Early Settlers of Litchfield
In the petition for incorporation, signed by Aquila Underwood in behalf of the town, dated May, 1734, it is said " that they have supported a minister for some time." This was probably Rev. Joshua Tafts, who settled in 1736, and dismissed in 1744. January 2, 1765, Rev. Samuel Cotton, of Newton, was ordained, — dismissed in 1784, and died at Claremont 1819. A Presbyterian church was formed 1819, and Rev. Nathaniel Kenedy ordained April 12, 1809. He was dismissed April, 1812. Rev. Enoch Pillsbury was ordained October 25, 1815, and died February 15, 1818, aged 34. In 1825, Rev. John Shirer was minister. Rev. Mr. Porter was ordained as pastor in 1845.
In the French war of 1786, Litchfield had two soldiers at least in the army, Timothy Barron and William Barron. During the Revolutionary war also, Litchfield furnished its proportion of soldiers for the army. It contained 57 males between sixteen and fifty years of age, and its annual proportion of soldiers furnished was seven.
December 4, 1784, died Hon. Wiseman Claggett. He was born at Bristol, England, in 1721, and his father was a wealthy barrister at law.— He was educated at the Inns of Court and admitted as barrister of the Kings' bench. In 1748, he went to Antigua, in the west Indies, to seek his fortune, where he remained about 10 years. In 1758, he emigrated to New England, and established himself at Portsmouth, N. H. In 1775, he was appointed Attorney General of the Province by the royal commission, which he held until 1769, having been superseded by Samuel Livermore, on account of his attachment to the cause of the people. In 1772, he purchased a farm at Litchfield and removed there with his family.
On the adoption of the Constitution of January 5,1776, Mr. Claggett was appointed solicitor General of the State, an office which he held until his death. He was chosen a member of the Council for 1776, and appointed soon after a member of the Committee of Safety. He often represented Litchfield in the General Court, and was once chosen from Merrimac and Bedford, the law not requiring the representative to be an inhabitant of the town to which he is elected. He was a classical scholar, a good lawyer, a wit and a poet.
Dr. Jonathan Parker was also a resident of Litchfield. He graduated at Harvard College in 1762, and was a physician of considerable eminence.
Hon. James Underwood was for several years, about 1793, a Judge of the Court of Common Pleas, for this County.
The following is a list of representatives to the General Court from Litchfield, from 1775 to 1780, and since 1793:
Wiseman Claggett and Lt. Samuel Chase, April 1775.
Capt. John Parker, May, 1775.
Wiseman Claggett, December, 1775 and 1776.
James Underwood, for Litchfield and Hudson, 1775.
Samuel Chase, for Litchfield and Hudson, 1780.
John Webster, 1793.
Robert Parker, 1794, 1806.
Isaac Huse, 1795, 1807.
Clifton Claggett, 1800, 1802.
Samuel Chase, Jr., 1804.
S. P. Kidder, 1805.
Simeon Kendall, 1808, 1810.
Joseph Moor, 1809.
Thomas Bixby, 1812, 1814.
Joseph Chase Jr., 1816, 1817, 1818, 1824, 1825.
Simeon McQuesten, 1819, 1820.
Jonathan Abbott, 1821, 1822, 1823.
Moses Chase, 1826, 1827, 1832, 1833.
Joseph Richardson, 1828, 1829, 1830, 1831.
Samuel Corning Jr., 1835, 1836.
Abel G. Quigg, 1837, 1838.
Joshua Marsh, 1839, 1840.
Parker Bixby, 1841, 1842.
Moses Chase, 1843.
Isaac McQuesten, 1844, 1845.
Source: History of the Old Township of Dunstable: Including Nashua, Nashville, Hollis, Hudson, Litchfield and Merrimac, N. H.
By: Charles J. Fox
Transcribed and submitted by: Helen Coughlin
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