25 June 2010

Capt. Daniel Litchfield [Sr.] and his brush with John Hancock



I found this in an online German auction a few months ago [http://www.autogramme.com : 20 Apr 2010]. Capt. Daniel Litchfield is my ancestor. Here is the text that accompanied it.


"John Hancock (1737-1793)
Merchant, statesman, and prominent Patriot of the American Revolution. He served as President of the Second Continental Congress and was the first Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. He is remembered for his large and stylish signature on the United States Declaration of Independence, so much so that "John Hancock" became, in the United States, a synonym for signature.


Revolutionary War Era Appointment of Daniel Litchfield, Gent. as Captain of the Tenth Company, Second Regiment of Militia, Plimoth (sic), under Col. William Turner, dated April 2, 1783 and boldly signed by both John Hancock as Governor and John Avery as Sec'y, with embossed paper seal upper left, in rigid archival sleeve, SS: 11x10.5 inch, 3 vertical & horizontal folds, small holes at the crossfolds, tones, minor foxing. Docked on reverse with witness to oath of office. Daniel Litchfield was from Scituate, had already served as a Private in Capt. Hayward Pierce's Company, Col. Cushing's Regiment, marched to Bristol, RI on the alarm of Dec 1776, later Capt Bonney's Company, Col Sparhawk's Regt, at Castle Island Oct-Dec 1778. Rare !
Preis: 4500  Euro  ID:21418"


Wow! That's a lot of money: 4,500 Euros is about $5,574!! I obviously did not purchase it. If it weren't a John Hancock signature, of course, it wouldn't be worth more than a couple of hundred dollars. But it's a great piece of evidence in my Barnes family history archive. Daniel Litchfield was always referred to as Capt. Dan'l, but I couldn't figure out why. Mass. Soldiers and Sailors doesn't mention this! The only two entries for him are these:


Volume 9page 860
LitchfieldDaniel. Private, Capt. Hayward Peirce's co., Col. John Cushing's (2d Plymouth Co.) regt.; service, 15 days; company ordered to march to Bristol, R. I., on an alarm in Dec., 1776; roll dated Scituate; also, Capt. Ichabod Bonney's co., Col. Nathan Sparhawk's regt.; marched Oct. 5, 1778; service, 1 mo. 15 days, at Castle Island; travel home (4 days) allowed; company discharged Dec. 11, 1778.
Volume 9
page 864
LitchfieldDaniel, Scituate. Private, Capt. Samuel Stockbridge's co. of Minute-men, Col. Bailey's regt., which marched on the alarm of April 19, 1775; service, 21 days.


The Litchfield Family in America has this to say about him: “A large and imposing man with a ‘deep, gruff voice,’ he ‘lived in that part of Scituate facetiously...called ‘Sodom,’ of which he was wont to say jocosely that he was King.’ Daniel was a natural leader who filled important public offices including one year as representative to the General Court (1785); he also served as a private in Capt. Pierce’s company of minutemen.” [Wilford J. Litchfield, The Litchfield Family in America, 1630-1900, 5 booklets bound together, v. (Scituate, Massachusetts: Wilford J. Litchfield, 1901-06), 283-300.] This is a great book, by the way, and has much more on him.


He held a position of great respect in Scituate and a memorial to him stands not far from the graves of my other ancestors, including my own parents. My brother bought a house that was built on the site of Capt. Dan'l's house (the Captain's house burned), and coincidentally, that house abuts the cemetery, Mt. Hope in the West End of Scituate. My brother is also buried in that cemetery. 


I found his signature on Footnote.com in the Revolutionary War pension of Samuel Hyland. [NARA M804, Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, Mass. Pension Number: S. 32,880.]

1 comment:

Keri Jones O'Donnell said...

I too am a descendant of Capt. Daniel Webster Litchfield through his son Azotus. WOW! Thank you for posting this information.

Keri Jones O'Donnell