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tlToton of Hitcttieto, Connecticut 1720-1920



Alain C. White





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 inhabitants.

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-


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



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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 exact.

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 streets.

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