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Litchfield Town


Litchfield Town Hall is located at 74 West Street, Litchfield CT 06759; phone: 860-567-7561.

Beginnings [1, 2]

Litchfield was purchased from the Colony of Connecticut in 1719 by a company from Hartford, Windsor and Lebanon, and given town privileges. Settlement began the following year. The name was taken from Litchfield in the English Staffordshire. The town is a high hill country, broken by stream valleys. It has four centers: Litchfield village, which was made a borough in 1817 (originally an incorporated "village," the only instance in Connecticut;) the Borough of Bantam (1915) where at one time there was considerable manufacturing; Milton; and Northfield. There are large summer colonies in Litchfield.

The lands, then known as Bantam, that make up the township of Litchfield were bought from the Indians in 1715-1716 for 15 pounds. The town was incorporated in May, 1719, the village in 1818, and the borough of Litchfield was established in 1879.

In 1720-1721 the first settlers arrived and named the town Litchfield, after the old cathedral city of Litchfield in Staffordshire, England. Newcomers were not permitted to take up permanent residence until their characters were passed upon by the town fathers. Fears of Indian attack troubled the settlers; palisades were built around five houses to furnish protection in case of raids, and sentries were stationed at the edge of the village. In May of 1722, Captain Jacob Griswold, one of the founders, was attacked and taken captive by the Indians, but later escaped and returned to the village. The following August another villager, Joseph Harris, was captured and scalped by the Indians on a plain just west of the town, which became known as Harris plain.

  1. Edgar L. Heermance, compiler, The Connecticut Guide: What to See and Where to Find It, Connecticut Emergency Relief Commission, Hartford, 1935.
  2. Workers of the Federal Writers' Project, Works Progress Administration, Connecticut: A Guide to its Roads, Lore and People, Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, 1938.
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