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History of the Town of Litchfield
From Nathaniel Benton's History of Herkimer County, 1856.


Contains that part of the county, bounded northerly, by Frankfort; westerly, by the bounds of the county; southerly, by Winfield; and easterly, by a line beginning at the southeast corner of Frankfort, and running thence south thirty degrees west, to the northeast corner of Winfield.

A part of Bayard's patent, and small portions of Staley's second tract, and Conrad Frank's patent, lay in this town.

This town was visited by the New Englanders, soon after the close of the revolutionary war, as were most of the other towns in the county, back from the river. None of the German population had fixed themselves within its limits, previous to that period. Elijah Snow, a native of Westbury, Massachusetts, seated on what is now called Whelock's hill, in 1786. This place was formerly known as Snowsbush. William Brewer, of Worcester, Mass., Ezekiel Goodale of Mass., John Andrews, Christopher Rider, from Connecticut, Ebenezer Drewry and John Everett, from New Hampshire, and John and Eleazer Crosby, from Connecticut, came into the town about the year 1787; Mr. Brewer is still living, and is the oldest inhabitant. A son of John Andrews, named after John C. Lake of New York, was the first child born in the town. Samuel Miller, from Connecticut, came into the town in 1788, and James Gage and Nathaniel Ball, from New Hampshire, arrived about the same period. Selah Holcomb, from Simsbury, Connecticut, settled in this town, in February, 1791. He died June 18th, 1854, aged 86 years. I have not been able to obtain any of the particulars relating to the lives of these pioneers, who opened the forests of Bayard's patent, except in respect of Capt. Holcomb. He was a farmer, sustained a good character, and exerted a good deal of influence among his townsmen. By a long life of persevering industry and economy, he accumulated considerable wealth. He was frequently elected to the local town offices. He exhibited all the traits of an excellent New England farmer. Litchfield may properly be called an agricultural town. The iron foundry, formerly established in this town several years ago, carried on for some time a pretty large business, in the manufacture of hollow ware, which in times of monetary pressure, was used in the barter trade of the country, and notes payable in iron ware of the Litchfield furnace were not unfrequent. There is now no necessity of resorting to this mode of traffic.

Cedarville, which is partly located in Columbia, and partly in this town, is the only village of which Litchfield can boast. Wealth and thrift surrounds the population of this town, in an equal degree with our other towns, where the pursuits of the farmer have been directed to grazing and dairying.