ever  we  can  hope  to  write 
in  this  book;  and  in  reprinting  it  herewith  we  can  only  regret  that 
it  has  been  necessary  somewhat  to  abbreviate  it.  The  Sermon  in 
full  will  be  found  on  pages  107-130  of  the  Centennial  Book  published 
in  the  same  year,  1851. 



[Extracts  from  a  discourse,  delivered  at  Litchfield,  on  the  occasion 
of  the  County  Centennial  Celebration,  1851.1 

It  has  often  occurred  to  others,  I  presume,  as  to  me,  to  wish  that, 
for  once,  it  were  possible,  in  some  of  our  historic  celebrations,  to 
gather  up  the  unwritten  part,  also,  of  the  history  celebrated;  thus 
to  make  some  fit  account,  of  the  private  virtues  and  unrecorded 
struggles,  in  whose  silent  commonalty,  we  doubt  not,  are  includefl 
all  the  deepest  possibilities  of  social  advancement  and  historic  dis- 
tinction    I  think  you  will  agree  with  me,  that  nothing  is  more 

appropriate  than  to  offer  some  fit  remembrance  of  that  which  heaven 
only  keeps  in  charge,  the  unhistoric  deeds  of  common  life,  and  the 
silent,  undistinguished  good  whose  names  are  Avritten  only  ^n 
heaven.  In  this  view,  I  propose  a  discourse  on  the  words  of  King 
Lemuel's  mother: — 

PROA^  31:  28.    "Her  children  rise  up  and  call  her  blessed". 

This  Lemuel,  who  is  called  a  King,  is  supposed  by  some  to 
have  been  a  Chaldee  chief,  or  head  of  a  clan;  a  kind  of  Arcadian 
prince,  like  Job  and  Jethro.  And  this  last  chapter  of  the  Proverbs 
is  an  Eastern  poem,  called  a  "prophecy",  that  versifies,  in  form,  the 
advice  which  his  honored  and  Avise  mother  gave  to  her  son.  She 
dwells,  in  particular,  on  the  ideal  picture  of  a  fine  woman,  such  as 
he  may  fitly  seek  for  his  wife,  or  queen;  drawing  the  picture,  doubt- 
less, in  great  part,  from  herself  and  her  own  practical  character. 
"She  layeth  her  hands  to  the  spindle  and  her  hands  hold  the  distaff. 
She  is  not  afraid  of  the  snow  for  her  household;  for  all  her  hoiise- 
hold  are  covered  with  scarlet.  Her  husband  is  known  in  the  gates, 
Avhen  he  sitteth  among  the  elders  of  the  land.  She  openeth  her 
mouth  in  wisdom,  and  in  her  tongue  is  the  law  of  kindness.  She 
looketh  well  to  the  ways  of  her  household,  and  eatetli  not  the  bread 
of  idleness".  Omitting  other  points  of  the  picture,  she  is  a  frugal, 
faithful,  pious  housewife;  clothing  her  family  in  garments  prepared 
by  her  industry,  and  the  more  beautiful  honors  of  a  well-kept,  well- 
mannered  house.  She,  therefore,  it  is,  who  makes  the  center  of  a 
happy  domestic  life,  and  becomes  a  mark  of  reverence  to  her 
children: — "Her  children  rise  up  and  called  her  blessed". 

A  very  homely  and  rather  common  picture,  some  of  you  may 
fancy,  for  a  queen,  or  chief  woman;  but,  as  you  view  the  subject 
more  historically,  it   will  become  a  picture   even   of   dignity   and 


polite  culture.  The  rudest  and  most  primitive  stage  of  society 
has  its  most  remarkable  distinction  in  the  dress  of  skins;  as  in 
ancient  Scythia,  and  in  many  other  parts  of  the  world,  even  at  the 
present  day.  The  preparing  of  fabrics,  by  spinning  and  weaving, 
marks  a  great  social  transition,  or  advance;  one  that  was  slowly 
made  and  is  not  even  yet  absolutely  perfected.  Accordingly,  the 
art  of  spinning  and  weaving  was,  for  long  ages,  looked  upon  aa  a 
kind  of  polite  distinction;  much  as  needle  work  is  now.  Thus, 
when  Moses  directed  in  the  preparation  of  curtains  for  the  Taber- 
nacle, we  are  told  that  "all  the  women  that  were  wise-hearted  did 
spin  with  their  hands".  That  is,  that  the  accomplished  ladies  who 
understood  this  fine  art,  (as  few  of  the  women  did),  executed  his 
order.  Accordingly,  it  is  represented  that  the  most  distinguished 
queens  of  the  ancient  time  excelled  in  the  art  of  spinning;  and  the 
poets  sing  of  distaffs  and  looms,  as  the  choicest  symbols  of  princely 
women-  If  I  rightly  remember,  it  is  even  said  of  Augustus,  him- 
self, at  the  height  of  the  Roman  splendor,  that  he  wore  a  robe  that 
was  made  for  him  by  Livia,  his  wife. 

You  perceive,  in  this  manner,  that  Lemuel's  mother  has  any  but 
rustic  ideas  of  what  a  wife  should  be.  She  describes,  in  fact,  a 
lady  of  the  highest  af^^^omplishments,  whose  harpsichord  is  the  distaff, 
whose  piano  is  the  loom,  and  Avho  is  able  thus,  by  the  fine  art  she 
is  mistress  of,  to  make  her  husband  conspicuous  among  the  elders 
of  the  land.  Still,  you  will  understand  that  what  we  call  the  old 
spinning-wheel,  a  great  factor^'  improvement,  was  not  inventefl  till 
long  ages  after  this ;  being,  in  fact,  a  comparatively  modern,  I  believe 
a  German  or  Saxon,  improvement.  The  distaff,  in  the  times  of 
my  text,  was  held  in  one  hand  or  under  one  arm,  and  the  spindle, 
hanging  by  the  thread,  Avas  occasionally  hit  and  twirled  by  the  other. 
The  weaving  process  was  equally  rude  and  simple. 

These  references  to  the  domestic  economy  of  the  more  ancient 
times,  have  started  recollections,  doubtless,  in  many  of  you,  that 
are  characteristic,  in  a  similar  way,  of  our  own  primitive  historj. 
You  have  remembered  the  wheel  and  the  loom.  You  have  recalled 
the  fact,  that  our  Litchfield  County  people  down  to  a  period  com- 
paratively recent,  have  been  a  people  clothed  in  homespun  fabrics — 
not  wholly,  or  in  all  cases,  but  so  generally  that  the  exceptions  may 
be  fairly  disregarded.  In  this  fact  I  find  my  subject.  As  it  is 
sometimes  said  that  the  history  of  iron  is  the  history  of  the  world, 
or  the  history  of  roads  a  true  record,  always,  of  commercial  and 
social  progress,  so  it  has  occurred  to  me  that  I  may  give  the  most 
effective*  and  truest  impression  of  Litchfield  County,  and  especially 
of  the  unhistoric  causes  included  in  a  true  estimate  of  the  century 
now  passed,  under  this  article  of  homespun;  describing  this  first 
century  as  the  Homespun  Age  of  our  people.  The  subject  is  homely, 
as  it  should  be;  but  I  think  we  shall  find  enough  of  dignity  in  it 
as  we  proceed,  even  to  content  our  highest  ambition;  the  more,  that 
I  do  not  propose  to  confine  myself  rigidly  to  the  single  matter  of 
spinning  and  weaAung.  but  to  gather  round  this  feature  of  domestic 


life,  taken  as  a  symbol,  or  central  type  of  expression,  whatever  is 
most  characteristic  in  the  living  picture  of  the  times  we  commemo- 
rate, and  the  simple,  godly  virtues,  we  delight  to  honor. 

What  we  call  History,  considered  as  giving  a  record  of  notable 
events,  or  transactions,  under  names  and  dates,  and  so  a  really 
just  and  true  exhibition  of  the  causes  that  construct  a  social  state, 
I  conceive  to  be  commonly  very  much  of  a  fiction.  True  worth  is, 
for  the  most  part,  unhistoric,  and  so  of  all  the  beneficent  causes  and 
powers  included  in  the  lives  of  simple  worthy  men:  causes  most 
efficient,  as  regards  the  well-being  and  public  name  of  communities. 
They  are  such  as  flow  in  silence,  like  the  great  powers  of  nature. 
Indeed,  we  say  of  history,  and  say  rightly,  that  it  is  a  record  of 
events :  that  is,  of  turnings  out,  points  where  the  silence  is  broken 
by  something  apparently  not  in  the  regvdar  flow  of  common  life; 
just  as  electricity,  piercing  the  world  in  its  silent  equilibrium,  hold- 
ing all  atoms  to  their  places,  and  quickening  even  the  life  of  our 
bodies,  becomes  historic  only  when  it  thunders;  though  it  does  noth- 
ing more,  in  its  thunder,  than  simply  to  notify  us,  by  so  great  a 
noise,  of  the  breach  of  its  connections  and  the  disturbance  of  its 
silent  work.  Besides,  in  our  historic  pictures,  we  are  obliged  to 
sink  particulars  in  generals  and  so  to  gather,  under  the  names  of  a 
prominent  few,  what  is  really  done  by  nameless  multitudes.  These, 
we  say,  led  out  the  colonies ;  these  raised  up  the  states  and  communi- 
ties ;  these  fought  the  battles.  And  so  we  make  a  vicious  inversion, 
not  seldom,  of  the  truth;  representing  as  causes,  those  who,  after 
all,  are  not  so  much  causes  as  effects,  not  so  much  powers  as  instru- 
ments, in  the  occasions  signalized  by  their  names :  caps  only  of  foam, 
that  roll  conspicuous  in  the  sun,  lifted,  still,  by  the  deep  underswell 
of  waters  hid  from  the  eye. 

Therefore,  if  you  ask,  who  made  this  Litchfield  County  of  ours, 
it  will  be  no  sufficient  answer  that  you  get,  however  instructive  and 
useful,  when  you  have  gathered  up  the  names  that  appear  in  our 
public  records  and  recited  the  events  that  have  found  an  honorable 
place  in  the  history  of  the  County,  or  the  Kepublic.  You  must  not 
go  into  the  burial  places,  and  look  about  only  for  the  tall  monuments 
and  the  titled  names.  It  is  not  the  starred  epitaphs  of  the  Doctors 
of  Divinity,  the  Generals,  the  Judges,  the  Honorables,  the  Governors, 
or  even  the  village  notables  called  Esquires,  that  mark  the  springs  of 
our  successes  and  the  sources  of  our  distinction.  These  are  rather 
effects  than  causes;  ija.e  spinning  wheels  have  done  a  great  deal 
more  than  these.  Around  the  honored  few,  here  a  Bellamy,  or  a 
Day,  sleeping  in  the  midst  of  his  flock;  here  a  Wolcott,  or  a  Smith; 
an  Allen,  or  a  Tracy;  a  Keeve,  or  a  Gould;  all  names  of  honor: 
round  about  these  few,  and  others  like  them,  are  lying  multitudes  of 
worthy  men  and  women,  under  their  humbler  monuments,  or  in 
graves  that  are  hidden  by  the  monumental  green  that  loves  to  freshen 
over  their  forgotten  resting  place;  and  in  these,  the  humble  but  good 
many,  we  are  to  say  are  the  deepest,  truest  causes  of  our  happy 
history.         Here  lie  the  sturdy  kings  of  Homespun,  who  climbed 


iimong  these  liills,  with  their  axes,  to  cut  away  room  for  their 
cabins  and  for  family  prayers,  and  so  for  the  good  future  to  come. 
Here  lie  their  sons,  who  foddered  their  cattle  on  the  snows,  and  built 
stone  fence  while  the  corn  was  sprouting  in  the  hills,  getting  ready, 
in  that  way,  to  send  a  boy  or  two  to  college.  Here  lie  the  good 
housewives,  that  made  coats  every  year,  like  Hannah,  for  their 
children's  bodies,  and  lined  their  memory  with  catechism.  Here 
the  millers,  that  took  honest  toll  of  the  rye;  the  smiths  and  coopers, 
that  superintended  two  hands  and  got  a  little  revenue  of  honest 
bread  and  schooling  from  their  small  joint  stock  of  two-handed 
investment.  Here  the  district  committees  and  school  mistresses; 
the  religious  society  founders  and  church  deacons;  and,  withal,  a 
great  many  sensible,  wise-headed  men,  who  read  a  weekly  newspaper, 
loved  George  Washington  and  their  country,  and  had  never  a  thought 
of  going  to  the  General  Assembly!  These  arc  the  men  and  Avomen 
who  made  Litchfield  County.  Who  they  are,  by  name,  we  cannot 
tell:  no  matter  Avho  they  are:  Ave  should  be  none  the  wiser  if  we 
lould  name  them ;  they  themselves  none  the  more  honorable.  Enough 
that  they  are  the  King  Lemuels  and  their  Queens,  of  the  good  old 
times  gone  by:  kings  and  queens  of  Homespun,  out  of  whom  we 
draw  our  royal  lineage. 

I  have  spoken  of  the  great  advance  in  human  society,  indicated 
by  a  transition  from  the  dress  of  skins  to  that  of  cloth — an  advance 
of  so  great  dignity,  that  spinning  and  weaving  were  looked  upon  as 
a  kind  of  fine  art,  or  polite  accomplishment.  Another  advance, 
and  one  that  is  equally  remarkable,  is  indicated  by  the  transition 
from  a  dress  of  homespun  to  a  dress  of  factory  cloths,  produced  by 
machinery  and  obtained  by  the  exchanges  of  commerce,  at  home  or 
abroad.  This  transition  we  are  now  making,  or  rather,  I  should 
say,  it  is  already  so  far  made  that  the  very  terms,  "domestic  manu- 
factiire",  have  quite  lost  their  meaning;  being  applied  to  that  which 
is  neither  domestic,  as  being  made  in  the  house,  nor  manufacture, 
as  being  made  by  the  hands.  This  transition  from  mother  and 
daughter  poAver  to  Avater  and  steam  poAA^er  is  a  great  one,  greater 
by  far  than  many  have  as  yet  begun  to  conceive:  one  that  is  to 
carry  Avith  it  a  complete  revolution  of  domestic  life  and  social  man- 
ners. If,  in  this  transition,  there  is  something  to  regret,  there  is 
more,  I  trust,  to  desire.  If  it  carries  aAvay  the  old  simplicity,  it 
must  also  open  higher  possibilities  of  culture  and  social  ornament. 
The  principle  danger  is,  that,  in  removing  the  rough  necessities  of 
the  homespun  age,  it  may  take  away,  also,  the  severe  virtues  and  the 
homely  but  deep  and  true  piety  by  which,  in  their  blessed  fruits, 
as  we  are  all  here  testifying,  that  age  is  so  honorably  distinguished. 
Be  the  issue  AA-hat  it  may,  good  or  bad,  hopeful  or  unhopefid,  it  has 
come;  it  is  already  a  fact,  and  the  consequences  must  follow. 

If  our  sons  and  daughters  should  assemble,  a  hundred  years 
hence,  to  hold  another  celebration  like  this,  they  will  scarcely  be 
able  to  imagine  the  Arcadian  pictures  now  so  fresh  in  the  memory 
of  so  many  of  us,  though  to  the  younger  part  already  matters  of 


hearsay  more  than  of  personal  knowledge  or  remembrance.  Every- 
thing that  was  most  distinctive  of  the  old  homespun  mode  of  life 
will  then  have  passed  away.  JThe  spinning  wheels  of  wool  and 
flax,  that  used  to  buzz  so  familiarly  in  the  childish  ears  of  some 
of  us,  will  be  heard  no  more  for  ever:  seen  no  more,  in  fact,  save 
in  the  halls  of  the  Antiquarian  Societies,  where  the  delicate  daugh- 
ters will  be  asking,  what  these  strange  machines  are,  and  how  they 
were  made  to  go?  The  huge,  hewn-timber  looms,  that  used  to 
occupy  a  room  by  themselves,  in  the  farm  houses,  will  be  gone,  cut 
up  for  cord  wood,  and  their  heavy  thwack,  beating  up  the  woof, 
will  be  heard  no  more  by  the  passer  by;  not  even  the  Antiquarian 
Halls  will  find  room  to  harbor  a  specimen.  The  long  strips  of 
linen,  bleaching  on  the  grass,  and  tended  by  a  sturdy  maiden, 
sprinkling  them  each  hour  from  her  water-can,  under  a  broiling 
sun,  thus  to  prepare  the  Sunday  linen  for  her  brothers  and  her  own 
wedding  outfit,  will  have  disappeared,  save  as  they  return  to  fill  a 
picture  in  some  novel  or  ballad  of  the  old  time.  The  tables  will 
be  spread  with  some  cunning,  water-power  Silesia  not  yet  invented, 
or  perchance  some  meaner  fabric  from  the  cotton  mills.  The  heavy 
Sunday  coats,  that  grew  on  sheep  individually  remembered,  more 
comfortably  carried  in  warm  weather  on  the  arm,  and  the  specially 
fine-striped,  blue  and  white  pantaloons,  of  linen  just  from  the  loom, 
will  no  longer  be  conspicuous  in  processions  of  footmen  going  to 
meeting,  but  will  have  given  place  to  showy  carriages,  filled  with 
gentlemen  with  broadcloth,  festooned  with  chains  of  California 
gold,  and  delicate  ladies  holding  perfumed  sun  shades.  The  churches 
too,  that  used  to  be  simple  brown  meeting  houses,  covered  with 
rived  clapboards  of  oak,  will  have  come  down,  mostly,  from  the 
bleak  hill  tops,  into  the  close  villages  and  populous  towns,  that 
crowd  the  waterfalls  and  the  railroads;  and  the  old  burial  places, 
where  the  fathers  sleep,  will  be  left  to  their  lonely  altitude:  token, 
shall  we  say,  of  an  age  that  lived  as  much  nearer  to  heaven  and 
as  much  less  under  the  world.  The  change  will  be  complete. 
Would  that  we  might  raise  some  worthy  monument  to  a  state  which 
is  then  to  be  so  far  passed  by,  so  worthy,  in  all  future  time,  to  be 
held  in  all  dearest  reverence. 

It  may  have  seemed  extravagant,  or  fantastic,  to  some  of  you, 
that  I  should  think  to  give  a  character  of  the  century  now  past, 
under  the  one  article  of  homespun.  It  certainly  is  not  the  only,  or 
in  itself  the  chief  article  of  distinction;  and  yet  we  shall  find  it  to 
be  a  distinction  that  runs  through  all  others,  and  gives  a  color  to 
the  whole  economy  of  life  and  character,  in  the  times  of  which  we 

Thus,  if  the  clothing  is  to  be  manufactured  in  the  house,  then 
flax  will  be  grown  in  the  plowed  land,  and  sheep  will  be  raised  in 
the  pasture,  and  the  measure  of  the  flax  ground,  and  the  number 
of  the  flock,  will  correspond  with  the  measure  of  the  home  market, 
the  number  of  the  sons  and  daughters  to  be  clothed,  so  that  the 
agriculture  out  of  doors  will  map  the  family  in  doors.       Then  as 


there  is  no  thought  of  obtaining  the  articles  of  clothing,  or  dress, 
by  exchange;  as  there  is  little  passing  of  money,  and  the  habit  of 
exchange  is  feebly  developed,  the  family  will  be  fed  on  home  grown 
products,  buckwheat,  indian,  rye,  or  whatever  the  soil  will  yield. 
And  as  carriages  are  a  luxury  introduced  only  with  exchanges,  the 
lads  will  be  going  back  and  forth  to  the  mill  on  horseback,  astride 
the  fresh  grists,  to  keep  the  mouths  in  supply.  The  meat  market 
will  be  equally  domestic,  a  kind  of  quarter-master  slaughter  and 
supply,  laid  up  in  the  cellar,  at  fit  times  in  the  year.  The  daughters 
that,  in  factory  days,  would  go  abroad  to  join  the  female  conscrip- 
tion of  the  cotton  mill,  will  be  kept  in  the  home  factory,  or  in  that 
of  some  other  family,  and  so  in  the  retreats  of  domestic  life.  And 
so  it  will  be  seen,  that  a  form  of  life  which  includes  almost  every 
point  of  economy,  centers  round  the  article  of  homespun  dress,  and 
is  by  that  determined-  Given  the  fact  that  the  people  spin  their 
own  dress,  and  you  have  in  that  fact  a  whole  volume  of  characteris- 
tics. They  may  be  shepherds  dwelling  in  tents,  or  they  may  build 
them  fixed  habitations,  but  the  distinction  given  will  show  them  to 
be  a  people  who  are  not  in  trade,  whose  life  centers  in  the  family, 
home-bred  in  their  manners,  primitive  and  simple  in  their  character, 
inflexible  in  their  piety,  hospitable  without  show,  intelligent  with- 
out refinement.  And  so  it  will  be  seen  that  our  homespun  fathers 
and  mothers  made  a  Puritan  Arcadia  among  these  hills,  answering 
to  the  picture  which  Polibius,  himself  an  Arcadian,  gave  of  his  coun- 
trymen, when  he  said  that  they  had,  "throughout  Greece,  a  high  and 
honorable  reputation;  not  only  on  account  of  their  hospitality  to 
strangers,  and  their  benevolence  towards  all  men,  but  especially  on 
account  of  their  piety  towards  the  Divine  Being". 

Thus,  if  we  speak  of  what,  in  the  polite  world  is  called  societj^ 
our  homespun  age  had  just  none  of  it:  and  perhaps  the  more  of 
society  for  that  reason,  because  what  they  had  was  separate  from 
all  the  polite  fictions  and  empty  conventionalities  of  the  world.  I 
speak  not  here  of  the  rude  and  promiscuous  gatherings  connected 
so  often  with  low  and  vulgar  excesses;  the  military  trainings,  the 
huskings,  the  raisings  commonly  ended  with  a  wrestling  match. 
These  were  their  dissipations,  and  perhaps  they  were  about  as  good 
as  any.  The  apple  paring  and  quilting  frolics,  you  may  set  down 
if  you  will,  as  the  polka  dances  and  masquerades  of  homespun.  If 
they  undertook  a  formal  entertainment  of  any  kind,  it  was  com- 
monly stiff  and  quite  unsuccessful.  But  when  some  two  queens  of 
the  spindle,  specially  fond  of  each  other,  instead  of  calling  back 
and  forth,  with  a  card  case  in  their  hand,  agreed  to  "join  works", 
as  it  was  called,  for  a  week  or  two,  in  spinning,  enlivening  their 
talk  by  the  rival  buzz  of  their  wheels  and,  when  the  two  skeins  were 
done,  spending  the  rest  of  the  day  in  such  kind  of  recreation  as 
pleased  them,  this  to  them  was  real  society,  and,  so  far,  a  good 
type  of  all  the  society  they  had.  It  was  the  society  not  of  the 
Nominalists,  but  of  the  Kealists;  society  in  or  after  work;  spon- 
taneously gathered  for  the  most  part,  in  terms  of  elective  affinity: 


toot  excursions  of  young  people,  or  excursions  on  horse  back,  after 
the  haying,  to  the  tops  of  the  neighboring  mountains;  boatings,  on 
the  river  or  the  lake,  by  moon  light,  filling  the  wooded  shores  and 
the  recesses  of  the  hills  with  lively  echoes ;  evening  schools  of  sacred 
music,  in  which  the  music  is  not  so  much  sacred  as  preparing  to  be ; 
evening  circles  of  young  persons,  falling  together,  as  they  imagine 
by  accident,  round  some  village  queen  of  song,  and  chasing  away 
the  time  in  ballads  and  glees  so  much  faster  than  they  wish,  that 
just  such  another  accident  is  like  to  happen  soon;  neighbors  called 
in  to  meet  the  minister  and  talk  of  both  worlds  together,  and,  if  he  is 
limber  enough  to  suffer  it,  in  such  happy  mixtures,  that  both  are 
melted  into  one. 

But  most  of  all  to  be  remembered,  are  those  friendly  circles, 
gathered  so  often  round  the  winter's  fire:  not  the  stove,  but  the  fire, 
the  brightly  blazing,  hospitable  fira  In  the  early  dusk,  the  home 
circle  is  drawn  more  closely  and  quietly  round  it;  but  a  good 
neighbor  and  his  wife  drop  in  shortly,  from  over  the  way.  and  the 
circle  begins  to  spread.  Next  a  few  young  folk  from  the  other 
end  of  the  A^illage,  entering  in  brisker  mood,  find  as  many  more 
chairs  set  in  as  wedges  into  the  periphery  to  receive  them  also.  And 
then  a  friendly  sleigh  full  of  old  and  young,  that  have  come  down 
from  the  hill  to  spend  an  hour  or  two,  spread  the  circle  again, 
moving  it  still  farther  back  from  the  fire;  and  the  fire  blazes  just 
as  much  higher  and  more  brightly,  having  a  new  stick  added  for 
every  guest.  There  is  no  restraint,  certainly  no  affectation  of  style. 
They  tell  stories,  they  laugh,  they  sing.  They  are  serious  and  gay 
by  turns,  or  the  young  folks  go  on  with  some  play,  while  the  fathers 
and  mothers  are  discussing  some  hard  point  of  theologj'  in  the  min- 
ister's last  sermon;  or  perhaps  the  great  danger  coming  to  sound 
morals  from  the  multiplication  of  turnpikes  and  newspapers! 
Meantime,  the  good  housewife  brings  out  her  choice  stock  of  home 
grown  exotics,  gathered  from  three  realms,  doughnuts  from  the 
pantry,  hickory  nuts  from  the  chamber,  and  the  nicest,  smoothest 
apples  from  the  cellar;  all  which,  including,  I  suppose  I  must  add, 
the  rather  unpoetic  beverage  that  gave  its  acid  smack  to  the 
ancient  hospitality,  are  discussed  as  freely,  with  no  fear  of  conse- 
quences. And  then,  as  the  tall  clock  in  the  corner  of  the  room 
ticks  on  majestically  towards  nine,  the  conversation  takes,  it  may 
be,  a  little  more  serious  turn,  and  it  is  suggested  that  a  very  happy 
evening  may  fitly  be  ended  with  a  prayer.  Whereupon  the  circle 
breaks  up  with  a  reverent,  congratulative  look  on  every  face,  which 
is  itself  the  truest  language  of  a  social  nature  blessed  in  human 

Such,  in  general,  was  the  society  of  the  homespun  age.  It  was 
not  that  society  that  puts  one  in  connection  with  the  great  world 
of  letters,  or  fashion,  or  power,  raising  as  much  the  level  of  his 
consciousness  and  the  scale  and  style  of  his  action;  but  it  was 
society  back  of  the  world,  in  the  sacred  retreats  of  natural  feeling, 
truth  and  piety. 


Descending  from  the  topic  of  society  in  general  to  one  more  deli- 
cate, that  of  marriage  and  the  tender  passion  and  the  domestic  felici- 
ties of  the  homespun  age,  the  main  distinction  here  to  be  noted  is, 
that  marriages  were  commonly  contracted  at  a  much  earlier  period 
in  Vifi.'  than  now.  Not  because  the  habit  or  the  time  was  more 
romantic  or  less  prudential,  but  because  a  principal  more  primi- 
tive and  closer  to  the  beautiful  simplicity  of  nature  is  yet  in  vogue, 
namely,  that  women  are  given  by  the  Almighty,  not  so  much  to 
lielp  their  husbands  spend  a  living,  as  to  help  them  get  one.  Accord- 
ingly, the  ministers  were  always  very  emphatic,  as  I  remember,  in 
their  marriage  cermonies,  on  the  ancient  idea,  that  the  woman  was 
given  to  the  man  to  be  a  help,  meet  for  him.  . . .  What  more  beauti- 
ful embodiment  is  there,  on  this  earth,  of  true  sentiment,  than  the 
young  wife  who  has  given  herself  to  a  man  in  his  weakness,  to  make 
him  strong;  to  enter  into  the  hard  battle  of  his  life  and  bear  the 
brunt  of  it  with  him;  to  go  down  with  him  in  disaster,  if  he  fails, 
nud  cling  to  him  for  what  he  is;  to  rise  with  him,  if  he  rises;  and 
share  a  two-fold  joy  with  him  in  the  competence  achieved;  remem- 
bering, both  of  them,  how  it  grew,  by  little  and  little,  and  by  what 
methods  of  frugal  industry  it  w^as  nourished;  having  it  also,  not  as 
his,  but  theirs,  the  reward  of  their  common  perseverance,  and  the 
token  of  their  consolidated  love.  . .    . 

The  close  necessities  of  these  more  primitive  days  connected 
many  homely  incidents  with  marriage,  which,  however,  rather 
heighten  the  picturesque  simplicity  than  disparage  the  beauty  of  its 
attractions.  The  question  of  the  outfit,  the  question  of  ways  and 
means,  the  homely  prudence  pulling  back  the  heroics  of  faith  and 
passion  only  to  make  them  more  heroic  at  last;  all  these  you  Avill 
readily  imagine. 

I  supi)Ose  many  of  my  audience  may  have  heard  of  the  dis- 
tinguished Christian  minister,  still  living  in  the  embers  of  extreme 
old  age,  who  came  to  the  point,  not  of  a  flight  in  the  winter,?,  >but 
of  marriage,  and  partly  bj*  reason  of  the  Revolution  then  in  pro- 
gress, could  find  no  way  to  obtain  the  necessary  wedding  suit. 
Whereupon,  the  young  woman's  benevolent  mother  had  some  of 
her  sheep  sheared  and  sewed  up  in  blankets  to  keep  them  from  perish- 
ing with  cold,  that  the  much  required  felicity  might  be  consummated. 
But  the  schools, — Ave  must  not  pass  by  these,  if  we  are  to  form  a 
truthful  and  sufficient  picture  of  the  homespun  days.  The  school- 
master did  not  exactly  go  round  the  district  to  fit  out  the  children's 
minds  with  learning,  as  the  shoe-maker  often  did  to  fit  their  feet 
with  shoes,  or  the  tailors  to  measure  and  cut  for  their  bodies;  but, 
to  come  as  near  it  as  possible,  he  boarded  round  (a  custom  not  yet 
gone  by) ,  and  the  wood  for  the  common  fire  w\as  supplied  in  a  way 
equally  primitive,  by  contribution  of  loads  from  the  several  families, 
according  to  their  several  quantities  of  childhood-  The  children 
were  all  clothed  alike  in  homespun ;  and  the  only  signs  of  aristocracy 
were,  that  some  w^ere  clean  and  some  a  degree  less  so,  some  in  fine 
white  and  striped  linen,  some  in  brown  tow  crash ;  and,  in  particular, 


as  I  remember,  with  a  certain  feeling  of  quality  I  do  not  like  to 
express,  the  good  fathers  of  some  testified  the  opinion  they  had 
of  their  children  by  bringing  fine  round  loads  of  hickory  wood  to 
warm  them,  while  some  others,  I  regret  to  say,  brought  only  scanty, 
scraggy,  ill-looking  heaps  of  green  oak,  white  birch,  and  hemlock. 
Indeed,  about  all  the  bickerings  of  quality  among  the  children, 
centered  in  the  quality  of  the  wood  pile.  There  was  no  complaint 
in  those  days  of  the  want  of  ventilation;  for  the  large  open  fire- 
place held  a  considerable  fraction  of  a  cord  of  wood,  and  the  win- 
dows took  in  just  enough  air  to  supply  the  combustion.  Besides, 
the  bigger  lads  were  occasionally  ventilated,  by  being  sent  out  to  cut 
wood  enough  to  keep  the  fire  in  action.  The  seats  were  made  of  the 
outer  slabs  from  the  saw-mill,  supported  by  slant  legs  driven  into^ 
and  a  proper  distance  through  augur  holes,  and  plained  smooth  on 
the  top  by  the  rather  tardy  process  of  friction.  But  the  spelling 
went  on  bravely,  and  we  ciphered  away  again  and  again,  always 
till  we  got  through  Loss  and  Gain.  The  more  advanced  of  us  too 
made  light  work  of  Lindley  Murray,  and  went  on  to  the  parsing, 
finally,  of  the  extracts  from  Shakespeare  and  Milton,  till  some  of 
us  began  to  think  we  had  mastered  their  tough  sentences  in  a  more 
consequential  sense  of  the  term  than  was  exactly  true.  . . . 

Passing  from  the  school  to  the  church,  or  rather  I  should  say 
to  the  meeting  house,  (good  translation,  whether  meant  or  not,  of 
what  is  older  and  more  venerable  than  church,  namely  synagogue), 
here  again  you  meet  the  picture  of  a  sturdy  homespun  worship. 
Probably  it  stands  on  some  hill,  midway  between  three  or  four 
valleys,  whither  the  tribes  go  up  to  worship,  and  when  the  snow- 
drifts are  deepest  go  literally  from  strength  to  strength.  There  is 
no  furnace  or  stove,  save  the  foot-stoves  that  are  filled  from  the 
fires  of  the  neighboring  houses,  and  brought  in  partly  as  a  rather 
formal  compliment  to  the  delicacy  of  the  tender  sex,  and  sometimes 
because  they  are  really  wanted.  The  dress  of  the  assembly  is  mostly 
homespun,  indicating  only  slight  distinctions  of  quality  in  the  wor- 
shippers. They  are  seated  according  to  age,  the  old  king  Lemuels 
and  their  queens  in  the  front  near  the  pulpit,  and  the  younger  Lem- 
uels farther  back,  enclosed  in  pews,  sitting  back  to  back,  impounded, 
all,  for  deep  thought  and  spiritual  digestion;  only  the  deacons,  sit- 
ting close  under  the  pulpit,  by  themselves,  to  receive,  as  their  dis- 
tinctive honor,  the  more  perpendicular  droppings  of  the  word. 
Clean  round  the  front  of  the  gallery  is  drawn  a  single  row  of  choir, 
headed  by  the  key -pipe,  in  the  center.  The  pulpit  is  overhung  by 
an  august  wooden  canopy,  called  a  sounding  board:  study  general 
of  course  and  first  lesson  of  mystery  to  the  eyes  of  the  children, 
until  what  time  their  ears  are  opened  to  understand  the  spoken 

There  is  no  affectation  of  seriousness  in  the  assembly,  no  manner- 
ism of  worship ;  some  would  say  too  little  of  the  manner  of  worship. 
They  think  of  nothing  in  fact  save  what  meets  their  intelligence  and 
enters  into  them  by  that  method.      They  appear  like  men  who  have 

Rkv.  Truman   Marsh 


a  digestion  for  strong  meat,  and  have  no  conception  that  trifles  more 
delicate  can  be  of  any  account  to  feed  the  system.  Nothing  is  dull 
that  has  the  matter  in  it,  nothing  long  that  has  not  exhausted  the 
matter.  If  the  minister  speaks  in  his  great  coat  and  thick  gloves 
or  mittens,  if  the  howling  blasts  of  winter  blow  in  across  the  assem- 
bly fresh  streams  of  ventilation  that  move  the  hair  upon  their 
heads,  they  are  none  the  less  content,  if  only  he  gives  them  good 
strong  exercise.  Under  their  hard  and,  as  some  would  say,  stolid  faces, 
great  thoughts  are  brewing,  and  these  keep  them  warm.  Free  will, 
fixed  fate,  fore-knowledge  absolute,  trinity,  redemption,  special  grace, 
eternity:  give  them  anything  high  enough,  and  the  tough  muscles 
of  their  inward  man  will  be  climbing  sturdily  into  it ;  and  if  they  go 
away  having  something  to  think  of,  they  have  had  a  good  dayr  A 
perceptible  glow  will  kindle  in  their  hard  faces,  only  when  some 
one  of  the  chief  apostles,  a  Day,  a  Smith,  or  a  Bellamy,  has  comq 
to  lead  them  up  some  higher  pinnacle  of  thought,  or  pile  upon 
their  sturdy  mind  some  heavier  weight  of  argument:  fainting  never 
under  any  weight,  even  that  which,  to  the  foreign  critics  of  the  dis- 
courses preached  by  them  and  others  of  their  day,  it  seems  impossi- 
ble for  any,  the  most  cultivated  audience  in  the  world,  to  have  sup- 
ported. Oh,  these  royal  men  of  homespun,  how  great  a  thing  to 
them  was  religion !  The  district  school  was  there,  the  great  Bellamy 
is  here,  among  the  highest  peaks  and  solitudes  of  divine  govern- 
ment, and  between  is  close  living  and  hard  work,  and  they  are  kings 
alike  in  all! 

True  there  was  a  rigor  in  their  piety,  a  want  of  gentle  feeling; 
their  Christian  graces  were  cast-iron  shapes,  answering  with  a  hard 
metallic  ring,  but  they  stood  the  rough  wear  of  life  none  the  less 
durably  for  the  excessive  hardness  of  their  temperament,  kept 
their  families  and  communities  none  the  less  truly,  though  it  may 
be  less  benignly,  under  the  sense  of  God  and  religion.  If  we  find 
something  to  modify,  or  soften,  in  their  over-rigid  notions  of  Chris- 
tian living,  it  is  yet  something  to  know  that  what  we  are  they  have 
made  us,  and  that,  when  we  have  done  better  for  the  ages  that 
come  after  us,  we  shall  have  a  more  certain  right  to  blame  their 

View  them  as  we  may,  there  is  yet,  and  always  will  be,  some- 
thing magnificent,  in  their  stern,  practical  fidelity  to  their  prin- 
ciples. . . . 

Kegarding  now,  the  homespun  age  as  represented  in  these  pic- 
tures of  the  social  and  religious  life,  we  need,  in  order  to  a  full 
understanding,  or  conception  of  the  powers  and  the  possibilities  of 
success  embodied  in  it,  to  go  a  step  farther;  to  descend  into  the 
practical  struggle  of  common  life,  and  see  how  the  muscle  of  energy 
and  victory  is  developed,  under  its  close  necessities. 

The  sons  and  daughters  grew  up,  all,  as  you  will  perceive,  in  the 
closest  habits  of  industry.  The  keen  jockey  way  of  whittling  out 
a  living  by  small  bargains  sharply  turned,  which  many  suppose  to 
be  an  essential  characteristic  of  the  Yankee  race  is  yet  no  proper 


inbred  distinction,  but  only  a  casual  result,  or  incident,  that  per- 
tains to  the  transition  period  between  the  small,  stringent  way  of 
life  in  the  previous  times  of  home-production,  and  the  new  age  of 
trade.      In  these  olden  times,  these  genuine  days  of  homespun,  they 
supposed,  in  their  simplicity,  that  thrift  represented  work,  and 
looked  about  seldom  for  any  mo  re. delicate  or  sharper  way  of  getting 
on.      They  did  not  call  a  man's  property  his  fortune,  but  they 
spoke  of  one  or  another  as  being  worth  so  much;  conceiving  that  he 
had  it  laid  up  as  the  reward  or  fruit  of  his  deservings.      The  house 
Avas  a  factory  on  the  farm,  the  farm  a  grower  and  producer  for 
the  house.      The  exchanges  went  on  briskly  enough  but  required 
neither  money  nor  trade.    No  affectation  of  polite  living,  no  languish- 
ing airs  of  delicacy  and  softness  in  doors,  had  begun  to  make  the 
fathers  and  sons  impatient  of  hard  work  out  of  doors,  and  set  them 
at  contriving  some  easier  and  more  plausible  way  of  living.      Their 
very  dress  represented  work,  and  they  went  out  as  men  whom  the 
Avives  and  daughters  had  dressed  for  work;  facing  all  weather,  cold 
and  hot,  wet  and  dry,  wrestling  with  the  plow  on  the  stony-sided  hills, 
digging  out  the  rocks  by  hard  lifting  and  a  good  many  very  prac- 
tical experiments  in  mechanics,  dressing  the  flax,  threshing  the  rye, 
dragging  home  in  the  deep  snows  the  great  wood  pile  of  the  year's 
consumption;   and  then,  when  the  day  is  ended,  having  no  loose 
money  to  spend  in  taverns,  taking  their  recreation,  all  together, 
in  reading,  or  singing,  or  happy  talk,  or  silent  looking  in  the  fire, 
and  finally  in  sleep,  to  rise  again,  with  the  sun,  and  pray  over  the 
family  Bible  for  just  such  another  good  day  as  the  last.    And  so  they 
lived,  working  out,  each  year,  a  little  advance  of  thrift,  just  within 
the  line  of  comfort. 

The  picture  still  holds,  in  part,  though  greatly  modified  by  the 
softened  manner  of  indoor  life,  and  the  multiplied  agencies  of  emi- 
gration, travel,  trade  and  machinery.  It  is,  on  the  whole,  a  hard  and 
over-severe  picture,  and  yet  a  picture  that  embodies  the  highest 
points  of  merit,  connects  the  noblest  results  of  character.  Out  of 
it,  in  one  view,  come  all  the  successes  we  commemorate  on  this  fes- 
tive occasion. 

No  mode  of  life  was  ever  more  expensive;  it  was  life,  at  the 
expense  of  labor  too  stringent  to  allow  the  highest  culture  and  the 
most  proper  enjoyment.  Even  the  dress  of  it  was  more  expensive 
than  we  shall  ever  see  again.  Still  it  was  a  life  of  honesty,  and 
simple  content,  and  sturdy  victory.  Immoralities,  that  rot  down 
the  vigor  and  humble  the  consciousness  of  families,  were  as  much 
less  frequent,  as  they  had  less  thought  of  adventure,  less  to  do 
with  travel,  and  trade,  and  money,  and  were  closer  to  nature  and 
the  simple  life  of  home. 

If  they  were  sometime  drudged  by  their  labor,  still 
they  were  kept  by  it  in  a  generally  rugged  state,  both  of  body  an  1 
mind.  They  kept  a  good  digestion,  which  is  itself  no  small  part  of 
a  character.  The  mothers  spent  their  nervous  impulse  on  their 
muscles,  and  had  so  much  less  need  of  keeping  down  the  excess,  or 


calming  the  unspent  lightning,  by  doses  of  anodyne.  In  the  play 
of  the  wheel  they  spent  fibre  too,  within,  and  in  the  weaving,  wove 
it  close  and  firm.  Be  it  true  as  it  may,  that  the  mothers  of  the 
homespun  age  had  a  severe  limit  on  their  culture  and  accomplish 
nients.  Be  it  true  that  we  demand  a  delicacy  and  elegance  of  man- 
ners impossible  to  them,  under  the  rugged  necessities  they  bora 
Still  there  is,  after  all,  something  very  respectable  in  good  health, 
and  a  great  many  graces  play  in  its  look  that  we  love  to  study,  even 
if  there  be  a  little  of  "perdurable  toughness"  in  their  charms.  How 
much  is  there,  too,  in  the  sublime  motherhood  of  health!  Hence 
come,  not  always,  I  know,  but  oftenest,  the  heroes  and  the  great 
minds  gifted  with  volume  and  power,  and  balanced  for  the  manly 
virtues  of  truth,  courage,  persistency,  and  all  sorts  of  victory.  It 
was  also  a  great  point,  in  this  homespun  mode  of  life,  that  it  imparted 
exactly  what  many  speak  of  only  with  contempt,  a  closely  girded 
habit  of  economy.  Harnessed,  all  together,  into  the  producing  pro- 
cess, young  and  old,  male  and  female,  from  the  boy  that  rode  the 
plough-horse  to  the  grandmother,  knitting  under  her  spectacles, 
they  had  no  conception  of  squandering  lightly  what  they  had  all 
been  at  work,  thread  by  thread,  and  grain  by  grain,  to  produce. 
They  knew  too  exactly  what  everything  cost,  even  small  things,  not 
to  husband  them  carefully.  Men  of  patrimony  in  the  great  world, 
therefore,  noticing  their  small  way  in  trade,  or  expenditure,  are 
ready,  as  we  often  see,  to  charge  them  with  meanness,  simply  be- 
cause they  knew  things  only  in  a  small  way;  or,  what  is  not  far 
different,  because  they  were  too  simple  and  rustic,  to  have  any  con- 
ception of  the  big  operations,  by  which  other  men  are  wont  to 
get  their  money  without  earning  it,  and  lavish  the  more  freely  because 
it  was  not  earned.  Still  this  knowing  life  only  in  the  small,  it 
will  be  found,  is  really  anything  but  meanness. 

Probably  enough  the  man  who  is  heard  threshing  in  his  barn 
of  a  winter  evening  by  the  light  of  a  lantern,  (I  knew  such  an 
example),  will  be  seen  driving  his  team  next  day,  the  coldest  day  of 
the  year,  through  the  deep  snow  to  a  distant  wood  lot,  to  draw 
a  load  for  a  present  to  his  minister.  So  the  housewife  that  higgles 
for  a  half  hour  with  the  merchant  over  some  small  trade,  is  yet  one 
that  will  keep  watch,  not  unlikely,  when  the  school  master,  board- 
ing round  the  district,  comes  to  some  hard  quarter,  and  commence 
asking  him  to  dinner,  then  to  tea,  then  to  stay  over  night,  and 
literally  boarding  him,  till  the  hard  quarter  is  passed.  Who  now» 
in  the  great  world  of  money,  will  do,  not  to  say  the  same,  as  much, 
proportionally  as  much,  in  any  of  the  pure  hospitalities  of  life? 

Besides,  what  sufficiently  disproves  any  real  meanness,  it  will 
be  tound  that  children  brought  up  in  this  way  to  know  things  in  the 
small,  what  they  cost,  and  what  is  their  value,  have  in  just  that 
fact  one  of  the  best  securities  of  character  and  most  certain  elements 
of  power  and  success  in  life;  because  they  expect  to  get  on  by 
small  advances  followed  up  and  saved  by  others,  not  by  sudden  leaps 
of  fortune  that  despise  the  slow  but  surer  methods  of  industry  and 


Dierit.  Wlien  the  hard,  wiry-looking  patriarch  of  homespun,  for 
example,  sets  out  for  Hartford,  or  Bridgeport,  to  exchange  the  little 
surplus  of  his  year's  production,  carrying  his  provision  with  him 
-and  the  fodder  of  his  team,  and  taking  his  boy  along  to  show  him 
the  great  world,  you  may  laugh  at  the  simplicity,  or  pity,  if  you 
will,  the  sordid  look  of  the  picture;  but,  five  or  ten  years  hence,  this 
boy  will  like  enough  be  found  in  College,  digging  out  the  cent's  worth 
of  his  father's  money  in  hard  study;  and  some  twenty  years  later 
he  will  be  returning  in  his  honors,  as  the  celebrated  Judge,  or 
Governor,  or  Senator  and  public  orator,  from  some  one  of  the  great 
States  of  the  Republic,  to  bless  the  sight  once  more  of  that  vener- 
ated pair  who  shaped  his  beginnings  and  planted  the  small  seeds  of 
his  future  success.  Small  seeds,  you  may  have  thought,  of  mean- 
ness; but  now  they  have  grown  up  and  blossomed  into  a  large 
minded  life,  a  generous  public  devotion,  and  a  free  benevolence  to 

And  just  here,  I  am  persuaded,  is  the  secret,  in  no  small  degree, 
of  the  very  peculiar  success  that  has  distinguished  the  sons  of 
Connecticut  and,  not  least,  those  of  Litchfield  County,  in  their  migra- 
tion to  other  States.  It  is  because  they  have  gone  out  in  the  wise 
economy  of  a  simple,  homespun  training,  expecting  to  get  on  in 
the  world  by  merit  and  patience,  and  by  a  careful  husbanding  of 
small  advances;  secured  in  their  virtue  by  just  that  which  makes 
their  perseverance  successful.  For  the  men  who  see  the  great  in 
the  small  and  go  on  to  build  the  great  by  small  increments,  will 
commonly  have  an  exact  conscience  too  that  beholds  great  princi- 
l)les  in  small  things,  and  so  will  form  a  character  of  integrity,  before 
both  God  and  man,  as  solid  and  massive  as  the  outward  successes 
they  conquer 

I  have  wished,  in  particular,  to  bring  out  an  impression  of  the 
unrecorded  history  of  the  times  gone  by.  We  must  not  think  that 
the  great  men  have  made  the  history.  Rather  it  is  the  history  that 
has  made  the  men.  It  is  the  homespun  many,  the  simple  Christian 
men  and  women  of  the  century  gone  by,  who  bore  their  life  struggle 
faithfully,  in  these  valleys  and  among  these  hills,  and  who  now 
are  sleeping  in  the  untitled  graves  of  Christian  worth  and  piety. 
These  are  they  whom  we  are  most  especially  to  honor,  and  it  is  good 
for  us  all  to  see  and  know,  in  their  example,  how  nobly  fruitful  and 
beneficent  that  virtue  may  be,  which  is  too  common  to  be  distin- 
guished, and  is  thought  of  only  as  the  worth  of  unhistoric  men. 
Wortli  indeed  it  is,  that  worth  which,  being  common,  is  the  sub- 
structure and  the  prime  condition  of  a  happy,  social  state,  and  of 
all  the  honors  that  dignify  its  historj^:  worth,  not  of  men  only,  but 
quite  as  much  of  women;  for  you  have  seen,  at  every  turn  of  my 
subject,  how  the  age  gone  by  receives  a  distinctive  character  from 
the  queens  of  the  distaff  and  the  loom,  and  their  princely  mother- 
hood. Let  no  woman  imagine  that  she  is  without  consequence,  or 
motive  to  excellence,  because  she  is  not  conspicuous,  Oh,  it  is 
the  greatness  of  woman  that  she  is  so  much  like  the  great  powers 


of  nature,  back  of  the  noise  and  clatter  of  the  world's  aifairs,  tem- 
pering all  things  with  her  benign  influence  only  the  more  certainly 
because  of  her  silence,  greatest  in  her  beneficence  because  most  remote 
from  ambition,  most  forgetful  of  herself  and  fame;  a  better  nature 
in  the  world  that  only  waits  to  bless  it,  and  refuses  to  be  known 
save  in  the  successes  of  others,  whom  she  makes  conspicuous;  satis- 
fied most,  in  the  honors  that  come  not  to  her,  that  "Her  husband  is 
known  in  the  gates,  when  he  sitteth  among  the  elders  of  the  land!". . . 
Men  and  women  of  Litchfield  County,  such  has  been  the  past; 
a  good  and  honorable  past!  We  give  it  over  to  you:  the  future 
is  with  you.  It  must,  we  know  be  different,  and  it  will  be  what  you 
make  it.  Be  faithful  to  the  sacred  trust  God  is  this  day  placing  in 
jour  hands.  One  thing,  at  least,  I  hope;  that,  in  these  illustrations 
I  have  made  some  just  impression  on  you  all  of  the  dignity  of  work. 
How  magnificent  an  honor  it  is,  for  the  times  gone  by,  that  when 
so  many  schemes  are  on  foot,  as  now,  to  raise  the  weak;  when  the 
friends  of  the  dejected  classes  of  the  world  are  proposing  even  to 
reorganize  society  itself  for  their  benefit,  trying  to  humanize  punish- 
ments, to  kindle  hope  in  disability,  and  nurse  depravity  into  a 
condition  of  comfort,  (a  distinction  how  magnificent!),  that  our 
fathers  and  mothers  of  the  century  passed  had,  in  truth,  no  dejected 
classes,  no  disability,  only  here  and  there  a  drone  of  idleness,  or  a 
sporadic  case  of  vice  and  poverty;  excelling,  in  the  picture  of  social 
comfort  and  well-being  actually  realized,  the  most  romantic  visions 
of  our  new  seers.  They  want  a  reorganization  of  society! — some- 
thing better  than  the  Christian  gospel  and  the  Christian  family 
state! — some  community  in  hollow-square,  to  protect  them  and  coax 
them  up  into  a  life  of  respect,  and  help  them  to  be  men!  No,  they 
did  not  even  so  much  as  want  the  patronage  of  a  bank  of  savings 
to  encourage  them  and  take  the  wardship  of  their  cause.  They 
knew  how  to  make  their  money,  and  how  to  invest  it,  and  take 
care  of  it,  and  make  it  productive;  how  to  build,  and  plant,  and 
make  sterility  fruitful,  and  conquer  all  the  hard  weather  of  life. 
Their  producing  process  took  everything  at  a  disadvantage;  for  they 
had  no  capital,  no  machinery,  no  distribution  of  labor,  nothing  but 
wild  forest  and  rock;  but  they  had  metal  enough  in  their  character 
to  conquer  their  defects  of  outfit  and  advantage.  They  sucked  honey 
out  of  the  rock,  and  oil  out  of  the  fiinty  rock.  Nay,  they  even  seemed  to 
want  something  a  little  harder  than  nature  in  her  softer  moods 
could  ^'ield  them.  Their  ideal  of  a  Goshen  they  sought  out,  not  in 
the  rich  alluvion  of  some  fertile  Nile,  but  upon  the  crest  of  the 
world,  !<omewhere  between  the  second  and  third  heaven  where  Provi- 
dence itself  grows  cold,  and  there,  making  warmth  by  their  exercise 
and  their  prayers,  they  prepared  a  happier  state  of  competence  and 
Avealth,  than  the  Goshen  of  the  sunny  Nile  ever  saw.  Your  con- 
<lition  vnll  hereafter  be  softened,  and  your  comforts  multiplied.  Let 
your  culture  be  as  much  advanced.  But  let  no  delicate  spirit  that 
despises  Avork,  grow  up  in  your  sons  and  daughters.  Make  these 
rocky  hills  smoothe  their  faces  and  smile  under  your  industry.      Let 


no  absurd  ambition  tempt  you  to  imitate  the  manners  of  the  great 
world  of  fashion  and  rob  you  thus  of  the  respect  and  dignity  that 
pertaia  to  manners  properly  your  OAvn.  Maintain,  above  all,  your 
religious  exactness.  Think  what  is  true,  and  then  respect  your- 
selves in  living  exactly  what  you  think.  Fear  God  and  keep  His 
commandments,  as  your  godly  fathers  and  mothers  did  before  you, 
and  found,  as  we  have  seen,  to  be  the  beginning  of  wisdom.  As 
their  graves  are  with  you,  so  be  that  faith  in  God,  which  ennobled 
their  lives  and  glorified  their  death,  an  inheritance  in  you,  and  a 
legacy  transmitted  by  you  to  your  children. 



The  hardy  life  of  the  Age  of  Homespun  and  the  severe  discipline 
of  the  Colonial  Wars,  prepared  the  people  morally  and  physically 
for  the  severer  test  to  come,  in  which  the  new  nation  "conceived  in 
liberty"  was  to  be  born.  Out  of  that  background  of  vigorous  and 
earnest  life  came  the  great  figures  of  the  founders  of  our  nation  and 
the  sturdy  army  of  citizen  soldiers,  who  were  to  preserve  and  renew 
the  fine  tradition  of  their  race. 

Let  us  picture  our  village  at  the  close  of  the  French  War,  with 
its  streets  still  unkempt,  its  houses  more  widely  scattered  than  now, 
its  people  vigorously  engaged  in  the  occupations  of  the  pioneer 
farmer,  and  cherishing,  no  doubt,  new  hopes  of  peace  and  prosperity. 
Already  the  little  to^vn  had  taken  its  place  in  the  life  of  the  Colony 
as  the  County  Seat  of  a  new  County.  The  first  Court  House  and 
Jail  were  built,  and  Oliver  Wolcott,  then  a  young  man  in  the  middle 
thirties,  had  taken  up  his  duties  as  High  Sheriff  and  built  his  house 
on  South  Street.  Elisha  Sheldon  had  come  from  Lyme,  and  aftei- 
a  service  of  seven  years  as  Associate  Judge  of  the  Court  of  Com- 
mon Pleas  for  the  county,  had  been  elected  to  the  Connecticut  Legis- 
lature as  a  member  of  the  Upper  House.  Jedediah  Strong  had 
graduated  from  Yale,  and  was  shortly  to  begin  his  career,  as  "petti- 
fogger and  politician".  Bezaleel  Beebe  had  returned,  at  the  age  of 
twenty-one,  from  four  years'  service  in  the  Colonial  wars,  and  set- 
tled on  the  Beebe  homestead,  north  of  Bantam  Lake,  with  his  young 
wife  Elizabeth  Marsh,  the  daughter  of  Captain  John  Marsh.  Young 
Judah  Champion  had  begun  ten  years  before,  his  energetic  pastorate 
of  the  First  Society  of  the  Congregational  Church,  and  the!  new 
Meeting  House  on  the  Green  had  just  been  finished.  Into  this  atmos- 
phere of  industry  and  peace  came  in  1765  the  first  rumble  of  the 
approaching  storm. 

Between  Great  Britain  and  her  colonies  stretched  three  thous- 
and miles  of  "unplumbed,  salt,  estranging  sea".  Between  the  minds 
of  the  British  Government  and  of  the  settlers  of  the  New  World 
lay  unmeasured  spaces  of  "unplumbed,  salt,  estranging  thought". 
The  Home  Government  was  concerned  chiefly  with  its  own  credit, 
with  the  low  state  of  the  exchequer  after  the  recent  wars,  and  with 
dreams  of  empire.  The  Stamp  Act  seemed  a  simple  solution  of  the 
first  two  questions,  and  a  reasonable  assistance  in  the  third.  The 
Colonies  were  prospering.  They  were  protected  by  the  Crown, 
Why  should  they  not  share  the  expenses  of  the  Crown?      The  Colo- 


nies  thought  otherwise.  They  had  borne  their  full  share  of  the 
successive  Colonial  Wars  and  the  burden  had  not  been  a  light  one, 
to  men  still  engaged  in  the  task  of  subduing  the  wilderness.  But, 
aside  from  the  hardship  of  the  tax  itself,  they  felt  that  it  was  potent 
with  danger  to  the  liberties  so  hardly  acquired  and  cherished  through 
the  changing  fortunes  of  Colonial  history.  These  liberties  they 
felt  to  be  their  rightful  heritage  as  Englishmen.  They  would  not 
relinquish  them.  Kilbourne  tells  us  p.  82,  of  the  instant  indigna- 
tion aroused  by  the  Stamp  Act  in  this  State  and  town.  "The  JJegis- 
lature  of  Connecticut",  he  says,  "protested  against  it,  and  finally 
agreed  upon  an  address  to  parliament,  which  was  sent  to  the  colo- 
nial agent  in  London,  with  instructions  'firmly  to  insist  on  the 
exclusive  right  of  the  colonies  to  tax  themselves'.  The'  people 
everywhere  were  excited  and  the  measure  was  freely  discussed 
and  boldly  denounced  at  the  corners  of  the  streets,  in  popular 
assemblies,  and  in  town  meetings.  The  more  resolute  and  reckless 
of  the  populace  formed  themselves  into  secret  organizations  called 
'The  Sons  of  Liberty',  with  the  design  of  preventing  the  use  of  the 
stamped  paper  by  a  simimary  process  if  necessary.  In  this  town 
there  was  probably  no  difference  of  opinion  on  the  main  question  at 
issue.  On  matters  of  minor  importance  the  people  did  not  always 
agree.  The  Connecticut  Courant  of  February  10th,  1766,  contains 
a  communication  dated  at  Litchfield  on  the  1st  of  February  of  that 
year,  which  is  as  follows: 

'At  the  desire  of  several  of  the  Towns  of  this  County,  by  their  Agents 
chosen  and  sent  here  for  that  Purpose,  a  Meeting  was  called  of  the  Free- 
born Sons  of  Liberty,  to  meet  at  the  Court-House  in  this  Town ;  and  being 
assembled  to  the  Number  of  about  forty  or  fifty  Persons — proceeded  upon 
the  Business  for  which  they  met.  And  notwithstanding  the  great  Opposi- 
tion  they  met  with,    from   Colonel   E r    M h   and   one   S li 

S e,   (whereby  the  Meeting  was  much  hindered,)  yet  they  came  to  the 

Choice  of  five  Gentlemen,  who  were  to  act  as  Agents,  and  are  to  join  the 
Gentlemen  from  the  other  Towns  in  the  County,  who  are  to  meet  here, 
at  a  general  County  Meeting,  to  be  held  on  the  second  Tuesday  of  February, 
1/66,  at  ten  o'clock  in  the  forenoon ;  when  it  is  expected  they  will  come  to 
such  Resolves  as  they  shall  think  most  Conducive  to  prevent  the  Thing  we 
fear  from  ever  taking  Place  among  us.  The  Meeting  would  have  been 
conducted  with  the  utmost  good  Agreement  and  Dispatch,  had  it  not  been 
for  the  Gentlemen  mentioned  above,  who  employed  all  their  Power  to 
render  it  abortive,  not  only  by  consuming  the  Time  in  long  and  needless 

Speeches,    (wherein  Mr.   M h  especially  discovered   to  all  present,   an 

inexhaustible  Fund  of  Knowledge,  by  several  new-coined  Words,  unknown 
in  the  English  Language  before,)  but  they  also  opposed  by  their  Votes 
almost  every  Motion  that  was  made  to  forward  it.' " 

Although  the  difference  of  opinion  here  recorded  was  probably 
over  minor  matters, — very  possibly  a  question  of  policy  rather  than 
principle, — it  was  undoubtedly  a  fore-runner  of  those  more  serious 
differences  which  were  to  continue  thoughout  the  war,  with  all  the 
intensity  and  bitterness  consequent  to  civil  strife.  "There  were  . . . 
in  this  town",  says  Kilbourne,  p.  114,  "as  elsewhere  throughout  the 


land — ^honorable,  influential  and  conscientious  men — who,  while 
they  openly  disapproved  of  many  acts  of  the  parliament  were  yet 
warmly  attached  to  the  royal  cause.  They  looked  upon  revolution 
as  not  only  treason  to  their  sovereign,  but  predestined  to  be  ruinous 
to  all  who  might  engage  in  it;  and  they  chose  to  suffer  what  th^ 
regarded  as  only  temporary  evUs,  rather  than  rush  into  the  vortex 
of  war  for  redress".  Among  these  people  the  Episcopalians  were 
peculiarly  bound  by  every  tie  of  affection  and  necessity  to  the  mother 
country.  Litchfield  was  still  a  "missionary  station".  The  Rector 
of  St  Michael's  received  a  portion  of  his  salary  directly  from  the 
"Venerable  Society  in  England  for  Propagating  the  Gospel  in  For- 
eign Parts".  For  the  members  of  the  Church  of  England,  "inde- 
pendence not  only  involved  a  political  separation  from  Great  Britain, 
but  a  severance  of  an  ecclesiastical  bond  of  union  which  they  had 
long  regarded  as  indispensable  to  their  prosperity  if  not  to  their 
very  existence  as  a  church".  (Kilbourne,  p.  115).  Many  of  them 
therefore  were  opposed  to  the  Revolution  and  feeling  ran  high. 
The  incident  of  the  stoning  of  St.  Michael's  by  revolutionary  troops 
is  described  elsewhere.  In  the  bitter  alchemy  of  war  the  elements 
of  national  character  were  to  be  divided  and  fused  anew.  No 
tie  could  escape  the  fire.  "Friends,  neighbors,  and  even  households 
became  divided  and  estranged".       (Kilbourne,  p.  116). 

In  1760,  however,  only  the  most  far-seeing  could  have  dreamed 
of  revolution.  Only  three  years  before,  Benjamin  Franklin,  in  a 
pamphlet  on  the  wisdom  of  retaining  Canada  rather  then  Guada- 
loupe  as  a  prize  of  war,  had  assured  the  people  of  Great  Britain 
that  the  colonies  would  never  "unite  against  their  own  nation  . . . 
which  'tis  well  known  they  all  love  much  more  than  they  love  one 
another".  (Eve  of  the  Revolution.  Becker,  p.  5).  In  the  Gon- 
necticut  Courant  of  February  24th,  1766,  appears  the  record  of  that 
Litchfield  County  Meeting  heralded  in  the  issue  of  the  10th.  "In 
their  declaration",  says  Kilbourne,  p.  83,  "the  purest  sentiments  of 
patriotism  and  loyalty,  are  blended  with  a  love  of  good  order  and  a 
regard  for  the  supremacy  of  the  law,  which  are  remarkable  for  those 
times.  The  people  of  Litchfield  were  no  friends  of  mob-law,  even 
when  mobs  were  fashionable  elsewhere.  Separation  from   the 

mother-country,  was  a  subject  which  had  not  then  been  breathed 
audibly,  even  if  it  had  been  thought  of  by  the  most  zealous  patriot". 
The  "declarations"  are  given  in  full  by  Kilbourne,  pp.  83-86.  They 
begin  with  the  following  preamble,  in  which  it  is  interesting  to 
note  that  the  people  rest  their  case  upon  their  heritage  as  English- 
men, "the  unalterable  basis  of  the  British  Constitution",  in  which 
they  had  so  just  a  pride.      Preamble: 

"At  a  Meeting  of  the  Inhabitants  of  almost  all  the  Towns  in  Litch-i 
field  County,  convened  by  their  Agents  in  Litchfield  on  the  second  Tuesday 
in  February  1766,  for  the  Purpose  of  giving  the  clearest  Manifestation  of 
their  fixed  and  most  ardent  Desire  to  preserve,  as  far  as  in  them  lies,  those 
inherent  Rights  and  Privileges  which  essentially  belong  to  them  as  a  Free 
People,  and  which  are  founded  upon  the  unalterable  Basis  of  the  British 


Constitution,  and  have  been  confirmed  by  the  most  solemn  Sanctions — and 
of  their  readiness  to  promote  (according  to  their  Ability)  the  public  Peace 
and  Happiness,  which  have  been  greatly  disturbed  by  the  most  alarming 
Infringements  upon  their  Rights  the  following  Sentiments  were  unanimously 
agreed  in". 

The  declaration  here  continues  through  seven  articles  to 
emphasize  the  unconstitutionality  of  the  Stamp  Act,  and  while 
expressing  most  faithful  alliance  to  the  Crown,  declares  (Article 

"That  they  conceive  to  keep  up  in  their  brightest  View  the  first  Prin- 
ciples and  Origins  of  the  English  Government  and  strictly  to  adhere  to  the 
primary  Institutions  of  it,  is  the  only  sure  Way  to  preserve  the  same,  and 
consequently  the  Prerogative  of  the  Crown,  and  the  Civil  Liberties  of  the 
Subject,  inviolate". 

They  add  also  (Article  VI) : 

"That  God  made  Mankind  free,  (as  being  essential  to  their  Happiness) 
and  as,  by  His  Blessing  the  Advantages  of  English  Liberty  have  been  handed 
down  to  them  from  their  most  virtuous  and  loyal  Ancestors,  so  they  will 
endeavor,  by  all  reasonable  Ways  and  Means  within  their  Power,  uprightly 
to  preserve  and  faithfully  to  transmit  the  same  to  their  Posterity". 

From  this  premise  they  continue  to  Article  IX : 

"That  if  any  Stamped  Papers  shall  be  imported  into  any  Part  of  this 
Colony  (which  they  most  cordially  wish  might  never  be,)  they  hope  the 
speediest  public  Notice  thereof  may  be  given,  that  the  same  may  be  pre- 
served UNTOUCHED  for  His  Majesty". 

They  further  warn  the  authorities  that  if  anyone  has  repre- 
sented the  people  of  the  Colony  as  acquiescing  in  the  Act  in  ques- 
tion, such  representation  has  been  made  either  through  extreme 
ignorance  or  deliberate  malice.  The  strength  and  gravity  of  pur- 
pose of  the  best  spirit  of  the  time  is  manifest  in  this  document, 
together  with  a  moderation  and  sobriety,  which  as  Kilbourne  has 
noted,  is  truly  remarkable.      Thus  in  Article  XI,  we  find: 

"That  they  will  never  suflFer  anj'  Jealousies  to  arise  in  their  Minds,  that 
any  Person  in  this  Colony  is  unfriendly  to  its  Civil  Liberties,  except  upon 
the  fullest,  clearest,  and  most  undeniable  Evidence". 

and  in  Article  XIII: 

"That  whereas  some  very  ignorant  or  dissolute  Persons  may,  in  this 
time  of  Perplexity,  be  disposed  to  commit  Outrages  against  the  Persons  or 
Property  of  others,  or  to  treat  with  Disrespect  and  Insult  the  civil  Authority 
of  this  Colony ;  They  do  therefore,  hereby  solemnly  declare,  that  Nothing 
(except  a  Privation  of  their  Liberties,)  could  or  ought  to  fill  their  Minds 
with  a  deeper  and  more  fixed  Resentment  than  such  Conduct — and  that  they 
will  always  be  ready  and  willing  to  assist  and  support,  to  the  utmost  of 
their  Ability,  the  public  Magistrates,  in  preserving,  in  the  greatest  Purity, 
the  Peace  and  good  Order  of  the  Public". 

Ciii\  i:kx(ik  (  )livi:k  W'dij 

r^'i*^— 1H.1  vK  1^   sv»a,roTT  , 

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lo  /^  ^^*^-''^*-^y%  ^^  fy^H«**-i£-  4^^t^^t**^  ^ 

/     I 


The  Stamp  Act  was  repealed  in  this  year,  but  matters  were  in 
no  wise  mended-  Continued  imposts  were  made  on  articles  imported 
from  England;  indignation  in  the  Colonies  increased;  and  finally  a 
merchant's  agreement  was  made,  known  as  "the  non-importation 
agreement".  This,  however,  proved  to  be  something  of  a  boomerang, 
and  was  "shamefully  violated",  says  Kilbourne,  p.  86,  by  the  mer- 
chants of  New  York.  Thereupon  Connecticut  summoned  a  "General 
Convention  of  Delegates  from  all  the  towns  in  the  Colony",  to  be  held 
in  New  Haven  on  September  13th,  1770,  "to  take  into  consideration 
the  perilous  condition  of  the  country,  to  provide  for  the  growth 
and  spread  of  home  manufactures,  and  to  devise  more  thorough 
means  of  carrying  out  the  non-importation  agreement".  To  this 
Convention  Captain  John  Osborn  and  Jedediah  Strong  were  sent 
as  Delegates  from  Litchfield  by  vote  of  a  town  meeting. 

About  this  time  also,  the  Connecticut  Legislature  took  steps  to 
improve  the  condition  of  the  militia  of  the  Colony;  "why",  says  Kil- 
bourne, p.  87,  "they  were  scarcely  themselves  aware".  Officers  who 
had  served  with  ability  in  the  French  War,  now  received  advance 
commissions.  Among  these  were  Oliver  Wolcott  of  Litchfield,  "who 
had  commanded  a  company  in  the  north  in  1748,  and  was  now  com- 
missioned as  Colonel;  and  Ebenezer  Gay,  a  resident  of  Sharon  but 
a  native  of  this  town,  who  was  raised  to  the  rank  of  Lieutenant 
Colonel".  (Kilbourne,  p.  87.)  Kilbourne  further  remarks  in  this 
connection:  "These  officers,  by  long  service  with  the  commanders  in 
the  Standing  Army  of  England,  had  learned  whatever  was  worth 
knowing  in  their  system  of  military  tactics,  while  they  had  failed  to 
learn  their  inefficiency,  procrastination,  and  punctilious  regard  for 
etiquette".  How  just  an  estimate  this  is  of  the  British  officer  of 
the  period,  it  is  difficult  to  judge.  There  is  no  doubt  that  during 
the  French  Wars  the  troops  frequently  suffered  from  the  stupidity 
of  their  officers;  while  Lord  Howe  and  others  in  the  Kevolution 
often  failed  to  follow  up  their  successes.  The  pernicious  practice 
of  selling  commissions  must  have  worked  havoc  in  any  army. 
Nevertheless,  some  able  men  were  undoubtedly  attracted  to  military 
life,  and  it  is  no  derogation  of  our  own  army  to  assume  that  the 
forces  to  which  it  was  opposed  for  seven  years,  were  in  many  cases 
officered  by  men  of  intelligence,  energy  and  devotion. 

Stupidity  in  high  places,  however,  was  to  work  its  inevitable 
mischief  in  British-American  relations.  All  the  indignation  of 
the  Colonists,  all  reasonable  remonstrance  of  the  wiser  heads  on 
both  sides  of  the  Atlantic,  failed  to  break  down  the  stubborn  com- 
placency of  the  King  and  his  ill-chosen  advisors.  Oppressive 
measures  continued.  Resistance  increased  in  proportion.  Shortly 
after  the  "Boston  Tea  Party",  and  the  subsequent  blockade  of  Boston 
Harbor,  we  find  the  inhabitants  of  Litchfield  issuing  the  following 
document,  which  Woodruff,  p.  32,  credits  to  Oliver  Wolcott. 

"The  Inhabitants  of  Litchfield,  in  legal  Town  Meeting  assembled,  on 
the  17th  day  of  August,  A.  D.  1774,  taking  into  consideration  the  Distress  to 


which  the  Poor  of  the  Town  of  Boston  may  likely  be  reduced  by  the  opera- 
tion of  an  Act  of  the  British  Parliament  for  Blocking  up  their  Port,  and 
deeply  commiserating  the  unhappiness  of  a  brave  and  loyal  People,  who  are 
thus  eminently  suflfering  in  a  General  Cause,  for  Vindicating  what  every 
sensible  virtuous  American  considers  art"  essential  Right  of  this  Country, 
think  it  is  their  indispensable  Duty  to  afford  their  unhappy  distressed 
brethren  of  said  Town  of  Boston,  all  reasonable  Aid  and  Support.  And 
this  they  are  the  more  readily  induced  to,  not  only  as  the  Inhabitants  of 
said  Town  are  thus  severely  condemned  for  their  reluctance  to  submit  to  an 
arbitrary,  an  unconsented  to,  and  consequently  unconstitutional  Taxation, 
but  the  whole  of  the  great  and  loyal  Province  of  the  Massachusetts  Bay 
have  been  condemned  unheard,  in  the  loss  of  their  Charter  Privileges,  by 
the  heretofore  unknown  and  unheard  of  Exertions  of  Parliamentary  Power, 
which  they  conceive  is  a  Power  claimed  and  exercised  in  such  a  manner  as 
cannot  fail  of  striking  every  unprejudiced  mind  with  Horror  and  Amaze- 
ment, as  being  subversive  of  all  those  inherent,  essential  and  constitutional 
Rights,  Liberties  and  Privileges  which  the  good  people  of  this  Colony  have 
ever  held  sacred,  and  even  dearer  than  Life  itself,  nor  ever  can  wish  to 
survive;  not  only  every  idea  of  Property,  but  every  Emolument  of  civil  Life, 
being  thereby  rendered  precarious  and  uncertain. 

"In  full  confidence,  therefore,  that  no  Degree  of  Evil  thus  inflicted  on 
said  Town  and  Province,  will  ever  induce  them  to  give  up,  or  betray  their 
own  and  the  American  Constitutional  Rights  and  Privileges,  especially  as 
they  cannot  but  entertain  the  most  pleasing  Expectations  that  the  Commit- 
tees of  the  several  North  American  Provinces,  who  are  soon  to  meet  at 
Philadelphia,  will  in  their  wisdom  be  able  to  point  out  a  Method  of  .Conduct 
eflFectual  for  obtaining  Redress  of  those  grievances — a  Method  to  which 
(when  once  agreed  upon  by  said  Committee)  this  Town  will  look  upon 
it  their  duty  strictly  to  attend.  And  in  the  Mean  Time,  earnestly  recommend 
that  Subscriptions  be  forthwith  opened  in  this  Town,  under  the  care  of 
Reuben  Smith,  Esq.  Capt.  Lynde  Lord,  and  Mr.  WiUiam  Stanton,  who  are 
hereby  appointed  a  Committee  to  receive  and  forward  to  the  Selectmen 
of  Boston,  for  the  use  of  the  Poor  in  that  Place,  all  such  Donations  as 
shall  be  thereupon  made  for  that  Purpose ;  as  also  to  correspond  with  the 
Committee  of  Correspondence  there  or  elsewhere,  as  there  may  be  Occa- 

"We  also  take  this  Opportunity  publicly  to  return  our  Thanks  to  the 
members  of  the  Honorable  House  of  Representatives  of  this  Colony,  for 
their  patriotic  and  loyal  Resolutions,  passed  and  published  in  the  last 
Assembly  on  the  Occasion,  and  order  them  to  be  entered  at  large  on  the 
public  Records  of  this  Town,  that  succeeding  Ages  may  be  faithfully  furnished 
with  authentic  Credentials  of  our  inflexible  attachment  to  those  inestimable 
Privileges  which  We  and  every  honest  American  glory  in  esteeming  our 
unalienable  Birthright  and  Inheritance". 

Four  months  later,  we  find  the  Town  appointing  a  Committee 
"for  the  Purposes  mentioned  in  the  Eleventh  Article  of  the  Associa- 
tion Agreement  of  the  Grand  Continental  Congress  in  Philadelphia, 
5th  of  September  last,  and  Approved,  Adopted,  and  Kecommended 
by  the  General  Assembly  of  this  Colony  at  their  session  in  October 

Kilbourne  explains,  p.  91,  that  the  "Article"  herein  referred 
to,  provides  for  "Committees  of  Inspection"  in  each  city  and  town. 


"whose  business  it  shall  be  attentively  to  observe  the  conduct  of 
all  persons  touching  this  Association;  and  when  it  shall  be  made  to 
appear  that  any  person  has  violated  its  articles,  they  are  to  cause 
their  names  to  be  published  in  the  Gazette,  to  the  end  that  all  such 
foes  to  the  rights  of  British  America  may  be  publicly  known  and 
universally  contemned  as  the  enemies  of  American  Liberty,  and 
thenceforth  we  break  off  all  dealings  with  him  or  her".  Committees 
of  Inspection  were  also  appointed  at  the  Town  Meetings  in  1775  and 
1776.  ■ 

In  1775  the  storm  broke.  Early  in  this  year,  David  Welch, 
whose  house  still  stands  near  Milton  on  the  Litchfield  road,  was  in 
command  of  a  company  called  into  active  service.  In  April  he 
was  commissioned  as  Major  in  Colonel  Hinman's  regiment.  In  this 
same  month  a  lieutenant's  commission  was  given  to  Bezaleel  Beebe, 
whose  four  years  service  in  the  French  War  and  rank  of  Ensign 
under  Archibald  McNeile,  entitled  him  to  consideration  as  a  soldier 
of  some  experience.  Fisher  Gay  of  Farmington,  a  native  of  Litch- 
field, was  among  those  commissioned  in  March  by  special  session 
of  the  Legislature,  receiving  the  rank  of  Lieutenant-Colonel.  In 
May  the  country  was  stirred  by  the  capture  of  Ticonderoga  by  Ethan 
Allen  and  his  "Green  Mountain  Boys",  that  hardy  band  of  pioneer 
adventurers,  trained  in  the  rough  school  of  border  warfare,  in  the 
boundary  disputes  of  New  York  and  New  Hampshire.  Allen 
was  born  in  Litchfield,  and  this,  Litchfield  was  now  glad  to  remember, 
though  his  family  had  taken  him  at  the  age  of  two  to  the  neighboring 
town  of  Cornwall,  and  there  and  in  Sharon  he  passed  his  boyhood. 
Lieutenant  Crampton  who  was  with  him  at  Ticonderoga  and  entered 
the  fort  at  his  side,  was  also  a  native  of  Litchfield,  and  lived  here, 
Kilbourne  tells  us,  p.  93,  for  a  large  part  of  his  life.  Ticonderoga, 
because  of  its  position  as  a  key  to  the  northern  waterways,  was  a 
place  of  considerable  strategic  importance  and  its  capture  was  a 
triimiph  for  the  American  arms.  On  the  day  following,  the  gar- 
rison at  Crown  Point,  with  all  its  military  stores,  was  also  sur- 
rendered to  the  Americans  under  Colonel  Warner,  a  native  of  Rox- 
bury  in  this  county.  In  June  came  the  news  of  Bunker  Hill.  At 
this  time  young  Aaron  Burr  had  been  living  in  Litchfield  for  more 
than  a  year,  at  the  house  of  his  brother-in-law  Tapping  Reeve,  read- 
ing history  and  absorbing  all  the  passionate  thought  and  feeling 
of  the  time.  He  now  determined  to  enlist,  and  September  found 
him  serving  as  a  private  soldier  in  Arnold's  remarkable  expedition 
through  the  wilderness  to  Quebec.  After  enduring  unimagined 
hardships  of  cold,  privation  and  illness,  and  overcoming  almost 
insurmountable  obstacles  in  the  unfriendly  forests  of  the  north,  the 
expedition  arrived  near  Quebec,  diminished  in  numbers,  depleted 
in  strength,  and  bitterly  in  need  of  reinforcement.  General  Mont- 
gomery was  at  that  time  at  a  post  beyond  the  British  lines,  waiting 
for  the  arrival  of  Arnold  and  his  men.  It  was  necessary  to  inform 
him  of  their  dangerous  situation.  To  do  this  a  messenger  must  go 
through  the  enemy  lines.        Burr  volunteered  for  this  service,  and 


disguised  as  a  priest,  succeeded  in  fulfilling  his  mission,  undetected. 
We  hear  of  him  later  through  a  letter  of  Judge  Reeve's,  (quoted  by 
Kilboume,  p.  93)  as  an  aide  to  General  Montgomery  in  the  unfortu- 
nate attack  on  the  city.  "During  this  year  also",  says  Kilboume, 
rather  quaintly,  (the  capitalization  is  his)  "Jedediah  Strong  was 
appointed  a  Commissary  to  purchase  Horses  for  the  Army;  and 
Oliver  Wolcott  was  chosen  a  member  of  the  continental  congress". 

While  Litchfield  men  were  serving  abroad,  the  people  at  home 
were  not  idle.  In  his  sermon  on  Judah  Champion,  the  Reverend 
Frank  J.  Goodwin  quotes  an  anecdote  characteristic  of  the  spirit 
of  the  time,  and  of  that  ardent  patriot  and  preacher: 

"One  pleasant  Sabbath  morning,  the  congregation  had  gatheretl 
together  and  had  just  commenced  the  morning  hymn,  when  through 
the  still  streets,  there  came  the  sharp  clatter  of  horses  hoofs — 
always  so  ominous  at  that  time,  of  tidings  from  the  army.  As  usual 
when  the  courier  arrived  in  any  town  on  the  Sabbath  he  made 
straight  for  the  'meeting  house'.  Reaching  the  door,  he  dismounted, 
and  flinging  the  bridle  over  the  horse's  neck,  entered  the  building. 
The  singing  ceased,  and  every  eye  was  turned  on  the  stranger  as 
he  walked  up  the  broad  aisle  and  ascended  the  pulpit  stairs.  He 
handed  Mr.  Champion  a  paper,  who,  with  a  smile  of  triumph  on  his 
face,  arose  and  read  'St.  Johns  is  taken'.  It  must  be  remembered 
that  this  place  (which  was  the  key  of  Canada)  had  been  besieged 
six  weeks,  till  people  began  almost  to  despair  of  its  ever  being  taken. 
The  noble  pastor,  the  moment  he  had  finished  the  sentence,  lifted 
his  eyes  to  heaven  and  exclaimed:  'Thank  God  for  victory'.  The 
chorister,  sitting  opposite  the  pulpit  in  the  gallery,  clapped  his 
hands  and  shouted:  'Amen  and  Amen!'  For  awhile  the  joy  was 
unrestrained,  but  the  pastor  soon  checked  it  by  saying:  'There  is 
something  more  to  be  heard.'  He  then  read  a  lengthy  communica- 
tion, stating  that  the  army  was  in  a  suffering  condition.  It  was 
now  the  latter  part  of  November,  and  there,  on  the  borders  of 
Canada,  the -winter  was  already  setting  in,  and  yet  the  troops  were 
about  to  march  for  Quebec  to  undergo  the  rigors  of  a  winter  cam- 
paign. It  described  in  vivid  language  their  suffering  condition. 
They  were  destitute  of  clothing,  without  shoes  or  stockings,  and 
yet  were  ordered  to  traverse  the  frozen  fields  of  the  north. 

"The  touching  description  lost  none  of  its  pathos  as  read  by 
the  pastor  and  commented  on  by  him  at  its  close.  When  he  had 
finished  there  was  hardly  a  dry  eye  in  the  house.  Especially  the 
women  were  overcome  with  emotion.  As  soon  as  the  congregation 
was  dismissed,  a  few  prominent  ladies  were  seen  to  gather  round 
the  young  pastor  with  eager  countenances.  They  were  evidently 
asking  him  some  questions,  and  it  was  equally  evident,  from  his 
benevolent  smile  and  nodding  head,  that  he  was  answering  them 
satisfactorily.  Soon  they  began  to  move  rapidly  among  the  other 
women  that,  in  turn,  gathered  into  groups  in  earnest  conversation. 
After  a  little  while  they  all  dispersed  to  their  homes.  When  the 
congregation  assembled  for  afternoon  service  mot  a  woman  was  in 


the  Church.  The  wives,  mothers  and  maidens  had  laid  aside  their 
Sabbath  apparel  and  drawn  forth  their  spinning  wheels,  set  in 
motion  their  looms,  and  brought  out  their  knitting  needles  and 
hand  cards,  and  the  village  suddenly  became  a  hive  of  industry. 
On  that  usually  still  Puritan  Sabbath  afternoon  there  now  rung 
out  on  every  side  the  himi  of  the  wheel  and  the  click  of  the  shuttle- 
sounds  never  before  heard  in  Litchfield  on  the  Sabbath  day,  and 
which  contrasted  strangely  with  those  of  prayer  and  praise  in  the 
adjoining  sanctuary.  Yet  both  believed  that  they  were  serving 
Ood.  The  women  were  working  for  those  brave  patriots  who 
were  about  to  march,  destitute  and  barefoot,  over  the  frozen  ground 
to  strike  for  freedom.  Many  years  after,  when  a  venerable  old 
man,  Mr.  Champion  was  asked  by  his  grand-daughter  how  he  could 
approve  such  a  desecration  of  the  Sabbath.  He  turned  on  her  a 
solemn  look  and  replied  simply:    'Mercy  before  sacrifice!'" 

It  is  typical  of  the  tragic  embitterment  of  war  as  well  as  the 
sternness  of  the  Puritan  faith,  that  we  are  later  to  fijid  this  generous 
spirit  engaged  with  all  the  ardor  and  eloquence  of  his  nature  in 
the  famous  imprecatory  prayer  against  the  enemy.  It  is,  however, 
comforting  to  remember  that,  while  theoretically  the  enemy  was 
accursed  and  a  just  object  of  hate,  in  actual  practice  the  fiery  little 
pastor  found  him  simply  a  man  and  a  brother;  and  while  he  was 
with  the  army  in  the  north,  he  cared  as  faithfully  for  the  sick  and 
wounded  of  the  British  Army  as  for  our  own.  "Such  was  his  zeal 
and  self-sacrifice",  Dr.  Goodwin  tells  us,  "that  the  British  officers, 
iis  well  as  our  own,  returned  him  their  warmest  thanks". 

The  year  of  1776,  which  was  to  be  such  an  eventful  one  for  the 
Colonies,  began  in  Litchfield  with  the  enlistment  by  Bezaleel  Beebe, 
now  a  captain,  of  a  company,  under  orders  for  the  defense  of  New 
York-  The  news  was  received  with  great  enthusiasm.  Kilbourne 
tells  us,  p.  94,  that  one  man  when  he  heard  it  "started  on  a  run  for 
the  Captain's  headquarters,  fearing  the  roll  would  be  full  before  he 
€0uld  reach  there",  and  that  "Captain's  Beebe's  orders  reached  him 
on  a  Sunday,  and  the  following  Saturday,  the  company  had  been 
raised,  armed  and  equipped,  and  were  on  their  march  toward  Fair- 
field". We  quote  here  the  enlistment  agreement  given  by  Kil- 
bourne, p.  94. 

"We  the  Subscribers,  being  convinced  of  the  Necessity  of  a  body  of 
Forces  to  defeat  certain  Wicked  Purposes  formed  by  the  instruments  of 
Ministerial  Tyranny,  do  solemnly  engage  ourselves  and  enlist  as  Private 
Soldiers,  in  a  Regiment  to  be  Commanded  by  Colonel  Andrew  Ward,  Jr,, 
under  the  command  of  Major  General  Lee,  for  the  Term  of  Eight  Weeks 
at  the  utmost  from  the  Day  we  March  from  Fairfield,  which  is  the  place 
of  Rendezvous ;  the  Honorable  Major  General  Lee  having  given  his  Word 
and  Honor  that  we  shall  not  be  Detained  a  single  Day  after  said  Term. 
Dated  at  Litchfield,  21st  day  of  January,   1776". 


The  following  list  for  appraisal,  is  also  interesting  as  an 
example  of  the  simplicity  of  military  organization  at  that  time. 

Litchfield,  26th  January,  1776 

"We,  being  requested  to  apprise  the  Arms  belonging  to  CapL  Bezaleel 
Beebe's  Company,  in  Col.  Andrew  Ward's  Regiment,  going  on  an  expedition 
to  New  York  under  the  command  of  General  Charles  Lee — we  accordingly 
apprized  the  same,  being  first  duly  sworn,  viz., 

Elihu  Harrison's  Gun,  Bayonet  and  Cartridge  Box,  in  his  own  hands, 
(Figures  omitted). 

Roger  N.  Whittlesey's  Gun  in  the  hands  of  Briant  Stoddard. 

Joseph  San  ford's  Gun,  Bayonet  and  Belt  in  his  own  hands. 

Nathaniel  Allen's  Gun,  Bayonet  and  Belt  in  his  own  hands. 

Obed  Stoddard's  Gun,  bayonet,  Cartridge  box  and  belt. 

Joshua  Smith's  Gun  in  his  own  hands. 

Zebulon  Bissell's  Gun  in  his  own  hands. 

James  Woodruff's  Gun  carried  by  Stephen  Brown. 

Phineas  Goodwin's  Gun,  bayonet  and  belt. 

Whiting  Stanley's  Gun  carried  by  James  Crampton. 

Oliver  Woodruff's  Gun  carried  by  himself. 

Hezekiah  Agard's  Gun  carried  by  John  Lyman. 

Jedediah  Strong's  Gun,  bayonet  and  belt  carried  by  Wm.  Patterson. 

Lieut.  Jonathan  Mason's  Cartridge  box. 

Samuel  Canfield's  Gun  carried  by  himself. 

Noah  Garnsey's  Gun  carried  by  T.  Weed. 

Sergt.  Benjamin  Bissell's  Gun  and  Bayonet  carried  by  himself. 

Asa  Osborn's  Gun  and  Cartridge  box  carried  by  himself. 

Jedediah  Strong's  Gun  carried  by  Benjamin  Taylor. 

Jedediah  Strong's  Gun  carried  by  Frederick  Stanley. 

Reuben  Smith,  Esq's  Gun,  Bayonet,  Case  and  Belt,  carried  by  Capt. 

Capt.  John  Osborn's  Gun  carried  by  Moses  Taylor. 

OBED   STODDER,     Appraisers  on  Oath. 
Stodder  is  probably  a  misprint  or  variant  for  Stoddard,  as  Obed 
Stoddard  is  one  of  the  signers  of  the  enlistment  agreement. 

The  short  term  of  enlistment  was  characteristic  of  the  period, 
and  made  the  conduct  of  the  war  immeasurably  more  difficult.  In 
an  address  before  the  Litchfield  Historical  Society,  on  the  occasion 
of  its  semi-centennial,  William  Webster  Ellsworth  quotes  in  this 
connection,  General  Washington's  remarks  at  the  time  of  the  siege  of 
Boston:  "It  is  not  in  the  page  of  history,  to  furnish  a  case  like 
ours;  to  maintain  a  post  within  musket  shot  of  the  enemy  without 
powder,  and  at  the  same  time  to  disband  an  army  and  recruit  another 
within  that   distance  of   twenty  odd  British   regiments".       These 


short  enlistments  were  probably  due,  in  part,  to  the  hope,  so  gener- 
ally held  in  the  first  stages  of  any  war,  that  "it  can't  last  long". 
Moreover,  in  a  country  chiefly  agricultural  and  self-dependent,  the 
able-bodied  men  were  needed  at  home  to  produce  the  necessities  of 
life;  and  the  young  farmers,  habituated  to  thinking  first  of  the 
needs  of  their  farms,  and  unused  to  the  discipline  of  organized  war- 
fare, probably  could  not  conceive  the  necessities  of  the  occasion. 
"The  French  and  Indian  Wars",  Mr.  Ellsworth  tells  us,  "had  been 
conducted  with  Arcadian  simplicity,  and  it  had  been  the  custom  to 
cease  fighting  in  the  winter  and  go  home  to  feed  the  stock".  Never- 
theless, as  the  war  continues,  we  find  the  same  men  enlisting  again 
and  again  for  active  service. 

In  May  of  this  year,  Kilboume  tells  us,  p.  96,  "a  regiment  was 
ordered  to  be  raised  for  the  defense  of  the  State,  'to  be  subject  to 
join  the  continental  army,  if  so  ordered  by  the  Governor'.  Captain 
Beebe  was  appointed  to  the  command  of  one  of  the  companies  of 
this  regiment,  with  Jesse  Cook  for  1st  lieutenant  and  James  Watson 
for  2d  lieutenant.  Lieut.  Watson  was  soon  transferred  to  another 
corps  and  John  Smith  of  Litchfield  was  commissioned  in  his  place". 
Some  information  concerning  the  members  of  this  company  is  given 
in  sundry  accounts  and  memoranda  among  the  papers  of  Captain 
Beebe;  quotes!  by  Kilboume,  p.  97,  "August  9,  To  cash  paid  for 
coffin  for  Ira  Stone;  'Lieut.  John  Smith  was  discharged  from  the 
army  in  New  York';  'John  German  was  dismissed  from  my  com- 
pany by  order  of  a  General  Court  Martial,  July  9,  1776';  '  Aug.  9, 
James  Beach  died  about  8  o'clock  in  the  morning';  'Sept  the  5th, 
10  o'clock  at  night,  Samuel  Gleason  died';  in  the  account  with  Joel 
Taylor — 'Paid  one  dollar  to  Zebulon  Taylor  to  deliver  to  the  mother 
of  the  above  Joel  Taylor,  deceased,  it  being  cash  that  was  with  him 
when  he  died';  'Sept.  27,  1777,  Keceived  of  Capt.  Beebe  22  shillings 
for  mileage  from  Philadelphia  to  Litchfield.  (Signed,)  Abraham 
Haskins'.  From  the  account  of  Gershom  Gibbs — 'Received  of  Capt. 
Beebe  three  dollars  that  belonged  to  my  husband  and  son  which 
was  part  of  the  money  sent  to  them  whilst  prisoners  in  New  York. 
(Signed,)  Tabitha  Gibbs'.  From  the  account  with  Nathaniel  Allen 
— 'Sept.  27,  1777,  To  cash  left  with  Joseph  Agard  to  be  paid  to  Mrs. 
Allen  that  was  left  with  me  when  Mr.  Allen  died'.  From  the 
account  with  Phineas  Goodwin — 'To  back  rations  16  days  at  Fort 
Washington,  '&c., 

Kilbourne  gives  us,  pp.  98-101,  a  more  complete  account  of  the 
fortunes  of  some  of  these  men,  and  others  who  enlisted  from  Litch- 
field.     We  quote  it  with  some  few  abridgements. 

"About  the  1st  of  November,  1776,  thirty-six  picked  men,  were 
placed  under  the  command  of  Capt.  Beebe  and  set  to  Fort  Wash- 
ington to  aid  in  its  defense.  This  post,  together  with  Fort  Lee  on 
the  Jersey  shore,  commanded  the  mouth  of  the  Hudson,  and  was 
hence  regarded  by  the  enemy  as  a  tempting  prize.  In  anticipation 
of  an  attack,  the  works  had  been  strengthened  and  reinforced.  At 
the  critical  time,  the  Fort  and  Harlem  Heights  were  manned  by 


two  Pennsylvania  Regiments  commanded  by  Colonels  Magraw  and 
Shea,  Rawlin's  Riflemen  from  Maryland,  some  of  the  militia  of  the 
flying  camp,  and  a  few  companies  detailed  from  the  Connecticut  Regi- 
ments. On  the  15th  of  November,  Sir  William  Howe  summoned 
Colonel  Magraw,  (who  had  the  chief  command  of  the  garrison), 
to  surrender.  That  brave  officer — acting  under  the  immediate 
advice  of  Crenerals  Putnam  and  Greene,  responded,  that  he  would 
defend  himself  to  the  last  extremity.  On  the  morning  of  the  16th 
the  attack  was  commenced  at  four  different  points  nearly  at  the  same 
moment.  . . .  The  assailants  were  provided  with  excellent  trains  of 
artillery,  which  were  brought  to  bear  with  effect.  The  attack  was 
prosecuted  with  extraordinary  energy  and  spirit,  and  the  Americans 
continued  to  defend  themselves  until  resistance  became  fruitless. 
During  a  recess  in  the  fight,  the  garrison  was  again  summoned  to 
surrender;  and  after  a  brief  consultation  with  the  officers,  Magraw 
capitulated.  The  entire  American  force,  amounting  to  two  thousand 
six  hundred  men,  surrendered  as  prisoners  of  war.  During  the  siege, 
the  enemy  lost  about  twelve  hundred,  and  the  Americans  about  four 
hundred-  . . . 

"The  terms  of  the  capitulation  were  regarded  as  liberal  and 
honorable  on  the  part  of  the  victors,  and  highly  favorable  to  the 
vanquished.  The  manner  in  which  those  terms  were  violated,  and 
set  at  naught,  by  the  miscreants  into  whose  hands  the  unfortunate 
prisoners  were  placed,  is  without  parallel  in  the  history  of  the  revo- 
lutionary struggle.  Crowded,  with  hundreds  of  others,  into  the 
Sugar-House  and  on  board  the  Prison-Ships,  without  air  or  water 
and  for  the  first  two  days  without  food,  contagion  and  death  were 
the  natural  consequences.  The  dysentery,  small-pox,  and  other 
terrible  diseases,  broke  out  among  them,  and  very  few  of  the  whole 
number  survived  the  terrible  ordeal.  On  the  27th  of  December, 
1776,  an  exchange  of  prisoners  took  place.  Only  eleven  of  Captain 
Beebe's  Company  were  able  to  sail  for  Connecticut.  Six  of  these 
died  on  the  way  home.  The  remainder  of  those  who  were  living 
at  that  date,  being  too  ill  to  be  removed,  were  left  behind — where  all 
(except  Sergeant  Mather),  died  within  a  few  days,  most  of  them 
with  the  small-pox.  Here  follow  the  names  of  these  "picked  men". 
The  notes  appear  to  have  been  added  by  Captain  Beebe  at  the  differ- 
ent periods  corresponding  with  the  dates": 

"An  Account  of  the  Prisoners'  Names  and  Places  of  Confinement". 

Sergt.  Cotton  Mather — returned  home. 

Sergt.  David  Hall — died  of  the  small-pox  on  board  the  Grosvenor,  Dec. 

II,  1776. 
Elijah  Loomis — died. 

Gershom  Gibbs — died  on  board  the  ship,  Dec.  29,  1776. 
Timothy  Stanley — died  on  board  the  ship,  Dec.  29,  1776. 
Amos  Johnson— died  Dec  26,  1776. 
Timothy  Marsh — died  on  his  way  home. 


Barnias  Beach — died  on  his  way  home. 

Samuel  Vaill — died  on  board  the  Grosvenor,  Dec.  27,  1776. 

Nathaniel  Allen — died  of   small-pox,  Jan.   i,  1777. 

Enos  Austin — died  of  the  small-pox,  Dec.  4,  1776,  in  the  evening. 

Gideon  Wilcoxson — died. 

Thomas  Mason — reached  home. 

Alexander  McNeil — died. 

Daniel  Smith — died  in  New  York,  of  small-pox,  Jan.  i,  1777. 

Noah  Beach — reached  home. 

Daniel  Benedict — reached  home. 

Isaac   Gibbs — died   Jan.    15,    1777. 

Oliver  Marshall — died  on  his  way  home. 

Solomon  Parmely — went  on  board  the  ship,  and  I  fear  he  is  drowned 

as  I  cannot  find  him. 
David  Olmsted — died  Jan.  4,  1777. 
Jared  Stuart — died  Jan.  26,  1777,  in  the  morning. 
John  Lyman — died  Jan.  26,  1777. 
Elisha  Brownson — died  on  his  way  home. 

The  above  Prisoners  are  at  Livingston's  Sugar  House. 

Zebulon  Bissell — died  in  Woodbury,  on  his  way  home. 

Aaron  Stoddard — died  Jan.  12,  1777. 

John  Parmely — died  Jan.  15,  1777. 

Joel  Taylor — died  Jan.  9,  1777. 

James  Little — reached  home. 

Phineas  Goodwin — died  Jan.  5,  1777. 

The  above  at  the  Church  called  the  North  Church. 

Oliver  Woodruff — reached  home. 
Remembrance  Looniis — died  on  his   way  home. 
The   above   at   Bridewell. 

Corporal   Samuel   Cole, 
Jeremiah  Weed, 
Joseph  Spencer, 
John  Whiting, 

Were  either  killed  or  made  their  escape  from  Fort  Washington,  on  the 
i6th  of  November,  1776. 

"Probably  no  similar  instance  of  mortality",  says  Kilbourne, 
"occurred  during  the  entire  war.  Only  six  survivors  out  of  a  com- 
pany of  thirty  six  hale  and  hearty  young  men,  is  a  percentage  rarely 
reached,  even  in  the  most  fatal  engagements". 

"Captain  Beebe",  he  adds,  "was  allowed  the  limits  of  the  city 
on  his  parol  of  honor",  and  "was  accustomed  to  visit  his  men  daily, 
so  long  as  any  remained,  and  did  whatever  he  was  allowed  to  do^ 
to  alleviate  their  wretched  condition". 


The  ill-treatment  of  prisoners  was  one  of  the  saddest  aspects 
of  the  war,  and  one  calculated  to  arouse  the  most  bitterness. 
Another  Litchfield  company  had  been  raised  in  June  1776,  part  of 
six  battalions  ordered  from  Connecticut  by  the  General  Assembly, 
to  reinforce  the  army  in  New  York.  Of  this  company  Abraham 
Bradley  was  Captain,  Tilley  Blakesley,  Ist  Lieutenant,  Thomas  Cat- 
lin,  2d  Lieutenant,  and  James  Morris  Jr.,  Ensign.  "Among  the 
'Wolcott  Papers',"  Kilbourne  tells  us,  p.  102,  "is  preserved  the  fol- 
lowing Deposition*  made  on  the  3d  of  May,  1777,  before  Andrew 
Adams,  Esq.  J.  P.,  by  Lieutenant  Thomas  Catlin: 

"  'That  he  was  taken  Prisoner  by  the  British  Troops  on  New 
York  Island,  September  15,  1776,  and  confined  with  a  great  number 
in  close  Gaol,  eleven  days;  that  he  had  no  sustenance  for  forty-eight 
hours  after  he  was  taken;  that  for  eleven  whole  days  they  had  only 
about  two  days'  allowance,  and  their  pork  was  offensive  to  the  smell. 
That  forty-two  were  confined  in  one  house,  till  Fort  Washington 
was  taken,  when  the  house  was  crowded  with  other  Prisoners ;  after 
which  they  were  informed  they  should  have  two-thirds  allowance — 
which  consisted  of  very  poor  Irish  Pork,  Bread  hard,  mouldy  and 
wormy,  made  of  canail  and  dregs  of  flax-seed.  The  British  Troops 
had  good  bread.  Brackish  water  was  given  to  the  Prisoners,  and 
he  had  seen  $1.50  given  for  a  common  pail  of  water.  Only  between 
three  and  four  pounds  of  Pork  was  given  three  men  for  three  days. 
That  for  near  three  months,  the  private  soldiers  were  confined  in 
the  Churches,  and  in  one  were  eight  hundred  and  fifty;  that  about 
the  25th  of  December,  1776,  he  and  about  two  hundred  and  twenty 
five  others  were  put  on  board  the  Glasgow  at  New  York  to  be 
carried  to  Connecticut  for  exchange.  They  were  on  board  eleven 
days,  and  kept  on  black,  coarse  broken  bread,  and  less  pork  than 
before.  Twenty  eight  died  during  these  eleven  days!  They  were 
treated  with  great  cruelty,  and  had  no  fire  for  sick  or  well.  They 
were  crowded  between  decks,  and  many  died  through  hardship,  ill 
usage,  hunger  and  cold'." 

Even  allowing  for  the  fact  that  the  standards  of  the  day  were 
rougher  than  our  own,  that  sanitary  measures  were  little  under- 
stood, and  that  the  British  were  under  the  disadvantage  of  conduct- 
ing operations  on  foreign  soil,  we  cannot  exonerate  from  the  charge 
of  deliberate  cruelty,  the  officers  in  charge  of  the  revolutionary 
prisons.  No  part  of  the  story  of  our  revolution,  however,  can  be 
justly  told,  that  represents  the  enemy  as  inherently  base,  or  the 
characters  of  the  warring  peoples  as  essentially  antagonistic.  They 
were  bred  to  the  same  tradition,  inheritors  of  centuries  of  common 
life.  It  is  interesting  to  remember  that  in  the  year  in  which  the 
American  Colonies  declared  themselves  a  Free  Nation,  the  City  of 
London  raised  a  voice  of  protest  against  the  prosecution  of  the  war. 

The  war,  however,  continued;  and  Litchfield's  part  in  it  became 
increasingly  important.  In  July  1776,  Oliver  Wolcott  had  signed 
the  Declaration  of  Independence.  Shortly  after  this,  when  the 
British  captured  New  York  and  all  communications  between  New 


'  1 

1      m 

^[AJ()R  ^^nsF.s  Seyml'Ur 


England  and  Pennsylvania  were  forced  onto  a  northerly  route  to 
the  Hudson  and  so  down  beyond  the  western  highlands,  Litchfield, 
lying  on  the  most  direct  route  to  the  American  posts  on  the  river, 
became  an  important  military  depot,  which  it  remained  until  1780. 
"The  depot  for  provisions",  says  Kilbourne,  p.  117,  "stood  on  the 
premises  now  occupied  by  Dr.  Buel's  sanitarium,  in  North  Street, 
where  a  building  was  erected  for  that  purpose  sixty  feet  long  and 
two  stories  high.  On  the  site  of  the  present  Court  House,  was 
erected  a  building  of  similar  dimensions  as  a  depot  for  other  mili- 
tary stores.  A  workshop  for  the  army  (which  was  also  sixty  feet 
in  length  and  two  stories  high),  stood  on  the  north  side  of  East 
Street,  just  west  of  the  Burying  Ground.  At  each  of  the  places 
here  designated,  a  military  guard  was  stationed  night  and  day — the 
roll  being  called — the  soldiers  drilled,  and  the  guard  set,  at  stated 
intervals,  with  as  much  precision  as  would  have  been  observed  by 
an  army  encamped  in  the  vicinity  of  the  enemy.  The  stores  and 
provisions  deposited  here,  were  for  much  of  the  time  under  the  gen- 
eral superintendence  of  Commissary  William  Richards  of  Elizabeth- 
town,  N.  J.  Ashbel  Baldwin,  a  native  of  this  town,  graduated  at 
Yale  College  in  1776,  and  soon  received  the  appointment  of  Quarter- 
master and  was  stationed  here.  He  remained  at  his  post  between 
two  and  three  years,  when  he  received  an  honorable  discharge,  and 
was  succeeded  in  oflfice  bv  Oliver  Wolcott  Jr.,  who  graduated  in 

Prisoners  of  war  were  also  often  sent  to  Litchfield  and  were 
kept  in  the  Jail  on  East  Street.  "The  location  being  so  far  inland, 
and  so  distant  from  any  navigable  stream",  says  Kilbourne,  p.  112, 
"it  was  thought  they  would  be  less  liable  to  be  discovered  and  res- 
cued here,  than  at  Hartford,  New  Haven  or  Boston".  Among  the 
prisoners  detained  here  at  various  times  were  the  Hon.  William 
Franklin,  royal  Governor  of  New  Jersey,  loyalist  son  of  Benjamin 
Franklin ;  and  Mr.  Matthews,  the  English  Mayor  of  New  York.  The 
latter  was  in  the  custody  of  Captain  Moses  Seymour,  in  which  he 
thought  himself  happy;  and  whose  courtesies  he  requited  by  the 
gift  of  the  "pleasure-carriage"  elsewhere  referred  to.  The  unfortu- 
nate Mayor,  however,  was  not  destined  to  a  quiet  captivity.  He 
was  the  storm-centre  of  many  rumors,  and  was  at  one  time  removed 
from  Litchfield  for  fear  of  his  life.  Later  he  was  returned  and 
subsequently  made  his  escape.  George  C.  Woodruff  in  his  Centen- 
nial Address,  delivered  in  1876,  states  that  tradition  had  it,  "that 
the  public  authorities  did  not  well  know  how  to  deal  with  his  case, 
and  that  one  day  when  he  'walked  abroad  for  the  benefit  of  the 
air*,  (as  he  was  permitted  to  do),  he  neglected  to  return;  very  much 
to  the  satisfaction  of  all  concerned  in  his  detention". 

In  the  summer  of  1776,  occurred  the  event,  so  dear  to  local  tradi- 
tion, when  the  leaden  statue  of  George  the  third,  torn  from  its  gilded 
glory  on  Bowling  Green,  was  brought  to  Litchfield  and  turned  into 
rebel  bullets  by  a  few  of  the  women  and  young  people  of  the  town. 
This  was  done,  it  is  supposed,  at  the  instance  of  Oliver  Wolcott,  who 


had  just  returned  to  Connecticut  from  Philadelphia,  and  was 
always  keenly  alive  to  the  needs  of  the  army.  Among  his  papers 
was  found  the  following  account  of  the  cartridges  made  on  this  occa- 

Mrs.  Marvin,  3456  cartridges. 

"  "      on  former  account,  2602 


Buth  Marvin  on  former  account,  6204 

Net  sent  to  court  house  449  packs,  5388 

Laura,  on  former  account,  4250 

Not  sent  to  court  house  344  packs,  4128 



Mary  Ann,  on  former  account,  5762 

Not  set  to  the  court  house  119  packs, 
out  of  which  I  let  Colonel  Perley  Howe 
have  3  packs,  5028 


Frederick,   on   former    account,  708 

Not  sent  to  court  house,  19  packs,  228 


Mrs.  Beach's  two  accounts,  2002 

Made  by  sundry  persons,  2182 

Gave  Litchfield  militia,  on  alarm,  50 

Let  the  regiment  of  Col.  Wigglesworth  have  300 

Cartridges,   No.  42,288 

Overcharged  in  Mrs.  Beach's  account,  200 


Woodruff,  p.  47,  says  of  this,  '"the  late  Hon.  Judge  Wolcott, 
who  figures  in  the  account  as  'Frederick',  and  who  Avas  a  boy  at 
the  time,  informed  me  a  few  years  ago  that  he  well  remembered 
the  circumstance  of  the  statue  being  sent  there,  and  that  a  shed 
was  erected  for  the  occasion  in  an  apple  orchard  adjoining  the 
house,  where  his  father  chopped  it  up  with  the  w(X)d  axe,  and  the 
'girls'  had  a  frolic  in  running  the  bullets  and  making  them  up  into 
cartridges.   . . . 

•'The  estimation  in  which  lead  was  held  in  those  days  may  be 
imagined  from  the  fact  that  the  above  account  of  cartridges  is  ftle<l 
carefully  among  returns  of  troops,  accounts  of  requisitions  upon 
the  states,  and  issues  of  bills  of  credit". 

In  October  of  this  year,  Oliver  Wolcott  was  reappointed  a  mem- 
ber of  the  Continental  Congress;  and  Drs.  Keuben  Smith  and  Seth 
Bird  were  appointed  by  the  Legislature  to  serve  on  a  committee  "to 
examine  all  persons  in  this  State  that  should  be  offered  as  Surgeons 


or  Surgeons'  Mates  in  the  continental  army  or  navy,  and  if  found 
qualified,  to  give  them  certificates".  Andrew  Adams  was  appointed 
with  others,  to  cause  the  arrest  of  all  suspected  persons,  and  those 
dangerous  to  the  liberties  of  America. 

In  December,  the  Legislature  appointed  Tapping  Eeeve  and 
Lynde  Lord  on  a  committee  "to  rouse  and  animate  the  people",  and 
endeavor  to  procure  the  enlistment  of  volunteers  for  Washington's 
army.  A  company  was  forthwith  raised  in  Litchfield,  and  the  fol- 
lowing officers  were  commissioned:  Nathaniel  Goodwin,  Captain; 
Alexander  Waugh,  Lieutenant;  and  Ozias  Goodwin,  Ensign.  At 
the  same  session.  Colonel  Wolcott  was  promoted  to  the  rank  of 
Brigadier  General,  and  given  the  command  of  the  Fourth  Brigade. 

This  winter  was  a  profoundly  trying  time  for  the  American  army. 
Ml*.  Ellsworth  tells  us  that  Fiske  considered  the  attack  on  Trenton 
the  most  critical  point  in  Washington's  career,  for  the  terms  of 
service  of  the  greater  part  of  his  men  expired  on  Xew  Year's  Day, 
and  had  the  attack  failed  it  would  have  been  almost  impossible  to 
fill  his  ranks  again.  "In  that  dark  hour",  says  Mr.  Ellsworth, 
''New  England  did  her  duty  and  sent  all  the  troops  she  could  raise 
to  create  a  diversion  in  the  neighborhood  of  New  York.  Judge 
Tapping  Reeve  . . .  was  one  of  those  who  went  . . .  and  servetl  as 
an  officer  until  the  news  of  the  victories  of  Trenton  and  Prince- 
ton brought  assurance  that  Washington's  army  was  safe  for  a  time". 

Through  all  changes  of  manners  and  modes  of  Avarfare,  the 
essential  problems  of  war  remain  the  same;  armament,  food,  clotli- 
ing  and  shelter  for  the  army;  means  of  raising  money;  provision 
for  the  families  of  soldiers;  regulation  of  prices; — our  revolutionary 
fathers  knew  them  all. 

"Early  in  1777",  says  Kilbourne,  p.  113,  "orders  were  issued  for 
raising  eight  battalions  in  Connecticut  for  the  continental  service, 
'to  serve  for  three  years  or  during  the  war'."  (The  necessity  for 
long  enlistments  had  been  brought  home  to  the  people).  "Ninety 
two  soldiers  for  these  battalions  were  ordered  to  be  raised  in  Litch- 
field".     In  March  we  find  the  town  voting  as  follows: 

"Voted  that  the  families  of  such  soldiers  belonging  to  this  town  who 
shall  undertake  in  the  Continental  Army  in  the  Connecticut  Battalions,  and 
have  not  time  and  opportunity  to  lay  out  their  money,  and  make  proper  pro- 
vision  for  their  families  in  their  absence ;  be  supplied  with  necessaries  at  the 
prices  stated  by  law  on  reasonable  request  and  lodging  money  therefore,  .  .  . 
agreeable  to  an  order  and  Recommendation  of  the  Hon.  the  Governor  and 
Council  of  Safety  of  the  i8th  March,  1777. 

"Also,  Voted  strictly  to  adhere  to  and  jointly  and  severally  endeavor  tft 
enforce,  support  and  maintain  the  Law  regulating  prices  as  recommended 
in  said  proclamation". 

In  April,  they  further  voted  to  pay  out  of  the  town  treasury  '*to 
each  soldier  that  should  enlist  for  the  term  specified,  the  sum  of 
twelve  pounds  per  annum",  in  addition  to  their  pay  from  the  State 
or  Federal  Government. 


Town  votes  of  a  similar  nature  are  recorded  throughout  the 
war.  In  those  days  the  town  was  far  more  than  now  the  unit 
of  government,  and  the  town  vote  regulated  many  things  that  are 
now  controlled  by  the  State  or  Nation. 

In  this  year  of  1777  the  people  began  to  feel  the  inevitable 
reaction  from  the  first  enthusiasm  of  the  war,  A  letter,  quoted  by 
Kilbourne,  pp.  107-110,  from  Dr.  Reuben  Smith  to  Oliver  Wolcott, 
then  attending  Congress  in  Philadelphia,  gives  us  a  vivid  picture 
of  the  doubts  and  discouragements  of  the  tima  Kilbourne  reminds 
us  that  "considerable  allowance  must  be  made  for  the  personal  and 
political  prejudices  of  the  writer";  and  that  "the  insinuation  in 
regard  to  Major  Welch"  is  "ungenerous  and  uncalled  for";  that 
aside  from  his  active  service  in  the  field,  that  gentleman  had  been 
again  and  again  elected  to  public  offices,  at  times  when  the  "least 
suspicion  of  Toryism"  would  not  be  tolerated.      The  letter  follows: 

Litchfield,  17  April,  1777. 

Hon'd  Sir — Your  favor  of  the  ist  instant  came  to  hand  the  15th,  and  I 
now  sit  down  to  give  you  the  desired  information,  though  ignorant  of  any- 
proper  conveyance. 

At  the  Town  Council  in  January,  John  Marsh,  3d,  and  Daniel  Rowe, 
were  objected  to  as  Innholders ;  upon  which  Captain  John,  who  is  this  year 
one  of  the  Selectmen,  moved  that  Marsh  might  be  called  in,  which  was 
agreed  to.  He  accordingly  came  in,  and  acknowledged  the  several  charges 
in  substance,  and  openly  declared  that  in  his  opinion  America  had  better 
settle  the  dispute  on  the  best  terms  they  could  obtain  from  Great  Britain ; 
that  the  further  we  proceeded,  the  deeper  we  should  get  in  the  mire,  (his 
own  words,)  and  must  finally  submit.  Captain  John  tried  to  help  him  out 
by  putting  some  questions  which  would  admit  of  ambiguous  answers ;  but 
the  young  man  was  too  open  and  frank  in  his  answers,  and  accordingly  was 
left  out,  as  was  Rowe.  Captain  Seymour  and  David  Stoddard  were  put  in 
their  room. 

The  latter  end  of  January  I  joined  the  army  under  General  Wooster, 
and  retreating  soon  after  in  a  stormy  night,  was  over  fatigued,  fell  sick, 
was  carried  up  to  Horseneck  and  there  discharged,  and  returned  home  some- 
time in  February.  .  .  . 

I  can't  recollect  that  March  produced  anything  very  remarkable  except 
the  struggle  about  the  small-pox. 

April  is  a  month  of  great  importance  and  expectation.  Several  appeared 
by  the  suffrages  to  be  candidates  for  election  at  the  Freemen's  Meeting. 
Mr.  Adams  came  in  first;  and,  after  many  rounds,  Mr.  Strong  just  carried 
it  against  Captain  Bradley.  Captain  John  Marsh  fell  much  short  of  the 
number  I  expected.  Major  Welsh,  who  for  some  time  has  appeared  a  cool 
friend  of  the  American  cause(,  was  observed  to  have  nearly  all  the  tory 
votes.  So  much  for  Deputies.  The  Constables  for  Litchfield  were  Lieu- 
tenant Mason,  (since  dead,)  Alexander  Catlin,  Briant  and  David  Stoddard. 
Lieutenant  Mason  was  appointed  in  the  winter  service,  was  seized  with  a 
pleurisy  at  DeLancey's  Mills,  (Westchester,)  sent  over  to  Rochelle,  and 
when  we  retreated  from  Fort  Independence,  was  removed  to  Mamrock, 
where  he  died  the  same  day.  His  eldest  son,  who  was  with  Captain  Beebe 
at  Fort  Washingftoui  came  home  about  the  same  time  in  a  very  miserable 


condition,  and  is  since  dead.  Captain  Beebe  and  Lieutenant  Jesse  Grant 
still  remain  in  captivity.  It  was  said,  after  our  success  at  Trenton  and 
Princeton,  that  we  were  abundantly  able  to  exchange  all  our  prisoners;  and 
certain  it  is,  that  we  have  numbers  in  hand,  and  yet  our  people  arq  held 
prisoners.  Is  there  not  somewhere  a  neglect?  May  these  partial  ills  be 
productive  of  universal  good  ?  Has  my  honored  friend  any  bright  prospects  ? 
Has  he  any  cordial  for  one  almost  in  the  Nadir  of  Despondency?  Public 
spirit  and  virtue  exist  with  us  only  in  idea.  Almost  every  one  is  pursuing 
his  private  gain,  to  the  entire  neglect  of  the  public  good.  Our  proportion 
of  the  continental  army,  I  believe,  is  not  half  completed.  Men  will  not 
enlist,  and  if  drafted  only  for  six  weeks,  (as  has  lately  been  the  case^)  they 
will  rather  pay  a  fine  of  five  pounds.  Thirteen  men  were  the  other  day 
drafted  in  Captain  Marsh's  company  to  go  to  Peekskill  and  to  be  held  but 
six  weeks  after  their  arrival.  Not  one  has  gone  or  intends  to  go.  This 
town  met  last  week  and  voted  £12  premium  for  every  one  that  should 
enlist  into  the  continental  army  for  three  years  or  during  the  war;  but  I 
cannot  learn  that  one  man  has  enlisted  since.  This  day  orders  came  to 
town  from  the  Governor  and  Council  of  Safety  to  fill  up  the  Eight  Battalions 
immediately,  by  drafting  men  out  of  the  militia  and  alarm  companies,  till 
the  1st  of  January;  but  it  will  not  be  done,  as  a  fine  of  five  pounds  will 
excuse  from  going. 

Our  money  is  continually  depreciating.  This  week,  John  Collins  sold 
two  yoke  of  oxen  for  £95,  which  might  have  been  bought  a  twelve  month 
past  for  £20  per  yoke.  Every  necessary  article  is  continually  rising  in  price, 
which  proves  a  fatal  discouragement  to  men's  engaging  in  the  service;  for 
if  they  go,  their  families  (say  they)  must  unavoidably  suflFer  and  starve,  as 
their  bounty  and  pay  will  not  procure  them  the  necessary  support. 

Monday,  28th  April. — Finding  no  opportunity  of  forwarding  the  fore- 
going, direct,  it  has  lain  by  until  this  time,  and  now  send  it  to  the  Post  Office 
in  Hartford  with  the  following  addition : 

Intelligence  was  brought  to  town  last  Saturday  afternoon,  that  twenty- 
four  Transports  were  come  to  a  place  called  Compo,  between  Fairfield  and 
Norwalk,  and  that  the  troops  were  landing.  About  Lwo  o'clock  next  morn- 
ing, an  Express  came  from  New  Milford,  who  informed  that  the  troops 
landed  to  the  number  of  three  thousand,  with  some  light  field-pieces,  and 
proceeded  direct  to  Danbury,  where  they  arrived  without  the  least  opposi- 
tion on  Saturday  at  two  o'clock  in  the  afternoon,  took  possession  of  our 
stores  and  the  town,  which  was  said  to  be  in  flames  when  the  Express  came 
away.  The  people  with  great  spirit  turned  out  immediately  from  all  our 
towns,  but  I  fear  to  little  purpose;  for  if  they  fired  the  town  Saturday 
afternoon,  they  will  get  on  board  their  shipping  before  our  people  get  down. 
Last  night  advice  was  brought  that  the  enemy  was  landing  at  New  Haven 
on  Saturday  night,  but  I  imagine  it  to  be  only  a  feint  in  order  to  prevent 
their  retreat  being  cut  off.  We  have  heard  nothing  -from  Danbury  since  the 
departure  of  our  people.  The  Tories  are  grown  very  insolent,  but  I  believe 
they  will  not  dare  attempt  anything  openly  with  us. 

Mrs.  Wolcott  and  family  are  well.  Oliver  is  gone  to  Danbury.  My 
haste  must  apologize  for  abruptness,  &c. 

I  am.  Sir,  Your  Humble  Servant, 



"Oliver"  herein  referred  to  is,  of  course,  the  younger  Oliver 
Wolcott,  then  seventeen  years  old,  and  a  student  at  Yale.  He  was 
in  Litchfield  at  the  time  of  the  Alarm,  and  Kilbourne  tells  us,  p.  110, 
how  awakened  at  night,  he  armed  himself  and  set  out,  at  once,  with 
his  mother's  charge,  "to  conduct  like  a  good  soldier". 

Evidently  Dr.  Smith's  pessimism  concerning  the  spirit  of  the 
people  was  unfounded,  or  else  the  historian  Gibbs  was  misinformed; 
for  the  latter  tells  us,  that  the  fourteen  men  who  left  Litchfield 
on  this  occasion,  were  "the  last  in  Litchfield  capable  of  hearing 

Woodruft",  pp.  39-40,  quotes  a  second  letter  of  Dr.  Smith's,  dateil 
May  12th  of  this  year,  in  which  he  writes  more  fully  of  the  Alarm. 

"Sunday  morning,  27th  April,  about  one  o'clock,  we  were 
alarmed;  our  people  turned  out  spiritedly;  came  up  with  rear  of 
the  enemy  about  eleven  the  next  day,  a  little  below  Wilton  Meeting 
House,  and  pursued  them  aboard  their  ships.  Paul  Peck  was  killed 
in  the  last  attack  on  the  enemy.  Levi  Peck,  Thomas  Peck's  sou, 
was  wounded  in  the  shoulder  about  the  same  time;  in  Wilton,  Ozias 
Goodwin  was  wounded  in  the  arm,  and  Salmon  Buel  had  one  of  his 
thighs  broken,  and  the  other  shot  through  with  the  same  ball. 

The  infamous  Daniel  Griswold,  came  into  the  western  part  of 
the  Town,  the  morning  before  the  alarm,  and  was  there  concealed 
till  Monday,  and  took  off  to  join  the  ministerial  army,  David  Kil- 
bom,  Benjamin  Kilborn's  son  Cha's,  Isaac  Kilborn's  son  Abraham, 
and  Samuel  Kilborn  son  to  Giles  Kilboru,  Jonathan  Smith,  Jr., 
and  his  brother  Elisha,  (who  was  enlisted  in  the  light  horse.) 
David  Joy,  Ephraim  Bates,  Benjamin  Doolittle,  Josiah  Stone,  and 
John  Davies'  youngest  son  David,  and  one  John  Beach  of  Wood- 
bury who  lived  at  Josiah  Stone's. 

The  Wednesday  following  they  were  taken,  (except  Benjamin 
Dootlittle,  and  Charles  Kilborn,  who  it  is  said  were  killed  in 
attempting  to  escape,)  and  were  carried  to  Derby,  where  they  were 
tried  by  a  Court  Martial,  and  Griswold  was  sentenced  to  be  hanged; 
which  sentence  was  executed  the  Monday  following,  at  New  Haven. 
The  rest  were  pardoned,  upon  their  enlisting  into  the  Continental 
Army  during  the  War.  ..." 

Of  Paul  Peck,  alluded  to  in  the  Letter  of  Doct.  Smith,  it  is 
said,  "he  was  the  most  expert  hunter  of  the  time  in  which  he  lived. 
At  the  Danbury  Alarm,  he  put  his  large  Gun  in  order,  and  followed 
the  enemy  to  Compo,  on  their  retreat,  and  took  a  station  behind  a 
stone  wall,  and  every  shot  told,  until  he  was  rushed  upon  by  the 
enemy,  who  took  his  gun  from  him  and  dashed  his  brains  out  with 
it."      He  was  killed  April  28th,  1777,  aged  about  seventy-five  years. 

Kilbourn  tells  us,  p.  Ill,  that  "Father  Mills  the  eccentric  clergy- 
man of  Torringford,  wishing  on  one  occasion  to  illustrate  the  cer- 
tain and  irrevocable  doom  of  the  wicked,  told  of  a  timid  Berkshire 
fox  that  started  on  a  trip  to  the  Sound",  and  "having  safely  passed 
the  snares,  and  hunters,  and  hounds,  that  beset  his  way,  he  became 


careless,  proud  and  self-conceited.  'He  enters  Fat  Swamp  at  a 
jolly  trot,  head  and  tail  up,  looking  defiance  at  the  enemies  he  has 
left  so  far  behind  him.  But  O,  the  dreadful  reverse:  In  the  midst 
of  his  haughty  reverie,  he  is  brought  to  a  sudden  and  everlasting 
stop  IN  ONE  OF  PAUL  PECK'S  TRAPS!'" 

Of  Griswold,  Kilbourne  says,  p.  116,  that  he  was  reputed  to 
be  "a  young  man  of  good  character  and  energy,  and  was  not  unpopu- 
lar with  a  large  class  of  whigs.  Perhaps,  by  the  bloody  code  of  war, 
he  ought  to  have  suffered  death  as  a  traitor  for  enlisting  soldiers  for 
the  king's  service;  though  it  is  a  fact  beyond  dispute,  that  there 
were  among  the  king's  troops,  in  that  very  contest,  whole  regiments 
of  *Ro3'al  Americans',  as  they  were  styled-  Many  of  the  leading 
whigs  of  Litchfield  were  open  in  their  condemnation  of  the  action 
of  the  Court  Martial  in  this  instance,  and  the  event  probably  did 
not  advance  the  republican  cause  in  this  town". 

In  June  of  this  year,  the  town  witnessed  the  passage  of  four 
companies  of  Sheldon's  Horse,  under  the  leadership  of  Major  Ben- 
jamin Tallmadge,  bound  to  reinforce  General  Washington  at  his 
headquarters,  at  Morristown.  Kilbourne  suggests,  p.  150,  that  it 
was  probably  on  this  occasion  that  the  troops  attended  public  wor- 
ship in  the  old  Meeting  House,  and  that  Judah  Champion  offered 
the  prayer,  before  referred  to,  which  is  given  in  HoUister's  History 
of  Connecticut,  Vol.  II,  pp.  390: 

"O  Lord,  we  view  with  terror  and  dismay  the  enemies  of  Thy 
holy  religion.  Wilt  Thou  send  storm  and  tempest  to  toss  them 
upon  the  sea,  and  to  overwhelm  them  in  the  mighty  deep  or  to 
scatter  them  to  the  uttermost  parts  of  the  earth.  But,  peradventure, 
should  any  escape  Thy  vengeance,  collect  them  together  again,  O 
Lord!  as  in  the  hollow  of  Thy  hand,  and  let  Thy  lightnings  play 
upon  them.  We  do  beseech  Thee,  moreover,  that  Thou  do  gird 
up  the  loins  of  these  Th}^  servants  who  are  going  forth  to  fight  Thy 
battles.  Make  them  strong  men,  that  'one  shall  chase  a  thousand, 
and  two  shall  put  ten  thousand  to  flight'.  Hold  before  them  the 
shield  with  which  Thou  wast  wont  in  the  old  time  to  protect  Thy 
chosen  people.  Give  them  swift  feet,  that  they  may  pursue  their 
enemies,  and  swords  terrible  as  that  of  Thy  destroying  angel,  that 
they  may  cleave  them  down  when  they  have  overtaken  them.  Pre- 
serve these  servants  of  thine.  Almighty  God!  and  bring  them  once 
more  to  their  homes  and  friends,  if  Thou  canst  do  it  consistently 
with  Thine  high  purposes.  If,  on  the  other  hand,  Thou  has  decreed 
that  they  shall  die  in  battle,  let  Thy  Spirit  be  present  with  them, 
and  breathe  upon  them,  that  they  may  go  up  as  a  sweet  sacrifice  into 
the  courts  of  Thy  temple,  where  are  habitations  prepared  for  them 
from  the  foundations  of  thq  world". 

Sheldon's  Regiment  of  Horse,  says  Kilbourne,  p.  128,  "was 
Washington's  favorite  corps,  and  continued  to  act  under  his  imme- 
diate direction  till  the  Treaty  of  Peace  was  signed — constituting  at 
once  his  messengers,  his  body-guard,  and  his  agents  for  the  accom- 


plisliinent  of  any  enterprise,  however  desperate".  Colonel  Sheldon, 
commander  of  the  regiment,  "had  been  for  some  twenty  years  a 
resident  of  Litchfield,  and  his  troops  were  raised  almost  exclusively 
in  this  vicinity.  Captains  Moses  Seymour,  Stanton  and  Wads- 
wori;h,  of  this  town,  commanded  companies  in  this  corps — Captain 
Stanton  being  at  the  same  time  Paymaster  of  the  Regiment.  Major 
Tallmadge  was  one  of  Sheldon's  most  efficient  Majors". 

Tallmadge  is  one  of  the  most  attractive  and  dashing  figures  of 
our  revolutionary  history.  He  was  later  to  establish  himself  in 
Litchfield,  and  enter  into  business  enterprise  and  public  affairs  with 
the  same  adventurous  enthusiasm  with  which  he  conducted  himself 
in  the  war.  He  always  held  a  high  place  in  the  esteem  of  the 
people.  He  joined  the  army  early  in  1776  and  became  a  Captain 
of  Dragoons  later  in  that  year.  His  company  was  mounted  entirely 
on  dapple-greys,  and  Kilbourne  tells  us,  p.  150,  that  with  their  black 
straps  and  bear-skin  holster  covers  they  "looked  superbly".  Their 
commander  was  at  this  time  a  young  man  of  twenty  three.  A 
sketch  of  him  by  Colonel  Trumbull,  shows,  under  the  plumed  helmet 
of  the  Dragoon,  a  high-bred  sensitive  face,  clear-eyed,  confident  and 
gallant.      His  service  throughout  the  war  fulfilled  this  promise. 

During  the  summer  of  1777,  the  depot  at  Litchfield  was  actively 
employed  in  receiving  and  transmitting  supplies.  We  can  imagine 
the  bustle  and  excitement  of  the  little  town  with  the  passage  of 
troops  and  supply  trains.  Kilbourne  gives  us,  pp.  117-118,  an 
account  of  this  activity.  "On  the  30th  of  June,  Governor  Trumbull 
wrote  to  General  Wolcott,  informing  him  that  a  team  would  be 
sent  to  Litchfield  loaded  with  powder,  lead  and  fiints,  and  request- 
ing him  to  send  a  team  to  Salisbury  for  a  load  of  cannon-shot,  to 
be  forwarded  to  Hartford  by  returning  teams.  By  a  subsequent 
record  of  the  Council  of  Safety,  it  appears  that  on  this  occasion, 
there  were  sent  to  Litchfield  seventeen  hundred  pounds  of  gun- 
powder, two  thousand  pounds  of  lead,  one  thousand  flints,  and  three 
hundred  pounds  of  cannon-powder. 

"On  the  23rd  of  July  following,  an  order  was  drawn  on  David 
Trumbull,  for  twenty  five  pounds,  five  shillings  and  tenpence,  in 
favor  of  John  and  Daniel  Dewey,  'for  carting  powder  and  lead  from 
Lebanon  to  Litchfield' ". 

In  the  following  month.  New  York  appealed  to  New  England 
to  come  to  their  aid,  and  Dr.  Goodwin  tells  us,  p.  11,  that  "the  com- 
mittee of  the  town  of  Litchfield  transmitted  by  return  post  on 
August  4th,  1777,  the  following  reply : 

"Yours  of  the  First  Instant  respecting  the  alarming  Situation 
of  our  northern  affairs  never  reached  us  before  this  moment. 
Surely,  Gentlemen,  we  shall  never  be  backward  in  affording  every 
Possible  aid  in  our  power  for  the  Relief  of  the  County  of  Albany. 
We  are  not  so  narrow  and  Contracted  as  not  to  extend  every  assist- 
ance as  well  to  the  Inhabatents  of  a  sister  state  as  to  those  of  our 
own;  nor  do  we  imagine  that  we  our  selfs  can  long  be  safe  whilst 


iKXjA.M  l.V    TaLLMAIiG:-: 

Portrait    !■>■    Ralph    l-'a.rl.: 

Mrs.  Bexjamix  Tallmadge 

From  a   Portrait  by   Ralph   Earle 


Desolation  and  Conquest  over  spread  your  State.  In  short  our 
Feelings  are  such  that  we  would  run  every  Hazzard,  and  risque 
every  danger,  for  you  that  we  should  for  ourselves". 

In  August,  also,  according  to  Kilbourne,  p.  118,  "General  Wol- 
cott  wrote  to  the  Governor  and  Council,  stating  that  he  had  ordered 
all  the  effective  men  of  Sheldon's  Horse  and  Humphrey's  regiment, 
(who  had  not  been  called  to  duty  under  the  recent  act,  and  were 
liable  to  be  called  out  of  the  State),  to  march  immediately  to  Peeks- 
kill,  well  provided  with  arms,  and  with  forty  days'  provisions.  The 
General's  course  was  approved,  and  an  order  was  directed  to  be 
drawn  on  the  State  Treasurer,  in  his  favor,  for  the  sum  of  £1,000. 
About  the  same  time,  Sheriff  Lord  was  directed  to  procure  from 
the  merchants  of  Litchfield  county,  for  the  use  of  the  army,  four 
hogsheads  of  rum,  six  hogsheads  of  sugar,  and  two  thousand  pounds 
of  coffee,  at  a  stipulated  price.  If  the  merchants  refused  to  furnish 
the  goods  at  the  price  named,  the  Sheriff  was  ordered  to  take  the 
articles  wherever  he  could  find  them,  at  the  appraisal  of  two  or 
three  judicious  freeholders  and  to  make  return  of  his  doings  to  the 

"In  September,  Litchfield  was  established  by  the  Council,  as 
the  place  of  rendezvous  for  the  Sixth  Brigade,  and  Major  Beebe  was 
stationed  here  as  the  recruiting  officer  for  the  Brigade. 

"Late  in  the  autumn  of  this  year,  a  large  proportion  of  the 
military  stores,  taken  at  the  capture  of  Bourgoyne,  were  deposited 

The  capture  of  Bourgoyne  brought  new  hope  to  the  Americans. 
One  of  the  British  officers,  wounded  at  Saratoga,  said,  when  he 
heard  the  fate  of  the  day:  "Then  the  contest  is  no  longer  doubtful, 
America  will  be  independent.  I  have  fought  earnestly  for  my  King 
and  Country,  but  the  contest  is  ended".  This  officer  was  a  prisoner 
in  the  custody  of  Captain  Moses  Seymour,  whose  troop  of  horse 
was  in  that  memorable  engagement. 

Captain  Seymour's  account  of  the  dinner  given  by  the  American 
officers  to  Bourgoyne  and  his  associates  after  the  surrender  is 
recorded  by  Kilbourne,  p.  158:  "The  utmost  courtesy  and  good  feel- 
ing prevailed  on  the  part  of  the  principal  officers,  and  the  responses 
to  the  sentiments  given  were  hearty  and  enthusiastic.  At  length. 
General  Bourgoyne  was  called  upon  for  a  toast.  Every  voice  was 
for  the  moment  hushed  into  the  deepest  attention,  as  he  arose  and 
gave:  'America  and  Great  Britain  against  the  world!'  The  response 
which  followed  may  be  imagined". 

In  spite  of  the  success  at  the  North,  however,  the  army  in  Penn- 
sylvania had  suffered  double  defeat  on  the  Brandywine  and  at 
Germantown,  and  these  losses  were  followed  by  the  bitter  winter 
at  Valley  Forge.  It  was  a  dark  day  for  the  young  nation.  Neverthe- 
less, the  people  were  grimly  determined  to  adhere  to  their  cause.  In 
January,  1778,  the  town  of  Litchfield  confirmed  by  vote  the  Articles 
of  Confederation  and  Perpetual  Union  between  the  States. 


In  this  winter  we  heur  again  of  Tallniadge,  who  was  stationed 
with  a  detachmen  of  dragoons,  as  an  advanced  corjis  of  observation 
between  our  army  and  that  of  the  enemy.  He  wrote  to  Washington 
constantly  at  this  time  of  the  need  of  money  and  the  difficulty  of 
procuring  the  supplies  necessary  for  his  troops. 

Later  in  1778,  he  was  transferred  to  service  along  the  Sound, 
and  began  his  private  correspondence  with  Washington  and  his 
organization  of  an  Intelligence  Service,  which  he  was  to  continue 
throughout  the  war.  His  letters  of  this  period  which  are  pre- 
served in  the  Litchfield  Historical  Society  are  very  interesting, 
showing  the  care  and  attention  which  he  gave  to  detail,  combined 
with  the  imagination  to  conceive  extended  plans.  He  also  shows 
a  consideration  for  his  subordinates  remarkable  in  so  young  an 

Throughout  the  year  1779,  he  wrote  nearly  every  month,  arrang- 
ing to  receive  and  pass  on  intelligence  through  men  posted  behind 
the  British  lines.  A  code  was  established  and  some  sort  of  special 
ink,  requiring  a  stain,  Avas  used.  Early  in  this  year,  he  spoke  of 
the  possible  end  of  the  war:  there  Avere  certain  significant  move- 
ments of  the  enemy;  Tories  were  selling  their  land.  In  September, 
he  conducted  a  successful  raid  on  Lloyd's  Neck,  to  break  up  a  band 
of  freebooters,  who  from  this  shelter  near  a  strong  British  post 
had  been  plundering  the  Connecticut  shore.  In  spite  of  the  success 
of  this  particular  raid  and  the  capture  of  nearly  the  entire  band  of 
marauders,  the  plundering  of  the  coast  was  to  be  an  annoyance  till 
the  end  of  the  war,  and  Tallmadge  was  continually  combatting  it. 

The  hope  of  peace  held  in  the  early  part  of  1779  was  not  to  be 
realized;  and  in  1780  we  find  Tallmadge  still  conducting  operations 
on  the  Sound. 

Meanwhile,  the  army  at  Morristown  was  in  great  distress  after 
a  severe  winter,  and  Washington  appealed  to  Governor  Trumbull 
for  aid.  His  messenger  was  detained  but  a  short  time,  when  Gov- 
ernor Trumbull  placed  a  sealed  letter  in  his  hand,  directed  to  Gen- 
eral Washington,  announcing  that  on  a  certain  day  he  would 
receive  at  Newburgh,  by  a  wagon  train  from  Hartford,  two  hundred 
barrels  of  flour,  one  hundred  barrels  of  beef,  and  one  hundred  bar- 
rels of  pork.  Washington's  comment  on  opening  the  letter  was: 
"If  the  Lord  would  make  windows  in  heaven,  might  this  thing 
be".  And  when  the  provisions  arrived  on  the  day  appointed,  he 
said:  "No  other  man  than  Governor  Trumbull  could  have  procured 
them,  and  no  other  state  than  Connecticut  would  have  furnished 
them".  This  train  passed  through  Litchfield,  where  additional  sup- 
plies were  obtained.  Colonel  Henry  Champion,  the  father  of  the 
Kev.  Judah  Champion  and  of  Mrs.  Julius  Deming,  accompanied  the 
train,  in  charge  of  a  drove  of  cattle,  which  were  tolled  across  the 
Hudson  by  the  side  of  small  boats. 

In  Litchfield,  in  this  year,  the  town  did  everything  possible 
to  encourage  recruiting  and  to  help  the  army.  It  is  interesting  to 
see  the  effort  made  to  neutralize  for  the  soldier  the  high  cost  of 


living,  by  a  town  vote  to  "make  good  to  hiin  his  Forty  Shillings  per 
Month,  by  such  addition  to  the  Pay  he  shall  receive  from  the  State 
or  the  United  States  as  shall  make  said  Pay  sufficient  to  purchase 
as  much  Provisions  as  Forty  Shillings  would  have  done  in  1774". 

Besides  the  visits  at  various  times  of  Lafayette,  Kochambeau 
and  other  generals,  those  of  General  Washington  stand  out  in  the 
traditions  of  Litchfield.  In  September,  1780,  he  arrived  here  on 
his  way  from  Hartford  to  West  Point,  and  according  to  Gibbs  was 
entertained  at  General  Wolcott's  house.  The  following  morning 
he  proceeded  westward.  It  was  on  his  arrival  at  West  Point  from 
this  journey  that  the  historical  breakfast  occurred,  at  which  the 
treason  of  Benedict  Arnold  was  revealed.  On  the  evening  before, 
September  23,  1780,  near  Northcastle,  Major  Tallmadge  was  busily 
engaged  in  unraveling  the  mystery  of  Arnold's  associate,  John 
Andre,  who  in  the  guise  of  John  Anderson  had  been  captured  by 
three  militiamen.  Tallmadge  discovered  the  identity  of  Andre  and 
suspected  the  treachery  of  Arnold.  If  his  recommendations  to 
Colonel  Jameson,  his  superior  officer,  had  been  acted  upon,  Arnold 
would  never  have  escaped. 

Andre  remained  a  prisoner  in  Tallmadge's  custody  until  the 
time  of  his  execution.  During  this  brief  period  a  warm  attach- 
ment sprang  up  between  the  two  young  men.  Years  later  Tall- 
madge wrote:  'I  became  so  deeply  attached  to  Major  Andre,  that 
I  can  remember  no  instance  where  my  affections  were  so  fully 
absorbed  in  any  man.  When  I  saw  him  swinging  under  the  gibbet, 
it  seemed  for  a  time  as  if  I  could  not  support  it". 

Shortly  after  this  tragedy,  Tallmadge  was  on  duty  again  along 
the  Sound;  and  in  November  he  made  a  successful  attack  on  Fort 
George  on  the  south  side  of  Long  Island.  In  17S1  he  actively  con- 
tinued his  Intelligence  Service,  and  secured  plans  of  the  enemy's 
works  at  various  points.  He  also  arranged  for  Count  Eochambeau, 
then  at  Xewport,  to  communicate  with  the  secret  agents  and  to  use 
their  services,  for  which  the  Count  was  to  provide  the  necessary 
money.  On  May  2,  1781,  Tallmadge  wrote  to  Washington  from 
Wethersfield  concerning  this  latter  arrangement.  On  May  18th  Wash- 
ington made  the  following  entry  in  his  diary:  '"Set  out  this  day  for 
an  intervicAv  at  Wethersfield  with  the  Count  de  Kochambeau  and 
Admiral  Barras.  Reached  Morgan's  Tavern,  43  miles  from  Fish- 
skill    Landing,    after    dining    at    Col.    Vanderberg's May    19th. 

Breakfasted  at  Litchfield,  dined  at  Farmington,  and  lodged  at  Weth- 
ersfield at  the  house  of  Mr.  Joseph  Webb". 

Whether  Washington  visited  Litchfield  a  third  time  is  uncer- 
tain ;  but  on  one  of  his  visits  he  lodged  at  the  Gould  house  on  North 
Street,  then  occupied  as  a  tavern  by  Samuel  Sheldon.  Captain 
Salmon  Buel  remembered  going  early  in  the  morning,  with  about 
fifty  of  his  school  fellows,  to  see  the  renowned  commander  on  this 
occasion.  "A  company  of  horse-guards  was  drawn  up  before  the 
house  waiting  for  him;  but,  as  he  was  not  ready  to  start,  the 
guards  rode  down  North  Street  and  for  a  considerable  distance  out 


West  Street,  returning  in  a  short  time  to  the  Gould  House,  The 
General  now  came  out,  mounted  his  horse,  and  the  cavalcade  pro- 
ceeded down  South  Street,  perhaps  to  enable  him  to  pay  his  respects 
to  General  Wolcott".       (Kilbourne,  p.  130). 

During  the  last  three  years  the  center  of  military  operations 
had  shifted  to  the  south,  and  it  was  there  in  this  year  1781  that 
the  decisive  battle  of  the  war  was  fought.  "When  Cornwallis  was 
forced  to  retreat  toward  the  north,  after  his  engagement  at  Guilford 
Court  House,  North  Carolina,  he  took  a  position  at  Yorktown. 
LaFayette  had  been  sent  by  Washington  against  him  and  he  held 
the  British  in  check  while  the  grand  coup  of  the  Avar  Avas  accom- 
plished. The  commander-in-chief,  with  his  army  from  the  High- 
lands of  the  Hudson,  including  several  Connecticut  regiments,  was 
making  a  feint  as  if  to  attack  New  York;  his  enemy's  weak  position 
on  the  York  peninsula  developed — the  French  fleet  Avas  investing  it 
on  one  side — and  Washington,  by  a  swift  movement,  marched  south- 
ward, and  on  the  fourth  anniversary  of  Bourgoyne's  surrender,  our 
Litchfield  county  men  heard  the  British  bands  play  'The  World 
Turned  Upside  Down',  as  the  army  of  Cornwallis  laid  down  its 
arms".  (W.  W.  Ellsworth:  Semicentennial  Address  before  the 
Litchfield  Historical  Society). 

It  is  part  of  the  tragic  necessity  of  war,  and  the  suspicions 
engendered  by  it,  that  the  machinery  once  set  in  motion  cannot 
easily  be  brought  to  a  stop;  so,  though  the  surrender  of  Cornwallis 
meant  that  American  independence  was  assured,  a  state  of  war  con- 
tinued, through  the  succeeding  year  and  well  into  1783.  In  the 
spring  of  1782,  the  town  of  Litchfield  voted  to  raise  recruits  by  a 
sort  of  selective  draft,  decided  on  in  1781,  by  which  the  town  was 
divided  into  classes,  each  class  being  responsible  for  procuring  a 
certain  number  of  recruits.  In  March  of  this  year  three  citizens 
of  the  tOAvn  were  assessed  "on  examination  by  the  civil  authorities 
and  selectmen,  agreeable  to  law,  for  each  a  son  gone  to  the  enemy". 

In  the  mean  time,  there  Avas  still  a  certain  amount  of  unrest 
along  the  Sound;  and  Tallmadge  was  engaged  in  communicating 
intelligence,  and  through  the  first  months  of  1783  reported  frequent 
skirmishes  between  British  and  American  small  craft  on  those 
waters.  On  March  29th  he  received  rumors  of  peace,  Avhich  were 
confirmed  two  days  later.  He  immediately  requested  permission  to 
be  among  the  first  to  enter  New  York,  in  order  to  protect  the  Secret 
Service  men,  whose  position,  by  reason  of  its  necessary  concealments, 
would  be  misunderstood  by  patriots  more  openly  engaged. 

It  is  a  tribute  to  the  good  sense  and  good  feeling  of  the  people, 
that  a  nimiber  of  British  soldiers  became  residents  of  Litchfield 
after  the  Avar,  and  some  of  them  died  here  leaving  families.  There 
was  also  the  deserter  Kichard  Morris,  who  with  his  brother  Kobert, 
left  the  British  ranks  to  serve  with  the  Americans  under  Captain 
Beebe.  John  Gatta,  a  Hessian,  unAvillingly  impressed  in  the  King's 
forces,  who  had  deserted  in  New  York  and  served  in  a  New  York 
regiment,  also  came  subsequently  to  Litchfield,  Avhere  he  lived  for 


fifty  years  and  married  the  granddaughter  of  Timothy  Collins, 

Litchfield  was  quick  to  begin  the  readjustments  permitted  by 
peace  and  to  return  to  normal  lifa 

In  October,  1783,  the  town  voted  to  adjust  the  claims  of  the  non- 
commissioned officers  and  soldiers  who  had  served  in  the  eight  bat- 
talions of  Connecticut,  and  to  whom  a  bonus  had  been  previously 
granted  by  vote.  This  task,  with  the  depreciation  of  currency,  must 
have  been  a  formidable  one.  An  example  of  the  light  in  which 
Continental  money  was  considered  is  given  in  Kilbourne's  account, 
pp.  160-161,  of  the  experience  of  Elisha  Mason,  the  last  of  Litch- 
field's Revolutionary  soldiers.  "On  one  occasion,  at  the  expiration 
of  a  term  of  service,  he  was  discharged  on  the  Hudson,  and  paid 
off  in  Continental  currency.  Starting  homeward  on  foot,  he  reached 
Danbury,  where  he  spent  the  night.  In  the  morning,  on  attempt- 
ing to  settle  his  bill,  his  Continental  money  was  refused.  He  offered 
larger  and  still  larger  sums,  and  finally  tendered  bills  to  the 
amount  of  forty  dollars,  for  lodging  and  meals;  but  the  landlord 
refused  to  take  the  money  on  any  terms.  Mr.  Mason  was  finally 
compelled  to  pawn  his  rifle  to  cancel  his  indebtedness.  As  his  wages 
were  but  eight  dollars  per  month,  he  thus  offered  the  avails  of  five 
months'  services  for  his  keeping  for  twelve  hours. 

A  sufferer  from  the  depreciation  of  the  currency,  on  a  larger 
scale,  was  Julius  Deming,  who  had  served  throughout  the  war  as 
Commissary  officer.  At  one  time,  when  money  was  urgently  needed, 
for  the  purchase  of  cattle,  he  advanced  to  Colonel  Champion,  his 
superior  officer,  four  Loan  Office  Certificates  for  $400  in  cash, 
amounting  in  all  to  $1,600.  Besides  this  his  commissions  from 
the  Government,  on  purchases  made  by  him  aggregating  $1,493,209, 
amounted  to  $28,247.96,  which  represented  his  income  during  three 
years  of  service.  When  the  day  of  payment  came,  and  he  received 
Continental  currency  worth  1  to  70  or  72,  the  amount  of  his  loss 
can  easily  be  figured,  as  his  commissions,  large  though  they  appear, 
amounted  to  less  than  half  of  his  actual  loan  to  Colonel  Champion. 

In  the  latter  part  of  1780,  Mr.  Deming  came  to  Litchfield,  and  in 
1790  built  the  house  on  North  Street  known  as  "the  Lindens".  In 
1784,  Major  Talbnadge  had  established  himself  in  his  house  on  the 
other  side  of  the  street,  bought  two  years  before.  Here  the  two 
distinguished  men,  long  to  be  associated  in  business  enterprises, 
enjoyed  the  years  of  prosperity  in  the  "Golden  Age"  of  Litchfield's 
history,  to  which  each  contributed  so  much. 



The  Eev.  Dan  Huntington,  who  was  pastor  in  Litchfield  from 
1798  to  1809,  wrote  of  the  town  as  it  was  when  he  first  came  here: 
"A  deUghtful  vUlage,  on  a  fruitful  hill,  richly  endowed  with  schools 
both  professional  and  scientific,  with  its  venerable  governors  and 
judges,  with  its  learned  lawyers,  and  senators,  and  representatives 
both  in  the  national  and  state  departments,  and  with  a  population 
enlightened  and  respectable,  Litchfield  was  now  in  its  glory". 

We  have  indeed  reached  the  golden  age  of  our  town,  the  years 
following  the  Eevolutionary  War  and  the  first  three  or  four  decades 
of  the  Nineteenth  Century,  an  amazing  period  for  a  small  village, 
not  so  much  because  of  the  inhabitants  of  prominence  at  the  time, 
as  because  of  their  achievements,  because  of  the  pioneer  work  they 
did  in  so  many  different  directions.  Here,  as  we  so  proudly  remem- 
ber, was  the  first  Law  School,  the  only  one  at  that  day  conducted  in 
the  English  language  in  any  country;  here  too  was  the  first  school  for 
the  higher  education  of  girls  in  America;  here  were  the  first  mani- 
festations of  the  temperance  movement;  here  were  taken  the  first 
steps  in  the  work  of  foreign  missions;  here  were  printed  the  first 
Reports  of  law  cases;  here  were  the  beginnings  of  the  spirit  which 
led  to  the  increased  independence  of  married  women  under  the  Law; 
here  were  conducted  some  of  the  pioneer  industrial  experiments  in 
the  state.  From  the  intellectual  leadership  of  the  Law  School  to 
the  pioneer  manufacture  of  elastic  suspenders  is  a  long  interval, 
which  Litchfield  filled  with  energy  and  competence,  until  about  1840 
the  valleys  throughout  Connecticut  conquered  the  hilltops  and  left  us 
only  the  memories  of  our  achievements. 

But,  tlio  social,  intellectual  and  commercial  leadership  of  Litch- 
field was  attained  under  circumstances  so  unusual,  that  the  story 
reads  like  a  romance.  Still  secluded  from  the  great  world  of  the 
cities,  without  mails  or  roads  adapted  to  passenger  traffic,  with  its 
rigorous  climate  and  the  interminable  hills,  Litchfield  won  its  way 
forward  step  by  step.  It  became  a  pioneer  in  so  many  and  such 
important  directions  because  its  population  were  pioneers.  There 
were  no  drones  in  Litchfield;  the  same  energy  that  was  converting 
the  forests  into  meadows  was  being  exercised  by  a  few  leading 
spirits  towards  converting  the  rude  settlement  at  the  center  into 
a  polished  and  noteworthy  society,  in  which  Washington  and  Lafay- 
ette could  be  received  as  equals.  It  was  the  triumph  of  the  puritan 
spirit,  brave,  unyielding,  severe  to  itself  and  just  to  others;  if  we 
think  that  it  was  a  religion  too  concentrated  upon  doctrine  and  too 

The  Jedediah  Stroxg  ^[II.ESTn^'E  at  Ei.m  Ridge,  1787 



hard  upon  the  individual,  must  we  not  yet  confess  that  it  made 
Litchfield  within  a  hundred  years  a  place  looked  up  to  far  and  wide. 
Litchfield  was  a  town  of  happy  gaiety  as  well  as  of  severe  learning 
and  work,  it  had  every  phase  of  life  represented,  except  that  of 
scandal.  It  was  sometimes  called  a  staid  old  town  and  a  prim  vil- 
lage, but  those  who  called  it  such  are  quite  forgotten  now,  while 
the  memory  of  the  golden  age  will  always  be  fresh. 

Apart  from  the  indomitable  character  of  the  settlers,  two  chief 
elements  entered  into  the  success  of  the  town.  The  first  was  the 
formation  of  Litchfield  County  with  the  importance  given  to  our 
legal  life  by  the  sessions  here  of  such  frequent  Courts ;  and  the  other 
was  the  capture  of  New  York  by  the  British  in  the  Revolution, 
which  threw  all  the  business  of  the  War  onto  the  northern  highway 
from  Boston  and  Hartford  to  West-Point  passing  through  our  vil- 
lage. When  Washington,  at  some  crisis,  would  call  upon  Governor 
Trumbull  for  help.  Brother  Jonathan  never  failed  him  and  the  help 
and  supplies  would  either  be  sent  on  forthwith  from  the  stores  in 
Litchfield  or  they  would  pass  through  the  town  from  points  further 
to  the  east.  Every  man  in  Litchfield  was  in  the  War;  when  the 
last  fourteen  men  were  sent  to  help  in  the  defence  of  Danbury  they 
included  the  boys  of  sixteen  and  the  old  men  of  seventy  five.  Happily 
no  such  need  has  ever  come  again  to  our  country  and  our  town ;  but 
it  was  the  need  that  made  our  town,  in  the  sense  of  its  prosperity. 
With  the  close  of  the  War  achievement  came  with  a  great  rush,  that 
swept  before  it  all  the  obstacles  of  location  and  all  the  handicaps 
of  our  belated  start.  It  may  have  been  another  half  a  dozen  years 
before  the  government  would  give  the  town  a  post  office,  but  the 
town  was  starting  its  own  newspaper  and  its  own  Law  School  within 
one  year,  it  was  starting  its  own  trade  and  training  its  own  men  to 
become  Governors  and  chief  justices  for  the  state,  and  Senators  for 
the  United  States. 

A  half  mile  from  the  center,  on  the  Bantam  Road,  at  Elm  Ridge, 
is  still  standing  the  old  white  marble  stone,  which  reads: 

30  Miles  to 


102  Miles   to 

New  York. 

J.  Strong, 
A.  D.  1787. 

Jedediah  Strong,  as  we  shall  see,  was  not  a  citizen  representative 
of  Litchfield  at  its  best ;  but  he  had  the  Litchfield  spirit.  The  only 
thing  that  separated  Litchfield  from  other  cities  was  distance,  which 
in  turn  could  always  be  expressed  in  miles. 

When  it  became  apparent  that  a  government  post-office  would 
be  slow  in  coming,  it  was  local  enterprise  that  decided  to  hasten  the 
day  by  the  establishment  of  its  own  office,  so  that  in  January,  1791, 
we  find  the  Monitor  issuing  the  following  advertisement: 


"Post-Oflfice  Establislunent.  The  Public,  particularly  Gentle- 
men in  the  Town  and  Vicinity  of  Litchfield,  having  some  time 
lamented  the  want  of  a  regular  and  weekly  Intercourse  with  the  City 
of  Hartford,  by  a  Post  immediately  from  this  Town — are  respect- 
fully assured,  that  a  Post  in  conjunction  with  Mr.  Isaac  Trow- 
bridge, the  Eider  from  New  York,  will  start  from  this  Office  for 
Hartford  regularly,  once  a  week,  commencing  on  Monday  next,  the 
31st  inst.  This  Establishment  has  met  the  Sanction  and  Concur- 
rence of  Mr.  Trowbridge;  and  the  Undertakers  will  be  subject  to  the 
same  Kegulation  and  Responsibility  required  by  the  Postmaster 
General.  Consequently,  every  Duty  annexed  to  the  Business  will 
be  strictly  and  pointedly  observed. 

"And  that  the  Public  may  be  better  accomodated,  and  derive  a 
safe  Repository  for  their  Letters,  &c.,  a  Post-Office  is  opened  at 
Collier's  Printing  Office — at  which  place  all  Despatches,  to  be  trans- 
mitted through  the  medium  of  either  post,  must  be  deposited.  Dur- 
ing the  Winter,  (till  the  1st  of  May  next,)  the  Post  from  New  York 
will  ride  once  a  fortnight,  and  arrive  on  Tuesday  evenings;  com- 
mencing the  5th  of  the  ensuing  month.  Those  who  have  Business 
or  Letters  are  requested  to  leave  their  directions  at  this  Office,  for 
New  York  on  Tuesday,  for  Hartford  on  Saturday  Evenings,  preced- 
ing the  days  of  departure;  as  the  Posts  will  positively  start  at  an 
early  Hour.  Letters  will  be  received  at  this  Office  for  any  part  of 
the  United  States". 

The  establishment  of  this  private  Post  gave  the  necessary  spur 
to  the  Government,  which  in  a  year  opened  a  Post  Office  in  the 
town.  This  formed  one  link  on  the  Post  Road  from  New  York  to 
Hartford,  passing  through  White  Plains,  Northcastle,  Salem,  Pound 
Ridge,  Ridgefield,  Danbury,  New  Milford,  Litchfield,  Harwinton  and 
Farmington.  At  first  the  Litchfield  office  was  the  only  one  in  the 
County,  and  it  is  interesting  to  read  the  advertisements  of  unclaimed 
letters,  like  the  following,  which  shows  only  six  letters  unclaimed 
for  the  whole  county  for  a  period  of  three  months :  either  the  number 
of  letters  was  very  small  or  the  interest  in  obtaining  them  was  so 
great  that  every  one  was  diligently  called  for: 

"List  of  Letters  at  the  Post  Office  in  Litchfield  last  quarter: 
Noble  Bostwick,  New  Milford;  Justus  Cook,  Northbury;  David  Fan- 
cher,  Watertown;  Reuben  and  John  Miner,  Winchester;  Jonathan 
Werden,  Salisbury.      B.  Tallmadge,  P.  M.      Litchfield,  Nov.  1,  1792". 

"Within  the  half-dozen  years  next  succeeding  this  date",  Kil- 
bourne,  p.  169,  "commenced  what  may  be  characterized  as  the  Era 
of  Turnpikes  and  Stage-Coaches,  which  continued  in  its  glory  for 
something  over  forty  years.  During  this  period,  very  much  was 
done  to  improve  the  routes  of  travel  and  to  facilitate  communication 
of  town  with  toAvn.  Turnpike  Companies  were  organized  in  all  parts 
of  the  State,  and  turnpike  stock  was  regarded  by  capitalists  as  a 
safe,  profitable  and  permanent  investment.  The  Litchfield  and  New 
Milford  Turnpike  Company  was  incorporated  in  October,  1797; 
the  Litchfield  and  Harwinton  Company,  in  October,  1798;  and  the 


Litchfield  and  Canaan  Company,  in  May,  1799.  Then  followed 
Straits'  Turnpike,  from  Litchfield  to  New  Hav«i,  the  Litchfield  and 
Cornwall,  the  Litchfield  and  Torrington,  and  the  Litchfield  and  Ply- 
mouth Turnpikes, — so  that,  in  due  time,  it  became  almost  impossible 
to  get  into  or  out  of  our  town  without  encountering  a  toll-gate.  Four- 
horse  Stage  Coaches  gradually  came  into  use  from  the  time  that 
Turnpikes  became  general;  and  ultimately  Congress  enacted  that 
the  U.  S.  Mails  should  be  thus  conveyed  on  all  the  principal  routes. 
Litchfield  now  became  an  important  center  of  travel.  Daily  lines 
of  Mail  Stages  were  established  between  this  village  and  Hartford, 
New  Haven,  Norwalk,  Poughkeepsie  and  Albany". 

"There  is  also  a  turnpike",  Morris,  p.  93,  "on  the  eastern  bound- 
ary, running  contiguously  to  Mattatuck  or  Waterbury  river,  uniting 
with  the  Straits  turnpike  at  Salem,  and  running  to  Massachusetts 
line,  through  Winchester  and  Colebrook.  As  the  rivers  and  rivu- 
lets are  small,  the  Bridges  are  not  worthy  of  a  particular  descrip- 
tion. The  expense  of  keeping  them  in  repair  amounts  to  between 
two  and  three  hundred  dollars  annually". 

Mrs.  E.  N.  Vanderpoel  has  preserved  a  number  of  the  advertise- 
ments of  the  Stages  in  her  Chronicles  of  a  Pioneer  School,  including 
a  long  one  in  verse,  pp.  22-23.  We  will  only  quote  one  of  these,  in 
which  the  emphasis  is  laid  upon  no  night  travelling ;  One  doubts  its 
advantages  on  reading  further  that  the  stage  leaves  at  3  A.  M.  No 
wonder  the  passengers  used  to  sit  up  all  night  for  fear  of  being  left 
behind,  especially  when  they  were  school  girls  going  on  their  vaca- 
tions : 

"New  Arrangement.  Litchfield,  New  Milford,  Danbury  and 
Norwalk  Mail  Stage.  This  Stage  leaves  Josiah  Park's  Hotel,  Litch- 
field, on  Tuesdays,  Thursdays  and  Saturdays  at  3  in  the  morning, 
passing  thro'  New  Preston,  New  Milford  and  Brookfield  and  arrives 
at  Danbury  to  lodge:  leaves  Danbury  next  morning  for  Norwalk 
and  arrives  in  time  for  passengers  to  take  the  steam  boat  for  N.  York. 
No  Night  Travelling.  Fare  through  to  New  York  3.25.  Ketuming 
Takes  the  Norwalk  passengers  at  Danbury  on  Monday,  Wednesday 
and  Friday  morning,  and  arrives  in  Litchfield  the  same  day.  For 
seats  apply  at  the  Bar  at  Park's  Hotel,  Litchfield,  H.  Barnes,  Pro- 
prietor, November  10, 1829". 

A  special  importance  was  given  to  taverns  by  the  increase  of 
Stage  Coaches,  as  the  transient  business  which  followed  was  added 
to  the  regular  visitors  coming  to  the  town.  Besides  these,  there 
were  the  scholars  at  the  two  schools,  sometimes  over  a  hundred  from 
other  places,  far  and  near,  to  be  cared  for,  so  that  the  houses  which 
were  not  used  as  Inns,  were  often  converted  into  boarding  houses, 
and  almost  every  house  took  in  at  least  one  boarder. 

Some  of  the  taverns  were  specially  successful  and  popular. 
There  was  Grove  Catlin's  Hotel,  built  about  1800,  and  later  con- 
verted into  the  Mansion  House.  This  remained  an  Hotel  till  the  fire 
of  1886,  and  stood  on  the  present  site  of  Crutch  &  Marley's  Drug 
Store.      It  figures  prominently  in  Plate  26,  and  in  Plate  27  is  shown 


one  of  the  typical  old  village  scenes,  the  preparation  of  the  annual 
Mansion  House  wood-pile.  The  logs  were  hauled  in  by  teams,  and 
then  a  considerable  number  of  men  were  employed  to  saw  up  the 
pile,  all  at  one  time.  For  some  years  the  pile  used  to  stand  out  on 
the  street. 

The  house  now  owned  by  the  Phelps  House  Corporation  on  East 
Street,  next  but  one  to  the  corner  of  North  Street,  was  built  by  John 
Collins  in  1782.  He  was  a  son  of  Timothy  Collins,  but  he  evidently 
thought  that  keeping  a  tavern  would  be  more  profitable  than  follow- 
ing in  his  father's  footsteps  in  the  church,  and  he  opened  the  house 
as  an  Inn  from  the  beginning.  The  bar  was  in  the  south  west  front 
room,  with  the  ball  room  directly  overhead. 

In  1787,  David  Buell  built  the  present  Phelps'  Tavern.  This 
popular  and  well-known  hostelry  is  to-day  probably  the  oldest  Hotel 
in  point  of  continuous  service  now  standing  in  the  County,  if  not 
in  the  State.  A'^ery  few  count ty  liotels  have  entertained  so  many 
distinguished  men  and  women.  As  originally  built  the  entire  top 
floor  was  a  ball-room,  in  which  was  given  the  famous  Ball  to  Lafay- 
ette in  1824.  A  fuller  description  of  this  room  will  be  found  in  the 
chapter  on  Amusements.  The  tavern  was  sold  to  John  Phelps, 
under  whose  regime  it  first  became  so  well  known. 

The  house  on  the  east  side  of  South  Street,  now  owned  by  Mrs. 
Esther  T.  Champlin,  was  built  by  Benjamin  Hanks  in  1780.  It  was 
first  used  as  an  Hotel  by  Josiah  Parks,  in  the  late  20's.  George 
Bolles  later  kept  a  tavern  there,  and  built  the  addition  to  the  south. 
Mr.  Wadhams  of  Goshen  was  the  last  person  who  continued  it  as  an 
hotel,  and  it  passed  into  the  possession  of  A.  C.  Smith  in  the  early 
50's.  Mr.  Smith  made  the  division  between  the  north  and  south 

On  North  Street,  a  famous  hostelry  was  Sheldon's  Tavern,  now 
the  residence  of  John  P.  Elton.  It  is  the  second  oldest  house  now 
standing  in  the  Borough.  It  was  built  in  1760  by  Elisha  Sheldon, 
who  came  to  Litchfield  in  1753  with  several  other  residents  of  Lyme, 
including  Lynde  Lord  and  Reynold  Marvin.  Judge  Sheldon  was 
Associate  Judge  of  the  Court  of  Common  Pleas  from  1754  to  1761, 
when  he  was  elected  a  member  of  the  Council  at  Hartford.  He 
served  in  this  position  till  his  death  in  1779.  On  his  death,  his 
son  Samuel  Sheldon  converted  the  house  into  a  tavern.  It  was  pur- 
chased by  Uriah  Tracy,  who  made  it  his  home  till  his  death  in  1807. 

The  first  Court-House  was  built  in  1752,  and  stood  in  the  center 
of  the  present  Center  Park,  between  the  Church  and  the  School.  The 
second  Court-House  was  built  on  the  site  of  the  present  Court-House 
in  1797.  Julius  Deming  acted  for  the  town  in  its  construction  and 
the  contract  was  awarded  to  Alexander  and  Moses  Catlin.  The 
contract  and  plans  for  its  erection  are  preserved  by  the  Litchfield 
Historical  Society.  It  is  described  in  the  contract  "to  be  40  feet 
in  front,  60  feet  deep  and  25  feet  posts,  with  a  flat  roof  to  rise  1-5  or 
2-9  with  four  coliunns  in  front  supporting  a  peddiment  &  a  Cupola". 

The  School -house  was  built  in  1732,      There  had  been,  at  first. 


:i  good  deal  of  discussion  as  to  whether  the  Center  School  should  be 
on  Litchfield  Hill  or  on  Chestnut  Hill,  but  once  the  matter  was  set- 
tled it  appears  to  have  given  no  further  trouble.  In  the  days  of 
the  golden  age,  the  town  had  been  divided  into  school  districts, 
which  at  one  time  reached  the  surprising  number  of  28,  each  with 
its  own  small  school.  And  in  addition  there  were  a  variety  of 
private  schools.  In  1798,  the  care  of  the  Schools  passed  into  the 
hnnds  of  the  First  School  Society,  a  body  which  remained  in  charge 
until  1855,  when  the  management  was  taken  over  again  directly  by 
the  town.  The  Society  also  had  charge  of  the  Burying  Grounds. 
It  was  directed  by  many  of  the  prominent  men  of  the  town,  in  the 
form  of  a  Committee,  Avhich  probably  corresponded  very  closely  to 
the  present  School  Board.  On  this  committee  we  find  the  names  of 
Lyman  Beecher,  Benjamin  Tallmadge,  Frederick  Wolcott,  Julius 
Deming,  ]Moses  Seymour,  LTriah  Tracy,  and  many  others.  Their  great 
concern,  at  least  in  the  earlier  years,  was  to  obtain  enough  books 
that  were  alike. 

For  a  time,  about  1798,  there  was  a  Public  Library,  and  some- 
what later  a  Litchfield  Lyceum,  with  lectures.  Debates  and  weekly 

Such,  very  briefly,  was  the  setting  in  which  the  years  of  the 
Golden  Age  were  to  unfold,  as  we  will  now  trace  in  a  series  of  chap- 
ters dealing  with  its  several  distinct  aspects. 



As  we  look  back  to  the  days  of  the  Litchfield  Law  School,  1784- 
1833,  it  stands  out  as  the  most  important  single  feature  in  the  History 
of  our  town.  The  picture  we  have  of  it  in  our  minds  is  likely, 
however,  to  be  somewhat  fragmentary.  The  outer  side  of  the  pic- 
ture, what  we  call  the  picturesque  side,  is  apt  to  dwarf  the  inner 
meaning  of  this  remarkable  achievement.  We  are  likely  to  have 
in  mind  the  charming  account  of  the  students'  life  left  us  in  the 
Personal  Memories  of  E.  D.  Mansfield,  pp.  126-128: 

"We  bi'eakfasted  from  seven  to  eight  in  the  morning,  and  at 
nine  went  to  the  lecture-room  to  hear  and  take  notes  of  Judge 
Gould's  lecture.  The  founder  of  the  Litchfield  Law  School  was 
Judge  Tapping  Keeve,  and,  if  tradition  is  correct,  few  better  men 
have  ever  lived,  and  scarcely  any  one  was  then  better  known  to  the 
bar.  He  was  the  author  of  a  Treatise  on  Domestic  Relations,  which  the 
la^vyers  admired,  but  said  was  not  law,  on  account,  I  believe,  of  its 
leaning  too  much  to  women's  rights,  a  fault  which  would  not  be 
found  with  it  in  this  day.  At  the  time  I  arrived  in  Litchfield,  1823, 
Judge  Reeve  had  given  up  the  law  school  to  Judge  Gould,  who  had 
been  his  partner,  and  he  soon  after  died.  He  was  a  man  rather 
noted  for  eccentricities.  After  the  death  of  his  first  Avife,  he  mar- 
ried his  housekeeper,  a  most  respectable  woman,  however,  dis- 
tinguished for  piety  and  benevolence.  He  was  quite  absent  minded, 
and  one  day  he  was  seen  walking  up  North  Street,  with  a  bridle 
in  his  hand,  but  without  his  horse,  which  had  quietly  slipped  out 
and  walked  off.  The  Judge  calmly  fastened  the  bridle  to  a  post, 
and  walked  into  the  house,  oblivious  of  any  horse.  It  w  as  under  the 
teaching  of  Judge  Reeve  that  such  men  as  John  C.  Calhoun  and  John 
M.  Claj'ton,  of  Delaware,  were  law  students.  The  school  was  now 
under  the  sole  care  of  Judge  Gould.  At  nine  o'clock  we  students 
walked  to  the  lecture-room,  with  our  note-books  under  our  arms.  We 
had  desks,  with  pen  and  ink,  to  record  the  important  principles  and 
authorities.  The  practice  of  Judge  Gould  was  to  read  the  prin- 
ciple from  his  own  manuscript  twice  distinctly,  pausing  between, 
and  repeating  in  the  same  manner  the  leading  cases.  Then  we  had 
time  to  note  down  the  principle  and  cases.  The  remarks  and  illus- 
trations we  did  not  note.  After  the  lecture  we  had  access  to  a  law 
library  to  consult  authorities.  The  lecture  and  references  took 
iibout  two  hours.  Those  of  us  who  were  in  earnest,  of  whom  I  was 
one,  immediately  returned  home,  and  copied  out  into  our  lecture- 
books  ;ill   the  principles  and   cases.       Mj^  lecture-books  made  five 


Tolumes.  The  lectures,  the  references,  and  the  copying  took  me,  on 
an  average,  from  nine  o'clock  until  three  or  four  o'clock,  with  the 
intermission  of  near  an  hour  for  dinner.  Five  to  six  hours  a  day 
employed  in  this  manner  was  my  regular  work  at  Litchfield,  and 
very  seldom  was  a  day  missed.  At  four  o'clock  in  the, afternoon  I 
was  generally  at  leisure,  and  that  was  usually  employed  in  walking 
or  riding,  sometimes  in  visiting.  We  prolonged  our  rides  in  simi- 
mer  time,  having  taken  an  early  tea,  into  the  starlit  shades  of 
night.  In  the  long  days  of  summer  no  candles  were  lit  in  the 
farm-houses  of  Connecticut  When  the  deep  twilight  came,  every 
family  had  gone  to  rest  as  completely  as  the  chickens  to  their  roosts; 
but  when  the  dawn  of  day  came,  they  were  up ;  and  when  we  lazy 
students  were  at  breakfast,  they  had  done  hours  of  work.  Such 
were  the  Connecticut  farmers  of  that  day". 

These  happy  days  of  study,  under  circumstances  unequalled  at 
that  time,  the  distinguished  men  who  then  crowded  our  streets,  (men, 
rather,  who  were  to  be  distinguished  in  the  years  to  be) ,  the  kindly, 
lovable  figure  of  Tapping  Reeve,  and  the  more  serious  Gould,  made 
the  Law  School  the  prominent  feature  of  the  town's  life,  unless  we 
give  precedence  to  the  charm  and  beauty  of  the  girls'  school.  Mrs. 
William  Curtis  Noyes  has  described  the  scene  as  an  eye-witness, 
(Vanderpoel,  p.  28) :  "Imagine  these  now  quiet  streets  with  red 
coaches  rattling  through  them,  with  signs  of  importer,  publisher, 
goldsmith,  hatter,  etc.,  hanging  on  the  shops  Avith  young  men  arriv- 
ing on  horseback  to  attend  the  law  school  and  divide  their  attention 
between  their  studies  of  the  law  and  studies  of  the  pretty  pupils  of 
the  Female  Academy.  Then  there  were  some  gay  bloods  from  the 
South  so  much  at  home  in  the  town  that  they  disported  themselves 
in  pink  gingham  frock  coats!" 

We  will  return  again  to  this  picturesque  side  of  the  Law  School ; 
but  first  it  is  important  to  try  and  summarize  the  real  meaning  of 
its  achievement.  To  do  so,  we  must  go  back  to  a  survey  of  the 
legal  practices  before  the  Revolution,  and  see  just  where  the  study 
of  law  came  into  the  general  plan.  Taking  the  country  as  a  whole, 
the  law  then  occupied  a  very  different  position  from  what  it  does  at 
the  present  day.  There  was  much  less  wealth,  proportionately:  so 
much  less,  that  it  is  hard  for  us  to  realize  the  difference.  In  con 
sequence,  there  was  much  less  litigation  of  a  strictly  business  char- 
acter. On  the  other  hand,  the  body  of  the  law  was  much  less  defined ; 
there  were  no  law  reports,  till  the  day  of  our  own  Ephraim  Kirby, 
1789;  Constitutional  Law,  naturally,  did  not  exist;  and  the  interpre 
tations  of  the  Common  Law  were  the  subject  of  much  difference  of 
opinion.  Even  more  than  to-day,  the  success  of  a  lawyer  depended 
on  his  individuality,  and  the  roll-call  of  the  lawyers  of  the  County  at 
the  time,  as  given  for  instance  in  the  Centennial  Address  of  Judge 
Church,  1851,  pp.  54-59,  shows  an  aggregation,  the  average  merit  of 
whom  is  amazing  when  we  take  into  account  the  difference  in  the 
population  of  the  County  as  a  whole  and  the  difference  in  wealth. 
Our  concern  is  only  with  the  lawyers  of  the  township. 


Our  most  distinguished  lawyer  at  the  period  of  the  War,  was 
Andrew  Adams,  He  was  born  in  Stratford,  1736,  and  came  to  Litch- 
field in  1764.  He  was  one  of  our  Representatives  to  the  General 
Assembly,  1776-1781,  after  which  date  he  became  a  member  of  Con- 
gress. In  May,  1793,  he  was  appointed  Chief  Justice  of  the  Superior 
Court  of  the  State,  in  which  office  he  died,  November  27,  1797.  Of 
him,  Morris  wrote,  p.  110 :  "As  a  lawyer,  few  exceeded  him ;  especially 
in  managing  causes  before  a  jury.  He  was  an  able  judge".  The 
Monitor  mentioned  it  as  a  sad  coincidence  that  he  and  Governor 
Oliver  Wolcott  Sr.,  the  two  highest  dignitaries  of  the  State,  residing 
on  the  same  street  of  the  same  village,  were  lying  at  the  point  of 
death  at  the  same  time.  Governor  Wolcott  survived  his  distin- 
guished neighbor  only  four  days,  dying  on  December  1,  1797.  (Bench 
i\nc\  Bar,  p.  217). 

Eeynold  Marvin  came  to  Litchfield  from  Lyme  in  1751,  and  was 
appointed  King's  Attorney  in  1704.  He  was  a  distinguished  lawyer, 
but  the  coming  on  of  the  War  led  him  to  resign  his  office,  and  there 
is  no  record  that  he  remained  in  practice.  His  sympathies  appear 
to  have  been  strongly  with  the  cause  of  Independence.  He  died 
in  1802.  Another  temporarih'  successful  lawyer,  Jedwliah  Strong, 
who  is  mentioned  elsewhere,  also  died  in  1802. 

John  Allen,  who  is  also  mentioned  elsewhere,  was  born  1763  and 
died  in  Litchfield  in  1812.  He  was  a  member  of  the  Council  and  of 
the  Supreme  Court  of  Errors  of  the  State  and  member  of  the  Fifth 

Isaac  Baldwin,  who  came  to  Litchfield  from  Milford,  and  mar- 
ried a  daughter  of  Timothy  Collins,  was  an  active  la^v^^er  for  many 
years  i>rior  to  his  death  in  1805.  He  was  County  Clerk  forty  two 
years.  Town  Clerk  thirty  one  years.  Clerk  of  the  Probate  Court 
twenty  nine  years,  not  to  speak  of  some  ten  terms  in  the  General 
Assembly  and  other  services. 

To  this  distinguished  company,  in  1772,  came  Tapping  Reeve. 
He  was  the  son  of  the  minister  at  Brookhaven,  Long  Island,  where 
he  was  born  in  1744.      He  was  a  graduate  of  Princeton,  1763. 

He  not  only  proved  himself  a  successful  lawj'er  from  the  first, 
but  a  striking  personality.  The  word  striking  is  perhaps  mislead- 
ing, for  there  was  nothing  obtrusive  about  him.  And  yet  it  is  cor- 
rect, for  he  won  affection,  interest,  sympathy,  without  effort.  Men 
liked  to  be  with  him.  Years  later,  Lynmn  Beech er  exclaimed  of  him, 
(Autobiography,  p.  216) :  "Oh  Judge  Reeve,  what  a  man  he  was! 
When  I  get  to  heaven,  and  meet  him  there,  what  a  shaking  of  hands 
there  will  be!" 

"The  rules  of  court,  at  this  time,  in  Connecticut,  required  as  a 
condition  of  admission  to  the  bar,  two  years  of  study  with  a  practic- 
ing lawyer  in  the  state,  by  those  who  had  been  graduated  at  a  col- 
lege, and  three  years  by  all  who  had  not  been".  (Simeon  E.  Baldwin, 
Great  American  Lawyers,  James  Gould,  1909,  p.  460). 

It  is  not  to  be  wondered  at  that  many  young  men  were  coming 
to  Litchfield,  and  to  all  parts  of  Litchfield  County,  for  these  two 

Tm'I'IM,   I\h\  k 


years  of  study.  So,  in  1780,  we  find  Noah  Webster,  of  the  Dictionary, 
coming  to  Litchfield  to  study  with  Jedediah  Strong. 

Another  young  law  student  was  Ephraim  Kirby,  who  studied 
his  two  years  with  Reynold  Marvin,  and  afterwards  married  the 
daughter  of  his  teacher.  Kirby  was  born  in  Litchfield  in  1756.  He 
was  a  man  active  in  body  and  in  intellect.  After  being  admitted  to 
the  bar,  he  took  a  prominent  part  in  local  political  affairs.  He  was  a 
democrat.  He  represented  Litchfield  a  dozen  or  more  times  in  the 
General  Assembly.  On  the  election  of  Jefferson  to  the  Presidency 
in  1801,  "Col.  Kirby  was  appointed  supervisor  of  the  national  revenue 
for  the  State  of  Connecticut.  Upon  the  acquisition  of  Louisiana 
the  President  appointed  him  a  Judge  of  the  then  newly  organized 
territory  of  New  Orleans.  Having  accepted  the  station,  he  set  out 
for  New  Orleans,  but  died  on  the  way,  aged  47  years".  (Bench  and 
Bar,  p.  170).  He  is  remembered  especially  as  the  compiler  of  the 
first  Law  Reports,  which  he  published  under  the  title:  Reports  of 
Cases  Adjudged  in  the  Superior  Court,  from  the  year  1785  to  1788. 
The  manuscript  of  this  epoch  making  work  is  now  in  the  Litchfield 
Historical  Society.  It  was  the  model  on  which  the  states  of  Con- 
necticut and  Massachusetts  based  the  Reports  they  published  a  year 
or  two  later,  which  have  since  then  been  universally  followed. 

The  majority  of  young  law  students,  more  and  more,  drifted  to 
Tapping  Reeve;  and  then  they  stopped  drifting,  and  came  long  dis- 
tances purely  to  be  under  his  influence. 

Among  the  first  was  Aaron  Burr,  his  own  brother-in-law,  whose 
sister  Sally  Burr  he  had  married  before  coming  to  Litchfield.  She 
was  the  daughter  of  President  Burr  of  Princeton,  where  Tapping 
Reeve  had  first  met  her.  Aaron  Burr  studied  in  the  Reeve  office  till 
the  War  broke  out,  and  he  was  a  frequent  visitor  in  Litchfield  after- 
wards. Plere  he  met  Mrs.  Theodosia  Prevost,  whom  he  afterwards 

The  most  distinguished  of  these  early  students  was  Uriah  Tracy, 
who  represented  Connecticut  in  the  United  States  Senate  from  1800 
until  his  death  in  1807.  He  was  born  in  Norwich,  1754,  and  gradu- 
ated at  Yale  in  1778.  He  studied  with  Tapping  Reeve  in  1780  and 
was  admitted  to  the  bar  the  next  year.  He  was  a  Major-General 
in  the  War,  and  Representative  in  Congress  from  1793  until  he 
became  Senator.  When  in  Litchfield  he  lived  on  North  Street,  in 
the  house  built  1760  by  Col.  Elisha  Sheldon,  from  whom  he  bought 
it.  At  his  death  it  passed  to  his  son-in-law.  Judge  Gould,  from 
whose  estate,  in  turn,  it  was  bought  by  Professor  James  M.  Hoppin; 
it  is  now  owned  by  John  P.  Elton. 

Uriah  Tracy,  such  is  fame,  is  now  remembered  chiefly  for  a 
couple  of  repartees.  "Few  have  had  more  wit,  or  used  it  more 
pleasantly",  said  James  Morris  of  him ;  but  others  describe  the  sting 
of  his  witticisms  as  dreaded  by  his  adversaries. 

Much  discussion  has  been  aroused  concerning  one  of  his  sayings 
and  to  whom  it  referred.  I  quote  it  from  Mansfield,  (p.  124) :  "He 
was  standing  on  the  steps  of  the  Capitol,  which  you  know  looks 


down  Pennsylvania  avenu«|^when  a  drove  of  mules  was  coming  up. 
Randolph,  who  was  standing  by  him,  said:  'There,  Tracy,  are  some 
of  your  constituents'.  'Yes,  sir',  said  Tracy,  'they  are  going  to 
Virginia,  to  keep  school'."  Mellowed  by  a  hundred  and  twenty 
years,  such  a  stoi*y  becomes  a  classic;  and  it  is  entirely  proper  to 
debate  whether  the  retort  was  at  the  expense  of  Randolph,  or  of 
Rhett  of  South  Carolina,  or  of  the  Representative  from  North  Caro- 
lina, or  from  Georgia.  Each  has  its  advocates.  Of  the  seventeen 
times  the  story  has  been  noticed  in  the  preparation  of  this  book,  avc 
find  the  advantage  inclines  slightly  to  Virginia,  with  North  Caro- 
lina a  close  second. 

As  the  years  passed  and  the  number  of  his  students  increased, 
the  change  in  Tapping  Reeve's  method  of  instruction  became  more 
marked;  but  it  would  be  difficult  to  say  exactly  at  what  moment 
the  Law  School  as  such  began.  The  date  usually  accepted  is  1784; 
though,  in  his  Funeral  Sermon,  p.  10.,  Ljrman  Beecher  says  that  he 
commenced  regular  lectures  in  1782.  The  date  is  not  important; 
the  important  thing  is  the  revolution  in  the  method  of  instruction. 
Crovernor  Baldwin  styles  these  lectures  as  constituting  not  only  the 
first  Law  School  in  America ;  but  he  adds,  p.  455,  that  no  other  then 
existed  "In  any  English  speaking  country,  for  the  Inns  of  Court 
had  long  ceased  to  be  seats  of  serious  instruction  and  the  'schools' 
of  Oxford  and  Cambridge  were  little  but  a  form". 

The  Law  School  made  an  immediate  appeal.  The  Revolution 
left  many  young  men  in  search  of  work,  as  every  large  war  has 
dona  Trade  was  at  a  low  ebb,  and  many  turned  to  the  law  which 
was  already  overstocked.  The  Law  School  made  it  easier  and 
cheaper  to  get  an  excellent  legal  education  than  could  be  obtained 
elsewhere,  and  the  students  came  not  only  from  all  parts  of  Con- 
necticut, but  in  due  course  from  every  state  in  the  Union.  The 
reputation  of  the  students  who  went  out  from  the  School  and  the 
personality  of  Tapping  Reeve  added  to  the  magnetic  power  of  the 
institution.  Connecticut  itself  felt  the  effect  of  the  School  the 
most;  the  proportion  of  lawyers  grew  out  of  keeping  with  their 
numbers  in  other  states,  and  several  of  our  best  men  began  to  go 
into  other  parts  of  the  country.  Governor  Baldwin  says  that  in 
1798  there  were  120  practising  lawyers  in  the  State,  and  adds  the 
amusing  opinion  of  Jedediah  Morse,  (American  Universal  Geogra- 
phy, 1796,  Vol.  L,  pp.  453,  463),  that,  although  these  all  found 
employment  and  support,  "it  was  really  because  the  people  of  the 
state  were  of  a  peculiarly  litigious  spirit,  and  'remarkably  fond  of 
having  all  their  disputes,  even  those  of  the  most  trivial  kind,  settled 
according  to  law'." 

In  this  year  1798,  the  Law  School  entered  on  its  second  and 
more  important  phase.  Heretofore  Tapping  Reeve  had  conducted 
the  school  entirely  alone.  He  held  it  in  the  little  building  adjoin- 
ing his  South  Street  house,  now  owned  by  Lewis  B.  Woodruff.  This 
little  building  is  now  the  property  of  the  Litchfield  Historical  Society, 
which  acquired  it  in  1911,  through  the  public  spirit  of  D wight  C. 


Kilboum  and  Mrs.  John  A.  Vanderp<^l,  after  it  had  been  removed 
from  its  first  site  to  West  Street  and'was  again  in  danger  of  being 
taken  down.  In  the  years  prior  to  1798,  Reeve  had  tanght  upwards 
of  200  men,  but  his  ways  were  so  informal  that  he  kept  no  catalog 
of  their  names.  In  that  year  he  was  appointed  a  Judge  of  the 
Superior  Court,  becoming  the  Chief  Justice  of  the  State  in  1814.  It 
was  now  necessary  for  Judge  Eeeve  to  have  an  assistant,  and  he 
chose  James  Gould,  who  had  graduated  in  his  School  the  same 
James  Gould  was  bom  in  Branford,  December  5, 1770.  He  was 
graduated  at  Yale  in  1791,  and  delivered  the  Latin  Salutatory  Ora- 
tion, the  highest  scholastic  honor  for  the  graduating  class.  From 
1798  to  1816  he  gave  his  entire  energies  to  the  Law  School,  only  prac- 
tising as  a  lawyer  in  the  holiday  intervals.  In  May  1816,  he  was 
appointed  Judge  of  the  Superior  Court  and  Supreme  Court  of  Errors. 
In  1820,  after  he  withdrew  from  the  bench,  he  received  the  degree  of 
doctor  of  laws  from  Yale. 

Hollister  gives  us  the  following  account  of  him,  (History  of 
Connecticut,  Vol.  II.,  pp.  602-3) :  "Judge  Gould  was  one  of  the 
most  finished  and  competent  writers  who  have  ever  treated  upon 
any  branch  of  the  English  jurisprudence.  His  great  work  upon 
Pleading  is  a  model  of  its  kind.  ...  He  had  at  first  contemplated 
writing  a  much  more  extended  treatise,  but  while  he  was  preparing 
the  materials  for  it,  the  appearance  of  Chitty's  work  on  the  same 
title  induced  him  to  change  his  plan.  As  it  was  presented  to  the 
public,  Gould's  Pleading  is,  therefore,  only  an  epitome  of  the  original 
design,  but  for  clearness,  logical  precision,  and  terseness  of  style,  it 
does  not  suffer  in  comparison  with  the  Commentaries  upon  the  laws 
of  England. 

"As  a  lawyer,  Judge  Gould  was  one  of  the  most  profoundly 
philosophical  of  that  age.  He  carried  into  the  forum  the  same 
classical  finish  which  appears  upon  every  page  of  his  writing.  It 
would  have  been  as  impossible  for  him  to  speak  an  ungrammatical 
sentence,  use  an  inelegant  expression,  or  make  an  awkward  gesture, 
in  addressing  an  argument  to  the  jury,  as  it  would  have  been  for  him 
to  attempt  to  expound  the  law  when  he  was  himself  ignorant  of  it, 
to  speak  disrespectfully  to  the  judge  upon  the  bench,  or  to  exhibit 
any  want  of  courtesy  to  the  humblest  member  of  the  profession  who 
might  happen  to  appear  as  his  opponent.  His  arguments  also,  like 
his  writings,  were  expressed  in  the  most  brief  forms  in  which  a 
speaker  can  convey  his  thoughts  to  his  hearers.  He  seldom  spoke 
longer  than  half  an  hour,  and  the  most  complex  and  important  cases 
never  exceeded  an  hour". 

The  greatest  possible  difference  of  character  existed  between  the 
two  Judges.  To  quote  Baldwin  again,  p.  463:  "It  was  feeling  that 
predominated  and  ruled  the  character  in  Reeve,  and  intellect  in 
Gould.  Their  students  respected  both,  but  they  loved  only  one. 
The  commonplace  book  of  a  girl  who  was  at  Miss  Pierce's  School  in 
1811  shows  entries  by  each.      Judge  Reeve  describes  her  affectionately 


as  'my  Lucy',  quotes  a  verse  fvom  a  hymn,  and  urges  upon  her  atten- 
tion the  subject  of  personal  religion.  Judge  Gould  gives  a  few  lines 
from  Pope's  Iliad".  And  again,  p.  468469:  "Judge  Reeve's  method 
of  instruction  was  based  on  written  notes,  from  which  he  lectured 
with  frequent  off-hand  explanations  and  illustrations  of  a  colloquial 
nature.  His  thoughts  often  outran  his  utterance,  and  he  would 
leave  a  sentence  unfinished  to  begin  another,  as  if  distracted  by 
what  one  of  his  students  described  as  a  'huddle  of  ideas'.  Judge 
Gould  clung  closely  to  his  manuscript,  from  which  he  read  so  slowly 
that  the  students,  each  seated  at  a  separate  desk,  could  write  down 
everything  that  was  uttered.  This  each  was  expected  to  do  then 
and  thera  The  notes  thus  taken,  and  also  those  made  at  Judge 
Reeve's  lectures,  the  students  afterwards  copied  with  care  into 
large  folio  volumes.  They  filled  in  all  five  of  these,  the  pages  of 
which  measured  about  nine  and  a  half  by  seven  and  a  half  inches. 
The  notes  of  those  which  Judge  Reeve  had  been  accustomed  to  give 
before  the  accession  of  Mr.  Gould  could  be  contained  in  one  or  more 
vohmies  of  much  smaller  size". 

The  achievement  of  the  School  is  perhaps  best  seen  by  compar 
ing  the  course  of  study  offered  after  1798  with  the  reading  usual  for 
students  in  private  offices  prior  to  1784.  In  those  days  they  "studied 
some  forms  and  little  substance,  and  had  within  their  reach  but  few 
volimies  beyond  Coke's  and  Wood's  Institutes,  Blackstone's  Com- 
mentaries, Bacon's  Abridgment,  and  Jacob's  Law  Dictionary;  and, 
when  admitted  to  the  bar,  were  better  instructed  in  pleas  in  abate- 
ment, than  in  the  weightier  matters  of  the  Law".  (Church's  Cen- 
tennial Address,  p.  50). 

Theodore  D.  Woolsey,  in  his  Historical  Discourse  at  the  Semi- 
centennial of  the  Yale  Law  School,  p.  8,  gives  the  following  list  of 
the  subjects  studied  at  the  Litchfield  Law  School,  together  with  the 
number  of  pages  of  note-books  occupied  by  each: 

Lectures  by  Reeve :  Master  and  Servant,  44  pages ;  Baron  and  Feme,  92 ; 
Parent  and  Child,  48;  Guardian  and  Ward,  10;  Executors  and  Adminis- 
trators, 69 ;  Sheriffs  and  Gaolers,  41 ;  Evidence,  72 ;  Bills  of  Exchange  and 
Promissory  Notes,  120;  Insurance,  122;  Charter  Parties,  5;  Joint  Owners  of 
Vessels,  2 ;  Partnership,  7 ;  Factors,  6 ;  Stoppage  in  Transitu,  2 ;  Sailors'  Con- 
tracts, 2 ;  Powers  of  Chancery,  51 ;  Criminal  Law,  64 ;  Estates  upon  Condi- 
tion, 83 ;  Modes  of  Acquiring  Estates,  23 ;  Devises,  57. 

Lectures  by  Gould:  Municipal  Law,  50;  Contracts,  113;  Fraudulent  Con- 
veyances, 33 ;  Bailments,  55 ;  Inns  and  Innkeepers,  9 ;  Covenant-Broken,  42 ; 
Action  of  Debt,  9 ;  Action  of  Detinue,  2 ;  Action  of  Account,  9 ;  Notice  and 
Request,  3;  Assumpsit,  31;  Defences  to  Actions,  T^;  Private  Wrongs,  74; 
System  of  Pleading,  232;  New  Trials,  27;  Bills  of  Exceptions,  4;  Writs  of 
Error,  18;  Practice  in  Connecticut,  68;  Real  Property,  115;  Title  by  Deed,  40; 
Actions  for  Injuries  to  Things  Real,  46. 

Charles  G.  Loring,  in  1851,  at  a  meeting  of  the  Story  Association 
of  the  Harvard  Law  School,  gave  a  picture  of  the  Litchfield  School 
which  is  well  worth  quotation: 

.  Ml  >    ( 


"It  will,  probably,  be  uews  to   . . .  many  . . .  here,  that  thirty 
eight  years  ago,  which  to  many  here  seems  a  remote  antiquity,  there 
existed  an  extensive  Law  School  in  the  State  of  Connecticut,  at 
which  more  than  sixty  students  from  all  parts  of  the  country  were 
assembled.  ...   I  joined  it  in  1813,  when  it  was  at  its  zenith,  and 
the  only  prominent  establishment  of  the  kind  in  the  land.    The  recol- 
.lection  is  as  fresh  as  the  events  of  yesterday,  of  our  passing  along 
the  broad  shaded  streets  of  one  of  the  most  beautiful  of  the  villages 
of  New  England,  with  our  ink-stands  in  our  hands,  and  our  port- 
folios under  our  arms,  to  the  lecture  room  of  Judge  Gould,  the  last 
of  the  Komans,  of  Common  Law  lawyers;  the  impersonation  of  its 
genius  and  spirit.       It  was,  indeed,  in  his  eyes,  the  perfection  of 
human  reason,  by  which  he  measured  every  principle  and  rule  of 
action,  and  almost  every  sentiment.      Why,  Sir,  his  highest  visions 
of  poetry  seemed  to  be  in  the  refinement  of  special  pleading;  and  to 
him,  a  non  sequitur  in  logic  was  an  offense  deserving,  at  the  least, 
fine  and  imprisonment, — and  a  repetition  of  it,  transportation  for  life. 
He  was  an  admirable  English  scholar,  every  word  was  pure  English, 
undefiled,  and  every  sentence  fell  from  his  lips  perfectly  finished, 
as  clear,  transparent  and  penetrating  as  light,  and  every  rule  and 
principle  as  exactly  defined  and  limited  as  the  outline  of  a  building 
against  the  sky.      From  him  we  obtained  clear,  well  defined,  and 
accurate  knowledge  of  the  Common  Law,  and  learned  that  allegiance' 
to  it  was  the  chief  duty  of  man,  and  the  power  of  enforcing  it  upon 
others  his  highest  attainment.      From  his  lecture  room  we  passed 
to  that  of  the  venerable  Judge  Eeeve,  shaded  by  an  aged  elm,  fit 
emblem  of  himself.       He  was,  indeed,  a  most  venerable  man,  in 
character  and  appearance,  his  thick,  grey  hair  parted  and  falling  in 
profusion  upon  his  shoulders,  his  voice  only  a  loud  whisper,  but 
distinctly  heard  by  his  earnestly  attentive  pupils.       He,  too,  was 
full  of  legal  learning,  but  invested  the  law  with  all  the  genial  enthu- 
siasm and  generous  feelings  and  noble  sentiments  of  a  large  heart  . . . 
and  discanted  to  us  with  glowing  eloquence  upon  the  sacredness  and 
majesty  of  law.      He  was  distinguished  by  that  appreciation  of  the 
gentler  sex  which  never  fails  to  mark  the  true  man  and  his  teach- 
ings of  the  law  in  reference  to  their  rights  and  to  the  domestic 
relations,  had  great  influence  in  elevating  and  refining  the  senti- 
ments of  the  young  men  who  were  privileged  to  hear  him.       As 
illustrative  of  his  feelings  and  manner  upon  this  subject,  allow  me 
to  give  a  specimen.      He  Avas  discussing  the  legal  relations  of  mar- 
ried women;  he  never  called  them  however  by  so  inexpressible  a 
name,  but  always  spoke  of  them  as,  'the  better  half  of  mankind',  or 
in  some  equally  just  manner.       When  he  came  to  the  axiom  that 
'a  married  woman  has  no  will  of  her  own',  this,  he  said,  was  a 
maxim  of  great  theoretical  importance  for  the  preservation  of  the 
sex  against  the  undue  influence  or  coercion  of  the  husband;  but, 
although  it  was  an  inflexible  maxim,  in  theory,  experience  taught 
ns  that  practically  it  Avas  found  that  they  sometimes  had  wills  of 
their  OAvn,  most  happily  for  us.      We  left  his  lecture  room  the  very 


knight-errants  of  the  law,  burning  to  be  the  defenders  of  the  right 
and  the  avengers  of  the  wrong;  and  he  is  no  true  son  of  the  Litch- 
field School  who  has  ever  forgotten  that  lesson". 

Judge  Reeve's  efforts  to  improve  the  rights  of  married  women 
bore  fruit,  but  not  till  many  years  later,  in  the  work  happily  of 
another  Litchfield  man.  Chief  Justice  Charles  B.  Andrews,  through 
whose  efforts  was  enacted  in  1877  the  statute  that  in  our  state  women 
are  not  responsible  to  their  husbands  in  the  transfer  of  property, 
either  real  or  personal. 

The  fruits  of  the  Litchfield  Law  School  are  found  of  course  in 
the  records  of  its  students.  And  we  have  only  to  turn  to  the 
list  of  names  in  the  Appendix,  to  find  what  these  fruits  have  been. 
The  list  is  very  incomplete.  In  the  first  place  it  includes  none  of 
the  students  of  the  first  fourteen  classes;  then,  although  all  later 
names  were  preserved,  th«*  achievements  of  the  various  graduates 
were  known  only  in  a  fortuitous  way.  There  was  no  organization 
of  alumni  to  keep  track  of  what  the  men  were  doing.  A  catalog 
was  printed  in  1828,  and  a  supplement  in  1831.  In  1849,  the  catalog 
was  reprinted,  with  the  addition  of  the  ranks  and  positions  attained 
by  certain  graduates,  compiled  by  George  C.  Woodruff.  Later  manu- 
script notes  were  made  by  Lewis  B.  Woodruff,  and  still  later  find 
ings  are  given  in  Kilbourn's  Bench  and  Bar.  Collating  all  these 
sources,  we  find  that  there  were  1,015  students  in  all,  of  whom  805  were 
at  the  School  after  1798,  whose  names  appear  in  the  catalogs.  The 
men  of  these  later  classes  achieved  in  the  aggregate  the  positions  of 
distinction  which  follow :  Vice-Presidents,  1 ;  Members  of  the  Cabinet, 
5;  U.  S.  Senators,  17;  Members  of  Congress,  53;  Diplomats,  5;  Asso- 
ciate Justices  TJ.  S.  Supreme  Court,  3 ;  Judges  IT.  S.  District  or  Cir- 
cuit Courts,  4;  Chief  Justices  of  States,  7;  Associate  Judges  of  the 
Superior  Courts  of  States,  27 ;  Other  State  Judges,  15 ;  Governors  of 
States,  10;  Lieutenant-Governors  of  States,  7;  State  Secretaries  of 
State,  2;  State's  Attorneys,  3;  State  Chancellors,  3;  Vice-Chancel- 
lors,  1;  Speakers  of  the  House  of  Representatives  of  States,  4;  Col- 
lege Presidents,  3.  Their  names  and  a  few  others  will  be  given  in 
the  Appendix. 

Many  other  graduates  doubtless  achieved  definite  work,  which 
cannot  be  recorded  by  a  title.  Prominent  among  these  we  may  men- 
tion the  picturesque  figure  of  Junius  Smith,  who  was  born  in  Plymouth 
in  1780  and  graduated  at  the  Litchfield  Law  School  in  1803.  "In 
1832,  he  interested  himself  in  the  cause  of  trans-Atlantic  steam 
navigation,  convinced  that  the  ocean  could  be  crossed  by  steam.  He 
was  met  with  incredulity.  He  undertook  to  charter  a  vessel  for 
an  experiment  but  had  no  success.  He  tried  to  organize  a  company 
but  men  of  science  declared  that  no  steamer  could  survive  the  terrible 
storms  that  sweep  the  Atlantic.  Not  a  single  share  of  stock  was 
taken.  Notwithstanding  this,  he  persevered.  His  indomitable  will 
conquered,  and  in  1838,  the  Sirius,  a  steamer  of  700  tons,  sailed  from 
Cork  on  the  4th  day  of  April,  and  reached  New  York  on  the  23rd. 


the  first  vessel  that  steamed  her  way  across  the  Atlantic".  (Atwater- 
History  of  Plymouth,  1895,  p.  179). 

Horace  Mann  was  born  in  1796,  in  Franklin,  Mass.  He  was  in 
the  class  of  1822  at  the  Law  SchooL  His  career  as  an  educator 
dates  from  1837,  from  which  time  to  his  death,  he  worked  for  the 
cause  of  education  with  constant  intensity,  holding  conventions, 
lecturing,  introducing  many  reforms,  planning  and  inaugurating 
the  Massachusetts  Normal  School  System.  He  virtually  revolu- 
tionized the  common  school  system  of  the  country.      He  died  in  1859. 

The  two  most  distinguished  of  all  the  graduates  were  both 
Southerners,  John  C.  Calhoun  and  John  M.  Claj-ton,  both  of  whom 
became  Secretary  of  State,  and  the  former,  Vice-President  of  the 
United  States.  It  is  always  a  source  of  speculation  how  far  the 
later  successes  of  such  men  can  be  traced  to  the  stimulating  influ- 
ence of  Litchfield  Hill  in  their  most  impressionable  years.  We  can 
at  least  join  with  Morris  W.  Seymour,  (Address  at  the  Presentation 
of  the  Litchfield  Law  School,  1911,  p.  25),  in  the  fervent  prayer  that 
the  seeds  of  secession  were  not  sowed  in  young  Calhoun  by  the  views 
held  by  many  men  in  Connecticut  at  the  time,  1804-5,  when  he  was 
in  Litchfield.  That  this  doctrine  was  undoubtedly  widely  discussed 
here  appears  from  Governor  Baldwin's  essay,  p.  485 :  "In  1829,  Judge 
Gould  took  an  active  part  in  a  controversy  that  followed  the  publi- 
cation in  1827  of  Jefferson's  letter  to  Governor  Giles,  stating  that 
John  Quincy  Adams  had  told  him  that  designs  of  disunion  were 
meditated  in  New  England  early  in  the  century.  Uriah  Tracy  had 
been  mentioned  as  one  of  those  who  were  engaged  in  them.  Judge 
Gould  wrote  to  those  of  the  leaders  among  Connecticut  Federalists  of 
the  Jeffersonian  era  who  still  survived,  for  their  recollections  as  to 
this  matter,  and  published  them  with  caustic  comments  on  the 
assertions  of  President  Adams  in  a  lengthy  communication  to  a 
New  York  newspaper.  (Henry  Adams,  New  England  Federalism, 
pp.  93-106).  It  was  a  vigorous  and  loyal  effort  to  vindicate  the 
memory  of  his  father-in-law;  but  other  letters  from  other  sources  of 
earlier  date,  that  have  since  come  to  light,  seem  to  show  that  Adams 
was  substantially  in  the  right.  While  there  was  no  definite  plan 
of  secession,  the  right  to  secede  was  certainly  asserted,  and  the 
policy  of  a  resort  to  it  advocated  in  1804  by  not  a  few  Federalist 
leaders,  and  among  others  by  Judge  Reeve,  in  confidential  corres- 
pondence with  Tracy".  (H.  C.  Lodge,  Life  and  Letters  of  George 
Cabot,  p.  442).  * 

Among  the  Litchfield  men,  who  received  their  training  at  the 
Law  School,  were  Aaron  Burr  Reeve,  1802,  the  promising  young 
son  of  Tapping  Reeve,  who  died  prematurely  in  1809;  Seth  P  Beers 
1803;  Oliver  S.  Wolcott,  1818,  the  son  of  Oliver  Wolcott  Jr  •  Origen 
S.  Seymour,  1824;  George  C.  Woodruff,  1825;  Lewnls  B.  Woodruff 
1830.  ' 

Daniel  Sheldon,  the  son  of  Dr.  Sheldon,  was  in  the  first  Gould 
class,  1798.  He  was  afterwards  Secretary  to  Albert  Gallatin  in 
Paris,  when  the  latter  was  Minister  there.      An  interesting  account 


of  his  experiences  is  given  in  Mrs.  Edgar  B.  Van  Winkle's  paper,  A 
Litchfield  Diplomat,  read  before  the  Litchfield  Historical  Society  in 

The  Law  School  was  never  incorporated.  "Judge  Reeve's  share 
in  the  work  of  the  Law  School  was  not  large  after  he  left  the  bench, 
and  he  withdrew  from  it  altogether  in  1820,  although  Judge  Gould 
continued  to  pay  him  a  third  of  the  net  receipts  from  tuition,  annu- 
ally   His  place  was  supplied  after  a  few  years  by  bringing  in 

Jabez  W.  Huntington,  a  member  of  the  Litchfield  Bar  and  one  of  the 
alumni  of  the  school,  who  continued  his  connection  with  it  as  long 
as  it  was  maintained,  then  becoming  an  Associate  Justice  of  the 
Supreme  Court  of  Errors  of  Connecticut,  and  subsequently  a  Senator 
of  the  United  States. 

"At  this  period  the  regular  course  of  study  at  the  school  was 
completed  in  fourteen  months,  including  two  vacations  of  four  weeks 
each,  one  in  the  spring  and  one  in  the  autumn.  $100  was  charged 
for  the  first  year  of  tuition  and  $60  for  a  second,  which,  of  course, 
if  pursued  to  the  end,  consisted  largely  of  the  repetition  of  lectures 
previously  heard.  Few  students  ever  remained  more  than  eighteen 
months.  After  the  retirement  of  Judge  Reeve  the  courses  were 
re-arranged  under  forty-eight  titles.  Judge  Gould  occupied  from 
an  hour  and  a  quarter  to  an  hour  and  a  half  in  lecturing  daily. 
Reported  cases  were  still  comparatively  few,  and  he  aimed  to  notice 
all  that  were  of  importance  decided  in  the  English  Courts.  The 
students  were  expected  to  examine  some  of  these  for  themselves  dur- 
ing the  remainder  of  the  day,  and  to  accompany  each  lecture  course 
by  parallel  readings  in  standard  text-books.  One  or  two  moot 
courts  were  held  weekly,  Judge  Gould  presiding.  The  briefs  of 
counsel  were  carefully  prepared  together  with  the  opinion  of  the 
court.  There  was  an  attorney-general  elected  by  the  students.  . . . 
It  was,  indeed,  often  no  easy  matter  for  an  instructor  in  such  a 
school  to  keep  so  far  ahead  of  his  pupils  that  they  would  always  be 
forced  to  acknowledge  his  superior  authority.  Many  of  them  were 
practicing  lawyers  who  came  there  for  a  year  to  round  out  their 
professional  education.  . . . 

"From  1826  the  Law  School  began  to  decline  quite  rapidly.  The 
publication  of  Swift's  Digest  and  Kent's  Commentaries  made  its 
whole  theory  of  instruction  antiquated.  The  Harvard  Law  School 
had  been  founded  in  1817,  and  that  of  Yale  in  1824.  No  unendowed 
private  institution  can  long  maintain  a  competition  with  one  sup- 
ported by  permanent  funds  and  forming  part  of  an  established  uni- 
versity. But  six  students  Avere  in  the  entering  class  of  1833.  Judge 
Gould's  health  had  been  slowly  breaking  down  for  years,  and  the 
time  had  evidently  come  to  close  the  school.  He  had  been  able  to 
maintain  it  so  long  only  by  the  aid  of  a  son  who  sometimes  read  his 
lectures  to  the  class,  and  of  a  young  lawyer  of  Litchfield,  whose 
assistance  in  addition  to  that  of  Mr.  Huntington,  was  occasionally 
invoked,  Origen  Storrs  Seymour,  afterwards  Chief  Justice  of  Con- 
necticut".  (Baldwin,  pp.  481-487). 


lu  its  later  years,  tlie  School  was  conducted  in  a  second  little 
building,  adjoining  the  Gould  house  on  North  Street,  just  as  the 
Reeve  Law  School  adjoinetl  the  house  on  South  Street.  During  the 
intermediate  period,  when  the  school  was  at  its  height,  both  build- 
ings were  in  use.  The  Gould  Law  School  was  later  carried  out  a 
mile  or  more  on  the  Bantam  Road,  where  it  was  converted  into  a 
tenement  at  the  sharp  turn  in  the  roadway. 

There  is  something  very  distinctive  about  these  two  small  build- 
ings, which  have  contributed  so  unpretentiously  and  so  successfully 
to  the  legal  history  of  our  country.  They  fittefl  into  the  simple  direct 
life  of  Litchfield,  and  served  to  convey  to  the  young  men  who  studied 
in  them  something  of  this  simple,  direct  manner.  And  beyond  all, 
was  the  kindly,  paternal  image  of  Judge  Reeve  himself,  the  real 
soul  of  the  School,  though  in  many  respects  Judge  Gould  was  the 
more  important  teacher.  So  generous,  so  chivalrous,  his  memory 
will  be  treasured  when  some  greater  names  are  forgotten.  An  anec- 
dote told  by  Catherine  Beecher  sums  up  in  a  sentence  his  respect  for 
and  devotion  to  all  womankind,  namely,  "that  he  never  saw  a  little 
girl  but  he  wished  to  kiss  her,  f oi*  if  she  was  not  good  she  would  be ; 
and  he  never  saw  a  little  boy  but  he  washed  to  whip  him,  for  if  he 
was  not  bad  he  would  be".     (Autobiography,  Vol.  I.,  p.  224). 


MISS  pibrcb's   school. 

"It  was  about  the  middle  of  June,  1823",  we  read  in  the  Personal 
Memories  of  E.  D.  Mansfield,  p.  122,  "that  my  father  and  I  drove  up 
to  Grove  Catlin's  tavern,  on  the  Green,  of  Litchfield,  Connecticut. 
It  was  one  of  the  most  beautiful  days  of  the  year,  and  just  before 
sunset.  The  scene  was  most  striking.  Litchfield  is  on  a  hill, 
about  one  thousand  feet  above  the  sea,  and  having  fine  scenery  on 
every  side.  On  the  west  rises  Mount  Tom,  a  dark,  frowning  peak; 
in  the  south-west.  Bantam  Lake,  on  whose  shores  I  have  often 
walked  and  ridden.  In  the  north  and  east  other  ridges  rolled  away 
in  the  distance,  and  so,  from  Litchfield  Hill,  there  is  a  varied  and 
delightful  prospect.  One  of  the  first  objects  which  struck  my  eyes 
was  interesting  and  picturesque.  This  was  a  long  procession  of 
school  girls,  coming  down  North  Street,  walking  under  the  lofty 
elms,  and  moving  to  the  music  of  a  flute  and  flageolet.  The  girls 
Avere  gaily  dressed  and  evidently  enjoying  their  evening  parade,  in 
this  most  balmy  season  of  the  year.  It  was  the  school  of  Miss 
Sally  Pierce,  whom  I  have  mentioned  before,  as  one  of  the  earliest 
and  best  of  the  pioneers  in  American  female  education.  That  scene 
has  never  faded  from  my  memory.  The  beauty  of  nature,  the  love- 
liness of  the  season,  the  sudden  appearance  of  this  school  of  girls, 
all  united  to  strike  and  charm  the  mind  of  a  young  man,  who,  how- 
ever varied  his  experience,  had  never  beheld  a  scene  like  that". 

Sarah  Pierce  was  born  in  Litchfield  on  June  26,  1767,  and  died 
on  January  19,  1852.  Her  father  was  John  Pierce,  of  Litchfield, 
by  trade  a  potter.  He  was  twice  married,  and  had  a  large  family. 
The  names  of  eleven  of  his  children  are  preserved,  but  probably 
there  were  several  others.  Sarah  was  the  youngest  child  by  his 
first  wife,  Mary  Patterson.  Upon  the  death  of  the  father  in  1783, 
at  the  early  age  of  53,  the  care  of  this  large  family  devolved  in  great 
measure  on  the  eldest  son,  John  Pierce.  He  was  born  in  1752,  and 
at  the  time  of  his  fathers  death  was  contemplating  marriage  with 
a  Miss  Ann  Bard.  This  naturally  made  him  anxious  that  some 
others  at  least  of  the  family  should  become  more  self-supporting  than 
their  immediate  prospects  in  Litchfield  made  possible.  He  there- 
fore had  the  very  happy  thought  that  Sarah  should  become  a  teacher. 
She  had  a  mind  naturally  quick,  but  no  special  aptitude  for  teach- 
ing had  yet  been  recognized  in  her.  It  was  a  random  shot  appar- 
ently, but  a  most  important  one,  not  only  for  the  family,  but  for 
Litchfield  and  the  wliole  history  of  the  higher  education  of  women. 
•Tohn  Pierce  Jr.  Avas  evidently  a  man  of  vision,  developed,  as  were 


«o  many,  by  the  imperative  needs  of  the  Revolution.  He  had  been 
thirteen  years  in  the  paymaster's  department  of  the  army,  a  friend 
of  Washington,  and  an  able  officer,  leaving  the  army  with  the  rank 
of  Colonel.  He  recognized  at  once  that  however  apt  his  sister  might 
become  at  her  books,  she  would  require  a  dignity  and  presence, 
before  she  could  become  a  successful  teacher  of  girls  from  the  larger 
tdties,  such  as  she  herself  could  hardly  hope  to  leam  in  the  Litch- 
field of  1784.  Twenty  years  later  it  would  have  been  a  very  differ- 
ent story.  He  therefore  sent  her  to  New  York  in  April  1784,  and  his 
instructions  to  her  are  most  interesting:  "The  short  time  you  have 
aiid  the  many  things  you  have  to  learn,  occasions  me  to  wish  you 
would  employ  every  moment  for  the  purpose,  I  hope  you  will  not 
miss  a  single  dancing  school,  and  that  you  will  take  lessons  from 
CJapt.  Turner  at  other  times,  pray  get  him  and  Katy  your  friend,  to 
instruct  you  in  everything  in  walking  standing  and  sitting,  all  the 
movements  of  which  tho'  they  appear  in  a  polite  person  natural,  are 
the  effects  of  art,  while  country  girls  never  attend  to  and  which 
you  had  best  take  the  utmost  pains,  or  you  will  never  appear 
natural  &  easy  in.  I  am  somewhat  fearful  that  your  old  habits 
at  your  age  can  not  be  so  thoroughly  removed,  as  to  give  place  to  a 
natural  careless  genteel  air,  and  which  totally  hides  all  the  art  of  it. 
The  Books  I  left  with  you  I  wish  you  not  to  read  much  in  town,  I 
want  you  to  study  the  fashions,  the  art  of  pleasing  to  advantage  and 
for  this  purpose  to  spare  no  necessary  expense,  and  if  you  do  not 
appear  as  genteel  as  any  of  the  girls  it  will  be  your  own  fault,  you 
must  however  pay  a  great  regard  to  economy  &  always  remember 
that  every  Dollar  takes  so  much  from  my  future  prospects,  on 
which  you  know  that  not  only  yours  but  mine  and  all  our  families 
happiness  depends".     (Vanderpoel,  p.  347). 

Col.  Pierce  was  married  in  1786  and  died  in  1788.  The  cares 
of  the  family  through  these  years  fell  on  Sarah  and  her  sisters, 
and  the  plans  for  teaching  could  not  be  put  into  action  until  1792. 
She  continued  her  studies  at  odd  times  through  this  period,  never 
for  a  moment  forgetting  what  her  life  work  was  to  be;  and,  when 
she  took  her  first  pupil  in  the  dining  room  of  her  house,  she  was 
fully  equipped,  both  mentally  and  as  her  brother  would  have  said 
socially,  to  guide  her  school  from  this  humble  beginning  to  the  full 
heights  of  its  future  importance. 

Mrs.  E.  X.  Vanderpoel,  the  great-grand-daughter  of  Col.  Tall- 
madge  and  one  of  Litchfield's  artists,  has  written  the  story  of  Miss 
Pierce's  Academy  in  a  fascinating  volume:  The  Chronicles  of  a  Pio- 
neer School,  edited  by  Elizabeth  C.  Barney  Buel,  1903.  Her  book  is 
tiuoted  from  throughout  the  present  work,  but  this  chapter  on  the 
School  can  be  but  a  very  incomplete  abridgement  of  parts  of  it.  The 
Chronicles  should  be  read  by  every  person  interested  in  Litchfield, 
as  the  diaries  and  letters  and  other  papers  reprinted  therein  open 
up  a  picture  of  the  life  of  the  whole  town  in  those  days  of  the  Golden 
Age  which  no  chapters  like  ours  can  in  any  manner  indicate. 


The  School  passed  through  three  phases.  First  it  v,as  con- 
ducted at  the  "old  red  house"  built  about  1750  by  Zebulon  Bissell 
near  the  site  of  the  present  Coiigrejijational  Parsonage.  This  was 
the  Pierce  homestead  at  this  time,  ami  the  little  dining  room  served 
comfortably  as  a  school  room  until  the  number  of  pupils  began 
very  much  to  increase. 

By  1798  (Vanderpoel,  p.  19)  the  school  had  become  of  suflficient 
importance  to  interest  the  prominent  men  of  the  town  to  build 
a  suitable  building  for  Miss  Pierce.  It  was  then  dignified  by  the 
name  of  the  Female  Academy.  The  subscription  list  Avas  headed 
by  Tapping  Reeve,  who  contributed  $40.  26  other  names  appear 
on  the  list,  the  total  subscribed  being  $385.  The  Academy  stood 
immediately  below  the  old  house.  In  1803,  Miss  Pierce  built  her- 
self a  new  house,  still  further  south,  the  house  and  the  Academy 
occupying  the  present  Underwood  grounds.  The  old  house  was 
then  occupied  by  Miss  Pierce's  sister  Susan,  who  had  married  James 
Brace,  and  her  family.  The  second  and  most  successful  period  of 
the  school  was  conducted  in  this  second  building,  the  first  Academy. 

In  1827,  it  was  decided  to  increase  the  scope  of  the  school  by 
the  erection  of  a  new  Academy,  with  the  incorporation  of  the  insti- 
tution under  a  board  of  Trustees.  A  company  was  formed,  known 
as  the  Litchfield  Female  Academy,  of  which  Frederick  Wolcott  was 
the  President,  with  a  capital  not  to  exceed  $7,500.  Of  this  40 
shares  of  $15.  each  were  given  to  Miss  Pierce  in  exchange  for  the 
land  and  previous  building  of  the  Academy.  A  new  subscription 
was  taken  up,  and  67  shares  of  $15.  each  were  subscribed  for.  In 
due  course  the  new  Academy  was  constructed.  After  the  close  of 
the  school,  sometime  after  1855,  it  was  removed  to  the  Beecher  Lot, 
corner  of  North  and  Prospet^t  Streets,  where  it  was  occupied  for 
some  years  by  the  boys'  school  of  the  late  Rev.  James  Richards  D.  D., 
known  as  the  Elm  Park  Collegiate  Institute.  Henry  R.  Jones  of 
Brooklyn  converted  it  into  the  present  residence  ot  his  family  after 
he  purchased  the  corner  about  1882.  The  Beecher  House  adjoining 
was  bought  by  Dr.  Henry  W.  Buel  about  1872  and  removed  to 
Spring  Hill,  where  it  now  forms  a  part  of  the  group  of  buildings. 

The  Pierce-Brace  house  was  torn  do\vn  to  be  replaced  by  the 
present  Parsonage,  and  the  Pierce  house  was  torn  down  about  1896 
to  make  way  for  the  present  Underwood  house.  Thus  all  traces 
of  the  Academy  are  now  scattered. 

Corresponding  to  this  development  of  the  outward  and  visible 
character  of  the  Academy,  there  was  a  steady  development  in  its 
educational  policy. 

At  first  the  number  of  pupils  was  small,  the  studies  very  simple. 
From  the  start  we  find  that  Miss  Pierce  had  a  high  idea  of  what 
girls  should  be  taught.  Her  ideal  was  to  train  them  in  all  the  same 
studies  that  a  boy  would  be  taught.  She  began  Geography  and 
History  from  the  first,  both  then  innovations  in  girls'  schools.  At 
times  the  lessons  were  perhaps  above  the  heads  of  the  children.      In 

Miss  Sally  Pierce 

The  Litchfield  Academy,  1827 


the  diary  of  an  early  pupil,  Julia  Cowles,  aged  eleven,  we  read: 
"June  30,  1797.  Went  to  school,  told  History,  sewed  some.  Miss 
Sally  says  that  I  have  been  a  pretty  good  girl  this  week.  I  have 
not  been  oflfended  this  week.  I  have  helped  Aunt  Lewis  almost 
every  day  this  week.  . . .  July  G.  I  do  not  recollect  any  History 
that  we  read  to  day  only  that  there  was  one  Punic  war.  . . .  July  13. 
I  do  not  recollect  any  of  the  History  read  to  day  only  that  Hanibal 
died.  . . .  July  21.  Attended  school,  read  Historj'.  Danced  last 
evening,  enjoyed  the  intended  pleasure.  . . .  July  26.  Attended 
school  forenoon  painted.  I  dont  know  a  word  of  the  History. 
1*.  31.    I  stayed  at  home*'. 

Miss  Pierce's  SJ^npathy  with  her  pupils  was  proverbial.  Per- 
haps it  Avas  stimulated  by  the  death  of  one  of  these,  little  Nancy 
Cutler,  (hiring  the  second  year  of  the  school,  August  1793.  Miss 
I'ierce  took  tlie  little  child  back  to  her  mother,  who  afterwards 
wrote:  "September  3,  1793:  The  amiable  Miss  Pierce  is  going  home.  I 
fear  I  shall  be  still  more  lonely,  but  I  will  try  to  be  cheerfull.  I 
esteem  Sally  for  her  goodness  of  heart.  She  is  a  good  Girl  and 
I  think  I  shall  not  forget  her  kindness  to  me  or  the  attention  she 
paid  that  much  loved  child".       (Yanderpoel,  p.  9). 

Miss  Pierce  was  twenty  five  years  old  when  she  began  the  school. 
She  never  lost  her  sympathy  with  her  girls.  She  never  asked  them 
to  do  any  work  which  she  was  not  ready  to  share,  nor  to  undertake 
any  exercise  which  she  was  not  ready  to  join  in,  nor  to  have  any 
amusements  which  she  did  not  lead.  When  she  found  that  the 
Histories  in  vogue  were  dull  to  her  girls,  she  set  out  and  wrote 
others  herself.  Her  Histories,  dating  from  1811  to  1818,  were  com- 
piled in  the  form  of  questions  and  answers,  which  she  claimed  to 
be  the  form  most  easily  imbibed  by  children,  and  were  intended  ''to 
intermix  moral  with  historical  instruction". 

This  first  period  of  the  school  lasted  till  the  building  of  the 
first  Academy,  in  1798.  It  was  the  tentative  period,  the  period  of 

The  second  period  Avas  one  of  fruition.  Pupils  were  coming  in 
large  numbers.  We  hear  of  a  hundred  and  thirty  in  one  year,  while 
the  total  for  the  whole  forty  years  of  the  school  was  afterwards 
estimated  by  Miss  Pierce's  nephew,  John  Pierce  Brace,  as  having 
been  three  thousand.  The  assistance  of  her  sisters  was  no  longer 
sufficient  for  the  carrying  on  of  the  school,  and  different  teachers 
were  called  in  to  help.  The  chief  of  these  was  the  nephew  just 
mentioned,  John  Pierce  Brace,  who  lived  next  door.  To  prepare 
him  to  be  her  assistant,  Miss  Pierce  had  sent  him  to  college  at 
Williams.  He  appears  to  have  been  a  born  educator  like  his 
aunt,  and  to  have  held  as  she  did  that  women  deserved  the  same 
standards  of  education  as  men.  The  program  of  the  school  noAv 
became  greatly  enlarged.  The  studies  of  chemistry,  astronomy  and 
botany  were  added  to  those  of  history  and  geography.  The  fine 
accomplishments  of  music,  dancing,  singing  and  embroidery,  of  draw- 


ing  and  painting  were  retained.  John  Brace  was  an  enthusiast  in 
the  natural  sciences  and  Harriet  Beecher  Stowe  used  to  refer  to 
his  keeping  up  "a  constant  conversation  on  the  subject". 

There  are  a  number  of  amusing  references  to  his  passion  for 
these  subjects.  In  her  diary,  for  June  2,  1822,  Mary?  L.  Wilbor 
w^rote,  (Vanderpoel,  p.  236) :  "Mr.  Brace  had  all  his  bugs  to  school 
this  P.  M.  He  has  a  great  variety,  two  were  from  China,  which  were 
very  handsome,  almost  all  the  rest  Avere  of  Litchfield  descent,  and  he 
can  trace  their  pedigree  as  far  back  as  when  Noah  entered  the 
ark".  Another  pupil,  Caroline  Chester,  wrote  in  1816,  (Vander- 
poel, p.  152) :  "I  went  to  Mr.  Brace's,  where  I  spent  the  evening 
most  agreeably  and  saw  a  plenty  of  butterflies  and  spiders".  The 
cult  of  natural  science  invaded  the  law  school,  possibly  by  way  of 
furnishing  another  subject  of  common  interest.  That  rollicking 
diarist  and  law-student,  George  Younglove  Cutler  wrote  October  24, 
1820,  (Vanderpoel,  p.  202) :  "A  mineralogical  compliment  from  Dr. 
A-  S.  M.  in  return  for  a  box  of  stones  sent  him — which  I  collected 
from  the  neighboring  stone  walls,  etc.,  'horizontalizing  them'  to  use 
his  expression,  much  to  the  disadvantage  of  the  agricultural  inter- 
ests in  this  part  of  the  country". 

The  course  of  study  at  this  time,  1821,  has  been  preserved  in 
the  papers  of  Miss  Sarah  Kingsbury,  (Vanderpoel,  p.  233) :  "Morses 
Geography,  Websters  Elements,  English  Grammar,  Miss  Pierces 
History,  Arithmetic  through  Interest,  Blair's  Lectures,  Modem 
Europe,  Kamsey's  American  Revolution,  Natural  Philosophy, 
Chemistry,  Paley's  Moral  Philosophy,  Hedge's  Logic  and  Addision 
on  Taste". 

In  this  second  period,  the  Academy  was  the  leader  in  the  educa- 
tion of  women  throughout  the  country.  The  third  period,  after  the 
construction  of  the  enlarged  building,  was  not  so  fortunate.  Miss 
Pierce,  in  1827,  was  sixty  years  old,  and  though  she  retained  her 
interest  and  much  of  her  vitality,  could  not  put  into  the  work  all 
her  earlier  energy;  and  John  Pierce  Brace,  in  the  winter  of  1831-32, 
was  offered  and  accepted  the  position  of  principal  in  the  Female 
Seminary  at  Hartford.  He  had  been  the  assistant  of  Miss  Pierce 
for  eighteen  years,  becoming  more  and  more  a  dominant  factor  in 
the  work,  and  his  departure  marked  the  beginning  of  the  end.  In 
1833  Miss  Pierce  asked  to  resign,  and  the  Trustees  appointed  Miss 
Henrietta  Jones  as  principal.  She  had  been  a  pupil  of  the  school, 
and  a  teacher  for  five  years.  In  1844,  the  Trustees  made  applica- 
tion to  the  Legislature  for  a  change  in  the  charter,  so  that  the  build- 
ings could  be  used  for  both  sexes.  In  1849  the  use  of  the  Academy 
was  tendered  to  the  Normal  School.  Finally  in  1856  the  Trustees 
wound  up  the  corporation,  selling  the  property  back  to  Miss  Mary 
Pierce,  a  much  younger  half-sister  of  Miss  Sally,  who  in  the  last 
years  had  assisted  in  the  conduct  of  the  school.  Miss  Sally  Pierce 
lived  almost  to  the  close  of  the  school,  dying  in  1852,  at  the  ripe 
age  of  eighty  five  years. 


"She  was  small  in  person",  wrote  her  friend,  Gideon  H.  Hollis- 
ter,  in  his  History  of  Connecticut,  "of  a  cheerful,  lively  temi>era- 
ment,  a  bright  eye,  and  a  face  expressive  of  the  most  active  benevol- 
ence. She  was  in  the  habit  of  practicing  herself  all  the  theories 
that  she  taught  to  her  pupils,  and,  until  physical  infirmities  con- 
fined her  to  her  room,  would  take  her  accustomed  walk  in  the  face 
of  the  roughest  March  wind  that  ever  blew  across  our  hills". 

The  life  such  a  woman  offered  to  her  pupils  was  certainly  an 
inspiration.  It  meant  doubtless  much  more  than  the  mere  teaching 
could;  for  although  the  scholarship  was  so  high  we  do  not  hear 
that  the  graduates  achieved  any  great  reputations  in  science  or  in 
learning  in  their  after  lives.  But  they  did  achieve,  many  of  them, 
very  happy  lives,  the  seeds  of  which  are  certainly  to  be  traced  to 
Litchfield.  It  is  not  enough  to  say  that  many  of  them  became 
engaged  to  Law  students,  whom  they  afterwards  married.  What 
really  counted  was  the  influence  of  Miss  Pierce,  the  influence  of 
the  Litchfield  culture,  the  health  of  the  climate,  the  habit  of  right 
thinking  developed  by  the  courses,  and  the  cheerful  life  of  the 

In  the  next  chapter  will  be  found  an  outline  of  their  more  formal 
amusements,  but  something  should  be  said  here  of  the  everyday  life. 
Few  of  the  girls  lived  at  Miss  Pierce's  house;  the  great  majority 
of  those  who  were  not  Litchfield  girls  boarded  around.  There  were 
several  fairly  large  boarding  houses,  like  Aunt  Bull's  on  Prospect 
Street,  and  nearly  every  house  took  one  boarder  or  two.  In  many 
cases  the  scholars  from  Miss  Pierce's  and  the  students  from  the 
Law  School  boarded  in  the  same  house. 

Pleasant  as  the  school  life  was,  it  was  governed  by  very  regu- 
lar rules,  and  it  is  a  little  surprising  to  us  how  strictly  these  were 
enforced.  Probably  this  had  much  to  do  with  everything  running 
so  smoothly.  Here  are  some  of  the  rules  of  1825,  (Vanderpoel,  p. 

"You  are  expected  to  rise  early,  be  dressed  neatly  and  to  exercise  before 
breakfast.  You  are  to  retire  to  rest  when  the  family  in  which  you  reside 
request  you.  You  must  consider  it  a  breach  of  politeness  to  be  requested 
a  second  time  to  rise  in  the  morning  or  retire  of  an  evening. 

"It  is  expected  that  you  attend  public  worship  every  Sabbath,  except 
some  unavoidable  circumstance  prevent^  which  you  will  dare  to  present  as  a 
sufficient  apology  at  the  day  of  judgment. 

"Your  deportment  must  be  grave  and  decent  while  in  the  house  of  God; 
all  light  conduct  in  a  place  of  worship  is  not  only  offensive  to  God  but  an 
indication  of  ill  breeding;  and  highly  displeasing  both  to  the  good  and  the 

"Every  hour  during  the  week  must  be  fully  occupied  either  in  useful 
employments,  or  necessary  recreation.  Two  hours  must  be  faithfully 
devoted  to  close  study  each  day,  while  out  of  school :  and  every  hour  in 
school  must  be  fully  occupied.  The  ladies  where  you  board  must  mention 
if  you  do  not  study  your  two  hours  each  day. 


"You  must  suppress  all  emotions  of  anger,  fretfulness  and  discontent. 

"No  young  lady  is  allowed  to  attend  any  public  ball,  or  sleigh  party  till 
they  are  more  than  i6  years  old. 

"Speaking  or  moving  once  in  school  hours  either  with  or  without  lib- 
erty will  take  off  a  part  of  the  extra — unless  they  move  to  recite  or  prac- 
tice, or  write  at  the  tables — Speaking  more  than  once  will  take  off  the  whole 
extra  and  often  give  you  a  quarter  of  a  miss. 

"You  must  not  walk  for  pleasure  after  9  o'clock  in  the  evening.  A 
reward  will  be  given  to  those  who  do  not  waste  any  money,  books,  clothes, 
paper  or  quills,  during  the  term.  To  those  who  have  their  studies  per- 
formed at  the  proper  time.  To  those  who  have  not  been  peevish,  homesick,  or 
impolite.  To  those  who  always  attend  meeting  or  church.  To  those  who 
never  write  carelessly". 

These  eight  rules  were  supplemented  by  fifteen  others,  so  that 
conduct  was  well  defined.  The  regulation  about  deportment  in 
church  brings  to  mind  the  Keminiscences  of  Miss  Esther  H.  Thomp- 
son, (Vanderpoel,  p.  297),  who  tells  about  "the  feuds  between  Miss 
Pierce's  scholars  and  the  farmers'  daughters — more  especially  that 
peculiar  class  of  young  American  girls  who  were  'living  out' — the 
'help' — in  village  families.  These  girls,  usually  the  most  ambitious 
of  their  family,  made  more  independent  by  self  support,  gaining 
influence  in  proportion  to  the  polish  acquired  by  intercourse  with 
village  people,  easily  dominated  all  of  their  set,  and  together  were 
a  strong  band.  The  school  girls  were  supercilious,  the  help  aggres- 
sively arrogant — and  both  classes  equally  proud  and  uncompromis- 
ing. Many  a  battle  was  fought  on  Sunday  as  well  as  on  week 
days.  All  around  the  gallery  Avails  of  the  old  church  on  the 
Green  was  a  row  of  square  pews  fenced  in  with  the  conventional 
high  lattice  work,  while  in  front  were  two  rows  of  benches.  Many 
of  the  young  people  of  fthe  congregation  chose  to  sit  there  where 
they  were  more  free  from  the  restraining  presence  of  their  seniors. 
Sometimes  one  part  of  the  gallery  would  be  considered  the  special 
choice,  sometimes  another,  but  out  girls  and  school  girls  would 
never  freely  mingle!  When  one  pew  was  monopolized  by  school 
girls  for  a  noticeable  length  of  time  the  out  girls  would  come  early 
some  Sunday  and  pack  the  seats.  Then  would  follow  pin  pricking, 
pinching  and  punching  through  the  lattice — and  the  incensed  school 
girls  would  bide  their  time  to  preempt  the  out  girls'  places". 

There  was  a  certain  rivalry  also  between  the  out  of  town  school 
girls  and  the  Litchfield  girls  who  did  not  attend  the  school.  Timothy 
Pierce,  one  of  the  half-brothers  of  Miss  Sally,  wrote  in  1800,  (Van 
derpoel,  p.  378) :  "School  consisting  of  15  only — now  there  are  so 
few  I  hope  that  the  native  ladies  of  Litchfield  may  stand  some 
chance  for  a  part  at  least  of  the  attention  of  Mr.  Reeve's  students". 

The  rivalry  was  very  friendly  on  the  whole,  and  the  Litchfield 
people  were  certainly  very  hospitable  to  the  girls  who  came  from 
other  i»laces.  They  were  constantly  invited  out  and  appear  to 
have  reciprocated  by  being  just  as  nice  as  they  could  be.  The  rule 
about  being  home  at  nine  was  sometimes  a  source  of  difficulty.      On 

Lucv  Sheldon 
From  a  Miniature  by  Anson  Dickinson 

Miss  Lucretia  Deming 

From  a  Miniature  by  Anson  Dickinson 


one  occasion  Margaret  Hopkins,  one  of  the  pupils,  went  to  spend  the 
evening  at  Aunt  Bull's.  She  was  one  of  the  few  pupils  who  roomed 
at  Miss  Pierce's  own  house.  A  law  student  of  the  party  put  back 
the  hands  of  the  clock  so  that  when  one  of  the  number  took  Margaret 
back  to  her  house,  it  was  quite  shut  up.  After  much  knocking, 
Miss  Pierce  came  to  the  door  in  night-cap  and  gown,  candle  in 
hand.  (Yanderpoel,  p.  289).  On  another  occasion,  Caroline  Chester, 
whose  acquaintance  we  have  already  made,  and  who  was  living  at 
the  house  of  Dr.  Sheldon,  was  at  a  large  party  at  the  Wolcott's: 
"When  the  clock  struck  nine,  the  girl  was  carrying  around  the 
wine,  and  I  too  well  knew  if  I  was  not  at  home,  the  family  would 
be  displeased.  I  spoke  to  the  lady  who  sat  next  to  me  and  said 
I  must  go,  and  she  said  it  would  be  extremely  improper  in  her 
opinion  for  me  who  was  the  youngest  in  the  room  to  go  first,  because 
if  I  went,  all  would  go.  At  about  half  past  nine  Miss  Burr  rose  to  go, 
and  all  the  company  followed  her  example.  It  was  very  cold  and 
as  I  crossed  the  green,  the  wind  blew  and  I  thought,  what  can  be 
keener?  but  I  found  when  I  reached  home  that  a  keener  blast 
awaited  me,  a  blast  which  will  never  no  never  be  erased  from  my 
memory.  I  opened  the  door  with  a  trembling  hand,  no  one  was  in 
the  room,  but  soon  Dr.  came.  My  heart  throbbed  violently,  and 
he  said — why  are  you  home  at  this  late  hour?  1  told  my  excuse, 
he  interrupted  me  by  saying  that  it  was  but  a  poor  excuse.  . . .  He 
concluded  by  saying  that  if  I  ever  staid  out  again  he  certainly 
would  lock  the  door  if  it  was  after  nine.  . . ,  and  thus  did  I  pay  for 
my  whistle-'.     (Vanderpoel,  p.  153). 

These  stories  are  worth  quoting,  if  only  as  a  picture  of  Puritan 
traits,  still  surviving  only  100  years  ago.  Something  of  the  same 
character  is  found  in  the  ejaculation  of  another  pupil,  Mary  L. 
Wilbor,  in  her  diary,  1822,  "I  went  to  the  Post  Office  with  Miss 
Averill  but  we  did  not  go  in,  for  it  was  very  much  crowded  with 
gentlemen.  I  do  not  think  it  is  quite  proper  for  us  to  go  to  the 
I)ost-office  so  often  but  still  continue  going!"     (Vanderpoel,  p.  235). 

Dr.  Daniel  Sheldon,  who  was  so  strict  with  Caroline  Chester, 
was  by  no  means  an  exception.  He  was  universally  beloved  as 
Good  old  Doctor  Sheldon.  "Dear  old  Dr.  Sheldon",  wrote  Henry 
Ward  Beecher,  in  Litchfield  Revisited,  185G,  "We  began  to  get  well 
as  soon  as  he  came  into  the  house;  or  if  the  evil  spirit  delayed  a 
little,  •Cream-o'-tartar'  with  hot  water  poured  upon  it  and  sweetened, 
finished  the  work.  He  had  learned  long  before  the  days  of  home- 
opathy, that  a  doctor's  chief  business  is  to  keep  parents  from  giving 
their  children  medicine". 

Of  him,  E,  D.  Mansfield  Avrote:  "When  he  had  just  graduated 
from  a  medical  college,  he  had  an  attack  on  his  lungs,  and  was  sup- 
I>osed  to  be  fast  going  into  consumption,  and  was  saved  by  what  may 
be  called  heroic  treatment.  He  went  to  Litchfield  to  practice  medi- 
cine, which  involved  much  riding  on  horseback,  and  he  began  taking 
opium,  until  he  took  incredible  quantities.  Nevertheless  it  cured 
him;  and  he  recovered  from  the  habit  of  taking  opium  as  resolutely 


and  bravely  as  lie  had  began  it.  He  survived  all  danger  of  early 
death,  and  lived  to  be  eighty  four  years  of  age,  quietly  and  peace- 
fully declining,  untU  he  passed  from  this  life  as  gently  as  the  setting 
star.  One  of  his  sons  was  secretary  of  legation  in  France,  and 
one  was  a  very  successful  merchant  in  New  York.  I  was  indebted 
to  him  for  a  comforting  assurance,  when  we  students  were  charged 
with  being  uncommonly  'fast'.  There  were  more  than  fifty  law 
students  boarding  in  Litchfield,  many  of  them  of  wealthy  families, 
and  many  of  them  from  the  South.  Of  course,  there  must  be  some 
amusement,  and  often  the  midnight  air  resounded  with  the  songs 
of  midnight  rioters,  and  sometimes  stories  were  circulated  to  the 
students'  disadvantage.  After  hearing  some  remarks  on  the  'fast' 
students,  I  met  Dr.  Sheldon  walking,  and  said  to  him: 

'"Doctor,  they  say  we  are  the  worst  students  ever  were  in 
Litchfield'.  'Pooh!  pooh!'  said  the  doctor,  'they  are  not  half  so 
bad  as  they  were  in  my  day'.  So  I  was  comforted  with  the  idea 
that  we  were  not  casting  shame  on  those  venerable  Puritans,  who 
had  condescended  to  become  our  ancestors.  Be  this  as  it  may,  I 
greatly  enjoyed  those  evening  sleigh  rides,  and  those  country  sup- 
pers, when  we  would  ride  off  to  Goshen,  or  Harwinton,  or  other 
village,  and  order  our  turkey  and  oysters,  served  up  with  pickles 
and  cake,  and  then  set  Black  Caesar  to  play  jigs  on  a  cracked  fiddle. 
But  the  grand  occasions  was  something  beyond  this,  when  we  got 
sleighs  and  fine  horses,  and  buffalo  robes,  and  foot- stoves,  and 
invited  the  belles  of  Litchfield,  who  never  hesitated  to  go,  and  set 
off  to  the  distant  village  to  have  a  supper  and  dance,  tl  seldom 
danced,  and  some  of  the  girls  did  not,  but  there  were  always  some 
who  did,  and  we  had  jolly  times".     (Personal  Memories,  p.  135). 

The  school  girls  came  in  for  the  evening  rides,  though  the  nine 
o'clock  hour  had  to  be  carefully  watched.  Here  is  another  extract 
from  Caroline  Chester  under  date  January  1,  1816.  It  will  be 
noticed  that  there  was  no  full  school  holiday  on  New  Year's  day,  as 
indeed  there  was  none  on  Christmas  at  Miss  Pierce's:  "Went  to 
school  with  a  determination  to  improve  all  in  my  power,  recited  in 
History  without  a  mistake,  in  the  afternoon  went  to  Mr.  Bradley's 
tavern  with  Hannah  Huntington,  John  and  Mr.  O.  Wolcott,  W.  T. 
and  Mary.  Had  a  most  delightful  ride,  returned  with  Hannah  to 
tea,  in  the  evening  took  a  sleigh  ride  and  returned  home  about  nine. 
Had  a  great  many  wishes  that  I  might  have  a  Happy  New  Year". 
(Vanderpoel,  p.  152).  The  two  Wolcotts  here  mentioned  were  the 
two  sons  of  Oliver  Wolcott  Jr. 

Another  occassional  event  were  the  serenades.  We  quote  again 
from  Mary  L.  Wilbor,  July  4,  1822:  We  were  sweetly  serenaded  by 
B.  and  S.  and  L.  as  we  suppose  but  we  were  so  very  unfortunate 
as  not  to  hear  it.  When  Miss  Mary  told  us  of  it  this  morning  we 
were  quite  astonished  that  we  could  be  so  stupid  as  not  to  hear  it. 
It  must  have  been  quite  romantic,  for  I  never  saw  a  more  delightful 
evening".       Fortunately  another  opportunity  came,  the  very  night 


before  her  school  career  was  over,  August  29,  1822:  "In  the  night 
we  were  awoke  by  music  which  appeared  to  be  very  near  us.  We 
instantly  arose  and  found  it  to  be  Mssrs.  Loring  Burgess  and  Sulli- 
van with  flutes  which  were  played  with  much  skill  and  sweetness. 
But  all  the  pleasures  of  Litchfield  could  not  render  it  possible  for 
me  to  i*emain  there  and  in  the  morning  I  took  my  melancholy 
departure".    (Vanderpoel,  p.  240). 

Catherine  Cebra  Webb,  another  scholar,  tells  an  anecdote  in 
point  here:  "Old  Grove  Catlin  kept  the  Hotel  in  Litchfield,  and  had 
a  daughter  Flora,  who  was  quite  a  belle.  The  law  students  used 
to  quiz  him  about  his  daughter's  popularity,  and  he  said,  "Yes,  my 
daughter  Flora  is  assassinated  most  every  night"  (meaning  sere- 
naded)".      (Vanderpoel,  p.  150). 

The  serenade  always  involved  a  flute,  whatever  other  accom- 
paniment might  be  provided  for  the  singers.  This  recalls  the  flute 
and  flageolet  which  accompanied  the  girls  on  their  walks,  but  we 
have  no  clue  as  to  who  was  the  player  on  these  daily  excursions. 
Among  the  village  boys  at  this  time,  Reuben  Merriman,  the  silver- 
smith, had  a  son  who  was  a  great  devotee  of  the  flute.  Merriman's 
shop  was  next  the  third  Congregational  Church,  which  had  just 
been  erected-  One  day  his  son  climbed  the  steeple  and  mystified 
the  whole  town  with  his  silvery  notes  floating  down  from  the 

It  would  be  pleasant  to  recall  here  some  of  the  many  girls 
who  studied  at  Miss  Pierce's.  The  school  catalogs  and  other  lists 
preserve  the  names  of  some  hundreds  of  the  three  thousand  who 
attended  in  the  forty  years  of  Miss  Sally's  own  direction;  but  space 
prevents  any  extended  notices.  Here  in  1825  studied  Lucy  M.  Wood- 
ruff, who  married  Origen  S.  Seymour.  Many  indeed  are  Litchfield 
names,  the  Buels,  the  Wolcotts,  the  Seymours,  the  Bacons,  the  Dem- 
ings.  Here  too  came  from  Sharon  the  two  Canfield  sisters,  about 
1814,  Julia,  whom  the  law  students  called  the  Lily  of  the  Valley, 
from  her  fair  skin  and  want  of  color,  and  Elizabeth  Hannah,  who 
was  called  the  Rose  of  Sharon,  from  her  beauty  and  her  birthplace 
She  married  Frederick  Augustus  Tallmadge,  the  son  of  Col.  Tall- 
madge.  He  became  one  of  the  foremost  citizens  of  New  York,  Presi- 
dent of  the  State  Senate,  member  of  Congress,  Recorder  of  the  City, 
and  first  Police  Commissioner  of  New  York. 

One  of  the  most  charming  of  the  students  must  have  been  Mary 
Peck,  who  for  a  time  was  instructor  ^n  the  school  and  later  married 
E.  D.  Mansfield.  She  took  a  foremosi;  part  in  the  life  of  the  school, 
in  the  plays  written  by  Miss  Pierce.  Unfortunately  no  diary  of 
hers  remains,  as  her  reputation  for  sprightly  fun  would  have  insured 
its  interest  to  us,  but  she  has  left  us  an  album  full  of  autographs 
of  the  prominent  Litchfield  people  of  1827.  We  must  not  forget 
the  daughters  of  Dr.  Sheldon,  Charlotte,  who  has  left  us  a  very 
delightful  diary,  especially  important  for  its  early  date,  1796,  and 
Lucy,  who  also  has  left  us  a  diary,  1801.      There  is  a  pleasant  touch 


in  one  of  the  latter's  letters  to  her  brother,  telling  of  a  trip  made 
to  Niagara,  with  her  father  and  Miss  Pierce,  which  will  be  cherished 
by  all  true  Litchfielders  who  feel  that  travel  can  show  no  fairer  and 
better  place  to  live  in :  "Though  we  have  passed  through  many  pleas- 
ant towns  and  villages  yet  as  we  entered  Litchfield  Miss  P.  and  I 
agreed  that  we  had  not  seen  one  that  would  compare  with  it — in 
neatness — and  none  pleasanter.  Father  jumped  out  of  the  stage 
and  said  'Home  is  home,  if  ever  so  homely!'"  (Vanderpoel,  p.  64). 
Lucy  Sheldon  married  Theron  Beach  of  Goshen.  She  lived  in 
her  father's  house  on  North  Street,  and  attained  the  great  age 
of  101  years,  having  been  born  June  27, 1788,  and  having  died  April  7, 
1889.  There  have  been  many  very  old  people  in  Litchfield,  but  the 
palm  is  carried  away  from  all  competitors  by  the  mother  of  Judge 
Andrew  Adams,  who,  as  Morris  tells  (p.  107) :  "was  born  in  Strat- 
ford, in  the  year  1698;  and  died  in  this  town  in  the  year  1803;  aged 
105.  She  lived  in  three  centuries;  and  was  of  a  pleasant  temper, 
amiable  manners,  temperate  habits,  and  regular  in  all  her  deport- 
ment". After  considering  such  cases,  one  can  see  that  the  opinion 
of  Seth  P.  Beers  was  well-grounded,  when  he  said,  that  the  critical 
period  in  the  liA^es  of  the  Litchfield  people  was  between  the  ages 
of  ninety  nine  and  one  hundred  years! 



"The  customs  and  manners  of  the  first  settlers  of  Litchfield 
were  plain  and  simple.  Their  clothing  was  of  their  own  domestic 
manufacture;  and  their  food  of  their  own  raising.  Foreign  luxu- 
ries were  scarcely  made  use  of  till  about  the  year  1750.  Their  amuse- 
ments Avere  of  the  athletic  kind-  When  young  people  of  both  sexes 
assembled  together  for  amusement,  they  employed  themselves  prin- 
cipally in  dancing,  Avhile  one  of  the  company  sung.  The  first  use 
of  the  A  iolin  in  this  town  for  a  dance  was  in  the  year  1748.  The 
whole  expense  of  the  amusement,  although  the  young  people  gener- 
ally assembled,  did  not  exceed  one  dollar;  out  of  which  the  fiddler 
was  paid.  When  this  instance  of  profusion  took  place,  parents  and 
old  people  exclaimed,  that  they  should  be  ruined  by  the  extravagance 
of  the  youth.  In  the  year  1798,  a  ball,  with  the  customary  enter- 
taimnent  and  variety  of  music,  cost  about  $160.,  and  nothing  was  said 
about  it.  Such  has  been  the  difference  in  the  manners  of  Litch- 
field, within  half  a  century.  It  is  not  inferred  from  this  differ- 
ence, that  our  youth  are  at  present  more  \'icious  than  formerly;  but 
it  serves  to  shoAv  a  material  difference  in  the  wealth  and  character 
of  the  people".     (Morris,  pp.  97-98). 

Naturally  the  LaAv  School  and  the  Female  Academy  were  prin- 
cipally responsible  for  the  great  increase  in  dancing,  which  carried 
all  Litchfield  Avith  it,  especially  around  holiday  times.  As  early 
as  1786,  six  years  before  Miss  Pierce's  School  Avas  opened,  Mariann 
Wolcott  Avrote  to  her  brother,  Frederick :  "Litchfield,  August  23.  ... 
I  have  been  dancing  all  the  forenoon,  and  my  hand  trembles  so,  I 
can  hardly  Avrite  intelligibly.  We  dance  again,  this  evening;  and 
Ave  all  Avish  for  your  company.  Mean  time,  you  are  poring  over 
some  antiquated  subject,  that  is  neither  instructive  nor  entertain- 
ing. You  cannot  say  so  of  our  dancing;  it  is  'an  amusement  that 
profits  tlie  mind"."  (Wolcott  Memoirs,  p.  324). 

After  Miss  Pierce's  School  Avas  in  full  swing,  many  so-called 
balls  Avere  given  in  the  schoolroom  under  her  patronage,  the  invita- 
tions to  attend  them  being  of  course  highly  prized  by  the  law 
students;  they  Avere  hoAvever  much  simpler  affairs  than  the  LaAV 
students  gave  in  return,  and  probably  it  was  a  Law  Student  dance 
which  cost  $100.,  in  1798.  The  Students  Balls,  as  they  Avere  usually 
styled  on  the  invitations,  Avere  given  in  Phelps'  Assembly  Eoom,  the 
third  story  of  Phelps'  Tavern,  Av^hich  was  modernized  by  Eufus  King 
in  the  OO's  and  denominated  the  Linited  States  Hotel,  biit  which  has 
noAv  happily  regained  its  old  name  of  Phelps'  Tavern,  under  the 


ownership  of  Eugene  L.  Phelps.  The  Assembly  Koora  was  very 
lofty,  the  arched  ceiling  running  up  under  the  mansard  roof.  There 
was  a  music  balcony  at  the  east  end,  and  around  the  Sides  of  the 
room  ran  a  broad  and  comfortable  divan,  with  red  moreen  cushions, 
the  seat  itself  lifting  on  hinges,  in  sections  of  about  four  feet,  the 
box  beneath  furnishing  a  neat  and  convenient  receptacle  for  head 
dress,  shawls  and  wraps,  the  latter  usually  a  cloak,  the  most  favored 
being  a  red  broadcloth.  In  this  manner,  the  modern  cloakroom  was 
dispensed  with. 

The  invitations  to  the  Students  Balls  were  printed  on  the  backs 
of  playing  cards,  as  can  be  seen  by  the  curious  collection  of  these 
which  is  preserved  in  the  rooms  of  our  Historical  Society.  The 
backs  of  cards  were  then  plain  white,  and  were  utilized  by  printers 
when  needing  blanks,for  lack  of  anything  better.  The  faces  of 
these  playing  cards  are  printed  from  the  coarsest  wood  engraving, 
roughly  colored. 

The  balls  were  given  nominally  to  commemorate  anniversaries, 
and  are  so  designated  on  the  invitations,  as  Litchfield  Ball,  New 
Year's  Ball,  Birthnight  Ball  (Feb.  22),  Exhibition  Ball  (in  May,  at 
the  closing  of  the  winter  term  of  Miss  Pierce's  school).  Independence 
Ball,  Thanksgiving's  Ball,  and  the  like.  They  were  in  charge  of 
Committees,  the  members  of  which  issued  the  tickets,  endorsing  their 
names  on  them,  to  make  themselves  responsible  for  the  bearers. 
The  hour  named  is  invariably  Six  O'clock,  alike  in  summer  and  in 
winter,  out  of  deference  doubtless  to  Miss  Pierce's  nine  o'clock  cur- 
few rule.  The  scholars  under  sixteen  from  the  Academy  could  not 
attend,  but  Miss  Pierce  compensated  for  this  by  furnishing  a  list 
of  'eligibles'  to  the  Students'  Committee  at  the  beginning  of  each 

In  addition  to  these  Balls,  there  were  frequent  Cotillion  parties 
given  in  private  houses.  (J.  Deming  Perkins,  in  Litchfield  Enquirer, 
April  21, 1904). 

No  theatricals  were  ever  held  in  Litchfield  till  after  the  Revolu- 
tion. Puritan  principles  would  have  been  set  too  strongly  against 
anything  of  the  kind,  even  if  the  experience  and  talent  necessary  to 
carry  them  out  had  existed.  The  only  thing  at  all  related  were  the 
occasional  Exhibitions  by  the  scholars  of  the  many  and  varied 
schools  which  have  had  their  brief  existences  in  the  town.  Thus, 
the  Monitor  for  March  30,  1791,  has  this  paragraph:  "Yesterday, 
Mr.  Hitchcock's  students  presented  themselves  before  a  public  audi- 
ence, at  the  meeting  house,  and  exhibited  various  specimens  of 
improvement  in  Reading,  "Writing,  and  Declamation,  to  general 
satisfaction.  The  lads  were  from  eight  to  twelve  years  of  age. 
Select  pieces  from  the  purest  authors  were  spoken  upon  the  stage, 
and  with  more  propriety  than  the  most  sanguine  could  have  expected". 

After  the  Revolution  and  the  founding  of  the  Law  School,  man- 
ners changed  so  much  and  the  infusion  of  a  new  spirit  was  so  strong, 
that  it  is  no  surprise  to  find  theatrical  performances  beginning 
almost  at  once. 

Dr.  Daniex  Sheldon 


The  first  we  read  of  were  in  May,  1785,  when  a  series  of  several 
performances  was  given,  "the  principal  characters  being  sustained 
by  students  of  Yale  College".  (Kilboume,  p.  163).  Of  these  the 
Monitor  wrote,  "Distinguished  Merit  and  literary  Ability  were  so 
evidently  conspicuous  and  amply  displayed  on  the  Occasion,  as 
would  have  done  Honor  to  a  British  Theatre". 

Miss  Pierce's  sympathies  extending  to  her  scholar's  play  as  well 
as  to  their  work,  she  wrote  for  them  not  only  Histories,  as  we  have 
already  seen,  but  several  plays  of  a  highly  religious  or  moral  char- 
acter. Miss  Edgeworth,  in  her  most  solemn  moments,  never  per- 
petrated anything  more  pointed  with  stimulating  morals.  To  us  it 
is  inconceivable  that  girls  of  sixteen  could  relish  depicting  the  plays 
of  "Ruth",  "The  Two  Cousins",  and  "Jephthah's  Daughter",  but  they 
were  great  events.  All  lessons  and  other  occupations  were  given 
up  during  the  period  of  preparation.  Catherine  E.  Beecher  says 
of  these  plays,  (Autobiography,  Vol.  I.,  pp.  227-229) :  "A  stage  was 
erected,  scenery  was  painted  and  hung  in  true  theatre  style,  while 
all  the  wardrobes  of  the  community  were  ransacked  for  stage 

"On  one  occasion  of  this  sort  father  came  in  late,  and  the  house 
being  packed,  he  was  admitted  by  the  stage  entrance.  Either  from 
fun  or  accident,  just  as  he  was  passing  over  the  stage,  the  curtain 
rose,  and  the  laAv  students  spied  him  and  commenced  clapping. 
Father  stopped,  bowed  low,  amid  renewed  clapping  and  laughter, 
and  then  passed  on  to  his  seat. 

"It  was  in  this  way  that  dramatic  writing  and  acting  became 
one  of  the  'nothings'  about  which  I  contrived  to  be  busy  and  keep 
others  so.  Various  little  dramas  were  concocted  and  acted  between 
the  school  sessions  in  wintry  weather.  And  after  a  while,  when 
nearly  grown  up,  we  got  up  in  the  family,  very  privately,  quite  an 
affair  of  this  kind.  I  turned  Miss  Edgeworth's  Unknown  Friend 
into  a  drama,  and  for  some  weeks  all  the  children  old  enough  to 
take  part,  and  several  school-girls  boarding  with  us,  were  busy  as 
bees  preparing  for  rehearsal.  It  was  kept  a  profound  secret  till 
the  appointed  evening,  when  father  and  mother  wondered  who  built 
a  fire  in  the  large  parlor,  and  then  still  more  how  it  happened  that 
so  many  neighbors  and  students  called  all  at  once.  Then  suddenly 
the  dining-room  door  was  opened,  and  all  invited  in,  while  a  mysteri- 
ous curtain  was  descried  at  the  farther  end.  The  curtain  rose, 
and  forthwith  the  actors  appeared,  and  completed  the  whole  enter- 
tainment amid  'thunders  of  applause*.  The  next  day,  however,  as 
we  expected,  we  were  told  that  it  was  very  well  done,  but  we  must 
not  do  so  any  more". 

The  only  professional  performance  that  we  hear  of,  was  one  of 
'Shakespeare's  Plays'  given  in  Mr.  Buel's  Ball  Room,  in  November, 
1789,  by  a  company  of  strolling  actors.       (Kilbourne,  p.  164). 

If  strolling  actors  were  a  rare  event,  it  is  surprising  how  many 
miscellaneous  entertainments,  or  exhibitions,  came  to  Litchfield  in 


these  days.  They  do  not  strictly  belong  in  a  History  of  the  town, 
but  they  give  so  curious  a  light  on  what  was  considered  amusement 
in  those  days,  and  some  of  them  sound  so  delightfully  absurd  in 
themselves,  that  a  few  extracts  may  be  quoted,  covering  the  forty 
years  from  1787  to  1827.  They  are  all  taken  from  advertisements, 
and  whether  they  all  materialized  or  how  they  were  received  is  now 
not  to  be  known. 

Monitor,  July  16,  1787:  "By  permission — Mr.  Pool,  The  first 
American  that  ever  exhibited  the  following  Equestrian  Feats  of 
Horsemanship  on  the  Continent,  Intends  performing  on  Wednesday 
next  in  Mr.  Buel's  orchard,  in  Litchfield.  The  performance  to  begin 
at  half  past  four  o'clock  in  the  afternoon,  if  the  weather  will  permit, 
if  not,  the  first  fair  day  after.  A  clown  will  entertain  the  Ladies 
and  Gentlemen  between  the  feats".  Seven  events  are  specified,  all 
growing  more  and  more  elaborate  and  wonderful,  "after  which  Mr. 
Pool  will  introduce  two  extraordinary  Horses,  who  at  the  word  of 
command,  will  lay  themselves  dowTi  and  groan,  apparently  through 
extreme  sickness  and  pain.  The  entertainment  will  conclude  with 
the  noted  droll  scene,  the  Taylor  riding  to  Brentford.  Tickets 
may  be  had  at  Mr.  Buel's  and  at  the  place  of  performance,  price 
ls.6d.  He  beseeches  the  Ladies  and  Gentlemen,  who  honor  him  with 
their  presence,  to  bring  no  dogs  to  the  place  of  performance". 

Monitor,  November  24, 1789 :  Advertisement  of  John  Brenon :  "In 
the  curious  and  ingenious  art  of  dancing  on  the  Slack- Wire.  Begins 
precisely  at  6  o'clock,tickets  at  ls.6d.  Children  9d.  First  he  bal- 
ances a  straw  or  a  single  tobacco  pipe  on  the  wire,  second  balances 
a  sword  on  the  edge  of  a  wine  glass,  third  goes  through  a  hoop  on 
ditto,  fourth  beats  a  drum  on  ditto;  the  whole  of  his  performance 
being  collected  from  different  parts  of  the  globe  where  such  amuse- 
ments are  in  repute  would  be  too  long  for  this  advertisement,  his 
ground  balancing  being  past  description.  Mrs.  Brenon  walks  the 
Slack- Wire  and  performs  many  other  feats  never  before  attempted 
by  an  American  Lady". 

Monitor,  F^ebruary  16,  1791:  "To  the  Curious.  To  be  seen 
at  Charles  Marsh's  stable,  a  few  rods  south  of  the  Court -House,  till 
Thursday  evening,  Two  Camels,  Male  and  Female,  from  Arabia. 
These  stupendous  animals  are  most  deserving  the  attention  of  the 
curious,  being  the  greatest  natural  curiosities  ever  exhibited  to  the 
public  on  this  continent.  They  are  twenty  hands  high,  have  necks 
four  feet  long.  ...  a  large  high  bunch  on  their  backs,  and  another 
under  their  breasts,  in  the  form  of  a  pedestal,  on  which  they  support 
themselves  when  lying  down,  they  have  four  joints  in  their  hind 
legs,  . . .  will  travel  12  or  14  days  without  drink,  and  carry  15 
hundred  weight.  . . .  are  remarkably  harmless  and  docile,  and  will 
lie  down  and  rise  at  command". 

Witness,  February  19,  1806:  Xew  Museum  of  Wax  Work. 
"Street  respectfully  acquaints  the  ladies  and  gentlemen  of  Litchfield 
and  vicinity,  that  he  has  opened,  at  the  house  of  Mr.  Charles  But- 



ler,  a  large  and  elegant  collection  of  wax  figures,  as  large  as  life". 
Among  the  various  characters  advertised  are,  "an  elegant  figure  of 
the  grand  Bashaw  of  Tripoli",  and  a  "Likeness  of  Mr.  Ephraiui 
Pratt,  aged  120  years.  This  singular  man  is  represented  as  giving 
his  property  to  a  stranger  in  preference  to  his  own  family". 

The  same  year,  in  connection  with  the  Litchfield  Festival  of  the 
Democrats,  there  was  advertised  in  the  Witness,  July  30,  1806:  In 
connection  with  the  Kepublican  Celebration  of  the  6th  of  August,  a 
live  elephant  will  be  exhibited  at  the  house  of  Grove  Catlin  from 
7  A.  M.  till  sunset.  Among  other  tricks  announced,  this  animal 
was  trained  to  draw  corks,  to  the  astonishment  of  the  Spectators- 
Was  this  the  original  elephant  of  the  G.  O.  P.? 

Poster  in  the  collection  of  the  Litchfield  Historical  Society, 
August  17,  1827:  "The  Aerial  Phaeton.  The  subscriber  intends 
erecting  on  Litchfield  Hill  by  the  first  day  of  September  next  an 
Aerial  Phaeton.  The  design  of  the  machine  is  to  afford  an  agree- 
able pastime  to  ladies  and  gentlemen.  It  consists  of  Four  Car- 
riages each  supported  by  Two  Arms,  which  are  attached  to  an  Axle- 
tree  in  the  centre.  They  are  turned  by  a  Propelling  Machine,  and 
will  carry  eight  persons  at  once,  two  in  each  carriage,  who  will  in 
regular  succession  be  raised  to  the  distance  of  Fifty  Feet  in  the 
air,  at  a  rate  of  velocity  equal  to  ten  miles  a  minute,  or  slower,  as 
suits  the  wishes  of  those  occupying  the  carriages,  and  all  with  per- 
fect ease  and  safety.  This  method  of  recreation  and  amusement  has 
been  highly  recommended  by  the  most  eminent  Physicians  in  the 
United  States,  and  will  be  found  the  best  mode  for  taking  an  airing, 
by  those  whose  lives  are  sedentary,  that  can  be  practised.  The 
place  where  it  is  to  be  erected,  is  airy,  the  prospect  extending  wide, 
and  being  relieved  by  all  the  variety  of  hill  and  dale.  Every  atten- 
tion w^ill  be  paid  to  company,  and  all  things  done  'decently  and  in 
order'.  John  H.  Montgomery,  Inventor  and  maker  of  the  Aerial 
Phaeton.      Price  121/2  per  mile — children,  half  price". 

There  were  many  outdoor  amusements.  One  of  the  great  events 
of  the  year  was  training  day,  when  the  local  militia  had  their  chief 
displa^y.  Here  is  an  account  from  the  Monitor,  October  3,  1792: 
"Yesterday,  the  company  of  Cavalry,  commanded  by  Capt.  Elihu 
Lewis,  well  mounted  and  equipt,  and  two  foot  companies,  under 
Capts.  Stone  and  Seymour,  principally  in  uniform,  mustered  on  the 
parade  of  this  town,  and  diverted  several  hundred  spectators  by  a 
variety  of  evolutions  and  firings,  much  to  the  honor  of  their  respec- 
tive corps.  Harmony  and  good  conduct  pervaded  the  whole,  and 
no  accidents  occurred.  Tho'  a  day  of  apparent  glee,  yet  few,  if  any, 
were  the  disciples  of  Sir  Kichard — the  head  and  legs  of  most  were 
capable  of  performing  their  accustomed  duties". 

We  are  fortunate  in  having  two  glimpses  of  Training  Day,  from 
the  diaries  respectively  of  one  of  the  girls  and  one  of  the  law  Stu- 
dents. Eliza  A.  Ogden  writes  on  September  24,  1816:  "Friday  it  was 
general  training  and  there  was  no  school  in  the  morning.   I  went  down 


to  the  school  house  and  saw  them  on  the  parade.  In  the  afternoon  I 
went  down  to  Miss  Jones,  to  see  the  sham  fight.  I  liked  it  very  well". 
Younglove  Cutler,  September  21,  1820,  tells  the  story  with  his  usual 
more  considerable  snap:  "To  begin  this  great  day  was  powdered. 
Huzza!  here  we  go,  the  defenders  of  our  country — but  lo  my  horse 
has  fallen  under  me  &  I  am  with  my  sword  in  the  dirt  &  he  (care- 
ful creature)  is  bounding  in  his  turn  over  me  without  harming  a 
hair  of  my  head — now  I  am  appearing  to  great  advantage — now  the 
girls  are  falling  in  love  with  me — now  at  dinner.  Mr.  Such  a 
thing  whom  Lyman  &  myself  saw  at  the  ball  &  Mr.  Law — both 
from  Georgia  there — now  it  is  afternoon  &  and  I  am  bounding  about 
^now  running  our  people — now  my  horse  is  fatigued — now  it  is 
night — ^now  I  am  dancing  at  the  ball. . ."    (Vanderpoel,  pp.  165;  200) . 

But  there  could  not  be  balls  and  trainings  every  day.  In 
winter  we  have  already  read  of  the  sleigh  rides.  There  was  the 
skating  also,  though  nothing  is  said  of  the  school-girls  going  on  the 
ice,  perhaps  because  of  the  reputed  danger.  Our  lakes  and  the 
river  have  claimed  their  victims  indeed  at  all  periods,  four  drown- 
ings having  occurred  prior  to  1814,  and  a  relatively  large  number 
since.  Morris  gives  an  account  of  these  early  accidents,  pp.  99-100: 
"The  first  was  John  Kilby,  a  foreigner,  who  fell  out  of  a  small  canoe, 
while  crossing  the  Great  Pond  alone,  on  the  10th  of  September,  1787. 
The  second  was  a  son  of  James  Wickwire,  who,  on  the  11th  day  of 
December,  1793,  fell  through  the  ice,  while  playing  on  the  Great 
Pond  with  his  school-mates.  On  the  evening  of  the  16th  day  of 
December,  1812,  William  H.  Bennett,  of  South  Carolina,  aged  16 
years,  and  William  Ensign,  aged  14,  school-mates,  then  members  of 
Morris  Academy,  were  drowned  in  the  Great  Pond.  The  moon 
shone  brightly.  As  others  were  skating,  they  ran  into  a  glade. 
An  alarm  was  immediately  given,  and  every  exertion  made  to  find 
their  bodies,  but  they  could  not  be  found  till  they  had  been  under 
water  about  one  hour.  Attempts  were  then  made  to  resuscitate  them, 
but  in  vain.  They  were  amiable  youths,  fond  of  each  other,  and 
in  a  very  melancholy  manner  united  in  death". 

In  summer,  there  were  walks,  occasional  driving  excursions, 
trips  on  Bantam  Lake,  not  to  speak  of  the  earlier  and  more  rural 
Husking  parties,  Apple-bees,  Kaisings,  Quiltings,  Spinning  parties, 
and  of  course  the  Weddings. 

In  the  days  of  the  Academy,  the  walks  were  principally  to  Pros- 
pect Hill,  where  there  was  then,  as  later,  an  Echo  Rock,  and  to 
Love's  Altar,  a  shady  nook  by  the  stream  below  the  hill  back  of 
the  Frederick  Wolcott  house.  Mary  Peck,  of  the  Pierce  School,  has 
left  us  delightful  colored  sketches  of  these  in  her  album,  preserved 
in  our  Historical  Society.  They  are  well  worth  looking  up  in  the 
reproductions  given  in  Mrs.  E,  N.  Vanderpoel's  Chronicles,  pp.  246 
and  248. 

"Mr.  Lord  had  built  a  bowling  alley  on  the  west  side  of  the 
Prospect  Hill  road  for  the  benefit  of  the  pupils  of  both  schools,  so 
we  can  picture  these  walks  combined  with  lively  bowling  matches, 


much  like  those  of  later  days  that  were  held  in  the  old  bowling  alley, 
back  of  the  United  States  Hotel".       (Vanderpoel,  p.  32). 

Finally  Bantam  Lake  offered  its  attractions,  made  available  by 
a  few  boats  to  be  rented  for  fishing,  and  occasionally  by  more  pre- 
tentious craft  for  excursions.  The  following  advertisements  are 
reprinted  from  Vanderpoel's  Chronicles,  p.  33: 

Monitor,  August  24,  1795:  "This  subscriber  informs  the  public, 
and  particularly  those  who  either  for  health  or  pleasure  are  dis- 
posed to  enjoy  the  water,  that  he  has  thoroughly  repaired  that  com- 
modious, prime  sailing  Pleasure  Boat,  the  Pond  Lily;  and  that  she 
will  ply  from  the  northern  to  the  southern  shore  every  day  in  the 
week,  (wind  and  weather  permitting).  She  has  good  accommoda- 
tions for  Passengers;  and  Ladies  and  Gentlemen,  wishing  to  indulge 
in  a  few  hours  of  healthy  and  agreeable  pastime,  will  be  cheerfully 
waited  upon.  Select  companis  from  the  town  and  country,  are 
solicited  to  afford  themselves  this  pleasant  relaxation  from  business ; 
and  on  seasonable  notice  to  the  Skipper  of  the  Boat,  every  required 
attention  is  promised  them,  by  their  devoted,  humble  servant.  James 

"The  new  and  elegant  Horse  boat,  Bantam,  having  been  recently 
built  for  the  express  purpose  of  accommodating  pleasure  parties 
on  the  Bantam  Lake  is  now  completely  prepared  to  accommodate 
ladies  and  gentlemen  who  may  wish  to  take  advantage  of  this  safe 
and  neat  mode  of  taking  a  trip  upon  our  pleasant  waters.  Parties 
wishing  to  engage  the  boat  for  a  trip,  must  give  two  days  notice  to 
the  subscriber  residing  at  the  north  end  of  the  Lake.  Harmon 
Stone,  Litchfield,  June  27,  1826". 

"Bantam  Lake,  (Great  Pond,  so-called),  being  a  place  of  much 
resort,  the  subscriber  has  fitted  up  a  small  establishment,  located 
on  the  shore  of  the  northeast  extreme  of  said  Lake,  in  neat  order, 
for  the  accommodation  of  those  gentlemen  and  ladies  who  may  wish 
to  spend  a  few  hours  on  and  about  this  beautiful  sheet  of  water. 
Frederick  A.  Marsh,  May  28,  1829". 



It  was  not  till  the  clos*?  of  Litchfield's  Golden  Age  that  the  cen- 
tralizing tendency  of  Connecticut  industries  became  marked.  Prior 
to  1840,  all  the  hill  towns  of  the  State  had  a  number  and  variety 
of  local  industries  far  in  excess  of  what  they  ever  had  after  that 
date.  In  Litchfield  this  was  peculiarly  the  case,  because  of  the 
important  position  occupied  by  the  town  at  the  intersection  of 
several  main  lines  of  travel,  Elizabeth  C.  Barney  Buel  read  a 
most  comprehensive  paper  on  the  Industries  of  Litchfield  County 
before  the  Scientific  Association  in  October  1904,  from  which  th(? 
following  outlines  of  some  of  the  more  important  and  interesting 
activities  have  been  taken. 

A  general  view  of  local  industries  is  given  in  the  (iazetteer  of 
the  States  of  Connecticut  and  Rhode  Island,  1810.  "The  most 
impoi'tant  manufacture  in  the  town  is  that  of  iron,  of  which  there 
are  4  forges,  1  slitting  mill  and  1  nail  factory.  There  are  1  cotton 
mill,  1  oil  mill,  1  paper  mill,  2  cording  (carding?)  machines,  6  full- 
ing mills,  5  grain  mills,  18  saw  mills,  5  large  tanneries,  besides  sev- 
eral on  a  small  scale;  2  comb  factories,  2  hatter's  shops,  2  carriage 
makers,  1  cabinet  furniture  maker,  3  saddlers,  and  a  number  of 
house  carpenters,  joiners,  smiths  and  other  mechanics".  Morris, 
p.  89,  repeats  this  list,  adding  "1  machine  for  making  Avooden  clocks 
and  1  cotton  manufactory". 

This  list,  however,  by  no  means  exhausts  the  catalog  of  Litch- 
field's industries,  even  at  that  early  date.  The  advertisements  in 
the  early  Monitors  and  in  the  other  newspapers  reflect  an  active 
commercial  life  beginning  at  once  after  the  close  of  the  EcAolution. 
Certainly  the  army  stores  gathered  in  Litchfield  during  the  War 
involved  the  presence  here  of  many  merchants  and  emphasized  the 
important  geographical  position  of  the  town,  as  it  then  was.  Situ- 
ated at  the  intersection  of  the  road  from  Boston  and  Hartford  to 
New  York  with  that  from  Ncav  Haven  to  Albany,  the  market,  at 
least  for  certain  commodities,  Avas  much  more  than  a  local  one. 
In  the  first  issue  of  the  Monitor,  December  21,  1784,  there  are  only 
three  Litchfield  advertisements:  that  of  William  Russell,  stocking 
Aveaver,  from  NorMdch,  England,  AA^ho  announced  that  he  Avas  ready 
to  make  "worsted,  cotton  and  linen  Jacket  and  Breeches  Patterns, 
men's  and  Avomen's  Stockings,  Gloves  and  Mitts";  that  of  Zalmon 
Bedient,  barber,  who  offered  cash  for  human  hair,  at  his  shop  a 
fcAv  rods  north  of  the  court-house;  and  that  of  Cornelius  Thayer, 
Avho  carried  on  the  business  of  brazier  at  the  shop  of  Col.  Miles 


Beach  in  North  Street,  at  which  shop  the  jeweler's  and  silversmith's 
business  "is  carried  on  as  usual  by  said  Beach".  Ten  or  fifteen 
jears  later  these  three  pioneer  advertisements  had  increased  in 
number  to  fill  three  columns  or  more,  setting  forth  enterprises  of 
every  variety. 

The  iron  industry  is  mentioned  by  the  Gazetteer  as  of  the  chief 
importance.  One  foundry  stood  near  the  site  of  Miss  Van  Winkle's 
house  on  North  Street,  owned  by  Kussell  Hunt  and  Brothers.  The 
ore  was  brought  from  Kent  and  Salisbury,  in  winter  on  sleds  and 
in  summer  on  pack  horses  in  leather  bags. 

There  was  a  slitting  mill  in  Bantam,  where  the  first  rolling 
and  slitting  for  nails  was  done  by  machinery  by  a  secret  process. 
Bantam  can  also  boast  the  first  machine-made  harness  buckles. 

In  Milton  there  was  a  puddling  furnace  owned  by  Hugh  Welch. 
In  1860  this  was  bought  by  one  HinchcliflF,  and  converted  into  the 
shears  shop. 

A  forge  was  located  in  Bantam  near  the  site  of  the  factory  of 
Plynn  and  Doyle. 

In  the  Monitor,  February  15,  1797,  is  told  the  first  industrial 
disaster  of  the  town.  "On  Monday  the  pressure  of  water  and  ice, 
on  the  stream  leading  out  of  the  Great  Pond,  was  so  great  that  it 
swept  off  the  dam,  bridge  and  iron-house  belonging  to  Mssrs.  Wads- 
worth  and  Kirby,  at  their  slitting  and  rolling  mill.  Their  loss  is 
estimated  at  $2,500,  including  the  suspension  of  their  business  the 
present  season.  The  damage  to  the  public  at  large  will  be  much 
greater  than  the  individual  loss.  The  great  quantity  of  Cash 
put  in  motion  by  this  factory  has  a  sensible  effect  on  the  circulating 
medium  of  this  and  the  neighboring  towns.  All  persons  concerned 
in  the  manufacture  of  Iron  have  strong  reasons  to  lament  this  mis- 
fortune". Fortunately,  a  notice  in  the  issue  of  February  27 
announces  that  by  the  great  exertions  of  the  firm  and  "the  generous 
assistance  of  their  friends"  they  "have  nearly  repaired  the  damage 
and  that  on  Thursday  of  the  present  week  they  will  be  again  in 

In  Bantam  lived  a  certain  Phineas  Smith,  nailor,  who  advertised 
in  the  Monitor  for  "one  or  two  faithful  Workmen  at  hammer'd 
Nails".  These  hammered  nails  were  possibly  the  hand-made  nails 
that  are  pulled  with  such  difficulty  out  of  the  oaken  beams  of  our 
oldest  houses.  They  were  of  such  value  that  carpenters  .of  old  never 
threw  them  away,  but  carefully  straightened  out  the  used  ones  and 
preserved  them  for  future  use. 

The  building  industry  had  a  famous  representative  in  Giles  Kil- 
bourn,  who  built  the  church  erected  in  1796  on  the  hill  opposite 
the  Burying  Ground  at  Bantam  by  the  seceding  Episcopalians  of 
the  western  part  of  the  town,  who,  during  the  ministry  of  Kev. 
David  Butler,  organized  the  Second  Episcopal  Society  of  Litchfield. 
Giles  Kilbourn  died  September  13, 1797,  and  his  funeral  was  the  first 


in  the  new  church.       He  built  the  houses  now  occupied  by  Mrs. 
Vanderpoel,  Mrs.  Harrison  Sanford  and  Charles  H.  Coit. 

Joiners  were  frequently  advertised  for  by  our  old  cabinet 
makers,  many  of  whom  signed  their  names  to  their  work,  like  artists 
or  silver-smiths.  They  had  a  right  to  do  so,  for  their  work  was 
hand-wrought  and  artistic.  One  of  the  most  noted  of  these  men 
was  Silas  E.  Cheney,  who  died  in  1820.  David  Bulkley  and  George 
Dewey  were  partners,  two  doors  west  of  the  County  House,  and  their 
carving  became  famous  far  beyond  the  limits  of  the  township. 
They  were  succeeded  about  1839  by  Bulkley  and  Cooke. 

John  Mattocks,  a  Windsor  chair  maker,  half  a  mile  west  of  the 
center,  advertised  in  1797,  taking  in  exchange  for  his  work  "Bass 
wood  Plank  proper  for  chair  seats".  Near  him  and  at  the  same 
period,  Nathaniel  Brown,  house  joiner,  made  "Windsor,  flddle-back, 
dining-room,  parlor,  kitchen  and  children's  chairs". 

Also  in  1797  appears  the  advertisement  of  Oliver  Clark  and 
Ebenezer  Plumb  Jr.,  who  "Have  taken  the  shop  lately  occupied  by 
Mr.  Ozias  Lewis,  in  the  main  South  Street,  a  few  rods  below  Mr. 
Kirby's, — where  they  intend  (if  properly  encouraged)  to  furnish 
every  description  of  Cabinet  Work,  elegant  and  common  to  fancy 
on  agreeable  terms.  They  make  Heart-back  Cherry  Chairs  from 
7  to  9  dollars  each;  Windsor  ditto  from  8s.  to  15s.  each.  Pungs 
and  Sleighs,  of  any  model,  on  short  notice.  All  kind  of  Stuff  fit 
for  Cabinet  or  Shop  work,  received  in  payment".  The  taking  of 
produce  or  raw  material  in  payment  for  manufactured  articles  is  a 
frequent  feature  of  the  old  advertisements,  due  to  the  scarcity  of 
circulating  coin  in  the  years  following  the  Eevolution.  In  1799, 
Oliver  Clark  was  at  work  alone  at  the  same  shop,  advertising 
"swell'd  and  straight  sideboards,  bureaus,  chairs,  etc.,  of  mahogany, 
cherry  and  other  stuff  highly  finished ;  and  finishing  buildings  in  the 
most  approved  style  of  architecture". 

The  trade  of  carriage  making  was  a  prominent  one.  There  was 
a  carriage  factory  at  Milton  owned  by  Kalph  P.  Smith's  father  and 
uncle,  located  below  the  Blake  Grist-mill.  At  a  very  much  earlier 
period  coaches  were  made  at  a  factory  on  Chestnut  Hill,  every  part 
of  the  carriage  being  manufactured  on  the  spot.  In  1839,  William 
Clark  manufactured  "Carriages,  Pedlar  and  Pleasure  Wagons  of 
all  kinds"  to  order  "one  door  north  of  the  Congregational  Church", 
and  in  the  same  year  Ambrose  Norton  had  a  carriage  shop  further 
up  North  Street  on  the  west  sida  North  Street  was  essentially 
the  business  street  in  those  days,  and  the  street  also  on  which  the 
jrreatest  merchants  lived,  especially  Benjamin  Tallmadge  and  Julius 
Deming,  each  of  whom  had  his  store  immediately  south  of  his  house. 
In  his  Statistical  Account,  Morris  enumerates  the  carriages  in  use, 
presumably  in  the  spring  of  1812  as  "1  phaeton,  1  coachee  and  46 
two- wheel  pleasure  carriages!"  and  adds,  p.  92,  "Waggons,  drawn 
either  by  one  or  two  horses,  are  much  used  by  the  inhabitants.  The 
first  pleasure  carriage,  a  chair,  was  brought  into  this   town  by 


Mr.  Matthews,  mayor  of  New  York,  in  the  year  1776,  and  is  still 
in. use  here:  the  first  umbrella  in  the  year  1772". 

Still  another  carriage  factory  was  located  at  the  foot  of  West 
Hill,  before  the  tan-yard  which  was  there  for  so  many  years. 

Tanning  was  an  extensive  industry,  together  with  other  manu- 
factures involving  the  use  of  skins  and  leather.  Caleb  Bacon  adver- 
tised, Monitor,  May  29,  1799,  for  a  boy  "14  or  15  years  old  as  an 
Apprentice  to  the  Shoemaking  and  Tanning  Business".  Morocco 
leather  was  produced  here  in  those  energetic  days,  and  used  for 
hats,  witness  another  Ad.  of  the  same  Caleb  Bacon,  in  the  Witness, 
July  1,  1806:  "The  subscriber  takes  this  method  to  inform  his 
customers  and  the  public  that  he  is  now  carrying  on  the  morocco 
manufactory  in  Litchfield  half-a-mile  north  of  the  Court  House 
on  the  great  road  leading  from  New  Haven  to  Albany,  where  he 
offers  for  sale  in  large  or  small  quantities  Kowan  Morocco  suit- 
able for  Shoes  or  Hats,  finished  in  the  neatest  manner  by  some  of 
the  best  workmen  on  the  continent.  Also  a  few  real  Goat  Skins, 
Kid  Bindery,  etc.,  Cheap  for  cash  or  raw  materials,  such  as  Oak 
and  Hemlock  bark,  Hides,  calf  and  sheep  skins,  sumac  of  this  year's 
growth  (the  time  to  crop  which  is  July  and  August)  and  must  be 
dried  like  hay  free  from  rain  or  any  wet.  Hatters  and  shoemakers 
will  do  well  to  call  and  see  for  themselves". 

There  were  saddlers  and  harness  makers  in  large  numbers. 
But  leather  was  used  for  many  other  purposes  less  to  be  expected. 
Erastus  Lord  made  the  first  leather  pocket-books  in  this  country. 
"He  moved  to  Litchfield",  Vanderpoel,  p.  24,  "and  continued  to  make 
them  at  his  house  on  the  south  side  of  Prospect  Street,  where  Mr. 
MacMartin  now  lives".  His  son,  Augustus  A-  Lord  worked  with 
him  and  later  by  himself,  and  finally  moved  to  the  center  and  con- 
fined himself  to  book-binding.  For  a  time  his  business  was  very 
varied,  as  shown  by  an  advertisement  in  the  Enquirer,  May  6,  1844: 
"Blank  Book  Manufactory.  A.  A.  Lord  manufactures  to  order, 
Becords,  Ledgers,  Journals,  Day  Books,  Waste  Books,  Grand  List 
Books,  Writing  Books,  Memorandums,  etc.  etc.  at  his  manufactory 
in  Prospect  St.  He  also  manufactures  Pocket  Books  of  every 
description,  Among  which  are  Pocket  Books,  Portfolios,  Bill  Books, 
Memorandum  and  Merchants'  Pocket  Books,  Gents'  and  Ladies' 
Dressing  Cases,  etc.  Book  Binding  in  all  its  variety  executed  in  the 
most  thorough  manner.  All  of  the  above  articles  made  of  the  best 
of  stock,  and  the  workmanship  equal  to  any  in  the  country". 

In  the  Monitor,  November  3, 1795,  Thomas  Trowbridge  advertised 
for  "two  or  three  journeymen  Shoemakers  who  if  steady  and- faith- 
ful will  find  immediate  employ  and  sufficient  wages".  His  business 
was  extensive,  as  is  evidenced  by  an  anecdote  told  of  Col.  Tall- 
madge.  The  latter  was  most  particular  as  to  his  dress,  and  con- 
tinued to  wear  the  small  clothes  and  long  stockings  of  the  Revolu- 
tionary period  long  after  other  men  had  donned  trousers.  A  neces- 
sary accompaniment  of  this  costume  was  a  pair  of  elegant  high 


top  boots.  He  once  took  such  a  pair  to  Trowbridge's  shop  and  asked 
him  if  he  could  repair  them.  Mr.  Trowbridge  assured  him  that 
he  could,  but  the  C5olonel  was  still  doubtful  as  to  his  ability:  "I 
bought  those  boots  in  New  York",  he  said,  "and  they  are  exceedingly 
choice".  "And  I  made  those  boots  in  Litchfield",  was  Trowbridge's 
answer,  "and  sold  them  to  the  New  York  trade.  I  guess  I  can 
mend  them!"      And  the  Colonel  was  satisfied  that  he  could. 

Hats  were  made  not  only  out  of  Morocco,  but  from  beaver  and 
lamb's  wool.  Turning  again  to  the  Monitor,  August  15,  1798; 
"Shear'd  Lamb's  Wool,  Proper  for  Hatter's  use,  paid  for  in  cash  at 
the  store  of  Timothy  and  Virgil  Peck; — who  manufacture  and  have 
for  sale  Hats  of  prime  and  inferior  quality".  And  just  below 
this:  "Sam.  Seymour  and  Ozi^s  Seymour"  also  announce  that  they 
have  beaver  hats  for  sale  and  pay  cash  for  lamb's  wool  and  for 
"Lambskins  with  the  wool  on".  There  were  fulling  mills  beyond 
the  North  Street  iron  foundry,  where  wool  was  fulled  "for  hats  made 
and  sold  on  South  Street  by  Ozias  and  Moses  Seymour.  This  hat 
factory  was  afterwards  moved  to  the  west  of  the  town  and  owned 
by  Braman  and  Kilbourne".       (Vanderpoel,  p.  24). 

Wool  was  a  very  important  commodity;  and  wool  carding  had 
to  be  carefully  supervised.  In  the  Witness,  June  10,  1806,  we  find 
S.  Strong  &  Co.,  announcing  that  they  had  "again  employed  Jerry 
Kadcliffe  to  superintend  their  carding  machine,  half  a  mile  south 
of  Capt.  Bradley's  Tavern.  As  Mr.  Eadcliffe's  skill  in  the  business 
of  carding  is  well  known  in  this  neighborhood  nothing  need  be 
said  on  that  point.  Our  customers  are  informed  that  their  work 
will  be  warranted  well  done,  conditioned  that  those  who  have  cause 
of  complaint  inform  us  previous  to  spinning  the  wool — otherwise  no 
allowance  will  be  made.  Wool  for  carding  may  be  left  at  Moses 
Seymour  Jr's  store  or  at  the  Machine".  In  1805,  Jerry  Radcliffe 
had  been  "carrying  on  the  business  of  cloth  dressing  at  Marsh's 
Mills,  half  a  mile  east  of  the  Court  House". 

"Wool  spinning",  continues  Mrs.  Buel,  whose  notes  we  are 
closely  following,  "was  still  done  at  home,  although  these  other 
steps  in  the  process  of  cloth-making,  such  as  the  preparation  of  the 
wool  for  the  wheel,  the  dyeing  of  the  yarn  and  the  weaving  of  the 
fabric  had  already  begun  to  pass  into  the  factory  or  the  hands  of 
specialists".  Wool  wheels  are  advertised:  "Notice  to  Farmers. 
Cradle  and  Wheel  Manufactory.  The  subscriber  has  located  him- 
self one  mile  and  a  half  west  of  the  Court  House  on  Harris'  Plain, 
so-called,  where  he  has  on  hand  Grain  Cradles  with  Scythes  or  with- 
out. Also,  Wool  Wheels  and  Reels.  On  hand,  a  few  dozen  Patent 
Wheel  Heads,  with  Cast  Steel  Spindles.  . . .  Elias  Bissell". 

There  are  many  advertisements  of  the  dyeing  business.  At  the 
clothier's  works  of  Sam.  Nevins  about  a  mile  north  of  the  Meeting 
House,  cotton  and  linen  yarn  were  dyed  blue.  In  1806  (Witness) 
"Ruth  Cooper  having  obtained  a  complete  skill  in  blue  dyeing  from 



Lonis  Perkins,  proposes  to  carry  on  the  Business  in  the  East  part 
of  this  town". 

Marsh's  Mills,  at  the  foot  of  East  Hill,  were  dWned  hf  Ebenezer 
Marsh  and  later  by  Thomas  Addis,  Clothier,  who,  according  to  his 
advertisements,  "executes  all  branches  of  the  trade  including  weav- 

In  the  last  years  of  the  eighteenth  century  we  get  an  interesting 
announcement  in  the  Monitor,  December  2,  1798,  showing  not  only 
the  low  ebb  of  the  clothiers'  business,  but  an  early  attempt  at  a 
commercial  pooling  of  prices:  "Notices  to  Clothiers.  The  Clothiers 
of  the  County  of  Litchfield  are  requested  to  meet  at  Mr.  David 
Buel's,  in  Litchfield,  on  the  third  Monday  of  December  instant  at 
1  o'clock,  P.  M.  The  suffering  interest  of  the  trade,  in  common  with 
other  artizans,  by  means  of  their  labour  bearing  an  inadequate  pro- 
portion to  the  rate  of  Produce,  etc.,  requires  immediate  remedy;  and 
the  object  of  the  meeting  being  principally  to  establish  uniformity  in 
prices,  it  is  hoped  every  person  interested  will  punctually  and  point- 
edly attend". 

David  Buel,  here  mentioned,  was  a  man  of  many  enterprises.  He 
was  for  a  time  joint  publisher  with  Thomas  Collier  of  the  Monitor; 
dealt  in  ladies'  Stuff  Shoes;  exchanged  sole  leather  for  cash  or 
flax;  and  was  the  Litchfield  Agent  for  one  of  the  State  lotteries,  for 
raising  money  for  public  works,  as  was  then  the  unquestioned  cus- 
tom in  pious  Connecticut. 

Flax  was  still  abundantly  raised.  Ephraim  Kirby  and  Benja- 
min Doolittle  owned  an  oil-mill  where  they  "exchange  the  best  Lin- 
seed Oil  for  Flax  Seed".  (Monitor,  January,  1798).  In  1805  Moses 
Seymour  Jr.,  also  ran  an  Oil  Mill. 

There  was  a  cotton  mill  near  the  foot  of  South  Hill,  owned  by 
Samuel  Sheldon,  a  brother  of  Colonel  Elisha  Sheldon,  and  near  it 
was  a  papier  mache  factory.  Julius  Deming  started  a  paper  mill 
in  Bantam,  in  which  Elisha  Horton,  who  took  part  in  the  Boston 
Tea  Party,  was  the  foreman.  Samples  of  the  paper  made  by  him 
are  in  the  collections  of  the  Litchfield  Historical  Society. 

In  Milton  there  was  a  button  mill  opposite  the  grist  mill,  while 
grist  mills  were  dotted  throughout  the  country.  "Anti-Come-Off 
Coat  and  Pantaloons  Buttons,  a  new  article",  were  advertised  at 
A.  P.  P.  Camp's,  in  the  Enquirer,  June  3,  1841,  but  history  is  silent 
as  to  whether  they  were  locally  made. 

About  1842  Simeon  S.  Batterson  came  to  Litchfield  with  his 
family  from  New  Preston  and,  with  his  eldest  son  James  Gr.  Batter- 
son,  established  and  for  some  years  maintained  a  marble  yard  on 
the  East  side  of  Meadow  Street.  Specimens  of  their  work  can  still 
be  seen  in  some  of  the  Litchfield  houses.  From  Litchfield  they 
removed  to  Hartford,  where  James  G.  Batterson  became  one  of  the 
leading  business  men.  He  organized,  and  for  many  years  was 
President  of,  the  Traveler's  Insurance  Company,  He  was  the 
builder  of  our  present  State  Capitol,  and  of  many  other  public  build- 
ings in  Hartford  and  elsewhere. 


Becord  also  survives  of  a  brick-yard  half-a-mile  west  of  the 
Court  House,  where  in  1798  John  Russell  offered  bricks  in  lots  of 
from  15,000  to  50,000.  There  was  also  a  piano  factory  about  a 
mile  west  of  town;  at  least  a  depression  in  the  ground  is  shown 
where  such  a  factory  is  reputed  to  have  stood. 

It  is  a  pity  that  the  memory  of  many  such  curious  old  enter- 
prises is  quite  lost.  One  would  also  like  to  know  what  became  of 
the  silk  worms  which  Jedediah  Strong  advocated  in  prose  and 
verse,  some  of  which  he  claimed  to  be  raising  at  his  Elm  Ridge 

A  highly  successful  business  at  one  time  was  that  of  the  gold 
and  silversmiths.  Samuel  Shethar,  Isaac  Thompson,  Reuben  Mer 
riman,  Timothy  Peck,  William  Ward  and  Benjamin  Hanks  were  the 
best  known  of  these  workers  in  gold,  silver  and  brass.  Some  of 
their  silver  spoons  are  still  in  use.  In  1903,  the  Mary  Floyd  Tall- 
madge  Chapter,  D.  A.  R.,  held  a  large  and  interesting  exhibit  of 
locally  owned  silver,  including  specimens  by  several  of  these  men. 
They  were  nearly  all  active  somewhere  between  1795  and  1805. 
Among  many  other  things,  Shethar  manufactured  those  silver 
Eagles,  the  nation's  arms,  which  were  the  emblem  of  the  Federalists 
and  were  worn  in  the  hat  by  both  men  and  women  during  the  bitter 
war  between  the  Federalists  and  the  Democrats.  Undoubtedly  these 
sold  well  in  Litchfield  in  1806.  Another  of  these  men,  Benjamin 
Hanks  came  from  Mansfield,  Conn.,  to  this  town  in  1778,  remain- 
ing only  till  1785,  when  he  returned  to  Mansfield.  While  here  he 
was  a  clock  and  watch  maker,  and  contracted  for  and  put  up  the 
first  clock  in  the  city  of  New  York:  on  the  old  Dutch  Church, 
Nassau  and  Liberty  Streets.  The  clock  was  unique,  having  a  wind 
mill  attachment,  his  own  patent,  for  Avinding  itself  up. 

We  should  not  overlook  the  many  industries  of  Northfield  in  the 
old  days.  These  include,  since  1798,  spinning  wheels,  clocks,  tin- 
ware, linen  goods,  nails,  brick,  cider  brandy,  flutes,  wagons,  car 
riages,  coffins,  leather  goods,  try  squares,  clothespins,  knitting 
machines,  butter  and  cheese,  harness  snaps,  and  cutlery,  of  which 
only  the  last  survives. 

To  sum  up  the  commercial  industries  of  the  Golden  Age  in 
Litchfield  we  are  fortunate  in  having  an  accurate  summary  of  those 
still  active  in  1845,  at  the  very  end  of  the  period.  This  is  found 
in  a  book  prepared  by  Daniel  P.  Tyler,  Secretary  of  State  at  Hart- 
ford, from  the  returns  of  the  local  assessors,  entitled  "Statistics  of 
Certain  Branches  of  Industry  in  Connecticut  for  the  year  ending 
October  1,  1845".  The  abbreviations  used  are:  C.  for  capital;  E. 
for  employee;  F.  for  female;  M.  for  male;  and  V.  for  value. 

Woolen  Mills,  2;  machinery,  2  setts;  wool  consumed  11,000  lbs; 
satinet  m'd,  11,000  yds;  V.  $8,000;  flannel  m'd,  2,981  yds;  V, 
$1,490.50;  woolen  yarn  m'd,  500  lbs;  V.  $300;  C.  $6,000;  M.E.  7;  F.E.  3. 

Casting  Furnace,  1;  ware  cast,  30  tons;  V.  $2,250;  C.  $5,000; 
E.  7. 


Paper  Factory,  1;  stock  consumed  V.  $3,500;  paper  m'd  V.  $8,000; 
C.  $15,000;  E.  10. 

Musical  Instrument  Factory,  1;  V.  of  m's,  $8,000;  C.  $15,000; 
E.  16. 

Saddle,  Harness  and  Trunk  Factory,  1;  V.  of  m's,  $1,000;   C. 
$500;  E.  2. 

Hat  and  Cap  Factory,  1;  No.  m'd  2,000;  V.  $3,000;  C.  $1,000; 
E.  6. 

Car,   Coach   and  Wagon   Factories,   7;    V.   of  m's,   $21,900;    C. 
$10,900;  E.  31. 

Soap  and  Candle  Factory,  1;  soap  m'd,  100  bbls;  V.  $300;  tal- 
low candles  m'd,  600  lbs;  V.  $50;  E.  L 

Chair  and  Cabinet  Factory,  1;  V.  of  m's,  $3,000;  C.  $2,000;  E.  5. 

Tin  Factories,  2;  V.  of  m's,  $4,000;  C.  $2,000;  E.  3. 

Linseed  Oil  Mill,  1;  oil  m'd,  2,000  gallons;  V.  $2,000;  C.  $2,000; 
R  1. 

Tannery,  1 ;  hides  tanned,  1,765 ;  leather  m'd,  V.  $5,605 ;  C.  $5,650 : 
E.  7. 

Boots  m'd,  1,286  pairs;  shoes,  2,167  pairs;  V.  $7,500;  E.  20. 

Bricks  m'd,  110,000;  V.  $500;  E.  L 

Snuff,  Tobacco  and  Segars  m'd,  V.  $1,400;  E.  2. 

Lumber  prepared  for  market,  V.  $3,079. 

Firewood  prepared  for  market,  4,549  cords;  V.  $9,098. 

Flouring  Mills,  4;  C.  $8,000. 

Marble  made  into  grave  stones,  V.  $3,000;  E.  3. 

Suspenders  m'd,  6,300  doz;  V.  $26,100;  C.  $5,000;  M.  E.  9;  F. 
E.  50. 

Mittens  and  Gloves  m'd,  800  doz;  V.  $4,800;  C.  $4,000;  E.  4. 

Sperm  oil  consumed  in  factories,  192  gals;  V.  $192. 

Sheep,  all  sorts,  3,278;  V.  $2,570;  wool  produced,  15,714  lbs;  V. 

Iloryes,  565;  V.  $16,273;  neat  cattle,  4,969;  V.  $51,231;  swine, 
2,714;  V.  $21,604. 

Indian  Corn,  24,777  bu;  V.  $20,564.91;  wheat,  55  bu.  V.  $82.50; 
rye,  8,748  bu,  Y.  $7,260.84;  barley,  226  bu.  V.  $136.80;  oats,  29,920  bu; 
V.  $12,566.40;  potatoes,  46,713  bu;  V.  $11,678.25;  other  esculents, 
36,713  bu;  V.  $6,118.83. 

Hay,  7,830  tons;  Y.  $93,960;  flax,  1,046  lbs;  V.  $104.60. 

Fruit,  32,710  bu;  V.  $400;  buckwheat,  9,316  bu;  V.  $4,658. 

Butter,  126,314  lbs;  Y.  $18,947.10;  cheese,  352,262  lbs;  V.  $21,135: 
honey,  1,000  lbs;  Y.  $100;  beeswax,  100  lbs;  V.  $28. 

Benjamin  Tallniadge,  Julius  Deming  and  Moses  Seymour  were 
perhaps  the  three  largest  merchants  in  the  town.  The  picturesque 
figure  of  Col.  Tallmadge  directs  attention  to  him  in  particular. 

Henry  Ward  Beecher  wrote  of  him:  "How  well  do  we  remember 
the  stately  gait  of  the  venerable  Colonel  of  Kevolutionary  memory! 
We  don't  recollect  that  he  ever  spoke  to  us  or  greeted  us, — not 
because  he  was  austere  or  unkind,  but  from  a  kind  of  military 
reserve.      We  thought  him  good  and  polite,  but  should  as  soon  have 


thought  of  climbing  the  church  steeple  as  of  speaking  to  one  living 
so  high  and  venerable  above  all  boys!"  (Litchfield  Revisited,  1856). 
Col.  L.  W.  Wessells  has  also  left  us  a  boy's  impression  of  him: 
"When  a  small  boy,  I  have  often  seen  him  on  horseback,  a  remark- 
ably handsome  figure  and  splendid  horseman.  He  wore  small 
clothes  and  top  boots,  with  shirt  ruffled  at  bosom  and  wrists,  and 
we  urchins  looked  upon  him  as  something  very  nearly  God-like. 
He  made  me  a  present  of  the  first  cock  and  hen  of  the  Poland 
variety  ever  brought  to  Litchfield,  and  I  was,  of  course,  inflated 
with  pride  and  the  envy  of  every  boy  far  and  near".  (Connecticut 
Quarterly,  September,  1896). 

In  his  Personal  Memories,  p.  135,  E.  D.  Mansfield  wrote  of  him : 
"He  was  one  of  the  gentlemen  of  the  old  school,  with  the  long  queue, 
white-topped  boots,  and  breeches.  After  the  war  he  had  retired  to 
Litchfield,  and  was  one  of  the  most  marked  as  well  as  dignified 
men  who  appeared  in  that  aristocratic  town.  When  the  Western 
Reserve  of  Ohio  was  set  off  to  Connecticut  and  sold  for  the  school 
fund,  he  became  a  large  owner  of  lands  there,  and  a  township  wa« 
named  after  him". 

Col.  TaUmadge  was  in  business  with  his  brother,  John  Tall- 
madge,  who  lived  in  Warren,  and  was  postmaster  there.  The  wide 
range  of  goods  covered  in  their  importations  is  proved  by  a  single 
one  of  their  many  advertisements  in  the  Monitor,  November  7,  1792: 

"Cheap  Goods!  The  subscribers  having  supplied  their  stores  at 
Litchfield  and  Warren,  with  a  large  and  general  assortment  of  Euro- 
pean and  West-Indian  Goods,  now  offer  them  for  Sale  at  a  very 
small  advance  for  paj^  in  hand,  or  on  a  short  credit.  Besides  a  great 
variety  of  other  articles,  not  mentioned,  they  have  on  hand  a  large 
assortment  of:  Twill'd  plain  and  striped  Coating;  Superfine  and  low 
priced  Broadcloths;  London  Kersemiers;  Scarlet,  crimson  and  green 
Baizes,  double  and  single;  Yellow  and  white  Flannels;  Rattinetts, 
Shalloons,  Antiloons;  Durants  and  Tammies,  twill'd  and  plain,  of 
various  colors;  Moreens,  Taboreens,  Joans;  Black  Russell,  Calli- 
manco,  Sattinette,  Lastings,  Velvets,  Thicksetts  and  Cords,  Twil'd 
and  plain;  Fustians,  Janes;  Hat  Linings,  Scarlet,  blue  and  light 
colored  Shagg;  Wildbores,  Cordurett  and  Camblett  of  various  col- 
ors; Elegant  tambour'd  vest  patterns;  Toylonetts;  silk,  cotton,  hemp 
and  thread  Hose,  ribb'd  and  plain;  Chintzs,  Callicoes,  Furniture 
ditto.  Printed  Linen,  diversified  in  figure  and  quality;  Best  India 
Sattin,  wide  and  narrow,  twill'd,  plain  and  vellum  Modes;  Sarsa- 
nettes,  silk  and  thread,  wide  and  narrow,  edging  and  laces;  Chinz 
and  purple  Shawls;  Ribbons  of  all  colors  and  qualities;  Furs  and 
Trimmings;  etc.,  etc.,  etc.,  etc.,  any  or  all  of  which  will  be  sold  by 
the  piece,  pattern,  or  single  yard.  Also  a  very  general  assortment 
of  Ironmongery  and  Hardware;  a  very  extensive  and  general  assort- 
ment of  crockery  and  Glass  Ware;  6  by  8  and  7  by  9  Window  Glass: 
Looking  Glasses  handsomely  gilt ;  large  Family  and  smaller  Bibles ; 
Testaments  and  Psalm  Books;  Websters  Institutes,  by  the  gross. 


f  ^ 


dozen  or  single  book;  AUum;  Copperas;  White  and  Red  Lead;  Span- 
ish White  and  Spanish  Brown;  Redwood;  Logwood;  Fustick  and 
Nickaragua;  Hyson,  Shushong  and  Bohea  Teas,  by  the  chest  or 
smaller  quantity;  Loaf  and  Brown  Sugars,  by  the  Hund.  or  lb.; 
Chocolate;  Ginger;  Pimento;  Pepper;  Snuff;  Tobacco;  Cotton  Wool; 
Indigo;  Old  Spirits,  St.  Croix,  St.  Vincents  and  Grenada  Rum,  Wine 
of  different  qualities,  and  molasses.  Best  Holland  and  Geneva,  do 
Nantz  Brandy,  by  the  Hogshead,  pipe,  bbl,  or  gal.  For  further 
particulars  please  to  call  on  the  subscribers,  Benj.  Tallmadge  and 

Both  Col.  Tallmadge  and  Julius  Deming  made  their  importations 
<lirect  from  abroad,  which  was  very  unusual  in  those  days,  and 
would  be  enterprising  today.  Together,  on  one  occasion,  they 
imported  a  cargo  of  horses  from  England,  to  improve  the  stock  in 
this  country.  Julius  Deming  himself  went  abroad  to  select  goods; 
on  his  trip  home  he  was  wrecked,  and  wisely  decided  never  to  go 
near  salt  water  again.  This  did  not  prevent  his  joining  with  Oliver 
Wolcott  Jr.  and  Col  Tallmadge,  however,  in  a  far-reaching  enter- 
prise, the  Litchfield  China  Trading  Co.  This  was  after  the  expira- 
tion of  Oliver  Wolcott's  term  as  Secretary  of  the  Treasury  of  the 
United  States  in  1800,  when  he  took  up  his  residence  in  New  York. 
Each  partner  contributed  an  equal  share,  but  the  Company  was 
directed  principally  from  New  York.  They  purchased  the  ship 
Trident,  as  their  first  vessel,  and  commenced  shipping  Pillar  Dollars, 
the  only  available  export  to  China  at  the  time,  bringing  back  the 
usual  products  of  that  country.  The  company  was  a  successful 
one,  but  was  dissolved  in  1814,  possibly  as  a  result  of  the  Embargo 
Act  of  1812-13. 

After  this  Oliver  Wolcott  returned  to  Litchfield,  and  was  active 
in  various  enterprises  with  his  brother,  Frederick  Wolcott.  They 
were  associated  in  the  improvement  of  agriculture  and  the  introduc- 
tion of  improved  breeds  of  stock,  particularly  the  Devon  and  Dur- 
ham cattle  and  the  Merino  sheep,  of  both  of  which  they  were 
importers.       (Wolcott  Memorial,  p.  318). 

His  services  as  Governor  again  interrupted  his  commercial  ven- 
tures at  home,  but  when  his  terms  aggregating  ten  years  were  fin- 
ished he  once  more  undertook  an  extensive  experiment.  This  was 
the  manufacture  of  woolen  cloth  at  Wolcottville  (Torrington). 
Although  this  Avas  disastrous  financially,  it  was  the  foundation  of 
the  present  industrial  prominence  of  our  neighboring  borougli.  The 
experiment  terminated  in  a  lawsuit,  which  was  tried  in  Litchfield 
before  Judge  David  Daggett,  The  Judge  was  an  ardent  Federalist, 
and  the  jury  was  opposed  politically  to  Wolcott.  It  was  at  this 
trial  that  Judge  Gould  made  his  last  appearance  as  Counsel.  He 
conducted  the  case  against  Wolcott,  and  carried  the  Jury  with  him. 
Judge  Origen  S.  Seymour,  then  a  young  man,  attended  the  trial, 
and  felt  that  Judge  Daggett's  conduct  of  the  case  was  partisan. 
On  reviewing  the  matter,  however,  in  later  years,  he  not  only  modi- 
fied, but  reversed  his  opinion".       (Book  of  Days,  p.  184). 



The  following  notices  of  the  several  newspapers  issued  in  Litch- 
field are  taken  from  the  Catalogue  of  the  Litchfield  Historical 
Society,  1906: 

and  Copp,  Printers.  Began  Dec  21,  1784.  The  Monitor,  with 
variation  in  name  and  size  of  paper,  continued  for  twenty  two 
years.  On  Sept.  15,  1788,  Thomas  Collier,  who  had  been  for 
some  years  the  sole  printer,  associated  with  him  one  Adam. 
April  27,  1789,  the  partnership  was  dissolved  and  the  paper 
suspended  until  Nov.  17,  1789,  when  Collier  again  became  the 
printer.  Jan.  18,  1792,  the  Monitor  was  published  by  Collier 
and  Buel,  who  continued  until  the  last  issue  of  the  paper,  1807. 

WITNESS.  Selleck  Osborn  and  Timothy  Ashley,  Editors  and  Pub- 
lishers.     Began  Aug.  14,  1805.      Discontinued,  1807. 

LITCHFIELD  GAZETTE.  Charles  Hosmer  and  Goodwin,  Printers. 
Began  March  13,  1808.      Discontinued  May  17,  1809. 

LITCHFIELD  JOURNAL.  Published  by  I.  Bunce.  This  was  a 
non-partisan  paper,  but  proved  unsuccessful,  and  upon  May  12, 
1819,  the  Litchfield  Republican  was  commenced.  In  1821  the 
Miscellany,  in  continuation  of  the  Litchfield  Republican 
appeared  in  a  smaller  size  sheet  than  the  former  paper.  This 
continued  until  Feb.  2,  1822,  when  'for  one  year  from  this  date 
the  profits  arising  from  the  circulation  of  this  paper  are 
bestowed  on  a  young  man  of  this  village  in  order  to  assist  in 
completing  his  education'.  The  Miscellany,  or  Juvenile  Folio, 
was  published  on  Feb.  9,  1822.  The  following  is  taken  from 
the  6th  of  March  1822:  'The  Miscellany  or  Juvenile  Folio  is 
published  at  I.  Bunce's  bookstore  by  the  proprietor.  The  profits 
of  the  circulation  are  for  one  year  transferred  to  Henry  Ward. 
Terms,  871/2  cents  at  the  ofi'ice.  No  paper  to  be  discontinued 
until  arrearages  are  paid'.  On  July  31, 1822,  H.  Ward  'abandons 
the  paper'  and  for  a  time  there  was  none  published.  I.  Bunce, 
as  publisher  and  editor,  on  Sept.  9,  1822,  commenced  the  publi- 
cation of  the  American  Eagle,  which  was  moved  to  New  Haven 
on  March  7,  1826. 

THE  DEMOCRAT.  Melzar  Gardner,  Publisher.  Began  Nov.  ?,. 
1833.      Discontinued  Sept.  13,  1834. 

THE  SUN.  John  M.  BaldAvin,  Publisher  and  Printer.  This  paper 
commenced  on  Feb.  7,  1835,  and  continued  under  the  same  man- 
agement until  Sept.  9, 1837,  when  S.  G.  Hayes  became  printer  and 
publisher.  From  June  9,  to  Oct.  6,  1838,  it  was  discontinued, 
and  the  last  issue  of  the  paper  is  April  20,  1839. 


THE  ALEKCUKY.  C.  E.  Morse  and  Co.,  Printers.  This  paper 
began  its  existence  on  Jan.  16,  1840,  and  on  Aug.  20,  1840,  was 
sold  to  Josiah  Giles,  who  became  editor  and  publisher.  The 
Mercury  was  discontinued  on  April  7,  1842.  Josiah  Giles  began 
on  Jan.  20,  1844,  the  publication  of  the  Democratic  Watchman, 
which  was  discontinued  the  same  year. 

LITCHFIELD  EEPUBLICAK  J.  K  Averill  began  the  New  Mil- 
ford  Kepublican  in  1845,  and  the  next  year  moved  to  Litchfield 
where  he  continued  his  paper  under  the  name  of  Litchfield  Kepub- 
lican. He  afterwards,  1856,  moved  to  Falls  Village,  and  con- 
tinued his  paper  as  the  Housatonic  Kepublican.  After  he 
moved  away,  W.  F.  and  G.  H.  Baldwin  continued  the  paper  as 
publishers  and  proprietors.  With  the  13th  number  Henry 
Ward  appeared  as  editor,  but  in  1853  Albert  Stoddard  became 
editor  and  publisher,  with  Henry  Ward  as  associate.  On  Sept. 
14,  1854,  Franklin  Hull  was  publisher,  with  himself  and  Henry 
Ward  as  editors,  and  on  April  4,  1856,  Franklin  Hull  assumed 
full  charge  as  editor  and  publisher. 

LITCHFIELD  SENTINEL.  Published  in  Litchfield  by  John  D. 
Champlin  Jr.,  as  editor.  YoL  No.  1,  is  dated  1865.  Champlin 
continued  as  editor  until  February  2,  1866,  when  he  associated 
with  him  George  H.  Baldwin,  who  published  the  paper.  On 
February  3,  1867  Champlin  again  took  charge  of  the  paper  and 
continued  it  alone  until  April  30,  1869,  when  Solon  B.  Johnson 
took  up  the  paper  as  editor.  John  E.  Farnham  bought  the 
paper  in  1869,  and  continued  the  publication  until  May  7,  1875. 

THE  LITCHFIELD  ENQUIRER.  The  Litchfield  County  Post  was 
established  in  1825  by  Stephen  S.  Smith  from  Poultney,  Vt. 
He  disposed  of  the  establishment  to  Joshua  Garrett,  who  after 
publishing  the  Post  for  a  few  weeks  sold  out  to  Henry  Adams. 
In  1829,  Mr.  Adams  changed  the  name  of  the  paper  to  the 
Litchfield  Enquirer,  which  it  still  bears.  During  this  time 
it  was  a  five-column  folio.  It  was  the  only  regular  paper 
published  in  Litchfield  county.  Mr.  Adams  was  drowned  while 
fishing  in  Bantam  Lake  and  was  the  only  editor  who  died  "in 
the  harness".  He  was  immediately  succeeded  by  his  brother, 
Chas.  Adams,  in  1843.  In  October,  1845,  the  paper  was  sold 
to  I'ayne  Kenyon  Kilbourne,  v/ho  conducted  it  until  ••ill  health 
caused  by  many  arduous  duties  caused  him  to  sell"  in  March, 
1853.  The  new  proprietor,  H.  W.  Hyatt,  changed  the  heading 
from  plain  block  style  to  the  same  as  the  text  which  has  been 
used  ever  since.  In  March,  1856,  the  size  was  changed  to  a 
larger  sheet.  On  Sept.  4,  1856,  he  sold  to  Edward  C.  Goodwin. 
On  May  1,  1858,  Chas.  Adams  again  took  the  editorship  and 
associated  with  him  Henry  E.  B.  Betts.  Oct.  13,  1859,  James 
Humphrey  Jr.,  bought  the  paper,  and  his  foreman  was  Alex- 
ander B.   Shumway,  who  held  that  position  under  succeeding 


owners  practically  up  to  the  time  of  his  death,  February,  1912, 
excepting  when  he  was  in  service  during  the  Civil  War.  Mr. 
Humphrey  enlarged  the  paper  to  seven  columiis^  a  little  sfllaller 
than  the  present  paper.  In  1865,  the  paper  passed  into  the 
hands  of  Wing  and  Shumway,  under  whose  management  it 
remained  for  one  year,  when  Geo.  A.  Hickox  bought  the  paper 
and  secured  Mr.  Wing  as  editor.  One  year  later  Mr.  Hickox 
commenced  the  duties  of  proprietor  and  editor,  which  he  con- 
tinued for  twenty  five  years  and  changed  its  size.  In  1891 
he  sold  the  paper  to  C.  R.  Duffie  Jr.  In  October,  1894,  it 
was  sold  to  George  C.  Woodruff,  who  has  since  continued  the 
paper.  Mr.  Woodruff  immediately  changed  the  make-up  of  the 
paper  and  in  February,  1918,  enlarged  it  to  its  present  size  of 
eight  pages  of  six  columns  each. 

GkoKCK    r.    WcmnRrFF     (Tr.K     ElUTdK    LnCHKlKIJ)    ENOUIRtR 

Frederick  Wolcott 



In  his  Memorial  Address  about  the  late  Governor  Roger  Wol- 
vott  of  Massachusetts,  Senator  Henry  Cabot  Lodge  said  of  the  Wol- 
cott  family:  "We  have  one  of  the  rare  instances  of  a  family  which 
starting  in  America  with  a  man  of  fortune  and  good  estate  always 
retained  its  position  in  the  conununity.  In  the  main  line  at  least 
it  never  encountered  the  vicissitudes  which  attend  nearly  all  families 
in  the  course  of  two  hundred  and  fifty  years.  The  name  has  never 
dropped  out  of  sight,  but  was  always  borne  up  by  its  representa- 
tive in  the  same  place  in  society  as  that  held  by  the  founder.  More 
remarkable  still,  in  almost  every  generation  there  was  at  least  one 
of  the  lineal  male  descendants  of  the  first  immigrant  who  rose  to 
the  very  highest  positions  in  military,  political  and  judicial  life. 
The  list  of  Judges,  Governors,  Generals,  Cabinet  officers  and  mem- 
bers of  Congress  in  this  pedigree  is  a  long  and  striking  one.  From 
the  days  of  the  Somersetshire  gentleman  to  those  of  the  present 
generation,  which  has  given  a  Governor  to  Massachusetts  and  a  bril- 
liant Senator  from  Colorado  to  the  United  States,  the  Wolcotts, 
both  as  soldiers  and  civilians,  have  rendered  service  to  their  country, 
as  eminent  as  it  has  been  unbroken.  , . .  Here  is  a  long  roll  of  honor 
where  the  son  felt  that  he  would  be  unworthy  of  his  father  if  he 
did  not  add  fresh  lustre  to  the  name  he  bore  by  service  to  his  state 
and  country  either  in  the  hour  of  trial  or  in  the  pleasant  paths  of 

This  was  the  heritage  of  Oliver  Wolcott  Sr.,  when  he  first  came 
to  Litchfield  in  1751;  just  as  it  has  been  the  heritage  of  every  mem- 
ber of  the  family  before  and  since.  He  belonged  to  the  fourth 
generation  of  Wolcotts  in  this  country,  the  original  settler,  Henry 
Wolcott,  who  came  over  from  Somersetshire  in  1630,  being  his  great- 
grand-father.  His  father  was  Roger  Wolcott,  Governor  of  Con- 
necticut from  1750-54.  So  far  as  we  can  now  tell,  the  attention  of 
Roger  Wolcott  was  first  directed  towards  Litchfield  in  1725,  when 
John  Marsh  and  others  presented  their  Memorial  to  the  General 
Court  asking  that  the  non-resident  Proprietors  of  the  town  be  made 
responsible  for  their  share  of  its  defence  and  support.  Major 
Roger  Wolcott  was  appointed  to  the  Committee  to  consider  the 
Memorial  and  soon  after,  when  non-residents  who  failed  in  their 
duties  to  the  new  settlement  were  to  be  deprived  of  their  rights  in 
the  town,  he  was  appointed  chairman  of  the  Committee  "to  take 
account  of  all  forfeitures  that  shall  arise  by  force  of  this  act, 
and  upon  the  non-payment  of  the  same,  to  make  sale  of  the  lands" 


in  question.  Later  he  purchased  a  farm  on  South  Street,  includ- 
ing the  present  Wolcott  property  and  considerable  land  on  the 
other  side  of  the  Street.  No  account  remains  of  his  having  been  in 
Litchfield  in  person,  though  it  would  seem  very  probable  that  he 
had  been  here,  either  in  connection  with  his  appointment  of  1725, 
or  to  visit  his  farm,  or  to  visit  his  son  after  the  latter  came  to 
Litchfield  in  1751. 

Roger  Wolcott  died  May  17,  1767.  In  his  Will,  dated  July  18, 
1761,  he  left  to  Oliver  "all  my  land  in  Litchfield,  and  all  my  land 
in  Hartford,  and  all  my  land  in  Colebrook,  and  all  my  land  in 
Windsor  that  lies  in  the  Equiuelent  to  him  &  his  heirs  forever.  I 
also  give  him  my  Silver  Can". 

Oliver  Wolcott  Sr.  began  his  career  as  a  physician.  When  it 
seemed  probable  that  the  seat  of  the  new  County  would  be  fixed  at 
Goshen,  he  went  there  and  began  practice,  but  as  soon  as  the  County 
Seat  was  established  at  Litchfield  he  came  here.  He  was  chosen 
Sheriff  of  the  new  County,  1751. 

The  following  account  of  him  is  given  by  his  friend,  James 
Morris,  (p.  108-9) :  "He  was  born  in  Windsor,  December  1726.  . . . 
He  represented  the  town  in  the  General  Assembly,  in  the  year 
1770.  In  the  year  1772,  he  was  chosen  a  member  of  the  Council. 
In  1772,  he  was  appointed  Judge  of  Probate,  for  the  district  of 
Litchfield.  In  the  year  1774,  he  was  appointed  Judge  of  the  Court 
of  Common  Pleas.  In  the  year  1775,  he  was  chosen  a  Represnta- 
tive  in  Congress,  and  was  present  at  the  declaration  of  Indepen- 
dence. He  continued  a  member  of  the  Council  till  the  year  1786, 
and  was  then   chosen   Lieutenant   Governor  of  this   State.  In 

this  office  he  continued  till  the  year  1796,  and  was  then  chosen 
Governor;   and   in  this   office  he   died  December  1,   1797.  The 

duties  of  all  these  stations,  he  discharged  with  unshaken  integrity 
and  firmness;  courted  favors  from  no  man,  and  neither  sought, 
nor  obtained,  any  end  by  intrigue,  or  from  interested  motives. 
He  was  singularly  modest,  and  even  diffident,  in  his  intercourse 
with  men,  in  the  common  walks  of  life.  Those  who  best  knew  this 
gentleman,  well  knew  that  the  highest  trust  was  never  improperly 
placed  in  him.  Two  questions  only  were  asked  by  him,  while  discharg- 
ing the  duties  of  the  several  offices  of  high  responsibility  which  he 
held,  viz.  What  is  right?  and,  What  is  my  duty?  He  possessed  a 
benevolent  heart,  and  was  warm  in  his  friendships;  a  firm  friend 
to  order;  a  promoter  of  peace;  a  lover  of  religion;  and  a  tried, 
unshaken  friend  to  the  institutions  of  the  Gospel.  He  was  an 
indefatigable  student;  and  neither  wasted  his  time  nor  his  words. 
His  mind  was  clear  and  penetrating;  his  views  of  political  sub- 
jects, just  and  comprehensive;  his  discernment  of  the  wisest  means 
to  promote  the  best  ends,  ready  and  exact;  and  his  acquaintance 
with  science,  particularly  with  Theology,  extensive.  He  had  a 
remarkable  talent  at  investigations,  and  nothing  satisfied  him  but 
proof.  He  has  left  a  name,  which  is  a  sweet  savor  to  his  surviving 


No  mentiou  of  Oliver  Wolcott  Sr.  is  adequate,  which  fails  to 
speak  of  his  wife,  Lorraine,  or  Laura,  daughter  of  Capt.  Daniel 
Collins,  of  Guildford.  She  was  related,  though  not  closely,  to 
Timothy   Collins,   the  first   minister  in  Litchfield.  She  was   a 

woman  of  remarkable  strength  of  character  and  executive  ability. 
Oliver  Wolcott's  long  absences  in  the  discharge  of  his  many  varied 
duties  were  made  possible  primarily  by  her  capable  handling  of 
the  home.  She  cared  for  the  children,  directed  the  servants  and 
slaves,  managed  the  farm,  kept  up  the  hopes  of  her  circle  through 
the  most  trying  days  of  the  Kevolution,  with  an  unshaken  faith 
and  energy  which  it  is  not  easy  to  picture  to-day. 

There  were  five  children.  Oliver,  born  1757,  who  died  an  infant ; 
Oliver,  born  January  11,  1760;  Laura,  born  1761,  who  mar- 
ried William  Mosely  of  Hartford;  Marianu,  born  1765,  who  mar- 
ried Chauncey  Goodrich  of  Hartford,  afterwards  Lieutenant-Gov- 
ernor of  the  State;  and  Frederick,  bom  November  2,  1767. 

Oliver  Wolcott  Jr.  left  an  autobiographical  sketch  of  his  boy- 
hood in  Litchfield,  written  when  he  was  over  seventy  years  old, 
which  is  so  interesting  both  as  a  picture  of  Litchfield  from  a  boy's 
point  of  view,  and  as  a  picture  of  the  boy  who  was  to  become  so 
distinguished,  that  it  is  unfortunate  that  it  cannot  be  included  here 
entira  It  will  be  found  in  the  Wolcott  Memorial,  pp.  222-227,  and 
should  be  read  by  all,  especially  the  account  of  his  trip  to  New 

"My  Mother  and  Grandmother  learned  me  to  speak  early;  I 
could  read  before  I  was  four  years  old,  and  was  proud  of  my 
acquirements.  The  School  House  was  in  the  street  near  the  N.  W. 
corner  of  my  Father's  Home-Lot,  and  was  about  twenty  rods  from 
home.  The  street  was  nine  or  ten  rods  wide,  and  the  hillocks  were 
covered  with  whortleberry  bushes,  which  were  tall  enough  to  hide  a 
young  man  or  boy  from  observation.  It  was  an  excellent  place  for 
truants,  and  used  for  that  purpose  by  many  of  the  larger  Boys 
of  the  School.  When  I  had  attained  the  age  of  six  or  seven  years, 
I  was  told  that  it  was  time  for  me  to  go  to  School,  and  was  flattered 
by  my  Mother  that  my  learning  exceeded  that  of  Boys  twice  my 
age,  I  was  accordingly  dressed  in  my  Sunday  habit,  and  set  out, 
whip  in  hand,  on  a  Monday  morning.  I  was  the  smallest  and 
most  slender  boy  who  appeared,  with  a  pale  face  and  white  hair. 
The  Master  was  a  stout,  rough  man,  and  I  think  it  probable  that  he 
was  a  foreigner.  When  I  was  called  before  him,  he,  judging  from 
appearances,  took  me  between  his  knees,  and  with  a  ferule  and 
Dilworth's  Spelling  Book  in  his  hand,  offered  to  instruct  me  in 
spelling  words  of  several  syllables.  My  astonishment  and  indigna- 
tion exceeded  all  bounds;  I  considered  it  as  the  greatest  possible 
indignity.  I  had  no  conception  that  a  Schoolmaster,  whom  I  deemed 
a  great  personage,  could  be  so  ignorant  as  not  to  know  that  I 
could  read  in  the  Testament.  I  remained  mute,  and  stifled  my 
proud  sobs  as  well  as  I  was  able.      The  Master  supposed  that  he 


had  put  me  too  far  forward,  and  turned  me  back  to  words  of  one 
syllable.  My  wrath  increased,  and  I  continued  silent.  He  tried 
me  in  the  Alphabet;  and  as  I  remained  silent,  he  told  me  that 
I  came  to  learn  to  read,  and  that  I  must  repeat  the  words  after 
him,  or  he  would  whip  me.  He  actually  struck  me,  supposing  mc 
to  be  obstinately  mute;  my  sobs  nearly  broke  my  heart,  and  I  was 
ordered  to  my  seat.  Some  of  the  boys  tried  to  console  me,  and 
others  laughed.  I  left  the  School  with  the  most  decided  disgust, 
resolved  never  to  enter  it  again. 

"I  evaded  going  to  School  as  long  as  possible;  and  when  I  did 
go,  I  hid  myself  in  the  bushes.  At  length  the  Master  enquired  why 
I  had  left  the  School.  This  brought  out  my  explanation;  and 
such  were  my  horror  and  antipathy,  that  my  parents  judged  it 
proper  to  excuse  me,  and  I  was  soon  sent  to  another  School,  kept 
by  a  Miss  Patterson,  whose  mild  and  conciliating  manners  attracted 
my  aflfections.  ...  At  about  eleven  years  of  age  I  went  to  the  Gram- 
mar School,  which  was  kept  by  Nathaniel  Brown  Beckwith,  a 
graduate  of  Yale  College.  ...  I  was  far  from  being  a  student.  One 
of  the  eldest  and  stoutest  Boys  was  still  less  so;  he  and  the  Master 
were  attached  to  Fishing  and  Hunting.  Trouts,  Partridges,  Quail. 
Squirrels  both  grey  and  black,  and  in  the  season  Pigeons  and  Ducks, 
were  in  great  abundance.  To  these  sports  all  our  holidays  wen? 
devoted,  and  I  engaged  in  them  with  great  alacrity,  in  which  the 
Master  joined  on  the  footing  of  an  equal.  In  this  course  I  con- 
tinued till,  in  the  summer  of  1773,  Master  Beckwith  pronounced  me 
fit  to  enter  College.  . . . 

"When  I  got  back  to  Litchfield",  he  had  made  the  trip  to  New 
Haven  and  wisely  decided  not  to  enter  the  College  for  another  year, 
"it  took  a  long  time  to  recount  all  the  wonders  I  had  seen, — the 
grandeur  of  New  Haven,  its  numerous  Streets,  beautiful  Trees, 
Shrubbery  and  Flowers  in  the  House  Yards,  the  Vessels  at  the 
Long  Wharf,  and  the  peculiar  dress  and  language  of  the  Mariners. 
With  one  of  these  I  had  formed  an  involuntary  acquaintance,  which 
cost  me  a  shilling.  The  wharves  of  a  mud  harbor  presented  no 
prospect  of  the  Sea;  to  mend  my  prospect,  I  climbed  a  part  of  the 
way  up  one  of  the  strands,  when  I  felt  a  Sailor  below  me,  who  was 
tying  one  of  my  legs  to  what  I  considered  a  rope  ladder.  He  did 
it  mildly  and  silently.  As  I  could  move  neither  up  nor  down,  I 
soon  began  to  lament,  which  brought  my  companions  to  my  aid- 
They  desired  the  Sailor  to  untie  and  let  me  down.  He  enquired 
who  I  was,  and  why  I  had  climbed  his  Vessel  without  his  liberty. 
I  assured  him  that  I  intended  no  harm,  and  was  ignorant  that  I 
was  doing  wrong;  that  I  was  a  boy  from  the  Country,  and  having 
seen  the  sea  on  coming  to  New  Haven,  I  was  desirous  of  seeing  its 
shores.  The  sailor  said,  that  as  it  was  the  first  time  I  had  been 
on  board  a  Sea  Vessel,  and  had  seen  and  smelt  the  Salt  Water,  I 
ought  to  pay  what  he  called  beverage;  that  he  would  require  but 
a  Shilling,  though  if  I  was  a  Scholar,  he  would  exact  three  Shillings. 
I  agreed  with  joy  to  his  demand,  and  was  instantly  let  down,  amidst 


the  hearty  laughter  of  his  comrades;  it  seemed  no  unusual  occur- 
rence, so  my  friends  joined  in  the  joke.  The  Sailor  told  me  that 
no  person  ought  to  pay  twice,  and  that  if  I  found  myself  tied  up 
again,  and  called  upon  him,  he  would  see  me  liberated  without 
expense.  When  I  had  recounted  my  travelling  News  to  my  School 
Mates,  I  was  advised  to  resume  my  Studies,  and  repeat  my  travel- 
ling Stories  out  of  School  hours,  which  I  thought  but  reasonable.  . . . 

"I  had  now  passed  the  infantine  period,  and  was  between  thir- 
teen and  fourteen  years  of  age.  I  was  no  longer  a  Child,  but  a 
Boy,  and  hoped  soon  to  be  a  Man.  I  found  myself  useful  to  my 
Mother.  I  could  drive  Cows  to  and  from  Pasture,  ride  the  Cart 
Horse  to  Mill,  bring  in  light  wood  and  chips  for  the  kitchen  fire, 
and  rock  the  Cradle,  when  necessary.  . . . 

"Sunday  was  to  me  the  most  uncomfortable  day  of  the  Week, 
from  the  confinement  in  dress  and  locomotion  which  it  imposed 
on  me.  After  Prayers  and  Breakfast,  I  was  taken  by  my  Mother 
to  the  Wash  Tub,  and  thoroughly  scrubbed  with  Soap  and  Water 
from  head  to  foot.  I  was  then  dressed  in  my  Sunday  Habit, 
which,  as  I  was  growing  fast,  was  almost  constantly  too  small. 
My  usual  dress,  at  other  times,  was  a  thin  pair  of  Trousers,  and  a 
Jacket  of  linsey-woolsey;  and  I  wore  no  shoes,  except  in  frosty 
weather.  On  Sunday  morning,  I  was  robed  in  a  Scarlet  Cloth 
Coat  with  Silver  Buttons,  a  white  Silk  Vest,  white  Cotton  Stock- 
ings, tight  Shoes,  Ruffles  at  the  Breast  of  my  Jacket,  and  a  cocked 
Beaver  Hat  with  gold  lace  Band.  In  this  attire  I  was  marched 
to  the  Meeting  House,  with  orders  not  to  soil  my  Clothes,  and  to 
sit  still,  and  by  no  means  to  play  during  meeting-time. 

"Parson  Champion  succeeded  Parson  Collins,  our  first  Minister, 
Doctor,  and  Justice  of  the  Peace.  Mr.  Champion  was  a  pleasant, 
affable  man,  and  a  sonorous,  animated  Preacher.  I  liked  loud 
preaching,  and  suffered  only  from  the  confinement  of  my  Sunday 
dress.  Mr.  Champion  not  unfrequently  exchanged  Sunday  services 
with  a  neighboring  Parson,  whose  performances  were  most  uncom- 
fortabla  They  were  dull,  monotonous,  and  very  long;  in  the  after- 
noon they  frequently  extended  to  two  hours.  As  I  was  not  allowed 
to  sleep  during  meeting-time,  my  sufferings  were  frequently  extreme. 

"After  service,  new  toils  awaited  me.  Our  Sunday  was  in  fact 
the  old  Jewish  Sabbath,  and  continued  from  sunset  to  sunset.  In 
the  interval,  from  the  end  of  services  in  the  Meeting  House  till 
Sunset,  my  Father  read  to  the  Family  from  the  Bible  or  some 
printed  Sermon,  and  when  he  had  done,  I  was  examined  by  my 
Mother  in  the  Assembly's  Shorter  Catechism.  When  this  task  was 
ended,  I  was  allowed  to  resume  my  ordinary  Habit.  It  exhilarates 
my  spirit,  even  at  present,  to  think  of  the  ecstacies  I  enjoyed  when 
I  put  on  my  Jacket  and  Trousers,  and  quit  my  Stockings  and  Shoes. 
I  used  to  run  to  the  Garden  Lawn  or  into  the  orchard;  I  would 
leap,  run,  lie  down  on  the  grass,  in  short,  play  all  the  gambols  of  a 
fat  calf,  when  loosened  front  confinement". 


After  his  services  in  the  Revolution,  he  left  Litchfield  in  1781 
and  "proceeded  to  Hartford,  where  he  accepted  a  clerkship  in  the 
office  of  the  Commissioners  of  the  Pay  Table.  The  following  year 
he  was  appointed  one  of  the  board.  In  May  1784  he  was  selected 
one  of  the  commissioners  to  adjust  the  claims  of  Connecticut  against 
the  United  States;  his  colleagues  were  Oliver  Ellsworth  and  Wil- 
liam Samuel  Johnson. 

"The  abolishment  of  the  Commissioners  of  the  Pay  Table  caused 
him  to  be  appointed  in  1788  Comptroller  of  Public  Accounts;  this 
office  he  resigned  to  become  Auditor  of  the  United  States  Treasury. 
He  was  afterwards  made  Comptroller  and  in  the  spring  of  1791  he 
declined  the  presidency  of  the  United  States  Bank.  On  the  resig- 
nation of  Alexander  Hamilton  as  Secretary  of  the  Treasury  in  1795, 
Grovemor  Wolcott  succeeded  him,  holding  the  office  until  November 
8,  1800.  Two  years  later  he  removed  to  New  York  City,  engaged 
in  mercantile  pursuits,  ammassed  a  fortune,  and  became  the  first 
president  of  the  Bank  of  North  America.  After  the  close  of  the 
second  war  with  England,  he  returned  to  his  native  town,  where 
in  company  with  his  brother  he  founded  large  woolen  mills  near 
Torrington.  For  ten  consecutive  years  he  was  elected  to  the 
gubernatorial  chair;  on  his  retirement  from  this  office,  he  returned 
to  New  York  City,  where  he  died  June  1,  1833.  Grovemor  Wolcott 
was  the  last  survivor  of  Washington's  Cabinet,  and  the  last  link  in 
the  chain  that  represented  the  principles  of  the  founders  of  the 
republic".  (Connecticut  as  a  Colony  and  a  State,  by  Forest  Mor- 
gan, 1904,  Vol.  Ill,  pp.  108-9). 

The  late  Hon.  Joseph  Hopkinson,  one  of  his  distinguished 
political  associates,  thus  wrote  respecting  him: — 

"Oliver  Wolcott  was  a  man  of  a  cheerful,  even  playful,  disposi- 
tion. His  conversation  was  interesting  and  earnest,  but  gay  unless 
the  occasion  was  unfit  for  gaiety.  He  enjoyed  a  good  joke  from 
himself  or  another,  and  his  laugh  was  hearty  and  frequent.  He 
delighted  in  the  discussion  of  literary  subjects,  and  the  works  of 
distinguished  authors,  and  was  particularly  fond  of  poetry.  . , .  His 
domestic  life  was  most  exemplary;  his  greatest  happiness  was  in 
his  family,  with  the  friends  who  congregated  there.  His  devotion 
to  the  business  and  duties  of  his  office  was  severe  and  unremitting. 
He  possessed,  in  a  high  degree,  a  very  rare  qualification,  the  capacity 
for  continued  hard  work,  and  was  in  everything  systematic  and 
orderly.  His  attachments  to  his  friends  were  strong  and  lasting, 
never  taxing  them  with  unreasonable  exactions.  He  was  open  and 
direct  in  all  his  dealings,  without  duplicity  or  intrigue  in  any- 
thing; his  sincerity  was  sure,  he  deceived  nobody.  His  political 
opinions  were  the  honest  convictions  of  a  man  of  undoubted  integrity, 
of  distinguished  intelligence  and  high  attainments,  and,  above  all, 
of  a  true  and  sincere  lover  of  his  Country".  (Wolcott  Memorial, 
p.  307). 

His  home  in  Litchfield,  during  the  short  periods  of  his  resi- 
dence there,  was  always  the  scene  of  a  large  hospitality  of  which  he 


was  the  presiding  genius.  He  lived  in  the  house  built  in  1799  by 
Elijah  Wadsworth  on  a  part  of  the  Wolcott  farm.  He  enlarged 
the  house  considerably  in  1817.  The  house  was  later  thai,  of  Col. 
George  B.  Sanford,  and  is  now  owned  by  Mrs.  Harry  G.  Day. 

We  insert  here  a  quotation  from  a  'Letter  of  Digestion'  of  that 
day,  written  by  Josiah  Quincy,  Boston,  September  30,  1801,  after 
a  visit  to  the  house:  "Sir;  We  reached  home  in  four  days  from 
Litchfield,  and  found  nothing  terrible  on  the  Hartford  side  of  your 
hills;  nothing  which  the  recollection  of  the  attention  and  pleasure 
we  had  received  from  our  visit  did  not  make  appear  trifling 
obstacles.  It  is  impossible  for  Mrs.  Quincy  and  I  (sic)  not  to 
reckon  the  time  passed  at  your  house  as  the  most  delightful  part 
of  our  excursion,  as  well  as  not  to  dwell  upon  your  promise  to  give 
us  in  the  Spring,  by  a  long  visit,  a  chance  of  returning  a  few 
of  those  many  kindnesses  which  you  and  Mrs.  Wolcott  found  means 
to  extend  in  so  short  a  time.  ..." 

The  fact  that  Governor  Wolcott  had  been  elected  on  the  Demo- 
cratic or  Toleration  ticket  set  him  apart  a  little  from  some  of  the 
most  uncompromisingly  Federalist  (families.  The  second  Mrs. 
Lyman  Beecher,  on  first  coming  to  Litchfield  (December  1817)  wrote 
of  him:  "The  Governor  resides  here.  He  has  honored  me  with  a 
call.  He  is  a  Toleration  man.  Comes  half  a  day  to  meeting  and 
no  more.  . . .  We  heard  the  Governor  was  going  to  invite  us  to  his 
house,  but  at  a  party  where  we  went,  he  did  not  like  our  manage- 
ment of  closing  the  evening  with  prayer  and  singing,  and  so  has 
given  it  up". 

Oliver  Wolcott  Jr.  married  in  1785  Elizabeth,  only  daughter  of 
Capt.  John  Stoughton.  They  had  five  sons  and  two  daughters, 
but  with  the  death  of  the  sons,  three  of  them  in  infancy,  and  of 
two  grandsons,  his  male  line  reached  an  untimely  end. 

Mrs.  Oliver  Wolcott  Jr.  was  a  very  beautiful  and  charming 
woman.  When  he  announced  his  engagement  to  his  father,  the 
elder  Wolcott  answered:  "Litchfield,  January  10,  1785,  Sir:  Your 
letter  of  the  fourth  instant  is  received.  The  Character  of  the 
young  Lady,  whom  you  mention  as  the  Object  of  your  Affection, 
justifies  your  Choice,  and  receives  the  Approbation  of  your  Par- 
ents. And  if  you  shall  wait  upon  her  here,  when  you  shall  come  to 
see  us,  it  will  increase  the  pleasure  of  the  Visit.  Yours,  Oliver 

The  testimony  to  her  beauty  is  universal.  In  the  diary  of 
Caroline  Chester,  a  pupil  at  Miss  Pierce's  in  1816,  (Vanderpoel,  p. 
153),  we  read:  "Mrs.  Wolcott  called  and  very  politely  asked  Mrs. 
Sheldon  to  peraiit  me  to  take  tea  with  her.  . . .  The  party  was 
large.  Though  Mrs.  Wolcott  was  the  only  married  woman  in  the 
room,  yet  no  one  would  have  thought  her  the  oldest  for  she  looked 
very  beautiful". 

She  "belonged  to  a  class  of  women  of  whom  Connecticut  could 
then  boast  many,  whose  minds  were  formed,  and  habits  of  reflection 
directed  by  men;  and  without  coming  within  the  category  of  female 


politicians,  they  had  been  almost  from  childhood  familiar  with 
questions  of  public  and  general  interest.  An  anecdote  of  Uriah 
Tracy,  whose  sarcasms  were  of  old  dreaded  alike  in  the  Senate  Cham- 
ber and  the  drawing-room,  has  been  preserved,  commemorative  at 
once  of  Mrs.  Wolcott's  attractions  and  his  own  peculiar  wit.  Mr. 
Liston,  the  British  Minister,  who  was  thorougly  English  in  his 
ideas,  on  some  occasion  remarked  to  him:  'Your  countrywoman, 
Mrs.  Wolcott,  would  be  admired  even  at  St.  James'.  'Sir',  retorted 
the  Senator  from  Connecticut,  'she  is  admired  even  on  Litchfield 
Hill!'"       (Gibbs,  Federal  Administration,  Vol.  I,  p.  162). 

That  Litchfield  girls  and  women  are  unusually  beautiful  is  a 
statement  the  truth  of  which  has  been  confined  to  no  single  gener- 
ation. We  are  as  proud  of  it  to-day,  as  ever  was  Mr.  Tracy.  It  is 
interesting  to  trace  the  growth  of  the  observation  of  this  happy 
phenomenon.  In  the  diary  of  a  Law  student,  George  Younglove 
Cutler,  August  18,  1820,  (Vanderpoel,  p.  195),  we  read:  "Evening, 
Miss  Tallmadge  here — is  certainly  elegant — there  is  no  such  woman 
in  New  Haven — Litchfield  is  certainly  an  extraordinary  place  for 
beauty — the  mountain  air  gives  them  the  expression  of  health  & 
that  is  the  principal  ingredient". 

We  think  too  that  perhaps  even  Lyman  Beecher  had  heard  about 
the  ladies  of  Litchfield,  for  immediately  after  arriving  here,  March 
5, 1810,  he  wrote  at  once  to  reassure  Mrs.  Beecher :  "There  are  many 
agreeable  women  here,  but  none  so  handsome  or  pleasing  as  to 
occasion  a  momentary  wandering  of  my  heart  from  the  object  where 
it  has  so  long  and  with  such  satisfaction  rested".  (Autobiographv, 
Vol.  L  p.  190). 

Good,  faithful  Mr.  Beecher;  all  the  newcomers  to  Litchfield 
have  not  been  as  constant !  When  James  Gould  first  came  to  Litch- 
field, he  was  present  one  day  at  the  Court  House.  Uriah  Tracy 
was  in  the  Court  room,  and  watched  the  handsome  young  lawyer 
with  admiration.  He  asked  him  to  lunch,  at  his  home  where  possi- 
bly his  daughter  surprised  him  by  monopolizing  some  of  Mr. 
Gould's  attention.  We  can  let  Mariann  Goodrich  tell  the  rest, 
just  as  she  wrote  it  to  her  favorite  brother,  Frederick  Wolcott,  in 
1794,  (Wolcott  Memorial,  p.  333) :  "New  Haven  folks,  especially 
the  women,  are  most  terribly  angry  at  Mr.  G.  for  quitting  Miss  W. 
They  say  he  has  been  engaged  to  her  seven  years,  and  now  he  writes 
her  a  civil  letter  informing  her  that  he  has  been  so  unfortunate  as 
to  fall  in  love  with  Sally  T.,  and  cannot  possibly  fulfill  his  promise 
to  her  Ladyship — and  so  wishing  her  a  great  deal  of  happiness  he 
bids  her  adieu.  I  had  several  reasons  for  taking  the  man's  part, 
which  I  did  with  some  zeal.  I  told  them  it  had  always  been  an 
established  practice  with  the  Litchfield  Ladies  to  steal  the  hearts 
of  all  the  Gentlemen  who  came  here,  and  that  I  thought  a  New 
Haven  Lady  must  have  a  degree  of  modest  assurance  to  expect 
to  keep  her  sweet-heart  after  he  had  seen  the  Litchfield  beauties!" 

The  friendship  between  the  charming  and  very  sprightly  Mari- 
ann Wolcott  and  her  brother  Frederick  continued  as  warm  after 


she  married  Chauncey  Goodrich,  and  their  letters  form  one  of  the 
most  fascinating  chapters  in  the  delightful  Wolcott  Memoirs.  They 
are  not  adapted  for  quotation  in  a  history  concerned  primarily  with 
Litchfield,  and  we  must  turn  rather  to  speak  of  Frederick  Wolcott 
as  a  citizen.  He  is  described  as  having  been  a  very  retiring  and 
modest  man,  almost  diffident,  taking  after  his  father  in  that  respect, 
but  in  the  discharge  of  many  public  duties  in  Litchfield  he  was 
very  active.  He  was  for  instance  our  County  Clerk  for  forty  three 
years,  surpassing  his  immediate  predecessor,  Isaac  Baldwin  by  just 
one  year  of  service.  These  two  men  held  the  office  consecutively 
from  the  formation  of  the  County,  1751,  until  the  year  before  Fred- 
erick Wolcott's  death,  1836,  eighty  five  years  in  all.  Frederick  Wol- 
cott was  also  Judge  of  Probate  for  forty  one  years.  He  declined 
the  nomination  for  Governor  of  the  State  on  two  occasions,  when 
it  was  tendered  him  by  a  convention  of  his  political  friends ;  in  both 
cases  their  final  nominee  was  elected.  Probably  no  man  in  the 
State  had  a  stronger  hold  on  the  confidence  and  regard  of  his  fel- 
low-citizens. He  felt  that  his  health  was  inadequate  to  the  cares 
and  responsibilities  of  positions  more  important  than  the  many 
which  he  discharged  so  well.  He  also  loved  his  home  in  Litch- 
field and  was  loath  at  any  time  to  leave  it  and  the  pleasures  of  his 
family  life  there.  He  lived  in  his  father's  house,  which,  after 
having  been  out  of  the  family  for  some  years,  is  now  owned  by 
his  grand-daughter.  Miss  Alice  Wolcott  of  New  York. 

Frederick  Wolcott  was  twice  married,  first  in  1800  to  Betsey, 
daughter  of  Col.  Joshua  Huntington  of  Norwich,  who  died  in  1812, 
and  in  1815  to  Mrs.  Sally  Worthington  Cooke,  daughter  of  Kev. 
Samuel  Goodrich.  He  had  four  daughters  and  five  sons.  One  of 
the  latter  was  the  donor  of  the  fund  which  made  possible  the  estab- 
lishment of  the  Public  Library  here. 

His  four  daughters  and  his  second  wife  weie  especially  known 
for  their  many  varied  charms.  Mrs.  Wolcott  was  fitted  for  Yale 
College  when  she  was  twelve  years  of  age,  and  cried  because  she 
could  not  enter  that  institution.  In  Litchfield,  with  her  daughter 
and  three  step- daughters  she  is  said  to  have  "sat  as  a  queen  sur- 
rounded by  her  maids  of  honor". 

Of  the  four  Wolcott  girls,  E.  D.  Mansfield,  wrote,  (Personal 
Memories,  1879,  pp.  129-130),  "One  of  my  temptations  to  an  after- 
noon walk  was  to  meet  the  girls,  who,  like  ourselves,  were  often 
seen  taking  their  daily  walk.  Among  these,  were  the  Wolcotts,  the 
Demings,  the  Tallmadges,  the  Landons,  and  Miss  Peck,  who  after- 
wards became  my  wife.  ...  Of  the  Wolcotts  there  were  four,  and 
I  think  now,  as  I  did  then,  that  I  never  beheld  more  beautiful 
women  than  were  Hannah  and  Mary  Ann  Wolcott.  Many  a  time 
have  I  met  them  on  North  Street  when  it  was  a  pleasure  to  look 
upon  them,  with  the  clearest  complexions  of  white  and  red,  the 
brightest  eyes,  with  tall  and  upright  forms,  and  graceful  walk. 
These  ladies  would  have  attracted  admiration  in  any  place  of  the 
world-        The  two  other  Wolcotts  were  also  very  handsome". 


Mary  Ann  Wolcott,  who  afterwards  was  very  happily  married  to 
Asa  Whitehead  of  New  Jersey,  must  not  be  confused  with  her 
charming  Aunt,  Mariann  Wolcott  Croodrich.  At  this  time,  1820, 
Mary  Ann  had  an  unfortunate  love  affair  with  Henry  W.  Livingston, 
a  very  wealthy  Law  student  from  New  York.  "I  remembei*",  writes 
George  Younglove  Cutler,  (Vanderpoel,  p.  197-8),  "when  he  first 
went  to  Litchfield,  I  was  in  his  room  opposite  M.  A.'s  door,  we 
were  looking  out  and  saw  them — she  &  the  amiable  Hannah — L. 
remarked,  *I  suppose  these  young  ladies,  L  e.  the  ladies  of  this 
village,  depend  upon  law  students  for  their  husbands — I  will  be 
very  careful  they  do  not  ensnare  me' — within  three  weeks  he  was 
engaged  to  M.  A.  &  talked  to  me  of  Father  W." 

The  engagement  was  summarily  broken  a  few  weeks  later.  "It 
is  probably  the  interference  of  friends",  continued  Cutler,  "who 
have  caused  the  mishap  in  this  case — if  I  was  an  Emperor  I  would 
hang  such  a  man".  Though  the  affair  caused  a  great  excitement 
at  the  time,  Mary  Ann  Wolcott  was  undoubtedly  fortunate  and  she 
took  the  experience  with  the  spirit  characteristic  of  her  family.  Six 
weeks  later  Cutler  could  write:  "A  charming  visit  at  Mary  Ann 
W's — how  interesting!  how  beautiful!  how  much  improved  in  her 
personal  appearance.  I  could  not  help  telling  her  my  opinion — In 
return  she  reciprocated  my  compliments — which  T  always  like — 
she  is  one  of  the  finest  looking  females  I  ever  saw". 





The  question  is  sometimes  asked  whether  slavery  was  ever  gen- 
eral in  Litchfield.  We  find  no  evidence  that  it  was.  After  the 
Revolution  slaves  were  still  employed  quite  generally  in  the  North, 
but  the  majority  of  families  in  our  town  were  not  in  a  position  to 
keep  slaves,  even  if  they  had  been  inclined  to  do  so.  Probably  the 
greatest  number  of  slaves  here  was  during  the  ten  years  following 
the  war.  In  1800,  there  were  only  seven  left  in  the  town,  and 
probably  the  last  one  was  emancipated  soon  after  that  date.  The 
sentiment  in  the  North  was  undergoing  a  rapid  change  at  this  time. 
Earlier,  the  keeping  of  slaves  had  been  a  matter  of  course;  but  at 
this  date,  both  law  and  sentiment  were  turning  with  increasing 
momentum  against  the  custom.  George  C.  Woodruff,  in  his  Resi- 
dents of  Litchfield,  gives  a  list  of  29  slaves,  with  their  owners' 
names,  and  their  dates  of  birth,  ranging  from  1777  to  1801. 

Two  Tallmadge  receipts  for  young  slaves  are  preserved.  One 
is  a  bill  of  sale  from  John  Shethar  for  36  pounds  for  a  negro  boy 
named  Prince,  seven  years  old,  dated  May  19,  1784.  The  other  is 
a  bill  of  sale  from  Ezra  L'Hommedieu,  for  a  negro  girl  named  Jane, 
thirteen  years  old,  dated  March  10,  1787. 

In  the  Wolcott  household,  the  slaves,  and  later  the  free  colored 
servants  were  apparently  numerous.  There  is  an  interesting  letter 
from  Oliver  Wolcott  Jr.,  to  his  mother,  written  from  New  York  two 
months  after  the  marriage  of  his  sister  Mariann:  "I  can  easily 
judge",  he  says  in  part,  "from  niiy  own  feelings,  that  your  own 
situation,  since  the  removal  of  my  Sister,  must  be  in  some  respects 
lonely  and  disagreeable.  But  as  you  will  be  able  to  hear  frequently 
from  her,  and  must  be  perfectly  satisfied  with  the  character  of  Mr. 
Goodrich,  I  feel  not  so  much  anxiety  on  that  account,  as  from  the 
multiplied  attention  which  you  will  give  to  the  family  servants, 
with  which  you  are  burdened.  I  must  request  that  your  humanity 
to  them  be  not  so  particular  as  to  suffer  your  health  to  be  impaired 
on  their  account.  If  any  measures  consistent  with  propriety  can 
be  taken,  to  prevent  an  increase  of  that  kind  of  trouble,  it  is  surely 
your  duty  to  attempt  them".  (Wolcott  Memorial,  p.  237,  Letter  of 
December  21,  1789). 

It  would  appear  from  this  letter  that  the  Litchfield  slaves  were 
very  kindly  looked  after.  This  is  confirmed  by  the  lack  of  notices 
in  the  press  of  run-away  slaves.  Only  one  of  these  is  established: 
In  the  Witness  for  October  23,  1805,  John  Bird  of  South  Farms 


advertised  a  $20.  reward:  "Ran  away  on  the  21st  instant  about 
midnight,  a  man  slave,  by  name  Tom,  who  has  long  lived  with  my 
father,  Doet.  Bird".  This  advertisement  was  continued  weekly 
for  upwards  of  three  months,  so  that  Tom  probably  was  not  found. 

In  the  Monitor  of  June  7,  1797,  David  Welch  of  Milton  adver- 
tised for  the  return  of  "a  midatto  servant  Jep  21  years  old,  about 
five  feet  7  or  8  inches  high,  understands  the  trade  of  a  Bloomer,  will 
probably  seek  employment  in  that  business".  But  this  was  not 
necessarily  a  slave. 

The  consideration  of  the  Litchfield  slave  owners  in  liberating 
their  slaves  when  they  considered  them  able  to  look  out  for  them- 
selves is  shown  in  the  following  document  of  the  elder  Oliver  Wol- 
cott,  notable  also  for  its  early  date: 

"Know  all  men  by  these  Presents  that  I  Oliver  Wolcott  of  Litch- 
field in  the  State  of  Connecticut  in  expectation  that  my  negro  Servant 
Man  Caesar  will  by  his  industry  be  able  to  obtain  a  comfortable 
subsistence  for  Himself  and  that  he  Avill  make  a  proper  use  of  the 
Freedom  which  I  hereby  give  him  Do  Discharge  liberate  and  set 
free  him  the  said  Caesar  and  do  hereby  exempt  him  from  any  further 
Obligation  of  servitude  to  me  my  heirs  and  from  every  other  person 
claiming  Authority  over  him  by  from  or  under  me — and  that  my 
said  servant  whom  I  now  make  free  as  aforesaid  may  be  known 
hereafter  by  a  proper  Cognomen  I  hereby  give  him  the  name  of 
Jamus  so  that  hereafter  he  is  to  be  known  and  distinguished  by  the 
name  of  Caesar  Jamus.  As  Witness  my  Hand  and  Seal  in  Litch- 
field November  23,  A.  D.  1786". 

As  the  slaves  were  freed  they  became  in  many  cases  useful  and 
desirable  members  of  our  community.  At  least  three  figure  on  the 
Honor  Roll  of  the  Revolution.  These  are  Cash  Africa,  George 
Negro,  and  Jack  Negro.  The  name  of  the  first  of  these  is  so  unusual 
that  we  would  gladly  know  more  of  him.  After  the  War,  May  19, 
1788,  we  find  a  contract  between  him  and  Col.  Tallmadge  for  services. 
One  Jeph  Africa  lies  in  the  East  Cemetery,  and  the  stone  is  still 
legible:  "Here  lies  the  body  of  Jeph  Africa,  servant  of  the  Rev. 
Judah  Champion,  who  died  June  the  5th,  1793".  This  stone  appears 
to  have  caught  the  eye  of  Nathaniel  Hawthorne  when  he  visited 
Litchfield  in  1838,  though  if  it  be  the  same  one  he  misread  it;  the 
page  he  devotes  to  Litchfield  is  so  interesting  as  giving  his  impres- 
sions that  it  is  here  quoted  at  length,  though  concerned  with  matters 
not  immediately  pertinent  to  the  story  of  Africa:  (Am.  Notebooks, 
Wayside  Edition,  p.  201). 

"In  Connecticut,  and  also  sometimes  in  Berkshire,  the  villages 
are  situated  on  the  most  elevated  ground  that  can  be  found,  so  that 
they  are  visible  for  miles  around.  Litchfield  is  a  remarkable  instance, 
occupying  a  high  plain,  without  the  least  shelter  from  the  winds, 
and  with  almost  as  wide  an  expanse  of  view  as  from  a  mountain- 
top.  The  streets  are  very  wide,  two  or  three  hundred  feet,  at 
least,  with  wide,  green  margins,   and  sometimes   there  is   a   wide 


green  space  between  the  two  road  tracks.  Nothing  can  be  neater 
than  the  churches  and  houses.  The  graveyard  is  on  the  slope,  and  at 
the  foot  of  a  swell,  filled  with  old  and  new  gravestones,  some  of 
red  freestone,  some  of  grey  granite,  most  of  them  of  white  marble, 
and  one  of  cast-iron  with  an  inscription  of  raised  letters.  There 
was  one  of  the  date  of  about  1776,  on  which  was  represented  the 
third-length,  bas-relief  portrait  of  a  gentleman  in  a  wig  and  other 
costume  of  that  day;  and  as  a  framework  about  this  portrait  was 
wreathetl  a  garland  of  vine-leaves  and  heavy  clusters  of  grapes. 
The  deceased  should  have  been  a  jolly  bottleman;  but  the  epitaph 
indicated  nothing  of  the  kind. 

"In  a  remote  part  of  the  graveyard,  remote  from  the  main  body 
of  dead  people,  I  noticed  a  humble,  mossy  stone,  on  which  I  traced 
out  'To  the  memory  of  Julia  Africa,  servant  of  Rev.'  somebody. 
There  were  also  the  half  obliterated  traces  of  other  graves,  without 
any  monuments,  in  the  vicinity  of  this  one.  Doubtless  the  slaves 
here  mingled  their  dark  clay  with  the  earth. 

"At  Litchfield  there  is  a  Doctor  who  undertakes  to  cure  deformed 
people — and  humpbacked,  lame,  and  otherwise  defective  folk  go  there. 
Besides  these,  there  were  many  ladies  and  others  boarding  there, 
for  the  benefit  of  the  air,  I  suppose".  While  on  this  digression,  it 
should  be  added  that  the  hospital  for  cripples  here  referred  to  was 
at  the  present  Mrs.  W.  H.  Sanford  house.  It  was  established  in 
1832  by  Dr.  Alanson  Abbe. 

Of  the  Africa  family  we  know  nothing  further.  In  the  Wood- 
ruff list  we  find  a  slave,  Cash,  belonging  to  Col.  Ebenezer  Marsh. 
It  may  be  that  he  accompanied  CoL  Marsh  to  the  War,  and  so 
gained  his  position  on  the  Honor  Roll.  Col.  Marsh  had  another 
slave,  Nim,  the  first  colored  man  in  town,  reputed  to  have  killed 
three  deer  at  one  shot. 

Evidence  of  Litchfield's  reputation  for  generous  treatment  of 
slaves,  if  any  were  needed,  is  furnished  by  the  story  of  Old  Grimes, 
here  abbreviated  from  Kilbourn's  Bench  and  Bar,  pp.  329-330: 

William  Grimes  was  a  run- away  slave  who  came  to  Litchfield 
about  1808,  and  became  a  general  servant  to  the  students  at  the 
Law  School.  Judge  Reeve  had  acquired  a  reputation  for  defend- 
ing fugitive  slaves,  and  several  came  here  simply  from  hearing  about 
him.  Grimes  was  thrifty  and  bought  a  piece  of  land  west  of  the 
Fire  Department  building,  to  which  he  moved  a  small  building 
which  he  used  as  a  barber  shop.  His  former  master  found  him 
out  some  fifteen  years  later  and  attempted  to  recover  him.  He  was 
obliged  to  dispose  of  his  property  through  his  friends.  Dr.  Abel 
Catlin  and  William  H.  Thompson,  who  used  the  proceeds  to  purchase 
his  freedom.  He  left  Litchfield  and  removed  to  New  Haven,  where 
he  continued  to  serve  the  students  at  Yale  College.  He  published 
a  sketch  of  his  life,  and  always  seemed  to  enjoy  his  own  picturesque- 
ness.  When  Albert  G.  Green,  of  Rhode  Island,  afterwards  United 
States  Senator,  was  a  student  in  Litchfield,  he  had  the  reputation 


of  being  a  great  rhymester.  Old  Grimes  hearing  of  this  importuned 
him  to  write  a  poem  about  him,  which  he  did,  and  which  became 
famous  as  an  epitaph  written  before  the  fact.  Kilboum  gives  nine 
stanzas  and  there  were  perhaps  more;  here  are  four  of  them: 

Old  Grimes  is  dead — that  good  old  man. 

We  ne'er  shall  see  him  more; 
He  used  to  wear  a  long  black  coat 

All   buttoned   down  before. 

He  lived  in  peace  with  all  mankind, 

In  friendship  he  was  true; 
His  coat  had  pocket-holes  behind, 

His  pantaloons   were  blue. 

But  good  old  Grimes  is  now  at  rest, 

Nor  fears  misfortune's  frown; 
He  wore  a  double-breasted  vest, 

The  stripes  ran  up  and  down. 

His  neighbors  he  did  not  abuse, 

Was  sociable  and  gay; 
He  wore  large  buckles  on  his  shoes, 

And  changed  them  every  day. 

The  last  survivor  of  the  freed  slaves  around  Litchfield  was 
probably  Tom  Jackson,  a  former  slave  of  Col.  Tallmadge,  who  lived 
with  his  wife  and  a  daughter  on  the  Milton  Boad.  He  died  there 
some  time  after  1857. 

Another  class  of  servants,  both  white  and  colored,  were  known 
as  Indented  Servants.  These  were  persons  who  sold  their  services 
for  a  definite  period  of  time  in  return  for  a  cash  contract  or  some 
other  equivalent.  We  find  many  of  these  old  contracts.  "Indenture 
for  Mistic  boy,  named  Ebo,  from  his  mother  to  Benj.  Tallmadge, 
April  7,  1785";  and  again  "Indenture  between  Benjamin  Tallmadge 
and  Euth  Woodhidl  for  services,  November  25,  1788".  More  often 
young  boys  were  indented  as  apprentices,  pledging  a  certain  period 
of  service,  in  return  for  the  teaching  of  a  trade.  Occasionally,  men 
or  boys  who  wished  to  come  over  to  this  country,  sold  themselves 
to  the  ship  captains  for  their  passage  across  the  Atlantic.  They 
were  called  Bedemptioners.  On  arrival  their  pledged  service  in  the 
form  of  an  indenture  would  be  resold  by  the  captain  at  auction 
or  private  sale.  Col.  Matthew  Lyon,  who  figured  in  public  life  as 
Congressman  from  Vermont  and  Kentucky,  was  an  Irish  boy  who 
came  over  in  this  manner.  He  was  sold  for  a  pair  of  stags,  valued 
at  12  pounds,  to  Hugh  Hannah  of  Litchfield,  and  he  stayed  here 
for  ten  years  before  going  to  Vermont.       He  died  August  1,  1822. 

Many  apprentices  ran  away,  and  the  columns  of  our  early  papers 
often  contained  advertisements  for  their  return.  They  were  prob- 
ably troublesome  enough  to  their  masters,  and  the  small  amounts 


of  the  rewards  offered  may  indicate  that  the  masters  were  not 
especially  keen  for  their  return,  the  advertisements  being  put  in 
merely  out  of  duty  to  the  parents  who  had  indentured  them.  The 
smallest  reward  noticed  is  for  a  girl :  "Ran  away  from  the  subscriber 
on  the  6th  instant,  an  indented  girl,  12  years  old,  by  the  name  of 
Sarah  Moss.  She  has  blue  eyes,  light  hair,  and  is  hard  of  hearing. . . 
Whoever  will  return  said  Girl  to  the  Subscriber  shall  have  twenty 
cents  reward  and  no  charges  paid.  All  persons  are  forbidden  har- 
boring said  girl  on  penalty  of  the  Law.  Reuben  Webster.  Litch- 
field, Aug.  9, 1805".      (Witness). 

Indented  servants  could  be  sold,  like  slaves,  for  the  unexpired 
terms  of  their  contracts.  We  close  this  account  of  the  servant 
problems  of  120  years  ago  with  a  sample  advertisement  for  a  sale 
of  this  character: 

"For  Sala  Eight  Years  and  Six  Months  Service  of  an  indented 
Mulatto  Girl,  at  the  expiration  of  which  period  she  will  be  21 
years  and  6  months  old.  She  is  of  middling  size,  strong  and  healthy, 
and  has  been  brought  up  to  housework.  Her  present  owner  not 
having  sufficient  employ  for  her,  she  will  be  sold  on  easy  terms  at 
the  moderate  price  of  34  pounds,  payable  by  instalments,  in  sheep 
or  young  cattle,  for  two  thirds,  the  residue  in  cash.  Inquire  of  the 
Printer".      (Monitor,  October  18,  1797). 



On  May  9, 1789,  a  Temperance  Association  was  formed  in  Litch 
field  in  an  endeavor,  as  the  pledge  signed  on  that  occasion  states, 
"to  reform  a  practice  which  leads  so  many  to  poverty,  distress 
and  niin".  Such  an  Association  would  be  of  interest  to  us  in 
any  event  owing  to  the  very  early  date  at  which  it  was  formed; 
but  it  gains  added  significance  because  it  can  be  considered  as  pre- 
paring the  soil  in  which  Lyman  Beecher,  thirty  seven  years  later, 
initiated  his  far  more  famous  crusade  against  intemperance.  It 
is  perhaps  well  to  say  a  little  more  about  this  pioneer  movement 
than  would  be  necessary  had  it  led  no  further. 

In  those  early  days  drinking  was  considered  an  absolute  neces- 
sity if  only  to  counteract  the  rigorous  climate  of  our  hill  country. 
Thus,  for  example,  the  very  year  of  the  Temperance  Association, 
Oliver  Wolcott  Sr.  writes  from  Litchfield  in  a  letter  of  advice  to 
his  son,  Oliver  Jr.,  when  the  latter  first  went  to  New  York  as 
Auditor  of  the  National  Treasury,  (Wolcott  Memorial,  pp.  185-6)  : 
"November  24,  1789,  Sir;  . . .  Your  Service  will  be  complicated  and 
arduous  . . .  You  may  therefore  safely  indulge  yourself  with  as 
much  Exercise  and  Relaxation,  as  will  be  necessary  for  your 
Health.  Endeavor  to  preserve  the  mens  sana  in  sano  corpore,  by 
indulging  at  times  a  certain  Vacancy  of  Thought,  etc.  As  to  your 
Mode  of  Living,  I  need  say  but  very  little;  your  Habits  of  Temper- 
ance will  render  it  unnecessary,  only  this  you  will  recollect,  that 
there  are  many  old  Men  in  Connecticut,  who  have  drank  Cider  for 
three  quarters  of  a  Century,  who  are  active  and  almost  blooming, 
and  exempt  from  all  Gout,  Rheiunatism,  and  Stone;  while  the  drink 
ers  of  beer  and  Spirits  die  soon,  and  in  misery.  Simple  Diet  and 
fermented  Liquors,  except  rich  Beer,  will  with  the  moderate  use 
of  water,  be  always  found  to  be  best,  especially  for  sedentary 

It  was  not  thought  possible  for  the  average  workman  to  keep 
his  health  without  a  very  considerable  amount  of  rum  or  cider  to 
restore  the  vitality  consumed  in  his  physical  work ;  the  non-laboring 
class  also  assumed  that  it  could  not  live  through  a  Litchfield  winter 
without  a  large  consumption  of  stimulants.  It  was  a  matter  of 
much  concern  some  years  when  the  apple  crop  had  been  small,  and 
when  orchards  at  best  were  limited,  how  the  necessary  supply  of 
cider  was  to  be  obtained.  Among  the  letters  of  Oliver  Wolcott  Jr. 
to   his    brother,    Frederick    Wolcott,    in    the    Litchfield    Historical 


Society,  is  one  from  Washington  specially  urging  him  to  get  an  ade- 
quate supply  from  Harwinton  while  it  was  still  possible  to  buy 
cider  there. 

Even  at  the  raising  of  the  Meeting  Houses  no  work  could  be 
done  without  a  liberal  distribution  of  rum.  The  classical  instance 
of  this  occurs  in  connection  with  the  raising  of  the  second  Church 
by  the  South  Farms  Society  in  1785.  In  April  of  that  year,  the 
Society  voted,  "that  the  meeting  house  committee  shall  have  good 
right  to  furnish  Rum,  Grindstones,  and  Ropes  sufficient  for  framing 
the  meeting  house  according  to  their  best  discretion".  And  in  June 
of  the  same  year,  the  Society  appointed  an  Overseer,  to  direct  the 
issue  of  liguor  at  the  raising,  and  voted,  "that  the  overseer  shall 
give  two  drams  per  day  to  the  spectators,  one  a  little  before  noon, 
the  other  a  little  before  night".  Th'?y  entered  upon  the  work  with 
such  spirit,  that  the  Meeting  House  was  finished  in  twenty  weeks 
after  they  began  the  frame.  This  distribution  was  a  regular  part 
of  all  community  movements.  The  first  attempt  to  do  away  with 
it  was  in  connection  with  the  raising  in  1829  of  the  third  Congre- 
gational Church,  three  years  after  Lyman  Beecher  had  preached  his 
Temperance  Sermons,  and  it  was  not  a  success.  "A  hogshead  of 
small  beer  had  been  brewed  in  the  cellar  of  Galpin  and  Goodwin's 
store,  across  the  street,  an  innovation  which  did  not  meet  with 
popular  approval.  There  was  a  crowd  of  people  around  the  church 
cellar,  but  not  enough  hands  could  be  found  who  would  lift  even 
the  ground  timbers  into  place.  TMien  the  strike  was  seen  to  be 
thoroughly  'on'  Dr.  William  Buel  asked  William  Norton  and  some 
other  boys  to  go  to  his  store  and  bring  over  a  certain  box,  which 
the  lads  found  to  be  very  heavy.  When  the  doctor  evened  it  and 
the  company  saw  a  case  of  liquors,  there  were  plenty  of  men  ready 
to  handle  the  largest  timbers!  The  last  day  when  the  spire  was 
raised  there  were  two  or  three  Shaker  tubs  of  rum  punch  set  at 
the  east  end  of  East  Park  with  little  tin  cups  near  by. . .".  (Miss 
Esther  H.  Thompson  in  Waterbury  American,  March  8,  1906). 

The  Association  of  1789  was  naturally  the  subject  of  a  good 
deal  of  banter.  An  echo  of  this  appears  in  one  of  the  sprightly 
letters  of  Mrs.  Chauncey  Goodrich  (Mariann  Wolcott)  to  her  brother 
Frederick  Wolcott  (Hartford,  August  13,  1793)  :  "I  hope  you  will 
attend  to  Papa's  health  and  encourage  him  in  moderate  exercise  and 
to  live  generously.  It  is  supposed  that  Mr.  Sherman  and  Gen.  Wol- 
cott brought  on  their  disorders  by  too  great  temperance  in  living. 
I  hope  our  Father  will  be  a  comfort  to  himself  and  a  blessing  to 
us  for  a  long  time.  My  duty  and  Love  to  him  and  to  my  Mother". 
(Wolcott  Memorial,  p.  331). 

But  there  was  another  side  to  the  picture,  in  the  men,  some 
of  them,  as  it  happened,  very  prominent  ones,  who  fell  victims  to 
intemperance;  and  unquestionably  it  was  these  examples  that  led 
to  the  inception  and  growth  of  the  temperance  movement.  The 
most  signal  case  was  that  of  Jedediah  Strong. 


The  picture  of  Judge  Strong  drawn  for  us  by  Kilbourne  (pp. 
147-150)  is  not  an  attractive  one,  but  his  story  at  least  deserves 
pity.  He  was  bom  in  Litchfield  in  1738,  and  spent  his  whole  life 
here;  he  graduated  at  Yale  in  1761,  and  was  the  second  native  of 
Litchfield  to  receive  a  coll^ate  degree.  He  first  studied  divinity, 
but,  being  early  elected  to  a  town  office,  he  abandoned  his  studies 
for  the  more  congenial  pursuits  of  a  politician.  With  only  his  own 
skill  to  help  him,  he  soon  acquired  and  long  maintained  a  political 
ascendency  second  only  to  that  of  Wolcott  and  Adams.  An  imperi- 
ous will,  an  affectation  of  power  and  a  faculty  of  making  himself 
popular  all  contributed  to  his  success.  His  diminutive  figure,  limp- 
ing gait,  and  unpleasant  countenance  were  in  some  measure  atoned 
for  by  his  promptness  and  tact  in  the  discharge  of  the  public  busi- 
ness. He  was  a  good  penman,  then  an  important  qualification, 
familiar  with  legal  forms,  and  held  possibly  as  many  public  offices 
for  as  long  terms  as  any  of  our  citizens.  Many  of  these  will  be 
found  in  the  Appendix.  His  habit  of  intoxication  gradually  grew 
on  him  and  led  him  to  poverty  and  degradation.  He  is  said  at 
one  time  to  have  been  a  beggar  and  a  charge  on  the  Town.  He  was 
twice  married,  his  daughter.  Idea  Strong,  remaining  to  the  last  his 
chief  comfort.  He  died  in  1802,  and  was  buried  in  the  West  Bury- 
ing Ground,  but  no  trace  of  his  grave  remains. 

Already  in  1789  his  habit  of  intemperance  was  proverbial,  and 
it  is  possible  that  the  Association  was  formed  in  part  at  least  to 
try  to  give  him  the  support  of  his  fellow  townsmen  in  an  attempt  to 
reform  himself.  It  is  at  least  noticeable  that  while  the  other  signers 
put  all  their  names  together  at  the  foot  of  their  pronouncement, 
Judge  Strong  signed  a  separate  statement  after  them.  The  original 
pledge  is  given  at  length  in  Woodruff's  History,  p.  50.  Among  the 
signers  were  Ephraim  Kirby,  Julius  Deming,  Benjamin  Tallmadge, 
Uriah  Tracy,  Ebenezer  Marsh,  Moses  Seymour,  Daniel  Sheldon, 
Tapping  Keeve,  Frederick  Wolcott,  Lynde  Lord,  and  John  Allen. 

The  separate  pledge  of  Judge  Strong  was  as  follows:  ''By 
Necessity  and  on  Principle,  in  consequence  of  little  experiment  and 
much  observation,  I  have  effectually  adopted  and  adhered  to  the 
salutary  plan  herein  proposed  during  several  months  past,  and  am 
still  resolved  to  persevere  until  convinced  that  any  alteration  will 
be  productive  of  some  greater  good,  whereof  at  present  I  have  no 
apprehension  whilst  Human  Nature  remains  the  same". 

His  good  resolves  were  of  short  duration.  In  1790  he  was 
arrested  for  ill  treatment  on  the  charge  of  his  second  wife,  Susannah, 
daughter  of  George  Wyllys,  then  Secretary  of  State  at  Hartford.  He 
was  afterwards  sued  by  her  for  a  divorce,  which  she  obtained,  the 
trial  being  held  in  New  Haven,  In  spite  of  all  his  misfortunes, 
he  remained  something  of  a  character  to  the  end,  and  we  may  per- 
haps quote  from  his  Will,  dated  March  31,  1801,  as  it  is  one  of  the 
most  unconventional  ever  filed  in  this  Probate  District.  It  is 
mainly  occupied  with  pious  reflections  and  counsels  addressed  to  his 


daughter.  "And  finally",  he  adds,  "that  worldly  wealth  or  earthly 
estate  which  it  has  pleased  the  Universal  Proprietor  to  commit  to 
my  temporary  care  and  stewardship  on  the  sublunary,  probationary 
theatre,  (or  the  remnant  fragments  after  so  much  spoliation  of  envy, 
Covetousness,  Oppression,  or  whatever  mistake  in  extreme  career  of 
permitted  human  vicissitude),  my  most  mature  and  deliberate 
option  and  volition  is,  that  disposition  be  made  as  follows:  I 
recommend,  give  and  bequeath,  to  my  beloved  daughter,  Idea  Strong, 
my  Bibles  and  inferior  Orthodox  Treatises  on  Beligion  and  Morality, 
or  relative  or  appertaining  to  Vital  Piety  or  Practical  Godliness, 
and  all  other  Books,  Pamphlets  or  Manuscripts,  except  Eomances, 
if  any  be  left  extant,  which  I  have  long  since,  (though  not  soon 
enough),  intentionally  consigned  or  destined  to  deserved  oblivion 
in  native  shades  of  chaos".  The  amount  of  his  worldly  wealth, 
says  Kilbourne,  as  per  inventory,  was  $96,66;  while  as  an  offset  to 
this,  claims  against  him  to  the  amount  of  a  few  hundred  dollars 
were  sent  in. 

No  good  purpose  can  be  served  by  detailing  the  circimistances 
of  all  those  who  were  in  the  minds  of  the  men  who  kept  alive  the 
temperance  movement  between  the  original  pledge  of  1789  and  the 
Beecher__Serinons^jjl_1826.  Reference  should  however  be  made  to 
another  very  distinguished  lawyer,  John  Allen,  a  signer  of  the 
pledge  of  1789,  who  in  his  last  years  yielded  to  intemperate  habits, 
and  lost  his  business  and  wealth,  dying  at  the  farmhouse  north  of 
Town  to  which  he  retired. 

He  was  a  striking  figure,  in  many  respects  the  very  antithesis 
of  Judge  Strong.  David  S.  Boardman,  in  his  Sketches  of  the  Early 
Lights  of  the  Litchfield  Bar,  1860,  describes  him  as  follows:  "He 
was  six  feet  four  or  five  inches  high,  very  erect  and  with  an  atti- 
tude and  walk  well  calculated  to  set  off  his  full  stature,  and  though 
quite  lean,  weighed  full  230  pounds.  His  countenance  was  strongly 
marked  and  truly  formidable,  his  eyes  and  eyebrows  dark,  his  hair 
dark,  what  little  he  had,  and  indeed  his  whole  appearance  was  cal- 
culated to  inspire  dread  rather  than  affection.  His  manner  and 
conversation  were,  however,  such  as  to  inspire  confidence  and  respect, 
though  little  calculated  to  invite  familiarity,  except  with  his  inti- 
mates, of  whom  he  had  few,  and  those,  knowing  the  generous  and 
hearty  friendship  of  which  he  was  capable,  were  usually  much 
attached  to  him  and  ready  to  overlook  all  his  harsh  sallies,  imputing 
them  to  the  'rough  humor  which  his  mother  gave  him'.  His  feelings 
Avere  not  refined,  but  ardent,  generous  and  hearty.  His  friendships 
were  strong  and  his  aversions  equally  so ;  and  his  feelings  were  all  of 
the  great  sort".  He  was  born  in  Great  Barrington,  Mass.,  in  1762. 
After  teaching  school  in  Germantown,  Penna.,  and  in  New  Milford, 
he  came  to  the  Law  School  in  Litchfield,  and  remained  here  for  the 
rest  of  his  life.  He  attained  a  high  eminence,  but  was  content  to 
confine  his  practice  almost  entirely  to  Litchfield  County,  though  he 


practiced  in  other  parts  of  the  State  in  special  cases  of  importance 
to  which  he  was  called. 

It  would  appear  that  his  case  influenced  Lynian  Beecher  to  a 
consideration  of  the  temperance  question,  just  as  that  of  Jedediah 
Strong  influenced  the  men  who  formed  the  Association  of  1789. 
Another  influence  on  Beecher  was  furnished  by  the  conditions  he 
found  within  the  church  itself,  especially  in  connection  with  what 
was  then  considered  a  necessary  form  of  hospitality  at  such  gather- 
ings as  the  Ordination  of  new  ministers.  Here  is  the  description 
he  has  left  us  of  the  first  ordination  he  attended  after  coming  to 
Litchfield,  that  of  Mr.  Hart  in  Plymouth,  (Autobiography,  I.,  pp. 

"At  the  ordination  at  Plymouth,  the  preparation  for  our  crea- 
ture comforts,  in  the  sitting-room  of  Mr.  Hart's  house,  besides  food, 
was  a  broad  sideboard,  covered  Avith  decanters  and  bottles,  and 
sugar,  and  pitchers  of  water.  There  we  found  all  the  various  kinds 
of  liquors  then  in  vogue.  The  drinking  was  apparently  universal. 
This  preparation  was  made  by  the  Society  as  a  matter  of  course. 
When  the  Consociation  arrived,  they  always  took  something  to  drink 
round;  also  before  public  ser\'ices,  and  always  on  their  return.  As 
they  could  not  all  drink  at  once,  they  were  obliged  to  stand  and 
wait  as  people  do  when  they  go  to  mill.  There  was  a  decanter  of 
spirits  on  the  dinner  table,  to  help  digestion,  and  gentlemen  partook 
of  it  through  the  afternoon  and  evening  as  they  felt  the  need,  some 
more  and  some  less;  and  the  sideboard,  with  the  spillings  of  water, 
and  sugar,  and  liquor,  looked  and  smelled  like  the  bar  of  a  very 
active  grog-shop.  None  of  the  Consociation  were  drunk;  but  that 
there  was  not,  at  times,  a  considerable  amount  of  exhilaration,  I 
cannot  affrim.  When  they  had  all  done  drinking,  and  had  taken 
pipes  and  tobacco,  in  less  than  fifteen  minutes  there  was  such  a 
smoke  you  couldn't  see.  And  the  noise  I  cannot  describe;  it  was 
the  maximimi  of  hilarity". 

A  temperate  man  himself,  Lyman  Beecher  had  never  been  an 
advocate  of  total  abstinence.  "Two  leading  members  of  his  own 
church",  says  Miss  Esther  H.  Thompson,  Waterbury  American, 
February  22,  1906,  "Capt.  Wadsworth  and  Deacon  Bradley,  kept  a 
tavern  and  a  grocery  store  in  Bantam,  where  fermented  and  dis- 
tilled liquors  flowed  freely  as  was  then  the  universal  custom  in  such 
places.  Unseemly  carousals  were  common,  in  one  of  which  there 
was  a  battle  wherein  salted  codflsh  figured  as  weapon,  adding 
thereby  no  dignity  to  the  church,  and  deeply  grieving  the  wife  of 
Capt.  Wadsworth,  who  was  the  sister  of  Deacon  Bradley.  She  was 
a  woman  of  superior  intellect,  deep  piety,  and  early  became  a 
believer  in  total  abstinence.  It  is  said  that  her  influence  was 
potent  in  arousing  Dr.  Beecher  to  see  and  to  preach  against  the  evil 
of  intemperance.  But  he  was  especially  led  to  sentiments  so 
much  in  advance  of  the  age  by  the  scruples  of  his  friend  and 
parishioner,  Hezekiah  Murray,  from  the  Pitch.  This  man  owned 
a  Still.      Noticing  the  evil  effects  of  its  product  on  the  young  men 


of  the  neighborhood,  he  forbad  his  own  sons  to  drink  from  it.  Then 
he  questioned,  'if  distilled  liquor  was  bad  for  his  children,  was  it 
right  to  put  it  before  the  sons  of  his  neighbors?'  and  he  came  to 
Dr.  Beecher  for  advice.  At  first  the  minister,  in  accordance  with 
the  almost  universal  opinion  of  the  time,  argued  strongly  in  favor 
of  moderate  drinking.  But  the  subject  was  before  him  and  'would 
not  down'.  After  weeks  of  careful  thought  and  study,  there 

thundered  from  the  pulpit  the  memorable  Six  Sermons  on  Intemper- 
ance, which  we  are  told  were  afterwards  extensively  circulated  on 
both  sides  of  the  Atlantic,  and  started  a  movement  which  has 
never  stopped". 

No  man  in  the  country  was  more  earnest  or  fearless  in  his 
attacks  on  anything  which  he  had  definitely  decided  for  himself  to 
be  an  abuse.  He  had  previously,  in  1806,  while  at  East  Hampton, 
after  the  Burr-Hamilton  duel,  led  the  attack  against  the  then  uni- 
versal custom  of  dueling.  This  reform,  strange  as  it  may  seem  to 
us  to-day,  was  considered  a  more  radical  departure  than  his  later 
crusade  in  behalf  of  temperance,  but  that  story  is  not  a  part  of  the 
History  of  Litchfield- 

Of  the  Six  Sermons  themselves,  we  need  speak  only  in  Dr. 
Beecher's  own  words;  "I  didn't  set  up  for  a  reformer  any  more  than 
this:  when  I  saw  a  rattlesnake  in  my  path,  I  would  smite  it",  and 
elsewhere,  (Autobiography,  II.,  p.  35) :  "I  wrote  under  such  power 
of  feeling  as  never  before  or  since.  Never  could  have  written  them 
under  other  circumstances.  They  took  hold  of  the  whole  congre- 
gation. Sabbath  after  Sabbath  the  interest  grew  and  became  the 
most  absorbing  thing  ever  heard  of  before.  A  wonder:  of  weekly 
conversation  and  interest,  and,  when  I  got  through,  of  eulogy.  All 
the  old  farmers  that  brought  in  wood  to  sell,  and  used  to  set  up 
their  cart-whips  at  the  groggery,  talked  about  it,  and  said,  many 
of  them,  that  they  would  never  drink  again". 

With  the  Six  Sermons  and  the  departure  of  Lyman  Beecher 
the  same  year  for  the  wider  field  of  his  activities  in  Boston,  the 
question  of  temperance  passes  out  of  the  History  of  Litchfield. 



In  Litchfield,  as  in  every  other  community,  party  spirit  has 
from  time  to  time  run  high,  in  connection  with  local,  state  and 
national  elections.  In  general,  no  special  interest  attaches  to  these 
incidents  once  the  questions  which  have  been  at  issue  are  settled. 
Only  in  one  instance  has  the  storm  of  party  feeling  in  Litchfield 
had  an  effect  outside  the  borders  of  the  township.  This  was  the 
bitter  fight  between  the  Federalists  and  the  Democrats,  which  first 
reached  high  water  mark  in  1806,  in  the  imprisonment  at  Litchfield 
of  the  Democratic  editor  of  the  Witness,  Selleck  Osborn;  which  had 
its  effect  upon  the  establishment  in  1814  of  the  Phoenix  Bank  in 
Hartford,  with  its  branch  in  Litchfield,  now  our  First  National 
Bank;  and  which  culminated  with  the  election  in  1817  of  Oliver 
Wolcott  Jr.  as  the  first  Democratic  Governor  of  Connecticut  and 
the  ratification  of  a  new  Constitution  for  the  State  in  the  follow- 
ing year. 

The  election  of  Jefferson  as  President  in  1801  had  started  the 
tide  of  party  feeling  running  higher  throughout  the  country  than 
at  any  time  since  the  Revolution.  Perhaps  this  feeling  was  less 
marked  in  Connecticut  than  elsewhere;  for  in  this  State  the  govern- 
ment was  solidly  Federalist,  and  while  every  act  of  the  new  party 
was  met  with  condemnation,  the  Democrats  were  treated  more  with 
disdain  than  opposition.  The  Democrats  were  however  a  rising 
force  everywhere,  and  they  had  no  intention  of  neglecting  Con- 
necticut. They  were  well  organized,  they  had  complete  faith  in 
Jefferson  and  in  themselves,  and  where  they  thought  it  advisable 
they  were  absolutely  careless  of  the  methods  they  used  to  arouse 
feeling  and  to  win  votes.  At  this  day  it  seems  as  if  much  of  the 
feeling  was  due  as  largely  to  the  methods  they  used  as  to  the  actual 
principles  involved. 

One  of  the  dominant  strongholds  of  Federalism,  in  this  strongly 
Federalist  State  was  Litchfield.  Moses  Seymour  was  at  first  the  only 
citizen  of  prominence  who  was  a  Democrat,  though  many  of  the 
younger  men  and  very  many  of  the  workers  in  the  mills  were  Demo- 
crats. Practicallj'  all  the  men  of  the  families  of  Avealth  were  Federal- 
ists. The  Congregational  church  was  also  strongly  Federalist.  Orig- 
inally the  so-called  religion  tax,  which  was  a  part  of  the  regular  tax, 
was  applied  exclusively  to  the  benefit  of  the  Congregational  church 
throughout  the  State.  In  many  parts  of  the  State,  as  in  Litch- 
field there  was  no  other  church.  Since  1729  other  sects  could  pay 
their  religion  tax  for  the  support  of  their  own  ministers  instead 


of  all  having  to  pay  for  the  Congregational  preacher,  and  later  each 
denomination  was  allowed  to  pay  its  tax  in  its  own  way  and  at 
separate  rates.  "In  effect,  the  Congregational  was  the  'established 
church'  of  Connecticut.  There  were  the  outward  symbols  too,  as 
witness  the  election-day  services  for  generations  in  the  First  Church, 
Hartford,  when  all  the  Congregational  clergy  in  the  state  marched 
in  the  procession  with  state  officers  and  soldiery;  and  there  never 
was  an  election  sermon  by  aught  except  a  Congregationalist  till 
that  by  Dr.  Doane  the  year  of  the  new  constitution,  1818".  (First 
Century  of  the  Phoenix  Bank,  pp.  14-15). 

It  is  not  to  be  wondered  at  then  that  politics  got  into  the  pulpit. 
Years  before,  when  Jefferson  was  elected  as  the  Vice-President  with 
John  Adams,  Judah  Champion  prayed  for  "Thy  servant,  the  Presi- 
dent of  the  United  States",  and  then  added  fervently,  "Oh!  Lord, 
wilt  Thou  bestow  on  the  Vice-President  a  double  portion  of  Thy 
grace,  for  Thou  knowest  he  needs  it". 

The  Episcopal  Church,  corresponding  with  the  Church  of  Eng- 
land was  generally  considered  as  being  a  Tory  body,  and  to  carry 
on  the  distinction,  it  was  usually  identified  with  the  Democratic 
party.  The  distinction  between  the  two  churches  was  of  course  not 
a  true  one,  however  convenient  politically,  for  in  the  Kevolution 
there  were  happily  patriots  in  every  church,  and  later  the  Demo- 
crats were  found  in  increasing  numbers  in  every  church.  The  best 
Americans  were  too  sensible  to  share  in  these  distinctions.  "The 
church  of  St.  Michael  in  Litchfield,  was  a  mark  (in  the  Revolution) 
for  the  maliciously  disposed;  and  its  windows  stood  as  shattered 
monuments  of  the  vengeance  of  adversaries.  When  General  Wash- 
ington passed  through  Litchfield  the  soldiers  to  evince  their  attach- 
ment to  him  threw  a  shower  of  stones  at  the  windows;  he  reproved 
them,  saying:  'I  am  a  Churchman,  and  wish  not  to  see  the  church 
dishonored  and  desolated  in  this  manner. '  (Mrs.  Anna  Dickinson, 
ill  Saint  Michael's  Centennial  Pamphlet,  Nov.  5,  1845,  Appendix). 

When,  after  Jefferson's  election  to  the  Presidency,  the  Demo- 
crats determined  on  the  systematic  invasion  of  Connecticut,  they 
staged  a  series  of  political  rallies,  which  they  called  Festivals.  Of 
these  Tapping  Reeve  wrote,  (The  Litchfield  Festival,  1806) :  "It  has 
been  fashionable  ever  since  the  organization  of  the  Democratic  party, 
for  their  leaders  to  appoint  public  meetings  and  festivals,  which 
all  are  invited  to  attend,  and  on  which  great  numbers  constantly 
do  attend.  Thus  in  March,  1801,  a  festival  in  honor  of  the  election 
of  Mr.  Jefferson  as  President,  and  Mr.  Burr  as  Vice-President,  was 
holden  at  Wallingford;  in  1802  a  like  festival  was  holden  also  at 
Wallingford;  in  1803  at  New  Haven;  in  1804  at  Hartford  to  cele- 
brate the  purchase  of  Louisiana;  in  1806  at  Litchfield  to  celebrate 
the  independence  of  the  United  States;  and  in  1804  a  great  number, 
denominated  the  representatives,  from  97  towns  were  convened  at 
New  Haven  by  order  of  the  then  State  Manager  to  devise  means  for 
forming  a  new  Constitution  for  this  State". 


The  festival  in  Litchfield  was  elaborately  staged.  Timotliy 
Ashley,  an  editor,  was  sent  to  Litchfield,  where  he  started  a  news 
paper,  the  Witness,  on  August  14,  1805.  He  was  evidently  not 
considered  sensational  enough,  for  presently  another  editor  was  sent, 
Selleck  Osbom,  Together,  the  two  men  made  a  tremendous  stir. 
Apparently  Ashley  did  the  work  in  the  office  on  South  Street,  while 
Osborn  furnished  the  sensations.  He  started  in  Avith  a  rush  that 
would  have  done  justice  to  the  most  radical  or  sensational  paper 
ever  published  since,  evidently  trying  to  draw  out  the  Federalists 
to  some  action  which  would  lay  them  open  to  criticism.  The  more 
prominent  citizens  always  appeared  under  nick-names:  Col.  Benja- 
min Tallmadge  figured  as  'Billy  Bobtail',  Judge  Gould  as  'Jimmy 
Dross';  and  Julius  Deming  as  the  'Crowbar  Justice',  so  called  on 
account  on  a  supposedly  rigid  insistence  on  justice  in  the  matter  of 
the  price  of  a  crowbar  bought  from  a  political  opponent  as  they  came 
out  of  a  tempestuous  town-meeting.  (Miss  Thompson  in  Water- 
bury  American,  March  1906).  The  nicknames  given  to  some  other 
residents  of  the  town  and  printed  weekly  in  the  Witness  were  such 
as  could  not  appear  in  print  to-day.  Osborn  began  to  achieve 
results  promptly,  as  might  have  been  expected.  Going  into  the 
Tallmadge  store  one  day  and  beginning  to  criticise  everything  in 
sight,  one  of  CoL  Tallmadge's  sons  caught  up  a  horse-whip  and 
sailed  into  him  with  a  will.  This  was  a  great  success  for  Osbom, 
and  the  Witness  made  the  most  of  it.  But  more  was  needed. 
Eventually  the  chance  came.  Julius  Deming  lost  his  temper  com- 
pletely and  brought  a  libel  suit  against  both  editors.  The  result 
was  inevitable.  Judgment  was  brought  against  both  men  and  they 
were  subjected  to  a  fine.  In  default  of  payment  they  were  com- 
mitted to  the  County  JaiL  Ashley  was  not  so  ready  to  play  the 
martyr  as  Osborn,  and  was  soon  liberated.  "I  prefer  the  imprison- 
ment of  the  body  to  that  of  the  mind",  contemptuously  replied 
Osbom,  when  the  opportunity  to  regain  his  freedom  was  offered 
him.  The  Democrats  now  took  up  the  cudgels  for  Osborn,  and  he 
was  proclaimed  a  political  martyr.  The  news  of  his  incarceration 
reached  other  States,  and  Democrats  elsewhere  expressed  their  sym- 
pathy and  gave  their  support  to  the  effort  to  make  political  capital 
out  of  the  incident.  It  was  announced  that  Osborn's  health  was 
suffering  from  confinement  in  a  damp  and  loathsome  cell,  and  this 
was  printed  in  the  columns  of  Democratic  journals  published  far 
from  Litchfield.  The  Democrats  appointed  a  conunittee  to  visit 
the  Jail,  to  learn  the  true  situation.  Just  what  secrets  of  the 
Jail  the  Sheriff  revealed,  or  whether  there  were  any  to  be  revealai, 
will  never  be  known;  but  the  committee  reported  that  Osbom  was 
confined  in  the  same  room  with  two  criminals,  charged  with  capital 
offences;  they  reported  that  the  walls  were  ragged  stone  work,  and 
the  air  damp;  they  asserted  that  his  health  was  failing.  From 
this  time  forward  the  committee  made  regular  visits  to  the  Jail 
and  issued  weekly  Bulletins  through  the  Witness.  In  vain  the 
Sheriff,  John  K.  Landon,  denied  the  truth  of  the  reports;  the  story 


of  Osborn's  persecution  went  abroad  throughout  the  land.  It  was 
decided  to  have  a  demonstration  in  his  honor  on  August  6,  180G, 
and  this  was  worked  up  into  the  Festival  already  mentioned.  It 
was  a  great  day  for  the  Democrats  in  the  history  of  Litchfield. 
After  early  salutes  by  guns  and  music,  there  was  a  parade  of  troops 
and  civilians.  In  the  procession  were  United  States  Cavalry, 
Militia  from  Massachusetts,  distinguished  public  officials  so  far  as 
they  proved  available.  Osborn  had  the  opportunity  to  enjoy  the 
demonstration  in  his  own  behalf.  The  procession  marched  past 
the  Jail,  which  occupied  the  site  of  the  present  School-house,  with 
bared  heads.      Opposite  his  window  a  salute  was  fired. 

Notwithstanding  the  hatred  with  which  many  of  the  Congre- 
gationalists  regarded  Democracy,  the  Society  had  generously  offered 
the  use  of  the  meeting  house  for  the  occasion.  Here  occurred  an 
unfortunate  incident.  The  Kev.  Judah  Champion  and  his  colleague, 
Dan  Huntington,  had  taken  their  places  to  hear  the  exercises,  when 
the  chairman  of  the  day,  Joseph  L.  Smith,  (son-in-law  of  Ephraim 
Kirby  and  Kuth  Marvin,  and  himself  afterwards  the  father  of  the 
celebrated  Southern  General  Kirby  Smith),  rudely  came  up  to  the 
two  ministers  and  is  said  to  have  insulted  them  and  forced  them  to 
leave  the  building. 

After  the  spread-eagle  exercises  in  the  meeting  house,  the  com- 
pany adjourned  to  the  green  opposite  the  Jail,  where  a  collation  was 
served.  Here  Selleck  Osbom  had  the  privilege  of  looking  from  his 
window  and  hungrily  enjoying  the  feast  spread  in  his  honor,  but 
out  of  his  reach.  Seventeen  toasts  were  drunk  during  the  after- 
noon to  the  accompaniment  of  martial  music  and  cannon  shot.  The 
first  of  these  was  "Selleck  Osborn!  the  Later  Daniel  in  the  lions' 
den.  He  is  teaching  his  persecutors  that  the  beasts  cannot  devour 

With  the  Festival,  the  work  of  the  Witness  had  been  achieved. 
The  Democrats  had  won  the  notoriety  they  desired,  not  to  speak  of 
the  votes.  The  paper  was  continued  for  a  few  months  to  reap 
the  benefits  of  the  advertising.  Then  it  was  discontinued,  Selleck 
Osborn's  fine  was  paid,  and  he  left  for  other  fields  of  endeavor. 

The  bitterness  remained.  As  a  single  example  we  quote  from 
Boardman's  Sketches  of  the  Litchfield  Bar,  the  laconic  answer  of 
John  Allen  to  an  inquiry  of  him,  why  he  took  the  Aurora,  the 
County  democratic  paper:  "He  replied  it  was  because  he  wanted 
to  know  what  they  were  about  in  the  infernal  regions". 

Litchfield  again  figured  in  the  political  situation  in  1814,  when 
the  charter  of  the  Phoenix  Bank  was  being  sought  in  Hartford. 
This  was  opposed  by  the  Hartford  Bank,  then  the  only  one  in  the 
city,  which  naturally  feared  the  competition.  The  cry  that  the 
Phoenix  Bank  was  to  be  a  Democratic  and  an  Episcopal  institution 
was  raised,  and  it  was  found  that  the  support  of  the  Litchfield 
•epresentatives  and  business  men  would  help  materially  in  laying 
*)prehension,  as  their  conservatism  was  known.      In  return,  Litch- 


field  asked  for  and  obtained  a  branch  bank,  with  privileges  of 
deposit  as  well  as  of  discount,  then  unusual  privileges  for  a  branch. 
The  charter  was  obtained  and  Col.  Benjamin  Tallmiadge  became 
the  first  President  of  the  Litchfield  Branch.  In  1865  the  First 
National  Bank  was  organized  as  the  successor  of  the  branch  bank, 
with  Edwin  McNeill  as  the  first  President.  The  Phoenix  Bank  of 
Hartford  and  the  Litchfield  Bank  now  rank  sixth  in  order  of  length 
of  continuous  operation  in  the  State. 

The  granting  of  the  charter  was  called  the  Toleration  Act  by 
the  Episcopalians.  If  the  name  of  their  church  had  before  been 
made  an  argument  against  the  granting  of  the  charter,  they  argued 
that  when  the  charter  was  granted  their  party  deserved  the  credit. 
Hitherto,  every  attempt  of  an  Episcopalian  to  attain  office  had 
been  opposed.  So  much  was  this  the  case  in  the  years  following 
the  Revolution  that  the  Rev.  James  Nichols,  the  Episcopal  clergy- 
man, "presented  an  address  to  the  General  Assembly  asking  for 
the  appointment  of  a  prominent  churchman,  Daniel  Landon,  as  Jus- 
tice of  the  Peace,  'mshing',  as  the  petition  reads,  'the  favor  of  a 
justice  of  the  peace  to  adorn  the  Society',"  (Rev.  Storrs  O.  Sey- 
mour, in  Clergy  of  Litchfield  County,  1909,  p.  127). 

The  cry  of  Toleration  really  turned  Connecticut  into  a  Demo- 
cratic Stata  It  made  an  appeal  to  many  conservative  men,  who 
had  only  been  disgusted  by  such  demonstrations  as  that  of  Selleck 
Osborn.  When  Oliver  Wolcott  Jr.,  after  his  return  to  Litchfield, 
was  asked  to  become  the  Democratic  candidate  for  Governor  in 
1817,  his  surprise  was  considerable.  His  family  were  all  Federal- 
ists, he  himself  had  been  a  member  of  the  Cabinet  of  both  the  Fed- 
eralists Presidents;  his  house  had  been  the  meeting  ground  for  the 
Federalists  in  Philadelphia  and  in  Washington,  especially  of  course 
for  those  from  New  England,  and  this  at  a  time  when  the  division 
of  political  parties  at  the  seat  of  government  in  their  social  inter- 
course was  more  decided  than  it  has  ever  been  since. 

Oliver  Wolcott  would  never  have  run  on  a  Democratic  plat- 
form of  the  1806  brand,  but  Toleration  brought  in  issues  with  which 
he  and  many  others  were  in  hearty  sympathy.  These  he  outlined 
in  his  inaugural  address  to  the  General  Assembly,  May  1817.  This 
address  found  its  way  to  the  London  Times,  and  though  at  that 
particular  time,  few  things  American  found  any  favor  in  England, 
yet  that  conservative  paper  printed  it  at  length  (July  8,  1817).  The 
editor  adds;  "When  we  look  at  the  simplicity  and  dignity  of  its 
manner,  the  beauty  of  its  style,  the  purity  of  its  language,  the 
elegance  of  its  diction,  and  the  originality  of  the  composition,  we 
have  no  hesitance  in  saying,  that  we  consider  it  one  of  the  most 
splendid  State  Papers  that  have  ever  yet  appeared". 

Successful  as  Wolcott's  administration  was  from  the  beginning, 
the  election  was  bitterly  contested.  This  was  especially  true  of 
his  home  town.  He  wrote  of  it  to  his  son-in-law,  George  Gibbs, 
April  7,  1817,  "Our  Election  has  been  held  here  this  day.  In  this 
Village  Gov.  Smith  had  222,  and  your  humble  servant  322  votes. 





Governor  Oli\'er  Wolcott  Jr. 


I  own  that  I  am  pleased  with  obtaining  the  majority  in  this  Town, 
as  every  possible  exertion  has  been  made  to  oppose  me.  I  know 
that  seven  eighths  of  the  Town  are  pleased  with  the  result,  though 
many  of  them  dare  not  confess  it". 

Of  his  administration  we  cannot  properly  speak  in  this  book, 
but  mention  should  again  be  made  of  the  State  Constitution  which 
was  adopted  the  following  year,  1818,  by  the  General  Assembly.  He 
was  the  president  of  the  Convention  which  prepared  this  admirable 
document,  and  is  said  to  have  written  the  greater  part  of  it  him- 
self. It  provided  at  length  an  adequate  Constitution  for  our  State, 
which  was  then  in  the  anomalous  position  of  being  known  to  many 
as  the  Constitution  State,  (from  the  circumstance  of  its  having 
adopted  in  1639  the  first  of  the  Colonial  Constitutions,  which  became 
the  model  for  all  later  State  Constitutions),  and  yet  of  having  no 
proper  Constitution  of  its  own,  to  meet  the  changed  conditions  of 
a  free  government. 

Of  the  provisions  of  the  new  Constitution,  none  seemed  at  the 
time  more  radical  to  the  Federalists  than  what  they  considered  the 
disestablishment  of  the  Congregational  Church.  "It  was  as  dark 
a  day  as  I  ever  saw",  wrote  Lyman  Beecher,  ''The  odium  thrown 
upon  the  ministry  was  inconceivable.  The  injury  done  to  the 
cause  of  Christ,  as  we  then  supposed,  was  irreparable.  For  several 
days  I  suffered  what  no  tongue  can  tell  for  the  best  thing  that  ever 
happened  to  the  State  of  Connecticut.  It  cut  the  churches  loose 
from  dependence  on  State  support.  It  threw  them  wholly  on  their 
own  resources  and  on  God". 

We  may  leave  this  glimpse  of  the  most  important  political 
moment  in  the  history  of  Litchfield  with  the  wise  words  of  George 
C.  Woodruff  (p.  56) :  "A  spirit  of  liberality  has  in  general  existed 
between  different  religious  sects,  and  a  feeling  of  good  will  between 
all  classes.  Party  spirit  it  is  true  has  prevailed  among  political 
partisans,  and  formerly  embittered  to  some  extent  social  inter- 
course. But  notwithstanding  the  calumny  which  at  different  times 
has  been  heaped  upon  different  individuals,  and  upon  opposing 
parties,  its  effect  has  been  temporary,  and  after  the  heat  of  contest 
has  subsided,  men  have  learnt  the  injustice  of  which  they  have  been 
guilty,  and  that  neither  all  that  is  excellent  is  to  be  found  exclu- 
sively with  the  one  party,  nor  all  that  is  bad  exclusively  with  the 
other.  And  if  any  there  are  who  disbelieve  a  truth  so  obvious, 
they  receive,  in  this  respect,  no  countenance  from  those  whose 
opinions  are  worthy  of  regard". 



The  trees  of  Litchfield  are  its  crowning  beauty  to-day.  It  is 
hard  to  picture  the  village,  especially  North  Street  and  South 
Street,  before  the  elms  had  been  planted  there.  The  early  settlers 
were  so  greatly  concerned  with  the  clearing  of  their  fields  that  they 
naturally  gave  no  thought  to  the  planting  of  new  trees  for  decora- 
tive purposes.  Indeed  the  story  goes  that  when  Oliver  Wolcott  Jr. 
began  to  set  out  trees  along  the  Litchfield  streets,  one  of  the 
bystanders,  an  old  man  who  remembered  the  early  days  of  struggle 
against  the  forest,  exclaimed:  "We  have  worked  so  hard  in  our 
day,  and  just  finished  getting  the  woods  cleared  off,  and  now  they 
are  bringing  the  trees  back  again!" 

From  very  early  days  a  few  persons  foresaw  the  desolation  that 
would  follow  if  all  the  trees  were  cut,  not  to  mention  the  economic 
loss  if  no  future  wood  supply  was  provided  for.  In  the  Monitor 
for  January  3, 1798,  is  reprinted  an  article  which  sounds  a  warning 
in  this  direction,  adding:  "Would  it  not  be  a  regulation  well  deserv- 
ing the  attention  of  the  General  Court,  to  require  every  town  to 
plant  the  sides  of  the  public  roads  with  forest  trees?  . . .  The  plant- 
ing quick  growing  trees,  as  Willow,  Lombardy  Poplar,  Balm  of 
Gilead,  etc.,  certainly  deserves  attention.  Even  the  elms,  ash-trees, 
button-woods  and  maples  will  pay  for  planting  by  their  growth". 

Coming  down  to  the  influences  which  prompted  the  planting  of 
our  streets,  we  find  two  men  giving  actual  inspiration  to  this  work, 
besides  the  individual  interest  of  the  men  who  at  different  times 
did  the  planting.  These  men  were  James  Hillhouse  of  New  Haven 
and  Lyman  Beecher. 

James  Hillhouse  had  planted  great  numbers  of  the  elms  in 
New  Haven,  which  gave  the  name  of  the  City  of  Elms  to  that  place. 
He  interested  many  of  the  Yale  students  in  the  work  he  had  done, 
which  was  already  showing  results,  and  when  Oliver  Wolcott  Jr. 
returned  from  the  College,  he  brought  with  him  the  inspiration 
that  started  the  movement  of  tree  planting  here. 

The  influence  of  Lyman  Beecher  was  very  much  later,  after  u 
great  part  of  the  work  had  already  been  accomplished.  It  is  worth 
recording,  hoM^ever.  On  July  18,  1824,  Catharine  Beecher  wrote  to 
her  brother  Edward:  "Yesterday  I  heard  two  of  father's  very  best 
sermons.  The  afternoon  sermon  perfectly  electrified  me,  I  wish 
it  could  be  heard  by  all  young  men  in  the  country.  Among  other 
things,  he  exhibited  the  ways  in  which  they  might  do  good,  and  the 
blessedness  of  it.  We  saw  a  small  specimen  of  its  effect  this  after- 
noon, when,  in  playful  obedience  to  some  exhortations  to  a  laudable 


public  spirit,  a  party  of  our  young  townsmen  turned  out  to  trans- 
plant forest  trees  wherever  they  are  needed  through  our  streets". 
(Autobiography,  Vol.  II.,  p.  15). 

The  story  of  our  trees  has  been  told  several  times.  Miss  Mary 
Perkins  Quincy  read  a  paper  on  their  history  before  the  Mary 
Floyd  Tallmadge  Chapter,  D.  A.  K.  in  1901,  accompanying  a  tree- 
map  of  the  Borough,  which  is  framed  in  the  rooms  of  the  Litchfield 
Historical  Society.  This  was  also  accompanied  by  a  paper  by  Prof. 
W.  E.  Britton,  entitled  Tree  Notes.  Prof.  Henry  S.  Munroe,  in 
1919,  read  a  paper  before  the  Litchfield  Garden  Club,  on  the  Age 
^f  the  Litchfield  Trees.  The  following  incidents  connected  with 
the  planting  of  our  trees  are  selected  from  the  mass  of  informa- 
tion furnished  by  these  admirable  Essays. 

When  Oliver  Wolcott  returned  from  New  Haven  under  the 
influence  of  James  Hillhouse's  exhortation  to  plant  trees  he  set 
out  thirteen  Button-wood  or  Sycamore  trees  to  commemorate  the 
thirteen  states  of  the  new  Republic.  Of  these  only  one  survives: 
''Connecticut",  happily  enough,  which  stands  in  front  of  the  Roman 
Catholic  Church.  The  large  sycamore  on  East  Street,  near  the 
Library,  is  believed  by  some  to  be  another  of  this  planting;  but  this 
is  improbable  if  only  because  no  name  has  come  down  for  it.  Nearly 
all,  too,  were  planted  along  South  Street,  though  the  exact  sites  are 
uncertain.  Soon  after  the  planting  of  these  Sycamores,  an  illness 
which  attacked  this  kind  of  tree  killed  many  of  those  then  standing 
in  various  parts  of  town,  and  turned  the  attention  of  the  planters 
chieflly  to  ejms.  These  grew  in  many  of  the  outlaying  swamps  and 
could  be  brought  in  to  town  on  the  shoulders.  Oliver  Wolcott  Jr.  and 
his  brother,  Frederick  Wolcott,  about  1790,  planted  many  of  the  elms 
now  so  beautiful  along  both  sides  of  South  Street.  There  is  a 
legend  that  they  omitted  to  plant  any  in  front  of  the  house  occupied 
by  Reynold  Marvin,  the  King's  Attorney,  now  owned  by  Mrs.  H.  G. 
Mendenhall,  because  of  the  unpopularity  of  his  Tory  views.  The 
story  is  doubtful,  owing  to  the  friendship  of  the  Wolcott  and  Marvin 
families;  we  know  at  least  that  at  the  melting  of  the  bullets  in 
the  Wolcott  orchard,  the  ladies  of  the  Marvin  household  ran  the 
largest  number  of  bullets  to  be  used  in  defence  of  the  American 
cause.  Further,  there  are  now  elms  in  front  of  this  house,  but 
it  may  be  true  that  they  are  of  smaller  size  and  of  later  date. 

John  C.  Calhoun  is  the  next  distinguished  name  among  the 
planters  of  the  Litchfield  elms.  He  was  graduated  at  the  Law 
School  in  1805.  He  had  the  happy  thought  to  set  out  a  few 
elms  in  front  of  the  houses  where  he  boarded,  first  at  the  corner 
of  West  and  Spencer  Streets,  and  then  on  Prospect  Street,  where 
Mr.  MacMartin  now  lives.  This  was  then  owned  by  Reuben  Web- 
ster, and  Hosea  Webster,  the  host's  little  son,  used  to  tell  many 
years  later  how  he  held  the  trees  when  Calhoun  planted  them. 
Only  one  of  the  Calhoun  trees  survives  on  Prospect  Street  and  one 
on  West  Street. 


At  about  the  same  time,  the  Misses  Pierce,  who  built  their  own 
house  on  the  site  of  the  present  Underwood  House  on  North  Street 
in  1803,  planted  several  maples  on  their  frontage  on  the  street. 
Two  of  these  survive.  Their  growth  has  been  less  rapid  than 
that  of  the  Calhoun  Elms,  which  now  average  113  inches,  while  the 
maples  average  only  91  inches,  in  circumference. 

In  1812,  there  was  an  encampment  of  soldiers  on  the  Bantam 
Road,  a  little  east  of  the  residence  of  Milo  Beach.  During  their 
stay  here  the  men  planted  a  double  row  of  elms  by  their  camp,  a 
number  of  which  are  flourishing. 

In  1825,  James  K.  Gould,  a  son  of  Judge  Gould,  and  Origen  S. 
Seymour,  then  just  graduated  from  Yale,  planted  elms  on  the  east 
side  of  North  Street,  from  the  corner  up  as  far  as  the  present  resi- 
dence of  Charles  H.  Coit.      Two  are  standing  west  of  Miss  Edith 

D.  Kingsbury's  house  on  the  corner,  one  on  the  lawn  at  the  entrance 
of  the  Misses  Kingsbury's  house,  and  a  fourth  before  the  Coit  house. 

In  1850,  Miss  Lucretia  Deming,  the  daughter  of  Julius  Deming, 
planted  the  row  of  Lindens  before  the  Deming  house,  now  the  home 
of  the  Misses  Kingsbury,  from  which  the  house  takes  it  name. 
She  also  planted  many  of  the  trees  of  various  varieties  in  the 
grounds.      The  oak  grove  was  planted  from  acorns  somewhat  later. 

One  of  the  most  devoted  lovers  of  trees  in  Litchfield  was  Gideon 
H.  HoUister.  He  was  the  author  of  the  History  of  Connecticut, 
published  in  1855,  a  monumental  work,  much  of  which  was  written 
while  he  lived  at  the  Tallmadge  house.  Like*  Calhoun,  he  had  the 
happy  faculty  of  setting  out  trees  wherever  he  lived;  and  fortunately 
he  lived  in  many  different  houses,  some  rented  and  some  owned 
by  him.  Many  of  the  fine  trees  in  the  grounds  and  along  the 
Street,  at  the  Lindley  and  Mendenhall  houses  on  South  Street  and 
at  the  Vanderpoel  and  Frederick  Deming  houses  on  North  Street 
were  planted  by  him  while  he  was  living  in  these  respective  places. 
He  also  set  out  a  row  of  elms  on  East  Street  near  the  Colvoco- 
resses  house,  though  it  does  not  appear  that  he  lived  there.  The 
trees  in  front  of  the  Vanderpoel  house  were  set  out  by  Col.  Tall- 
madge and  William  Curtis  Noyes. 

"Hardly  could  a  more  touching  legacy",  says  Miss  Quincy, 
"have  been  left  to  Litchfield  than  the  long  row  of  elms  by  the  road- 
side across  Harris  Plain.  In  the  year  1862,  the  young  men  who 
lived  West  of  the  Center,  remarkable  for  their  enterprise  and  known 
as  the  flower  of  the  town,  were  among  those  who  went  to  the  Civil ' 
War.  Before  they  left  they  planted  these  memorial  trees  as  their 
last  gift  to  their  home  district.       Among  these  young  men  were 

E.  Goodwin  Osborn,  Lyman  J.  Smith  Jr.,  Francis  Barber,  the  Vaills, 
the  Plumbs,  the  Wadhams,  and  Captain  George  W.  Mason". 

It  was  the  father  of  one  of  these  men,  Lyman  Smith  Sr.,  a 
prominent  merchant,  who  planted  the  beautiful  elms  from  which 
Elm  Ridge  received  its  name. 

A  number  of  Memorial  Trees  have  been  planted  in  recent  years, 
but  until  time  has  given  fuller  size  to  the  trees  a}ul  hallowed  the 

The  Litchfield  County  House  and  Jail,  1812.  axd 
Whipping-Post  Elm 


occasions  which  they  commemorate  they  can  hardly  claim  individual 
mention.  Exception  should  be  made  for  the  little  evergreen  on 
the  grave  of  William  W.  Rockhill,  in  the  East  Burying  Ground, 
which  was  sent  from  China  in  1915  by  Yuan  Shi  Ki,  as  a  Memorial 
to  one  who  did  so  much  to  help  that  unfortunate  country  at  a  very 
difficult  moment. 

It  is  impossible  to  enumerate  here  all  our  historic  trees;  the 
orchards  have  not  yet  been  mentioned.  There  have  been  many  in 
the  town,  due  at  least  in  part  to  the  popularity  of  cider  in  the 
olden  days.  Some  of  the  old  trees  from  the  orchard  of  Lynde  Lord 
are  still  alive  at  the  end  of  Tallmadge  Avenue.  There  is  an 
old  apple  tree  behind  the  house  of  W.  G.  Rosbach,  which  is  the 
only  survivor  of  a  large  orchard  planted  by  Oliver  Wolcott,  Sr. 
Frederick  Wolcott,  who  inherited  this  part  of  his  father's  property, 
was  annoyed  by  the  boys  stealing  fruit  from  the  out-lying  parts 
of  the  orchard.  One  transgressor  boldly  carried  a  bag  of  stolen 
apples  to  the  Wolcott  house,  and  offered  them  for  sale.  Frederick 
Wolcott,  recognizing  the  apples  as  coming  from  his  orchard,  was 
so  enraged  that  he  ordered  most  of  the  trees  cut  down.  (Miss 
Esther  H.  Thompson,  Waterburj'  American,  1902). 

When  the  buildings  were  taken  out  of  the  Commons,  between 
1820  and  1827,  attention  began  to  be  directed  to  the  beautifying  of 
this  part  of  town.  In  1835  the  sum  of  $600  was  subscribed  for 
grading,  fencing  and  setting  out  trees  in  the  village  parks,  and  the 
work  was  completed  in  1836.  The  Center  Park  was  the  thought 
of  Miss  Mary  Pierce,  the  younger  sister  of  Miss  Sarah  Pierce.  This 
land  was  originally  the  parade  ground  of  the  militia,  and  it  was 
here  that  Col.  Francis  Bacon  used  to  drill  his  Company.  In  the 
East  Park  Henry  L.  Goodwin  had  a  large  share  in  the  planting  and 
care  of  the  trees;  while  twenty  years  later,  George  M.  Woodruff, 
on  his  return  from  Yale  College  in  1858,  planted  about  50  more 
elms,  completing  the  work.  The  West  Park  was  planted  by  the 
late  David  Bulkley,  the  cabinet  maker  and  antiquarian. 

There  are  three  other  elms  that  should  be  mentioned,  though 
it  is  not  recorded  who  planted  them,  these  are  the  Whipping  Post 
Elm,  the  Beecher  Elm,  and  the  Sign  Post  EIul  The  Whipping 
Post  Elm,  by  the  County  House,  is  the  largest  elm  in  the  town,  and 
according  to  Professor  Munroe  is  probably  older  than  the  Revolu- 
tion and  possibly  close  on  200  years  old.  Gen.  Wessells  used  to  tell 
of  seeing  a  man  tied  to  the  tree  ,and  given  forty  lashes  save  one,  as 
was  the  custom,  probably  about  1815.  The  second  largest  elm  in 
town  is  the  Beecher  Elm,  which  has  a  circumference  of  1461/2  inches 
compared  with  150  inches  for  the  Whipping  Post  Elm.  This  marks 
the  approximate  site  at  the  corner  of  North  and  Prospect  Streets 
of  the  old  Beecher  House.  The  Sign-Post  Elm,  at  the  comer  of 
South  and  East  Streets,  is  not  as  large  as  the  other  two,  or  as 
several  others  in  the  town,  but  it  has  the  historic  interest  of  having 


advertised  on  its  calm  flank  the  legal  notices  and  of  having  seen 
conducted  in  its  shadow  the  Sheriff's  sales  of  many  years. 

The  elms  of  Litchfield  have  filled  with  unconscious  happiness 
not  only  those  so  fortunate  as  to  live  near  them,  but  the  many 
visitors  to  Litchfield,  who  carry  away  the  memory  of  their  splendor. 
They  are  trees  to  come  back  to,  and  are  the  first  subject  spoken  of 
by  Henry  Ward  Beecher,  in  his  Litchfield  Kevisited,  1856:  "The 
morning  after  our  arrival  in  Litchfield  we  sallied  forth  alone.  The 
day  was  high  and  wide,  full  of  stillness  and  serenely  radiant.  As 
we  carried  our  present  life  up  the  North  Street,  we  met  at  every 
step  our  boyhood  life  coming  down.  There  were  the  old  trees,  but 
looking  not  so  large  as  to  our  young  eyes.  The  stately  road  had, 
however,  been  bereaved  of  the  buttonball  trees,  which  had  been 
crippled  by  disease.  But  the  old  elms  retained  a  habit  peculiar  to 
Litchfield.  There  seemed  to  be  a  current  of  wind  which  at  times 
passes  high  up  in  the  air  over  the  town,  and  which  moves  the  tops 
of  the  trees,  while  on  the  ground  there  is  no  movement  of  wind. 
How  vividly  did  that  sound  from  above  bring  back  early  days, 
when  for  hours  we  lay  upon  the  windless  grass  and  watched  the 
top  leaves  flutter  and  marked  how  still  were  the  under  leaves  of 
the  same  tree!" 

The  healthy  condition  of  our  elms  to-day,  when  in  some  towns 
they  have  suffered  so  much  from  droughts  and  other  causes,  is 
attributed  to  the  subsoil  of  hardpan,  deposited  by  the  glacier  on  so 
many  of  our  hilltops,  causing  those  occasional  swamps  which  still 
surprise  us  as  existing  in  apparent  defiance  of  the  law  of  gravita- 
tion. The  elm  is  a  swamp  tree,  growing  most  luxuriantly  on  the 
banks  of  our  streams,  and  its  roots  find  a  congenial  environment  in 
the  subsoil  swamp  of  Litchfield  Hill,  below  the  level  to  which  the 
drainage  has  as  yet  been  carried. 


In  Colonial  times,  animals,  both  domestic  and  wild,  were  a 
matter  of  much  more  general  concern  than  they  now  are.  To-day 
one's  own  domestic  animals  are  a  source  of  pleasure  or  profit  to  one's 
self  only,  and  if  we  go  fishing  or  hunting  it  is  again  for  our  own 
pleasure.  We  no  longer  are  concerned  in  town  meetings  with  the 
restraint  of  our  neighbor's  geese  or  boars,  nor  do  we  offer  bounties 
for  wolves  and  rattlesnakes.  Yet  time  was  when  these  were  very 
serious  matters.  It  may  be  an  exaggeration,  but  not  a  very  great 
one,  to  say  that  not  a  tOAvn  meeting  was  held  prior  to  the  Revo- 
lution and  for  twenty  years  afterwards  but  one  or  more  votes  came 
up  about  animals.  The  great  source  of  discussion  was  the  use 
of  the  Commons.  Our  streets,  which  delight  us  by  their  breadth, 
were  then  even  wider  than  they  are  to-day;  but  this  width  was  noi 
entirely  a  matter  of  foresight,  as  is  sometimes  supposed,  when  our 
first  settlers  are  given  credit  for  having  visualized  our  broad  road- 
ways, lined  with  beautiful  rows  of  trees.      Trees  were  not  thought 


of  before  the  Kevolution,  as  has  been  seen,  beyond  being  considere<l 
a  nuisance  in  the  fields,  to  be  cleared  as  rapidly  as  possible.  The 
wide  streets  were  primarily  planned  as  a  grazing  place  for  the 
live  stock,  especially  at  night,  when  they  could  be  brought  in  from 
the  outlying  pastures,  and  herded  safely  out  of  reach  of  the  prowling 
red  man. 

The  picket  fences,  now  an  object  of  occasional  ornament,  and 
the  chestnut  rail  fences,  now  entirely  disappeared  from  our  streets, 
were  then  an  essential  part  of  any  home,  which  the  fence-viewer 
required  to  be  kept  up  to  the  proper  standard  of  strength.  After 
the  erection  of  one's  omti  log  cabin  and  of  the  meeting  house,  not 
even  the  garrisons  against  the  Indians  took  precedence  over  the 
fences  in  point  of  urgency  of  construction. 

At  the  town  meeting  on  December  17,  1722,  it  was  Voted,  "That 
the  swine  shall  run  at  large  upon  the  comone  and  every  man  whose 
swine  shall  do  damage  to  any  neighbors  shall  pay  the  damage 
whether  there  be  fence  or  no  till  the  first  of  May  next  and  after 
that  time  the  owner  of  swine  shall  have  liberty  to  have  said  fence 
proved  by  the  fence  viewers  and  if  not  lawfull  fence  not  to  pay 

The  hayward  had  full  charge  of  the  commons  and  of  the  pound, 
and  the  fence  vievr  ers  were  the  court  of  appeal  when  the  animals  at 
large  did  any  damage.  Neither  was  an  official  greatly  to  be 

Votes  were  passed  regulating  in  turn  every  kind  of  animal  and 
fowl,  the  sentiment  one  year  being  for  the  greatest  possible  liberty 
and  another  for  the  greatest  possible  restraint.  Many  of  these 
rotes  appear  laughable  to  us.      Some  of  them  follow: 

Town  Meeting,  April  7,  1783:  Voted  that  no  Hogs  be  suffered 
to  go  at  large  on  the  Highways  or  elsewhere  in  this  Town  after  the 
twentieth  instant  without  being  well  ringed  in  the  nose  or  snout  on 
penalty  of  Forfeiture  of  two  shillings  lawful  money  and  Poundage 
for  each  Hog  so  found  at  large  without  being  ringed  as  aforesaid 
and  in  order  to  prevent  Mischief  by  such  Hogs  voted  that  Capt.  Solo- 
man  Marsh,  Capt.  Lynde  Lord,  Ens.  Ozias  Goodwin,  Ozias  Lewis, 
and  John  Horsford  be  a  Committee  to  carry  this  vote  into  effectual 
execution.  * 

Town  Meeting,  May  12,  1783:  Voted  to  restrain  Horses  from 
running  at  large  on  the  Highways  and  Commons. 

Town  Meeting,  December  8,  1791:  Voted  to  restrain  Boars  from 
running  at  large  after  they  are  three  months  old  under  forfeiture 
of  three  shillings  lawful  money.  Voted  to  restrain  the  Kams  in 
this  Town  from  the  10th  of  September  to  the  1st  of  November  for 
the  year  ensuing. 

Town  Meeting,  December  15,  1801:  Voted  to  repeal  the  Vote 
making  Hogs  free  Commoners  under  certain  restrictions  passed 
April  1796. 

Town  Meeting,  November  26,  1805:  Voted  that  all  Geese  taken 
Damage  Feasant  after  this  date  shall  be  liable  to  be  impounded 


and  the  Proprietor  shall  pay  to  the  Person  impounding  said  Geese 
six  cents  per  head  damages. 

Town  Meeting,  November  11,  1806:  Voted  that  to  a  former  law 
or  vote  passed  in  this  Town  in  November  last  respecting  Geese  the 
same  penalty  and  restriction  be  added  to  restrain  Turkies  and  that 
they  be  proceeded  with  accordingly. 

With  so  many  animals  at  large  together  in  our  streets  the 
question  of  individual  ownership  was  a  very  pressing  one.  Owner- 
ship was  determined  primarily  by  branding,  and  in  the  original 
title  to  the  town  given  by  the  General  Assembly  in  May  1719,  a 
special  brand,  the  figure  9,  was  assigned  to  Litchfield.  But  in 
addition  each  individual  had  his  or  her  separate  brand.  Charles 
Shepherd  Phelps,  in  his  charming  Rural  Life  in  Litchfield  County, 
published  by  the  Litchfield  County  University  Club,  1917,  gives  a 
number  of  these  brands,  thus:  "A  cross  on  the  off  ear  taken  out". 
"As  the  marks  on  record  increased",  (p.  21),  "the  style  of  the  mark- 
ing became  more  complicated,  as,  a  cross  cut  on  the  off  ear  and  a 
slit  in  the  cross  of  the  near  ear  and  a  slit  in  the  under  side  of  the 
near  ear. 

"The  taking  of  stray  animals,  and  their  impounding  and  sale 
when  not  claimed  by  the  owner,  was  also  common,  as  shown  by 
the  following,  copied  from  the  Litchfield  town  records:  Two  red 
yearlen  heffers  marked  with  a  cross  in  the  off  ear  and  one  black 
yearlen  hefter  with  some  white  upon  the  rump,  white  under  bolly 
and  sum  white  upon  the  inside  of  the  hind  leggs — also  marked  with 
a  cross  in  the  off  ear — which  heffers  are  in  the  custody  of  Thomas 
Lee  and  have  been  prized  by  his  desire  on  the  27th  day  of  November 
last  by  us,  by  the  sum  of  three  pounds  and  fifteen  shillings,  by  us 
John  Baldwin,  Joseph  Bixy.  The  above  named  heffers  are  put 
upon  record  this  fifth  day  of  December  Anno  Domini  1723". 

A  good  many  advertisements  of  strayed  cattle  are  given  in  the 
early  Monitors,  sometimes  with  curious  identification  marks,  of 
Avhich  the  following  is  a  sample,  (Monitor,  November  14,  1796)  : 
"Strayed  from  the  subscriber  some  time  in  July  last,  a  yearling 
Steer,  marked  with  a  swallow  tail  in  the  off  ear,  two  half  pennies  the 
under  side  of  the  near  ear,  and  a  slit  in  the  end  of  the  same;  of  a 
red  colour,  white  face,  red  hair  round  his  eyes.  Whoever  will 
take  up  said  steer  and  give  information  thereof,  shall  be  well 
rewarded  by  David  Beach".  The  etymology  of  the  word  ear-marks 
is  sufficiently  apparent  here. 

Litchfield  has  always  been  a  good  dairying  country,  and  the 
amount  of  live  stock  has  probably  been  large  from  the  earliest 
days.  The  only  mention  of  the  purchase  of  any  stock  in  the  town 
records,  is  the  appropriation  on  January  1,  1722,  of  30  shillings 
advanced  by  the  Town  towards  obtaining  three  bulls  for  the  Town 
use.  Morris,  p.  90,  says  that  there  were  shorn  in  this  town  in  May 
and  June  1811,  6,784  sheep. 


The  end  of  the  Common  and  the  beginning  of  Litchfield's  Park 
system  dates  from  about  1820.  The  buildings  were  taken  out  of 
the  Green  about  the  same  time,  the  last  one  to  go  being  the  second 
Congregational  church,  which  was  taken  down  in  1827,  the  year  after 
the  departure  of  Lyman  Beecher.  Although  the  alder  swamps 
had  probably  been  drained  considerably  before  this  date,  the  center 
of  the  streets  were  still  unsightly,  full  of  loose  stone  and  brush, 
together  with  the  little  mounds  with  whortleberry  bushes  which 
Oliver  Wolcott  Jr.  said  the  truants  from  school  hid  behind.  About 
1820,  the  citizens  got  permission  to  enclose  the  center  of  Meeting 
House  Street,  in  connection  with  some  of  the  tree  planting  which 
was  then  becoming  popular,  and  the  day  of  the  public  pasture  gradu- 
ally came  to  a  close.  At  first  many  ludicrous  and  stormy  scenes 
and  wordy  battles  occurred  when  the  haywards  attempted  to  confine 
the  trespassing  cattle,  but  changes  come  quickly  and  by  the  time 
the  Parks  were  more  formally  laid  out,  say  1835,  the  old  Commons 
Avas  already  almost  forgotten. 

Turning  to  the  wild  animals,  we  read  in  Morris,  p.  88,  "Many 
years  after  the  settlement  of  this  town,  deer,  bears,  and  wild  tur- 
keys, were  numerous.  Deer  and  bears  have  been  taken  by  hunters 
between  the  years  1760  and  1770,  and  turkeys  at  a  later  period. 
Wild-cats  occasionally  visit  us,  and  destroy  sheep  and  lambs.  A 
small  tract  near  the  north-east  part  of  this  town  is  rough  and  ledgy, 
and  affords  them  a  refuge  from  hunters  and  their  dogs.  Con- 
siderable mischief  was  done  by  them  in  the  winters  of  1811  and  1812". 

"There  are  persons  yet  living",  (Kilbourne,  p.  62),  "who  remem- 
Ix'r  when  bears  and  wolves  were  hunted  in  Blue  Swamp,  and  deer 
and  wild  turkeys  were  frequently  seen  within  two  miles  of  the 
Court  House;  when  Indians,  in  companies  of  tAventy  or  thirty,  were 
accustomed  to  make  their  annual  visits  to  this  town,  encamping  on 
Pine  Island,  or  along  the  Lake-shore,  the  men  employing  themselves 
in  hunting  and  fishing,  while  the  squaws  made  and  peddled  baskets 
and  brooms.  Foxes,  minks,  musk-rats,  rabbits,  woodchucks  and 
raccoons  ai*e  noAv  frequenty  trapped  within  the  limits  of  this  town- 

Bounties  were  offered  in  the  earliest  days  of  the  settlement  for 
killing  wolves  and  rattlesnakes.  Thus,  at  a  Town  Meeting,  May 
16,  1740,  we  find  "Voted,  that  Avhosoever  shall  kill  and  distroy  any 
rattlesnakes  within  the  bounds  of  the  Town  any  time  before  the 
10th  day  of  December  next,  bringing  the  tayl  and  soni  of  the  flesh  to 
any  one  of  the  Select  men  of  the  Town  shall  have  three  pence  for 
each  snake".  We  do  not,  however,  find  any  appropriations  made 
of  town  funds  for  the  payment  of  these  bounties,  and  the  catch 
was  probably  small.  To-day,  it  is  said  that  no  Rattlers  exist 
between  the  Naugatuck  and  Housatonic  Rivers,  though  they  are 
said  to  be  found  on  the  further  side  of  both  those  rivers  on  rare  occa- 
sions. However,  one  fine  haul  of  snakes  is  reported  in  the 
Monitor,  December  3,  1787,  "A  few  days  since,  in  this  town,  upwards 


of  Three  Hundred  and  Forty  Snakes  of  every  species  excepting  the 
rattle,  were  found  sheltered  under  a  meadow  bog;  where,  it  is 
supposed,  they  had  taken  up  winter  quarters". 

The  only  mention  of  wolves  in  the  Monitor  occurs  in  1806,  when 
four  are  reported  to  have  been  killed  in  Norfolk,  very  probably 
these  were  the  last  in  the  County.  The  residence  of  Bertram  Lewis » 
at  the  foot  of  Brush  Hill,  is  known  as  Wolf  Pit  Farm,  the  Wolf 
Pit  having  at  one  time  been  made  there  by  Captain  Joseph  Vaill, 
who  built  this,  the  oldest  house  in  the  township  (now  much 
remodeled),  in  1744.  Miss  Alice  Bulkeley,  Historic  Litchfield,  1907,^ 
p.  12,  describes  the  construction  as  "simple,  but  effective;  an  exca- 
vation in  the  ground  was  surmounted  by  heavy  logs  so  arranged  that 
they  would  fall  upon  and  crush  a  wolf  when  it  tugged  at  the  bait 
fastened  at  a  figure  4  trap  underneath". 

Regarding  bears,  the  tradition  is  that  the  last  one  was  killed 
long  ago  after  being  treed  into  the  big  oak  back  of  the  residence  of 
John  P.  Elton  on  North  Street,  which  itself  is  supposed  to  be  the 
last  survivor  of  the  primeval  forest  remaining  within  the  borough 
limits.  Amos  Benton,  the  father  of  Horatio  Benton,  used  to  tell 
that  in  1774,  when  he  was  three  years  old,  a  bear  passed  but  a  few 
rods  from  him  while  he  was  playing  near  the  brook  by  his  home. 
The  alarm  was  given  and  his  father  and  some  of  the  neighbors 
started  in  pursuit,  but  did  not  succeed  in  killing  it. 

The  only  animal  which,  after  being  locally  exterminated,  has 
returned  to  us  is  the  deer.  "Captain  Salmon  Buel,  now  in  his 
ninety  second  year",  wrote  Kilbourne  in  1859,  "has  seen  wild  deer 
in  the  swamp  between  his  residence  and  the  village".  For  about 
a  hundred  years  no  deer  were  seen;  they  were  protected  for  ten 
years  previous  to  1917,  throughout  the  state,  and  returned  in  con- 
siderable nimibers,  presumably  from  the  Adirondacks,  wintering  suc- 
cessfully in  our  swamps. 

"The  fish  in  our  waters  are  various",  Morris,  p.  88,  "In  the 
Great,  Little  and  Cranberry  Ponds,  and  their  tributary  streams, 
no  trout  have  ever  been  taken.  The  fish  in  these  waters  are  eels, 
perch,  roach,  suckers,  shiners,  red-fins,  and  bull-heads  or  cat-fish. 
In  the  winter  of  1809,  twenty  eight  pickerel  were  taken  in  a  pond 
in  Southwick,  near  Granby,  transported  in  casks  of  water  by  sleighs, 
and  put  into  the  Cranberry  Pond.  Their  progeny  now  begin  to  be 
taken  in  considerable  nimibers.  What  effect  they  will  have  in 
destroying  the  former  occupants,  remains  to  be  provetl.  Probably 
the  shiners,  red-fins,  and  smaller  perch  will  many  of  them  be 
destroyed;  yet  it  is  thought  that  the  pickerel  will  be  a  valuable 

A  previous  experiment  with  pickerel  was  authorized  in  April 
1779,  when  Capt.  John  Marsh  was  granted  by  the  Town  the  exclu- 
sive Pickerel  Fishing  rights  in  the  Loon  or  Cranberry  Pond,  "pro- 
vided he  shall  at  his  own  expense  procure  pickerel  to  breed  and 
propagate  therein  in  a  reasonable  time".       It  seems  however  that 


no  advantage  was  taken  of  this  privilege.  How  successful  the 
pickerel  have  been  since  1809  needs  no  comment.  They  were  for  a 
long  time  the  great  fish  of  Bantam  Lake,  being  knowni  as  Bantam 
Shad.  More  recently  black  bass  were  put  into  the  Lake,  and  are 
now  the  chief  aim  of  the  fishermen.  Other  fish  have  been  put  into 
our  waters  on  several  occasions,  the  latest  experiment  being  the 
salmon  trout  in  1919  bv  the  Connecticut  Fish  Commission. 



Until  1859,  the  present  township  of  Morris  formed  an  integral 
part  of  Litchfield,  and  was  an  important  factor  in  our  jwpulation 
and  acreage.  In  1810,  its  population  was  1,238,  probably  the  largest 
figure  it  attained.  When  the  towns  were  divided,  the  population 
is  estimated  at  675. 

The  early  history  of  this  parish  has  been  well  told  by  Wood- 
ruff, pp.  53-55:  "In  May  1740,  the  Inhabitants  of  South  Farms  peti- 
tioned the  L^slature,  to  be  annexed  to  the  north  Society  of  Wood- 
bury, now  Bethlehem.  A  committee  of  the  Town  of  Litchfield  was 
appointed  to  oppose  it,  and  the  application  was  unsuccessful.  Ser- 
eral  attempts  were  made  to  procure  their  incorporation  as  an  Ecclesi- 
astical Society,  which  did  not  succeed  till  1767,  when  an  act  of  the 
Legislature  for  that  purpose  was  passed.  In  1753,  there  were 
but  30  families  in  the  parish;  when  it  was  incorporated  it  con- 
tained 70. 

"But  the  L^slature  long  before  that  time  granted  the  Inhabi- 
tants power  to  maintain  the  public  worship  of  God  among  them  for 
three  months  during  the  winter,  and  this  right  was  called  the 
'Winter  Privilege'.  They  thereupon  exercised  the  ordinary  powers 
of  an  Ecclesiastical  Society.  Their  first  meeting  for  such  purposes 
was  holden  on  the  23d  Nov.  1748,  at  the  house  of  Capt.  Thomas  Har- 
rison . . .  and  Public  Worship  was  held  in  different  sections,  at  the 
School  and  Private  Houses.  The  first  School  House  was  voted  to 
be  built  in  1747.  Twenty  pounds  was  given  from  the  Town  Treasury 
for  that  purpose". 

There  are  two  Cemeteries  in  the  limits  of  the  South  Farms 
parish.  The  older,  for  which  liberty  was  granted  in  1747,  is  now 
known  as  the  Morris  Cemetery,  and  lies  on  a  hill,  with  slope  to  the 
southwards.  Some  of  the  graves  near  the  road  are  marked  by 
very  old  stones,  many  well-nigh  illegible.  The  first  person  buried 
in  this  grave-yard  was  James  Stoddard,  who  was  kUled  at  the 
raising  of  a  dwelling  in  March  1749.  In  connection  with  the 
funerals  at  this  Burying  Ground,  a  vote  of  the  Society,  passed  March 
14,  1759,  survives,  which  is  one  of  the  most  singular  examples  of 
old  orthography  in  any  of  our  records.  This  was,  "to  pay  Charles 
Woodruff  six  shillings  for  ye  Bears  to  carry  ye  Dead". 

The  second  Cemetery  was  authorized  in  1776,  in  Footville  or 
West  Morris.  "The  sanctity  of  burial  places".  Woodruff,  p.  54, 
"seems  not  to  have  been  very  highly  regarded";  for  the  deed  from 
Thomas  Waugh  of  the  land  to  be  used  specifies  that  "said  Thomas 


MCkki-  W'lii'iiRi'Fr 


Waugh  his  heirs  and  assigns  shall  have  good  right  forever  to  enclose 
said  Burying  Yard,  and  use  it  for  pasturing,  provided,  he  or  they 
shall  keep  up  and  maintain  convenient  bars  for  the  people  to  pass 
and  repass,  for  the  purpose  of  burying  their  dead". 

"In  the  year  1764",  Morris,  p.  104,  "the  inhabitants  agreed  to 
build  their  first  church.  It  was  only  one  story  high,  34  feet  by 
32".  The  original  vote  of  the  Society  authorizing  this  church  gives 
slightly  smaller  proportions,  as  follows:  "25  by  35  ft.  with  9  ft 
posts  provided  Justice  Gibbs  will  do  it  by  Dec.  1st,  for  seventy 
pounds  ten  shillings,  plank  body,  clapboards  on  the  outside,  10  win- 
dows of  24  panes  6  by  8  inches,  floor  well  lined,  sealed  with  pine, 
one  doar,  point  the  cracks  between  the  planks  with  clay,  decent 
pulpit,  one-half  to  be  paid  in  proc.  bills  (?),  and  one-half  in  specie". 
Later  voted  "A  Quchion"  and  later  "two  pairs  of  stairs  and  foarms 
were  built  in  the  gallery". 

"The  greatest  puzzle",  Morris  Herald,  September,  1899,  "was 
the  gallery  in  a  church  with  posts  only  9  feet  high.  Probably  the 
space  under  the  roof  was  include<l  in  the  room  and  the  gallery  was 
at  the  end,  with  the  gallery  floor  dropped  a  little  below  the  plates". 

A  second  church,  more  suitable  in  size  to  the  needs  of  the  grow- 
ing community  and  to  use  all  the  year,  instead  of  for  the  winter 
privileges  only,  was  planned  as  early  as  1774,  but  the  War  pre- 
vented its  construction  until  1785.  It  was  a  more  pretentious 
structure  than  most  churches  of  that  day.  The  main  entrance  was 
a  high  double  door  over  which  was  a  large  carved  pine  apple  and 
other  carved  work.  (Morris  Herald,  January,  1900).  "Over  the 
pulpit  was  the  inevitable  sounding  board,  described  as  a  Turkish 
minaret,  surmounted  by  a  scarlet  tulip.  On  each  panel  of  the  base 
of  the  sounding  board  was  a  carved  bunch  of  grapes,  and  on  the 
front  of  the  pulpit,  which  was  over  six  feet  in  height,  were  five 
rows,  three  bunches  each,  of  carved  bunches  of  grapes,  a  bright 
purple  in  color  and  two  grape  leaves  to  each  bunch,  of  natural  size. 
On  wood  work  behind  the  pulpit  were  two  narrow  green  stripes, 
surmounted  by  scarlet  tulips.  There  was  but  one  stairway  for 
the  pulpit,  on  the  left  side,  while  down  in  front  of  the  pulpit  was 
the  deacons'  seat.  The  seats  were  arranged  on  three  sides  of  the 
square  pews,  so  that  one  third  of  the  people  would  sit  back  to 
the  minister.  In  the  early  days  the  people  were  seated  according 
to  social  position,  which  was  determined  by  wealth  chiefly.  This 
custom  provoked  jealousies  and,  in  1827,  it  was  voted  that  the 
congregation  should  be  'seated  by  age  without  regard  to  list'  . . . 
In  a  great  gale  of  wind  in  1822,  the  steeple  was  blown  down  and 
the  bell  broken.  In  1824,  a  stove  was  for  the  first  time  set  up 
in  the  church.  . . .  The  church  stood  in  an  exposed  spot  and  in  spite 
of  the  stoves  in  severe  weather  it  was  impossible  to  heat  the  church, 
and  it  was  taken  down  in  1844  and  the  present  Church  took  its 
place.  When  it  was  torn  down,  Dibble  Smith,  an  intense  Uni- 
versalist,  obtained  the  old  pulpit  and  took  a  part  of  it  to  the  match 


shop  located  where  the  Waterbury  Reservoir  now  is  and  had  it 
made  into  matches.  He  said  they  ought  to  burn  well,  for  the 
pulpit  must  be  well  seasoned  bv  the  brimstone  theology  preached 
in  it". 

The  Rev.  David  Lewis  Parmelee  was  the  pastor  in  South 
Farms  from  1841  until  after  the  parish  had  become  a  separate  town- 
ship, and  he  was  largely  instrumental  in  having  the  third  church 
built.  He  was  greatly  interested  in  the  parish,  and  was  the  largest 
subscriber  to  the  church,  and  gave  the  sum  of  $1,000.  for  the  con- 
struction of  an  adjoining  chapel.  He  was  very  strict  in  the  observ- 
ance of  the  Sabbath,  and  used  to  feed  his  horse  on  Saturdays  to 
last  over  the  day.  South  Farms  has  been  fortunate  in  having 
such  leaders  as  he  was,  and  still  more  in  James  Morris  of  the 
Morris  Academy. 

Under  the  direction  of  the  latter,  the  first  Library  in  the  town 
of  Litchfield  was  founded  in  South  Farms  in  1785.  "In  the  year 
1791,  a  constitution  was  formed;  and  the  proprietors  became  more 
numerous.  The  library  consists  of  between  300  and  400  volumes 
of  well-chosen  books,  of  ancient  and  modern  history  and  divinity" 
(Morris,  p.  106). 

A  debating  society,  formed  in  1842,  should  also  be  mentioned. 
This  was  the  Ladies'  and  Gentlemen's  Society  of  South  Farms  for 
Moral  and  Intellectual  Improvement.  It  had  a  large  membership, 
and  had  an  active  but  short  existence  of  six  years.  Among  the 
subjects  debated,  we  find  the  following:  "Has  the  introduction  of 
manufacturing  establishments  into  our  country  as  a  whole  been 
injurious  to  public  morals?"  This  was  decided  in  the  affirmative. 
"Is  matrimony  more  conducive  to  happiness  than  celibacy?"  This 
also  was  answered  in  the  affirmative.  The  last  subject  recorded  is: 
"Is  the  credit  system  beneficial  to  the  community?"  This  seems 
to  have  been  too  much  for  the  society,  which  never  met  again. 


In  addition  to  the  Law  School  and  Miss  Pierce's  Academy, 
there  was  within  the  then  limits  of  the  town  a  third  educational 
institution,  more  modest  in  its  scope,  yet  which  achieved  important 
results.  This  was  the  Academy  of  James  Morris  in  South  Farms. 
He  was  born  January  19,  1752.  He  himself  has  told  us  of  its 
scope  in  the  Statistical  Account,  written  in  1812-4,  (p.  105)  :  "An 
Academy  was  begun  in  South-Farms,  in  the  year  1790;  in  which 
are  taught  the  Latin  and  Greek  languages,  English  grammar, 
arithmetic,  mathematics,  rhetoric,  logic,  and  moral  philosophy.  Sev- 
eral gentlemen  Avithin  the  parish  and  in  the  town  of  Litchfield  built 
the  house  by  subscription,  at  the  expense  of  $1,400.  More  than  1,400 
scholars,  of  both  sexes,  have  been  members  of  this  school.  More 
than  60  of  these  have  entered  Yale  and  other  colleges.  The  school 
still  continues.       It  was  originally  instituted  for  the  purpose  of 


improving  the  manners  and  morals  of  youths,  and  of  attracting 
their  attention  from  frivolity  and  dissipation". 

The  achievement  of  the  results  here  so  modestly  described  was 
not  an  easy  one.  To  build  up  in  the  conditions  then  prevailing, 
as  we  shall  see,  in  South  Farms,  an  educational  center  capable  of 
influencing  the  entire  community  and  of  sending  out  graduates  with 
the  ideals  of  John  Pierpont,  John  Brown  of  Osawatomie,  Samuel  J. 
Mills,  Jr.,  and  at  least  two  of  the  sons  of  Lyman  Beecher,  was  a 
work  requiring  a  remarkable  personality  in  its  founder,  and  there 
is  no  question  that  Mr.  Morris  was  a  remarkable  and  splendid 

We  are  fortunate  in  that  he  left  a  narrative  in  manuscript, 
extracts  from  which  have  been  printed  in  Morris  Herald  (March 
1900),  in  the  Memoirs  of  the  Long  Island  Historical  Society,  (Vol. 
II L,  1878,  part  2,  pp.  172-4),  and  in  Johnston's  Yale  in  the  Kevolu- 
tion,    (pp.  74-77  and  138). 

The  extracts  which  have  been  printed  are  chiefly  concerned  with 
his  services  in  the  Revolution.  He  served  from  1776  to  the  end  of 
the  war,  with  rank  of  Captain.  He  Avas  a  prisoner  for  over  three 
years  after  the  battle  of  Germantown,  the  experiences  which  he 
narrates  being  of  much  interest.  We  must,  however,  confine  our- 
selves to  a  few  quotations  telling  of  his  early  life  in  South  Farms 
and  the  starting  of  his  life  work.  He  began  his  Memoirs  with 
these  words:  "In  looking  back  to  my  early  childhood  I  can  well 
recollect  that  I  was  very  much  attached  to  my  book  ...  In  my 
youthful  days  I  had  an  ardent  desire  to  have  a  public  education 
and  my  ultimate  desire  was  to  be  a  minister,  but  being  the  only 
son  of  my  father  he  could  not  brook  the  idea  of  my  leaving  him 
for  that  purpose.      He  meant  that  I  should  be  his  earthly  prop". 

When  he  was  eighteen  his  father  acceded  to  his  wishes  for  an 
education  in  so  far  as  to  say  "that  if  I  would  go  and  sled  home  a 
certain  quantity  of  wood  that  he  had  drawn  off  a  piece  of  fallow 
ground  the  preceding  summer  I  might  go  and  try  what  I  could 
do  in  the  study  of  Latin.  I  then  exerted  myself,  and  in  about  a 
fortnight  I  had  sledded  home  sixty  loads  of  wood  and  loaded  and 
unloaded  the  same".  He  then  went  and  spent  the  winter  with 
the  minister  in  an  adjoining  town,  tutoring  especially  in  Latin.  In 
the  spring  of  1770  he  was  called  home  to  study  under  the  minister 
in  South  Farms:  "But",  he  says,  "I  made  little  progress,  for  every 
day  I  was  interrupted;  it  was  constantly  said,  James,  you  must 
go  and  bring  some  wood,  you  must  get  some  oven  wood  and  split 
it  fine,  you  must  go  and  bring  up  the  old  mare,  your  mother  wants 
to  ride  out,  you  must  go  and  fetch  the  cows,  the  pigs  are  in  the 
garden,  you  must  go  and  get  them  out".  In  spite  of  every  difficulty 
he  persevered,  entered  Yale,  graduated  in  1775,  and  began  the  study 
of  theology.  He  did  not  consider  himself  fitted  to  be  a  minister, 
however,  and  after  his  return  he  and  his  wife,  Elizabeth  Hubbard 
of  Middletown,  made  their  home  with  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Morris,  Senior, 
both  of  whom  were  now  in  failing  health.      It  was  a  restricted  life 


for  the  young  couple.  "My  parents  being  advanced  in  the  waning 
of  life  diose  retirement,  my  mother  especially  could  not  be  broken 
of  her  rest  or  be  disturbed  of  her  sleep.  We  often  had  evening 
visitors  and  they  would  often  stay  till  after  nine  o'clock,  and  some 
noise  would  be  made  either  in  conversation  or  when  they  bid  me 
good  night  and  went  out  of  the  house.  The  next  morning  my 
mother  would  complain  that  she  was  so  disturbed  that  she  did 
not  sleep,  and  that  she  could  not  have  it  so,  that  I  should  send  off 
my  company  before  nine  o'clock.  Finding  my  situation  growing 
unpleasant,  yet  at  the  same  time  feeling  disposed  to  do  everything 
in  my  power  to  soothe  the  pillow  of  age  and  to  render  the  con- 
dition of  my  beloved  parents  comfortable,  I  consulted  my  father  on 
the  subject  and  I  informed  him  that  I  had  it  in  contemplation  to 
purchase  the  house  and  lands  where  I  now  live".  It  was  not  long 
before  Morris  found  that  he  needed  more  land,  but  he  had  not  the 
money  to  buy  it.  "But",  he  says  naively,  "a  kind  providence  had 
hitherto  always  found  a  way  of  escape  for  me  when  I  was  either 
in  difficulty  or  in  danger.  In  June  1789,  God  was  pleased  to 
remove  my  dear  father  by  death.  A  considerable  sum  of  money 
and  cattle  were  placed  in  my  possession  by  which  I  was  enabled  to 
free  myself  from  debt  without  any  embarrassment.  Thus  I  was 
prospered  in  my  worldly  concerns,  though  the  removal  of  my  father 
was  a  grievous  stroke  to  me  in  the  dispensation  of  providence". 

He  was  much  distressed  at  the  condition  of  the  people  about 
him,  "The  church  in  this  place  was  made  up  of  numbers  of 
ignorant,  unprincipled  and  unexemplary  men.  They  voted  in 
church  meeting  that  conversion  should  be  no  terms  of  communion 
at  the  Lord's  Table,  and  this  society  ratified  the  same  vote.  Pro- 
fane swearing  and  open  Sabbath  breaking  and  drunkenness  were 
not  uncommon  among  professors  of  religion.  The  young  people 
were  clownish,  ignorant  and  uncivil  in  their  recreation  and  amuse- 
ments.     They  consisted  chiefly  of  noisy  and  jovial  mirth. 

"The  first  effort  that  I  made",  continues  Mr.  Morris,  "was  to 
attract  the  attention  of  the  children  in  the  several  schools".  As 
an  incentive  he  offered  a  prize  to  each  of  the  eight  from  the  several 
districts  who  should  perform  best  in  a  public  examination.  Taking 
a  continued  interest  in  the  school  children,  he  began  courses  for 
them  after  school  hours  in  English  grammar  and  geography.  "The 
young  ladies  were  my  first  pupils;  I  took  more  pains  with  them  in 
the  outsetting  in  giving  counsel  than  I  did  to  the  others  because 
experience  had  taught  me  in  my  travels  through  the  United  States 
that  in  every  town  or  village  where  there  was  a  chaste  or  virtuous 
set  of  young  ladies  there  was  a  decent  class  of  young  men". 

He  met  with  much  opposition  at  first;  people  envied  him  for  his 
position  and  hated  him  for  his  reforms.  The  opposition  increased 
until  in  1794  the  Church  took  up  the  matter.  A  council  was  called 
and  some  of  the  neighboring  churches  sent  delegates.  The  charge 
against  him  was  that  of  disturbing  the  public  peace.  One  of  the 
witnesses  testified  that  he  occasionally  walked  home  at  night  with 


his  young  lady  pupils.  Nevertheless  the  council  acquitted  him. 
After  this  his  school  prospered  and  steadily  increased.  In  1803  the 
people  of  the  Society  and  other  friends  in  Litchfield  built  him  the 
house  which  was  called  the  Academy.  When  the  district  of  South 
Farms  was  set  off  as  a  separate  township  in  1859,  the  residents  paid 
James  Morris  a  deserved  tribute  in  giving  his  name  to  the  town, 
and  thus  honoring  the  memory  of  his  sturdy  character  and  of  all 
he  did  for  the  community  and  for  the  world  in  Morris  Academy. 
The  value  of  his  work  appears  when  we  contrast  the  early  conditions 
in  the  community  with  the  somewhat  remarkable  intelligence  and 
character  of  the  citizens  in  the  years  when  the  influence  of  the 
Academy  came  to  be  fully  realized.  It  appears  also  in  the  large 
number  of  men  from  other  parts  of  the  country  who  were  educated 
here  and  have  filled  important  positions  in  the  world.  A  few  of 
his  pupils  especially  have  exerted  a  wide  influence. 

John  Pierpont  was  born  in  South  Farms  on  April  6,  1785. 
After  studying  at  the  Morris  Academy,  he  went  to  Yale  (Class  of 
1804).  He  studied  law  at  the  Litchfield  Law  School.  He  became 
one  of  the  most  distinguished  pastors  of  the  Unitarian  Church, 
occupying  the  pulpit  of  the  HoUis  Street  Church  in  Boston  from 
1819  to  1845.  He  was  also  widely  known  as  a  poet  in  those  days, 
and  composed  the  Poem  for  the  Litchfield  County  Centennial  in 
1851,  which  he  recited  with  much  effect.  He  was  a  vigorous  anti- 
slavery  advocate,  and  carried  on  the  temperance  crusade  begun  by 
Lyman  Beecher.  The  freedom  with  which  he  expressed  his  opinions 
regarding  the  temperance  cause  led  to  a  bitter  controversy.  While 
not  strictly  pertinent  to  the  history  of  Litchfield,  the  following  may 
be  quoted  as  showing  something  of  the  spirit  of  the  times: 

"The  cellar  of  his  church  was  used  by  some  of  his  parishioners 
who  were  engaged  in  the  wholesale  liquor  business,  to  store  their 
goods.  Report  says  it  was  John  Pierpont  who  wrote  the  following 
lines : 

There's  a  spirit  above, 

And  a  spirit  below; 
A  spirit  of  love. 

And  a  spirit  of  woe. 
The  spirit  above  is  the  Spirit  Divine, 

But  the  spirit  below  is  the  spirit  of  wine". 

(Morris  Herald,  April  1899). 

John  Brown  w^as  bom  in  Torrington  on  May  9,  1800.  He  came 
to  the  Academy  with  his  brother  Salmon  about  1816  or  a  little  later, 
and  remained  only  one  year.  "He  was  not  very  popular  with  the 
other  pupils;  this  may  have  been  due  to  certain  unamiable  traits 
of  character  for  which  he  admits  his  brothers  criticised  him,  or 
simply  to  his  conscientiousness  of  behavior.  His  disposition  to 
attempt  to  right  wrongs  in  a  summary  way  appeared  even  at  that 
early  day.  His  younger  brother  Salmon  was  guilty  of  some  offense 
for  which  he  thought  he  ought  to  be  punished,  'If  Salmon  had  done 


this  at  home',  he  said  to  the  teacher,  'father  would  have  punished 
him.  I  know  he  would  expect  you  to  punish  him  now  for  doing 
this,  and  if  you  dont  I  shall'.  That  night,  more  in  sorrow  than  in 
anger,  he  gave  him  a  severe  flogging".     (Morris  Herald,  Jan.  1899). 

Salmon  Brown  was  for  a  time  in  the  employ  of  Morris  Wood- 
ruff. His  grandson,  George  M.  Woodruff,  tells  that  on  one  occa- 
sion, Morris  Woodruff,  upon  his  return  from  the  legislature,  was 
much  annoyed  to  find  that  some  of  his  directions  concerning  farm 
work  had  not  been  carried  out.  Upon  which  Salmon  consoled  him 
by  saying:  '"Gin'ral,  Gin'ral,  don't  you  know  that  if  a  man  wants 
anything  did,  he  must  did  it  hiself?"  We  are  not  sure  whether 
this  anecdote  speaks  very  well  for  the  teaching  of  grammar  at  the 
Morris  Academy! 

Through  his  life  Morris  shoAved  a  deep  interest  in  his  fellow 
men,  not  only  in  the  scholars  directly  in  his  charge.  This  character- 
istic led  him  to  be  greatly  interested  in  missions;  the  mission  school 
of  the  American  Board  of  Commissioners  of  Foreign  Missions  being 
first  connected  with  Morris  Academy.  The  Litchfield  County  Foreign 
Mission  Society  was  the  first  organized  auxiliary  of  the  Board,  and 
dates  from  1811.  James  Morris  was  largely  instrumental  in  its 
undertaking,  and  was  its  Secretary  from  its  inception  until  his 
death.  About  1816  he  founded  a  mission  school  at  South  Farms, 
which  in  May  1817  was  transferred  to  Cornwall,  where  it  became  an 
object  of  great  interest  as  an  experiment  before  untried.  The  school 
was  founded  as  a  result  of  the  finding  in  1809  of  a  young  Sandwich 
Island  boy,  Henry  Obookiah,  on  a  doorstep  at  Yale  College.  He 
was  cared  for  by  Rev.  Edwin  Welles  Dwight,  then  a  resident  gradu- 
ate at  Yale.  Samuel  J.  Mills  Jr.,  who  had  been  a  pupil  of  James 
Morris  at  the  Academy,  became  the  companion  of  Mr.  Dwight  in 
New  Haven,  and  so  was  deeply  interested  in  the  heathen  boy  and 
conceived  the  idea  of  educating  him  as  a  missionary  to  his  native 
land.  Gradually  the  idea  grew  of  a  school  for  native  foreign  mis- 
sionaries; and  when  at  last  the  school  was  opened  at  South  Farms, 
Mr.  Dwight  became  the  first  principal.  On  April  1,  1817,  he  wrote 
to  his  mother  from  the  school:  "I  came  at  the  request  of  the  agents 
of  the  Heathen  school  to  take  charge  of  the  Owhyhee  boys.  It  is 
established  by  the  board  of  commission  of  foreign  missions  and 
not  long  hence  to  have  a  very  important  connection  with  all  our 
plans  and  efforts  to  spread  the  gospel.  Tlie  object  is  to  furnisli 
a  place  for  collecting  and  instructing  all  the  heathen  youth  that 
may  be  thrown  upon  our  countrj'  or  sent  to  this  country  for  educa- 
tion. Of  the  Owhyheeans,  three  or  four  are  pious.  It  is  very 
evidently  God's  design  to  prepare  some  of  these  young  men  to  return 
as  missionaries  and  interpreters  to  their  own  country'".  Samuel  J. 
Mills  Jr.  did  not  live  to  see  the  success  of  the  school.  In  1818. 
on  the  return  journey  from  Africa,  whither  he  had  gone  to  explore 
the  West  Coast  with  a  view  to  founding  a  colonization  project,  he 
died  at  the  early  age  of  thirty  five.  In  his  short  life,  through  his 
many  and  varied  pioneer  services  for  the  cause  of  foreign  missions. 


he  won  the  reputation  of  being  the  Father  of  American  Missions. 
He  is  buried  in  Torringford,  where  he  was  born. 

After  removing  to  Cornwall  the  school  grew  very  rapidly.  The 
catalog  of  1820  showed  that  the  scholars  were  chiefly  natives  of  the 
Sandwich  Islands,  one  from  Tahiti,  one  from  the  Marquesas,  one 
Malay.  There  were  also  several  American  Indians.  The  school 
was  discontinued  in  1827,  as  it  was  found  better  to  train  native 
missionaries  in  their  own  lands.  The  detailed  history  of  the  school 
does  not  belong  in  this  book.  The  life  of  Obookiah  was  written  by 
Mr.  Dwight  in  1818,  the  work  passing  through  12  editions,  the  last 
in  1867.  K.  Henry  W.  Dwight,  the  biographer  of  his  grand-father, 
has  estimated  that  these  several  editions,  in  three  languages,  num- 
bered not  less  than  50,000  copies,  an  enormous  amount  for  those 
days.  But  the  little  seed  of  foreign  missions,  sowed  in  South 
Farms,  cannot  be  counted  in  numbers,  and  though  the  story  is 
virtually  forgotten  to-day  its  influence  has  been  enormous. 

In  connection  with  this  mission  work,  we  notice  that  under  the 
inspiration  of  James  Morris  and  Morris  Woodruff  in  South  Farms, 
and  of  Julius  Deming,  Benjamin  Tallmadge,  Tapping  Keeve  and 
others  in  Litchfield,  the  support  of  Litchfield  to  the  general  Board 
was  on  a  very  liberal  scale.  "In  the  first  years  of  the  American 
Board  for  Foreign  Missions  its  prospects  were  dark,  and  its  supplies 
dubious.  T\Tien  the  annual  collection  from  Litchfield  County  first 
came  into  the  Treasury  of  the  Board,  relieving  it  from  some  existing 
embarrassment,  Dr.  Worcester  exclaimed  'I  bless  God  for  making 
Litchfield  County'."  (Semi-Centennial  of  the  Litchfield  County 
Foreign  Mission  Society,  1861,  p.  25).  The  contribution  from  Litch- 
field in  the  spring  of  1813,  the  first  remittance,  was  $1,354.11,  truly 
a  large  one  for  the  time^  as  the  entire  receipts  of  the  Board  for 
that  year  from  the  whole  country  were  only  $11,361.18. 

James  Morris  was  taken  ill  while  visiting  the  Mission  School 
in  Cornwall,  and  died  on  his  way  home,  at  Goshen,  April  20,  1820. 
The  work  at  his  Academy  was  continued  after  his  death  by  a  Mr. 
Chapman,  and  in  1831  Samuel  Morris  Ensign,  1804-1888,  became 
principal.  He  was  a  distinguished  educator,  and  drew  large  num- 
bers of  pupils  from  the  then  western  states,  such  as  Ohio.  The 
building  of  the  Academy  was  torn  down  in  1892.  For  the  last  few 
years  it  had  been  used  as  a  barn,  the  school  being  conducted  in  the 
home  of  Mr.  Ensign.  Some  years  before  the  latter's  death  the 
Academy  practically  ceased  to  exist. 


The  south-eastern  part  of  our  township,  now  known  as  North- 
field,  was  first  settled  about  1760,  but  not  incorporated  as  a  parish 
until  1794.  The  parish,  as  laid  out,  included  a  part  of  Thomaston, 
then  known  as  Northbury,  or  the  north  section  of  Plymouth.  The 
name  Northfield  is  a  compound  of  the  first  syllable  of  Northbury  and 
the  last  svUable  of  Litchfield. 

j86  the  history  OF  LITCHFIELD 

Tradition  says  that  the  first  settlers  were  John  Humaston  and 
Titus  Turner,  both  of  whom  came  from  New  Haven.  Humaston 
built  a  sawmill  on  the  stream  just  east  of  the  cemetery,  where  a 
mill  still  stands,  though  not  the  same  one.  Here  he  sawed  the 
lumber  for  the  first  frame  house,  which  stood  on  the  site  of  the 
present  Post  Office  until  it  was  burned  in  1904,  with  the  former 
Post  Office  just  to  the  east.  Turner's  log  house  stood  about  a 
quarter  mile  west,  on  the  south  side  of  the  present  main  street,  but 
facing  south  on  the  earlier  road. 

James  Marsh  was  the  first  child  born  in  the  settlement,  Septem- 
ber 22,  1762. 

Prior  to  1794,  the  settlement  was  called  South-East  Farms.  The 
first  recorded  meeting  of  a  Society  was  October  15, 1789,  at  which  it 
was  voted  to  hire  a  minister  for  the  winter  season  of  six  months. 

In  1791,  application  was  made  for  liberty  to  have  a  burying 
ground.  The  first  location  was  not  satisfactory  and  was  not  used. 
On  May  6,  1795,  John  Humaston  made  a  gift  to  the  Society  of  half 
an  acre,  on  the  present  site,  and  this  tract  has  been  twice  subse- 
quently added  to.  He  reserved  to  "Himself,  his  heirs  and  assigns 
forever  the  right  of  feeding  said  Ground". 

Northfield  is  the  only  section  of  our  township  in  which  the 
Episcopal  church  was  built  before  the  Congr^ationaL  The  First 
Episcopal  Society  of  Litchfield  Southeast  Farms  was  organized  at 
the  house  of  John  Humaston  on  September  5,  1793.  Thirty  six 
persons  were  enrolled  as  members  at  this  meeting.  The  first  church, 
45  by  34  feet,  was  built  on  the  Green,  where  the  Soldier's  Monument 
now  stands,  facing  south,  with  a  door  at  the  west  end  also,  and 
was  completed  in  1795.  Rev.  Joseph  E.  Camp  officiated  for  a  short 
time,  addressing  the  Episcopalians  in  the  morning  and  the  Congre- 
gationalists  in  the  afternoon.  This  building  was  consecrated  as 
Trinity  Church  on  October  19,  1836,  by  Thomas  Church  Brownell, 
Bishop  of  Connecticut.  The  present  church  was  begun  in  1865  and 
consecrated  as  Trinity  Church  on  February  10,  1866,  by  John 
Williams,  Bishop  of  Connecticut. 

By  gift  of  Mrs.  Bennett  Hiimiston  in  1899  the  Society  acquired 
the  house  adjoining  the  church  on  the  south,  which  has  since  been 
used  as  a  rectory.  Here  the  Kev.  Adelbert  P.  Chapman,  the  rector 
from  1901  to  1917,  conducted  for  several  years  a  small  Summer 
Home  for  Girls  for  the  preventative  treatment  of  Tuberculosis,  an 
admirable  charity,  carried  on  with  great  devotion. 

The  Ecclesiastical  Society  of  Northfield  was  incorporated  at  the 
session  of  the  General  Assembly,  October  1794,  the  name  being 
changed  to  the  Congregational  Society  of  Northfield  in  1859.  The 
Society  was  organized  at  the  house  of  William  Washburn  at  a 
meeting  on  January  1,  1795,  with  14  enrolled  members.  Later  in 
the  year  it  was  voted  to  adopt  'Deacon  Button's  plan'  for  a  meeting 
house,  50  by  38  feet.  The  building  was  commenced  in  1796,  but  not 
completed  for  use  until  1803.       It  stood  on  the  top  of  Northfield 


Hill,  a  quarter  of  a  mile  north  of  the  present  Green.  The  present 
church  was  dedicated  February  6,  1867. 

The  Society  is  endowed  through  a  trust  fund  of  $10,000.,  received 
from  the  estate  of  Asa  Hopkins,  who  died  in  1838.  He  lived  on  the 
East  Hill,  where  he  b^an  at  a  very  early  date  the  manufacture  of 
wooden  clocks;  later  he  began  the  manufacture  of  flutes  at  Flute- 
ville;  and  finally  removed  to  New  Haven,  where  he  again  manu- 
factured clocks. 

By  the  bequest  of  William  L.  Gilbert  of  Winsted,  a  native  of 
Northfield,  who  died  in  1890,  the  Society  received  the  sum  of  $4,000. 
for  a  parsonage,  to  include  a  room  for  a  free  Library,  for  which 
the  further  sum  of  $8,000.  was  given.  This  building  is  located 
opposite  the  church,  and  was  completed  in  1896.  The  Librarian, 
from  1893  to  1907,  was  Levi  S.  Wooster,  to  whose  faithful  work  in 
building  up  the  Library,  Northfleld  is  very  largely  indebted  for  the 
fine  collection  of  5,500  books  now  included.  Rev.  Wallace  Humiston 
is  the  present  Librarian. 

The  first  school,  Litchfield  District  No,  14,  was  established  in 
1774.  The  school  stood  east  of  the  road  about  half  way  from  the 
present  Congregational  church  to  the  top  of  the  hill  above.  All 
traces  of  it  disappeared  long  ago.  In  1797,  the  Ecclesiastical 
Society  appointed  a  committee  which  laid  out  the  following  districts : 
Center,  Hopkins,  Marsh,  Fluteville,  Mill  and  Guernsey  Hill.  Of 
these,  Hopkins  has  long  been  abandoned,  and  Guernsey  Hill  more 
recently ;  while  Mill  is  now  in  the  town  of  Morris.  A  new  building 
was  furnished  by  Daniel  Catlin  about  1840  for  use  of  the  Center 
district,  w^hich  the  town  later  acquired  and  which  is  still  standing, 
opposite  the  present  Center  School,  built  in  1885. 

There  have  been  at  least  two  important  private  schools.  Rev. 
Joseph  E.  Camp,  during  his  long  ministry  with  the  Ecclesiastical 
Society,  1795-1837,  fitted  many  boys  for  collie.  One  of  these  was 
John  Pierpont,  who  also  studied  at  the  Morris  Academy. 

Deacon  John  Catlin  opened  a  private  school  in  the  old  tavern 
of  Jacob  Turner  about  1845.  Among  his  pupils  were  Senator  O.  H. 
Piatt,  Judge  Edward  W.  Seymour,  Rev.  Storrs  O.  Seymour,  D.  D.,  and 
James  G.  Batterson  of  Hartford,  buUder  of  the  State  Capitol. 

There  has  been  a  Post-Off'ice  in  Northfield  since  about  1836, 
when  Daniel  Catlin  was  postmaster.  Prior  to  this  time  a  weekly 
mail  was  delivered  to  the  settlers  by  the  rider  to  Hartford  from 
Litchfield,  beginning  January  24,  1791. 

About  1794  the  mail  was  left  at  the  store  of  Turner  and  Wood- 
ruff, and  the  trips  were  made  twice  weekly.  Shortly  after  1800, 
the  mail  was  left  at  the  tavern  of  Jacob  Turner,  which  was  a  way 
station  for  the  overland  mail  from  Hartford  to  Albany.  This  house 
still  stands,  being  the  second  house  north  of  the  Congregational 

Of  the  many  industries  which  have  been  located  in  Northfield 
the  only  one  now  active  is  the  Northfield  Knife  Co.,  which   was 


incorporated  in  1858,  with  John  S.  Barnes  as  President  and  Samuel 
Mason  as  Secretary,  leasing  and  later  buying  the  plant  of  an  earlier 
factory,  the  Northfield  Manufacturing  Co.  Barnes  was  succeeded 
as  President  by  Mason,  and  in  1865  by  Franklin  H,  Catlin,  with 
J.  Howard  Catlin  as  Secretary  and  Treasurer.  The  business  was 
rapidly  built  up,  and  has  attained  an  enviable  reputation  for  the 
finest  grade  of  pocket  cutlery.  Exhibits  were  made  at  the  World's 
Fairs  at  Philadelphia,  1876;  Paris,  1878;  Chicago,  1892;  and  Buffalo, 
1901;  prizes  being  received  at  each.  At  Buffalo,  over  a  thousand 
styles  of  knives  were  showii.  In  L919,  the  name  and  plant  were 
sold  to  the  Clark  Brothers  Cutlery  Co.,  of  Kansas  City. 

Among  the  natives  of  Northfield,  John  Pierpont  Humiston  should 
be  mentioned  as  the  inventor  of  the  first  duplex  telegraph  instru- 
ment. He  was  born  1816,  a  grandson  of  John  Humaston,  and  was 
apprenticed  as  a  l>oy  to  a  local  carriage  maker.  He  bought  his 
last  year  of  service  for  $342.50,  for  which  amount  he  gave  his  note. 
After  working  in  New  Haven  and  Seymour,  he  turned  his  attention 
to  electricity.  His  invention  of  the  duplex  telegraph  allowed  four 
messages  to  be  sent  over  one  wire,  two  each  way.  He  also  invented 
machines  for  the  quick  writing  and  receiving  of  telegraphic  charac- 
ters. He  sold  his  patents  to  the  American  Union  Co.,  at  the  time 
of  the  Civil  War,  and  after  many  years  in  the  courts  realized  only 
$5,000.,  for  patents  which  have  proved  of  great  valua  The  diffi- 
culty was  caused  by  the  Government  taking  over  the  American 
Union's  lines,  and  that  Company  selling  out  to  the  Western  Union. 
The  latter  Company  did  not  recognize  Humiston's  claim,  and 
although  after  a  long  lawsuit  he  obtained  a  verdict  for  $16,000., 
the  amount  was  greatly  reduced  by  costs.  Mr.  Humiston  died  in 
Northfield  at  the  age  of  88,  in  1904,  and  was  at  the  time  of  his 
death  the  oldest  resident  of  the  village. 

The  facts  relative  to  Northfield  have  been  furnished  by  Albert 
M.  Turner,  the  Field  Secretary  of  the  Connecticut  State  Park  Com- 
mission. It  is  interesljjng  to  notice  the  important  part  that  he  and 
Horace  Bushnell,  also  a  native  of  our  township,  (he  was  born  in 
Bantam  in  1802),  have  played  in  the  development  of  Connecticut 

Horace  Bushnell  was  the  originator  of  the  project  to  make  a 
public  Park  in  the  center  of  the  city  of  Hartford.  After  a  long 
fight  for  such  an  innovation,  his  plan  was  successfully  carried 
through  in  1854,  the  park  now  bearing  his  name.  This  was  the 
first  time  that  an  appropriation  of  public  funds  was  made  in  the 
state,  and  very  possibly  in  the  nation,  for  the  purchase  of  land 
for  park  purposes.  Heretofore,  such  parks  or  reservations  as 
existed  had  been  set  apart  out  of  public  land  or  out  of  private  gifts. 
It  is  hard  to  realize  to-day,  when  millions  of  dollars  are  being  spent 
annually  by  municipalities,  states  and  the  nation,  for  the  purchase 
of  land  for  park  purposes  and  for  the  establishment  of  public  forests. 


how  recently  and  with  what  diflficulty  the  first   appropriation   of 
the  kind  was  made. 

Albert  M.  Turner,  as  Field  Secretary  of  the  State  Park  Cora- 
mission,  has  been  the  chief  instrument  in  carrying  out  the  extensive 
plans  of  that  body  since  its  formation  in  1913.  This  State  was 
one  of  the  last  to  have  a  Park  Commission,  but  it  has  made  up  for 
lost  time  by  its  wise  and  energetic  action.  It  is  also  interesting 
to  note  that  the  first  gift  to  the  Commission  of  land  was  made  by 
Mrs.  G.  A.  Senff,  of  New  York,  of  a  tract  on  Mount  Tom,  lying 
partly  in  Litchfield,  and  partly  in  Morris  and  Washington.  The 
tower  at  the  summit  of  Mount  Tom  is  included  in  the  area  of  this 
park.  It  was  constructed  in  1888,  from  a  design  by  Professor  Henry 
S.  Munroe,  of  the  Department  of  Mining  of  Columbia  University 
and  a  summer  resident  of  Litchfield;  the  tower  is  30  feet  high  and 
was  modeled  after  an  oil  well  tower  and  was  so  well  designed  and 
built  that  it  is  still  in  service  at  the  present  time,  having  withstood 
the  high  winds  and  storms  of  32  years.  The  tower  is  1,291  feet 
above  sea  level  at  its  base. 


The  village  of  Milton  was  settled  from  Litchfield  about  1740. 
Some  settlers  also  came  from  New  Milford,  notably  David  Welch, 
who  built  the  oldest  house  now  standing  there,  located  at  the 
entrance  to  the  village  on  the  Litchfield  road.  It  dates  from  1745 
and  is  the  oldest  house  anywhere  in  our  township,  with  the  single 
exception  of  the  Vaill  House,  at  the  foot  of  Brush  Hill,  which  is 
a  year  older,  but  extensively  remodeled.  The  Welch  house  is  now 
known  as  the  Bissell  House,  as  it  was  the  home  of  William  Bissell, 
who  was  Captain  of  the  Litchfield  Company  in  the  Litchfield  County 
Regiment  in  the  Civil  War.  The  house  in  Milton  now  known  as  the 
Welch  House  is  situated  at  the  farther  extremity  of  the  village  and 
dates  from  1774.  This  belonged  to  another  branch  of  the  same 

There  was  no  church  in  Milton,  which  was  at  first  known  as 
West  Faims,  until  1795,  when  the  Parish  was  set  off  and  incor- 
porated, including  parts  of  the  townships  of  Goshen,  Cornwall  and 
Warren.  The  building  of  the  Episcopal  Church  was  begun  in 
1802.  Morris  says,  p.  105,  that  neither  of  these  churches  was  com- 
pleted in  1814.  The  Episcopal  church  is  said  to  have  been  com- 
pleted in  1827,  and  to  have  been  dedicated  in  1837.  The  bell  was 
added  in  1843,  a  gift  from  Garry  Welch  and  Hugh  P.  Welch.  There 
has  also  been  a  Methodist  church  in  Milton,  which  was  moved  to 
Bantam  some  years  ago  and  converted  into  a  dwelling. 

The  Burying  Ground  lies  nearly  a  mile  west  of  the  village,  in 
a  sheltered  valley,  enclosed  by  a  substantial  wall  of  quarried  stone. 
Charles  T.  Payne  says,  p.  174,  that  no  record  of  the  date  when  this 
Cemetery  Avas  laid  out  remains,  beyond  the  evidence  of  several 
tombstones  of  the  Revolutionary  period.      It  is  spoken  of  in  a  deed 


of  1790,  but  is  probably  of  considerably  earlier  date.  Additions 
were  made  to  it  in  1813  and  1872. 

"Within  the  parochial  limits  of  Milton",  says  Morris,  p.  105, 
"there  are  five  saw-mills;  two  grist-mills;  two  iron  works;  one  trip- 
hammer; one  carding  machine  for  wool;  one  machine  for  manu- 
facturing wooden  clocks;  one  waggon-maker;  two  turners;  two  shoe- 
makers; six  whole  school  districts;  and  six  school-houses,  in  which 
schools  are  kept  through  the  year,  by  males  in  the  winter  season, 
and  by  females  in  the  summer.  The  price  for  schoolmasters,  is 
from  9  to  12  dollars  per  month  and  their  board ;  for  school-mistresses, 
from  5  to  6  shillings  per  week  and  their  board".  By  the  concen- 
tration of  industries  in  the  valleys  and  by  the  centralization  of  the 
schools,  this  long  list  of  a  century  ago  is  reduced  to  one  mill  and 
one  school. 

The  Shepherd  Knapp  Fresh  Air  Home,  which  is  located  on  the 
hill  east  of  the  village  of  Milton,  was  founded  in  1905  by  Mrs. 
Shepherd  Knapp  of  Litchfield  and  New  York,  in  memory  of  her 
husband.  It  is  maintained  as  a  branch  of  the  New  Y'ork  Tribune 
Fresh  Air  Fund,  and  gives  happy  summer  outings  of  two  weeks 
each  to  a  thousand  or  more  city  children  everj-  year. 

Among  the  citizens  of  Milton  should  be  mentioned  one  of  the 
Revolutionary  soldiers  of  the  village,  John  Griswold,  whom  Eliza- 
beth C.  Barney  Buel,  in  her  lecture  to  the  Litchfield  Scientific  Asso- 
ciation, on  the  Industries  of  Litchfield,  describes  as  the  maker  of  the 
first  model  of  an  "iron  Monitor".  This  he  tested  out  on  Milton 
Pond,  so  that  it  cannot  have  been  very  large.  He  never  did  any- 
thing with  his  invention,  and  heard  of  Ericsson's  earliest  experi- 
ments with  an  iron  turreted  ship  only  two  days  before  he  died, 
December  22, 1847.  Ericsson's  experiments  did  not  bear  fruit  until 
the  real  Monitor  was  constructed,  fifteen  years  later. 


The  following  account  of  Bantam  has  been  summarized  from 
data  specially  contributed  by  Herman  Foster  of  that  Borough. 
Originally  the  name  Bantam  was  given  to  the  whole  district,  covering 
so  extensive  an  area  that  our  Goshen  was  known  as  New  Bantam 
prior  to  its  settlement  in  1738.  When  our  tOAvnship  was  denomi- 
nated Litchfield  in  1715,  the  name  Bantam  was  used  in  a  constantly 
more  restricted  sense,  until  at  one  time  only  the  Lake  and  the 
Falls  carried  on  the  name.  The  remainder  of  the  present  village, 
towards  the  West,  was  known  as  Bradleyville,  from  the  Bradley 
family,  several  branches  of  which  were  prominent  here  in  the  early 
Nineteenth  Century.  Here  the  old  Bradleyville  Tavern  was  the 
Mecca  for  excursions  of  the  young  people  from  Litchfield,  and  one 
of  the  regular  stopping  places  for  the  four  horse  coaches  from  New 
York  and  Danbury. 

The  origin  of  the  name  Bantam  has  caused  much  perplexity. 
Morris  and  Woodruff  attribute  it  without  question  to  an  Indian 
origin.      Kilboume  suggested  that  it  might  have  been  derived  from 


an  East  Indian  Bantam  in  Java.  This  remote  town,  being  known 
to  the  early  English  traders  as  a  wild  r^on,  inhabited  by  a  race 
of  barbarians,  would,  according  to  the  Kilbonme  theory,  naturally 
have  lent  its  name  to  a  similar  tract  in  the  New  World.  His  theory 
has  always  been  interesting,  but  never  entirely  convincing.  It  should 
not  be  dismissed  without  a  study  of  the  various  arguments  he  pre- 
sents, which  space  prevents  our  reproducing  here.  We  may  add  a 
curious  circumstance  to  the  evidence  he  presents,  namely  that,  when 
Ohio  was  being  settled  largely  from  Connecticut  after  the  sale  of 
the  Western  Reserve  lands,  two  of  the  villages  near  Cincinnati 
were  called  respectively  Bantam  and  Batavia-  They  are  nearer 
indeed  to  one  another  in  Ohio  than  their  namesakes  are  in  Java, 
and  the  Bantam  unquestionably  came  by  way  of  our  township. 
There  are  also,  for  those  who  seek  a  remote  ancestor,  a  Cape  Ban- 
tam in  Indo-China,  and  a  village  of  Bantama  in  the  Gold  Coast  of 

This  plurality  of  barbarian  Bantams  suggests  that  the  word 
is  perhaps  a  corruption  of  some  native  jargon  as  heard  by  English 
ears,  and  this  brings  us  back  to  the  older  hypothesis  that  it  sprung 
from  some  phrase  of  our  own  Indian  tribes.  One  interesting  sup- 
position says  that  Pe-an-tum  meant  a  Praying  Indian,  referring  to 
some  early  local  chief  converted  perhaps  by  the  first  Moravian  mis- 
sionary visits  into  the  Wilderness  from  the  Dutch  settlements 
beyond  the  Hudson.  Unfortunately  for  such  a  tradition,  no  Mora- 
vians came  to  our  parts  until  ten  years  or  more  after  the  name 
Bantam  was  in  general  use,  and  even  then  it  is  doubtful  if  they 
came  any  nearer  than  to  New  MUford.  The  sum  total  of  the 
discussion  is  that  we  shall  never  know  more  of  the  etymology  of 
Bantam  than  of  that  of  the  later  name  for  the  township,  Litchfield. 
New  evidence  is  more  likely  to  confuse  than  to  explain. 

The  outlet  of  Bantam  Lake,  as  it  approaches  the  present  village 
of  Bantam,  tumbles  nearly  one  hundred  feet  in  the  course  of  three- 
quarters  of  a  mile,  in  which  distance  there  were  at  one  time  six 
dams  furnishing  water  power  for  as  many  varied  industries.  After 
leaving  Bantam,  the  stream  races  on  down  the  hills  and  through 
the  valleys,  until  its  waters  finally  are  merged  in  the  Shepaug  River, 
passing  on  into  the  Housatonic  River,  and  thence  into  Long  Island 

This  wealth  of  water  power  has  made  Bantam  potentially  the 
richest  section  of  the  township.  Recognition  of  the  advantages 
presented  was  slow  in  coming.  In  the  chapter  on  the  older  indus- 
tries, we  found  here  little  beyond  the  paper  mill  and  the  other  mills, 
not  notably  in  advance  of  those  elsewhere  in  the  town.  As  the  indus- 
tries of  Connecticut  began  to  pass  from  the  hilltops  to  the  valleys 
in  the  forties,  Bantam  was  still  comparatively  neglected.  In  1876, 
C.  F.  Flynn  and  William  Doyle  formed  the  firm  of  Flynn  and  Doyle, 
took  over  the  business  of  the  earlier  Litchfield  Carriage  Company, 
and,  until  1911,  carried  on  an  extensive  manufacture  of  carriages. 


wagons  and  sleighs,  reaching  in  some  years  an  output  of  $40,000. 
Their  products  were  of  a  high  standard  and  their  market  extended 
far  beyond  the  state.  In  1911,  the  Company  was  merged  into  the 
Flynn  and  Doyle  Co.,  which  was  continued  until  the  death  of  Mr. 
Flynn.  Mr.  Doyle  carried  on  the  business  for  another  year,  until 
1918,  when  it  was  discontinued.  In  April,  1919,  the  factory  was 
taken  over  by  the  Bantam  Auto  Repair  Station. 

It  was  not  till  about  1900  that  the  great  growtli  of  Bantam 
began.  In  twenty  years  the  population  has  grown  from  400  to 
1,000,  actually  stemming  the  tide  of  declining  population  which  for 
over  a  century  has  steadily  been  depleting  the  whole  township.  If 
our  resident  population  is  again  to  increase  materially,  the  impetus 
will  probably  continue  to  come  mainly  from  this  growing  industrial 
center.  Besides  the  Flynn  and  Doyle  Co.,  should  be  mentioned  the 
Litchfield  Electric  Light  and  Power  Co.;  the  Connecticut  Electric 
Co.,  manufacturers  of  electric  fixtures;  the  Trumbull-Vanderpoel 
Co.,  manufacturers  of  electric  switches;  and  the  Bantam  Ball  Bear- 
ing Co.,  manufacturers  of  ball  and  roller  bearings.  Further 
particulars  regarding  the  business  of  these  several  plants  will  be 
found  in  the  Appendix. 

Another  extensive  industry  of  quite  another  kind  is  situated 
just  outside  of  Bantam,  on  the  north-west  shore  of  the  Lake.  This 
is  the  Berkshire  Ice  Co.,  whose  long  trains  pull  out  daily  in  the 
simimer,  carrying  concentrated  relief  from  the  Litchfield  Hills  to 
the  larger  cities  to  the  southwards.  Some  idea  of  the  work  done 
by  the  Company  on  the  Lake  during  the  coldest  days  of  the  winter 
may  be  gathered  from  the  single  fact  that  it  takes  forty  acres  of 
ice  one  foot  in  thickness  to  furnish  the  75,000  tons  required  to  fill  the 
ice-house  of  the  Company.  In  the  harvesting  of  ice,  the  electricity 
furnished  by  the  harnessing  of  the  Bantam  Falls  does  the  work 
of  great  bodies  of  men. 

The  village  of  Bantam  has  been  incorporated  as  a  Borough 
since  1915.  The  incorporation  was  due  to  the  energies  of  W.  S. 
Rogers,  Avhen  he  was  a  member  of  the  state  legislature,  and  it  has 
resulted  in  furnishing  the  village  Avith  many  advantages,  such  as 
sidewalks,  sewers,  fire  protection,  and  the  like.  Mr.  Rogers  has 
been  in  many  respects  the  presiding  genius  of  Bantam.  The  pros- 
perity enjoyed  by  the  Bantam  Ball  Bearing  Co.,  has  been  translated 
by  him  into  terms  of  civic  improvement  which  have  benefited  the 
whole  community.  About  five  years  ago,  he  purcliase<l  the  present 
Borough  Hall  from  the  old  Bantam  Village  Improvement  Society, 
and  made  it  a  gift  to  the  borough.  It  is  largely  used  for  borough 
uses  and  for  social  entertainments.  During  the  war  it  furnished 
indoor  drilling  space  for  the  Bantam  platoon  of  the  Litchfield 
Home  Guard. 

Other  gifts  of  Mi\  Rogers  have  been  made  in  connection  with  his 
factory  and  the  welfare  of  his  employees,  which  has  ahvays  been  a 
prime  consideration  with  him  and  his  assistant.  Miss  Nellie  M.  Scott. 


The  recreation  theatre  and  club-room  in  the  new  building  of  the  fac- 
tory is  also  used  for  certain  entertainments  of  the  churches,  and  for 
moving  picture  plays  for  the  school-children,  and  for  other  popular 
purposes.  An  Athletic  Field  is  also  one  of  the  assets  of  Bantam, 
through  this  company,  with  its  baseball  teams,  a  gun-club,  and 
similar  organizations. 

Besides  its  extensive  manufacturing  growth.  Bantam  is  also 
gaining  in  prestige  through  its  nearness  to  the  Lake.  While  the 
summer  resort  region  of  the  Lake,  with  its  several  Hotels,  numerous 
boarding  houses,  boys'  and  girls'  camps,  and  many  private  camps, 
is  over  the  border  in  the  town  of  Morris,  the  railway  connection 
for  the  district  is  principally  through  Bantam,  which  also  furnishes 
extended  shopping  facilities. 

Originally,  Bantam  Falls  and  Bradleyville  were  divided  like 
the  rest  of  the  town  into  several  school  districts,  each  with  its 
separate  school  building.  In  1893  the  new  central  school  in  Ban- 
tam was  opened,  replacing  the  several  scattered  older  little  build- 
ings by  a  large  and  commodious  edifice,  which  for  some  years 
Bernard  M.  Roberg,  Miss  Josephine  Mitchell,  and  Miss  Baker  have 
made  one  of  the  most  successful  and  popular  schools  in  the  town. 
The  old  Bradleyville  schoolhouse  has  now  been  converted  into  a 
hen  house  by  Teed  Loveland. 

Bantam's  churches  have  been  of  the  Episcopal,  Methodist  and 
Baptist  denominations.  It  is  significant  that  there  has  been  no 
Congr^ational  church,  so  that  the  village  was  not  set  off  as  a 
separate  parish,  as  were  Milton,  Northfield,  and  South  Farms.  This 
undoubtedly  contributed  to  retard  the  growth  of  the  settlement, 
from  the  subordinate  position  so  long  occupied  by  the  other  denomi- 

St  Paul's  Episcopal  church,  as  is  told  elsewhere,  was  born 
of  a  temporary  division  in  the  First  Episcopal  Society.  It  was 
located  opposite  the  Bantam  Burying  Ground,  and  completed  in 
1797.  It  was  a  building  50  by  36  feet,  with  a  steeple,  deep  galleries, 
and  an  old  fashioned  high  pulpit  and  sounding  board,  with  all  of  the 
antique  surroundings  corresponding  to  the  age  of  its  erection.  The 
new  church,  somewhat  to  the  west,  was  built  in  1843,  and  consecrated 
the  following  year.  Additions  have  since  been  made  to  it,  including 
a  fine  chancel  with  ornamental  windows  and  a  beautiful  pipe 
organ.      The  pastor  of  St.  Paul's  shares  the  pulpit  in  Milton, 

The  Baptist  church  in  Bantam  is  not  at  present  in  use  for  ser- 
vices. The  Methodist  church,  however,  which  was  built  in  1901, 
is  very  active,  with  a  membership  of  over  one  hundred.  The  church 
is  a  handsome  one,  free  of  debt,  with  an  attractive  home  for  its 
pastors,  and  with  a  record  of  earnest  endeavor  which  is  leading  to 
continued  growth. 

It  has  seemed  better  to  treat  of  the  outlying  villages  of  the 
town  separately  in  this  chapter,  so  as  to  indicate  something  of  their 
individual  characters,  but  their  history  is  really  inextricably  inter- 


woven  in  that  of  the  whole  township.  Many  details  r^arding  each 
of  these  outlying  districts  will  therefore  be  found  elsewhere,  in  the 
general  accounts  of  the  industries  of  the  town,  of  its  churches,  and 
of  the  parts  played  by  the  citizens  in  our  wars.  Many  of  the 
names  of  the  heroes  of  each  village  appear  only  under  the  combined 
Honor  Bolls  of  the  whole  township.  Exact  statistics  for  a  sub- 
division are  not  available,  and  after  all  the  separate  villages  stUl 
form,  save  for  the  loss  of  South  Farms,  one  township.  Litchfield 
claims  as  its  sons  Horace  Bushnell,  who  was  bom  in  Bantam,  and 
John  Pierpont,  who  was  bom  in  South  Farms,  ahead  of  any  other 
ministers  bom  on  its  soil,  excepting  Henry  Ward  Beecher;  and  the 
future  of  the  township,  as  well  as  its  past,  is  dependent  on  a  united 
growth,  which  will  be  brought  closer  by  the  gradual  improvement  in 
the  roads  between  villages,  and  in  the  organizations,  like  th«  Farm 
Bureau,  which  unite  the  corresponding  interests  of  the  separate 

'     '5^'     A 


It'  ^ 



In  1827  the  First  Ecclesiastical  Society  voted  to  erect  a  new 
church,  on  the  site  occupied  by  the  present  (fourth)  Congregational 
Church.  The  church  was  completed  in  two  years,  and  dedicated 
on  the  same  day  that  the  installation  took  place,  July  15, 1829,  of  the 
new  pastor.  Rev.  Laurens  P.  Hickok.  A  copy  of  Park  Street 
Church  of  Boston,  standing  high  above  a  flight  of  massive  granite 
steps,  with  tall  pillared  porch,  it  was  a  well  built,  imposing  edifica 
It  stood  until  the  building  of  the  fourth  church  in  1873;  it  was 
then  moved  to  the  Torrington  Road,  where  for  many  years  it  was 
known  as  Armory  Hall,  while  about  six  years  ago  it  was  bought 
by  George  Barber  and  the  name  changed  to  Colonial  Hall.  It  is 
used  as  a  public  Hall  for  general  purposes  and  more  particularly 
for  a  Moving  Picture  Theatre. 

The  first  pipe-organ  of  the  Society  was  installed  in  August  1829. 
It  was  made  by  Jackson,  in  New  York,  and  was  sent  by  boat  to 
New  Haven,  from  whence  it  was  brought  in  three  great  loads.  It 
was  the  gift  of  Jabez  W.  Huntington,  William  H.  Thompson,  and 
Dr.   Sheldon. 

The  Congregational  Church  has  been  fortunate  in  having  a 
long  series  of  devoted  ministers,  the  na^  of  a  few  of  whom  are 
especially  connected  with  Litchfield.  Admirable  biographies  of 
them  are  to  be  found  in  a  scrap  book  of  the  Church  compiled  by 
Miss  Anna  W.  Richards,  and  preserved  in  the  collections  of  the 
Litchfield  Historical  Society. 

Miss  Richards'  father,  Rev.  George  Richards,  was  the  pastor 
of  the  church  from  1860  to  1865,  during  the  troubled  days  of  the 
Civil  War.  He  assisted  largely  in  moulding  the  loyal  public 
opinion  of  Litchfield,  and  stood  steadfast  and  strong  in  maintain- 
ance  of  our  endangered  institutions. 

Rev.  Allan  McLean,  who  was  minister  from  1875  to  his  death 
in  1882,  is  remembered  as  a  man  of  high  literary  gifts  as  well  as 
of  a  sympathetic  and  kindly  nature.  On  October  1,  1876,  he 
delivered  an  address  on  the  History  of  the  Litchfield  church,  which 
remains  a  valuable  source  of  information  about  the  early  years 
of  the  parish. 

His  successor.  Rev.  Charles  Symington,  was  the  pastor  from 
18S3  to  1894.      Like  the  Rev.  Allan  McLean,  he  died  before  he  was 


forty  five  years  of  age,  while  in  the  full  vigor  of  his  ministry,  much 
lamented  by  his  parishioners  and  fellow-townspeople. 

The  Kev.  John  Hutchins,  who  succeeded  him,  was  his  brother- 
in-law;  he  was  a  deep  student  and  his  researches  had  a  wide  range, 
covering  the  fields  of  astronomy  and  natural  history.  His  love  of 
flowers  and  birds,  and  his  knowledge  of  them,  was  very  extensive, 
and  his  influence  was  especially  helpful  in  stimulating  additions  to 
the  scientific  collections  now  owned  by  the  Historical  Society.  He 
died  on  February  20,  1915. 

The  modem  C^othic  church  now  used  "by  the  Society  was  built 
in  1873,  and  the  Chapel  in  the  same  year.  The  prayer,  at  the  dedi- 
cation services,  was  offered  by  Eev.  Laurens  P.  Hickok,  who  had 
dedicated  the  previous  church  in  1829,  forty  four  years  before. 


The  following  account  of  the  early  days  of  the  Episcopal  Church 
in  Litchfield  is  from  Kilboume's  History,  pp.  177-182: 

"In  1735,  John  Davies,  of  Kinton,  Hertfordshire,  England,  pur- 
chased a  tract  of  land  in  the  south-west  comer  of  the  township, 
and  not  long  after  took  up  his  abode  in  that  wild  and  unfrequented 
region.  He  was  warmly  attached  to  the  doctrines  and  forms  of 
the  Church  of  England,  and  was  for  some  time  the  only  Episcopalian 
in  Litchfield.  The  unpopularity  of  Mr.  Collins,  of  the  Congre- 
gational Society,  at  length  induced  several  of  the  leading  members 
of  his  congregation  to  withdraw  themselves  from  his  ministry  and 
to  look  elsewhere  for  religious  instruction.  On  November  5, 1745,  a 
meeting  was  called  at  the  house  of  Captain  Jacob  Griswold  at 
which  the  First  Episcopal  Society  of  Litchfield  was  organized.  The 
first  service  after  the  English  ritual  was  performed  in  this  town 
by  the  Eev.  Dr.  Samuel  Johnson,  President  of  King's  (now  Columbia) 
College  in  the  city  of  New  York.  At  an  adjourned  Town-meeting,  held 
February  16, 1747,  it  was  voted,  that  'those  who  declared  themselves 
members  of  the  Church  of  England  last  year,  shall  be  discharged 
from  paying  two-thirds  of  the  Rate  that  was  made  for  them  to  pay 
the  last  year*.  This  was  one  short  step  towards  Toleration.  In  that 
year  John  Davies  deeded  to  the  Episcopal  Society  in  Litchfield  a 
tract  of  land  situated  about  one  mile  west  of  the  present  Court 
House,  containing  52  acres.  This  deed  was  in  the  form  of  a  lease, 
for  the  term  of  999  years,  for  the  use  of  the  'Society  for  Propagating 
the  Gospel  in  Foreign  Parts',  for  which  there  was  to  be  paid  'one 
pepper-corn  annually,  at  or  upon  the  Feast  of  St.  Michael  the  Arch- 
angel, if  lawfully  demanded' The  first  church  edifice  of  the 

Parish  was  raised  upon  this  tract,  April  23,  1749,  It  was  covered; 
seats,  pulpit,  reading  desk  and  chancel  were  made;  and  it  was  used 
in  this  condition  for  about  twenty  years  before  it  was  finished.  It 
was  named  St.  Michael's,  by  request  of  Mr.  Davies".  This  church 
stood  on  the  south  side  of  the  Bantam  Road,  about  a  mile  from  the 
center,  at  the  top  of  the  hill  beyond  the  little  Hatters'  Brook.     From 


the  notes  published  with  the  Centennial  Sermon  of  the  Rev.  Isaac 
Jones,  J!^ovember  5,  1845,  it  would  appear  that  the  original  gift  of 
Mr.  Davies  included  about  fifty  acres,  that  Daniel  Landon  gave  a 
second  tract  of  fifty  acres  adjoining,  and  that  Mr.  Davies  bought 
two  acres  more,  so  as  to  give  the  Society  access  to  the  Brook.  Kil- 
bourne  says  the  gift  of  Daniel  Landon  was  50  acres  "lying  west- 
ward of  the  Great  Pond,  near  a  mountain  called  Little  Mount  Tom". 
However  this  may  be,  when  the  church  was  given  up  for  the  one 
built  on  South  Street  in  1810,  all  the  outlying  land  of  the  church 
was  sold  and  the  proceeds  invested  for  the  benefit  of  the  Society. 

"In  1749,  John  Davies,  Jr.,  the  only  surviving  son  of  the  first 
benefactor  of  the  parish,  came  over  from  Hertfordshire,  with  a  wife 
and  several  young  children,  and  settled  near  his  father,  south-west 
of  Mount  Tom,  at  a  place  still  known  as  Davies  Hollow.  As  he 
was  a  gentleman  of  good  estate  and  an  ardent  churchman,  his 
arrival  was  regarded  as  an  important  accession  to  the  Episcopal 
Society.  His  wife,  whose  maiden  name  was  Mary  Powell,  was 
very  reluctant  to  leave  her  native  land.  That  she  should  have 
regarded  her  new  home  in  the  wilderness  as  cheerless  and  lonely, 
compared  with  the  scenes  she  had  left,  is  not  to  be  wondered  at.  In 
writing  home  to  her  English  friends,  she  is  said  to  have  described 
herself  as  'entirely  alone,  having  no  society,  and  nothing  to  asso- 
ciate with  but  Presbyterians  and  Wolves'.  The  reader  may  be 
interested  in  the  fact,  that  though  the  wolves  long  since  disappeared 
from  Davies  Hollow,  some  of  her  own  descendants  are  now  num- 
bered among  the  sect  of  Christians  which  she  seems  to  have  regarded 
with  such  abhorrence. 

"From  the  organization  of  the  society  in  1745,  to  1754,  they  were 
without  a  settled  minister.  The  Rev.  Drs.  Mansfield,  Johnson, 
Cutler  and  Beach,  occasionally  officiated  here;  and  in  the  absence 
of  a  clergyman,  prayers  were  sometimes  read  by  Mssrs.  Davies, 
Landon  and  Cole.  The  first  rector  of  St.  Michael  was  the  Rev. 
Solomon  Palmer,  who  had  been  pastor  of  the  Congregational  Church 
in  Cornwall  from  1741  to  1754.  In  March  of  the  preceding  year, 
to  the  great  surprise  and  grief  of  his  people,  he  on  the  Sabbath 
publicly  announced  himself  an  Episcopalian  in  sentiment.  He 
soon  after  sailed  for  England,  where  he  was  ordained  Deacon  and 
Priest;  and  returned  to  this  country  during  the  same  year,  1754, 
bearing  a  commission  from  the  Venerable  Society  as  missionary  for 
Litchfield,  Cornwall  and  Great  Barrington". 

Owing  to  the  disfavor  with  which  the  Church  of  England  was 
looked  upon  during  the  Revolution,  St.  Michael's  was  closed  for 
three  years,  and  re-opened  in  1780.  The  Rev.  James  Nichols  was 
the  rector  at  the  time,  and  resumed  his  duties  when  the  church  was 
re-opened.  The  Society  from  that  time  gradually  increased  in 
numbers  and  in  public  favor.  On  the  26th  of  October,  1784,  it 
was  incorporated  by  an  Act  of  the  General  Assembly,  and  thereupon 
it  was  duly  organized  according  to  law. 


The  Rev.  James  Nichols  was  the  last  man  who  went  from  Con- 
necticut to  England  to  secure  ordination,  and  his  successor,  Rev. 
Ashbel  Baldwin,  a  native  of  Litchfield,  was  the  first  man  to  be 
ordained  in  the  United  States,  upon  the  return  of  Bishop  Seabury, 
who  had  gone  to  Scotland  to  be  consecrated.  The  ordination  was 
held  at  Middletown,  August  3,  1785. 

In  1796,  a  large  number  of  Episcopalians  residing  in  the  west- 
erly part  of  the  town  seceded  and  formed  the  Second  Episcopal 
Society.  In  1803,  the  two  Societies  were  amicably  re-united,  and 
so  continue  at  the  present  time.  During  this  interval  of  disunion 
the  Second  Society  built  itself  a  church  opposite  the  Cemetery 
in  Bantam,  which  became  known  as  the  Old  West  Church  and  was 
occupied  for  worship  until  1843;  when  a  new  edifice  was  built  a 
short  distance  farther  west.      The  new  church  was  called  St.  Paul's. 

The  churches  of  St.  Michael  in  Litchfield,  St.  Paul's  in  Bantam, 
and  Trinity  in  Milton,  all  form  part  of  the  First  Episcopal  Society ; 
while  Trinity  Church  in  Northfield  belongs  to  a  separate  society. 

In  1810  there  was  still  no  Episcopal  Church  within  the  present 
limits  of  our  Borough.  This  served  to  help  in  retarding  the 
growth  of  the  congregation,  and  in  that  year  it  was  decided  to 
give  up  the  original  church  and  to  build  on  the  site  now  in  use. 
This  second  St.  Michael's  church  was  retained  until  1851;  when  the 
third  church  was  built  on  the  same  site.  A  fourth  church,  in 
stone,  is  in  course  of  erection  at  the  time  of  writing,  1920,  a  gift 
to  St  Michael's  Parish  from  Henry  R.  Towne,  in  memory  of  his 
wife,  Mrs.  Cora  White  Towne 

The  history  of  the  Litchfield  parish  during  the  nineteenth 
century  was  uneventful.  One  of  the  rectors,  Rev.  H.  N.  Hudson, 
who  was  in  charge  from  1858  to  1860,  is  remembered  for  his 
Shakespeare  studies,  his  edition  of  the  Plays  having  remained  the 
standard  American  edition  for  many  years.  Part  of  his  great 
work  was  carried  out  while  he  was  resident  here. 

On  April  11,  1894,  in  a  great  storm,  the  steeple  of  the  church 
was  blown  over.       It  was  not  replaced. 

No  mention  of  St.  Michael's  parish  would  be  adequate  which  did 
not  speak  of  the  Rev.  Storrs  O.  Seymour,  who  was  the  rector  from 
1879  to  1883,  and  again  from  1893  to  1916,  and  Rector  Emeritus  until 
his  death  in  1918.  Dr.  Seymour,  was  born  in  Litchfield  in  1836,  the 
son  of  Judge  Origen  Storrs  Seymour.  He  was  educated  at  Andover, 
and  graduated  from  Yale  in  1857,  and  from  the  Berkeley  Divinity 
School  in  1861.  During  the  years  that  he  was  absent  from  Litchfield 
he  was  successively  rector  of  parishes  in  Milford  and  Bethel,  Conn., 
Pawtucket,  R.  I,,  and  Norwich  and  Hartford,  Conn.  He  was  a  member 
of  the  Standing  Committee  of  the  Diocese  of  Connecticut  from  1876 
until  his  death,  and  was  the  chairman  of  the  Committee  since  1896. 
He  received  the  Honorary  Degree  of  D.  D.  from  Trinity  College  in 
1897.      He  was  also  for  many  years  a  Trustee  of  Berkeley  Divinity 

'I'hk  Third   (Present)    St.   Muhah.'s   F.hisi opai.  CHrRCH.   1851 


SchooL  The  affection  which  Dr.  Seymour  inspired  in  everyone  in 
Litchfield,  in  his  church  and  outside  of  it,  is  a  recent  and  tender 


Of  the  beginnings  of  Methodism  in  Litchfield,  Kilbourue  tells 
us  the  following,  pp.  183-184:  "In  June,  1790,  the  Rev.  Freeborn 
Garretson,  one  of  the  ablest  and  most  earnest  Apostles  of  Method- 
ism in  America,  visited  Litchfield  on  his  way  from  the  Hudson 
river  to  Boston.  He  was  at  that  time  Superintendent  of  the  North- 
em  District,  and,  in  his  itinerant  journeyings,  was  almost  invariably 
attended  by  his  colored  servant,  Harry,  who  was  himself  a  licensed 
preacher  of  no  mean  distinction.  They  traveled  together  on  horse- 
back apparently  vieing  with  each  other  in  their  zeal  for  the  pro- 
motion of  the  cause  of  their  common  Master.  On  Wednesday,  June 
23,  (as  we  learn  from  Dr.  Stevens'  Memorials  of  Methodism),  Mr. 
Garretson  "rode  seven  miles  to  Litchfield,  and  was  surprised  to 
find  the  doors  of  the  Episcopal  church  open,  and  a  large  congre- 
gation waiting  for  him.  He  discoursed  from  the  words:  'Enoch 
walked  with  God',  and  believed  good  was  done.  He  left  Harry  to 
preach  another  sermon,  and  went  on  to  the  centre  of  the  town;  the 
bell  rang,  and  he  preached  to  a  few  in  the  Presbyterian  meeting- 
house, and  lodged  with  a  kind  churchman".  On  the  same  day,  Mr. 
Garretson  wrote  in  his  diary:  "I  preached  in  the  skirts  of  the  town, 

where  I  was  opposed  by  ,  who  made  a  great  disturbance.      I 

told  him  the  enemy  had  sent  him  to  pick  up  the  good  seed,  turned 
my  back  on  him,  and  went  my  way,  accompanied  by  brothers  W.  and 
H.  I  found  another  waiting  company,  in  another  part  of  the  town, 
to  whom  I  declared:  'Except  ye  repent  ye  shall  all  likewise  perish'. 
In  this  town  we  have  given  the  devil  and  the  wicked  much  trouble; 
we  have  a  few  good  friends".  On  his  return  from  Boston,  Mr, 
Garretson  again  preached  in  Litchfield,  Friday,  July  13,  1790". 

The  Eev.  Geo.  C.  Boswell  adds,  Book  of  *  Days,  p.  99:  -'It  is 
pleasant  to  remember  that  the  Episcopal  and  Congregational 
churches   in   Litchfield  were  open   to  the  early   itinerant.  His 

colaborers  in  other  parts  of  the  State  did  not  generally  fare  so 

Kilbourne,  continuing,  says:  "The  Litchfield  Circuit  was  organ- 
ized during  the  spring  of  1790,  and  embraced  the  north-western  sec- 
tion of  Connecticut.  ...  On  July  21,  1791,  the  famous  Bishop 
Asbury  preached  in  the  Episcopal  church  in  this  town.  In  refer- 
ence to  his  visit  here,  he  wrote:  'I  think  Morse's  account  of  his 
countrymen  is  near  the  truth;  never  have  I  seen  any  people  who 
could  talk  so  long,  so  correctly  and  so  seriously  about  trifles.  . . .' 

"In  1837,  a  handsome  church  edifice  was  erected  by  the  Method- 
ists, in  Meadow  Street,  which  was  dedicated  on  July  27  of  that 
year.  The  dedication  seraion  was  preached  by  Professor  Holdich, 
of  the  Wesleyan  University;  and  an  appropriate  discourse  was 
delivered  by  the  Eev.  Mr,  Washburn, 


"The  late  Eev.  Horace  Agard  and  the  Rev.  Joseph  L.  Morse  are, 
so  far  as  I  can  leam,  the  only  natives  of  the  town  who  have  become 
Methodist  ministers". 

In  1885  the  present  Methodist  church  on  West  Street  was  bnilt 
to  accomodate  the  increasing  congregation,  and  the  old  church  was 
converted  into  the  Masonic  Hall  of  St.  Paul's  Lodge,  No.  11,  F.  and 
A.  M. 

In  addition  to  the  church  in  the  center,  there  have  been  three 
other  Methodist  churches  in  the  town,  one  at  Milton  and  one  near 
Mount  Tom,  but  the  use  of  these  two  is  at  the  present  time  dis- 
continued. The  third  is  the  Methodist  church  in  Bantam,  an 
account  of  which  is  given  elsewhere. 


There  is  at  the  present  moment  no  Baptist  church  in  active 
use  within  the  township.  The  Clergy  of  Litchfield  County  tells  of 
very  early  churches  in  Northfield  and  in  Footville,  the  westerly 
part  of  South  Farms;  but  both  of  these  have  disappeared  long  ago. 
Their  only  successor  still  standing  is  the  building  of  the  Baptist 
church  in  Bantam.  The  Baptist  Society  of  Bantam  Falls  was 
formed  on  January  18,  1853,  with  ten  charter  members.  This 
society  was  merged,  January  4,  1891,  into  the  Baptist  Society  of 
Bantam,  Conn.,  which  continued  to  hold  services  until  about  1903. 
In  1908,  a  new  and  very  unusual  opportunity  came  to  this  church. 
The  opening  of  a  saloon  was  contemplated  opposite  the  factory  of 
the  Bantam  Anti-Friction  Co.,  now  the  Ball  Bearing  Co.  Relying 
on  the  law  that  no  saloon  can  be  opened  within  a  given  distance  of 
a  church,  W.  S.  Rogers,  with  characteristic  energy,  offered  to  bring 
the  Baptist  church  up  from  its  location  near  the  falls  to  a  position 
on  South  Street,  near  the  factory.  On  June  19,  1908,  a  committee 
was  appointed  by  the  church  to  make  arrangements  with  Mr.  Rogers, 
and  soon  after  the  little  building  began  its  march  up  the  hill  into 
its  new  field  of  action.  It  was  nearly  two  weeks  upon  the  road, 
and  appropriately  rested  on  the  two  Sundays  of  its  journey  in 
turn  opposite  to  the  Methodist  church,  which  had  developed  through 
the  separation  of  a  group  of  members  from  the  Baptist  Society  itself, 
and  then  opposite  to  the  Episcopal  church  of  St.  Paul.  On  its 
new  site  and  under  a  new  environment,  it  renewed  its  activities, 
with  new  members,  new  financial  support  and  a  new  social  order  of 
affairs.  In  May,  1909,  Ray  H.  Legate  was  called  to  the  pulpit,  and 
services  were  conducted  under  several  pastors  until  1915,  when  the 
services  were  discontinued.  During  the  European  War,  the  build- 
ing was  turned  over  to  the  Bantam  branch  of  the  Litchfield  Chapter. 
American  Red  Cross,  where  yoeman  service  was  performed  by  the 
ladies  of  Bantam. 


''The  first  Catholics  to  come  within  the  confines  of  Litchfield 
were  three  Acadians,  the  victims  of  English  oppression.    Sybil  Shear- 


away,  one  of  them,  married  Thomas  Harrison  in  1764  and  their 
descendants  are  still  residents  of  Litchfield".  (Rev.  J.  H.  O'Don- 
nell.  History  of  the  Diocese  of  Hartford,  1900,  p.  293). 

"It  is  not  until  January  1759",  (Kilboume,  p.  77),  "that  our 
town  records  make  any  allusion  to  these  people.  At  this  date  it 
was  'voted  that  the  Selectmen  may  provide  a  house  or  some  suit- 
able place  in  the  town,  for  the  maintenance  of  the  French'.  In  the 
County  Treasurer's  book,  also,  occurs  the  following  entry,  'To  paid 
John  Newbree  for  keeping  William  Dunlap  and  the  French  persons, 
54s.  6d.  which  the  County  allowed,  and  R.  Sherman,  Justice  of  the 
Quorum,  drew  an  order  dated  April  25,  1760,  as  per  order  on  file* ", 

"From  this  time  on  we  find  no  trace  of  Catholicity  in  Litchfield 
until  the  period  when  Irish  emigration  was  at  its  height.  Irish 
people  settled  here  in  the  rural  districts  and  devoted  themselves  to 
the  pursuits  of  agricultural  life.  . . . 

"The  first  priest  to  visit  Litchfield  was  the  Rev.  John  Smith,  of 
Albany,  who  made  a  missionary  tour  through  this  section  of  the 
State  in  1848  on  horseback,  seeking  out  and  ministering  to  the 
Catholics  whom  he  might  find  hera  On  one  of  these  tours  he 
tarried  at  Litchfield  and  said  Mass,  but  where,  has  passed  from 
remembrance.  Bishop  O'Reilly  visited  Litchfield  on  February 
25,  1851,  as  his  journal  informs  us.  . . . 

"The  second  Mass  was  said  in  the  house  occupied  at  the  time 
by  John  Ryan,  on  the  west  side  of  North  Lake  Street.  This  historic 
Mass  was  said  by  Rev.  Philip  Gillick  in  1853,  in  the  presence  of 
twenty  persons.  At  this  time,  or  at  least  in  the  same  year,  was 
solemnized  the  first  Catholic  marriage  in  Litchfield,  Father  Gillick 
officiating".       (Diocese  of  Hartford,  p.  293). 

A  convert  to  the  Catholic  faith,  born  in  Litchfield,  Miss  Julia 
Beers,  purchased  a  small  building,  in  1858,  whicii  now  forms  part 
of  the  pastoral  residence.  The  present  dining  room  of  the  house, 
she  arranged  with  altar  and  seats,  and  here  Mass  was  said  at  fre- 
quent intervals  until  1861,  when  increasing  numbers  made  removal 
to  the  Court  House  necessary.  In  1868,  the  first  church  was  com- 
pleted. During  these  years  and  until  1882  the  pastors  of  Winsted 
served  the  people  of  Litchfield.  On  September  8,  1882,  Litchfield 
was  made  an  independent  Parish,  with  the  Rev.  M.  Byrne  the  first 
resident  pastor.  During  the  administration  of  Rev.  Timothy  M. 
Sweeney,  the  present  Church  was  built,  at  a  cost  of  $23,000. 

As  auxiliaries  to  the  pastors  of  St.  Anthony's  parish,  Miss  Beers 
and  another  convert,  Miss  Emma  Deming,  labored  zealously  to  pro- 
mote the  welfare  of  the  Church  and  its  congr^ation.  Miss  Beers, 
in  the  last  years  of  her  life,  lived  in  Rome,  where  she  is  buried. 


The  work  of  Charles  T.  Payne,  Litchfield  and  Morris  Inscrip- 
tions, 1905,  was  published  at  the  suggestion  and  with  the  support 
of  Dwight  C.  Kilboum.      It  gives  a  complete  and  admirable  state- 


nient  of  all  the  Cemeteries  and  private  Burying  Grounds  in  the 
original  limits  of  the  township,  together  with  transcripts  of  all  the 
inscriptions  down  to  1900,  which  were  l^ble  when  the  collection 
was  made.  Particulars  regarding  the  several  Cemeteries  in  South 
Farms,  Northfleld,  Milton,  and  Bantam  are  given  elsewhere  from 
this  same  source.  We  will  quote  here  the  notes  of  Mr.  Payne  on 
our  West  and  East  Cemeteries,  pp.  8,  54. 

'•The  West  Burying  Ground  is  the  earliest  of  the  Burial  places 
in  Litchfield,  and  its  establishment  was  nearly  contemporaneous 
with  the  founding  of  the  Town.  The  first  notice  of  it  appears  in 
VoL  I  of  the  Land  Records,  as  follows: 

"  'An  acompt  of  the  High  Ways  in  Litchfield  in  1723  ...  the 
2d  high  way  Running  East  and  West  between  Samuel  Smedly  his 
home  Lott  and  the  Widow  alien's  home  Lott  of  twenty  eight  Rods 
in  bredth  Sixty  Rods  West  and  then  is  twelue  Rods  Wide  down  to 
the  swamp  and  then  is  laid  out  but  six  rods  Wide  thorou  the  swamp 
Which  highway  runs  on  the  West  side  of  the  letle  plain  buting 
north  upon  Land  Laid  out  to  John  Gay  to  make  up  the  fifteen  acres 
for  his  home  Lott  and  so  continuel  a  West  Line  until  it  comes  to 
the  swamp  or  flooded  Lands  and  all  the  Land  ui)on  the  letele  playn 
South  of  said  highway  to  the  swamp  or  flooded  land  which  is  not 
yet  Laid  out  is  Resarued  and  Laid  out  for  a  burying  placa  Which 
highway  at  the  West  End  of  the  litle  plain  or  burying  place  runs  six 
Rods  Wide  throro  the  swamp  and  across  the  hill  called  buck's  Neak 
With  the  same  corce  and  bredth  until  it  comes  to  the  pine  plain 
Which  high  Way  is  Called  by  name  of  Middiel  Street'. 

"Here  were  interred  nearly  all  of  the  pioneers  of  Litchfield  and 
the  yard  remained  the  principal  burying  ground  of  the  Town  until 
the  Revolution- 

"Early  in  the  Nineteenth  Century  a  large  tract  was  added  on 
the  Western  side".  The  Roman  Catholic  Cemetery  adjoins  this 
upon  the  West. 

"The  East  Burying  Ground  has  become  the  largest  of  the  ceme- 
teries in  the  township,  although  it  was  the  third  one  to  be  estab- 
lished, and  was  at  first,  as  is  noted  below,  a  part  of  the  highway 
set  apart  for  the  purpose.  It  lies  half  a  mile  east  of  the  court-house. 
The  following  record  in  the  first  town  book  is  of  interest: 

"  'September  26,  1754  ...  At  the  same  Meeting  Messrs.  Samuel 
Culver  Joshua  Garritt  &  Edward  Phelps  were  chosen  committee  to 
lay  out  a  Burying  Place  in  the  East  Side  of  the  Town  where  &  how 
much  they  shall  think  proper'. 

"The  laying  out  of  this  ground  is  recorded  in  the  land  records 
under  date  pf  January  12,  1755.   . . . 

"In  1837  the  yard  was  enlarged  upon  its  western  side  by  an 
addition  of  sixteen  rods.  The  next  year  further  extension  was  made 
on  the  northern  side,  and  the  town  voted  a  part  of  the  highway  for 
the  same  purpose.  The  stone  wall  in  front  of  the  ground  on  East 
Street  was  built  about  1850  by  subscription. 


"Within  fifteen  years  a  corporation  known  as  the  Litchfield 
Cemetery  Association  has  purchased  a  tract  of  land  between  the 
ancient  yard  and  Torrington  Boad  and  has  laid  it  out  with  much 
care.  Many  fine  monuments  have  been  erected  upon  the  new 

"In  the  southeast  comer  of  the  old  burying  yard  lie  a  great 
nimiber  of  Revolutionary  soldiers  who  died  during  the  war,  and 
were  buried  here  without  any  distinguishing  marks". 



Frederick  Wolcott  died  at  Litchfield  on  Sunday  morning,  May 
28,  1837.  The  funeral  Sermon  was  preached  by  the  pastor  of  the 
Congregational  Church,  Rev.  Jonathan  Brace,  who  said  in  closing: 
"  ...  He  is  gone,  and  he  is  the  last  of  his  order.  Reeve  has  been 
carried  cut  before  him.  ..." 

And  in  the  Personal  Memories  of  E.  D.  Mansfield,  p.  125,  after 
reading  of  the  Wolcotts,  Tallmadges,  Seymours,  Buels,  Tracy,  and 
others,  we  come  on  this  passage:  "All  this  is  gone,  and  nothing  can 
illustrate  the  evanescent  state  of  our  society  more  than  the  changes 
which  it  has  undergone  in  many  of  the  old  places  in  the  old  states. 
However  excellent  or  able  may  be  the  people  who  live  in  Litch- 
field now,  there  is  no  such  social  glory,  no  such  marked  superiority 
there,  as  that  which  distinguished  the  noted  people  of  Litchfield  in 
the  generation  just  passing  away,  when  I  came  upon  the  stage. 
The  change  in  people,  manners,  and  conditions  is  quite  as  great 
as  the  change  in  the  dress  of  gentlemen.  When  I  was  a  law 
student,  1823,  a  few  old  gentlemen  still  retained  the  dress  of  the 
Revolution.  It  was  a  powdered  queue,  white-topped  boots,  silk 
stockings,  and  breeches  with  buckles.  I  can  remember  to  have  seen 
David  Daggett,  chief  justice,  and  a  half  dozen  others,  walking  in 
the  streets  with  this  dignified  dress.  It  is  in  vain  to  say  that  the 
present  dress  is  at  all  equal  to  it,  in  what  ought  to  be  one  of  the 
objects  of  good  dress,  to  give  an  idea  of  dignity  and  respect.  The 
man  who  is  now  inside  of  a  plain  black  dress,  with  unpretending 
boots,  may  be  as  good  a  man,  as  able  a  man,  as  he  in  white-topped 
boots  and  breeches,  but  he  is  not  respected  as  much,  for  he  no 
longer  assumes  as  much.  He  has  become  only  one  of  a  multitude 
instead  of  being  one  above  a  multitude". 

Certainly  great  changes  have  come  upon  Litchfield;  we  have 
only  to  compare  the  wilderness  of  1720,  with  a  few  settlers  dwelling 
in  their  log  huts,  without  flour  to  bake  bread,  without  even  an 
apple  or  adequate  seeds  to  raise  vegetables;  with  the  social,  educa- 
tional, commercial  center  of  1820,  when  the  chief  magistrate  of 
the  State  lived  in  Litchfield,  and  the  teachings  of  Lyman  Beecher 
were  to  be  heard  twice  every  Sunday.  Or  again  we  have  only  to  com- 
pare this  Litchfield  of  1820  with  the  summer  resort  of  1920,  when 
we  no  longer  give  out  an  influence  important  far  beyond  the  County, 
but  instead  receive  and  welcome  those  from  outside  our  borders,  and 
give  them  a  measure  of  recreation  and  health,  to  do  which  we  seem 
particularly  adapted. 


Such  changes  as  these  are  very  hard  for  us  to  realize.  Barely 
two  lifetimes,  as  lifetimes  are  counted  in  Litchfield,  have  passed  in 
the  course  of  these  changes.  Reuben  Dickinson,  a  resident  of  Mil- 
ton, was  bom  in  Massachusetts  in  the  year  1716,  four  years  before 
the  settlement  of  Litchfield ;  he  died  in  Milton  on  November  5,  1818, 
at  the  age  of  102  years.  His  great-grand-nephew,  Edwin  Perry 
Dickinson  was  bom  in  Milton  on  January  4,  1821,  and  is  now  living 
there,  in  good  health,  in  his  one-hundredth  year. 

As  we  look  back,  it  is  not  possible  to  say,  this  period  ends  here, 
or  that  period  begins  there.  But  we  make  such  generalizations, 
knowing  them  to  be  inaccurate,  so  as  to  have  some  measure,  even  if 
the  measure  be  inexact,  of  the  transitions  our  town  has  passed 
through.  As  a  matter  of  fact,  the  transition  is  constant.  Our 
town  has  never  stood  still.  Each  year  definite  links  with  the  past 
are  broken,  and  new  links  with  the  future  are  being  made.  We 
do  not  know  what  the  future  is  to  be,  so  we  do  not  recognize  the 
importance  of  the  new  links ;  and  we  never  have  the  true  perspective 
of  the  immediate  past,  so  we  do  not  notice  the  parting  links.  It 
is  only  at  the  death  of  a  man,  whose  life  has  been  noteworthy,  as 
was  that  of  Frederick  Wolcott,  or  after  a  radical  change,  such  as 
Mansfield  noted,  has  become  a  completed  fact,  that  we  speak  of  the 
old  order  changing.  That  is  the  shortcoming  of  history,  and  if  we 
speak  of  the  year  1840  marking  an  important  point  in  the  story  of 
our  town,  we  do  so  only  because  it  is  the  end  of  a  decade,  and  a 
time  somewhere  near  which  certain  influences,  already  long  since 
waning,  seem  to  have  entirely  ceased,  and  others,  already  apparent, 
first  become  dominating. 

Of  the  passing  influences,  one  was  that  of  the  men  who  had 
been  young  and  active  in  the  days  of  the  Revolution,  men  built  in  a 
large  mould,  as  it  seems  to  us,  or  rather  developed  to  a  great  pitch 
of  efficiency  and  public  responsibility  by  the  necessities  of  their 
young  manhood.  On  June  1,  1833,  Oliver  Wolcott  Jr.  died;  on 
March  7,  1835,  Benjamin  Tallmadge  died;  on  May  28,  1837,  Fred- 
erick Wolcott  died;  on  January  23,  1838,  Julius  Deming  died;  on 
May  11,  1838,  James  Gould  died.  The  old  institutions  of  Litch- 
field also  changed  in  this  period:  the  Law  School  was  closed  in 
1833;  on  October  31  of  the  same  year,  Miss  Gimbred  became  the 
principal  of  the  Litchfield  Academy  in  the  stead  of  Miss  Sarah 
Pierce.  Tapping  Reeve,  Moses  Seymour,  Uriah  Tracy  had  died  at 
dates  much  earlier.  Lyman  Beecher  had  been  called  to  a  larger 
field  in  Boston  in  1826. 

But  the  change  was  not  alone  in  the  passing  of  a  few  men. 
The  whole  population  of  Litchfield  was  involved.  As  we  have  not 
yet  referred  to  the  numerical  population  of  the  township,  a  few 
figures  may  be  in  order  here. 

In  1756,  the  inhabitants  of  Litchfield  township,  including  South 
Farms,  numbered  1,366.      The  population  of  the  state  was  130,612, 


Litchfield  was  the  3oth  town  in  population  in  the  state,  and  included 
about  1  per  cent,  of  the  total  number  of  inhabitants. 

The  growth  was  rapid.  In  1774,  we  had  2,544  inhabitants; 
in  1782,  3,077;  in  1800,  4,285.  Litchfield  was  then  the  10th  town  in 
the  state.  In  1810,  the  jwpulation  was  4,639;  about  2  per  cent  of 
the  total  for  the  state;  and  the  town  was  the  fourth  in  point  of 
population  in  the  whole  state.  Only  New  Haven,  Hartford  and 
Middletown  were  larger;  but  the  remarkable  thing  is  that  New 
Haven,  the  largest  of  all,  was  only  half  as  large  again  as  Litch- 
field, its  population  being  6,967. 

Then  came  the  turn  in  the  tide.  In  1820,  the  population  had 
declined  just  a  little  to  4,610;  but  we  had  lost  fourth  place  to 
Groton.  In  1830,  Norwich  and  Saybrook  passed  us,  and  we  were 
seventh,  with  4,456.  In  1840,  Bridgeport,  Danbury  and  New  Lon- 
don passed  us,  leaving  us  the  10th  town,  with  4,038.  In  1850,  the 
decline  had  reached  3,953.  In  1860,  owing  to  the  separation  of 
South  Farms,  we  fell  to  the  39th  place  in  the  state,  with  only  3,200 
inhabitants.  Since  then  the  population  has  not  greatly  changed, 
though  it  reached  the  lowest  figure  of  all  at  the  last  census:  1870, 
pop.  3,113;  1880,  pop.  3,410;  1890,  pop.  3,304;  1900,  pop.  3,214;  1910, 
pop.  3,005.  At  this  last  date  we  had  fallen  to  the  64th  township 
in  the  stat^  with  only  one-quarter  percent,  out  of  a  total  popula- 
tion for  the  state  of  1^14,756.  In  other  words,  in  just  a  century, 
we  have  fallen  from  fourth  to  64th  place,  and  our  population  rela- 
tive to  that  of  the  state  has  fallen  from  two  per  cent,  to  one-quarter 
per  cent.  It  should  be  added  that  there  are  in  the  state  168  town- 
ships altogether. 

It  is  possible  that  the  low  water  mark  of  1910  will  be  found 
later  to  be  the  change  in  the  tide.  If  so,  it  will  be  due  solely  to  the 
growth  of  Bantam  as  a  manufacturing  center. 

There  is  another  great  change  to  be  noticed  about  our  popula- 
tion. If  we  contrast  the  quaint  statement  of  Morris,  p.  95,  "Only 
two  European  families  have  settled  in  Litchfield;  the^  came  from 
Ireland,  and  were  respectable",  with  the  constantly  increasing  for- 
eign element  at  present,  we  shall  get  a  real  idea  of  the  difference 
in  the  population.  It  is  impossible  to  give  any  figures  in  this  con- 
nection, because  so  many  of  our  citizens  of  foreign  birth  have 
become  Americanized,  that  no  one  can  say  who  the  foreigners  now 
are.  This  is  the  happy  solution  of  the  immigration  question,  but 
it  does  not  alter  the  fact  that  the  people  of  the  town  are  now  in 
great  part  of  other  races  than  they  were  in  1820. 

There  is  another  change  to  be  considered,  at  about  this  time, 
which  may  seem  a  singular  one  to  the  reader;  and  that  is  the 
importance  of  the  weather.  The  weather  of  course  has  not  changed, 
but  the  way  we  consider  it  has.  Our  winters  are  proverbially 
severe.  Philip  P.  Hubbard,  whose  house  is  located  at  the  foot  of 
P'ast  Hill,  near  the  river,  where  low  temperatures  are  produced  by 
the  atmospheric  conditions,  sometimes  two  or  three  degrees  lower 

If      r^\ 

I  5^  n 


than  on  the  Hill,  has  observed  a  mean  low  temperature  of  about 
fifteen  degrees  below  zero  for  a  considerable  period  of  years;  while 
the  extreme  in  severe  winters  has  been  27  below.  The  severity 
of  the  climate  is  not  due  to  these  intensely  cold  spells,  because  th^ 
usually  occur  with  crisp,  sunny  weather,  and  an  absence  of  wind- 
The  most  severe  weather  occurs  when  the  temperature  is  slightly 
above  the  minimum,  but  when  high  gales  are  raging,  not  infre- 
quently attaining  80  miles  an  hour,  and  sometimes  even  more.  The 
exposed  condition  of  the  Hill  aflfords  little  shelter  from  such  gales, 
and  when  they  are  accompanied  by  drifting  snow,  or  the  destructive 
ravages  of  an  ice  storm,  (see  Plate  64),  the  experience  is  one  to  be 

One  of  the  earliest  great  storms  we  read  about  was  that  on 
Thanksgiving  Day,  1779,  when  young  John  Cotton  Smith,  Governor 
of  the  State  in  1814,  was  a  visitor  with  his  father  at  Tapping 
Reeve's  house  on  his  way  from  Sharon  to  New  Haven,  (Smith, 
Colonial  Days  and  Ways,  1900,  pp.  301-307) :  "We  found  the  roads 
badly  drifted  long  before  we  reached  what  is  now  Ellsworth.  At 
that  point  we  had  to  leave  our  sleigh,  while  we  pursued  our  journey 
on  horseback.  In  those  days  no  one  travelled  in  any  sort  of  a 
vehicle  without  taking  along  saddles  for  use  in  emergency  It 
was  dark  before  we  reached  Litchfield  and  the  snow-laden  wind 
was  piercingly  cold.  . . .  During  the  night  the  storm  increased  in 
violence  and  in  the  morning  it  was  impossible  to  see  many  feet  from 
the  door  on  account  of  the  whirling  masses  of  a  snow  so  hard,  dry 
and  powdery  that  it  cut  into  the  face  like  fine  iron  filings.  ...  In 
traversing  the  short  distance  from  the  house  to  the  barn  to  attend 
to  the  wants  of  our  animals,  over  a  path  hardly  more  than  twenty 
yards  long  and  partly  sheltered  by  the  wood-shed,  we  were  almost 
blinded  and  bewildered.  . . .  On  Wednesday  the  sun  rose  bright  and 
clear  oA^er  a  dazzling  desert  of  snow.  The  lower  windows  of  most 
of  the  houses  were  hidden  beneath  great  piles  of  drift.  In  some 
cases  even  the  second  story  windows  were  hidden,  or  only  visible 
through  openings  in  the  drift  like  the  hooded  bastions  of  some  icy 
fort.  . . .  Fences  and  shrubs  were  obliterated.  Trees,  some  looking 
like  mountains  of  snow  and  some  like  naked  and  broken  skeletons, 
arose  here  and  thera  And  in  the  village  only  rising  wreaths  of 
smoke  told  that  life  existed  in  the  half  buried  houses.  The  Meeting 
House  spire  was  on  one  side  decked  by  the  icy  snow  with  fantastic 
semblances  of  marble  statuary  over  which  the  new  long,  black  light- 
ning rod  had  been  twisted  by  the  wind  until  it  looked  like  a  Chinese 
character.  . . .  By  nine  o'clock  we  climbed  out  of  an  upper  story 
window  upon  the  hard  crust  of  frozen  snow  and  started  off  with 
no  other  burden  than  the  light,  but  cumbersome  snow  shoes  attached 
to  our  feet,  and  a  small  roll  fastened  to  each  of  our  backs". 

A  still  earlier  storm  is  told  about,  without  the  date,  during 
which  Timothy  Collins'  wife,  who  became  a  physician  like  her 
husband,  when  the  latter  left  the  Church,  was  called  to  Ooshen. 

2q8  the  history  of  LITCHFIELD 

No  other  means  of  conveyance  being  possible,  she  was  drawn  all 
the  way  thither  on  a  hand  sled  by  two  men,  relatives  of  the  patient. 
No  effort  was  made  to  keep  the  roads  open,  even  in  the  Center.  As 
late  as  the  Revolution,  occurs  this  vote,  at  a  Town  Meeting  April 
10,  1780:  "The  question  being  proposed  whether  the  Selectmen 
shall  allow  pay  for  making  Snow  Paths  or  Highway  in  the  Winter? 
Voted  in  the  Negative". 

Our  storms  often  begin  early  in  the  winter  and  are  met  again 
late  in  the  spring.  Noah  Webster,  in  his  Diary,  p.  561,  speaks  of 
a  considerable  fall  of  snow.  May  8,  1803,  adding,  "In  Litchfield  the 
ice  was  half  an  inch  thick;  but  the  trees  not  forward  enough  to 
suffer  any  injury". 

On  March  22,  1837,  there  began  a  two  days'  ice  storm  which  is 
said  to  have  done  damage  in  the  town  to  timber  and  orchards  to 
the  extent  of  $100,000.  During  the  winter  of  1872-1873,  Wil- 
liam Norton  came  to  church  on  runners  for  twenty  consecutive 
Sundays,  a  good  record  for  the  snow  and  for  Mr.  Norton  too. 
(Book  of  Days,  p.  57).  The  most  destructive  ice-storm  was  on 
February  19-20,  1898,  when  every  tree  in  the  town  is  said  to  have 
suffered.  Many  were  snapped  off  ten  or  fifteen  feet  from  the 
ground.  Millions  of  icicles  hung  from  the  electric  wires,  which 
sagged  in  great  loops  and  finally  broke.  The  very  blades  of  grass 
stood  up  stalagmites  of  ice.  (Book  of  Days,  p.  37).  A  year  later, 
another  great  storm  swept  over  the  country,  February  13,  1899: 
"After  a  week  of  bitterly  cold  weather,  when  the  mercury  at  its 
highest  was  only  a  few  degrees  above  zero,  and  at  its  lowest  threat- 
ened to  disappear  altogether,  the  blinding  snow  of  a  great  storm 
filled  the  air.  Drifts  ten  feet  high  were  common  enough;  in  some 
cases,  the  snow  reached  to  second-story  windows.  From  Monday 
noon  till  Wednesday  night,  Litchfield  was  under  the  snoAv  block- 
ade".     (Book  of  Days,  p.  33). 

The  winters  of  Litchfield  are  not  all  like  this.  The  great 
storms  are  the  exception.  Many  weeks  are  clear,  bright,  with  a 
crisp  snow  that  invites  one  out,  or  with  the  wonderful  black  ice  on 
the  Great  Pond,  which  makes  such  memorable  skating  for  the 
enthusiasts.  Our  rollicking  diarist,  George  Younglove  Cutler,  gives 
a  delightful  account  of  a  real  winter  night  out-of-doors,  (Vander- 
poel,  pp.  204-205):  "November  28,  1820.  Went  to  Waterbury  & 
tomorrow  morning  before  daylight,  shall  be  obliged  to  be  off  in  the 
cold — thro'  the  snow  on  horseback  to  Litchfield — all  for  this  vex- 
atious law — cursed  be  the  day  when  I  first  turned  my  face  towards 
the  fields  of  litigation. 

"November  29.  It  was  no  killing  thing  either.  Much  worse 
would  it  be  to  hang.  For  the  moon  was  bright,  the  snow  full  of 
reflection,  I  full  of  breakfast,  &  Nate  full  of  fire.  While  the  cocks 
of  the  country  crowed  about  us  for  musick  &  the  stars  shot  this 
way  and  that  about  the  heavens,  as  if  making  a  display  of  fire- 
works for  our  amusement.      All  was  silent.      As  we  rose  the  hills 


k  look  back  upon  the  far  distance  which  ran  down  the  valley 
to  the  south  east,  the  two  extremes  of  the  splendor  of  the  united 
powers  of  snow  and  moonbeams  &  the  contrasted  darkness  of  the 
deep  ravines  into  which  light  would  not  penetrate,  filled  the  whole 

To  return,  now,  to  the  argument  that  the  winters  of  Litchfield 
have  assumed  an  importance  different  from  that  they  played  a 
century  ago,  we  should  note  that  people  are  no  longer  content  to 
travel  considerable  distances  on  hoi'seback,  or  on  snowshoes,  or  to 
be  pulled  for  miles  on  hand-sleds.  If  our  motors  cannot  go  through 
we  are  greatly  distressed.  Even  in  the  day  of  carriages  and  sleighs, 
the  winters'  drifts  of  Litchfield  were  dreaded.  Gradually  the  win- 
ters have  contributed  more  than  would  at  first  seem  credible  to  the 
change  of  life  in  many  of  our  residents.  The  call  to  the  cities 
has  been,  in  a  small  measure  at  least,  accelerated,  by  the  desire  to 
avoid  the  cold  and  the  discomfort.  The  same  is  apparent  in  our 
summer  residents,  who,  even  if  they  be  persons  of  complete  leisure 
and  robust  health,  would  rarely  think  of  spending  a  winter  here. 
Notice  the  closed  houses  of  North  Street  and  South  Street  on  a 
morning  of  mid- winter.  By  actual  count,  more  than  half  are 
closed,  the  larger  percentage  being  on  North  Street.  On  Prospect 
Street,  every  house  will  be  found  desolate.  The  same  holds  in  the 
outlying  districts,  where  the  large  and  small  countryplaces  are 
growing  up,  as  distinguished  from  the  old  farms. 

But  the  great  call  to  the  cities  was  due  to  the  growth  of  manu- 
facturing towns  in  the  State.  It  is  strange  to-day  to  think  of 
Litchfield,  not  being  passed  by  Bridgeport  and  Danbury  until  1840. 
But  once  passed,  what  a  rush  there  has  been!  How  the  little 
manufactures  have  left  our  hill  towns  and  clustered  in  the  valleys! 

In  still  another  respect,  and  one  certainly  not  anticipated  at 
the  time,  Litchfield  was  destined  to  drop  behind.  This  was  as  a 
center  of  traffic.  When  the  rail-roads  came,  they  were  hailed  as  a 
great  innovation,  a  great  developer  of  traffic  and  of  trade.  But 
the  railroads  have  left  Litchfield  high  and  dry,  as  they  have  many 
another  hill  town.  We  lost  in  a  few  years  all  the  through  stage 
traffic  between  Boston  and  Hartford  and  New  York,  between  New 
Haven  and  Albany;  and  all  that  came  in  its  stead  was  the  long 
ride  to  New  Milford,  or  later  to  East  Litchfield,  or  later  still  the 
restless  tossing  of  the  Shepaug,  with  its  solitary  passengers,  fast 
asleep,  when  the  good  old  engine  pulls  its  way  at  length  into  the 
terminus  at  the  foot  of  Litchfield  Hill. 

On  February  11,  1840,  the  very  year  we  have  taken  to  mark 
the  changed  conditions,  the  Housatonic  Kailroad  was  opened  as 
far  as  New  Milford.  With  the  building  of  this  road,  the  New 
York  and  Albany  stage,  which  used  to  roll  through  our  streets  at 
unearthly  hours  in  the  morning,  is  heard  no  more.  (Book  of  Days, 
p.  33).  In  1849,  the  first  passenger  train  to  Winsted  over  the 
Naugatuck  Railroad  went   through   on   September  22.       Our  own 


Shepaug  Valley  Railroad  was  not  opened  until  January  1,  1872. 
This  was  constructed  largely  as  a  result  of  the  energetic  public 
spirit  of  Edwin  McNeill.  He  had  been  a  successful  railroad  builder 
elsewhere  and  returned  to  his  former  home  in  Litchfield  in  1863. 
He  first  tried  to  have  a  road  put  through  from  Waterbury  to  the 
north,  not  far  from  the  center,  by  the  Boston  and  Erie  Railroad. 
He  saw  clearly  that  what  Litchfield  needed  was  a  through  road, 
which  would  connect  it  with  various  parts  by  a  service  of  adequate 
speed.  He  was  unsuccessful  in  this,  and  finally  determined  to  get 
a  branch  road  from  Bethel  and  Hawleyville  to  Litchfield.  The 
story  of  the  construction  of  the  road  is  an  unfortunate  one  through- 
out. A  great  deal  of  money  was  sunk  in  the  line,  and  the  traffic, 
being  purely  local,  has  never  resulted  in  any  success  of  operation. 
It  has  been  a  great  convenience  to  Litchfield  and  to  all  the  towns 
along  the  line;  but  it  has  never  developed  the  trade  or  the  extensive 
passenger  traffic  which  a  through  line  would  have  done.  To-day 
it  is  much  shorter  to  go  to  many  points  of  the  state  by  motor, 
for  instance  to  Hartford,  than  by  train.  Many  men  in  Litchfield 
supported  Mr.  McNeill,  with  money  and  influence;  all  cannot  be 
named,  but  J.  Daning  Perkins  and  Henry  R.  Coit  should  be  men- 

As  these  changes  gradually  came  about,  it  is  interesting  to  con- 
sider what  new  characteristics  were  developed.  One  of  these  is 
especially  important,  the  groT\'th  of  a  historical  spirit.  Up  to  1840, 
very  little  attention  was  paid  to  the  history  of  the  town.  The 
only  actual  pamphlet  on  the  subject  was  the  often  quoted  Statistical 
Account  of  James  Morris,  and  this,  if  we  want  to  be  very  exact,  was 
written  in  South  Farms.  In  Litchfield,  the  life  was  so  busy  and 
so  much  was  being  accomplished  by  the  citizens,  many  of  them  away 
for  considerable  periods,  that  the  retrospective,  or  shall  we  call  it 
the  contemplative,  spirit  had  little  opportunity.  There  were  some 
diaries  kept,  of  course,  and  the  town  records,  but  verj'  little  his- 
torical material  was  accumulated.  Then  we  find  an  extensive  and 
sudden  outburst  of  the  historical  spirit. 

This  was  led  by  George  C.  Woodruff  and  Payne  Kenyon  Kil- 
bourne,  both  of  whom  appear  to  have  begun  their  researches  into 
the  historj'  of  the  town  about  1840.  Kilbourne's  early  interest 
began  through  researches  into  the  Revolutionary  history;  while 
Woodruff's  was  at  first  largely  concerned  with  local  genealogy;  but 
both  soon  extended  their  interest  to  cover  the  whole  field  of  Litch- 
field history. 

George  C.  Woodruff  was  the  son  of  Morris  Woodruff  and  Can- 
dace  Catlin,  he  was  bom  December  1,  1805  and  died  November  21, 
1885.  Of  him  Charles  B.  Andrews  said:  "Erect  in  figure,  and 
singularly  robust;  always  of  the  finnest  health;  always  at  work 
and  never  seemingly  fatigued;  nothing  in  nature  so  typified  him 
as  an  oak  which  has  withstood  every  vicissitude  of  storm  for  a 
century  of  time".      (Address  before  the  Litchfield  Bar).      He  served 

H(.'X.    CiEiiRuK    L.    \\'(i  'Ii|<',    FT 


for  several  terms  in  the  Legislature  and  represented  this  district 
in  the  37th  Congress  in  Washington.  He  did  a  great  deal  for  the 
town  through  his  constant  public  spirit;  but  he  will  be  remembered 
perhaps  chiefly  on  account  of  his  extensive  historical  studies. 
Through  these  he  affected  everything  that  can  at  any  future  time 
be  written  about  the  town.  He  was  astonishingly  accurate  in  his 
researches,  and  the  statements  he  has  made,  even  in  a  minor  way 
do  not  have  to  be  verified,  as  do  nearly  all  historical  statements, 
even  those  of  Kilbourna 

Payne  Kenyon  Kilboume  was  ten  years  younger,  having  been 
bom  in  1815.  From  1845  to  1853  he  was  editor  of  the  Enquirer, 
and  in  1859  he  set  up  in  type  his  own  history.  His  historical  inter- 
est was  developed  at  an  unusually  early  age.  He  had  a  very  agree- 
able literary  style,  but  he  appears  sometimes  to  have  been  hasty 
in  his  researches.  The  two  men  supplemented  one  another  in  an 
unusual  degree,  and  between  them  covered  the  ground  of  Litch- 
field history,  at  least  down  to  1800,  so  thoroughly  that  little  has 
been  left  for  later  investigation.  Kilboume  liked  the  news  value 
of  his  researches.  He  never  misses  an  anecdote,  and  there  are 
passages  in  his  History  which  are  not  very  relevant  to  Litchfield, 
but  which  make  very  good  reading.  He  took  his  dates  where  he 
found  them,  without  caring  seriously  if  a  minor  slip  did  follow. 
George  C.  Woodruff,  on  the  other  hand,  never  passed  a  fact,  which 
the  best  evidence  obtainable  did  not  corroborate.  No  trouble  was 
too  great  if  it  led  to  increased  accuracy. 

Woodruff's  History  dates  from  1845.  The  same  year  he  com 
piled  his  manuscript  Genealogical  Register  of  the  Inhabitants  of 
Litchfield,  from  1720  to  1800.  Twenty  years  later,  he  went  over 
the  whole  ground  again,  to  check  up  his  results. 

It  is  hard  for  us,  who  have  been  brought  to  an  interest  in  local 
history,  to  realize  what  the  publication  of  Woodruff's  book  meant. 
It  directed  the  thoughts  of  a  large  number  of  people  to  their  own 
town,  with  a  tide  of  results  of  which  the  present  Bi-Centennial  is  only 
a  minor  phase.  Before  this  time  there  had  been  no  Centennials.  1820 
came  and  went  without  a  word  about  the  founding  of  the  town.  Yet 
within  a  year  of  1845,  fruits  were  already  appearing,  in  the  Marsh- 
Buel  picnic.  The  families  of  two  of  the  leading  founders  of  the  Town, 
John  Marsh  and  John  Buel,  were  very  numerous.  As  to  the  Buels 
it  is  enough  to  quote  from  the  tomb- stone  in  the  West  Cemetery, 
on  the  grave  of  Mrs.  John  Buel:  "She  died  Nov.  4,  1768,  aged  90; 
having  had  13  children,  101  grand-children,  247  great-grand-  children, 
and  49  great-great-grand   children;    total   410.    336   survived  her". 

A  story  is  told  of  the  number  and  prominence  of  these  two  fami- 
lies in  connection  with  the  old  grist-mill  at  the  foot  of  East  Hill. 
The  miller  used  to  call  any  stranger  who  same  to  the  Mill,  Mr. 
Marsh;  if  surprise  was  manifested  he  would  correct  himself  and 
say  Buel,  and  seldom  made  a  mistake. 


The  reunion  of  the  two  families  was  held  at  the  grove  on  the 
north  east  end  of  Bantam  Lake,  on  September  3,  1846.  A  chart, 
showing  the  complete  genealogies  of  the  two  families  was  prepared 
by  George  C  Woodruff,  and  a  Historical  address  was  read  by  Origen 
Storrs  Seymour.  The  account  of  the  day  is  given  in  the  Litchfield 
Republican,  September  10,  1846,  while  interesting  reminiscences  of 
it  were  given  in  the  Enquirer  for  November  1,  1906,  by  the  Rev. 
Storrs  O.  Seymour,  D.D.  A  register  of  those  present  on  the  day  was 
kept  by  Mr.  Woodruff,  which  shows  581  names  of  descendants,  and 
doubtless  some  others  had  to  leave  without  being  registered. 

Of  the  Buel  family,  Capt.  Salmon  Buel  may  be  mentioned  here, 
as  he  lived  to  be  over  100  years  old.  He  celebrated  his  hundredth 
birthday  on  Sunday,  June  9,  1867,  by  attending  service  at  the  Con- 
gregational Church,  the  large  congregation  rising  as  he  entered, 
then  uniting  in  singing  the  doxology  to  Old  Hundred,  after  which 
was  read  the  ninety-first  Psalm. 

In  1845,  was  held  also  the  Centennial  of  St.  Michael's  Church, 
a  historical  Sermon  being  preach e<l  by  Rev.  Isaac  Jones.  This  was 
printed  in  pamphlet  form,  with  considerable  other  historical 
material  relating  to  the  early  years  of  the  church. 

Payne  Kenyon  Kilboume  published  his  first  historical  work  in 
1851,  a  volume  of  Litchfield  Biographies.  These  are  concerned  with 
the  whole  County,  and  only  in  part  with  our  town;  but  they  show 
his  pleasant  style  and  foreshadow  his  great  work,  the  History 
of  1859. 

In  1851,  too,  was  held  the  County  Centennial,  which  occu- 
pied two  days,  August  13  and  14.  A  volume  of  212  pages 
was  published  after  the  celebration,  which  includes  the  speeches 
and  a  full  account  of  the  ceremonies.  The  most  authoritative  of 
the  addresses  was  the  Historical  review  of  the  century  by  Chief 
Justice  Samuel  Church,  LL.D.  He  was  a  native  of  Salisbury,  but 
became  a  resident  of  Litchfield  in  1845  and  remained  here  till  his 
death  in  the  autumn  of  1854.  His  address  was  a  valuable  addition 
to  the  growing  historical  material  of  the  neighborhood,  especially 
as  to  the  legal  lights  of  the  County. 

Each  of  these  events  stimulated  others;  the  next  one  being  the 
Centennial  of  the  North  and  South  Consociations  of  the  Congre- 
gational Church,  which  was  held  on  July  7  and  8, 1852.  Here  again 
there  was  a  historical  address,  delivered  by  the  Rev.  David  L. 
Parmalee,  pastor  of  Litchfield  South  Farms. 

Four  years  later,  in  1856,  the  movement  culminated  in  the  forma- 
tion of  the  Litchfield  County  Historical  and  Antiquarian  Society, 
which  after  a  while  became  dormant  and  then  in  1893  was  revived 
and  re-organized  as  our  present  Litchfield  Historical  Society.  At 
the  meeting  of  organization  held  in  the  Court  House  on  April  9, 
1856,  the  Introductory  Address  was  delivered  by  Gideon  H.  HoUister, 
who  was  then  living  in  Litchfield  and  had  just  published  his  valuable 
History  of  Connecticut.      The  first  board  of  officers  included  Seth 


P.  Beers,  President;  George  C.  Woodruff,  First  Vice  President;  and 
Payne  Kenyon  Kilboume,  Secretary. 

Seth  P.  Beers  was  a  native  of  Woodbury,  where  he  was  bom 
July  1,  1781.  He  was  a  graduate  of  the  Law  School  He  held 
many  public  positions,  including  that  of  State's  Attorney,  and  he 
served  in  four  sessions  of  the  State  L^slature^  of  which  he  was 
consecutively  Clerk  and  Speaker.  His  great  service  to  the  State, 
however,  was  as  Commissioner  of  the  School  Fund,  from  1824  to 
1849,  The  School  Fund  was  made  up  from  the  sale  of  the  Western 
Reserve  lands  in  Ohio,  Avhich  then  belonged  to  the  State  of  Con- 
necticut. Mr.  Beers  visited  these  lands,  making  the  journey  mainly 
by  canal.  He  was  a  most  successful  administrator  of  these  funds, 
which  in  his  hands  were  increased  from  the  original  amount  pro- 
duced by  the  sale  of  the  lands  in  1793-95  of  $1,200,000.  to  $2,049,- 
482.32.  He  also  increased  the  revenue  of  the  fund  from  $72,000.  to 
$133,000.  in  round  numbers. 

"He  was  a  self-made  man  and,  mindful  of  his  own  early  strug- 
gles, aided  and  encouraged  many  young  men  here  and  elsewhere  to 
a  successful  career.  Professor  Henry  A.  Beers  of  Yale  is  his 
grandson".  (Book  of  Days,  p.  111).  Mr.  Beers  had  the  interests 
of  Litchfield  always  at  heart,  and  at  his  death  left  a  legacy  to  the 
Episcopal  Churches  of  Litchfield,  Bantam  and  Milton  of  $35,000. 

The  publication  of  Kilbourne's  History  in  1859  marks  the  climax 
of  this  Historical  period.  It  summarized  all  that  had  gone  before, 
and  gave  final  form  to  what  then  seemed  the  completed  story  of 
Litchfield.  After  the  writing  of  this  book,  there  was  nothing  left 
for  others  to  do  but  to  quote  from  it.  The  gathering  clouds  of 
Civil  dissension  also  led  men's  thoughts  away  from  new  researches. 
A  great  amount  has  been  published  in  the  last  sixty  years  about 
Litchfield,  but  it  is  surprising  how  much  goes  back  direct  to  Kil- 
bourne.  Since  the  formation  of  the  new  Historical  Society  in 
1893,  however,  a  new  direction  has  been  given  to  local  research, 
and  the  many  able  papers  read  before  the  Society  from  time  to 
time  have  testified  how  fruitful  the  field  still  is. 

After  1859  and  before  the  War,  there  was  celebrated  one  more 
anniversary  in  Litchfield,  the  Semi-Centennial  of  the  Litchfield 
County  Foreign  Mission  Society,  1861.  In  the  years  between  the 
end  of  the  War  and  the  formation  of  the  Historical  Society,  the 
chief  event  of  this  character  was  the  celebration,  on  July  4,  1876,  of 
the  Centennial  of  American  Independence,  on  which  occasion  George 
C.  Woodruff  delivered  an  admirable  review  of  the  period,  concerned 
chiefly  with  the  share  our  town  had  taken  in  the  Revolution.  It 
was  very  appropriate  that  Mr.  Woodruff  should  end,  as  he  had 
begun,  this  first  period  of  the  historical  study  of  the  town.  The 
second  period  includes  all  the  work  of  the  members  of  the  Historical 
Society,  and  is  still  far  from  complete.  It  embraces  also  valuable 
work  done  by  members  of  other  organizations,  notably  the  Mary 
Floyd  Tallmadge  Chapter,  D.  A.  R.,  and  the  Litchfield  Scientific 


Association,  which  in  1919  was  merged  with  the  Historical  Society. 

In  speaking  of  this  period  of  Litchfield,  the  name  of  Origen 
Storrs  Seymour  is  constantly  in  the  mind.  He  did  not  take  an 
active  part  in  the  historical  movement,  which  we  have  chosen  as 
the  key-note  of  the  time,  beyond  delivering  the  Historical  address 
at  the  Marsh  and  Buel  picnic  of  1846,  but  his  interest  in  such 
matters  was  always  keen.  He  was  bom  in  Litchfield,  February 
9, 1804,  was  graduated  at  the  LaAv  School,  was  Speaker  of  the  House 
of  Representatives  at  Hartford,  was  a  member  of  the  32nd  and  33rd 
Congresses  in  Washington,  and  was  Judge  of  the  Superior  Court 
of  the  State  for  eight  years,  beginning  in  1855.  In  1870,  he  was 
chosen  Associate  Judge  of  the  Supreme  Court  of  Errors,  and  in 
1873  he  was  chosen  Chief  Justice,  which  position  he  held  till  he 
reached  the  constitutional  limit  of  age.  After  1874,  he  served  on 
many  judicial  and  legislative  Committees,  the  most  important  of 
which  were  the  Commission  to  adjust  the  boundary  line  between 
this  state  and  New  York,  and  the  Commission  to  simplify  the 
methods  of  civil  procedure  in  the  state.  The  last  public  office  which 
he  held  was  a  seat  in  the  State  Legislature,  in  1881,  the  year  of  his 
death,  being  virtually  unanimously  elected  thereto  by  his  fellow 
townsmen.  He  died  on  August  12,  1881.  He  was  married  to 
Lucy  M.  Woodruff,  daughter  of  Gen.  Morris  Woodruff,  in  1830. 

Judge  Seymour  came  to  the  bar  at  a  time  when  it  was  strongly 
represented  throughout  the  County.  The  lawyers  here  at  that 
time  were  Phineas  Miner,  Seth  P.  Beers,  Asa  Bacon,  Jabez  W. 
Huntington,  Truman  Smith,  and  David  C.  Sanford. 

There  remains  a  final  aspect  to  be  considered  in  our  study  of 
the  changes  which  passed  over  Litchfield  about  the  middle  of  the 
last  century.  This  was  the  Mining  craze.  It  seems  to  us  to-day 
as  though  hardly  any  place  could  be  found  offering  less  opportunity 
for  mining  than  Litchfield,  and  yet  all  sorts  of  undertakings  were 
launched  here.  It  looks  almost  as  though,  the  legitimate  means 
of  commercial  enterprise  having  in  great  part  failed  with  the 
centralizing  of  the  manufacturing  establishments  in  the  valleys, 
the  methods  of  quackery  were  resorted  to  in  the  hope  of  drawing 
some  commercial  profits  from  the  town.  It  is  fortunate  that 
most  of  these  schemes  were  undertaken  by  outsiders.  It  was  at 
any  rate  appropriate  that  one  of  these  strange  speculations  should 
have  been  launched  by  the  great  American  circus  man,  P.  T.  Bar- 
num.  He  purchased  a  farm  in  the  Pitch  about  1848,  together 
with  many  mining  rights,  and  b^an  to  dig  for  copper.  Two  shafts 
were  sunk,  besides  $10,000,,  or  so  Barnum  claimed,  when  the  opera- 
tions failed,  and  the  creditors  took  over  the  property.  In  1902, 
Thomas  A.  Edison  sent  two  mining  experts  to  look  at  the  site,  but 
they  were  wiser  than  Bamum  and  did  not  recommend  operations 

John  T.  Hubbard,  who  has  made  a  full  study  of  the  various 
mines  and  mining  ventures  in  Litchfield,  in  a  lecture  before  the 
Litchfield    Scientific   Association,    December   13,    1905,   told    of    an 

(Jhikf   [rsTr(  k  r)Kir,KX  Storks  Sk.vm(ii- 

Judge  Lewis  B.  Woodruff 


earlier  effort  to  obtain  mineral  in  the  Pitch.  This  was  the  New 
England  Exploring  and  Mining  Co.  It  had  a  capital  stock  of 
$100,000.,  but  never  achieved  anything  beyond  running  a  tunnel  into 
the  hillside  south  of  the  Pitch  road. 

The  belief  in  the  value  of  Litchfield's  mineral  resources  was 
hard  to  down.  In  Kilboume's  History,  we  find  this  hopeful  spirit, 
characteristic  of  the  period,  well  expressed,  p.  249:  "In  other  parts 
of  the  town  miners  have  met  with  better  success.  About  two  miles 
north-east  of  the  village,  a  shaft  has  been  sunk  25  feet  in  depth,  by 
Albert  Sedgwick  and  John  W.  Buell.  The  vein  or  lode  is  14  feet 
in  width,  composed  of  pure  quartz,  with  a  slight  mixture  of 
felspar.  In  this  vein  is  found  a  veiy  pure  grey  Copper  Ore,  yield- 
ing by  analysis  79i/^  per  cent,  of  copper.  A  bevel  has  been  driven 
140  feet,  which  when  completed,  will  intersect  the  vein  at  50  feet 
in  depth.  In  this  vein  are  also  found  great  quantities  of  small 
pure  garnets,  which  are  as  yet  too  small  to  be  made  valuable  as 
articles  of  commerce.  This  vein,  bearing  nearly  a  north  and  south 
direction,  can  be  traced  for  a  distance  of  three  miles.  Half  a  mile 
from  this  location,  was  recently  found  an  old  shaft,  fifteen  feet 
deep,  which  is  supposed  to  have  been  sunk  long  before  the  Revo- 
lution. This  has  been  cleaned  out,  and  sunk  thirty  feet  upon  a 
small  vein  of  iron  and  copper  running  together.  The  quantity 
of  copper  found  is  not  yet  sufficient  to  render  the  digging  profitable, 
the  mine  having  been  but  partially  developed. 

"The  lands  of  the  Connecticut  Mining  Co.,  on  Prospect  Moun- 
tain, promise  an  abundant  return  for  funds  invested  and  labor 
performed.  Disinterested  parties,  who  have  visited  these  mines, 
and  others  who  have  analyzed  and  smelted  their  copper,  nickel,  and 
silver  ores,  pronounce  the  percentage  of  pure  metal  to  be  much 
greater  than  that  of  some  of  the  celebrated  English  mines.  The 
enterprise  in  this  company  deserves  and  will  receive  a  rich  reward". 
Surely  no  prospectus  could  yield  much  better  promise  than  this 
fonnal  statement  of  Kilboume.  Judge  Hubbard  adds,  however, 
"As  10  per  cent,  is  a  paying  ore,  it  is  unfortunate  that  Mssrs.  Sedg- 
wick and  Buell  did  not  mine  more  of  their  791/2  per  cent.  ore". 

Another  venture  of  these  two  enterprising  men  carried  them  to 
the  land  now  owned  by  the  Connecticut  Junior  Republic,  where 
they  sank  a  shaft  45  feet  deep  in  the  woods  west  of  the  buildings. 
Nothing  was  found  in  the  shaft  beyond  Iron  pyrites. 

Various  companies  have  been  incorporated  to  do  mining  in 
the  town,  chiefly  on  Prospect,  but  it  is  not  worth  the  space  to  say 
much  about  them.  Yet  one  likes  to  linger  on  such  possibilities 
as  The  American  Mining  Co.,  with  a  capital  stock  of  $100,000., 
for  its  Litchfield  mine,  this  company  being  located  at  Windsor, 
Vermont,  in  1850.  Then  there  was  the  Litchfield  County  Mining 
and  Quarrying  Co.,  incorporated  by  the  state  Legislature  in  1860, 
with  a  modest  capital  of  $300,000. 


In  1860  also  the  Connecticut  Mining  Co.,  obtained  a  very  favor- 
able charter  from  the  Legislature.  They  bought  two  mining  rights 
on  Prospect  Mountain  and  issued  $200,000  of  stock,  much  of  which 
was  successfully  placed  in  PhiladeljAia,  This  was  the  company 
of  which  Kilboume  thought  so  well.  Later  the  stock  was  increased 
by  another  $200,000;  buildings  on  the  Mountain  were  constructed; 
and  offices  opened  in  the  present  brick  building  of  Woodruff  and 
Woodruff.  In  a  prospectus,  the  promoters  compared  the  mines  to 
Aladdin  and  his  Wonderful  Lamp.  But  quarrels  arose  within  the 
company,  as  the  monies  raised  were  apparently  not  all  put  into  the 
mines.  To-day  nothing  remains  to  show,  but  a  rather  deep  mud- 

In  1864,  the  Mckel  Mining  and  Smelting  Co.,  was  organized 
under  the  laws  of  the  State  of  New  York,  with  a  capital  of 
$600,000.  They  purchased  the  rights  to  mine  on  the  west  slope  of 
Prospect  Mountain,  and  evidently  were  concerned  with  actual  min- 
ing rather  than  with  the  sale  of  stock.  Some  nickel  was  indeed 
taken  out  of  the  mountain,  and  it  is  said  that  it  was  sold  to  the 
Government  and  used  to  make  the  nickel  cents  which  were  in  cir- 
culation before  the  nickel  five-cent  piece  was  placed  in  use.  Event- 
ually, the  venture  shared  the  fate  of  the  other  Litchfield  mines. 



The  changes  which  we  have  traced  in  the  development  of  Litch- 
field, were  never  more  marked  than  in  the  contrast  between  the 
days  of  the  Revolution  and  those  of  the  Civil  War.  In  both  wars 
Litchfield  gave  of  her  best;  but  the  martyrdoms  of  the  Prison  Ship 
in  the  Revolution  were  only  one  side  of  the  picture;  there  were 
also  the  romantic  adventures  of  Col.  Tallmadge,  the  signing  of  the 
Declaration  of  Independence  by  the  elder  Wolcott,  the  melting  of 
the  bullets,  the  capture  of  Ticonderoga  by  Litchfield-bom  Ethan 
Allen,  the  stores  in  the  village  streets,  the  passing  of  troops  on 
their   dapple   greys,   and   of   long   munition   trains.  It   was    a 

period  of  suspense  and  excitement,  but  the  excitement  was  always 
stimulating.  In  the  Civil  War,  there  was  little  but  the  sus- 
pense, Litchfield  was  too  far  from  the  seat  of  war  to  be  directly 
involved,  and  the  young  men,  whom  she  sent  in  hundreds  as  they 
were  called  for,  fought  and  died  without  the  glory  of  any  historic 
personal  achiev«nent.  Their  names  are  treasured  as  heroes  on 
our  monuments  in  the  Center  and  in  Northfield;  but  they  do  not 
appear  in  the  histories.  The  service  was  all  the  greater  because 
it  was  so  inconspicuous,  just  a  unit  in  the  vast  operations  of 
Oeneral  Grant. 

In  the  Revolution,  Litchfield  had  sent  504  men  into  service, 
while  in  the  Civil  War  our  Honor  Roll  only  includes  280  names, 
besides  44  men  who  enlisted  and  yielded  to  the  temptation  so  uni- 
versal in  this  particular  war  and  deserted.  The  difference  in 
numbers  is  partly  accounted  for  by  the  greater  population  of  Litch- 
field in  the  Revolution,  when  our  territory  included  an  extra  thous- 
and inhabitants  in  South  Farms;  it  is  also  partly  accounted  for 
by  the  inclusion  in  the  Civil  War  Roll  only  of  the  men  who  actually 
were  residents  of  Litchfield  w^hen  they  enlisted,  while  the  Revolu- 
tionary Roll  includes  also  those  who  were  connected  with  the  Town 
before  the  War  or  afterwards. 

It  is  not  possible  to  estimate  how  many  Litchfield  men  died  in 
the  Revolution.  We  know  that,  out  of  36  men  taken  prisoners  at 
Fort  Washington,  only  six  survived,  but  probably  this  was  the 
only  engagement  where  large  losses  followed.  In  the  Civil  War, 
approximately  77  men  died  in  the  service,  from  wounds,  disease  or 
other  causes.  Of  these  52  names  are  on  our  monument,  and  the 
remaining  25  have  been  obtained  from  the  Record  of  Connecticut 
Men  in  the  War  of  the  Rebellion,  1861-1865,  published  by  the  author- 
ity  of   the   General   Assembly,   1889.       The   proportion   of   deaths 


among  the  Litchfield  men  was  therefore  veiy  high,  and  testifies  to 
their  gallant  action. 

From  the  declaration  of  War,  enlistments  began  from  the 
Town;  but  it  was  not  till  after  the  close  of  General  ^McClellan's 
disastrous  Peninsula  Campaign  in  1SG2,  when  President  Lincoln 
issued  his  memorable  call  for  300,000  more  men,  that  a  concerted 
effort  was  made  here  or  elsewhere  to  stimulate  enlistment  on  a 
large  scale. 

Appropriations  to  cover  supplies  for  all  volunteers  and  sup- 
port for  their  families,  when  needed,  were  made  by  the  Town  from 
the  earliest  dates  of  the  War.  The  first  appropriation  made  was 
of  $5,000.  on  May  2,  1801.  This  was  to  be  expended  according  to 
the  judgment  of  a  Conmiittee  consisting  of  Jason  WTiiting,  William 
F.  Baldwin  and  Philip  S.  Beebe.  On  November  23,  18G1,  a  Town 
Meeting  was  held  to  instruct  this  Committee  more  in  detail,  and 
it  was  voted  to  give  each  volunteer  a  bonus  of  $7.  at  the  time  of  his 
being  mustered  in.  On  January  20,  18(>2,  it  Avas  voted  to  continue 
payments  for  the  support  of  soldiers'  families,  subject  to  a  refund 
from  the  State. 

Then,  on  July  3,  18G2,  came  the  Proclamation  of  Governor 
Buckingham,  urging  the  State  of  Connecticut  to  raise  a  minimum 
of  seven  new  Raiments.  The  response  of  Litchfield  County  was  an 
entire  Regiment,  of  which  w^e  shall  speak  at  length  presently. 

Another  result  of  the  Proclamation  was  the  immediate  increase^ 
at  a  Tow^n  Meeting  on  July  25,  1862,  in  the  Bounty  for  each  volun- 
teer from  $7.  to  $100.  The  payment  of  these  bounties  upon  enlist- 
ment caused  some  men  to  volunteer  for  no  purpose  beyond  obtain- 
ing the  bounty,  and  was  one  of  the  causes,  though  only  one,  of  the 
many  desertions  throughout  the  army,  of  which  it  has  already  been 
seen  that  Litchfield  was  also  a  victim. 

Besides  the  call  for  300,000  men  for  three  years  or  the  dura- 
tion of  the  War,  President  Lincoln  now  made  another  call  for 
300,000  men  for  nine  months'  service.  To  meet  this  call,  the  Litch- 
field bounty  was  increased  at  a  Town  Meeting  on  September  8,  1862, 
to  $200.  for  each  volunteer,  previous  volunteers  receiving  the  differ- 
ence betw^een  this  sum  and  their  former  bounties. 

On  March  3, 1863,  Congress  passed  the  Conscription  Law,  assign- 
ing to  Litchfield  a  quota  of  40  men.  At  a  Town  Meeting,  July  25, 
1863,  it  was  voted  to  appropriate  and  borrow  the  sum  of  $12,000., 
and  to  pay  $300.  towards  each  man  who  volunteered  or  was  drafted 
to  fill  this  quota  of  40  men.  This  was  America's  first  experience 
with  the  draft  law,  and  it  was  not  popular.  ''Great,  strapping 
men,  who  before  the  war  had  always  boasted  of  their  bodily  puis- 
sance, and  who  were  never  suspected,  before  or  since,  of  having  any 
other  disease  than  a  rush  of  pusillanimity  to  the  heart,  came 
limping  and  hobbling  into  town,  and  with  touching  earnestness 
inquired  for  the  office  of  Dr.  Beckwith,  who  was  dealing  out  cer- 
tificates of  exemption  from  military  duty  to  the  mob  that  day  and 


night  besieged  his  doors".  (Vaill,  Nineteenth  Connecticut  Volun- 
teers, p.  15).  The  provision  that  substitutes  could  be  provided 
by  dieted  men,  under  certain  restrictions,  does  not  require  detailed 
explanation  here. 

Another  quota  of  60  men  was  called  for  from  the  town,  as  a 
part  of  President  Lincoln's  call  in  January  1864  for  500,000  men; 
and  again  in  November  40  men  were  called  for.  These  appear  to 
have  been  the  last  men  raised  by  the  draft  in  Litchfield,  though 
volunteers  were  at  all  times  encouraged,  though  not  as  generously 
as  before,  owing  probably  to  the  fact  that  the  draft  machinery 
greatly  facilitated  obtaining  the  necessary  men.  The  payments 
voted  at  different  times  to  different  groups  of  men  were  as  follows: 
Jan.  18,  1864:  $50.;  Feb.  18,  1864:  $80.;  March  28,  1864:  $100.; 
Aug.  1,  1864:  $500.;  and  Nov.  22,  1864:  $150.  At  the  close  of  the 
War,  the  injustice  of  such  varied  bounties  was  recognized,  and 
on  July  8,  1864,  it  was  voted  to  pay  to  each  Litchfield  soldier  or  his 
family,  excepting  of  course  the  deserters,  a  further  sum  wherever 
necessary  to  bring  the  bounties  received  up  to  a  minimum  of  $200. 
This  vote,  however,  was  repealed  at  a  special  Town  Meeting  called 
for  the  purpose  on  August  5,  1865  and  we  do  not  find  that  any 
further  effort  was  made  to  equalize  the  bounties.  The  total  cost 
of  all  the  payments  was  upwards  of  $50,000.00;  some  part  of  which 
was  repaid  by  the  Government,  under  the  Conscription  Law.  The 
net  cost  to  the  Town,  of  the  payments  and  bounties,  was  in  the 
neighborhood  of  $31,000.00. 

We  are  fortunate  in  having  two  histories  of  the  Litchfield 
County  Regiment.  One  was   written   soon   after  the  War  by 

Theodore  F.  Vaill,  who  was  Adjutant  of  the  B^iment,  and  pub- 
lished by  him  in  1868:  History  of  the  Second  Connecticut  Volun- 
teer Heavy  Artillery;  Originally  the  Nineteenth  Connecticut  Volun- 
teers. It  is  a  volume  of  366  pages,  and  is  considered  one  of  the 
most  accurate  of  the  regimental  histories  of  the  war.  It  is  now 
out  of  print  and  exceedingly  rare;  we  have  heard  of  only  three 
copies  being  preserved  in  the  town  of  Litchfield.  It  was  therefore 
appropriate  for  the  Litchfield  County  University  Club  to  bring  out 
a  new  history  by  Dudley  Landon  Vaill,  a  son  of  Adjutant  Vaill, 
entitled  The  County  Regiment,  1908.  This  has  liberal  quotations 
from  the  earlier  book,  and  puts  the  material  into  modern  form. 
We  quote  the  following  account  of  the  formation  of  the  Regiment 
from  the  volume  of  Adjutant  Vaill,  pp.  9-16: 

"On  the  22nd  of  July,  1862,  the  people  of  'Mountain  County'  gave 
authoritative  expression  of  their  spirit  and  purpose  in  a  County 
Convention  at  Litchfield,  at  which  resolutions  were  unanimous  y 
passed  declaring  that  an  entire  regiment  should  be  raised  within  the 
county,  and  urging  the  several  towns  to  offer  a  bounty  of  $100.  to 
each  volunteer.  The  Convention  also  unanimously  recommended  Lev- 
erett  W.  Wessells  for  the  Colonelcy,  and  requested  the  Grovemor  to 
rendezvous  the  new  regiment  at  Litchfield.      The  project  of  raising 


the  Nineteenth,  thus  fairly  set  on  foot,  was  poshed  forward  with  the 
utmost  vigor.  The  offer  of  a  commission  to  anyone  who  should  enlist 
forty  men  proved  a  great  incentive  to  effort,  and  every  young  man 
who  contemplated  enlisting  was  straightway  beset  with  a  persistent 
horde  of  rival  drummers,  each  armed  with  a  persuasive  tongue  and 
a  marvelous  list  of  inducements.  Nine  companies  were  soon  filled 
to  the  maximum,  and  some  of  them  had  several  to  spare.  Colonel 
Wessells  received  his  commission  on  July  25,  and  on  August  13 
issued  a  circular  directing  all  officers  recruiting  for  the  Nineteenth 
Connecticut  Volunteers  to  bring  their  squads  into  camp  at  Litch- 
field on  August  19  or  as  soon  thereafter  as  practicable. 

"On  the  appointed  day  the  Litchfield  Company  assembled  at  the 
Town  Hall.  The  men  who  composed  it  arranged  themselves  in  two 
rows,  each  man  standing  so  very  erect  that  his  spine  described  an 
inward  curve  painful  both  to  himself  and  the  spectator;  and  having 
by  much  tuition  been  able  to  master  the  evolution  known  as  'right 
face*,  the  procession  proudly  moved  with  Captain  Bissell  at  its  head, 
to  Camp  Dutton,  on  Chestnut  Hill,  so  named  in  honor  of  Lieutenant 
Henry  M.  Dutton,  of  the  Fifth  Connecticut  Volunteers,  who  had 
fallen  at  Cedar  Mountain  only  ten  days  before.  Upon  arriving,  they 
found  a  supply  of  bell-shaped  tents  awaiting  them,  which  were  soon 
pitched  in  regular  order,  under  the  supervision  of  Luman  Wadhams, 
who  had  seen  service  in  the  Eighth;  and  before  night  the  dwellers 
in  the  surrounding  country,  and  far  away  on  the  hills,  were  turning 
their  eyes  towards  the  snow-white  canvas  that  marked  the  first  and 
only  military  encampment  that  had  been  seen  within  their  borders 
since  ancient  times.  . . . 

"On  August  21,  seven  Companies  with  nearly  seven  hundred  men 
marched  into  Litchfield,  and  after  halting  for  refreshments  at  the 
Town  Hall,  where  the  ever  patriotic  ladies  had  lavishly  provided 
for  their  entertainment,  proceeded  to  camp  . . .  Company  I  arrived 
on  the  24th  of  August;  and  a  few  days  later  the  commandants  of 
the  nine  Companies  were  each  required  to  furnish  a  quota  for  the 
formation  of  a  tenth  Company,  (K),  which  was  thus  made  up  of 
recruits  from  25  different  towns.  And  so  the  Nineteenth  was 
encamped.  In  order  to  raise  it  Litchfield  County  had  given  up 
the  flower  of  her  youth,  the  pride  and  hope  of  hundreds  of  her 
families;  and  they  had  by  no  means  enlisted  to  fight  for  a  superior 
class  of  men  at  home.  There  was  no  superior  class  at  home.  In 
moral  qualities,  in  social  worth,  in  every  civil  relation,  they  were 
the  best  that  Connecticut  had  to  give.  More  than  fifty  of  the  rank 
and  file  of  the  raiment  subsequently  found  their  way  to  commissions, 
and  at  least  a  hundred  more  proved  themselves  not  one  whit  less 
competent  or  worthy  to  wear  sash  and  saber  if  it  had  been  their 
fortune.  It  was  the  intelligent  obedience,  the  soldierly  bearing,  the 
self  respect,  the  faithfulness,  the  wounds  and  blood  of  the  enlisted 
men  of  the  Nineteenth  Infantry,  afterwards  the  Second  Artillery, 
that  averted  defeat  or  secured  victory  for  the  cause  of  the  Union 

I  )\\'ic, III  (.'.   K  11  imruN 


upon  more  than  one  desperate  field,  and  that  purchased  stars  for 
more  than  one  pair  of  shoulders. 

"Camp  Button  was  a  beautiful  spot,  but  no  place  for  a  raiment 
to  learn  its  hard  and  ugly  trade.  Fond  mothers  and  aunts  raked 
the  position  with  a  galling  and  incessant  fire  of  doughnuts,  apples,, 
butter,  pies,  cheese,  honey,  and  other  dainties  not  conducive  to  the 
suppression  of  the  rebellion,  and  citizens  thronged  the  streets  and 
environs  from  morning  till  night.  Lieutenant  Colonel  Kellogg  was 
impatient  at  this  state  of  things,  and  well  he  might  be.  The  actual 
command  had  devolved  on  him  from  the  first.  Colonel  Wessells  being 
occupied  with  matters  appertaining  to  the  organization  and  outfit  of 
the  regiment,  and  he  feared  lest  he  should  be  called  into  fight  with 
the  men  all  innocent  and  raw  as  they  were,  for  Lee  was  in  Mary- 
land, and  the  rumbling  of  the  storm  that  shortly  afterward  burst  at 
Antietam  and  Sharpsburg  could  plainly  be  heard.  . . . 

'On  the  10th  of  September  the  regiment  marched  to  the  village 
to  receive  an  elegant  stand  of  colors  from  Mrs.  William  Curtis 
Noyes  and  to  listen  to  a  presentation  address  by  her  husband,  then 
in  the  zenith  of  his  power  and  fame.  On  the  11th,  the  regiment 
was  mustered,  by  Lieutenant  Watson  Webb,  into  the  sers'ice  of  the 
United  States  and  on  the  15th,  having  formed  in  line,  and  given 
three  parting  cheers  for  Camp  Button,  the  long  and  firmly  treading 
battalion,  consisting  of  889  officers  and  men,  moved  to  Litchfield  Sta- 
tion where  a  train  of  23  cars  stood  ready  to  take  them  to  New 
York.  The  deep  interest  everywhere  felt  in  the  Mountain  County 
Regiment  was  attested  by  crowds  of  people  at  the  stations  and  all 
along  the  railway  and  by  white  handkerchiefs  and  white  hands  that 
waived  us  a  farewell  and  a  blessing  from  window  and  verandah 
and  hilltop.  ..." 

Leverett  W.  Wessells,  the  first  Colonel  of  the  Nineteenth,  was 
born  in  Litchfield,  July  28, 1819.  He  enlisted  on  July  25,  1862,  and 
was  commissioned  Colonel  on  the  same  day.  He  held  the  following 
offices:  Colonel  commanding  Second  Brigade,  Befense  of  Washing- 
ton, South  of  the  Potomac,  and  was  honorably  discharged  September 
15,  1863,  at  Washington,  B.  C,  resigning  by  reason  of  ill-health.  He 
was  appointed  Provost  Marshall  of  the  Fourth  Bistrict  of  Con- 
necticut, February  9,  1864,  and  was  finally  discharged  October  5, 
1865,  by  reason  of  the  ending  of  the  War.  He  died  April  4, 1895,  at 
Dover,  Bel.  His  brother.  General  Henry  W.  Wessells,  was  also  a 
distinguished  soldier,  having  served  in  the  Mexican  War,  with  the 
rank  of  Major.  In  the  Civil  War,  he  was  Major  of  the  Sixth  Con- 
necticut Infantry,  1861;  Colonel,  Eighth  Regiment  Kansas  Volun- 
teers, 1861;  Brigadier  €reneral  of  Volunteers,  1862;  and  Brigadiei* 
General,  U.  S.  A.,  March  13,  1865;  he  retired  from  the  military  ser- 
vice on  January  1,  1871. 

It  is  not  within  the  scope  of  this  work  to  follow  the  Nineteenth 
Regiment  completely  through  its  campaigns  in  active  service;  but 
mention  should  at  least  be  made  of  the  names  of  the  actions  in  which 


it  took  so  gallant  a  part,  and  the  story  of  Cold  Harbor  must  be 
told  more  in  full. 

"For  more  than  a  year  and  a  half  the  regiment  was  numbered 
among  the  defenders  of  the  Capital,  removing  after  a  few  months 
from  the  immediate  neighborhood  of  Alexandria  and  being  stationed 
among  the  different  forts  and  redoubts  which  formed  the  line  of 
defence  south  of  the  Potomac.  ...  It  was  in  November  1863,  that  the 
War  Department  orders  were  issued  changing  the  Nineteenth 
Infantry  to  a  regiment  of  heavy  artillery,  which  Governor  Bucking- 
ham denominated  the  Second  Connecticut.  Artillery  drill  had  for 
some  time  been  part  of  its  work,  and  the  general  efficiency  and  good 
record  of  the  regiment  in  all  particulars  was  responsible  for  the 
change,  which  was  a  welcome  one,  as  the  Artillery  was  considered  a 
very  desirable  branch  of  the  service,  and  the  increase  in  size  gave 
prospects  of  speedier  promotion".     (Dudley  Vaill,  pp.  19,  21). 

On  May  17,  1864,  the  summons  came,  which  the  Second  Heavy 
Artillery  had  almost  ceased  to  expect,  after  its  long  period  of 

"The  preceding  two  weeks  had  been  among  the  most  eventful 
of  the  war.  They  had  seen  the  crossing  of  the  Rapidan  by  Grant 
on  the  4th,  and  the  terrible  battles  for  days  following  in  the  Wilder 
ness  and  at  Spottsylvania,  depleting  the  army  by  such  enormous 
losses  as  even  this  war  had  hardly  seen  before.  Heavy  reinforce^ 
ments  were  demanded  and  sent  forward  from  all  branches  of  the 
service;  in  the  emergency  this  artillery  regiment  was  summoned  to 
fight  as  infantry,  and  so  served  until  the  end  of  the  conflict,  though 
for  a  long  time  with  a  hope,  which  survived  many  disappointments, 
of  being  assigned  to  its  proper  work  with  the  heavy  guns".  (Dudley 
Yaill,  p.  25). 

When  the  regiment  reached  the  front.  Grant  was  in  full  march 
towards  Richmond,  and  for  a  week  the  regiment  was  pnt  through 
a  series  of  forced  marches  which  tried  the  oldest  veterans  who  were 
in  the  same  corps  and  which  to  the  inexperienced  Second  Artillery 
was  almost  beyond  endurance.  At  first  they  were  overburdened 
Avith  their  baggage,  but  they  soon  threw  down  by  the  roadside  every- 
thing that  could  be  spared  and  much  that  should  not  have  been 
spared.  Over  $20,000.  worth  of  the  private  property  of  the  men  was 
thrown  aside,  besides  great  quantities  of  government  rations.  With- 
out proper  food,  foot-sore,  and  without  sleep,  the  regiment  struggled 
on,  sometimes  getting  its  only  nourishment  from  the  dry  corn  picked 
up  by  the  way  and  eaten  raw. 

The  first  contact  with  the  enemy  came  at  a  skirmish  at  Jericho 
Ford,  on  the  North  Anna  River,  on  May  24,  resulting  in  the  death 
of  one  man  and  the  wounding  of  three  other;s. 

On  May  31,  the  regiment  reached  Cold  Harbor.  Exhausted  with 
fatigue,  they  slept  on  the  ground  where  they  stopped,  careless  of  the 
evident  preparations  for  battle  which  General  Grant  was  obviously 
nmking,  by  the  conc(Mitration  of  great  bodies  of  men.      Their  stupor 


was  such,  that  even  when  they  were  told  of  the  expected  engagement 
by  their  commander,  Colonel  Kellogg  of  New  Hartford,  they  were 
unable  to  understand  his  meaning.  It  was  happy  for  them,  per- 
haps, that  this  was  the  case,  for  had  they  known  what  was  in  store 
for  them  on  the  morrow  even  their  short  rest  must  have  been  denied 

At  five  o'clock  in  the  afternoon  of  June  1,  1864,  the  untried 
Second  Connecticut  Heavy  Artillery,  moving  in  three  battalions  of 
four  companies  each,  was  marched  out  of  the  breast- works  to  help 
in  dislodging  the  enemy  from  their  entrenched  positions  at  Cold 
Harbor.  The  first  battalion,  including  Company  A,  the  Litchfield 
company,  was  sent  across  an  open  field,  with  the  colors  in  the 
centre,  and  easily  passed  the  first  line  of  rifle  pits,  which  was 
abandoned  at  its  approach.  The  confederate  soldiers  had  made  a 
barrier  of  pines  and  saplings  in  front  of  their  main  line  of  breast- 
works, Avhich  proved  practically  impassable.  As  the  battalion  came 
up  to  it,  unsupported  on  either  side,  the  enemy's  musketry  opened. 
The  fire  passed  overhead,  and  they  fell  to  the  ground  to  avoid  further 
volleys.  ''Several  men  were  struck,  but  not  a  large  number.  It 
is  more  than  probable  that  if  there  had  been  no  other  than  this  front 
fire,  the  rebel  breastworks  would  have  been  ours,  notwithstanding 
the  pine  boughs.  But  at  that  moment  a  long  line  of  rebels  on  our 
left,  having  nothing  in  their  own  front  to  engage  their  attention, 
and  having  unobstructed  range  on  the  battalion,  opened  a  fire  which 
no  human  valor  could  withstand,  and  which  no  pen  can  adequately 
describe.  It  was  the  work  of  almost  a  single  minute.  The  air 
was  filled  with  sulphurous  smoke,  and  the  shrieks  and  howls  of  more 
than  two  hundred  and  fifty  mangled  men  rose  above  the  yells  of 
triumphant  rebels  and  the  roar  of  their  musketry.  'About  face', 
shouted  Colonel  Kellogg,  but  it  was  his  last  command.  He  had 
already  been  struck  in  the  arm,  and  the  words  had  scarcely  passed 
his  lips  when  another  shot  jjierced  his  head,  and  he  fell  dead  upon 
the  interlacing  pine  boughs.  Wild  and  blind  with  wounds,  bruises, 
noise,  smoke,  and  conflicting  orders,  the  men  staggered  in  every 
direction,  some  of  them  falling  upon  the  very  top  of  the  rebel  para- 
pet, wliere  they  were  completely  riddled  with  bullets,  others  wander- 
ing off  into  the  woods  on  the  right  and  front,  to  find  their  way  to 
death  by  starvation  at  Andersonville,  or  never  to  be  heard  of  again". 
(Theodore  Vaill,  p.  63). 

The  second  battalion,  behind  them,  could  give  no  support,  for 
feuv  of  shooting  right  into  their  own  men.  There  was  however  no 
suggestion  of  retreat  at  any  point,  and,  indeed,  in  a  lull  in  the 
firing,  several  hundred  of  the  enemy  came  across  the  parapets  and 
surreiulered.  Through  a  misunderstanding,  the  credit  of  their  cap- 
ture was  given  to  other  units. 

As  the  hours  passed  through  the  terrible  night,  the  regiment 
held  the  gi-ound  that  had  been  gained.  The  enemy  under  cover  of 
the  darkness  vacated  their  breastworks,  and  when  at  three  o'clock 


in  the  morning  other  troops  were  sent  to  relieve  the  Second  Regi- 
ment, the  troops  which  in  ten  hours  had  been  converted  into  veterans 
turned  over  to  them  the  position  which  was  to  remain  the  front 
during  the  rest  of  the  stay  until  Grant's  sudden  movement  began 
against  Petersburg. 

For  twelve  days,  the  regiment  was  more  or  less  in  constant 
action,  but  the  fighting  was  so  much  less  severe  than  on  the  fateful 
First  of  June,  that  it  need  hardly  be  mentioned.  Indeed  that  first 
engagement  was  the  most  serious  that  the  regiment  saw  at  any 
time  of  the  war.  Its  loss  in  that  one  night  was  greater  than  that 
of  any  other  Connecticut  regiment  in  any  single  battle.  "The 
record  of  Cold  Harbor,  of  which  all  but  a  very  small  proportion  was 
incurred  on  June  1st,  is  given  as  follows :  Killed  or  died  of  wounds,^ 
121;  wounded,  190;  missing,  15;  prisoners,  3".  (Dudley  Vaill,  p.  37). 
This  total  of  329  casualties,  in  a  regiment  of  1,800  men,  fell  with 
special  force  on  the  Litchfield  company.  Of  33  men  who  were 
killed  or  di§d  from  wounds  during  the  whole  service  of  this  company, 
29  fell  at  Cold  Harbor,  all  but  two  on  the  night  of  June  1st.  The 
Litchfield  men  among  these  29  were  the  foUomng:  Corporal  Albert 
A.  Jones ;  Lyman  J.  Smith,  Jr. ;  Robert  Watt ;  John  Iflfland ;  WUlard 
H.  Parmalee;  Almon  B.  Bradley;  Patrick  Ryan;  Captain  Luman 
Wadhams  (died  of  wounds) ;  Corporal!  George  Wilson  Potter; 
Corporal  Charles  Adams,  Jr.;  Corporal  Apollos  C.  Morse;  Andrew 
J.  Brooker;  Amos  H.  Stillson. 

Other  Litchfield  men  killed  the  same  night,  in  other  companies^ 
were  Michael  Bray;  John  Handel. 

On  June  12,  1864,  the  regiment  moved  to  Petersburg,  where  it 
remained  until  July  9th.  For  the  next  two  months  or  more  it 
took  part  in  the  maneuvers  under  General  Sheridan  of  the  Shenan- 
doah Valley  campaign,  having  its  severest  battle  at  Winchester  on 
September  19,  where  its  efficient  work  at  a  moment  of  crisis  turned 
an  impending  defeat  into  an  important  victory.  Three  days  later^ 
the  regiment  was  sent  against  the  fort  on  Fisher's  Hill,  considered 
the  Gibraltar  of  the  Valley,  which  they  scaled  and  captured,  with 
a  loss  of  only  four  men  killed.  The  enemy  were  taken  completely 
by  surprise  and  driven  it  was  thought  for  all  time  out  of  the 

The  confederate  General,  Early,  took  advantage  of  the  with- 
drawal of  Sheridan's  forces,  to  re-occupy  Fisher's  Hill,  and  the 
Second  Connecticut  found  itself  ordered  back  to  Cedar  Creek,  where 
it  arrived  on  October  14th.  Five  days  later,  the  dramatic  battle, 
which  bears  this  name,  was  fought,  and  again  the  Second  Connecti- 
cut had  a  proud  and  successful  part  in  it.  After  an  apparent 
defeat  of  the  Union  forces,  which  at  one  moment  threatened  to 
become  an  irretrievable  rout,  the  tide  of  the  battle  turned,  and 
ended  in  a  complete  victory  which  marked  the  successful  conclusion 
of  the  Shenandoah  Valley  Campaign. 


At  Cedar  Creek  as  at  Winchester,  the  regiment  had  large  losses, 
but  for  the  Litchfield  men  they  were  proportionately  much  smaller 
than  in  the  fateful  battle  of  Cold  Harbor.  Corporal  Franklin  M, 
Bunnell  was  wounded  at  Winchester  early  in  the  day,  but  continued 
to  fight  with  his  company  until  just  before  the  close  of  the  battle. 
He  died  six  days  later  at  Jarvis  Hospital,  Baltimore.  Corporal 
John  L.  Wilcox  was  shot  at  the  battle  of  Cedar  Creek  in  the  side 
and  back.  The  shot  was  not  found  until  the  third  day:  when  it 
was  removed  a  hemorrhage  developed  and  he  died  on  the  way 
from  the  Valley  to  Baltimore,  October  28.  These  were  the  only 
two  men  from  Litchfield  in  the  Litchfield  Company  who  were  killed 
after  the  battle  of  Cold  Harbor. 

For  two  months  after  Cedar  Creek,  the  regiment  saw  no  more 
fighting.  It  was  again  joined  to  Grant's  army,  and  on  February 
5  and  6,  1865,  was  engaged  in  the  action  at  Hatcher's  Run.  Then 
came  another  period  of  inaction,  and  then  the  final  engagement, 
which  began  with  the  attack  on  Fort  Stedman,  March  25,  and  ended 
with  the  capture  of  Petersburg  on  April  3,  1865.  The  Second  Con- 
necticut afterwards  claimed  to  have  been  the  first  regiment  to  enter 
the  city,  but  they  did  not  carry  their  colors  when  they  marched 
against  it,  and  those  of  another  unit  were  raised  above  the  city. 
The  same  day,  the  regiment  started  in  pursuit  of  Lee's  army,  and 
had  reached  a  point  close  to  Appomattox  Court  House,  when  the  news 
reached  them  of  the  surrender  there  on  April  9,  of  all  that  was  left 
of  Lee's  forces  to  General  Grant. 

The  terrible  news  of  Cold  Harbor  fell  upon  the  families  and 
friends  of  the  Litchfield  men  like  a  thunderbolt.  For  months  the 
letters  that  came  from  the  South  had  told  only  of  inaction.  Then 
suddenly  came  the  news  that  the  regiment  was  on  the  march,  and 
within  two  weeks  the  rumor  of  a  great  battle  was  received.  It 
was  impossible  to  get  names  or  correct  particulars.  The  chief  link 
with  official  bureaus  was  through  John  H.  Hubbard,  who  was  then 
Congressman  in  Washington.  He  was  an  ardent  administration 
man,  and  Lincoln  used  to  call  him  Old  Connecticut ;  but  even  Wash- 
ington could  give  no  sure  information,  when  many  of  the  wounded 
were  still  lying  outside  the  lines.  Long  afterwards,  Mrs.  Hubbard 
wrote,  (Book  of  Days,  p.  87) :  "You  can  have  no  idea  of  the  intense 
anxiety  in  the  days  following  Cold  Harbor.  It  was  the  same  after 
every  great  battle  in  which  Litchfield  troops  were  engaged.  The 
telegraph  wires  had  more  news  than  they  could  carry.  It  was 
impossible  to  get  details.  All  we  knew  was,  that  a  terrible  battle 
had  been  fought  and  that  a  great  number  were  either  dead  or 
wounded.  As  Mr.  Hubbard  was  Congressman,  our  house  was  a 
rendezvous  for  people  hoping  or  fearing  for  news.  They  would 
often  stay  till  late  at  night.  I  particularly  remember  one  woman 
from  Goshen  who  waited  till  eleven  o'clock,  and  then  went  home, 
cheered  with  the  thought  that  no  news  was  good  news.      She  hart 


just  gone  home,  when  we  received  word  that  her  husband  was  among 
the  slain". 

And  George  Kenney  wrote,  (Book  of  Days,  p.  88) :  "Such 
funerals  as  we  had  in  those  days!  I  had  the  stage  line  then  and, 
when  the  war  was  over,  I  brought  up  from  the  Naugatuck  station 
all  that  were  left  from  a  company  that  went  from  this  town.  I 
carried  them  all  up  in  one  stage  drawn  by  four  horses". 

The  heaviest  toll,  proportionately,  was  taken  of  the  families 
who  lived  in  the  district  west  of  the  center.  Here  within  a  small 
radius  were  six  farm-houses  to  which  one  or  more  of  the  men  who 
had  gone  to  the  war  were  brought  back  dead.  Three  sons  of  the 
Wadhams  family,  who  lived  in  the  house  west  of  the  road  across 
Harris  Plain,  were  killed  in  the  space  of  fourteen  days.  On  May 
28, 1864,  the  Second  Connecticut  happened  to  be  near  the  Fourteenth 
Connecticut.  Captain  Lunian  Wadhams  went  to  headquarters, 
requesting  permission  to  go  and  see  his  brother  in  the  latter  regi- 
ment. It  was  given.  When  he  returned,  the  Colonel  asked  him 
if  he  had  found  him.  "I  found  he  was  killed  day  before  yester- 
day", was  the  sad  reply.  Four  days  after,  Captain  Luman  Wad- 
hams was  killed,  and  both  of  them  died  without  knowing  that  their 
younger  brother,  Edward,  a  Sergeant  in  the  Eighth  Connecticut,  had 
been  killed  at  Fort  Darling  on  May  16. 

So  in  Litchfield,  when  Deacon  Adams  had  been  over  to  break 
the  news  of  the  death  of  one  of  the  brothers,  he  was  on  his  way  back 
to  the  village  when  he  was  told  that  another  had  fallen. 

When  the  widow  of  Captain  Luman  Wadhams  learned  of  her 
loss,  the  desire  came  to  her  to  go  herself  to  the  South  and  help  in 
nursing  those  who  were  still  fated  to  go  through  the  experience  of 
her  husband,  those  who  were  to  linger  from  their  wounds  for  a  few 
days,  and  perhaps  die  when  some  little  care  beyond  what  the  doctors 
had  to  give  would  have  saved  them.  The  niunber  of  nurses  was 
very  restricted,  totally  inadequate  according  to  the  standards  of  the 
present;  and  it  is  another  source  of  pride  for  Litchfield  to  know 
that  one  of  its  women  went  and  did  such  good  work  for  the  soldiers. 
She  joined  Sheridan's  army  at  Winchester,  where  her  husband's 
regiment  had  fought  in  August  and  where  one  of  the  larger  field 
hospitals  was  situated.  One  of  the  letters  which  she  wrote  soon 
after  her  arrival  is  preserved,  and  is  worth  quoting  to  show  the 
conditions  of  the  day: 

"October  31, 1864.  To  the  Rev.  George  Richards.  Dear  Friend: 
As  you  were  the  means  of  obtaining  for  me  a  place  here  I  thought 
I  would  tell  you  how  I  am  passing  my  time  in  my  new  home,  that 
is  if  a  tent  can  be  called  a  home,  and  that  it  can  I  am  sure  many 
will  testify.  I  reached  this  place  the  day  after  Sheridan's  last 
battle,  the  19th.  I  found  the  place  in  a  state  of  great  commotion: 
many  had,  on  the  news  of  a  repulse,  packed  up  their  goods,  some 
had  left,  some  were  running  distracted,  not  knowing  what  to  do 
or  where  to  go:  but  it  is  of  the  wounded  I  must  tell  you.      I  reported 


immediately  on  arriving  to  the  Medical  Director,  who  informed  me 
I  had  arrived  just  in  time,  as  they  were  expecting  fifteen  hundred 
wounded  in  a  short  time.  I  was  sent  to  the  Nineteenth  Corps  Hos- 
pital for  a  few  days,  as  I  was  needed  more  there  at  that  time.  I 
must  tell  you  of  my  initiation,  I  had  not  slept  since  leaving  Wash- 
ington, but  you  may  well  guess  sleep  was  far  from  my  thoughts. 
The  doctor  told  me  to  prepare  myself  with  a  basin,  towel,  etc,  and 
left  me  with  another  lady  to  await  the  coming  of  the  ambulance 
train.  Now  I  think  it  would  be  impossible  to  describe  my  feelings, 
while  sitting  there  waiting.  I  had  thought  it  over  many  times  at 
home  before  leaving,  how  I  should  bear  the  sight  of  those  poor, 
wounded,  dying  men,  and  I  knew  my  after  efforts  depended  a  great 
deal  on  it.  The  train  came,  they  brought  them  in  on  stretchers, 
and  placed  them  on  straw  beds  on  the  floor  of  the  church,  as  thick 
nearly  as  they  could  lie.  And  I,  I  went  to  work,  washing  first, 
feeding  next,  then  the  surgeon  asked  me  'could  I  dress  wounds?'  I 
told  him  I  would  try,  and  I  did.  And  not  until  near  morning  did 
I  leave  those  poor,  wounded,  dying  men.  I  never  stopped  to  ask 
myself  how  I  was  bearing  it,  never  thought  to  cry,  never  felt  like 
it,  I  only  felt  these  men  were  suffering  and  I  must  help  them,  and 
I,  if  I  were  to  go  home  to-morrow,  I  should  thank  God  that  I  had 
come,  if  only  for  that  one  night.  I  had,  as  you  will  remember, 
taken  a  few  lessons  in  bandaging  at  Columbia  College  Hospital  at 
Washington  before  coming,  I  found  that  of  great  service  to  me. 
There  was  not  an  arm,  head,  leg,  or  any  wound  even,  I  shrank  from, 
however  bad  it  was.  There  was  one  poor  boy,  that  had  his  right 
eye  entirely  shot  away,  and  his  left  was  so  filled  with  blood,  dirt 
and  powder  he  thought  that  was  gone  too,  as  he  told  me:  'I  am 
blind,  Lady,  blind  for  my  flag*.  But  by  frequent  bathing  in  cold 
water  he  can  see  a  very  little.  I  hope  to  be  able  to  restore  that 
eye  entirely.  His  nose  is  nearly  half  gone.  Another  has  his  left 
lung  laid  entirely  bare,  you  can  look  in  and  see  the  beating  and 
working  of  that  delicate  machinery,  but  there  he  lies,  unmurmur- 
ingly,  patiently  awaiting  his  death.  Of  course  many  have  lost  legs, 
arms,  and  some  both,  some  seem  almost  literally  riddled  with  shot. 
I  asked  one  dear  boy,  covered  with  wounds,  where  he  was  wounded. 
He  replied:  'All  over.  Lady',  and  sure  it  seemed  so;  he  was  hit  with 
a  piece  of  shell  in  his  head,  a  horrible  gash,  then  a  ball  had  entered 
his  left  side,  passed  entirely  through  his  body  and  had  fractured 
his  right  arm.  He  is  now  doing  well.  I  might  tell  of  many  such 
cases,  but  you  will  not  care  to  be  wearied.  Others,  apparently 
slightly  wounded,  have  since  died,  many  more  must.  They  are 
sending  them  as  fast  as  possible  to  Martensburg,  and  then  on  to 
Baltimore.  We  are  crowded  here,  but  I  think  it  would  have  been 
better  to  have  kept  them  a  few  days,  for  the  poor  boys  were  so  near 
gone  that  forty  died  on  the  way  to  Martensburg,  and  twenty  in  the 
cars  before  reaching  Harpers'  Ferry.  They  were  brought  from 
Newtown,  a  distance  of  eight  miles  from  here  and  six  from  Cedar 


Creek,  and  we  fed  them  here  without  taking  them  from  the  ambu- 
lances, and  they  sent  them  on  to  Martensburg,  making  in  all  23  miles 
without  resting.  We  have  better  accommodations  here  than  at  first ; 
I  am  now  at  the  Sheridan  Hospital.  It  is  half  mile  out  from 
Winchester  on  a  rise  of  ground  and  seems  doing  finely,  many  must 
die.      They  have  all  done  for  them  possible  ..." 

The  men  of  the  western  part  of  town  were  known  as  the  Flower 
of  Litchfield,  and  it  was  appropriate  that  one  of  them  should  have 
given  his  name  to  the  local  Post  of  the  Grand  Army  of  the  Republic. 
This  was  Seth  F.  Plumb.  He  was  killed  at  Fort  Harrison,  Va.,  on 
September  29,  1864.  He  was  a  member  of  the  Eighth  Connecticut, 
in  the  same  Company  E  in  which  Edward  Wadhams  was  the  Cap- 
tain. He  was  a  deeply  religious  man;  and  was  participating  with 
other  members  of  the  regiment  in  a  service  of  prayer,  when  the 
orders  came  to  charge  across  an  open  field  upon  Fort  Harrison.  The 
Fort  was  captured,  but  he  was  killed  in  the  attack.  He  always 
considered  his  soldier  life  as  a  religious  duty  for  his  country.  He 
was  buried  at  Bermuda  Hundred,  between  the  bodies  of  two  young 
comrades  who  like  himself  had  just  been  promoted  for  personal 
bravery.  At  the  request  of  his  father,  his  body  was  later  brought 
to  Litchfield  by  his  friend  Joseph  H.  Vaill,  and  lies  buried  in  our 
West  Cemetery. 

The  Seth  F.  Plumb  Post,  No.  80,  Department  of  Connecticut, 
was  formed  in  1884.  Its  records  were  kept  by  Dwight  C.  Kilbourn, 
who  was  First  Lieutenant  of  Company  C  in  the  Second  Connecticut. 
He  was  wounded  in  both  arms  at  the  battle  of  Winchester,  Septem- 
ber 19,  1864,  but  was  able  to  rejoin  his  regiment  in  three  months. 
He  died  at  his  home  in  East  Litchfield,  in  1914,  at  the  age  of  77 
years.  Mr.  Kilbourn  was  by  nature  a  historian;  he  had  the  his- 
torical sense,  as  will  be  testified  by  all  who  have  read  his  admirable 
Bench  and  Bar.  He  wrote  many  minor  works  and  articles;  but 
it  is  not  generally  known  that  he  also  wrote  a  history  of  the  town. 
This  had  just  been  completed  at  the  time  of  the  fire  of  1886,  in  which 
his  law  office  was  burned,  together  with  his  large  library  and  the 
manuscript  of  his  great  work.  He  afterwards  gathered  together 
a  new  and  valuable  library,  but  he  did  not  re-write  the  history. 

The  war  records  of  the  individual  men,  whose  names  are  kept 
in  proud  remembrance  on  our  Honor  EoU,  cannot  be  given  in  detail 
here.  It  was  honorable  service,  performed  with  ready  willingness. 
There  was  little  of  romance  or  of  the  unusual,  little  that  varied 
from  the  hard  routine  of  the  soldier's  life.  We  do  however  read 
of  one  case  of  a  Litchfield  boy,  Lyman  E.  Sweet,  who  captured  three 
prisoners  of  the  enemy  "with  a  coffee-pot"  at  the  second  battle  of 
Hatcher's  Run,  but  even  here  we  are  deprived  of  the  details  of  this 
marvelous  exploit! 

For  Litchfield  the  real  end  of  the  War  was  on  August  1st,  1805, 
on   which    day   the    soldiers   of   the   Second   Regiment    and    others 


returned  from  camp.  About  three  hundred  of  the  County  Regi- 
ment were  present.  The  Triumphal  Arch  stood  on  East  Street, 
near  the  side  of  the  present  Library,  making  a  gateway  to  Litchfield 
as  the  men  arrived  from  the  East  Litchfield  Station.  There  was  a 
parade,  and  speeches.  The  whole  town  was  decorated  to  welcome 
the  men. 

Two  monuments  have  been  erected  in  the  Town  to  the  memory 
of  the  men  who  fell  in  the  Civil  War.  The  one  in  Northfield  is  of 
red  sandstone,  and  was  erected  by  the  citizens  of  that  village  directly 
after  the  end  of  the  war,  and  is  said  to  have  been  the  first  of  the 
Soldiers'  Monuments  to  be  completed  in  the  country.  The  one  in 
Litchfield  stands  in  the  Center  Park.  It  is  of  white  marble,  and 
bears  the  names  of  52  soldiers,  including  the  8  names  which  are  on 
the  Northfield  Monument. 



My  boyhood  was  spent  in  Litchfield  until  I  went  to  college  in 
1877.  After  an  absence  of  many  years,  with  but  occasional  visits, 
I  returned  about  1911  as  a  householder  and  a  member  of  the  sum- 
mer colony.  I  am  therefore  in  the  unusual  position  of  being  able 
to  describe  the  Litchfield  of  the  early  70's  as  seen  through  a  boy's 
eyes,  and  to  note  the  changes  that  have  occurred  in  our  town  between 
1870  and  1920,  without  having  my  impressions  dimmed  by  too  great 
a  familiarity  with  the  intervening  years.  Changes,  which  have 
come  so  gradually  as  to  be  almost  unnoticed  by  the  permanent  resi- 
dents of  Litchfield,  present  their  cumulative  effect  to  the  returned 
absentee  with  a  startling  reality.  Though  these  changes  may  be 
relatively  small,  who  can  tell  but  that  the  flight  of  fifty  years  may 
one  day  be  seen  to  have  had  its  importance  in  the  great  historical 
picture  of  our  American  civilization?  Part  of  my  notes  on  this 
head  have  already  been  used  by  me  in  a  lecture  before  the  Litch- 
field Historical  Society  on  "Changing  Litchfield",  delivered  on 
September  1,  1914,  and  reported  in  the  Enquirer  of  the  following 

Litchfield  in  the  early  70's  was  a  pretty  good  place  for  a  boy 
to  grow  up  in.  Here  lived  an  unusually  large  number  of  persons, 
of  all  ages  and  degrees,  whom  it  was  stimulating  to  know.  Among 
those  who  impressed  themselves  early  on  my  boyish  memory,  were 
George  C.  Woodruff  and  his  wife,  the  latter  known  to  her  numerous 
band  of  relatives  and  to  very  many  others  as  "Aunt  Sophy".  Greorge 
C,  as  he  was  usually  called,  (the  family  name  went  without  saying), 
was  a  lawyer  and  a  gentleman  of  the  old  school:  the  perfect  incar- 
nation of  stem  Puritan  justice  and  uprightness,  a  terror  to  evil- 
doers, forbidding  sometimes  even  to  the  just,  but  full  of  humor  and 
kindliness  under  his  shell.  I  stood  in  awe  of  the  stern  exterior  and 
I  was  half  terrified  and  half  scandalized  when  my  mother,  who  had 
known  him  as  a  good  friend,  many  years  before  I  was  born,  used 
to  venture  upon  persiflage  in  conversation  with  him.  I  well  recol- 
lect a  controversy  on  the  subject  of  Contentment,  which  was  renewed 
between  them  at  each  casual  meeting.  Stopping  her  in  the  street, 
Mr.  Woodruff  would  fix  her  with  his  eye  and  quote  with  a  sternness 
that  almost  withered  me  where  I  stood:  "Contentment  with  Godli- 
ness is  great  gain".  To  which  my  mother  rejoined:  "Yes,  and 
*to  die  is  gain';  and  so  Contentment  is  only  a  living  death!"      All 


of  which  gave,  and  still  gives,  me  food  for  thought  I  have  always 
thought  that  her  husband's  mask  of  sternness  worried  Aunt  Sophy 
a  Jittle.  She  knew  him  as  he  was,  and  she  would  fain  have  had 
others  do  likewise, — especially  boys  of  ten. 

Another  of  the  Litchfield  great  ones  of  this  era  was  Origen  S. 
Seymour,  afterwards  Chief  Justice  of  the  State  Supreme  Court. 
Judge  Seymour's  eyesight  had  been  weak  from  boyhood  and  the 
completion  of  his  college  course  was  dependent  on  the  services  of  a 
companion  to  read  his  lessons  to  him.  In  later  life,  on  the  Bench 
or  elsewhere,  he  always  sat  with  closed  eyes  when  listening  intently. 
This  sometimes  gave  rise  to  misunderstanding,  as  when  a  newly 
inducted  rector  of  St.  Michael's  remarked,  after  his  first  sermon, 
that  Judge  Seymour  seemed  to  have  enjoyed  it,  as  he  was  sound 
asleep  all  the  time!  As  a  matter  of  fact  the  Judge  could  probably 
have  reproduced  that  sermon,  if  required,  with  a  good  deal  more 
fidelity  than  it  deserved.  Judge  Seymour  was  kind  to  boys,  and 
I  remember  several  conversations  with  him  in  his  study  at  the  South 
Street  house.  He  told  me  once  how  he  went  to  New  Haven  on 
horseback,  to  pass  his  Yale  entrance  examination.  He  and  a  com- 
panion had  but  one  horse  between  them,  and  used  the  method  of 
'•ride  and  tie",  by  which  one  rode  ahead  for  a  specified  distance  and 
the  other  followed  on  foot;  having  covered  the  distance  agreed 
upon,  the  first  tied  the  horse  to  a  tree  and  himself  proceeded  to 
walk;  when  the  second  reached  the  horse  he  mounted,  overtook  his 
companion,  rode  ahead  of  him,  tied  the  horse  in  turn,  and  so  matters 
went  until  the  end  of  the  journey.  It  was  effective  and  economical, 
but  somewhat  unsociable,  it  always  seemed  to  me. 

When  retired  for  age.  Judge  Seymour  was  Chief  Justice  of  the 
State  Supreme  Court  of  Errors.  We  have  had  two  Litchfield  Chief 
Justices  in  my  day,  the  other  being  Governor  Charles  B.  Andrews, 
our  only  Governor  since  the  days  of  the  Wolcotts. 

Edwin  McNeill  was  the  first  approach  to  anything  like  a 
financial  magnate  that  our  little  town  had  ever  known.  A  farmer's 
boy,  of  that  dour  but  extremely  competent  Scotch  strain  that  has 
left  its  impress  all  over  our  land,  he  became  an  eminent  civU 
engineer,  amassed  what  was  then  a  fortune,  and  failing  in  health 
returned  to  live  on  Litchfield  Hill.  He  bought  from  Gideon  H. 
HoUister  the  house  on  North  Street  now  owned  by  Frederick  Dem- 
ing  and  proceeded  to  remodel  it  on  a  scale  of  luxury  then  unheard 
of,  including  a  billiard-room,  a  hot-air  furnace,  and  running  water. 
He  was  a  force  in  Litchfield  while  he  lived,  and  his  influence  upon 
it  persists  to  this  day.  Almost  alone  he  pushed  through  the  direct 
railway  connection  with  New  York  against  great  difficulties. 

I  do  not  recollect  anyone  who  ever  occupied  precisely  the  same 
relation  to  a  town  as  that  held  during  my  boyhood  and  for  many 
years  afterward  by  J.  Deming  Perkins.  Wealthy  patrons  are  not 
unknown  to  New  England  towns,  but  Mr.  Perkins'  services  to 
Litchfield  were  not  precisely  of  this  type.  He  was  continually 
giving,  in  no  spectacular  way,  things  that  he  knew  by  observation 


were  needed  by  the  village  and  unlikely  to  be  acquired  by  it  through 
public  channels.  This  was  the  more  welcome  at  that  time  because 
the  old  village  organization  had  fallen  into  abeyance  and  had  not 
been  revived  in  its  present  borough  form.  There  was  no  way  in 
which  Litchfield  could  raise  money  by  taxation,  except  as  a  town- 
ship; and  the  residents  of  Bantam,  Milton  and  Northfield  were  not 
at  all  likely  to  contribute  to  the  betterment  of  Litchfield  village. 
So,  when  Litchfield  streets  were  dark,  and  lanterns  on  the  elms  did 
not  seem  to  fill  the  bill,  Mr.  Perkins  ordered  lamp-posts  from  New 
York,  set  them  up  on  the  conspicuous  comers  around  the  Green 
and  paid  a  man  to  fill  and  light  the  lamps  until  the  Village  Improve- 
ment Society  took  the  job  from  his  hands.  He  became  the  Presi- 
dent of  the  V.  I.  S.,  and  was  its  good  genius  and  constant  adviser. 
I  well  remember  how  proudly  he  used  to  tell  us  that  the  color  of 
the  new  lamp-posts,  white  with  green  trimmings,  was  precisely  that 
of  the  posts  on  Fourth  Avenue  in  New  York,  the  first  metropolitan 
thoroughfare  that  the  countryman  used  to  see  when  he  issued  in 
wonderment  from  the  portals  of  the  old  New  Haven  station  at 
27th  Street,  where  the  Madison  Square  Garden  now  stands. 

When  a  badly  frayed  banner  ceased  to  disgrace  our  hundred- 
foot  mast  on  the  Green  and  was  replaced  by  a  bright  new  one,  we 
did  not  need  to  ask  who  had  bought  and  paid  for  it.  And  it  was 
under  his  auspices  that  the  V.  I.  S.  raised  the  money  to  build  tar 
pavements  over  the  town,  setting  a  fashion  that  still  persists.  The 
Enquirer  used  to  comment  proudly  every  week  on  the  fact  that  "the 
tar  rolls  steadily  westward",  or  northward  or  southward,  as  the 
case  might  be.  The  money  was  raised,  not  by  a  "drive",  which 
would  have  "driven"  most  of  us  out  of  town,  but  by  a  series  of  enter- 
tainments of  all  possible  kinds.  In  organizing  these,  Mr.  Perkins 
was  active  and  invaluable,  and  his  experience  was  always  available 
When  we  wanted  a  new  stage  curtain,  he  sent  out  and  bought  strips 
of  cloth  in  claret  and  buff  and  had  them  assembled  in  exact  imita- 
tion of  a  Vienna  concert-hall  curtain.  When  anything  was  to  be 
done  that  required  money,  experience,  judgment  or  hard  work,  his 
was  the  name  first  in  our  minds,  and  he  never  failed  us.  Of  Mr. 
Perkins'  other  and  great  services  to  Litchfield  this  is  not  the  place 
to  speak ;  but  the  fact  that  he  was  the  first  president  of  the  Shepaug 
Kailroad  reminds  me  that  I  must  not  overlook  the  great  part  that 
this  institution  played  in  our  lives  in  the  70'a 

The  history  of  almost  every  railroad  is  worth  writing.  Will 
that  of  the  Shepaug  ever  be  set  down?  From  start  to  finish  it 
was  a  fight.  When  Edwin  McNeill  was  making  the  preliminary 
surveys,  he  was  confronted  time  and  again  by  angry  farmers  who 
objected  to  the  proceedings  as  trespass.  When  it  comes  to  a  con- 
sciousness of  the  rights  of  land  proprietorship,  the  average  Con- 
necticut farmer  makes  an  English  Duke  look  "like  thirty  cents". 
On  one  occasion  the  opposing  farmer  bore  a  shot-gun,  and  threat- 
ened to  use  it ;  Mr.  McNeill  calmly  vaulted  the  fence,  saying :  "Come 
on  boys;  I  have  smelt  powder  before!"    The  farmer  did  not  shoot. 

Hox.  T.;  Pkrkixs 


Later  came  the  fight  to  induce  the  towns  along  the  route  to  subscribe 
for  the  stock.  This  raged  in  the  town  meetings  and  is  best  described 
in  John  D.  Champliii's  Chronicles  of  Sirrom,  (Morris  spelled  back- 
ward), first  printed  anonymously  in  the  Sentinel,  of  which  Champ- 
lin  was  then  editor.  As  a  piece  of  semi-political  pamphleteering, 
this  takes  high  rank. 

But  we  boys  did  not  really  get  into  the  game  until  actual  con- 
struction work  began  at  our  end  of  the  line.  Recognizing  the  value 
of  the  stimulation  of  interest  by  visualization,  Mr.  Perkins  even 
had  rails  teamed  over  from  East  Litchfield,  so  that  they  could  be 
laid  here  before  the  arrival  of  the  outfit  from  Hawleyville.  We 
were  interested  spectators  of  the  work  from  the  early  day  when 
Miss  Lucretia  Deming's  ice-house  was  split  in  two  by  the  work- 
men's picks,  to  the  triumphant  hour  when  the  whistle  announcing 
the  arrival  of  the  Waramaug  at  the  foot  of  West  Hill  brought  out 
our  whole  population.  It  will  be  remembered  that  the  names  of  our 
three  locomotives:  Shepaug,  Waramaug,  and  Weantinaug,  moved  a 
jealous  neighboring  sheet  to  remark,  that  they  att^r-ured  well  for  the 

Then  began  the  fun  for  us  boys.  Things  were  new  and  rules 
were  slack,  and  we  rode  on  the  engines  of  construction  trains  as 
much  as  we  pleased.  I  even  remember  seeing  Eph  Mower  standing 
at  the  throttle  upon  occasion.  Of  course  we  knew  intimately  all 
conductors,  brakemen,  engineers  and  firemen.  What  Litchfield  boy 
was  not  proud  to  number  among  his  friends  the  redoubtable  Al 
Paul?  Al  was  a  Welshman,  and  worth  knowing.  If  Roosevelt 
shook  hands  habitually  Avith  his  faithful  engineer  and  fireman,  we 
went  him  one  better;  we  adored  ours,  they  were  as  heroes  and  demi- 
gods to  us.  Putting  up  the  hand  brakes,  there  were  no  air  brakes 
then,  became  a  standard  sport  with  us.  All  this  was  educational, 
although  if  we  had  suspected  that  it  was,  doubtless  we  should  have 
turned  to  something  else. 

In  my  boyhood,  Litchfield  had  lately  been  a  purely  American 
community,  by  which  I  mean  one  inhabited  almost  solely  by  families 
of  English  descent.  There  were  only  half  a  dozen  negroes  or  so, 
and  the  Irish  had  only  recently  begun  to  come  in.  I  remember  no 
other  exotic  races.  This  accounts  for  the  fact  that  individual  mem- 
bers of  these  two  races  play  a  large  part  in  my  memories.  The 
negroes  were  not  employed  as  house  servants,  or  in  general  outdoor 
work  about  houses.  They  were  not  coachmen  or  gardeners,  but 
were  manual  laborers  on  outside  jobs.  In  the  South,  black  and 
white  boys  play  freely  together.  What  the  Southerner  is  particular 
about  is  not  social  contact,  but  social  status.  The  latter  did  not 
worry  us,  but  there  were  only  two  negro  boys,  as  I  recollect,  who 
associated  with  us.  One  was  Charles  Nicholas  Doute,  a  West 
Indian,  brought  here  as  a  servant  by  the  McNeills.  His  French 
accent  and  queer  ways  amused  us,  and  caused  him  to  be  graded  in 
a  class  by  hunself.  The  other  was  Sam  Row&,  the  son  of  Solomon 
Rowe,  sexton  of  St.  ^Michael's  Church.      The  Rowes  were  altogether 


a  notable  family.  Their  hospitality  was  without  stint,  and  their 
little  shack,  already  bursting  with  the  Rowe  family,  was  warranted 
to  hold  as  many  guests  as  applied  for  admission.  Sol  was  a  wit. 
When  a  certain  young  rector,  who  had  business  interests  in  New 
York,  used  to  absent  himself  from  his  duties,  so  frequently  as  to 
cause  remark,  Sol  said,  "I  can  always  tell  when  Mr.  X.  is  going 
to  be  away,  for  the  Sunday  before  he  always  preaches  from  the  text : 
'It  is  expedient  that  I  should  leave  you' ". 

The  Eowes,  I  believe,  had  been  Northern  for  some  generations. 
A  great  contrast  were  the  Elliots,  who  came  from  the  South  with 
Jack,  the  head  of  the  family,  after  the  Civil  War.  These  were 
n^roes  of  the  real  Virginia  plantation  variety.  Jack  presided  at 
the  rear  of  the  Congregational  organ,  during  the  pastorate  of  the 
Rev.  Mr.  Elliot,  which  led  some  wit  to  remark  that  there  was  an 
Elliot  blowing  at  each  end  of  the  Church. 

About  the  only  other  colored  families  in  town  were  the  Harri- 
sons and  the  Jacksons,  and  I  can  pass  over  neither.  The  Jacksons 
have  already  been  mentioned  as  the  last  family  whose  ancestor  had 
been  a  Litchfield  slave.  As  known  to  me,  they  were  Aunt  Lucy 
and  Crazy  Caroline.  The  latter  was  really  out  of  her  mind  and 
used  to  parade  the  streets  with  corn-silk  curls  and  a  small  branch 
for  a  parasol.  Aunt  Lucy  was  a  colored  Mrs.  Partington.  On 
being  asked  once  where  she  was  going,  she  replied:  "Oh,  just  around 
the  corner  to  explode".  On  another  occasion  she  expressed  her 
pleasure  on  the  receipt  of  some  gift  by  remarking:  "I  am  not  only 
gratified,  but  highly  mollified".  Meeting  on  the  street  Gideon  H. 
HoUister,  who  had  just  been  appointed  to  the  Haytian  mission  by 
President  Johnson,  she  thus  addressed  him:  "Well,  Mr.  HoUister! 
I  hear  you've  been  appointed  minister  to  Hayti!  Well,  I  hope 
you'll  preach  to  'em,  and  convert  'em  all!"  To  one  who  inquired  if 
she  were  comfortably  situated,  she  replied:  "I  have  everything  that 
heart  could  wish  in  full  bloom,  and  some  in  maturity!" 

As  for  the  Harrisons,  they  were  brothers,  Miles  and  Epaphro- 
ditus,  Paiphe  for  short.  Paiphe  was  a  great  bulky,  lumbering 
giant,  in  demand  where  brute  strength  was  required,  and  ready  to 
shout  out  rough  badinage  at  any  boy  who  would  take  it.  If  any- 
one should  be  surprised  at  this  extended  treatment  of  the  so-calletl 
menial  classes,  I  would  remind  him  that  these  classes  bulk  very 
large  in  the  experience  of  children.  In  a  village  like  Litchfield,  the 
boys  are  acquainted  with  all  the  cooks  and  all  the  hired  men,  and 
many  of  them,  to  be  sure,  are  well  worth  knowing. 

As  I  have  said,  we  were  just  beginning  to  know  the  Irish.  They 
lived  in  a  colony  at  the  foot  of  East  Hill,  then  known  as  Lavinville; 
for  the  Lavin  famUy  formed  no  inconsiderable  part  of  it,  and  the 
family  was  one  of  standing  and  influence.  Patrick  Lavin,  the  head 
of  it,  had  begun,  many  years  before  in  Ireland,  his  education  for 
the  priesthood.  I  know  not  why  or  how  it  was  interrupted,  but 
it  was  an  awesome  thing  for  a  boy  to  have  a  man  making  his 
garden,  who  had  studied  Latin. 


At  this  time  the  Irish  in  Litchfield  were  all  domestic  servants 
and  day  laborers.  Their  advance,  here  and  elsewhere,  in  a  single 
generation,  is  one  of  the  most  notable  changes  in  our  country  with 
which  I  am  familiar.  I  never  knew  a  finer  lady  in  temperament 
and  manners  than  old  Mrs.  Lavin.  She  was  the  soul  of  considerate 
politeness.  On  one  occasion  I  had  achieved,  in  a  course  of  lessons 
in  drawing,  what  I  considered  a  masterpiece  in  the  form  of  a 
picture  of  a  barrel,  with  orthodox  perspective  and  shading.  I  ran 
to  show  my  result  to  Mrs.  Lavin,  who  was  washing  clothes.  She 
dried  her  hands,  took  the  drawing  and  admired  it  for  some  time. 
Then  she  said:  "My,  ray!  but  isn't  it  fine!  Sure,  it's  a  church,  isn't 
it?"  Now,  the  drawing  was  really  not  so  bad;  but  Mrs.  Lavin's 
eyesight  was  failing.  I  have  always  loved  her  for  her  desire  to 
say  the  right  thing. 

Two  generations  made  a  difference.  Possibly  also  saying  the 
right  thing,  but  from  a  different  standpoint  and  in  a  different  way, 
Mrs.  Lavin's  little  granddaughter,  carving  knife  in  hand,  chased 
Charlie  Belden,  who  had  said  "shoo"  to  the  family  rooster,  down 
East  Street,  shouting  the  while  this  bloody  threat:  "I'll  cut  the 
one  head  off  ye!"  That  suggestion  of  a  possible  cranial  plurality 
always  amused  me. 

Our  colored  Mrs.  Partington,  described  above,  was  not  our  only 
one.  Decidedly  "male,  white  and  21",  was  Ed  Peck,  who  filled,  for 
what  now  seems  to  have  been  a  large  part  of  my  boyhood,  the  office 
of  jailer  in  Litchfield.  Huge  of  frame,  kindly  of  speech,  popular 
with  one  and  all,  Ed  could  rarely  say  exactly  what  he  meant.  Put 
forward  to  utter  a  few  words  of  thanks,  when  a  delegation,  of 
which  he  was  a  member,  had  been  entertained  at  lunch,  he  said 
briefly:  "Gentlemen;  I  thank  you  very  kindly  for  your  handsome 
coalition".  And  in  naiTating  his  part  in  the  contribution  of  a 
fund  for  some  suffering  brother  or  sister,  he  went  on:  "So  I 
mounted  down  off  my  horse  and  put  in  my  poor  pitiless  mite". 

I  was  particularly  interested  in  our  two  newspapers.  In  the 
first  place  I  have  always  been  intrigued  by  print,  and  secondly  I 
was  intimate  with  both  editors.  George  A.  Hickox,  of  the  Enquirer, 
was  my  next  door  neighbor,  and  John  D.  Champlin  Jr.,  of  the 
Sentinel,  was  my  first  cousin.  He  lived  at  the  Mansion  House,  and 
his  sanctum  there  was  the  literary  Mecca  of  my  early  years.  The 
Enquirer  and  the  Sentinel  carried  a  line  of  good-humored  political 
badinage  in  those  days  that  was  rather  better  than  some  modem 
equivalents.  The  Sentinel  had  several  editors  after  Champlin  went 
to  New  York,  and  it  finally  passed  out;  but  the  Enquirer  lives  on 
forever.  Mr.  Hickox  made  it  a  valuable  sheet  in  a  literary  way. 
His  editorials  and  book  reviews  would  have  done  credit  to  The 
Nation;  but  the  average  rural  subscriber,  doubtless,  did  not  know 
that ;  and  as  an  original  War-Democrat  his  post-war  Eepublicanism 
was  regarded  by  some  as  not  over  stalwart.  I  well  remember  a 
review  of  Fronde's  Caesar  that  was  a  masterpiece;  but  all  he  got 
for  it  was  the  following  skit  from  the  Winsted  Herald:  "The  Litch- 


field  Enquirer  prints  a  two-column  obituary  of  the  late  Julius 
Caesar.  The  deceased  was  much  thought  of  in  Litchfield".  I 
belie\'^e  that  my  proximity  to  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Hickox,  as  a  boy,  was 
rather  more  important  to  me,  from  a  purely  educational  point  of 
view,  than  the  fact  that  I  afterward  went  to  college.  The  Hickoxes 
were  not  original  Litchfielders.  Mr.  Hickox  was  from  Washington, 
and  his  wife  was  a  South  Carolinian.  For  me  the  intellectual 
center  of  Litchfield  was  in  their  house,  next  to  ours  on  East  Street, 
still  owned  by  their  daughter.  There  one  could  hear  discussed 
intelligently  science,  religion,  literature  and  politics.  Mr.  Hickox 
was  also  a  fine  musician;  and  we  had  at  that  time  a  very  creditable 
musical  ensemble:  Dr.  William  Deming,  first  violin;  Dr.  Gates, 
viola;  Mr.  Hickox,  'cello;  Julius  Deming,  double  bass;  to  which 
were  oftan  added  brass  and  wood-winds,  as  represented  by  flute  and 
comet.  The  playing  of  these  musicians  went  far  to  form  our 
musical  taste. 

Dr.  Howard  E.  Gates  was  also  organist  of  St.  Michael's.  He 
frequently  went  into  the  church  to  practice,  and  as  he  was  prone  to 
forget  his  key,  he  left  a  window  unfastened  that  he  might  use  it  as 
an  emergency  entrance.  One  afternoon  he  proceeded  to  enter  the 
church  in  this  way,  and  had  forced  about  half  his  body  through 
the  narrow  window  when  he  chanced  to  look  up  and  saw  to  his 
astonishment  that  Mr.  Perry  stood  at  the  reading  desk,  conducting 
evening  prayer,  in  the  presence  of  a  nimierous  congregation.  It 
was  Lent,  a  fact  that  had  escaped  the  absent-minded  doctor.  Dr. 
Gates  afterward  said  that  what  chiefly  riveted  his  attention  was 
the  face  of  Mrs.  Perry,  in  the  foreground,  gazing  at  his  burglarious 
efforts  with  a  look  of  fascinated  horror  that  he  never  forgot.  Some 
kind  friend  sent  an  account  of  this  incident  to  The  Police  Gazette 
of  New  York,  and  this  classic  sheet  issued  a  full  page  picture  of 
it,  in  which  St.  Michael's  was  expanded  to  about  the  size  of  St. 
Patrick's  Cathedral  and  was  filled  with  a  worshiping  multitude, 
while  no  feature  of  the  method  by  which  the  doctor  was  gaining 
admittance  was  allowed  to  lack  in  sensationalism. 

In  my  boyhood  there  was  much  boasting  about  the  excellence  of 
the  Connecticut  common  school  system,  based  on  the  fund  that  was 
the  proceeds  of  the  sale  of  the  so-called  Western  Keserve  in  Ohio. 
I  used  to  wonder  why,  if  our  free  schools  were  so  fine,  we  should 
see  no  local  evidence  of  the  fact.  We  had  in  Litchfield  one  District 
School,  situated  on  West  Street,  and  differing  only  in  size  from  such 
rural  district  schools  as  those  on  South  Plains  and  Harris  Plains. 
Nobody  went  to  it,  who  could  afford  a  term's  tuition  at  the  Insti- 
tute, whose  building  now  forms  part  of  the  Henry  K.  Jones  resi- 
dence on  North  Street.  My  memory  does  not  go  back  to  the  days 
of  the  Kev.  James  Eichards,  who  used  to  throw  inkstands  at  the 
boys  and  otherwise  give  way  to  an  ungovernable  temper.  Mr. 
Eichards  deserves  mention  in  this  connection  on  account  of  his 
talented  granddaughter,  Mrs.  Craigie,  whose  novels,  written  in 
London,  under  the  pen-name  of  John  Oliver  Hobbes,  are  of  a  high 


order  of  litei«ary  excellence  and  have  doubtless  been  read  by  many 
Litchfielders  who  do  not  know  the  author's  connection  with  our  town. 

My  first  memories  of  the  Institute  are  of  the  time  when  it  was 
revived  after  a  brief  period  of  coma  by  Edwin  McNeill,  Dr.  Buel, 
Henry  K.  Coit,  and  others,  who  had  large  families  of  children  and 
hesitated  to  take  advantage  of  the  Free  School  system,  as  it  then 
was.  At  this  period  I  was  interested  chiefly  in  the  primary  depart- 
ment, and  Miss  Sarah  Bronson  was  my  instructor. 

In  the  70's  no  one's  education  was  considered  complete  in  Litch- 
field unless  he  or  she  had  studied  French, — a  tribute  to  the  waning 
pre-eminence  of  that  tongue  in  the  world  of  polite  letters.  The 
schools  taught  no  languages  but  the  dead  ones,  so  we  depended  on 
private  tutors.  The  Frenchmen  and  Frenchwomen  who  filled  this 
oflFice  in  Litchfield  formed  an  unbroken  succession  of  character 
studies.  They  taught  us  a  little  French  and  a  great  deal  about 
the  characteristics  of  the  French  people. 

There  was  little  Mamselle  Brun,  like  a  small  dried  apple,  who 
had  rooms  at  Stephen  Trowbridge's,  where  the  Playhouse  now 
stands.  She  said  once,  with  a  toss  of  her, head:  "Wliat  a  differ- 
ence zere  is  be-tween  Madame  B.  and  myself!  She  is  all  dignity; 
while  /  am  all  grace  and  ease!" 

Then  there  was  old  M.  Laslier,  noted  for  his  frequent  trans- 
Atlantic  trips.  His  benevolent  Litchfield  friends  would  subscribe 
enough  to  send  him  to  his  dear  Paris,  where  his  relatives,  after  a 
brief  visit,  would  invariably  ship  him  back  to  us.  His  income 
from  Litchfield  students  of  French  was  not  large,  and  it  was 
currently  reported  that  in  his  room  in  the  Beckwith  block  he  lived 
on  something  like  an  onion  a  day:  there  is  no  doubt  about  the 
onion,  though  I  will  not  swear  to  the  day.  He  was  fain  to  eke 
out  his  income  in  various  ways;  once,  for  instance,  by  delivering 
a  lecture  on  Lafayette,  in  what  was  then  known  as  the  "old  church"^ 
now  the  moving  picture  palace.  Dressed  in  solemn  black  he  rose, 
before  a  select  audience  of  his  Litchfield  friends,  tiptoed  to  the 
edge  of  the  platform,  closed  his  eyes,  and  began  to  recite  the  Lord's 
Prayer,  while  his  auditors  did  not  quite  know  how  to  take  it.  In 
the  course  of  the  lecture  occurred  this  passage:  "About  zees  time, 
a  gr-r-eat  misfortune  happen  to  Lafayette.  He  loss  his  gr-ran- 
mothair!"  Loud  shouts  of  laughter  from  the  audience,  to  the  amaze- 
ment and  disgust  of  the  lecturer. 

Of  a  different  stamp  was  the  debonair  M.  Laloux,  of  an  age  to 
touch  the  hearts  of  the  susceptible.  At  the  opening  meeting  of  his 
first  class,  he  divided  the  members  into  grades,  and  when  Anna 
Hubbard  alone  was  left  he  said  genially:  "Mees  Hubbard,  you  may 
split  yourself  up  anyway  you  like!"  Laloux  was  anxious  that  his 
English  should  be  both  classy  and  up-to-date,  and  when  his  use  of 
slang  caused  laughter,  he  would  inquire  in  all  seriousness:  "Aha! 
Ees  not  zat  in  use  in  ze  best  circles?" 

An  educational  institution  not  intended  as  such,  but  function- 
ing on  the  whole  in  the  direction  of  righteousness,  was  the  County 


court  house,  then  our  only  temple  of  justice.  New  Milford,  Falls 
Village  and  Winsted  had  not  then  arisen  as  rival  centers.  We 
attended  many  of  the  trials  diligently.  To  watch  a  real  story 
unfold  before  one's  eyes,  to  see  the  actual  characters  and  hear  them 
tell  what  they  had  seen  or  experienced,  and  later  to  listen  to  the 
impassioned  pleas  of  the  opposing  counsel  and  the  calm  summing 
up  of  the  judge,  followed  by  the  breathless  "waiting  for  the  ver- 
dict",— all  this  goes  far  ahead  of  any  novel  I  have  ever  read,  or 
any  play  I  ever  saw.  That  at  any  rate,  was  the  way  we  felt  in 
the  70's.  Of  course  the  story  thus  unfolded  was  always  one  of 
crime  or  misdemeanor,  though  we  took  it  all  impersonally.  The  real 
protagonists,  in  our  eyes,  were  the  lawyers:  the  judge  was  too 
remote  and  chill  to  be  regarded  in  that  capacity.  We  naturally 
took  sides  with  the  local  talent:  Henry  B.  Graves,  Edward  W.  Sey- 
mour, Solon  B.  Johnson.  I  was  a  little  doubtful  about  Johnson, 
because  he  edited  the  Sentinel,  a  Democratic  sheet,  and  I  was  a 
Kepublican,  but  his  wit  was  something  that  could  be  matched  at  the 
Litchfield  bar  neither  before  nor  since. 

I  well  remember  him  in  his  defence  of  Green,  an  alleged  wife- 
poisoner.  He  was  pouring  out  the  vials  of  his  sarcasm  on  some 
luckless  physician,  who  had  testified  that  he  had  prescribed  the 
application  of  ice  for  the  wife,  who  had  admittedly  died  of  an  over- 
dose of  strychnine,  whether  administered  by  her  husband  or  not.  "Once 
upon  a  time",  narrated  Johnson,  "a  workman  who  was  tamping  a 
blasting  charge  with  a  crowbar  had  the  misfortune  to  set  it  off;  and 
the  bar  was  driven  through  his  body,  half  protruding  on  either  side. 
A  doctor  was  summoned,  who  gave  the  following  opinion:  'My  good 
man,  if  I  leave  that  bar  there,  youTl  die.  If  I  pull  it  out,  you'll 
die.  But  I'll  tell  you  what  I'll  do.  I'll  give  you  a  pill  that  will 
melt  it  where  it  is!"  Johnson  went  on  to  say:  'Our  friend  here 
would  doubtless  have  prescribed — ice'/'  For  such  passages  as  these 
we  waited,  holding  our  breaths,  while  Solon  B.  was  speaking.  His 
basso-profundo  voice  and  preternatural  solemnity,  together  with  his 
stature  of  about  six  feet  three,  added  to  the  effect. 

Edward  W.  Seymour  was  my  Sunday  School  teacher  and  as 
such  I  revered  and  loved  him.  He  was  rather  belligerent  in  court, 
and  on  one  occasion  when  he  was  on  a  side  that  I  had  previously 
made  up  my  mind  was  the  wrong  one,  I  was  so  torn  between  con- 
flicting emotions  that  I  almost  resolved  to  frequent  the  halls  of 
justice  no  longer.  We  always  took  sides  and  debated  the  cases 
among  ourselves  with  some  heat. 

Politics  bulked  somewhat  more  large  in  our  lives  in  the  70's 
than  it  does,  I  think,  in  those  of  the  boys  of  to-day.  The  Civil  War 
had  recently  ended,  and  our  political  ideas  expressed  themselves 
largely  in  military  form.  Why  this  should  have  been  the  case  more 
in  1870  than  in  1920,  when  a  much  greater  war  has  just  ended,  possi- 
bly some  sociologist  will  explain.  Each  political  party  had  its 
semi-military  marching  organization,  and  we  had  ours  in  imitation 
of  our  elders.      I  recollect. parading  on  the  North  Street  sidewalk 

^^R^.  EnwAKP  W.   SKNMnrK.      (Mar\-   Fli)\i!   Tallmadae 


and  shouting:  "Hurrah  for  Hawley!  Get  out  for  English!"  These 
being  respectively  the  Republican  and  Democratic  candidates  for 
Governor.  I  had  no  doubt  whatever  that  Joseph  K.  Hawley  was 
good  and  that  James  E.  English  was  wicked.  My  Democratic  boy 
friends  held  precisely  the  opposite  opinion.  How  much  present 
day  political  feeling  is  any  more  logical?  The  old-fashioned  elec- 
tion-day would  have  scandalized  the  modem  Litchfielder,  I  am  sure. 
We  boys  were  allowed  to  make  lists  of  the  voters,  as  they  deposited 
their  ballots,  so  that  the  political  committees  could  check  them  up; 
and  we  proudly  supposed  that  we  were  performing  an  official  func- 
tion of  some  sort.  As  the  day  wore  on,  our  mothers  kept  us 
indoors,  for  the  outlying  voter  was  bent  on  painting  the  town  red 
before  he  returned  to  his  rural  home,  and  he  often  succeeded  in  so 
doing  to  the  point  of  actual  riot. 

Just  as  our  elections  have  become  more  orderly,  so  the  spirit 
of  order  has  spread  in  other  directions.  Litchfield  has  spruced 
up.  She  gives  more  attention  to-day  to  the  things  that  please  the 
eye.  In  the  late  60's,  she  was  what  we  should  now  call  slovenly. 
Her  lawns  were  uncut,  her  citizens  thought  more  of  the  value  of 
an  acre's  crop  of  hay  than  of  the  pleasures  of  looking  upon  closely 
cropped  sward.  Her  yards  were  fenced,  for  there  were  not  infre- 
quently stray  animals  in  the  streets  and  the  Town  Pound  was 
something  more  than  a  name.  By  night  the  streets  were  dark,  and 
the  possession  of  a  hand  lantern  or  two  was  a  necessity  in  every 
well-regulated  family.  Those  distant  lights,  with  their  irregular 
motion,  compounded  of  the  lantern's  own  pendulum  swing  and  the 
forward  progress  of  him  who  held  it,  were  familiar  sights  in  those 
days.  Even  after  Mr.  Perkins'  shocking  innovation  of  lampposts, 
and  even  after  the  V.  I.  S.  had  encouraged  private  lights  on  the 
tree  trunks,  the  individual  lantern  still  retained  its  popularity.  It 
is  hard  to  realize  the  revolution  wrought  by  electricity  in  our  noc- 
turnal habits,  here  and  elsewhere. 

In  the  winter  we  walked  in  the  street.  When  we  trace  back 
the  sequence  of  causes,  we  come  again  to  the  Town  Pound,  oddly 
enough.  An  occasional  stray  horse,  cow,  or  pig,  meant  a  fence  to 
keep  them  out;  a  fence,  when  the  snow  flies,  acts  precisely  like  the 
snow-guards  along  the  western  railroad  lines:  it  slows  up  the  air 
current,  which  drops  its  burden  and  builds  up  a  drift  along  the 
obstacle.  These  drifts  were,  with  us,  often  higher  than  the  fences, 
and  when  hard  we  walked  on  them.  Cleaning  off  the  sidewalks 
would  have  involved  a  continuous  cut  through  impacted  snow; 
hence  we  walked  in  the  middle  of  the  street,  and  welcomed  the  ox- 
sleds  with  their  loads  of  wood,  then  the  fashionable  fuel,  which 
broke  the  road  for  us.  The  Borough  regulations  now  require  the 
removal  of  snow,  but  the  householder  may  thank  the  present  infre- 
quency  of  wandering  beasts  for  the  possibility  of  fence-removal  that 
has  made  our  streets  like  parkways  and  incidentally  abolished  the 
worst  of  the  drifts. 


In  general,  Litchfield's  aspect  is  more  colonial  to-day  than  it 
was  in  1870.  People  were  proud  then  of  the  old  houses,  but  never 
thought  of  keeping  up  their  general  effect  in  new  constructions. 
We  think  we  have  an  artistic  sense  nowadays.  Perhaps  we  have, 
but  I  fear  that  our  racial  history  is  all  against  it.  Just  now  it  is 
fashionable  to  be  guided  by  artistic  motives,  but  it  is  the  fashion,^ 
not  the  art,  that  we  obey  primarily.  In  the  Revolutionary  days, 
it  was  the  fashion  to  build  houses  such  as  the  Georgian  architects 
were  building  in  the  old  country.  That  the  motive  was  fashion, 
not  an  appreciation  of  the  beautiful,  is  sufficiently  proved  by  the 
fact  that  when  fashion  shifted  to  ugliness  we  began  at  once,  with 
these  colonial  gems  before  our  very  eyes,  to  build  probably  the 
ugliest  structures  that  the  eye  of  man  has  ever  rested  on.  We  are 
clearing  them  away  now;  scroll-saw  decoration  and  pseudo-gothic 
construction  are  going  to  the  scrap  heap,  but  that  we  have  become 
incapable  of  similar  atrocities  in  the  future  I  fear  to  believe.  We 
are  no  more  original  now  than  Ave  were  then;  but  we  are  imitating 
the  old  models,  which  chance,  heaven  be  praised,  to  be  the  better 

So  we  may  see  in  Litchfield  streets  to-day  more  good  colonial 
architecture  than  we  did  fifty  years  ago,  although  we  may  also  see 
some  houses  which,  beautiful  and  costly  as  they  may  be,  are  not  in 
accord  with  its  traditions.  As  for  our  church  buildings,  they  are 
all  architecturally  bad,  and  our  one  beautiful  example  of  colonial 
work  we  have  tucked  oft"  in  a  corner,  where  it  shelters  a  movie  show. 
This  is  the  saddest  thing  I  know  about  Litchfield.  In  the  early 
TO's  it  is  a  fact  that  the  old  colonial  buildings  were  covertly  sneered 
at  or  regarded  with  amused  tolerance.  We  felt  toward  them  like 
the  western  visitor  to  the  Philadelphia  Exposition  of  '76,  who,  as 
related  by  the  late  Dr.  William  Deming,  exclaimed  to  him  dis- 
appointedly: "I  thought  they  would  have  some  up-to-date  buildings; 
these  old  Greek  things  must  be  three  hundred  years  old!" 

I  have  said  above  that  in  Avinter  we  walked  in  the  streets.  A 
good  snow  surface,  hardened  by  passing  runners,  is  not  a  bad 
pavement,  but  it  is  sadly  dependent  on  temperature.  The  snow 
turned  to  slush  and  the  frozen  earth  to  mud,  in  mid-street,  long 
before  the  disappearance  of  the  snow  banks  Avhich  buried  our 
sidewalks.  Then  it  was  irksome  to  walk  abroad.  I  have  seen 
laboring  vehicles  up  to  the  hubs,  I  speak  literally,  in  soft  mud, 
almost  anywhere  on  North  or  South  Streets.  Not  even  an  attempt 
to  improve  the  roads  with  gravel  was  made  until  the  SCs,  and  the 
macadam  came  much  later.  Even  then  we  lived  in  flying  and 
floating  dust  until  the  prevalence  of  motor  traffic,  only  a  few  years 
ago,  forced  the  use  of  oil  and  the  preparations  of  tar,  which  though 
odorous  and  dirty  in  themselves  have  possibly  contributed  more  to 
our  general  comfort  and  cleanliness  than  any  other  improvement  of 
the  last  half  century.  These  good  roads,  thanks  to  an  enlightened 
state  policy,  are  creeping  out  through  the  country  in  all  directions. 
Fortunately  for  those  who  come  among  us  for  rest  and  enjoyment. 


they  are  almost  all  scenic  highways,  as  well  as  serving  for  com- 
merce, their  primary  purpose,  I  do  not  know  a  section  of  the  Union 
where  one  may  follow  the  ordinary  channels  of  communication  with 
so  great  a  certainty  of  seeing  pleasing  and  constantly  changing 
A  lews. 

All  the  things  that  I  have  mentioned,  repairetl,  restored  and 
cleaned  buildings,  shaven  lawns,  well  lighted  streets,  hartl,  dust- 
less  roads,  combine  to  produce  on  the  visitor  the  impression  of  a 
well  kept  park,  that  old  Litchfield  gave  in  a  much  less  degree. 
What  is  the  cause  of  the  change?  Many  persons  would  answer, 
wealthy  summer  visitors.  But  this  does  not  go  to  the  root  of  the 
matter.  The  change  is  due  to  a  development  of  community  feeling 
and  civic  self-respect  in  which  the  influence  of  the  summer  resi- 
dent with  wealth  and  taste  has  been  an  undoubted  factor.  No  one 
can  take  stock  of  the  houses  on  North  and  South  Streets  without 
seeing  that  the  number  occupied  in  summer  only  has  greatly  increased. 
Yet  it  is  true  that  the  civic  spirit  of  which  I  have  spoken  began 
to  show  itself  long  before  the  increase  of  summer  residents.  It  first 
showed  itself  in  the  Village  Improvement  Society,  which  gave  us 
shaven  lawns,  street  crossings,  concrete  sidewalks,  street  lights,  and 
best  of  all  a  conviction  that  these  things  Avere  good  and  a  deter- 
mination to  have  more  of  them.  It  cropped  out  later  in  the  willing- 
ness of  our  citizens  to  put  good  money  into  improved  railway  com- 
munication, sewerage,  water  and  lighting.  Whether  public  or 
private  enterprise  was  the  immediate  cause,  the  underlying  impulse 
was  the  same,  a  quickened  community  consciousness,  acting  under 
the  spur  of  intelligent  leadership  and  itself  reacting  to  raise  up 
and  stimulate  new  leaders.  In  all  this,  of  course,  the  men  of 
means  and  good  taste  who  have  made  Litchfield  their  summer  home 
have  played  a  capital  part;  but  it  should  be  noted  that  these  are 
very  largely  Litchfielders  themselves,  bj'  ancestry  or  by  long  resi- 
dence. This  town  has  been  fortunate  in  its  summer  visitors.  Many 
a  place  has  been  ruined  by  them.  Litchfield  appears  to  be  so  con- 
stituted that  the  sort  of  people  it  does  not  want  do  not  like  it  and 
would  not  live  here  under  any  circumstances.  The  exact  reason 
for  all  this  will  bear  study;  a  passing  mention  is  all  that  we  can 
give  it  here.  It  is  surely  noteworthy  that  without  putting  up  the 
bars,  without  formally  creating  a  park  or  a  club  or  anything  of  the 
kind,  this  village  has  always  been  able  to  secure  the  citizens  it 
wants  and  to  exclude  undesirables. 

Is  this  tendency  toward  the  replacement  of  all-year  residents  by 
summer  visitors  a  good  thing  or  not?  That  depends  on  what  we 
desire  for  Litchfield.  In  Torrington  or  Waterbury  it  would  be  a 
very  bad  thing.  Imagine,  if  you  can,  60  per  cent  of  the  residents  of  an 
industrial  town  turned  out  of  their  homes  to  make  room  for  semi- 
annual occupants!  There  could  be  no  successful  industrial  life 
under  such  conditions.  If  you  want  Litchfield  to  be  an  industrial 
town,  you  will  conclude  that  the  change  is  bad  for  it  also.  Even 
as  it  is,  movement  in  this  direction  may  have  gone  far  enough. 


None  of  us,  I  think,  would  like  to  sec  every  house  on  North  and 
South  Streets  closed  every  winter.  Permanent  residential  fsmiilies 
are  needed  here  to  cany  on  the  Litchfield  social  and  community  tra- 
ditions, but  without  the  yearly  access  of  other  citizens  from  with- 
out, these  traditions  would  be  more  apt  to  grow  flat,  stale  and 
unprofitable.  This  presupposes,  of  course,  free  social  intercourse 
between  permanent  and  temporarj^  residents,  and  this  has  always 
been  the  rule  unless  the  temporary  residents  are  unworthy.  There 
has  never  been  any  distinction  here  between  visitors  and  towais- 
people.  I  used  to  be  afraid  of  it  and  I  remember  a  symptom  or 
two  in  times  now  happily  long  passed.  It  is  not  altogether  because 
Litchfield  people  have  always  been  socially  acceptable.  They  have 
been  that  of  course;  but  I  have  been  in  old  New  England  towns 
where  families  of  as  good  birth,  breeding  and  education  as  ours  were 
placed  in  the  disagreeable  position  of  being  looked  down  upon  by 
persons  of  extremely  doubtful  urban  antecedents,  whose  wealth  had 
enabled  them  to  create  a  social  machine  which  rolled  over  that  of 
the  old  fashioned  residents  as  a  veritable  car  of  Juggerimut.  The 
reason  is  rather  that  so  many  of  our  most  influential  summer  resi- 
dents have  themselves  been  Litchfielders  by  birth  or  ancestry, 
that  many  of  the  houses  left  vacant  in  the  winter  have  been  old 
family  mansions,  links  between  the  pennanent  society  of  the  village 
and  its  summer  social  fabric.  A  visitor  at  the  Hotel  was  heard 
to  remark  recently  that  she  desired  to  attend  a  function  at  the 
Club  House,  in  order  '"to  see  what  a  real  country  audience  looked 
like".  If  she  had  done  so,  she  w^ould  have  seen  a  gathering  com- 
posed partly  of  New  Yorkers,  and  residents  of  other  cities,  and 
partly  of  those  who  dwell  in  Litchfield  the  year  roiind;  but  I  doubt 
if  she  would  have  been  able  to  distinguish  between  them,  certainly 
not  by  their  long  chin-whiskers  and  the  hayseeds  in  their  hair. 

The  community  feeling,  of  which  I  have  already  spoken,  has 
doubtless  been  strengthened  by  the  very  fact  that  so  many  persons 
have  thus  loved  Litchfield  as  a  community  rather  than  any  par- 
ticular persons  in  it,  or  any  particular  locality  in  it.  Our  feeling 
of  affection  for  it  is  rather  a  compound  than  a  sum;  we  have  the 
people,  and  the  houses,  and  the  elms,  and  the  hills,  but  the  result- 
ing feeling  is  related  to  these  in  the  same  way  that  the  properties 
of  a  chemical  compound  are  related  to  those  of  its  constituents. 
No  one  can  taste  in  salt  the  chlorine  or  the  sodium  that  compose  it. 
Now  the  fact  that  so  many  persons  have  always  regarde<l  Litchfield 
in  the  community  sense  must  have  had  the  eftect  of  increasing  and 
developing  community  feeling  in  its  citizens.  I  believe  that  this  feel- 
ing has  been  and  is  being  transmitted  to  the  younger  generation 
and  I  see  no  reason  Avhy  it  should  die  out,  though  it  may  be  modi- 
fied. It  is  quite  evidently  modified  indeed  by  a  factor  that  is 
changing  the  whole  of  modern  life.  I  refer  to  the  ])ossibility  of 
rapid  transit  by  automobile.  The  motor  has  contracted  our  maps 
in  the  same  proi^ortion  that  it  has  extended  our  facilities.  Comparing 
what  the  scientists  call  the  hour  curves  of  travel  of  a  half  centurv 


ago,  with  those  of  the  present,  we  find  that  the  time  grade  of  our 
neighborhood  has  been  completely  altered  since  my  boyhood.  Then 
the  first  hour  circle,  for  most  of  us,  would  have  passed  through 
Bantam,  about  half  way  to  Torriugton,  and  a  mile  this  side  of  East 
Litchfield.  For  those  of  us  who  had  horses  at  command  it  would 
have  lain  somewhat  further  out.  But  to-day,  how  the  lines  have 
sprung  apart!  The  first  hour  line  of  the  automobile  may  pass 
beyond  Xew  Milfoixi  on  one  side  and  two-thirds  of  the  way  to  Hart- 
ford on  the  other.      The  second  may  lie  partly  outside  the  State. 

The  result  of  this  state  of  things  is  that  for  the  present  gener- 
ation the  environs  of  Litchfield  have  broadened  out  well  over  the 
State,  overlapping  and  intermingling  with  those  of  many  other 
cities  and  towns.  We  thought  of  Litchfield  as  our  all;  to  them 
it  is  merely  a  center,  a  place  from  which  to  start  and  to  which  to 
return.  Their  knowledge  of  it  is  vastly  more  extensive  than  ours 
was;  but  ours  was  more  intensive.  They  know  how  to  get  from 
Harwinton  to  Farmington;  Ave  knew  how  to  walk  across  country 
to  Prospect  Mountain  and  the  quickest  way  from  Hollister's  Bridge 
to  Chestnut  Hill.  They  know  the  broad  topography  of  the  coun- 
try in  many  counties,  the  lay  of  hill  ranges,  the  valleys  and  streams; 
we  knew  every  i)ath,  the  stones  in  all  the  brooks,  almost  every  tree, 
within  a  narrow  radius  of  a  few  miles.  I  do  not  know  that  either 
knowledge  is  better  than  the  other;  each  difters  from  the  other, 
that  is  all. 

Their  Litchfield  is  not  quite  ours;  but  the  change  here  is  not 
objective,  but  subjective,  though  it  has  been  brought  about  by  a 
material  factor,  the  invention  of  machinery  for  rapid  transporta- 
tion. I  see  no  reason  why  the  extended  Litchfield  should  bar  out 
the  intimate  knowledge  of  immediate  surroundings.  In  many 
cases  it  seems  to  have  done  so;  in  some  few  it  has  not,  and  I  hope 
that  its  i)ermanent  effect  will  be  to  add  to  our  opportunities,  not 
simply  to  substitute  one  set  for  another. 

In  only  one  respect  can  I  see  that  the  old  intinmte  and  inten- 
sive knowledge  of  the  country,  of  whicli  I  have  spoken,  has  held 
its  own.  Our  people,  young  and  old,  know  the  river  well,  between 
the  Little  Pond  and  the  Lake.  They  know  it  better  than  we  did. 
We  went  in  row-boats  from  one  pond  to  tlie  other:  they  start  with 
their  fiock  of  canoes  from  the  canoe-house.  Here  is  a  sport  into 
Avhich  speed  cannot  enter,  and  its  continuetl  popularity  is  a  hope- 
ful sign.  But  elsewhere,  as  I  have  said,  the  Speed  King  sits  on 
his  throne. 

It  is  in  line  with  our  community  life  that  we  have  become 
"socialized"  in  many  ways  unknown  to  our  ancestors.  In  my  boy- 
hood, the  churches  were  the  chief  social  as  well  as  religious  organi- 
zations. Now  Ave  have  clubs  for  old  and  young,  and  for  both 
together.  In  my  boyhood  the  ever  present  gang  instinct  showed 
itself  in  the  formation  of  temporary  groups,  but  these  were  unknown 
to  our  elders  as  well  as  unnoticed  by  them,  A  club  to  which  old 
and  young  alike  should  belong  would  have  been  unthinkable;  such 


clubs  indeed  were  unheard  of  anywhere  in  our  country  in  that  day. 
Their  advent  is  an  indication  that  everyv^^here,  and  not  in  Litchfield 
alone,  we  are  moving  in  this  country  toward  a  more  coherent  social 
organization.  But  the  existence  of  bodies  of  the  kind  we  now  have 
in  so  small  a  community  as  ours,  is  evidence,  it  would  seem,  that 
this  movement  has  gone  further  and  struck  in  deeper  in  Litchfield 
than  in  other  places. 

The  opinion  has  been  expressed  that  the  greatest  change  in 
Litchfield  is  a  liberalization  of  thought  and  habit,  a  loosening  of 
the  bonds  in  religion  and  morals,  a  reaction  in  fact  from  Puritanism. 
This  is  perhaps  true,  but  it  is  not  peculiar  to  Litchfield,  and  if 
we  take  a  broad  enough  view  we  need  not  attach  supreme  impor- 
tance to  it.  These  things  swing  in  cycles.  There  are  always 
Puritans  and  always  Cavaliers.  Changes  mean  only  that  there 
is  a  slight  shifting  of  majorities,  whereby  now  one  and  now  the 
other  is  in  the  ascendancy. 

Possibly  some  may  think  that  this  attempt  to  tell  of  the  changes 
in  Litchfield  has  succeeded  only  in  showing  that  it  has  changed 
very  little,  perhaps  not  at  all.  I  shall  not  feel  that  I  have  failed 
altogether,  even  if  this  is  the  conclusion.  Human  nature  is  eternally 
the  same,  and  its  manifestations  cannot  vary  greatly  with  the  years. 
Whatever  our  changes  have  been,  they  are  essentially  human,  and 
our  lack  of  change  is  human  also.  Litchfielders  will  be  men  and 
women  for  many  a  year  to  come,  and  we  may  hope  and  expect 
that  they  will  continue  to  be  the  type  of  men  and  women  that  have 
honored  Litchfield  in  the  past,  the  outcome  of  an  honest  and 
sturdy  stock,  shaped  by  an  environment  that  they  and  their  ancestors 
have  loved,  and  that  can  never,  we  are  proud  to  think,  turn  out  an 
inferior  product 




It  is  difficult  to  look  back  upon  the  past  few  years  as  a  "period" 
in  our  history,  the  events  are  so  recent  that  it  seems  only  yester- 
day that  we  were  doing  as  a  matter  of  course,  all  the  things  here 
recorded,  because  our  one  thought  was  that  "we  must  win  the  war". 
The  sympathy  of  our  town  was  so  whole-heartedly  with  the  Allies, 
that  from  the  outbreak  of  the  war  in  Europe  in  August,  1914,  we 
felt  that  we  were  with  them  spiritually  in  the  great  struggle,  and 
it  was  with  a  deep  sense  of  relief  that  we  took  our  place  beside 
them  in  1917. 

The  first  evidt*nce  of  our  sympathy  for  the  war  victims  was  an 
appeal  for  funds,  issued  by  the  Litchfield  Red  Cross  Chapter  on 
August  13,  1914,  which  met  with  a  generous  response.  The  first 
relief  work  done  in  our  town  was  started  by  Miss  E.  D.  Bininger, 
who  gathered  together  a  group  of  women  to  make  garments  for 
the  wounded  Belgians. 

On  September  5,  1914,  a  very  successful  Lawn  Fete  was  given 
for  the  benefit  of  the  Red  Cross  at  Kilravock  Farm,  the  home  of  Mr. 
and  Mrs.  Louis  A.  Ripley.  The  fete  was  organized  by  Mrs.  William 
Woodville  Rockhill  and  her  general  committee,  Mrs.  John  L.  Buel 
and  !Mrs.  Ripley.  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Rockhill  had  just  returned  to 
Litchfield  to  live,  having  lived  abroad  while  Mr.  Rockhill  was  in 
the  diplomatic  service. 

The  day  of  the  fete  was  all  that  could  be  desired,  and  it  was 
estimated  that  about  1,300  persons  attended,  many  coming  by  auto- 
mobile from  distant  parts  of  the  state.  The  diversions  furnished 
by  the  committee  were  varied  enough,  to  suit  all  tastes,  and 
included  a  Gymkhana,  a  ball  game  (which  Litchfield  lost  to  Water- 
town),  dancing,  a  baby  show,  fortune  telling,  a  horse  race,  a  shoot- 
ing gallery  and  lawn  games.  A  special  feature,  which  was  much 
admired,  was  the  charmingly  arranged  enclosure  of  the  Garden 
Club,  Avherein  were  sold  plants,  flowers,  seeds  and  garden  imple- 

The  Litchfield  Enquirer  issued  a  souvenir  edition,  in  honor  of 
the  occasion,  emblazoned  with  the  Red  Cross  emblem,  which  was 
sold  on  the  grounds.  Many  new  members  were  secured  for  the 
Red  Cross.  The  sum  of  $4,000  was  sent  to  the  Red  Cross  National 
Headquarters,  $1,600  of  which  represented  the  proceeds  of  the  fete, 
and  the  remainder  donations. 


A  second  Lawn  Fete  was  held  a  year  later  at  Kilravock  Farm, 
also  for  the  benefit  of  the  Ked  Cross,  and  was  under  the  direction 
of  Mrs.  Ripley  and  Mrs.  Gordon  W.  Burnham.  Again  our  uncer- 
tain New  England  weather,  which  has  been  known  to  spoil  the  best 
laid  plans,  was  on  its  good  behavior.  Besides  booths  for  the  sale 
of  fancy  articles,  an  excellent  vaudeville  performance  was  provided, 
the  hit  of  the  afternoon  being  a  minstrel  show,  given  by  our  leading 
citizens.  A  boxing  match  was  a  great  attraction  and  was  watched 
with  absorbed  attention  by  a  surprising  number  of  our  Litchfield 
matrons.  The  Boy  Scouts  gave  an  exhibition  and  drill,  and  were 
as  always  of  great  assistance  in  many  ways.  A  prize  was  awarded 
to  the  best  couple  in  a  dancing  contest,  and  was  presented  by  Mrs. 
E.  H.  Sothern  (Julia  Marlowe),  our  distinguished  summer  visitor. 
$1,500  was  raised  for  the  Red  Cross. 

During  the  summer  of  lOlfi.  Miss  Harriet  C.  Abbe  organized 
regular  sessions  for  the  making  of  hospital  garments  and  surgical 
dressings  for  the  Allies.  Wlien  Miss  Abbe  left  in  the  fall  for  her 
winter  home,  this  work  Avas  taken  over  by  the  Litchfield  Cliapter 
of  the  Red  Cross,  under  the  direction  of  Mrs.  Charles  H.  Coit,  who 
served  as  chairman  of  the  Production  Committee  from  this  time 
until  June,  1919. 

As  the  Litchfield  Chapter  has,  like  so  many  institutions  in  our 
town,  so  long  and  honorable  a  career  behind  it,  it  is  necessary  here 
to  go  back  and  briefly  outline  its  history  up  to  1914.  Organize<l 
in  May,  1898,  as  Red  Cross  Auxiliary  No.  16,  our  Chapter  has  the 
distinction  of  being  the  oldest  Red  Cross  organization  in  Con- 

The  Auxiliary  was  started  for  tlie  purpose  of  helping  the 
soldiers  in  the  Spanish- American  War,  and  produced  3,646  hospital 
garments,  and  raised  $708.10  during  the  summer  of  1898.  These 
amounts  are  interesting,  as  later  we  shall  see  the  enormous  figures 
which  were  piled  up  in  money  and  output,  after  we  liad  been  trained 
to  think  in  millions. 

The  Auxiliary  was  re-organized  in  October,  1900,  as  Auxiliary 
No.  5,  of  the  American  National  Red  Cross,  which  had  by  this  time 
secured  the  protection  and  recognition  of  the  United  States  Govern- 
ment for  its  insignia.  On  July  11,  1905,  it  was  again  re-organized 
and  the  Auxiliary  became  Sub-Division  No.  1,  of  the  Connecticut 
Branch.  In  March  1910,  the  Sub-Division  became  a  full  fledged 
chapter  with  jurisdiction  OA'er  the  entire  county,  and  it  was  as 
the  Litchfield  County  Chapter  that  we  began  our  war  work  in  1914. 

The  Red  Cross  work  rooms  have  been  housed  in  various  places. 
Some  of  the  earliest  meetings  were  held  in  the  ToAvn  Hall.  For  the 
succeeding  summers,  the  Lawn  Club  Avas  put  at  the  disposal  of  the 
Chapter,  by  the  owner,  Mrs.  John  A.  Vanderpoel.  The  Community 
Center  room  was  used  for  the  first  winter,  Avhen  cold  weather  made 
the  Lawn  Club  vminhabitable;  for  the  folloAving  winters  the  Sanctum 
Club  gave  up  the  second  floor  of  its  club  house  to  the  workers. 


In  1916  the  war  still  raged  on,  and  "preparedness"  became  the 
great  issue.  Hobart  Guion,  George  Guion,  Edward  Pikosky,  R. 
Dunscomb  Sanford  and  Frank  Barrett  organized  a  military  com- 
pany, which  was  called  the  "Litchfield  Rifles",  and  which  met  once 
a  week  for  business  and  drill.  Edward  Pikosky,  who  had  been  a 
drillmaster  in  the  United  States  Army,  and  Lieut.  Robert  F.  Jack- 
son, U.  S.  A.    (retired),  trained  the  company. 

At  the  same  time  another  company  sprang  into  existence,  the 
"Litchfield  Light  Horse",  Avith  thirty  members,  and  the  weekly 
drills  under  the  supervision  of  George  Guion  and  Edward  Pikosky 
became  quite  a  picturesque  feature  of  our  quiet  streets.  These  com- 
panies Avere  purely  civic  and  had  no  connection  in  any  way  with 
the  state  or  federal  governments. 

Litchfield's  daughters  believed  in  "preparedness"  as  well  as  her 
young  men,  and  a  number  of  them  joined  the  Rifle  Club,  becoming 
so  proficient  that  they  were  regarded  as  a  real  bulwark  against  the 
Huns,  shoidd  Litchfield  ever  be  invaded.  It  is  perhaps  well  to  add, 
that  while  the  Rifle  Club  held  many  of  its  meetings  for  practice  in 
the  "lock-up"  of  the  Court  House,  no  damage  was  done  to  building 
or  members. 

Our  town  was  well  represented  at  both  Plattsburg  Officers' 
Reserve  Camps,  in  1910  and  1917,  several  of  our  young  men  receiv- 
ing commissions. 

In  February  1917  came  the  severing  of  diplomatic  relations 
with  Germany,  and  we  knew  it  was  only  a  question  of  time  when 
the  United  States  would  take  her  place  with  the  Allies.  Acting 
upon  instructions  from  National  Headquarters,  the  Litchfield  Chap- 
ter of  the  Red  Cross  called  a  public  meeting  and  took  the  necessary 
steps  to  put  the  chapter  on  a  war  basis. 

The  period  which  followed  was  a  time  of  painful  anxiety  while 
the  whole  country  waited  for  war  to  be  declared  with  Germany.  The 
state  of  tension  whicli  ^vo  all  felt  is  shown  by  the  following 
telegram,  signed  by  Mrs.  John  L,  Buel,  as  State  Regent  of  the 
D.  A.  R.,  nnd  about  thirty  men,  representing  all  the  business  and 
professional  interests  of  the  town:  "The  following  citizens  of  Litch- 
field, Conn.,  ask  for  positive  stand  for  war  with  Germany  to  pre- 
serve national  safety  and  honor";  and  sent  to  President  Wilson, 
Senator  Frank  B.  Brandegee  and  Congressman  James  P.  Glynn. 

A  state  of  Avar  Avith  Gennany  Avas  declared  on  April  6,  1917, 
aiul  the  machinery  for  putting  the  nation  on  a  Avar  footing  Avas 
set  in  motion.  With  our  boys  enlisting  for  service  overseas,  the 
older  men  Avelcomed  the  opportunity  for  patriotic  service  in  the 
home  toAvn,  and  the  Governor's  call  for  the  formation  of  a  Con- 
necticut State  Guard  (popularly  knoAvn  as  the  "Home  Guard") 
Avas  quickly  ansAvered.  A  company  of  63  infantry  and  18  calvary 
AA'as  mustered  in  by  Captain  Henry  H.  Saunders  of  Norfolk,  on 
May  24.  With  the  formation  of  the  Home  Guard  the  "Litchfield 
Riflles"  and  the  "Light  Horse"  were  disbanded. 


With  our  entry  into  tlie  war,  the  conservation  and  distribution 
of  food  became  a  matter  of  first  importance.  We  were  told  that 
"food  will  win  the  war,  don't  waste  it",  in  every  mail,  by  every 
newspaper,  and  from  every  space  where  it  was  possible  to  hang 
a  poster,  and  accordingly  conservation  became  the  order  of  the 
day.  Our  town  clerk,  George  H.  Hunt,  received  instructions  from 
the  Governor  to  appoint  local  Food  Supply  Committees,  and  thus 
began  an  era  of  canning.  The  Committee  on  Canning  appointed 
by  Mr.  Hunt  was  merged  with  the  Home  Economics  Committee  of 
the  Farm  Bureau,  Mrs.  Philip  P.  Hubbard,  chairman.  A  sub- 
committee, on  Canning  and  Labor  (an  excellent  title)  with  Miss 
Harriet  M.  Richards  as  chairman,  worked  valiantly  to  conserve  sur- 
plus fruit  and  vegetables.  A  volunteer  force  was  organized  and 
canning  was  done  for  individual  customers,  supplies  were  laid  in 
for  the  school  lunch  room,  and  goods  were  prepared  for  sale.  The 
work  was  partly  done  in  the  school  kitchen  and  partly  in  the  rooms 
of  the  Farm  Bureau.  Miss  Amy  Thurston,  Mrs.  William  S.  Plumb, 
and  many  others  helped  to  make  this  work  the  great  success  it  was. 

All  the  organizations  in  town  did  their  bit  in  one  way  and 
another  to  help  "win  the  war".  The  Garden  Club  gave  demonstra- 
tions in  the  preparation  of  food,  did  much  publicity  work  in  the 
interests  of  conservation,  distributed  war  recipes,  and  held  sales  of 
fruits  and  vegetables  which  might  otherwise  have  been  wasted. 
These  "French  Markets"  as  they  were  called,  were  held  on  the 
Green  and  the  booth  was  an  attractive  sight. 

The  Mary  Floyd  Tallmadge  Chapter  of  the  D.  A.  R.,  cooperated 
heartily  in  all  the  local  war  work,  besides  carrying  on  the  special 
lines  of  work  undertaken  by  their  organization.  In  the  making  of 
surgical  dressings,  in  knitting,  in  food  conservation,  in  the  salvage 
of  materials  needed  by  the  Government  ( such  as  the  fruit  pits  which 
were  collected  for  use  in  the  manufacture  of  gas  masks),  and  in 
the  support  of  all  the  Liberty  Loan  Campaigns  and  all  the  numer- 
ous drives  for  money,  the  members  proved  themselves  true  daugh- 
ters of  those  sturdy  pioneers  who  laid  the  foundations  of  the 
democracy  we  were  fighting  to  save. 

Mrs.  John  L.  Buel  was  appointed  a  member  of  the  Women's 
Committee  of  the  State  Council  of  Defense,  representing  the  Daugh- 
ters of  the  American  Revolution,  and  was  elected  first  vice-president 
of  the  Committee.  The  chairman  of  the  Local  Committee  for  Litch- 
field was  Mrs.  F.  A.  Stoddard. 

Under  this  Local  Committee  of  the  State  Council  of  Defense, 
a  splendid  food  show  was  given  on  April  18,  1918,  in  the  Town  Hall, 
to  demonstrate  what  could  be  done  with  the  substitutes  we  were 
asked  to  use  instead  of  our  accustomed  foodstuffs.  The  exhibits 
Avere  not  only  attractive  to  the  eye,  but  Avere  absolutely  convincing 
as  to  the  possibilities  of  war  cookery,  as  each  visitor  was  given  a 
paper  plate  and  spoon  and  allowed  to  discover  for  himself  how 
delicious  food  could  be,  and  yet  be  within  the  bounds  we  were  asked 

Mk-.  Ji.HX   liri:i.,  biATK  RKr.F.XT,  D.  A.  K. 
(  Klizahetli  C  Harnev  iUiel  i 


to  keep  by  Mr.  Hoover,  the  Food  Commissioner.  Brilliant  posters 
(without  the  posters  these  years  of  war  would  have  been  drab 
indeed)  set  forth  much  useful  information.  In  the  evening  lec- 
tures were  given  by  Miss  Hays  of  Storrs  Agricultural  College  and 
by  Miss  Bronson  of  the  Farm  Bureau. 

An  all-day  Victory  Conference  was  held  in  Litchfield  on  May 
8,  1918,  by  the  State  Council  of  Defense,  under  the  direction  of 
Mrs.  Stoddard  and  her  Local  Committee. 

The  "gasless  Sundays"  which  we  were  asked  to  observe  were 
well  respected.  "Wheatless  days"  and  "meatless  days"  were  scru- 
pulously kept,  and  most  of  the  clubs  in  town  gave  up  refreshments 
at  their  meetings,  or  if  a  cup  of  tea  was  served,  all  were  asked 
to  supply  their  own  sugar.  "War  gardens"  were  the  fashion, 
and  with  the  great  scarcity  of  labor  a  unit  of  the  Women's  Land 
Army,  popularly  known  as  "farmerettes",  which  was  stationed  in 
Litchfield,  proved  of  real  value. 

The  first  Liberty  Loan  Campaign  was  inaugurated  by  a  meet- 
ing of  representatives  of  all  the  women's  organizations  in  town, 
called  by  Mrs.  John  L.  Buel,  who  had  been  appointed  chairman  of 
the  Women's  Committee  for  the  Loan.  Plans  were  made  to  canvass 
the  town,  and  a  mass  meeting  arranged  for  June  10,  1917.  At  this 
public  meeting,  which  was  held  in  the  Congregational  church,  on 
Sunday  afternoon,  Charles  H.  Coit,  chairman  of  the  Liberty  Loan 
Committee  explained  the  business  side  of  the  Loan,  and  patriotic 
speeches  were  made  by  Rev.  Frank  J.  Goodwin,  D.D.  and  Mrs. 

The  district  covered  by  the  Committee  for  this  Loan  was  Litch- 
field, Morris,  Bethlehem,  Washington,  Warren,  and  Goshen;  and 
the  total  subscriptions  were  $69,050. 

The  second  Liberty  Loan  was  tremendously  helped  by  the  rally 
held  on  October  25,  1917,  which  was  planned  and  carried  out  by 
Edward  H.  Sothern.  $155,000  had  been  subscribed  before  the  Rally, 
and  the  amount  subscribed  at  the  meeting  was  $98,750.  The  pro- 
gram consisted  of  patriotic  music,  recitations  by  both  Mr.  and 
Mrs.  Sothern,  and  the  reading  of  the  Honor  Roll  of  those  Litchfield 
boys  who  were  in  the  service  of  the  country. 

The  district  covered  by  the  second  Loan  Avas  the  same  as  the 
first,  a  quota  was  given  of  $146,000;  and  total  amount  subscribed 
was  $305,450.  , 

The  special  feature  of  the  third  Liberty  Loan  Campaign  was  a 
patriotic  rally  held  at  Colonial  Hall,  April  8,  1918,  with  Judge 
Robert  W.  Munger  as  the  speaker  of  the  occasion.  The  singing 
Avas  led  by  Thomas  F.  Ryan. 

Bantam  held  its  own  rally  for  this  Loan,  under  the  direction 
of  Winfield  Scott  Rogers  and  Miss  Nellie  M.  Scott;  and  the  occa- 
sion was  a  great  success. 

For  the  third  Loan  the  district  was  changed  to  the  town  of 
Litchfield,  the  quota  was  $150,500 ;  and  the  amount  subscribed,  $217,- 


750,  shows  that  our  town  had  gone  "over  the  top"  again.  It  is  a 
matter  of  pride,  that  as  far  as  is  known,  Litchfield  has  never  faile<l 
to  fill,  and  more  than  fill,  the  quotas  which  have  been  set  for  her, 
in  any  of  the  many  drives. 

Litchfield  was  awarded  an  Honor  flag  for  this  Loan  and  an 
interesting  celebration  marked  the  raising  of  the  flag.  There  were 
several  four-minute  speeches,  Mr.  Rogers  being  the  first  speaker  in 
honor  of  Bantam's  splendid  record.  The  flag  was  raised  by  Miss 
Nellie  M.  Scott  of  Bantam,  assisted  by  Mr.  Coit.  The  assistance 
was  so  vigorous  that  the  rope  was  pulled  out,  leaving  Old  Glory 
flying  at  the  top  of  the  pole  with  only  one  halyard.  Louis  J. 
Goodman  Ji*.  came  to  the  rescue,  "shinnied"  up  the  pole,  and  brought 
down  the  flag.      The  exercises  then  proceeded  according  to  schedule. 

A  "community  sing''  was  held  on  the  Green  on  Saturday,  Sep- 
tember 29, 1918,  at  noon,  at  the  request  of  the  New  England  Liberty 
Loan  Committee,  to  mark  the  official  opening  of  the  fourth  Loan. 
The  singing  was  led  by  Judge  Eyan,  assisted  by  Albert  J.  Haus- 
mann,  bugler. 

The  district  for  the  fourth  Loan  was  again  the  town  of  Litch- 
field, the  quota  was  $315,000,  and  the  amount  subscribed  $437,000. 

The  Victory  Loan  in  May,  1919,  was  not  marked  by  any  special 
features.  House  to  house  canvassing  by  the  women  of  the  town 
was  done  for  all  five  Loans,  and  the  Boy  Scouts  and  the  Girl  Scouts 
helped  greatly  in  the  campaigns. 

For  the  fifth  or  Victory  Loan  the  district  remained  the  town  of 
Litchfield,  the  quota  was  $237,000,  and  the  amount  raised  $297,300. 

The  first  Red  Cross  War  Fund  Drive  for  $100,000,000  followed 
immediately  after  the  first  Liberty  Loan  campaign,  and  was  held 
the  week  of  June  18-25,  1917.  John  H.  Lancaster  was  appointed 
chairman  of  the  drive.  The  territory  covered  by  the  Chapter  Avas 
in  a  state  of  re-adjustment,  and  in  April,  1917,  the  word  "Coujity" 
had  been  dropped  from  the  name  as  it  no  longer  applied,  many 
sections  of  the  jurisdiction  foinuerly  covered  liaving  left  the  (Chap- 
ter. The  quota  for  the  Litclifield  Chapter  was  $15,000.  and  the 
total  amount  collected  was  $26,076.53. 

Tlic  second  War  Fund  Drive  held  by  tlie  Red  Cross  for  a  second 
fund  of  $100,000,000  was  held  in  May  1918.  By  this  time  the  terri- 
troy  covered  by  the  Litchfield  Chapter  was  thoroughly  organized 
and  was  hard  at  Avork  answering  the  ever  increasing  orders  for 
more  and  more  output.  The  quota  was  again  $15,000  and  the  sum 
of  $34,433.75  was  raised.  Twenty  five  per  cent,  of  this  amount  was 
retained  by  the  Chapter  for  the  work  in  surgical  dressings. 

The  work  of  the  Red  Cross  increased  enormously  with  our 
entrance  into  the  war.  To  Mrs.  Coit,  as  chairman  of  the  Produc- 
tion Committee,  to  Mrs.  Charles  N.  Warner,  supervisor  of  knitting 
and  refugee  garments;  to  Mrs.  John  Dove,  supervisor  of  hospital 
garments;  and  to  their  faithful  workers  is  due  the  credit  for  the 
production  of  242,578  surgical  dressings,  5,953  knitted  articles,  3,734 


hospital  garments,  2,407  refugee  garments  from  October  1916  to 
October  1919.  The  Junior  Red  Cross,  under  the  leadership  of  Mrs. 
William  J.  Dykes,  produced  3,447  refugee  garments  in  addition  to 
those  mentioned  above. 

With  the  increasing  war  work  the  clerical  work  of  the  Chapter 
became  so  heavy  that  a  central  office  was  a  necessity.  While  the 
Executive  Committee  was  still  looking  in  vain  for  office  room, 
Judge  Ryan  generously  offered  the  use  of  a  room  in  his  building, 
which  was  supplied  with  all  the  equipment  needed,  such  as  type- 
writer, telephone,  etc.  The  offer  was  gratefully  accepted,  and  the 
executive  secretary  held  regular  office  hours  from  August  1918  till 
the  following  June.      The  room  is  still  occupied  by  the  Chapter. 

These  were  days  of  much  i)ublic  speaking,  there  was  so  much 
that  the  people  needed  to  know  about,  and  so  much  that  they  were 
expected  to  do,  when  it  had  been  told  to  them.  The  Litchfield  War 
Bureau  and  the  Litchfield  Grange  arranged  a  patriotic  rally  for 
February  28,  1918,  and  Prof.  Charles  M.  Bakewell  of  Yale  Univer- 
sity told  us  from  his  personal  experiences  something  of  the  real 
nature  of  our  enemy.  This  was  one  of  the  finest  war  talks  heard 
in  Litchfield,  and  the  occasion  was  also  memorable  by  the  dedica- 
tion of  the  Grange  Service  flag  with  its  seven  stars. 

With  our  joining  the  Allies,  the  display  of  Old  Glory  became 
almost  universal,  and  nearly  every  house  carried  the  colors.  As 
our  boys  departed  to  help  "make  the  world  safe  for  democracy", 
another  flag  began  to  be  seen.  This,  the  "service  flag",  hung  in  the 
window  and  indicated  by  the  blue  star  on  the  red-bordered  white 
field  that  a  member  of  the  liousehold  had  left  it  for  the  country's 
service.  More  than  one  house  in  our  town  bore  a  service  flag  with 
three  stars  on  it.  Each  church  had  its  flag  showing  the  number  of 
its  young  men  who  were  in  the  army  or  navy. 

On  April  27, 1918,  through  the  generosity  of  one  of  our  residents, 
the  people  of  Litchfield  were  giA^en  the  privilege  of  hearing  the 
soldier-poet,  John  Masefleld,  talk  on  "The  War  and  the  Future". 
No  one  who  heard  Mr.  Masefleld  will  ever  forget  the  quiet  Avay 
in  which  he  gave  picture  after  picture  of  the  war  in  all  its  horroi*, 
and  when  the  tension  seemed  more  than  one  could  bear,  lightened 
it  with  a  flash  of  the  characteristic  humor  of  the  Tommies.  After 
his  lecture  Mr.  Masefleld  read  some  of  his  poems.  No  admission 
was  charged,  Mr.  Masefleld  turning  over  his  fee  to  the  Red  Cross. 

A  second  lecture  was  given  1)y  Mr.  ^lasefield  on  July  30,  under 
the  auspices  of  the  Historical  Society,  for  the  benefit  of  the  Red 

A  campaign  for  the  sale  of  War  Saving  Stamps,  beginning 
June  28,  1918,  was  conducted  by  Thomas  F.  Ryan,  Chairman  of 
Litchfield  township.  A  thorough  canvass  was  made  and  pledges 
were  secured  from  2,656  adults  over  14  years  of  age,  covering  pur- 
chases of  $8,330  par  value  of  stamps,  and  minimum  pledges  of 
$21,395  more  during  the  coming  year.      The  quota  of  88  per  cent. 


reached  in  Litchfield  was  the  highest  recorded  anywhere  in  the 
state,  in  respect  to  the  total  number  of  registrations,  making  Litch- 
field the  banner  town. 

In  order  to  finish  the  account  of  the  drives  held  in  Litchfield, 
we  will  jump  to  November  1918,  and  the  campaign  for  funds  held 
by  the  seven  war  relief  agencies,  and  known  as  the  United  War 
Work  Campaign.  When  the  Ked  Cross  first  asked  for  $100,000,000 
it  seemed  as  if  the  high  water  mark  in  giving  had  been  set,  but  the 
seven  agencies,  combining  in  one  drive,  asked  for  the  sum  of  $250,- 
000,000  to  complete  their  war  obligations.  The  seven  agencies  were 
the  Y.  M.  C.  A.,  the  Y.  W.  C.  A.,  the  Knights  of  Columbus,  the 
Jewish  Welfare  Association,  the  War  Camp  Community  Service, 
the  American  Library  Association  and  the  Salvation  Army.  In 
spite  of  the  fact  that  the  Armistice  had  just  been  signed,  with  the 
inevitable  let-down  of  enthusiasm  for  war  work,  the  quota  of  $11,- 
250  was  exceeded ;  the  sum  raised  amounting  to  $11,491.45. 

During  the  preceding  summer,  Mrs.  L.  P.  Bissell  had  collected 
by  means  of  a  "Crucibl^',  articles  and  jewelry  of  gold  and  silver. 
The  contents  of  the  Crucible  was  sold  for  the  sum  of  $200  and  the 
money  given  to  the  War  Camp  Community  Service  fund. 

Kev.  William  J,  Brewster  was  the  chairman  of  the  Near-East 
Drive,  1919,  the  quota  was  $4,600  and  $5,867.33  was  subscribed. 

Besides  these  drives  which  have  been  described  in  detail,  num- 
erous lesser  drives  were  held,  such  as  the  three  membership  drives 
of  the  Red  Cross;  the  two  clothing  drives  for  the  sufferers  in 
Europe;  a  "Linen  Shower"  for  the  French  hospitals;  a  drive  for 
associate  members  for  the  Boy  Scouts ;  the  same  for  the  Girl  Scouts ; 
for  the  Y.  M.  C.  A.  and  the  Y.  W.  C.  A.;  for  books  and  magazines 
for  the  soldiers;  so  that  scarcely  a  week  passed  without  an  oppor- 
tunity to  show  one's  generosity  and  patriotism. 

In  all  that  was  done  to  ''keep  the  home  fires  burning"  it  must 
be  understood  that  the  school  children  did  their  full  share.  Through 
the  Junior  Red  Cross  and  through  the  general  war  work  of  the 
town,  they  were  brought  into  direct  contact  with  the  great  needs  of 
the  tune,  and  responded  as  our  future  citizens  should. 

The  task  of  collecting  and  prese^^'ing  the  history  of  the  Litch- 
field men  avIio  served  in  the  great  war,  will  be  done  by  the  two  posts 
of  the  American  Legion,  which  have  been  formed  in  Bantam  and  in 
Litchfield.  There  has  not  been  time  since  the  return  of  the  men 
and  the  formation  of  the  Posts  to  do  more  than  make  a  beginning 
of  this  work.  At  the  present  writing,  one  of  our  men,  Robert  K. 
Munroe,  is  still  with  the  engineers  at  Coblenz. 

With  the  exception  of  one  group  af  men  who  served  together 
in  the  102nd  Infantry  the  Litchfield  boys  were  scattered  through 
the  forces,  and  were  in  many  different  branches  of  the  senice. 
Lieut.  T.  A.  Langford,  in  the  Marines,  was  wounded  twice  and  saw 
much  heavy  fighting.  Among  those  in  the  aviation  section,  were 
Allan   Trumbull,   Alexis   Doster,   Henry   L.   Page,   James   Kirwin, 


Edward  P.  Heath.  Those  who  served  as  medical  officers  were  Dr. 
Charles  H.  Turkington,  Dr.  Charles  I.  Page,  Jr.,  Dr.  Nelson  Lloyd 
Deming,  and  Dr.  John  E.  Keller.  Dr.  William  Champion  Deming, 
a  former  Litchfield  man,  also  served  in  the  war. 

During  the  summer  of  1917  the  Selective  Draft  had  been  put 
in  operation,  William  T.  Marsh  serving  on  the  Board.  The  first 
six  men  left  for  Camp  Devens  at  Ayer,  Massachusetts,  on  September 
9.  From  time  to  time  other  groups  left,  and  were  wished  Grod- 
speed  by  those  who  gathered  to  see  them  off,  many  of  whom  went  with 
the  boys  to  Torrington,  where  they  entrained.  The  Red  Cross  saw 
that  the  men  were  supplied  with  knitted  comforts  and  gave  them 
a  farewell  supper  before  they  left.  A  Smoke  Club  was  organized  by 
the  business  men  of  the  town  to  supply  the  boys  with  tobacco. 

With  our  men  in  the  training  camps,  on  the  high  seas,  and  in 
the  trenches,  the  State  Council  of  Defense  made  an  appeal  that 
our  celebration  of  the  Fourth  in  1918,  should  be  not  only  "safe  and 
sane",  but  of  such  a  character  that  all  the  elements  of  the  com- 
munity would  be  drawn  together  in  a  common  observance  of  the 
day.  The  committee  in  charge  decided  upon  an  old-fashioned 
picnic,  and  invited  the  people  of  Morris,  Goshen  and  Bethlehem  to 
join  us.  The  day  started  with  a  fine  parade  in  which  many  organi- 
zations of  the  town  were  represented  and  a  special  feature  was 
made  of  the  floats,  prizes  being  given  for  the  best. 

After  the  parade  all  gathered  on  the  Green,  hunted  up 
the  lost  members  of  their  party  and  settled  under  the  shade  of  the 
trees  to  enjoy  a  picnic  lunch.  As  the  people  sat  together  in  this 
"folksy"  way,  the  thought  of  the  boys  with  the  colors  made  an  under- 
current of  sympathy  and  neighborliness. 

After  the  lunch  the  exercises  were  held  in  the  West  Park,  the 
Hon.  Porter  H.  Dale  of  Vermont  making  the  address.  The  usual 
Fourth-of-July  thunder  shower  lent  a  touch  of  excitement  to  the 

Of  those  who  went  from  Litchfield,  some  had  already  at  this 
time  made  the  supreme  sacrifice  for  their  country.  There  were  in 
all  ten  service  flags  in  our  town,  which  were  entitled  to  change  the 
blue  star  for  the  gold  star  of  honor. 

The  first  man  to  give  his  life  was  Howard  C.  Sherry,  who  died 
of  pneumonia  at  Camp  Johnston,  Florida,  on  January  16,  1918. 
Robert  P.  Jeffries  died  of  the  same  disease  on  -January  20,  at  Camp 
Gordon,  Georgia.  A  military  funeral  was  held  for  Howard  Sherry 
at  the  ilethodist  church,  and  on  the  following  day,  ;i  similar  ser- 
vice was  held  at  St.  Paul's  church  in  Bantam,  whei'o  Robert  Jef- 
fries had  lived.  The  Home  Guard  and  a  delegation  from  the  Red 
Cross  attended  both  services. 

Corporal  Frank  A.  Morgan,  Co.  M.,  102  Reg.,  was  the  first  man 
to  enlist  from  Litchfield.  Twice  rejected  because  of  underweight, 
he  did  not  give  up,  and  was  able  to  enter  the  service  when  the 
weight  limit  was  lowered.      The  first  to  volunteer,  Morgan  was  the 


first  mail  to  laj-  down  his  life  iu  battle.  His  mother,  Mrs.  G. 
Duraiid  Merriman  received  the  following  letter,  giving  the  circum- 
stances of  his  death:  "Your  son.  Corporal  Frank  A.  Morgan  was 
killed  June  20,  1918,  near  Mandres  in  the  Toul  sector.  He  was 
killed  by  the  concussion  of  a  shell;  even  though  he  died  instantly, 
there  was  not  a  mark;  on  him.  . . .  AVhen  we  first  went  into  the  line 
he  acted  as  a  runner  between  the  i)latooii  and  company  headquarters 
and  did  his  work  so  well  that  I  proposed  his  name  to  the  company 
commander  as  one  to  be  made  corporal  at  the  first  opportunity,  and 
I  am  sure  that  had  he  lived  he  Avould  have  continued  to  win  promo- 
tions. He  is  buried  in  an  American  Military  Cemetery  and  the 
fiag  he  fought  for  floats  over  his  grave,  while  by  his  side  are  com- 
rades who  with  him  have  paid  the  supreme  price". 

A  letter  which  Corporal  Morgan  wrote  to  his  mother  expresses 
the  splendid  spirit  with  which  our  forces  met  their  baptism  of  fire. 

"SomcAvhere  in  France. 
My  dearest  beloved  Mother: 

Well  I  have  not  written  to  anyone  noAv  for  a  week  but  it  seems 
like  a  month.  We  will  be  in  our  rest  camp  in  a  few  days  so  I'll 
Avrite  a  nice  long  letter.  Just  received  three  letters  from  you  and 
you  know  I  always  love  to  henr  from  home  and  Mother.  Also  got 
a  letter  from  Chas.  I  am  sitting  outside  writing  this  letter  and 
several  of  the  fellows  are  doing  the  same.  It  has  been  a  "'perfect 
day".  Saw  some  nice  flower  gardens  here  and  pansy  beds.  Sum- 
mer comes  early.  We  have  also  had  some  nice  air  raids  today. 
One  German  plane  was  brought  down  burning.  Air  raids  are  as 
regular  as  the  clocks  in  most  parts  of  France.  But  they  never 
do  any  harm.  It  is  pastime  for  us  to  lay  on  the  ground  and 
watch  them  dij)  and  duck  around  in  the  sky. 

You  have  probably  heard  by  this  time  that  the  102nd  made  a 
good  showing  on  the  line.  We  will  show  the  enemy  what  It  is  to 
])rovoke  the  'Stars  and  Stripes'".  Now  I  Ciin  tell  you  that  I've 
been  in  the  first  line  trenches,  face  to  face  with  Fritz.  The  first 
time  we  were  in  for  five  days,  then  we  came  out  for  five  and  went 
in  again.  The  first  time  we  didn't  lose  a  man.  But  the  second 
time  Ave  had  our  first  experience  Avith  gas.  We  went  in  with 
230  men  but  returned  Avith  a  few  less.  Of  course  Ave  mourn  the 
loss  of  our  comrades.  But  you  need  not  Avorry  about  me  for  I'm 
safe  Avith  tlie  company.  You  knoAV  AA'hat  Sherman  said?  Well 
you  can  promise  the  Avorld  I  said  he  w^as  right.  You  knoAv  it  will 
mean  business  this  summer.  But  Ave  Avant  simimer  to  come  any- 
Avay  and  haAC  it  over.  I  Avould  like  to  be  sitting  under  the  old 
apple  tree  this  siunmer,  but  I  Avill  next  year  believe  me.  You  tell 
everybody  I  say  this  is  Fritz's  last  try  and  it  is  bound  to  fail.  . . . 
Glad  you  are  all  Avell  and  happy  and  there's  no  reason  Avhy  you 
shouldn't  be  for  I  am. 

Well  I  can't  Avrite  much  more  as  it  is  getting  late,  liglits  out 
at  nine  o'clock.      And  Avhatever  you  do  don't  Avorrv'  about  me.      May 


God  protect  me  till  we  meet  again  for  I'm  sure  we  will.      Write 
soon  and  often  to  your  loving  son, 


Thomas  F.  Weir  and  his  brother  James  were  privates  in  the 
same  regiment,  the  102nd.  Thomas  Weir  gives  the  following 
account  of  the  action  in  which  his  brother  was  killed:  "At  the 
start  of  the  Chateau  Thierry  drive  they  went  over  the  top  at  5:30 
A.  M.  and  went  into  woods  the  other  side  of  the  starting  position. 
They  relieved  the  Marines,  with  Marines  on  left  and  French  on 
right;  the  position  was  in  a  horse  shoe.  The  company  went  ahead 
and  had  to  wait  for  the  French.  They  went  back  and  went  ahead 
again  without  barrage.  Co.  H.  was  in  the  2nd  batallion.  Enemy 
artillery  fire  was  very  heavy,  2nd  battalion  in  support,  3rd  battalion 
ahead  and  1st  in  reserve.  The  company  was  in  open  field  kneeling 
down  in  close  formation,  a  German  big  shell  came  over  and  landed 
200  yards  away.  A  piece  landed  beside  the  two  Weir  boys  and 
hit  James  between  the  eyes.  Roy  Hotchkiss  helped  to  carry  out 
and  bandage  James,  who  was  taken  to  the  103rd  Field  Hospital  at 
La  Ferte  and  buried  there". 

In  a  letter  written  by  James  Weir  to  the  Smoke  Club,  he 
shoAvs  that  he  too  had  that  "old  New  England  spirit  all  right". 

"Co.  H.,  102nd  U.  S.   Inf. 
March  29,  1918. 
Sinoko  Club  of  Litchfield: 

As  I  have  a  few  minutes  I  want  to  write  and  thank  the  people 
of  Litchfield  for  their  smokes,  as  I  must  say  they  are  more  than 
appreciatetl.  I  don't  know  Avhat  I  would  have  done  without  them, 
not  only  the  cigarettes,  but  the  Enquirer  also. 

I  am  glad  to  be  able  to  say  we  have  been  in  the  trenches  for 
a  long  time  and  you  can  tell  all  the  boys  I  will  be  home  for  that 
Labor  Day  parade,  as  the  boys  are  all  in  trim  and  ready  for  any- 
tliiijg  tliat  comes  up.  They  have  that  old  New  England  spirit  all 
right.  This  is  said  to  be  the  best  regiment  in  France,  bar  none. 
Not  so  bad  for  the  boys  from  Connecticut.  We  are  all  feeling  fine 
and  waiting  patiently  for  a  shot  at  the  Kaiser,  and  not  a  bit  afraid 
of  their  old  Springfielrts.  Avken  they  say  we  are  doing  our  bit,  too. 
It  is  rather  a  ticklish  job,  but  the  boys  don't  mind  it  in  the  least. 

You  can  imagine  the  shrapnel  bursting  over  head  and  big  shells 
whizzing  on  all  sides  of  us.  We  just  laugh  and  watch  to  see  if 
we  can  see  them  going  through  the  air.  We  have  had  many  close 
calls.  One  old  six  inch  shell  dropped  about  four  feet  from  me, 
but  it  was  my  luck  it  was  dead  and  didn't  go  off,  so  I  made  up  my 
mind  I  was  going  home  when  it  didn't  get  me  that  time.  . . . 

The  boys  from  home  are  all  fine — Tom  and  Matt  Breunan,  Matt 
Hotchkiss,  Howard  Brown  and  all  the  rest  of  the  boys.  Trusting 
all  my  Litchfield  friends  are  in  the  best  of  health  and  thanking 
vou  again  for  the  cigarettes,  I  remain  as  ever, 



Private  August  Guinchi  of  the  Coast  Artillery  56tli  Regiment 
died  of  typhoid  fever  on  October  31,  1918,  resulting  from  the  effects 
of  gas.  Private  Guinchi  was  gassed  while  driving  a  tank.  He  is 
buried  in  the  American  Battle  Area  Cemetery  at  Langres,  Depart- 
ment of  Haute-Marne. 

Another  victim  of  disease,  Clayton  A.  Devines,  died  of  Spanish 
Influenza  in  camp  at  Jacksonville,  Florida.  A  memorial  service 
was  held  at  the  Congregational  church  on  December  1,  1918. 

Joseph  Donohue  was  a  Junior  Republic  boy  who  served  with 
the  102nd,  Co.  D.,  and  was  killed  in  action  on  July  23,  1918. 

Roy  E.  Corn  well  who  died  on  shipboard  en  route  to  France, 
had  lived  in  Litchfield  for  some  time  and  had  been  a  member  of 
the  Home  Guard.  He  enlisted  from  Elizaville,  N.  Y.,  the  home 
of  his  father,  but  as  he  had  been  so  identified  with  Litchfield  he  is 
included  in  our  list  of  those  who  lost  their  lives  in  the  war. 

Henry  Cattey  was  a  Northfield  boy,  who  lived  in  the  Marsh 
district.  He  was  killed  in  action,  but  it  has  not  been  possible  ta 
obtain  details  of  his  death. 

Pio  Zavotti,  like  August  Guinchi,  an  Italian,  but  an  American 
when  his  adopted  country  needed  him,  is  supposed  to  have  been 
killed  in  action.  He  had  lived  in  Litchfield  for  several  years  and 
worked  at  the  Ripley  farm,  and  gave  Litchfield  as  his  address^ 
when  he  went  into  the  army. 

About  fifty  former  citizens  of  the  Junior  Republic  were  with 
the  American  Expeditionary  Forces.  Those  who  died  in  action 
and  are  not  included  in  the  ten  from  Litchfield,  as  they  had  their 
homes  elsewhere,  are:  Timothy  O'Connor,  Norman  Stein,  and 
Roger  Wilson.  Lieutenant  Timothy  O'Connor,  Co.  M.,  108th 
Infantry,  had  many  friends  in  Litchfield  who  Avill  be  proud  of 
the  gallantry  of  his  death.  He  Avas  cited  for  braver}',  in  the  fol- 
lowing words:  "2nd  Lieut.  Timothy  O'Connor  (deceased)  for  great 
personal  courage  and  inspiring  qualities  of  leadership  while  in 
command  of  his  company.  Even  after  being  mortally  wounded, 
this  officer's  last  words  were  for  the  men  to  continue  their  attack. 
This  was  in  the  battle  of  La  Salle  River,  France,  October  17,  1918", 

We  have  now  to  record  the  honors  earned  by  one  of  our  men,, 
who,  happily,  recovered  from  his  wounds.  Lieut.  Joseph  R.  Busk 
was  cited  on  June  20,  1918,  in  these  words:  "The  following  action 
of  2nd  Lieut.  J.  R.  Busk,  Inf.  R.  A.  38th  Infantry,  is  mentioned  as 
deserving  particular  commendation  as  showing  the  determined  effort 
of  this  officer  to  accomplish  at  all  hazards  a  mission  on  which  he 
had  been  sent:  On  the  night  of  June  16-17,  1918,  this  officer  was 
designated  to  cross  the  Marue  River  with  a  patrol  for  the  purpose 
of  capturing  and  bringing  back  a  prisoner,  by  surprising  any  of 
the  enemy  who  were  moving;  he  had  not  accomplished  the  mission 
after  having  waited  until  almost  daylight;  wlien  he  boldly  entered  a 
wood  supposed  to  be  occupie<l  by  the  enemy,  where  he  encountered  a 
hostile  detachment  which  fired  on  his  patrol  and  severely  wounded 


liim".  Lieut.  Busk  was  awarded  the  Distinguished  Service  Cross 
for  "Extraordinary  heroism  in  action  east  of  Chateau  Thierry, 
France,  June  17,  1918.  Despite  the  coldness  of  the  water,  the 
swiftness  of  the  current,  and  the  presence  of  the  enemy  on  the 
opposite  bank,  Lieut.  Busk  completed  a  personal  reconnaissance  of 
the  enemy's  position  by  swimming  the  River  Marne,  after  which 
he  took  a  patrol  across  the  river  in  boats  and  obtained  valuable 
information  regarding  the  movements  of  the  enemy". 

Lieut.  Busk  was  further  honored  by  King  Albert  I,  of  Belgium, 
who  conferred  upon  him  the  Ordre  de  la  Couronne,  with  the  rank 
of  "chevalier". 

Charles  A.  Whitbeck,  a  driver  in  Bat.  D.,  12th  Field  Artillery, 
2nd  Div.,  saw  21  months  15  days  of  active  service  and  was  in  most 
of  the  engagements  at  Chateau  Thierry,  Soissons,  Champagne,  St. 
Mihiel  and  the  Meuse-Argonne.  vVhitbeck  was  with  the  army 
of  occupation  which  marched  into  Germany,  and  spent  the  winter 
there.  At  Soissons  on  July  21,  1918,  Battery  D.  was  between  the 
2nd  and  3rd  line  backing  \ip  the  French,  1st  Moroccan  Division. 
The  position  was  on  low  ground  and  was  observed  by  the  Germans 
from  a  high  hill.  A  big  barrage  was  placed  on  the  battery  and 
they  had  to  retire,  leaving  the  guns.  Volunteers  were  asked  for, 
two  cannoneers  and  two  drivers,  including  Whitbeck,  were  chosen. 
The  Major  of  the  battalion  led  them  in,  and  one  piece  and  caisson 
were  rescued. 

On  May  27,  1919,  Whitbeck  received  the  CroLx  de  Guerre  with 
silver  star.  The  citation,  translated  into  English,  is  as  follows: 
"Upon  the  approval  of  the  Commander-in-Chief  of  the  American 
Expeditionary  Forces  in  France,  the  Marshal  of  France,  Com- 
mander-in-Chief of  the  Armies  of  the  East,  recommends  by  order 
of  the  Division :  Private  Charles  A.  Whitbeck,  Battery  D,  12th  Field 
Artillery,  2nd  Division:  On  July  21,  1918,  near  Vierzy,  in  the  face 
of  a  violent  bombardment,  he  attached  a  gun-limber  to  a  disabled 
field-piece,  so  that  this  field-piece  could  be  drawn  to  the  rear". 

James  Kirwin,  who  enlisted  in  the  regular  army  and  was 
assigned  to  the  126th  Aero  Supply  Squadron,  was  on  the  Tuscania 
when  she  was  torpedoed.  For  some  time  it  was  not  known  in  Litch- 
field that  he  was  among  the  survivors.  Sergt.  Kirwin  gives  this  account 
of  his  experience:  "The  morning  of  February  5,  the  order  for  life 
belts  was  given.  At  the  time  the  convoy  was  in  the  North  Chan- 
nel off  the  Irish  coast,  the  position  of  the  Tuscania  was  central, 
the  other  ships  forming  a  circle  around  her.  About  5 :30  the  order 
came,  'troops  up  on  D  deck'.  At  5:30  there  was  a  terrible  shock, 
not  so  much  of  an  explosion,  as  of  a  dull  blow.  The  ship  seemed 
to  jump  high  in  the  air,  and  hang  there  quivering  for  a  time  before 
it  fell  back  into  the  water,  where  it  bobbed  about  very  much  like 
a  cork  and  with  a  decided  list  to  starboard.  The  lights  went  out 
at  the  time  of  the  explosion  and  the  darkness  seemed  shot  with 
tongues  of  fire.      The  atmosphere  seemed  dense  with  a  strong  odor 


like  that  of  burning  celluloid.  I  had  been  assigned  to  No.  9  boat, 
but  when  1  reached  that  station  I  found  both  7  and  9  stations 
had  been  blown  away,  as  the  torpedo  struck  directly  beneath  them. 

"Everyone  answered  a  call  for  volunteers  to  launch  boats.  The 
men  were  taken  off  7  and  9  stations  and  for  the  next  two  hours 
were  on  the  hurricane  deck,  launching  the  boats,  the  last  of  which 
that  could  be  cast  off  were  lowered  at  8:15;  and  there  were  still 
one  thousand  men  on  board. 

"The  water  was  full  of  men,  some  swimming,  but  many  of  them 
dead  or  dying.  We  had  about  resigned  ourselves  to  going  down 
with  the  ship,  the  men  were  singing,  'Where  do  we  go  from  here, 
boys',  when  word  was  passed  to  go  down  on  B  deck.  Of  course 
we  hurried  more  than  is  usual  in  the  army.  Three  destroyers 
had  returned  and  had  taken  off  everyone  except  those  who  had  been 
on  the  boat  deck.  The  cry  was  'slide  down  the  rope  and  keep 
your  eyes  up'.  After  I  reached  the  destroyer  I  looked  over  the 
side  and  saw  those  who  didn't  make  her.  I  shall  always  be  sorry 
I  didn't  obey  orders". 

Kirwin  was  landed  at  Buncrana  Island,  Ireland,  suffering  with 
concussion  and  was  cared  for  by  the  British  troops  stationed  there. 

It  is  not  possible  to  give  an  account  of  the  other  Litchfield  men 
who  saw  active  service  overseas.  George  H.  Hunt,  the  Town  Clerk, 
has  recorded  all  the  discharge  papers  which  have  been  turned  in  to 
him,  but  those  on  file  represent  only  a  small  part  of  the  number 
who  went  from  Litchfield,  and  the  work  of  the  Post  Historians  has 
only  just  begun. 

During  those  terrible  years  before  we  went  into  the  war,  when 
America  was  pouring  our  her  wealth  to  help  suffering  Europe,  her 
young  men  and  women  were  seeking  opportunities  for  personal  ser- 
vice in  the  hospitals  and  in  the  camps  of  the  Allies. 

Three  of  our  Litchfield  men  did  ambulance  work  in  France, 
afterwards  serving  in  the  A.  E.  F.:  Guy  H.  Kichards  with  the 
American  Ambulance  SerAdce;  Elmore  McNeill  Bostwick  and  Fred- 
erick W.  Busk  with  the  Norton-Harjes  Ambulance  Section  No.  5, 
which  was  decorated  by  the  French  Government. 

Kejected  on  physical  grounds  by  the  U.  S.  A.,  du  Val  Allen 
joined  the  Norton-Harjes  Ambulance  Section  No.  646,  which  was 
attached  to  the  famous  French  "Blue  Devils"  and  to  the  Moroccan 
Division.  Allen  was  hit  on  the  head  by  a  piece  of  shell  and 
rendered  unconscious  for  several  hours,  contracting  jiicuinonia  from 
the  exposure,  and  also  narrowly  escaped  death  in  a  bombed  hos- 
pital. Section  No.  646  was  honored  four  times  by  the  French 
Government,  receiving  the  Croix  de  Guerre  and  the  Medaille  Mili- 

Shepherd  Knapp,  formerly  of  Litchfield,  now  a  clergyman  at 
Worcester,  Mass.,  spent  a  year  in  France  under  the  Y.  M.  C.  A.,  for 
six  months  of  this  time  being  stationed  at  Aix-les-Bains,  the  famous 


resort,  which  was  turned  into  a  "rest-place"  for  the  American 
troops,  and  re-christened  by  the  men,  "Aches  and  Pains". 

Archibald  M.  Richards  also  gave  his  services  to  the  Y,  M.  C.  A. 
and  was  stationed  at  Paris  for  over  a  year,  as  assistant  manager 
of  the  hotel  run  by  the  "Y"  for  its  secretaries. 

In  1916,  Willard  Parker  Lindley  spent  several  months  in  France 
assisting  the  work  for  blinded  soldiers,  under  Miss  Winifred  Holt. 

The  Litchfield  women  who  served  in  the  war,  enlisted  under 
our  own  Government,  were  Marion  Crutch  and  Elsie  Koser,  army 
nurses;  Mildred  McNeill,  reconstruction  aid;  and  Irene  Crutch,  Mae 
Brahen,  Clare  Brennan  and  Evelyn  Deacon,  yeowomen.  Elizabeth  W. 
McNeill  was  employed  as  a  Civil  Service  stenographer  in  the  Army. 

The  women  who  did  war  work  overseas  were:  Cecil  Cunning- 
ham (now  Mrs.  Alexis  Doster),  who  served  for  six  months  as  an 
auxiliary  nurse  in  the  French  hospitals;  and  Amy  Richardson 
Thurston  and  Frances  Elliot  Hickox,  who  were  Y.  M.  C.  A.  canteen 
workers,  their  duties  including  many  activities  from  scrub  woman 
in  the  kitchen  to  cashier  in  the  hut.  Miss  Hickox  remained  in 
France  until  after  the  Armistice,  and  chaperoned  a  group  of  brides, 
who  had  been  married  to  American  soldiers,  on  her  return  trip 
to  this  country. 

The  false  report  on  November  7,  1918  that  the  Germans  had 
signed  the  Armistice,  which  caused  so  many  premature  celebrations 
all  over  the  country,  did  not  gain  credit  in  Litchfield,  thanks  to 
the  editor  of  the  Litchfield  Enquirer,  who  pinned  his  faith  to  the 
Associated  Press.  At  three  o'clock  on  the  morning  of  November 
11,  the  Torrington  factory  whistles  were  heard  blowing,  and  the 
news  quickly  spread  that  "Der  Tag"  had  come  at  last.  The  Court 
House  bell  gave  the  local  signal  and  soon  all  the  church  bells 
joined  in,  ringing  out  the  tidings  in  a  perfect  medley  of  noise. 

The  firemen  manned  the  chemical  engine,  and  started  out  on  a 
procession  all  over  the  Borough,  a  crowd  quickly  gathered,  and 
soon  about  200  men,  women  and  children  were  in  line,  headed  by 
the  Stars  and  Stripes.  They  marched  down  South  Street,  and  at 
the  invitation  of  the  rector,  Mr.  Brewster,  into  St.  Michael's  church, 
where  the  people  with  deep  emotion,  sang  together  the  Doxology  and 
the  national  anthem,  and  gave  thanks  with  grateful  hearts  that  the 
long  terrible  years  of  conflict  were  ended  at  last. 

Out  again  on  the  Green,  a  bonfire  was  built,  and  while  it  was 
burning  brightly  impromptu  speeches  were  made.  The  day  dawned, 
soft  and  mellow,  as  a  November  day  sometimes  is.  About  seven 
o'clock  there  was  a  little  let  up  for  breakfast,  but  the  bells  never  quite 
ceased  ringing.  The  dignified  village  of  Litchfield  had  a  dishevelled 
look  on  that  morning,  very  unlike  its  usual  trim  appearance. 
Papers,  confetti,  the  remnants  of  the  bonfire  littered  the  center  and 
plainly  showed  that  the  town  had  been  up  all  night  celebrating. 

Refreshed  by  breakfast,  every  one  who  could  get  there,  hastened 


to  Bantam  to  join  the  parade.  A  band,  provided  by  the  forethought 
of  W.  S.  Eogers  led  the  procession,  which  included  about  sixty 
automobiles.  Another  pause  came  for  the  noon-day  meal,  then 
came  the  Litchfield  parade,  in  which  Bantam  joined.  The  marchers 
were  headed  by  Frank  H.  Turkington,  and  the  Home  Guard,  the 
D.  A.  K.,  the  Red  Cross,  the  fire  departments,  the  Boy  Scouts  and 
the  Girl  Scouts,  the  service  flag  of  St.  Anthony's  carried  by  young 
women,  and  many  automobiles  were  in  line,  a  coffin  dedicated  to 
the  Kaiser  was  a  special  feature. 

Litchfield's  enthusiasm  did  not  spend  itself  with  these  demon- 
strations, but  finished  the  day  with  a  patriotic  "sing"  on  the  Green 
in  the  evening,  patriotic  speeches  and  an  appeal  for  the  United  War 
Work  Campaign,  which  was  then  in  progress. 

The  Armistice  was  signed,  but  we  soon  found  that  we  must 
"carry  on"  a  while  longer.  Bed  Cross  work  was  revised  to  meet  the 
needs  of  the  destitute  people  of  Europe,  and,  rejoicing  that  surgical 
dressings  were  no  longer  necessary,  the  workers  put  their  energies 
into  the  making  of  refugee  garments  and  refugee  knitting.  The  Home 
Service  Section,  under  Dr.  John  L.  Buel,  was  to  continue  its 
work  until  the  very  last  man  had  solved  his  difficulties  and  been 
re-adjusted  to  civilian  life  again. 

Week  after  week,  some  khaki- clad  man  would  appear  in  the 
streets,  to  be  surrounded  at  once  by  people  anxious  to  shake  his 
hand,  and  to  compliment  him  on  his  splendid  physical  condition. 
Celebrations  occurred,  quite  spontaneous  in  character,  in  the  form 
of  bonfires  and  bell  ringings,  as  the  men  returned  from  overseas. 
It  was  felt  that  these  indi\ddual  celebrations  were  not  enough,  and 
that  the  whole  town  should  join  in  welcoming  home  the  men,  and 
in  some  permanent  form  express  its  appreciation  for  their  services 
in  the  war.  Accordingly  the  chairman  of  the  War  Bureau,  George 
C.  Woodruff,  appointed  a  committee  to  make  plans  for  such  a 
ceremony,  and  for  a  permanent  memorial  to  our  men. 

It  was  decided  to  celebrate  the  coming  Fourth  of  July  as  "Wel- 
come Home  Day"  and  to  erect  a  monument  on  the  Green,  bearing  on 
a  bronze  tablet  the  names  of  those  who  served  in  the  war. 

The  celebration  really  began  with  the  bonfire  in  the  center,  on 
the  3rd  of  July,  at  midnight,  following  a  custom  which  dates  back 
more  than  half  a  century.  When  the  morning  of  the  Fourth  came, 
it  proved  to  be  one  of  those  days  of  which  Litchfield  is  occasionally 
guilty,  when  the  temperature  registers  in  the  nineties;  but  because 
the  day  was  given  over  to  honoring  those  who  had  endured  so  much, 
everyone  felt  ashamed  to  complain  of  mere  weather. 

The  great  feature  of  the  day  was  the  parade,  which  was  headed 
by  First  Selectman  Patrick  C.  Burke,  Warden  George  C.  Ives,  Bur- 
gesses Charles  Biglow,  Dr.  C.  N.  Warner  and  W.  S.  Plumb  in  an 
automobile.      The  veterans  of  the  Civil  War  followed.      Then  came 

!  hi.    I'lii  \    1.  \t:i:  \\\    HrKi 


Major  Robert  F.  Jackson,  Marshall,  and  his  aids,  preceding  the 
men  in  khaki,  whom  we  were  honoring.  They  were  80  strong,  and 
represented  both  army  and  navy.  The  Boy  Scouts  acted  as  escort. 
Then  followed  delegations  and  floats  from  all  the  local  organi- 
zations; the  Red  Cross,  the  Knights  of  Columbus,  St.  Anthony's 
T.  A.  &  B.,  the  Fire  Department,  the  Grange,  and  many  others. 

After  the  parade  came  the  picnic  lunch  under  the  trees,  follow- 
ing the  plan  of  the  previous  year.  The  soldiers  were  provided  with 
an  ample  lunch  in  the  West  Park. 

In  the  early  afternoon  the  program  of  the  day  was  given,  with 
Admiral  Colvocoresses  presiding.  Mrs.  E.  H.  Sothem  recited  with 
deep  feeling  the  splendid  words  of  the  Battle  Hymn  of  the  Republic, 
and  the  address  was  made  by  Dr.  Talcott  Williams,  Dean  of  the 
Columbia  School  of  Journalism.  The  great  moment  of  the  day 
came  when  the  Memorial  Monument  was  unveiled.  Instead  of  a 
formal  speech  of  dedication,  E.  H.  Sothem  read  Alan  Seeger's  Ode 
to  American  soldiers  fallen  in  France,  which  had  been  written  for 
the  celebration  of  our  Fourth  by  the  city  of  Paris  in  1916,  by  which 
time  the  poet  had  already  added  his  life  to  those  he  commemorated. 
The  American  flag  was  taken  from  the  monument  by  the  selectmen 
in  reverent  silence,  followed  by  a  prayer  of  dedication  by  Dr.  H.  G. 
Mendenhall.  The  ceremony  was  concluded  by  the  singing  of  America. 

The  monument  which  is  erected  on  the  center  Green,  diagonally 
across  from  the  Court  House,  is  of  granite,  six  feet  high;  and  bears 
a  bronze  tablet  45  by  35  inches,  with  168  names,  ten  with  the  gold 
star  of  supreme  sacrifice.      Above  the  names  is  this  inscription: 

"In  Honor  of 

The  Men  of  Litchfield 

Who  Rendered  Service  In 

The  World  War 


Below  the  names :  "This  Tablet  is  erected  by  the  Town  of  Litchfield". 

The  home  coming  celebration  closed  with  a  dance  for  the  sol- 
diers in  the  Lawn  Club. 

Two  Posts  of  the  American  Legion,  which  is  an  organization  of 
veterans  of  the  World  War,  have  been  formed  in  our  town:  the 
Morgan-Weir  Post  named  in  honor  of  the  first  two  men  to  be  killed 
in  action,  and  in  Bantam,  a  post  named  in  honor  of  Robert  P. 

The  story  of  our  town  during  these  years  of  war,  may  fittingly 
close  with  mention  of  the  ceremonies  held  on  Washington's  Birth 
day,  1920,  at  Colonial  Hall,  under  the  auspices  of  the  Morgan- Weir 
Post,  for  the  distribution  of  Certificates  issued  by  the  French  Gov- 
ernment to  the  families  of  those  Americans  who  died  in  the  war. 


On  the  certificates  is  an  engraving- of  the  moniunent  erected  by  the 
French  to  the  memory  of  our  dead.  Inscribed  on  the  monument 
are  the  words  of  Victor  Hugo : 

"For  those  who  devoutly  died  for  their  country 

It  is  right  that  the  people  come  and  pray  at  their  tombs'^ 

and  it  was  in  a  spirit  of  devotion  and  reverence  that  the  people 
of  Litchfield  gathered  together  for  this  service  in  their  memory. 



A  subscriber  to  Punch  once  wrote  in  complaint  to  the  editor, 
"Punch  is  not  what  it  once  was".  "My  dear  fellow",  the  editor 
replied,  "it  never  has  been".  The  story  is  a  consolation  to  the 
writer  of  modern  history.  Forms  of  life  are  forever  changing,  the 
forces  of  life  remain  much  the  same,  and  persist  with  amazing 
vigor  through  periods  of  dearth  and  disaster. 

Litchfield's  position  in  the  life  of  the  nation  has  greatly  changed 
since  the  days  of  the  Revolution.  The  development  of  the  manu- 
facturing industries  of  the  East,  the  opening  up  of  the  resources  of 
the  West,  have  shifted  the  centres  of  national  activity.  Yet  the 
town  is  in  no  sense  the  empty  shell  of  past  tradition.  It  is  a 
vigorous  self-respecting  community,  making  a  worthy  contribution 
to  the  continuity  and  strength  of  American  character.  In  common 
with  most  other  American  towns,  it  has  changed  in  the  past  sixty 
years  from  a  homogeneous  community,  in  which  the  dominant  factor 
was  Anglo-Saxon,  to  a  community  in  which  nearly  every  nation  of 
Europe  and  some  of  Asia  are  represented.  In  this  fact  are  both 
opportunity  and  danger.  In  so  far  as  the  little  towns  can  assimilate 
the  foreign  elements  of  their  population,  and  maintain  wholesome 
American  traditions  and  standards  of  living,  so  far  will  the  nation 
grow  in  unity  and  strength. 

The  recent  war  has  shown  us  beyond  doubt  that  the  American 
"melting  pot"  does  not  always  melt.  But  it  has  also  shown  us 
how  strong  and  how  sincere  have  been  the  pledges  of  loyalty  given 
by  innumerable  adopted  sons.  It  remains  for  the  native  born  to 
keep  alive  and  bright  his  altar  fires,  that  the  immigrant  may  know 
at  what  shrine  he  worships. 

In  times  of  national  crisis,  national  ideals  and  the  good  and 
evil  forces  of  national  life  appear  clear  cut  and  vivid.  In  the 
years  of  peace  the  greater  issues  are  hidden  in  the  pleasant  haze  of 
a  fruitful  summer;  but  it  is  in  the  slow  process  of  these  years  that 
the  national  character  takes  shape  for  good  or  ill. 

What  of  Litchfield  in  the  long  years  of  peace  following  the 
Civil  War?  It  is  too  soon  to  estimate  the  lasting  qualities  of  those 
years;  but  in  the  brief  survey  possible  here,  we  may  gain 
some  understanding  of  the  character  of  the  people  and  the  dominant 


elements  of  the  community  life.  These  elements  for  the  past  sixty 
years  may  be  roughly  divided  under  five  heads:  The  physical  char- 
acter and  climate  of  the  region;  the  agricultural  interest;  the  sum- 
mer colony;  the  nineteenth  century  immigrant;  and  the  growth  of 
community  spirit. 

The  influence  of  climate  on  national  character  is  too  intricate 
a  subject  to  be  discussed  here.  Its  influence  on  the  occupation  and 
resources  of  Litchfleld  people  is  evident  throughout  their  history. 
It  does  not  seem  to  have  changed  much  during  the  period  of  which 
we  write.  In  the  records  of  the  local  papers  every  third  or  fourth 
winter  is  a  winter  of  intense  cold  and  heavy  snows.  On  occasion 
there  are  tumultuous  freshets  in  the  spring  and  autumn,  carrying 
away  roads  and  bridges  and  flooding  low  lying  meadows.  In  the 
summer  there  are  violent  thunder  storms,  with  curious  electrical 
freaks  and  an  aftermath  of  burning  bams.  Between  these  cata- 
clysms of  nature  stretch  long  days  of  golden  beauty.  The  beauty 
of  the  country,  the  clear  freshness  of  the  upland  air,  have  attracted 
to  Litchfield  the  summer  visitors,  who  have  contributed  much  to  the 
material  prosperity  of  the  town  and  not  a  little  to  the  richness 
of  its  tradition.  As  Dr.  Bostwick  has  pointed  out,  Litchfield 
has  been  peculiarly  fortunate  in  having  as  summer  residents  peo- 
ple who  were  already  attached  to  her  by  natural  ties  of  inheritance 
or  sentiment. 

It  is  of  course  the  physical  character  and  climate  also,  which 
determine  the  agricultural  interests  of  the  community  and  the 
direction  they  take.  These  interests  are  on  the  whole  the  most 
stable  in  the  community  life,  and  while  the  farms  have  frequently 
changed  hands  and  markets  have  shifted,  agriculture  still  remains 
the  dominant  interest  of  the  town.  Immediately  after  the  war 
there  existed  a  flourishing  Agricultural  Society,  and  a  horse  show 
and  fairs  were  held  on  the  ground  at  the  lower  end  of  South  Street. 
In  1889,  the  Grange  was  founded,  and  has  ever  since  been  a  source 
of  education  to  the  community  as  well  as  a  natural  centre  of  social 
enjoyment  for  people  engaged  in  kindred  pursuits.  The  Harvest 
Festivals  of  the  last  twenty  years,  with  their  exhibits  of  fruit  and 
flowers,  and  the  prizes  offered  to  children  in  the  schools  for  the 
best  arrangement  of  Avild  flowers,  have  all  contributed  to  the  benefit 
of  the  community;  and  the  masquerades  and  dramatics  have 
increased  good  fellowship. 

Besides  the  numerous  small  farms  in  the  township,  there  have 
been  a  number  of  large  enterprises,  backed  by  considerable  capital 
and  able  to  experiment  with  thoroughbred  stock  and  scientific  horti- 
culture. The  first  of  these  was  Echo  Farm,  on  Chestnut  Hill, 
bought  by  F.  Ratchford  Starr  in  1873  and  developed  as  a  dairy 
farm  with  thoroughbred  Alderney  and  -Jersey  cattle.  Starr  was 
the  first  man  to  introduce  into  America  the  bottling  of  milk  for 
shipment  and  distribution.  There  were  shipping  stations  at  Ban- 
tam and  Lake,  as  well  as  at  Litchfield;  and  in  1881,  four  thousand 


quarts  were  shipped  daily  from  these  three  stations.  In  1886  the  man- 
agement of  this  farm  was  placed  in  the  hands  of  The  Echo  Farm 
Company.  It  was  later  abandoned  and  in  1910  was  bought  by 
H.  S.  Chase,  of  Waterbury,  and  now  furnishes  the  Chase  KoUing 
Mills  in  that  town  with  milk  for  their  operatives.  Other  large 
farms  have  in  the  past  twenty  years  made  a  specialty  of  choice 
fruit  and  vegetables  or  thoroughbred  cattle.  The  sight  of  Dr. 
Buel's  Bed  Devon  bull  going  to  the  Danbury  fair  is  one  not  easily 
forgotten;  and  it  is  not  long  since  North  Street  was  familiar  with 
the  sight  of  four  little  girls,  each  mounted  on  a  Welsh  pony  of  the 
Fernwood  breed,  followed  by  a  groom  and  the  smallest  of  possible 

Despite  the  advent  of  the  automobile,  there  have  always  been 
in  Litchfield  lovers  of  horses;  but  in  the  eighties  and  nineties 
horses  were  a  ruling  passion.  Trotting  races  with  sleighs  on 
North  Street  were  popular  in  the  winter,  and  in  the  heyday  of  the 
summer  season  there  was  a  fashionable  driving  hour  from  four  until 
seven  in  the  afternoon.  Favorite  drives  in  the  eighties  were  to 
the  towers  on  Mohawk  and  Ivy  Mountains,  from  which  there  were 
beautiful  views.  Here  cabins  had  been  built  with  historical  relics  to 
attract  the  curious,  and  refreshments  were  on  sale  for  hungry 
youth.  The  Enquirer  gives  us  a  list  of  the  stables  kept  in  1891; 
from  which  we  quote: 

J.  Deming  Perkins 
"The  Lindens" — Mrs.  Perkins'  health  does  not  permit  her  often  to  avail 
of  the  facilities  which  the  stables  at  this  place  possess,  but  her  daughter 
Miss  Edith,  thoroughly  enjoys  driving  her  pair  of  brown  cobs,  "Derby"  and 
"Ascot",  which  she  handles  with  perfect  skill,  before  her  Brewster  cart.  We 
noticed  a  brown  roadster  "Barney",  in  one  of  the  commodious  stalls. 
Livery,  dark  blue,  drab  and  silver.  The  stables  at  this  place  are  most 
conveniently  arranged,  being  finished  in  Georgia  pine  and  black  walnut. 
Peter  Matthews  has  charge  of  the  establishment.  A  straw  mat  made 
by  the  dexterous  fingers  of  Peter,  with  a  border  representing  the  national 
colors  stretches  across  the  stable  immediately  in  the  rear  of  the  iron  lat- 
ticed stalls,  the  turned  locust  posts  being  finished  with  "pelicans"  in  Old 
Country  style. 

Sydney  Dillon 
President  Union  Pacific  Road,  "Vaill  Cottage" — Mr.  Dillon  of  late  years 
has  become  so  attached  to  Litchfield  that  he  gives  a  large  portion  of  his 
summer  to  it.  He  is  fond  of  a  good  horse,  and  we  notice  likes  to  drive 
a  different  pair  each  day.  Sometimes  it  is  his  large  team  of  dapple  grays, 
with  their  fine  knee  action;  again  he  will  be  seen  with  his  coal  black  pair, 
with  their  splendid  flowing  tails,  the  animals  alike  as  two  peas,  and  not 
infrequently  with  his  light  stepping  cross  match,  a  black  and  bay.  Livery, 
dark  blue  and  silver. 

J.  Mason  Hoppin 
New  Haven — We  can  scarcely  remember  ever  having  seen  Mason  Hop- 
pin  on  foot  except  on  the  occasion  when  he  covered  himself  with  glory  in 
the  baseball  match  between  the  married  and  single  men.      Not  only  morning 


and  afternoon,  but  also  in  the  evening  he  is  on  the  drive  with  some  one  of  his 
three  horses.      He  is  seen  on  the  road  rigged  either  single,  double  or  tandem, 
but  he  is  in  best  form  when  driving  his  dapple  grays,  "Dick"  and  "Tim", 
to  his  Brewster  buggy.       Peter  Scanlan  attends  to  details  here. 
J.  Warren  Groddard 

New  York,  "Fernwood" — This  stable,  the  building  itself  of  granite  and 
a  model  of  convenience,  contains  a  large  number  and  variety  of  fine  car- 
riages and  horses,  perhaps  the  most  stylish  turnout  among  them  being  Mr. 
Goddard's  dog  cart,  hung  very  high,  to  which  he  drives  his  tandem  team, 
"Paris"  with  "Vim"  in  the  lead,  and  trained  to  work  there,  with  which  he 
easily  rattles  off  eight  miles  an  hour  over  the  hills.  Mourning  livery. 
Henry  W.  Buel,  M.  D. 

Spring  Hill — The  doctor  for  many  years  has  raised  his  own  driving 
horses,  which  he  has  rare  facilities  for  doing  on  the  extensive  acres  which 
comprise  his  estate.  Individually  he  works  his  favorite  yellow  bay.  His 
daughters,  however,  drive  to  a  neat  phaeton  some  one  or  other  of  the 
numerous  fine  animals  in  the  stables.  Frederick  Trail  has  for  many  years 
had  control  of  the  stables. 

Mrs.  John  H.  Hubbard 

This  lady,  the  widow  of  our  late  Congressman,  can  be  seen  of  a  pleasant 
afternoon  on  our  thoroughfares  driving  a  quiet  bay.      Her  son,  John  T.,  the 
lawyer,  indulges  his  taste  for  horseflesh  in  the  line  of  the  Morgan  breed,  of 
which  he  possesses  several  fine  specimens  of  growing  stock. 
Archibald  B.  Duffie 

New    York — Mr.    Duffie,    who   is    exceedingly    fond    of    horseflesh,    has 
quartered  at  Pratt's  stable,  in  charge  of  Jim  Malloy^  four  magnificent  ani- 
mals— a  pair  of  dark  bays,  a  blooded  Kentuckian  and  a  sorrel.      His  stylish 
turnouts  are  almost  daily  seen  on  our  thoroughfares. 
Newcomb  C.  Barney 

New  York,  "Uplands" — So  fine  a  place  as  this  must  needs  have  a  good 
stable.  Mrs.  Barney's  carriage  is  not  often  seen  in  the  village,  but  Miss 
Barney's  neat  cart  is  a  daily  ornament  on  the  grounds  of  the  Lawn  Club. 
Livery,  blue  and  silver. 

Mrs.  Henry  B.  Coit 
Since  the  removal  of  her  son,  Mr.  Chas.  H.  Coit,  to  Hartford,  where  he 
has  entered  the  firm  of  Geo.  P.  Bissell  &  Co.,  we  have  missed  him  upon 
our   roads.       His    sister,    Miss    Katie,   however,    thoroughly   enjoys    a    drive 
behind  her  favorite  bay. 

Mrs.  J.  William  Wheeler 

New  York,  "Belair" — Park  phaeton,  mahogany  bays.  Miss  Wheeler 
drives  a  pony  (rumble)  phaeton,  drawn  by  a  handsome  sorrel  pony.  Mourn- 
ing  livery. 

Heni-y  K.  Jones 

Brooklyn,  N.  Y.,  "Sunnymead" — A  pair  of  dark  bays  with  flowing  tails 
to  a  light  summer  carriage.  Mr.  Jones,  however,  is  most  frequently  seen 
driving  in  his  favorite  natural  wood  buckboard,  to  which  he  works  a  most 
serviceable  roadster. 


Mrs.  William  H.  Maxwell 

New  York,  "Kenmore" — Mrs.  Maxwell's  stables  contain  several  horses, 
but  her  favorite  pair  is  a  cross  match,  a  bay  and  a  gray. 

Frederick  Deming 
At  this  place  we  found  a  steady-going  family  horse,  and  also  a  good- 
grained  saddle  pony,  on  which  his  son  takes  daily  exercise. 
Mrs.  William  Curtis  Noyes 
New  York — Mrs.  Noyes  is  very  regular  in  her  drives,  seldom  omitting 
an  afternoon.       Her  daughter,   Mrs.  Vanderpoel,  is  occasionally  seen   in   a 
high  dog  cart.       Livery,  blue  and  silver. 

The  Misses  Van  Winkle 

New  York — Very  stylish  Victoria,  yellow  bay  cobs.  Livery,  blue  and 

The  above  list  by  no  means  comprises  all  the  pleasure  equipments  of 
the  village,  for  we  should  have  mentioned  Mrs.  Chas.  Burrell's  splendid  bay, 
which,  when  before  her  stylish  phaeton,  equals  any  of  the  above  named ;  then 
there  is  Miss  Clarissa  Pratt,  with  her  black  pony  "Bucephalus"  and  Brewster 
buggy;  Miss  Clara  Kenney,  with  her  white  pony  and  phaeton,  and  Mr. 
Jesse  L.  Judd,  now  one  of  our  retired  business  men,  with  his  large  bay 
horse  and  carriage,  and  Mr.  Chas.  B.  Bishop  and  Warden  Marsh,  each  of 
whom  may  be  seen  on  our  driveways  almost  any  day. 

The  liverj-  business  of  the  town  is  mostly  done  by  Pratt's  stables,  which 
work  seventy-three  horses  in  the  livery  department,  aside  from  the  extensive 
sale  stables  attached,  and  Barber  Bros.,  whose  stables,  though  not  so  extensive, 
yield  to  none  in  quality  of  stock. 

There  were  at  one  time  three  hotels  in  the  borough  and  numer- 
ous boarding  houses,  which  were  well  filled.  Coaching  parties 
frequently  drove  through,  and  the  town  must  have  worn  an  air  of 
holiday-making,  both  gay  and  charming. 

It  is  pleasant  to  think  of  the  Victorian  ladies  of  the  sixties  and 
seventies  who  played  croquet  or  practiced  archery  in  East  Park, 
or  in  the  eighties  watched  the  four  young  gallants,  who  inspired  by 
Mason  Hoppin,  endeavored  to  graft  polo  on  the  American  stock. 
Canoeing  also  came  in  at  this  period;  lawn  tennis  was  played  on 
private  courts  and  a  club  was  projected,  which  later  developed  into 
the  Lawn  Club  on  West  Street,  for  many  years  the  scene  of  tennis 
tournaments  for  the  Connecticut  state  championship. 

It  is  interesting  to  note  the  changing  fashion  in  amusements 
and  outdoor  sports.  The  first  velocipede  came  in  1869,  but  the 
bicycle  fever  did  not  reach  its  height  until  the  nineties.  In  1893, 
E.  G.  Trowbridge,  of  Torrington,  is  said  to  have  ridden  three  hun- 
dred miles  by  bicycle  in  two  days.  In  1896,  there  were  two  hun- 
dred bicycles  owned  in  Litchfield  and  in  the  following  year  a  bicycle 
club  was  formed.  Baseball  of  course  was  always  popular  among 
all  the  elements  of  the  community,  though  it  could  not  have  been 
a  fine  art  in  the  latter  sixties,  as  in  1866,  we  find  recorded  a  game 
in  which  the  score  was  77  to  16.  In  1870,  there  existed  a  Tar  and 
Gamboge  Baseball  Club  of  which  four  members  were  colored  and 
there  were  at  various  times  nimaerous  teams  in  the  town  together 


with  many  unorganized  aspirants,  so  that  we  find  in  the  papers 
many  complaints  of  ball  playing  on  the  green. 

The  winter  also  was  not  without  its  amusements.  In  the  seven- 
ties, they  were  less  sophisticated  than  those  of  a  later  period. 
Spelling  matches  were  much  in  vogue  among  the  older  people  as 
well  as  the  young  ones  and  there  were  even  competitions  between 
towns.  It  is  particularly  interesting  to  discover  that  in  1883, 
roller  skating  was  the  popular  amusement.  Armory  Hall  was 
used  as  a  rink  and  fancy  skaters  came  to  perform  there.  In  1886, 
a  Toboggan  Club  was  established  by  some  of  the  young  people  of 
the  town  and  a  slide  was  built  on  Prospect  Hill.  The  young  people 
of  outlying  towns  as  far  away  as  Woodbury  shared  in  this  sport. 
On  one  occasion,  a  fete  was  held  at  the  slide  with  rockets,  bombs, 
torches  and  Chinese  lanterns,  and  supper  was  afterwards  served 
at  Armory  Hall.  Sleighing  and  ice  skating  were  always  popular 
when  the  season  served  and  at  various  times  hockey  teams  were 
organized  which  practiced  on  the  Mill  Pond  and  occasionally  played 
matches  with  other  organizations  from  neighboring  towns.  Skiing 
and  snow-shoeing  have  also  had  their  devotees  and  have  sometimes 
been  necessary  by  virtue  of  the  severe  weather.  One  of  the  most 
remarkable  trips  on  snow  shoes  taken  by  a  Litchfield  man  was  that 
of  Alex  Baldwin  in  the  blizzard  of  February,  1902.  He  came  by  train 
from  Hartford  to  Terryville,  on  snow  shoes  from  Terryville  to  Thom- 
aston,  by  train  to  East  Litchfield  and  on  snow-shoes  home. 

Pishing  and  hunting  are  always  open  in  season  to  the  country- 
dweller.  Football  has  held  intermittent  sway  but  has  never  claimed 
great  popularity  in  Litchfield.  In  the  early  nineties,  a  hare  and 
hound  club  was  organized  and  herein  was  heralded  the  coming 
of  the  new  woman,  for  "the  young  ladies  adopted  a  dress  which 
made  it  possible  for  them  to  cross  streams  and  climb  fences".  The 
runs  of  the  club  were  sometimes  as  much  as  eight  miles.  In  the 
latter  nineties,  golf  came  in  and  has  continued  with  varying  popu- 
larity, to  the  present  day.  "Paper  Chases"  on  horse-back  were  also 
popular  for  a  brief  period,  in  the  last  decade.  There  has  always 
been  much  sociability  and  many  clubs  of  various  sorts  have  sprung 
into  existence.  Among  these  the  Sanctum  on  South  Street  holds 
a  distinctive  place.  In  the  nineties  there  was  an  extremely  active 
and  clever  Dramatic  Club,  and  an  excellent  minstrel  troupe.  Other 
dramatic  entertainments  have  centered  in  the  Grange,  in  societies 
of  the  various  Churches  and  in  sporadic  benefit  performances  for 
some  general  interest  of  the  moment.  It  is  a  study  in  modes  and 
manners  to  look  over  the  programs.  In  these  days  of  "Jazz",  we 
may  sigh  for  the  halcyon  days  of  Pinafore;  but  "Curfew  shall  not 
ring  tonight"  is  a  Avorld  well  lost.  There  were  also  at  one  time  a 
drum  corps  and  a  band,  and  much  interchange  of  hospitality  with 
similar  organizations  in  other  towns.  The  singing  club  concerts 
conducted  by  Mr.  Arthur  Woodruff  of  Washington,  in  which  Wash- 
ington  and   Litchfield  have  united   in   giving   concerts,   have  been 


unique  and  popular  entertainments  for  fifteen  years.  Dancing  we 
have  always  had  with  us.  It  has  passed  through  many  phases  from 
the  waltz  mania  of  the  seventies,  through  the  "Germans"  of  the 
eighties,  the  two-steps  of  the  nineties,  the  fox-trots  of  the  twentieth 
century.  Nor  has  the  town  been  wholly  dependent  upon  its  own 
resources  for  entertainment.  Traveling  circuses  have  set  up  their 
tents  on  the  ball  ground,  and  traveling  troupes  and  shows  have  been 
until  recently  frequent  visitors  at  Phelps'  Opera  House  or  Armory 
Hall.  Now  the  ubiquitous  "movie"  has  replaced  them,  both  in 
Litchfield  and  Bantam. 

Bantam  brings  us  at  once  to  the  new  element  in  Litchfield's 
development.  It  is  the  growth  of  the  manufacturing  industry  there 
that  has  added  so  much  in  recent  years  to  the  foreign  population 
of  the  township,  though  the  Irish  were,  of  course,  the  first  of  the 
"nineteenth  century  immigrants"  to  come  to  Litchfield  in  any  large 
numbers.  The  building  of  St.  Anthony's  Church  in  1867  shows  that 
they  were  by  that  time  a  well  established  part  of  the  community. 
From  that  time  on,  in  their  growing  prosperity  in  trade,  in  the  fairs 
for  the  church,  their  minstrel  shows  and  St.  Patrick's  Day  dances, 
they  have  made  their  definite  contribution  to  the  community  life. 
In  1898,  a  minstrel  joke  was  current  in  the  town.  "Where  was 
Litchfield  a  hundred  years  ago?  In  Ireland,  the  greater  part  of 
it".  In  1879  a  gang  of  Italian  laborers  was  employed  on  the 
Goddard  farm,  and  about  ten  years  later  others  came  to  work  on 
the  new  water  system.  Whether  or  not  any  of  these  men  remained 
as  permanent  residents,  this  was  the  beginning  of  further  changes 
in  the  population  of  the  town.  There  are  now  many  Italians  in 
Litchfield,  contractors,  laborers  and  operatives;  and  of  late  a  num- 
ber of  Slavs  have  come  to  work  in  the  factories  at  Bantam  and 
in  some  cases  on  farms.  There  have  been  for  many  years  several 
families  of  German  and  Scandinavian  origin;  the  first  Chinaman 
appeared  in  1877;  and  there  are  now  several  Greeks.  So  much  for 
the  typical  New  England  community  of  the  twentieth  century. 

Dr.  Bostwick  has  spoken  of  the  growth  of  community  feeling  and 
public  spirit  in  the  last  half  centuiy.  It  is  interesting  to  trace 
it  in  its  various  manifestations. 

It  is  natural  that  one  of  the  first  community  enterprises  after 
the  Civil  War  should  have  been  the  plan  to  erect  a  suitable  memorial 
to  the  dead.  This  monument,  referred  to  in  Chapter  21,  was  erected 
on  the  green  in  1874.  In  1894  a  soldiers'  monument  was  also  erected 
in  the  West  Cemetery,  and  later  a  granite  "marker"  Avas  set  up  on 
Chestnut  Hill  to  mark  the  site  of  Camp  Dutton,  where  the  men 
encamped  before  leaving  for  the  scene  of  war.  For  many  years  the 
Seth  F.  Plumb  Post  of  the  Grand  Army  held  festivals  on  the  anni- 
versary of  Lee's  surrender  and  suitable  ceremonies  on  Memorial  Day. 
As  their  numbers  decreased  the  reunions  on  "Appomatox  Day"  were 
abandoned;  and  while  they  continued  to  keep  Memorial  Day,  it  was 
perhaps  natural,  that  to  the  general  public  it  should  become  merely 


another  holiday,  so  that  in  the  same  year  in  which  the  monument 
was  erected  in  West  Cemetery  an  entertainment  was  given  on  this 
day  at  which  a  farce  was  presented.  About  twenty  years  later  a 
different  feeling  arose,  and  a  Memorial  Day  Association  was  formed 
to  plan  suitable  ceremonies  for  the  day,  which  has  recently  regained 
its  old  significance. 

One  of  the  earliest  enterprises  after  the  war  was  the  Shepaug 
Valley  Kailroad.  The  charter  was  applied  for  in  1866,  and  the  Town 
in  1868  subscribed  for  a  block  of  the  stock.  In  1872  trains  were 
running,  but  were  discontinued  for  repairs  in  March.  The  time- 
table at  this  period  scheduled  trains  to  leave  Litchfield  at  8:30  and 
arrive  at  Hawleyville  at  11:30,  at  which  point  they  connected  with 
the  Housatonic  Kailroad.  The  length  of  the  journey,  how- 
ever, does  not  seem  to  have  disturbed  the  patrons  of  the  new 
road,  for  in  1879  excursions  to  Coney  Island  by  boat  from  Bridge- 
port were  popular.  In  these  days  of  motors  the  glory  of  the  rail- 
roads has  faded,  but  in  1894  the  "parlor  car"  run  for  the  summer 
passenger  service,  is  glowingly  described  in  the  Enquirer.  Its 
woodwork  was  of  quartered  oak,  its  upholstery  a  "beautiful  light 
blue".  Litchfield  never  knew  the  intermediate  stage  of  rapid 
transit  between  the  steam  railroad  and  the  automobile.  Agitation 
for  a  trolley  connection  from  Torrington  or  the  towns  further  south 
to  Bantam  Lake  occurred  frequently;  but  the  project  was  always 
defeated.  With  the  coming  of  the  cheap  automobile  we  are  made 
safe  from  such  an  invasion. 

The  telegraph  came  to  Litchfield  permanently  in  the  seventies, 
the  telephone  in  the  eighties.  The  part  the  latter  has  played  in 
knitting  the  community  together  is  a  large  one.  Not  only  has  it 
made  easy  the  neighborly  visits  by  telephone  which  are  possible  in 
a  rural  community  where  wires  are  not  perpetually  busy;  but  it 
has  made  us  increasingly  conscious  of  ourselves  as  units  in  a  group. 

Of  other  public  improvements,  Dr.  Bostwick  has  also  spoken; 
the  increased  tidiness  of  the  village,  the  labors  of  the  Village 
Improvement  Society  for  good  walks,  drainage  and  lighting.  All 
these  things  were  in  good  time  attained  through  the  efforts  of  public 
spirited  people. 

Schools  have  always  held  an  important  place  in  Litchfield  life. 
A  number  of  successful  private  institutions  have  existed  here,  but 
in  a  community  of  this  size  and  character  the  chief  interest  must 
and  should  centre  in  the  public  schools.  The  improvement  of  the 
school  system  was  much  discussed  in  the  eighties,  and  the  need  of 
a  new  school  building  in  the  Village.  Then  came  the  disastrous 
fires  of  1886  and  1888.  The  first,  beginning  in  the  wooden  build- 
ings on  South  and  West  Streets  swept  westward  and  was  stopped 
at  a  brick  building  thirty  feet  west  of  the  Court  House.  With  no 
organized  Fire  Department,  and  no  water  supply  but  the  neighbor- 
ing wells,  the  people  energetically  fought  the  fire,  protecting  them- 
selves from  the  heat  by  wet  umbrellas.       The  loss,  only  partially 

Mk.  Jiihx   Akkxt  \' 


Thk  Woi.cott  and  Litchfiki.Ii  CiRrur.ATtxG  Library.   1900, 

AND    THE    Sir.X-PoST    El.M 


covered  by  insurance,  was  about  $60,000;  and  (what  more  nearly 
touched  the  local  pride)  the  temporary  removal  of  the  Courts.  The 
school-house  was  also  destroyed,  so  the  question  of  a  new  building  was 
settled,  and  the  present  site  on  East  Street  bought,  and  shortly 
after   built   upon.  Temporary    baiTacks    were   erected   for   the 

merchants,  rebuilding  was  begun  at  once,  a  brick  block  erected  and 
the  motto  was  ''business  as  usual".  The  new  buildings  had  been 
completed  only  a  few  months  when  the  second  fire  swept  over  the 
business  area  spared  two  years  earlier  and  also  destroyed  the  newly 
erected  Court  House. 

In  the  following  year  the  installation  of  the  Avater  system  was 
begun,  a  Fire  Company  was  organized,  and  in  1891  the  company  was 
assembled  to  test  the  new  mains.  Then  Mr.  Deming  Perkins  came  as 
usual  to  the  fore  and  presented  to  the  Borough  the  use  of  a 
beautifully  equipped  building,  to  serve  not  only  as  a  shelter  for  the 
apparatus  but  as  a  club  for  the  men.  A  pool  room,  reading  room 
and  even  a  hospital  were  provided,  and  the  Fire  Department  has 
been  ever  since  not  only  a  protection  to  the  town  but  a  source  of 
enjoyment  to  its  members  and  to  the  community  at  large.  For  a 
number  of  years  a  weather  bureau  signal  station  was  also  main- 
tained at  this  building  and  the  weather  flags  were  familiar  to  the 
people  of  the  town.  Pool  matches,  bowling  contests,  parades  and 
entertainments  have  originated  there,  and  it  is  even  claimed  that  the 
exchange  of  hospitality  with  Kew  Milford's  Hose  Company  did  much 
to  alleviate  the  slight  tension  caused  by  rival  claims  of  the  towns 
concerned  to  the  honor  of  being  the  County  Seat.  A  few  years 
ago  the  efficiency  of  the  Department  was  further  increased  by  the 
gift  of  a  motor  chemical  engine,  presented  by  Mrs.  Godfrey  and 
Miss  Coe. 

In  1862  a  reading  room  had  been  established  in  the  town  with 
a  membership  fee  of  $5.00  a  year.  This  was  called  the  Litchfield 
Library  Association,  but  when  Mr.  J.  Huntington  Wolcott,  of  Boston, 
father  of  Governor  Roger  Wolcott,  generously  contributed  $300.  for 
the  purchase  of  books,  the  name  was  changed  to  the  Wolcott  Library 
Association.  The  Wolcott  family's  interest  in  the  library  was  mani- 
fested also  by  other  generous  gifts  at  various  times.  In  1870  a 
circulating  library  was  started  independently,  with  a  handful  of 
books.  In  1881.  through  the  courtesy  of  Mr.  George  C.  Woodruff, 
the  two  libraries  were  sheltered  under  a  common  roof  in  two  rooms 
of  "the  brick  building"  on  South  Street.  Ten  years  later  the  pres- 
ent commodious  library  building  was  planned  and  presented  to  these 
associations  by  Mr.  John  A.  Vanderpoel,  as  a  memorial  to  his 
grandmother,  Mrs.  William  Curtis  Noyes.  He  did  not  live  to  see 
it  finished.  In  1003.  the  two  libraries  were  merged  under  the 
name  of  The  Wolcott  and  Litchfield  Circulating  Library  Associa- 
tion. Since  that  time  Miss  Katharine  Baldwin  has  been  Librarian, 
and  it  is  largely  due  to  her  judgment  and  faithful  work  that  the 
librarv  ranks  as  a  model  of  what  the  public  library'  of  a  small 


village  should  be.  There  have  been  many  generous  gifts  to  the 
association,  notably  the  Maghee  Memorial  of  $10,000.  presented  by 
Mr.  William  Colgate,  and  the  Repair  Fund  of  $3,500,  raised  by  Mr. 
Abbott  Foster,  who  devoted  much  of  his  energy  to  the  improvement 
of  the  library.  In  1907  a  wing  was  added  to  the  library  build- 
ing by  Mrs.  Vanderpoel  to  complete  the  plan  projected  by  her 
son.  In  the  wing  are  housed  the  collections  of  the  Litchfield 
Historical  and  Scientific  Societies.  Other  societies  which  have 
contributed  to  the  broadening  of  community  interest  are  the 
Daughters  of  the  American  Revolution,  the  Men's  and  Women's 
Forums,  the  Garden  Club  and  the  Needle  and  Bobbin  Club.  The 
jMary  Floyd  Tallmadge  Chapter  of  the  Daughters  of  the  American 
Revolution  was  organized  about  twenty  years  ago  and  has  been 
active  in  collecting  records,  preserving  relics  of  our  revolutionary 
and  colonial  history,  holding  exhibits  and  aiding  and  abetting  other 
organizations  in  undertakings  to  further  the  public  good.  The  two 
Forums,  founded  respectively  in  1910  and  1914,  have  served  to  stimu- 
late the  exchange  of  opinion  and  ciystalize  their  common  thought. 
The  Garden  Club,  which  is  only  a  few  years  old,  besides  encourag- 
ing an  interest  in  gardening,  has  shared  in  various  measures  for 
beautifying  the  town,  and  has  recently  become  the  manager  of  the 
old  club  on  West  Street,  which  it  is  to  control  as  a  Playhouse  for 
the  benefit  of  the  community.  The  Needle  and  Bobbin  Club,  which 
is  younger  still,  is  collecting  examples  of  the  arts  of  the  needle  and 
bobbin,  and  offering  prizes  in  the  schools  for  skill  in  these  arts. 

Other  organizations  of  a  slightly  different  character  contribut- 
ing to  the  common  good,  are  the  Litchfield  County  Farm  Bureau,  and 
the  District  Nursing  Association.  The  Farm  Bureau  was  estab- 
lished in  1914.  Its  objects  as  stated  in  its  constitution  are:  "to 
promote  the  development  of  the  most  profitable  and  permanent 
system  of  agriculture;  the  most  wholesome  and  satisfactory  living 
conditions;  the  highest  ideals  in  home  and  community  life;  and  a 
genuine  interest  in  the  farm  business  and  rural  life  on  the  part 
of  the  boys  and  girls  and  young  people".  The  Nursing  Association 
was  founded  a  few  years  earlier  largely  through  the  efforts  of  Miss 
Harriet  M.  Richards.  In  1914  it  affiliated  with  the  Public  Health  Ser- 
vice of  the  Red  Cross.  It  has  done  much  excellent  work  in  dissemin- 
ating information,  providing  relief  and  instituting  medical  inspection 
in  the  schools ;  and  it  supports  a  nurse  who  does  public  health  nurs- 
ing throughout  the  township  at  a  very  moderate  fee.  When  Mrs. 
Philip  Hubbard  and  Miss  Adelaide  Deming  organized  the  Domestic 
Science  classes  in  the  school,  the  Nursing  Association  cooperated 
with  them  to  make  possible  the  hot  school  luncheon  for  the  children. 
When  the  influenza  epidemic  struck  Litchfield  in  the  autumn  of 
1918,  Miss  Richards,  ably  seconded  by  her  colleagues  in  the  asso- 
ciation, secured  permission  to  use  the  new  Country  Club  as  a 
hospital,  borrowetl  beds  and  bedding,  secured  extra  nurses,  and  Con- 
centratetl  there  the  patients,  who  otherwise  would  liiive  been  scat- 



^- \i-- \-.v,  ,Kv     (-....ia,;,  I'.  (■..-■,,  ,,KK^M->.      (Rcti;-fl; 


tered  about  the  township,  inadequately  cared  for,  because  of  the  sheer 
physical  diflficulties  of  the  situation.  On  this  occasion  Miss  Miriam 
Hubbard  did  yeoman  service  by  supplementing  the  inadequate  kit- 
chen of  the  club,  cooking  food  daily  at  home  and  sending  it  to  the 
hospital,  while  many  other  people  contributed  their  services  in 
numerous  ways.  In  the  days  before  America's  entry  into  the  war 
and  the  direction  of  all  energies  to  war  service,  the  association  also 
stood  sponsor  for  a  "Community  Centre",  at  which  numerous  classes 
were  conducted  by  a  number  of  volunteer  workers.  This  activity 
ceased  when  war  was  declared. 

Through  the  good  will  of  some  of  her  residents,  Litchfield  has  also 
been  a  centre  for  welfare  enterprises  of  a  general  nature.  In  1900, 
Miss  Mary  Buel  left  her  property  on  the  Goshen  road  to  the  organiza- 
tion now  known  as  the  Connecticut  Junior  Republic.  Original!}'  a 
branch  of  the  institution  at  Freeville,  N.  Y.,  the  Connecticut  Republic 
has  thriven  and  prospered  through  the  interest  and  generosity  of  its 
friends.  The  object  of  the  Republic  is  to  train  boys  for  citizen- 
ship through  the  practise  of  self-goverimient  under  wise  super- 
vision. Litchfield  people  have  always  been  interested  in  the  Repub- 
lic and  there  is  a  Litchfield  Aid  which  contributes  to  its  support. 
The  students  of  the  summer  camp  of  the  Columbia  School  of  Mines 
at  Bantam  Lake  have  for  a  number  of  years  given  entertainments 
at  Litchfield  for  its  benefit;  and  there  have  been  notable  private  con- 
tributions. Among  these  are  the  excellent  and  attractive  build- 
ings erected  in  1916-1917,  for  which  Mr.  Cass  Gilbert  contributed 
the  plans,  and  the  expenses  of  building  were  met  by  Mr.  William 
Colgate  and  Mr.  Roswell  P.  Angier  of  New  Haven. 

We  have  spoken  of  the  years  between  the  Civil  and  European 
Wars  as  fifty  years  of  peace.  They  were  however  broken  by  the 
brief  excitement  and  passing  anxiety  of  the  war  with  Spain.  The 
Red  Cross  was  of  course  active  in  relief.  The  number  of  Litchfield 
men  in  military  service  is  not  accurately  known.  Gail  Beckwith 
and  Edward  Wilson  enlisted.  Daniel  Hine  and  James  O'Rourke 
were  with  the  regulars.  Harold  and  George  Colvocoresses  served. 
Major  Wessells  who  distinguished  himself  at  Santiago,  was  of 
Litchfield  parentage.  But  the  chief  pride  of  Litchfield  in  the  war  was 
the  distinguished  service  of  Admiral — then  Lieutenant-Commander — 
George  P.  Colvocoresses,  who  was  executive  oft'icer  of  the  Concord  at 
Manila  Bay.  He  was  later  transferred  to  the  Olympia  and  returned 
to  America  Avith  Admiral  Dewey  in  the  autumn  of  1899.  His  return 
to  Litchfield  was  a  gala  occasion  for  the  town.  The  people  pre- 
sented him  with  a  sword,  and  though  he  had  made  the  re<iuest  that 
the  ceremonies  might  be  "as  simple  as  possible",  the  town  held 
high  holiday.  Houses  were  gay  with  flags  and  bunting,  salutes 
were  fired,  there  was  a  bonfire,  a  parade  and  appropriate  speeches; 


and  in  the  evening  serenades  by  the  band,  illuminations  and  fire- 
works. A  memorial  oak  was  planted  by  the  Admiral  with  a  silver 
trowel,  ordered  for  the  occasion  by  Miss  Mary  P.  Quincy. 

In  the  course  of  sixty  years  many  people  have  come  and  gone 
in  Litchfield;  new  houses  have  been  built  and  old  ones  altered  and 
restored,  and  many  have  changed  hands.  Of  all  the  houses  built 
in  this  time  none  perhaps  was  more  picturesquely  begun  than  that 
of  Miss  Mary  Quincy,  for  which  the  corner  stone  was  laid  with 
ceremony,  and  beneath  which  is  buried  a  box  containing  family 
papers  and  heirlooms. 

Of  the  people  who  lived  in  the  houses  it  is  difficult  for  the 
present  writer  to  speak.  There  are  many  people  now  living  in  the 
town  who  knew  and  loved  them,  and  to  whom  the  distinguished  men 
and  gracious  women  and  all  the  undistinguished  eager  life  of  the 
time  is  not  something  written  in  a  book,  but  a  keen  and  vivid 
memory.  Yet  here  and  there  in  the  printed  word  we  find  some 
glimpse  of  the  living  spirit.  When  Deming  Perkins  died  "all  the 
bells  tolled  for  him".  A  friend  of  Mrs.  Noyes  wrote,  "The  roses 
in  her  garden  and  every  good  cause  will  miss  her".  Against  the 
background  of  changing  events  we  see  in  the  records  of  the  day,  the 
distinguished  figures  of  George  C.  Woodruff,  Judge  Origen  S.  Sey- 
mour, Judge  Edward  W.  Seymour,  Governor  Charles  B.  Andrews 
and  the  winning  personality  of  Dr.  Henry  Buel.  Those  of  us  fortunate 
enough  to  remember  Mrs.  Edward  Seymour  dancing  the  "first  dance" 
in  a  room  full  of  young  people,  will  long  delight  in  that  memory  of 
grace  and  distinction.  Nor  shall  we  forget  the  delicate  vivacity 
of  Mrs.  Storrs  Seymour  or  Dr.  Seymour's  unaffected  kindliness. 
Old  age  in  Litchfield  is  a  gracious  thing  and  many  people  have  lived 
in  vigor  beyond  the  four  score  years  allotted.  Golden  weddings 
have  been  frequent.  In  the  Woodruff  and  Seymour  families  there 
were  six  such  anniversaries  between  1879  and  1919.  The  first 
was  that  of  Mr.  and  Mrs.  George  C.  Woodruff.  Mrs.  Woodruff  was 
the  sister  of  Judge  Origen  S.  Seymour  and  Mrs.  SejTnour  of  Mr. 
Woodruff.  In  1880  Judge  and  Mrs.  Seymour  kept  their  anniver- 
sary. In  1910  Mr.  and  Mrs.  George  M.  Woodruff  celebrated  theirs; 
in  the  following  year  Dr.  and  Mrs.  Storrs  O.  Seymour;  in  1913, 
Mr.  and  Mrs.  Charles  H.  Woodruff  and  in  1919,  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Morris 
W.  Seymour. 

Greek  legend  tells  us  that  there  were  once  two  old  people,  true 
lovers,  to  whom  the  gods  were  kind,  and  when  they  had  come  to  old 
age  they  were  turned  into  trees,  to  bear  winter  and  summer  together 
and  shelter  forever  the  home  they  had  loved.  It  is  far  from  Litch- 
field Hill  to  the  slopes  of  Parnassus.  Yet  in  Litchfield,  also,  the 
trees  bear  witness  to  the  spirit  of  the  men  who  were  here  before 
us,  who  planted  the  young  saplings  and  dreamed  of  beauty. 

The  two  hundred  years  of  Litchfield's  history  are  only  an  eddy 

Mmri.m-  W    Sl■.^•MMl 




in  the  wind  that  blows  down  the  years.  What  our  time  shall  add 
to  that  record  is  as  yet  uncertain.  Yet  human  life  is  forever  a 
miracle.      Our  lives  are  touched  by  the  spirits  of  the  past, 

"And  the  joy  we  felt  Avill  be  a  part  of  the  glory 

In  the  lover's  kiss  that  makes  the  old  couple's  story". 





assisted  by 


Table  of  Contents 


1.  Last  French  War  1762 

2.  War  of  the  Revolution  1775-1783 

3.  Civil  War  1861-1865 

4.  European  War     (1914)  1917-1918 


1.  Congr^ational  Church. 

2.  Protestant  Episcopal  Church 

3.  Methodist  Episcopal  Church 

4.  Baptist  Church 

5.  Roman  Catholic  Church 


1.  a.  United  States  Senators  from  Litchfield 
h.  Members  of  Congress. 

2.  a.  Governors  of  Connecticut 

b.  Members  of  the  Council 

c.  Members  of  the  State  Senate 

d.  Representatives 

e.  Delegates  to  Constitutional  Conventions 

3.  a.  Judges  of  Superior  Court  and  Supreme  Court  of  Errors 

b.  Chief  Justices  of  Supreme  Court  of  Errors 

c.  Presiding  Judges  of  Court  of  Common  Pleas 

d.  Associate  Judges  of  Court  of  Common  Pleas 

e.  Judges  of  Court  of  Common  Pleas 

f.  Judges  of  Probate 

g.  Commissioners  of  Superior  Court 
h.  Justices  of  the  Peace 

5.  a.  Sheriffs  of  the  County 

b.  Clerks  of  the  Superior  Court 

c.  County  Treasurers 

d.  Prosecuting  Attorneys 

e.  County  Commissioners 

6.  a.  Selectmen;     b.  Town   Clerks;        c.  Town   Treasurers; 
d.  Postmasters. 


1.  Original  Proprietors 

2.  First  Settlers 

3.  Selected  List  of  Students  at  Law  School  vidth  Offices  held. 






A.     HONOR  ROLL. 

1.    Last  French  War. 

The  following  names  are  copied  from  "A  Pay-Roil  for  Capt. 
Archibald  McNeile's  Company,  in  the  Second  Regiment  of  Connecti- 
cut Forces,  for  the  year  17G2",  which  is  on  file  in  the  Secretary's 
Oflfice,  Hartford.  It  is  not  to  be  inferred  that  all  the  members  of 
Captain  McNeil's  company  belonged  in  Litchfield.  Some  in  the 
list  are  recognized  as  residents  of  neighboring  towns. 

Archibald  McNeil,  Capt. 

Isaac  Moss,  ist  Lieut. 

Increase  Moseley,  2nd  Lieut. 

Elisha  Blinn,  Ensign 

Thomas  Catlin,  Sergt. 

Nathaniel  Taylor,  Sergt. 

Bezaleel  Beebe,  Sergt. 

Hezekiah  Lee,  Sergt. 

Archibald  McNeil  Jr.,  Serg^. 

Roger  Catlin,  Corp. 

William  Drinkwater,  Corp. 

Nathan  Stoddard,  Corp. 

James  Lassly,  Corp. 

Daniel  Barnes,  Drummer 

Jacob   Bartholomew,    Drummer 

Charles  Richards 

Samuel  Warner 

Samuel  Gipson 

Joseph  Jones 

John  Barrett 

John  Barrett  Jr. 

William  Forster 

Francis  Mazuzan 

Thomas  Wedge 

Reuben  Smith 

Jeremiah  Osborn 

Benjamin  Landon 

Isaac  Osborn 

Robert  Coe 

Adam  Mott 

Asahel   Hinman 

Roswell  Fuller 

Daniel  Grant 

William  Emons 

Moses  Stoddard 

Gideon   Smith 

Hezakiah  Leach 

Adam  Hurlbut 

Jeremiah  Harris 

Eli  Emons 
Alexander  Waugh 
Orange  Stoddard 
Ezekiel  Shepard 
Ozias  Hurlbut 
Daniel  Harris 
John  Collins 
Solomon  Palmer 
Jonathan  Smith. 
Jonathan  Phelps 
John  Cogswell 
Mark  Kenney 
Aaron  Thrall 
Timothy  Brown 
Roswell  Dart 
William  Bulford 
James  Manville 
Benjamin   Bissell 
David  Nichols 
Ichabod  Squire 
Comfort  Jackson 
Elisha  Walker 
Amos    Broughton 
Nathaniel  Lewis 
Levi    Bonny 
Thomas    Barker 
Samuel   Drinkwater 
Asahel    Gray 
Eliakim  Gibbs 
Samuel    Peet 
Ephraim   Smedley 
Edmund  Hawes 
Silas  Tucker 
Robert  Bell 
Thomas  Sherwood 
Ephraim  Knapp 
Titus  Tyler 
Thomas  Williams 
Justus   Seelye 


James  Francier  Thomas   Ranny 

George  Peet  Daniel  Hamilton 

Nathaniel  Bamum  Asahel  Hodge 

Adonijah  Roice  Daniel  Warner 

Elisha  Ingraham  Titus    Tolls 

Daniel  Hurlbut  John  Ripner 

Ebenezer  Blackman  Caleb  Nichols 

Domini  Douglas  John  Fryer 

Amos  Tolls  Ebenezer   Pickett 

2.    War  of  the  Kevolution,  1775-1783. 

The  following  list  is  taken  from  the  Honor  Roll  of  Litchfield 
County  Eevolutionary  Soldiers,  published  in  1912  by  the  Mary 
Floyd  Tallmadge  Chapter,  D.  A.  R.,  under  the  editorship  of  Miss 
Josephine  Ellis  Richards.  The  authorities  for  the  service  of  each 
man  will  be  found  in  that  monumental  work,  and  are  therefore  not 
repeated  here.  The  various  cemeteries  in  the  township  where  cer- 
tain of  the  men  are  known  to  have  been  buried  have  been  added. 
These  names  have  been  obtained  since  the  publication  of  the  Honor 
Roll,  by  another  committee  of  the  Mary  Floyd  Tallmadge  Chapter, 
of  which  Miss  Cornelia  Buxton  Smith  was  the  chairman.  The 
abbreviations  are  as  follows:  B.  for  Bantam,  E.  for  East,  F.  for 
FootvUle,  H.  for  Headquarters,  M.  for  Milton,  Mo.  for  Morris,  N.  for 
Northfield,  W.  for  West 

*Lived  elsewhere  at  the  time  of  the  war;  fPrison  Ship  Martyr; 
:tPrison  Ship  Survivor. 

Adams,  Col.  Andrew  (W)  Barns,   Sergt.   Enos    (F) 

Africa,  Cash  Bams,  Enos  2d 

Agard,  Hezekiah  Barns,  Enos  3d 

Alcock,   Giles  Bams,  Moses 

♦Allen,  Gen,  Ethan  Bams,  Orange  (F) 

*Allen,  Heman  Bates,  Ephraim 

Allen,  John    (E)  Batterson,    Stephen 

f  Allen,  Nathaniel  *Beach,   Barnias 

Aston,  Sergt  Elida  Beach,  Maj.  Miles 

Atwell,   Oliver  Beach,  Miles 

Bacon,  Ebenezer  f Beach,  Noah   (W) 

Bacon,  Nathaniel  Beach,  Wait 

Baldwin,  Abner  Beach,  Zophar 

Baldwin,  Ashbel   (Mo.)  Beebe,   Col.  Bezaleel    (W) 

Baldwin,   Isaac    (E)  Beecher,  Burr  (N) 

Baldwin,  James  (E)  Bend,  John 

Baldwin,   Samuel  W.  Benton,  Belah 

Barns,  Ambrose  Benton,  Nathaniel   (W) 

Barns,  Amos  Bill,   Elijah 

Barns,  Benjamin  Bingham,  Ozias 

Barns,  Daniel  Birge,   Benjamin    (H) 



Birge,  Beriah   (H) 
Birge,  James   (M) 
Bishop,  Luman 
Bissell,  Archelaus  (W) 
Bissell,  Benjamin  Sr.   (W) 
Bissell,   Sergt.  Benjamin 
Bissell,  Calvin  (W)