Litchfield Historical Trivia
cereal was named after a Litchfield native? answer: Ottis Kenneth Berry, hence the OK's. OK was one
of three sons of Frank and Adelia (Pearl) Stevens Berry. OK attended
Litchfield Academy and eventually became one of the executives of General Mills,
the company that produces several cereals, one of which resembled Cheerios quite
a bit and was called OK's. OK Berry owned the farm on the Plains Road
where Richard Beal farms now. He also owned the beautiful Robinson place
on the Upper Pond Road where Helen Holman lives and the brown ranch (newer,
retirement home) on the Plains Road beside the paved camp road to Pleasant Pond
where his camp was located.
There is only one known recipient of The Congressional Medal of Honor buried in Litchfield. Can you name him and the war in which he served? answer: Andrew Jackson Tozier, commonly known as A.J. Tozier, Sr., was born in Monmouth, Maine, on February 11, 1839. He was son of John H. Tozier and Cathirza (Arno) (Cushman) Tozier. When he was a child, his family removed to Plymouth, Maine, and at about the age of ten years Andrew left home and went to sea. He returned home in 1861 and enlisted in the Company F of the 2nd Maine Infantry Volunteers.
A.J. Tozier is best known for his actions on Little Round Top during the battle of Gettysburg which resulted in his being awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. It should be noted, however, that prior to his transfer to the 20th Maine Infantry Volunteers and the battle of Gettysburg, A.J. Tozier had experienced an incredible amount of combat. He had been wounded four times, taken prisoner by the Confederates, paroled by the Confederates to a hospital in Richmond, Virginia, and returned by a prisoner exchange to the Union Army. He would suffer from the effects of his wounds for the rest of his life - particularly from a Minie ball which lodged in his skull behind his ear.
After his discharge, A.J. married Elizabeth "Lizzie" Bolden of Litchfield. He and his family lived for a time with his former commanding officer, Joshua Chamberlain, who was then the president of Bowdoin College. He would later purchase a farm in Litchfield on Hardscrabble Road. He died in 1910 and is buried in the Litchfield Plains Cemetery. Among his descendents still living in Litchfield are: Helen (Tozier) Allen, Marlene (Tozier) Cook, and Lorraine (Woodman) Kenny.
Much more information about this remarkable man is available through the Historical Society of Litchfield.
It is possible that A.J. Tozier is in the picture of the Civil War Monument Dedication.
What prominent, post Civil War Litchfield resident may have arrived here via the Underground Railroad? answer
Many know that Litchfield was once called Smithfield. Do you know a third name used in the 18th century? answer: No one knows who first used "Fairfield" to describe the town that eventually became Litchfield. By the Census of 1790 the town was called Smithfield Plantation. The presence of two, prominent and apparently unrelated Smith families is the likely explanation for this name.
"Swingling" was a task performed in connection with what crop grown in early Litchfield? answer: Swingling was a process in the production of flax. A swingle was a “wooden sword” with which the flax stalks were beaten. Flax, from which linen cloth was woven, was an important crop for many early Litchfield residents.
In pre Civil War Litchfield, many residents took the Washingtonian Pledge. What were they Pledging? answer: The Washingtonian Pledge was a pledge to abstain from the consumption of alcohol. Members of the Society held regular meetings at which testimony was given by both those who had kept the pledge and those who had broken it.
Present day Buker, Sand, and Woodbury Ponds originally had the same name. What was it? answer: Purgatory Ponds
Early Litchfield was much larger than today’s town. Can you name three towns which claimed pieces of the original Litchfield? answer: Wales, West Gardiner and Richmond.
Before bridges were built, ferries crossed Cobbossee Stream from three “landings”. Can you name the landings on the following roads: Dennis Hill, Lunt’s Hill, and Pond. answer: The three landings were Lord's or Wharff's, Bouffee's and Allard's
Which of Litchfield’s several lakes and ponds was once known as, “Cabot’s Great Pond”? answer: Cobbosseecontee Lake was originally known as Cabot's Great Pond.
Litchfield has produced many heroes. Can you name the farm boy who did the following: Prepared himself for Bowdoin College, went to California as a ‘49er, earned degrees from Bowdoin and Harvard Divinity School, served in the Union army as both a chaplain and line officer, and gave his life at the battle of Cold Harbor? answer
Hiram Elmer Shorey, one of the founders of Rotary International, is one of Litchfield’s most famous sons. What was his occupation? answer
Before the Civil War, Litchfield was the home of two college preparatory boarding schools. Can you name them? answer: The two college preparatory boarding schools were Litchfield Academy and the Litchfield Liberal Institute. Read more about these schools Early Schools of Litchfield and see the school catalog for the Liberal Institute.
Eighty five years
ago, Litchfield was serviced by commuter rail which linked it with
Lewiston/Auburn, Augusta, and Waterville. What was the name of this
rail line? answer:
The Lewiston, Augusta, and Waterville Street Railway.
When early Litchfield records referred to, “The Pond”, which of
Litchfield’s many ponds was it? answer: Pleasant Pond which in early Litchfield records was called Cobbosseeconte Pond.
When early Litchfield records referred to, “The Pond”, which of Litchfield’s many ponds was it? answer: Pleasant Pond which in early Litchfield records was called Cobbosseeconte Pond.
Early settlers of Litchfield were required to mark their live stock for identification and have the mark recorded in the town records. How was this done? answer: Notches or other marks were cut into the animals ears to show ownership and registered at the town office.
Water from all of Litchfield’s great ponds ends up in what common destination? answer: The Kennebec River.
Cobbosseecontee is derived from the Native American word for what fish? answer: Sturgeon.
The earliest known map of Litchfield (then Smithfield) had but a single road. This road, then called the County Road, still exists. Can you name it? answer: the Hallowell Road.
In 1803 the selectmen of Litchfield divided the town into three religious districts. The North Baptists, the Congregationalists, and the East Baptists. Which one never built a church? answer: The East Baptists did not build their own church.
Which early settler of Litchfield seems to have fought on both sides in the Revolutionary War and was clever enough to be perhaps the first ‘double dipper’? (He got a pension from both sides.) answer: John Britt
The section of Litchfield known as “The Plains” had another name which derived from an early family who owned much of the land in that part of town. What was the name? answer: Pottertown.
Litchfield lost two thirds of its population in the century following the Civil War. Which 20th century Census records Litchfield's lowest modern population and what was that population? answer: In 1940 the Census reported Litchfield's population as 722.
Few people know that Litchfield once had a gold mine. What was its location? answer: Oak Hill
The Patten Mill Bridge crossed what stream? answer: The Magotty Meadows Brook.
Early Settlers of Litchfield used wood to heat their houses and cook their food. Which three available hardwoods provided the most BTU’s per cord. answer: hornbeam, beech, and sugar maple
In the early days, the area north of Purgatory belonged to Litchfield (now shared with West Gardiner). What was this area commonly called? answer: The Neck.
Litchfield once had water-powered carding and fulling mills. These were associated with the manufacture of what product? answer: The manufacture of woolen textiles.
What is the current name of a stream once known as Jack stream? answer: Maggoty Meadow Brook.
Most of the eastern shore of Upper Pleasant Pond was taken from Litchfield and given to Richmond. Richmond Corner, however, was formerly part of what town? answer: Richmond Corner was formerly part of Bowdoinham
In 1905, Litchfield Academy had an active Philomatheon Society. What was their avowed purpose? answer: The avowed purpose was to promote a love of learning.
Granite from Litchfield was used to construct what architecturally significant church in Gardiner? answer: The Christ Episcopal Church
Before the Thorofare causeway and bridge were built, what ferry connected the western and eastern shores of what is now called Pleasant Pond? answer: The Peacock Tavern Ferry
The broad axe was an important tool for early settlers of Litchfield. Apart from being wider, how did the broad axe differ from felling axes? answer: The broad axe was sharpened on only one side. It could be used to “square off” the sides of a round log
What road, now discontinued, connected the Pine Tree Road and the Stevens Town Road? answer: Lunt’s Hill Road
When Litchfield was incorporated, it was part of what county? answer: Litchfield was part of Lincoln county when first incorporated, now it is part of Kennebec County.
Litchfield’s neighbor, Gardiner, was originally the West Parish of what town? answer: Pittston.
What Litchfield farm boy went on to marry a British Admiral’s daughter, captain a ship transporting British convicts to Australia, and to make a fortune in the Australian whaling industry which he pioneered? answer: Eber Bunker
Early Litchfield surveyors measured land in units of rods and chains. A rod was sixteen and one half feet. How long was a chain? answer: A chain was four rods or sixty six feet.
If an early settler bought ten square chains of land, what would that be in today’s measure? answer: In today's measure ten square chains of land is one acre.
What locally available wood, because of its stringy nature, was favored for the “tie-ups” in early Litchfield barns. answer: Because of its stringy nature, Elm was used for the "tie-ups" in barns.
The Plains Baptist Church was called a “Free Baptist Church”. What did this mean? answer: Free Will Baptist Church which indicated that they did not believe in “predestination” which was adhered to by Calvanist churches.
Early graves all over New England, including Litchfield, buried bodies on an East/West axis with the head to the West. Why was this? answer: If the deceased sat up at the second coming, they could see the sun rise.
Around 1810 a significant number of Litchfield residents moved north to what town on the Kennebec River? answer: Moscow
The term “relict of” appears on many early gravestones. What did this mean? answer: The term “relict of” mean "wife of"
The upper and lower sections of Potter Brook
have had various names over time. What were they?
answer: The upper was called Ashford Brook, Libby
Mill Brook, and Loon Pond Brook. The Lower was called Hatch stream.
In early deeds and records, the intersection of two roads was called a “corner”. It was further identified with the name of a family living at the corner. What three names have been used to identify the intersection of the Upper Pond and Plains Roads? answer: At different times the corner of Upper Pond Road and Plains Road has been called Ridley, Hatch, and Ring
The “Grant Neighborhood”, which had a school and a cemetery named for it, was on what road in Litchfield? answer: Pine Tree Road.
What early Litchfield family built a tavern which still stands in Bowdoin on the old coach road between Topsham and Hallowell? answer: The Barnabus Baker family
Several prominent early Litchfield families came to Litchfield from what town in Nova Scotia? answer: From Barrington, Nova Scotia.
What early settler of Litchfield disobeyed orders and changed the name of the town from Smithfield to Litchfield? answer: Samuel Hutchinson
On what present-day road was the old Cook Neighborhood located? answer: The Small Road.
Which of the following early Litchfield water-powered mills produced an edible product? answer: The early water-powered grist mills produced an edible product such as flour
What long discontinued road once connected the South end of the Adams Road with present day RT. 197? answer: The Patten Woods Road
The portion of Cobbossee Stream between Pleasant Pond and Cobbossee Lake was originally called what? answer: The Winthrop Stream.
The area around Bachelder’s Corner is often
referred to as “The North”. In early maps, (1856 and 1879), how is
this area identified. answer: South Litchfield.
In early town records, the term “Jr.” could have two meanings. First, a son with the same name as his father. What was the second? answer: The term "junior" could also mean the younger of any two men in the town with the same name.
What very hard wood, native to Litchfield, was commonly called “iron wood” by early settlers who used it for wheel hubs and mallets. answer: Hop Hornbeam was called "Iron Wood".
Early town records show that the two biggest budget items were roads and schools. What was the third largest item? answer: The keeping of the poor.
What 19th century Litchfield couple have their portrait hanging in the Portland Museum of Art? answer: James and Sally (Stevens) Lord's
Early Colonial records show that the term “a gate” was used as a measure of land. How big was a “gate” of land? answer: A "gate" is as much land as could be plowed by one ox in a day.
The present day Lunt’s Hill Road was, in early records, called what? answer: The Boffee Road.
What Litchfield farm boy went to Bowdoin Medical School, was chosen and impeached as Kansas’ first Secretary of State, and died in the Civil War at the age of 39? answer: John W. Robinson
The Litchfield Town Farm or “Poor Farm” was located on what road? answer: Huntington Hill Road
The Reverend Alexander Hatch Morrell, a pastor of the Litchfield Plains Baptist Church, was the grandfather of what famous movie star? answer: Bette Davis
In early Litchfield oxen far outnumbered horses as draft animals. Why was this? answer: Oxen were far cheaper and much more readily available.
A year in the early 1800’s saw snow in July and major crop losses in Litchfield. What caused this “Year without summer”? answer: A far-distant volcanic eruption
What one room school house was located on what is now called the South Adams Road? answer: The Patten School
Litchfield once had two college preparatory boarding schools. Which of the schools was favored by the town’s Baptists? answer: The Litchfield Liberal Institute
What pond was the source of the Libby Mill Stream? answer: Loon Pond
In early Litchfield, sugar maples were often called “rock maples”. Why was this? answer: Lichen on the bark of the trees often made them look much like lichen covered stone.
Some early lots laid out from the Kennebec River were one mile deep and 125 poles wide. How many acres were in those lots? answer: The lots were 250 acres.
In early wills and legal documents the term
“my cousin” sometimes had an unexpected and confusing meaning. What
was it? answer: “my cousin”
sometimes meant my nephew.”
When Litchfield was first settled some large pine trees had an arrow carved into the bark. What did this signify? answer: During colonial times, trees so marked were the property of the King of England and were reserved as mast trees for the Royal Navy.
To an early Litchfield settler, “Not worth a Continental” would have referred to what? answer: Their almost worthless pay as soldiers in the Continental Army.
What present day Litchfield pond was originally called Cobbossee Conte Pond? answer: Pleasant Pond
What town sued the Gardiner family for
building the first dam across Winthrop Stream (now Cobbosseecontee
Stream) and why did they sue? answer:
Winthrop sued because the dam stopped
sea-run fish from reaching Cabots Great Pond (now Cobbosseecontee
Litchfield’s early settlers could have caught only one of the following fish in Litchfield waters : large-mouth bass, brown trout, brook trout. Which one? answer: Brook trout was the only type of fish in Litchfield waters.
What very hard wood, commonly called “iron wood”, was used by early settlers for wagon hubs and mallets? answer: Hornbeam
The Toothakers were a prominent family in early Litchfield. The name had nothing to do with a trip to the dentist. What was its derivation? answer: Most likely the name Toothaker derived from a Middle English word for church yard warden.
Litchfield Corner once had a “factory” which used iron pots to extract the lye from wood ash. What was the product of this factory? answer: Potash
In early Litchfield, trees of the larch family were commonly called hackmatack. This was derived from an Abanaki word meaning what? answer: Snowshoe wood
If your ancestor had lived in Litchfield’s Thurlow neighborhood on what present day road would they have lived? answer: The Ferin Road.
Early Litchfield schools had three major expense items: A. Teacher’s Salary, B. Teacher’s Board, C. Cost of wood to heat the school. Can you put them in order from smallest to largest? answer: A - Teacher's Salary, C - Cost of wood to heat the school, B - Teacher’s Board.
The intersection of the Richmond Road and the Dead River road was formerly called what “corner”? answer: Robinson’s Corner.
Andrew Jack, the progenitor of Litchfield’s Jack families, lived on what present day road? answer: The Huff’s Mill Road.
Early Litchfield had three distinct Smith families represented by : Heman Smith, Benjamin Smith, and Eliphalet Smith. Which of these men descended from Stephen Hopkins of the Mayflower? answer: Benjamin Smith
At least five early Litchfield families had names derived from occupations. How many can you name? answer: Cook, Potter, Miller, Baker, Cooper.
Early settlers went to a lot of work and bother to produce potash. For what purpose was the potash produced? answer: Potash is fertilizer
Early Litchfield’s neighboring town of “Pond Town” preceded Litchfield by nearly a decade. At least two present day towns were originally part of “Pond town”. Can you name them? answer: Winthrop and Readfield
In the 1840’s hundreds of Litchfield residents belonged to, “Washingtonian Societies”. What was the avowed purpose of these Societies? answer: Prohibition of alcohol consumption.
The "Libby Mill Stream" of early Litchfield
records referred to what present day stream?
answer: Potter Brook
Which of Litchfield’s four early villages never had a church building? answer: Purgatory village
What Litchfield family’s mill was connected to the Hallowell Road by the Old Mill Road ? answer: Elias Plimpton had his hoe and fork factory there.
Which of these Litchfield Roads did not exist before 1880 : Huff’s Mill Road, Lunts’s Hill Road, or Wentzell Road? answer: Wentzell Road
Litchfield once had at least fifteen known privately maintained cemeteries. Today, all but one are maintained at town expense. Which one is still privately maintained? answer: The Litchfield Plains Cemetery
In early Litchfield, an elected official over-saw the work of coopers. What was his title? answer: "Culler of Hoops and Staves"
Since winter burials were impossible, at least three early Litchfield families built tombs for their dead. Can you name the families? (Clue: They all begin with “P”.) answer: The families were Plimpton, Potter and Patten.
Before the “Poor Farm” was established in the 1840’s, how did Litchfield provide for its poor residents? answer: Individuals identified as “paupers” had their care for the following year put out to bid at the town meeting
In the early 1800’s the selectmen divided Litchfield up into three religious districts: The North Baptists, the South Baptists, and the Congregationalists. Which of these never had an ordained clergyman or a church building? answer: The South Baptists, whose district centered around the Upper Pond Road.
State law requires the town to maintain Litchfield’s old private cemeteries if what requirement is met? answer: A veteran is buried in the cemetery.
Early Litchfield settlers who came by water often traveled up the Kennebec River to a place known to Native Americans as bombahook. What would that destination be known as today? answer: Hallowell
Before the Thorofare causeway was built, a "ferry" crossed Pleasant Pond. What was the name of the family that ran the ferry? answer: Peacock
What early Litchfield settler build a tavern near Litchfield Corner that was later known as Chase’s Tavern? answer: Barnabus Baker, Jr.
The Peacock Tavern which still stands on RT 201, was before 1820 in easy walking distance of what three towns? answer: Litchfield, Pittston, and Bowdoinham
Only two of Litchfield’s earliest settlers were honored with the title, “Esquire”. Who were they? answer:
Which of the three Purgatory Ponds was not named for a Litchfield family? answer: Sand Pond
Ephriam Ballard, the husband of the famous midwife, Martha Ballard, was attacked by some early Litchfield settlers. What provoked the attack? answer: Ephriam Ballard was attempting to survey Litchfield for the Kennebec Proprietors.
When researching records in early New England, dates often have two years, ie. November 1, 1722/23. Why is this? answer: Parts of Europe in the 1700’s changed from the Julian (Old Style) to the Gregorian (New Style) calendar before England changed in 1751. One year is Old Style and one year is New Style.
Under the “old style“, Julian Calendar, what was New Years Day in our calendar? answer: March 25th.
Andrew Jackson Tozier, a resident of Litchfield and the recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor, was the National Color Sergeant of what Civil War Veterans organization? answer: The Union Veterans Legion.
Some of Litchfield’s Civil War veterans joined the Grand Army of the Republic and some joined the Union Veterans Legion. How did these organizations differ? answer: The Union Veterans Legion required at least two years of military service. The GAR would accept any amount of service.
Litchfield men who fought in the Civil War were issued a Kepi. What was This? answer: a forage cap
A Civil War soldier’s unit could be identified by a colored symbol found on the top of their cap and on their unit’s flag. What was the symbol worn by A.J. Tozier and the 20th Maine at Gettysburg? answer: A red Maltese Cross.
Most early Litchfield Settlers supported “Quieting Acts” in the Massachusetts legislature. Why? answer: These acts lowered the cost of the land that settlers would have to buy from the Proprietors.
Which political party, the Federalist or the Jefferson1an, was supported by early Litchfield leaders such as James Shurtleff? Why did they support this party? answer: The Jeffersonian Party was supported because it favored separating Maine from Massachusetts.
The vast majority of workers in early Litchfield were paid in barter, not cash. What would have been a typical daily wage for those paid in cash? answer: Fifty cents a day.
If an early settler of Litchfield said that an animal, “wasn’t worth its salt” what did that mean? answer: The meat from the animal wouldn’t be equal to the cost of the salt to preserve the meat
In early Litchfield, what is now the Small Road had a different name. What was it?” answer: The Cook Road.
The Shurtleff Bridge crossed the stream between what two present day ponds? answer: Jimmy and Buker Ponds.
An 1820’s Town Meeting record describes a road as follows, “From John Patten’s to Potter Mills” In today’s Litchfield, that road would consist of what three present day roads? answer: South Adams, North Adams, and Small Roads.
The saw used in early water-powered mills was called a “frame saw”. How did it differ from saws used in today’s saw mills? answer: A frame saw was an “up and down” or “rip” saw. Modern mills use a circular saw.
What was the post office at “The North” called? answer: The South Litchfield Post Office.
What was the source of the stream known variously as, Libby Mill Stream, Potter Mill Stream, and Hatch Stream? Answer: Loon Pond.
The present day Dennis Hill road crosses a bridge over Cobbossee Stream. Before the bridge was built, the “Landing” had two different names. What were they? answer: Lord’s Landing and Wharf’s Landing.
The Litchfield village called ,”The Plains” was in an earlier time named for what prominent family of early settlers? answer: The Potter family. The village was called Pottertown.
Many of Litchfield’s early settlers arrived by way of the Kennebec river. This river probably gets its name from the Abenaki word, kinibiki. What was the meaning of that word? answer: “Place of dragons”.
Which of these “modern” inventions came to
Litchfield first? A locally registered Automobile, a railroad, or a
telephone? answer: A railroad in 1908.
Maine’s oldest houses did not have floor boards measuring over twenty-four inches in width. Why was this? answer: Under British law trees twenty-four inches or greater at the butt were designated “mast trees” and could not be cut.
What early Litchfield occupation would be associated with “shooks”? answer: A “shook” was a bundle of barrel staves. The occupation was a cooper.
What famous son of Litchfield provided the following bit of wisdom, "If you move to a place where there is no Maine man, move on as he did!" answer: Hiram E. Shorey
The leaf of the white oak, highly prized and plentiful in early Litchfield, differs in what way from the still common red oak? answer: The lobes on a white oak leaf are rounded, not pointed like the red oak.
One hundred or so years ago, Litchfield residents referred to a common and bothersome plant as “mercury”. What do we call it today? answer: Poison Ivy.
Someone traveling to 18th century Litchfield might well have passed through three Maine towns: New Boston, New Town, and New Marblehead. What are these towns called today? answer: Gray, Pownal, and Windham
The Chase Tavern was located in Bowdoin near the Litchfield line. That tavern was originally built by what early Litchfield settler? answer: Barnabus Baker