John Littlefield

John LITTLEFIELD (1624 – 1697) was Alex’s 9th Great Grandfather; one of 1,024 in this generation of the Shaw line.

John Littlefield was baptized on 1 Nov 1624 in Titchfield, Hampshire, England.  His parents were Edmund LITTLEFIELD and Annis AUSTIN.  Alternatively, his mother’s first name was Annis or Agnes. He emigrated with his mother to Boston in 1638 aboard the ship “Bevis” commanded by Capt. Townes. She came with two servants, Hugh Durdal and John Knight and six children  John’s family settled at Exeter, NH and were some of the first settlers in Wells, Maine  where John was successively constable, lieutenant (29 May 1668), placed in command at Wells, ME (1675) and captain (1690).    He may have married Mary Mere about 1650. After Mary died, he married Patience WAKEFIELD about 1660 in Wells, Maine.  John died on 9 Feb 1696/97 in Wells, Maine. Alternatively, he married Patience Wakefield about 1655 in Gloucester, Mass.

John Littlefield was one of the first residents of Wells, Maine.  In 1641 he had a grant of land with his brother-in-law John Wakefield  from John Cleaves at the mouth of the Mousam River, where he made his home. Mousam River

Patience Wakefield was about 1630 in Titchfield, Hampshire, England. Her parents may have been John WAKEFIELD and Mary SAWKIN.  See her father’s page for details. Many genealogies say Patience died on 13 Jan 1674/75 in Wrentham, Norfolk, Mass., but other accounts  say she was alive at the time of John’s death in 1697.  Furthermore, daughter Elizabeth was born in 1678.

Partial Passenger List of the Bevis 1638

Mrs. Anges Littlefield…38..from ?…to Wells, Maine,  John-14; Elizabeth-11; Mary-8; Thomas-5; Anne-5; Francis-2 John Knight…carpenter, servant, Hugh Durdal…servant
Richard Dummer….40 of Bishopstoke, Hants..gentleman…to Newbury
Mrs. Alice Dummer…35 Thomas-19; Joan-19; Jane-10; Dorthy-6; Richard-4; Thomas-2
Stephen Dummer…of Bishopstoke, Hants, husbandman…to Newbury and with him came:
John HUTCHINSON…30, servant; carpenter
Francis ALCOCK…26..servant [coincidentally, Francis and John later married and became our ancestors]
Adam Mott…19..servant, tailor
William Wakefield (Wackerfield) .22 servant
Patience’s brother Anne Wakefield (Wackerfield) 20 servant
Patience’s sister-in-law Samuel Poor…18 servant
Daniel Poor…14..servant Alice Poor…20 servant
Nathaniel Parker..20, servant, of London, baker
Richard Bayley..15..servant

In 1657 the house of Joseph Bowles, then town clerk of Wells, Me., was destroyed by fire, and with it the first volume of the town records.  Prior to that, as will be seen, we have practically nothing, and even after that time, while the marriages are quite complete, the births and deaths are very meager.

Children of John and Patience:

Name Born Married Departed
1. Mary Littlefield c. 1659 Wells, York, Maine Matthew Austin
1679 in York, York, Maine
Aft 7 Oct 1701
2. Lt. Josiah Littlefield c. 1661 Wells Lydia Masters 1687 in Wells, York, Maine
Elizabeth Hilton
c. 1708 or Apr 1712 York Maine
Killed by Indians
26 Apr 1713 Wells, York, Maine
3. Deborah LITTLEFIELD 1663 Wells, Maine Samuel WEBBER
c. 1680
20 May 1740 York, Maine
4. John Littlefield 15 Oct 1664 Wells Joanna [_?_] bef. Oct. 1701
5. Charity Littlefield 1665 Wells William Webb
1682 Wells, Maine
Dec 1701
6. Lydia Littlefield 1667 Wells Samuel Storer 1689 Charlestown, Mass.
Josiah Winn
1701 York
7. Mercy Littlefield 1668 Wells Jacob Luffkin 14 Jul 1702 Wells, York, Maine
Richard Stimson
25 Nov 1708 Wells, Maine
8. Eliab Littlefield c. 1669 Wells Rachel Sibley
29 Oct 1695 Manchester, Essex, Mass. .
Lydia Storer
Administration of his estate granted son-in-law Joseph Leach, of Manchester, Apr 16, 1717,
9. Patience Littlefield 1675 Wells James Webber (Samuel’s brother and son of Thomas WEBBER)
c. 1694
After Dec 1701 in Wells, Maine
10. Elizabeth Littlefield c. 1678 Wells Edward Beale
c.  1699 Wells, York, Maine
After 1747 in York, Maine

John Littlefield, his father and  brothers were some of the earliest residents of Wells, Maine. In 1653, Wells was incorporated, the third town in Maine to do so, and named after Wells,  Somerset, England, a small cathedral city.

John Littlefield First Laying Out of Wells – Source:  Genealogical Dictionary of Maine and New Hampshire  pg 28

John had a grant of land with his brother-in-law John Wakefield in 1641 from John Cleaves at the mouth of the Mousam River, where he made his home.  He deeded to Francis Littlefield Sr., his brother, half the timber and mill at Ogunquit Upper Falls, Dec 23, 1669; also land to Josiah Littlefield, Aug 8, 1690.  He died in Wells, Feb 9, 1696/97, and his widow Patience administered the estate.

Captain John Littlefield took the oath of allegiance in 1680 and lived in Wells.

Capt. John also was embroiled in a civil suit over his interest in the lands of the Gorges family in the Moody section of Wells. As litigation (and family squabbles) continued for many years there is much material available on this branch of the family.

1641 – He had a grant of land with his brother-in-law John Wakefield  from John Cleaves at the mouth of the Mousam River, where he made his home.

23 Dec 1669 – He deeded to Francis Littlefield Sr., his brother, half the timber and mill at Ogunquit Upper Falls,

1675 King Philip’s War from The history of Wells and Kennebunk (1875)

[At the start of King Philip’s War, the Maine Indians began by attacking] Presumpscot, Saco, and Scarboro. Twenty-seven houses were burnt at the latter place. At Saco, where Squando was familiar with the inhabitants, they burnt all the houses and mills, and killed thirteen of the inhabitants. After this they proceeded to Winter Harbor, where they had a skirmish. Thence they started for Piscataqua, which embraced the settlements on both sides of the river, now Portsmouth and Kittery.

On the 18th of July, [1675] Brian Pendleton wrote to Major Waldron at Piscataqua, giving an account of the burning of these houses and mills at Saco, and expressing his apprehension that all would be destroyed. This letter was opened on its passage by Lieut. John LITTLEFIELD, and he immediately wrote to Waldron as follows:

“Wells ye 19th Sept 75 at 9 of the clocke at night.
Major Waldron, Sir. You will see by ye above what a great strait ye are in at Sacoe, and we look hourerly for an assalt here. Soe that you can n t expect any assistance from us, we being too weak to defend our selves, y r fore ye earnest request to you is that you will rase ann army from Paseataqua with all possible speed for the preservation of our lives and estates; otherwise we cannot expect in an ordinary way long to hold out. The Lord direct you and us all. We convaid Mr. George Broughton and company safe to the Cape. With out speedy supply you must expect no more posts from us. The enemy snapt twice or thrice at this post coming from Saco, but mist fire as God would
have it.
Yours to command, John Littlefield.”

” At a Council held at Boston the 9th of December, 1675.
The Court taking into consideration the present state of the town of Wells in respect to the unsettled frame of the inhabitants there in this time of danger; that there might be some remedy for the future and a better management of affairs there, in order to the safety of the place. Ordered that Lieut. John LITTLEFIELD do effectually apply himself, that all who are capable of bearing arms in the town, and put them in their best manner for their mutual safety, and must consult with Samuel Wheelright and William Symonds. Said committee is empowered to impress all persons, ammunition, provisions — no one should desert the place on pain of forfeiting his estate.”

8 Aug 1690 – He deeded land to Josiah Littlefield.

9 Feb 1696/97 – John died in Wells and his widow Patience administered the estate. He was called “Sen.” in 1669 and afterward.

Maine Probate Abstracts, Vol. 1, 1637-1775; Picton Press, Camden, ME 1991, page 64: CAPT. JOHN LITTLEFIELD, of Wells. Est. div (2.2/73). F11828. Agreement of & Oct. 1701 bet Patience Littlefield, wid, of Capt. John Littlefield of Wells, decd

int, Josiah Littlefield, Eliab Littlefield, for himself & as atty for Lidden (Lydia) Stover, daughter of Capt. John Littlefield,
Samuel Webber,  for Himself & his wife Deborah, another daughter ,
Matthew Austin, for himself & his wife Mary,  another daughter
William Webb, for himself & his wife Charity,another daughter,
Josiah Winn, for himself and & his wife Liddia [sic],
a granddaughter & only child of John Littlefield, decd, eldest son of Capt. John Littlefield,
Edward Beale, for himself and his wife Elizabeth, another daughter,
Joanna Litttlefield, widow, and d-in-l of Capt. John Littlefield,
Mercy Lufkin, widow, another daughter,
& James Webber, for himself and his wife Patience, another daughter,
divinging the est of Capt. John Littlefield [a detailed div followed]; allowed, 7 Oct. 1701. estate div included land & marsh on the house side of the river, dwelling house, saw mill & our houses divided; 1/2 to wid [“our mother”], for life, plus use of west end of dwelling with milk house & garden; other 2/3 equally dividied among chn, with exceptions. Mentions also marsh & thatch on beach side of river, & misc lots of marsh & land

John Littlefield Inventory

A true Invintory of the Estate of Capt John Littlefield deceast who departed this life the ninthe day of february 1696/7 by us whose names are under writen this 4th day of Marche 1686/7: ………………………………………………………………….£ s d
To money………………………………………………….01:10:00
To wearing clothes………………………………………..10:00:00
To Iron bras Puter and other houshold goods at:……….. 04:00:00
To two guns at…………………………………………….01:10:00
To two beds and beding at:……………………………….04:10:00
To two horsis and mare & horse furneture at:…………….05:00:00
To two Cowes at…………………………………………..05:00:00
To five Swine at:…………………………………………..02:05:00
To Coton and woolin yarne at……………………………..01:10:00
To Powder and shot at:……………………………………00:10:00
To two oxen five Cowes thirteene younge calfe and twelve acres of medow all in the possession of Eliab Littelfield by a Lease from his Hononrd ffather John Littlefield Deseast…………………………………………………………….02:10:00

……………………………………………………………….£ s d
To one bed and beding at:…………………..06:00:00
To 4 yards of hommade cloathes…………….00:12:00
To 1 ( ) at…………………………………….00:04:00
To swine at…………………………………..01:10:00

Ms: Pashons Littelfield appered before me this 30th of March 1697 and maid oath that this sd true Inventory of all the Estate of her Late husband Deceased Capt: John Littelfield to the best of her knowing


1. Mary Littlefield

Mary’s husband Matthew Austin was born in 1658 in York, Maine. His parents were Matthew Austin and [__?__] Canney.  Matthew died in 1719 in York, Maine.

Capt. Matthew Austin, innholder, many years juryman, foreman 1711, 1712, prominent in county affairs. Adm. 6 Jan. 1718/19 to James Grant. Wife Mary Littlefield, dau. of Capt. John. Ch. Matthew, “only son,” killed by Indians 11 Aug. 1704. List 96. Mary, taken by Indians bef. 1695; m. 3 Jan. 1710 Etienne Gibau of Montreal, carpenter; d. 4 Oct. 1755. List 99. 9 ch. Patience, m. James Grant of York, gent. Ch. b. 1709-1723. Elizabeth, m. 25 Dec. 1712 Ralph Farnbam. 10 ch. Ichabod, accused by Sarah Moore, dau. of John and Martha (Walford) Moore (her son “Ichabod” b. 12 Aug. 1712, perhaps called himself Benoni, possibly that Ichabod drowned at Gloucester 17 Mar. 1734/35); m. in 1717 Susannah Young, dau. of Matthews and Eleanor (Haines). He d. 19 Sep. 1718 and his widow m. Magnus Redlon. Her. ch. by both husbands were recorded together: Ichabod, b. 29 Mar. 1717-8, four by Redlon. Joseph, had the homestead, m. 19 Apr. 1725 Sarah Grant, dau. of James and Mary (Nason) Grant of Berwick; d. 4 Feb. 1799. List 279. 3 ch. rec. Benjamin, of Berwick, laborer, in 1746. (GDMNH pg 69)

2. Lt. Josiah Littlefield

Josiah’s first wife Lydia Masters was born 1666 in Wells, Maine. Her parents were Nathaniel Masters and Ruth Pickworth. Lydia was killed by Indians 10 Aug 1707 in Wells, Maine.

Josiah’s second wife Elizabeth Hilton was born 1682 in York, York, Maine. After Josiah died, she married 10 Oct 1716 in Wells, York, Maine to Malachi Edwards (b. Born: 1681 in Newbury, Mass.) Elizabeth was killed by Indians in 1738.

Josiah led a life beset by Indians. On their way from Boston to Wells, his wife and Josiah Jr. were killed by Indians on 10 Aug 1707.  He was captured by the Indians Apr 22, 1708 and taken to Canada.  He spent two years in Canada, writing letters arranging for his release, and returned in Apr 1710 to Wells.  On the 18 Apr 1712 (or 26 Apr 1713), he was shot down while working in his cornfield. He is buried in a small private lot on the easterly side of the Boston Post Road (Rt #1).which is now the Willow Tree Restaurant in Wells, Maine.   Samuel and Elizabeth Cole adopted the children of Josiah which were brought for baptism.  There were eight children surviving, three sons and five daughters; the latter married as follows: Anna married Jacob Perkins. Esther married Joseph Credeford.  Sarah married James Clark.  Elizabeth married Zachariah Goodale.  Lydia married ________.  The sons’ names were not given in this account.

Children of Josiah and Lydia

  1.  Josiah Littlefield b: 15 SEP 1688 in Wells, ME c: 28 JUN 1702 in Wells, ME
  2.  John Littlefield b: 7 APR 1695 in Wells, York, ME c: 7 APR 1695 in Wells, York, ME
  3. Nathaniel Littlefield b: 3 JUN 1697 in Wells, ME c: 29 MAY 1698 in Wells, ME
  4. Peter Littlefield b: 1699 in Wells, York Co., ME c: 28 JUN 1702 in Wells, York Co., ME
  5. Anna Littlefield b: 1700 in Wells, York, ME c: 28 JUN 1702 in Wells, York, ME
  6. Esther Littlefield b: 1 FEB 1703 in Wells, York Co., ME
  7. Lydia Littlefield b: 19 MAY 1706 in Wells, York, ME c: 19 MAY 1706 in Wells, York, ME

Marriage 2 Elizabeth Hilton

  • Married: APR 1712, but must have been earlier if Elizabeth disputed custody during Josiah’s internment.


  1. Sarah Littlefield b: SEP 1711 in Wells, York, ME
  2.  Elizabeth Littlefield b: 3 AUG 1712 in Wells, York, ME c: 6 DEC 1712 in Wells, York, ME

Josiah was a man of prominence and activity in town affairs, and his was the first name mentioned in the foundation of the church at Wells in 1701.  At the death of his father in 1696, it was decided that he should take charge of his estate during the lifetime of his widow Patience.

Josiah inherited a lumber mill from his father John, and was considered a “skilled engineer and expert on water courses”.  He married Lydia Masters, and they had eight children.  On 10 Aug 1707, Lydia was traveling from York to Wells, Maine, Massachusetts Colony with a four person escort and $200.  She and her group were set upon, robbed and killed by Indians.

Not long afterward, Josiah marrried Elizabeth Hilton, who was known about the area as wearing the pants in the family.  It was said she had “a strong litigious proclivity which sometimes carried her beyond the bounds of a becoming female modesty”.

April 22, 1708, Lieutenant (in the York militia) Josiah Littlefield and Joseph Winn were beset by Indians.  Josiah was captured and taken to Montreal, where he was allowed to write his family in Wells and Governor Dudley in Boston to petition a hostage swap (he and a white child for two Indians taken captive by the settlers).  He also wrote to his best friend  Joseph [Josiah?] Winn, asking him to take care of his estate and his minor children until Josiah could be rescued or if he died in captivity.  Neither the French nor the Indians were in a hurry to exchange Josiah, for they discovered his “mechanical services” and knowledge of mills and water courses most useful to their own needs.  While in captivity the court ordered that his estate and children be placed in charge of Josiah Winn, who had married his sister Lydia.

In the autumn of 1709, a prisoner swap was finally agreed upon, and Josiah was released into the wilderness to make his own way home.  In poor health, he hadn’t gone far when he was captured by another group of Indians who then sold him to an individual Indian.  This new master nursed Josiah back to health and agreed to help him broker a deal with the English for his release.  (Apparently, Josiah had convinced him his family had the means to buy him back.)  He was taken to the fort near Canso, but the governor had made it a policy not to buy back prisoners.  Thwarted, Josiah tried to go behind the governor’s back, appealing directly to his Wells relatives in hopes they might privately purchase his release…but his letter was intercepted and sent to the governor, thus setting back negotiations.

In the spring of 1710, the Indian surrendered Josiah to the fort in the hopes that Josiah, whom he had come to view as an honorable man, might do the right thing and compensate him after the fact.  Personal letters reveal that he did.

Having returned to Wells, Josiah’s troubles were not over.  Joseph Winn had taken good care of his friend’s estate, providing well for his second wife Elizabeth and his minor children…but Elizabeth was sorely put out that she had not been put in charge and accused Joseph of mismanagement of funds.  She used her marital position to cast seeds of doubt in Josiah’s mind about the fiscal loyalty of his best friend, and the friendship was ruined.  After Josiah’s death–he was killed by Indians as he and a party of men were working their fields–Elizabeth carried on the feud with Joseph by suing him.  She eventually married the lawyer representing her, and their children carried on the suit.  It came to be known as the longest running litigation and family feud in colonial Maine history.

Josiah’s River at Logging Road, Cape Neddick, Maine

The Josias River is a 2.7-mile-long river in southern Maine in the United States. The river enters the Gulf of Maine in the town of Ogunquit where it and the Ogunquit River come together at Perkin’s Cove, a popular artist and tourist area.

Research into the name of the river has revealed that, like many geographical features, it has gone by various names over time. At one time, for example, it was known as Four Mile Brook. The ultimate name arose from the Littlefield family, the first recorded settlers in Wells, which once included Ogunquit. Josiah Littlefield owned considerable property along the river, and he built and operated a saw mill at the falls on the river for several years. This naturally resulted in local residents referring to it as “Josiah’s river”. The river was named in Josiah Littlefield’s memory.

From The history of Wells and Kennebunk: from the earliest settlement to the year 1820, at which time Kennebunk was set off, and incorporated,” pp. 267-274.

The Indians seem now to have abandoned the hope of destroying Wells; still they traveled about in small squads, seeking opportunity to waylay and secure any whom they could find away from the protection of the garrisons. They concealed themselves in the unsettled territory between York and Wells.  … Lieut. Josiah Littlefield and Joseph Winn, two valuable men, were on one of these jaunts to York, on the 22d of April, this year, 1708, when they were suddenly surrounded by a body of Indians. Littlefield was taken prisoner, but Winn, being quick in his motions, succeeded in making his escape. The former was a millman and a very skillful engineer, and his services were now very much needed. The devastations of the freshet required the aid of such men to repair the breaches that had been made. As there are many bearing the name of Littlefield now living in Wells who, we know, will be interested in the account of his captivity, as given by himself, we add here a letter from him, written soon after his capture in 1708 :

Dear and loving children, my kind love remembered to you all, and my kind love to my brother and sister, and my kind love to all my friends att Wells, and to Mr. Emery in particular, dasiaring of him prayers for me and for my children, hoping in God they are in good health as I am att this present writing, blessed be God for it.

Aprel the 23 I was taken by foer Indans, and may the 3 I arrived att nongonuay (Norridgewock), and from thence to caback (Quebec), and arrived at caback may the 26 and from thence to Moriel (Montreal), and arrived at Moriel June the 2, and now I have liberty granted to me to rite to my friends and to the governor, and for my redemtion and for Wheelrite’s child to be redeemed by two Indena prisoners that are with the English now, and I have been with the governor this morning and hee have promised that if our governor will send them that wee shall be redeemed, for the governor have sent a man to redeem Wheelrites child and do lookes for him in now every day with the child to Moriel where I am, and I would pray whilrite to be very brief in the matter, that we may come home before winter, for we must come by Albany, and I have allso aquainted our Gofnear dedly (Dudley) with the same, no more at present but remain yours to command.


Loving cousen. My kind love remember to you and to your wife and children and to all my friends, hoping in god that you and my dear children are all in health as I am att present. O, I dasiare to. bless god for the same, and I would pray you to be very kind, and a father to my dear children while I do come home, and so take the care of them and my estaite to maintain them that they may not sufeare.

I would have you not to pay any deates of mine till I do come home, and I would pray you to rasarve some quantity of money to gather for mee, for I shall be at a great charge in my coming home if please god to spare my life and helth, and what money you can resarve together for me let it be silver money, for I must borre some money, and peaper money would not pass heare, so I would commit the care of all my concearns into your hands while my return. I am in grate hopes that if please god to spare me my life and helth that I may be at home by the midst of winter next ensuing, so I shall dasiare your prayers constant for me, as mine shall be for you all, so I remain yours to command, ever loving onkel til death,


Mary Storrar is well and Rachel Storar and Storer [Josiah’s nieces] is well and Mary Austin of York [Josiah’s sister] is well and dasiares to remember their duty to thear father and mother and their kind love to all thear friends and ralations, hoping in god you are all well. I would pray you Wheelright dear friends to be mindful in the matter consearning our redemsion. I have riten to the governer att boston. Yours to command, JOSIAH LlTTLEFIELD. This for Capt John Whelright and Josiah Winn att Wells, deliver with care.

Littlefield’s mechanical services were highly appreciated by the French, and he was kept at Montreal until the autumn of 1709, when he was released from captivity; but his freedom—there being no mode of transportation—was not a very great boon to him. The following letter gives the sequel to his liberation. His literature does not equal his mechanical skill ; still it is not less interesting on that account.

It may be well to premise that the first notice of his arrival in Maine was communicated in a letter from Samuel Moody, at Canso, two days before the date of Littlefield’s letter, in which he states that three Indians had come in, and hinted that they had him in their possession. The hint was undoubtedly intended to draw out some offer for his surrender. They knew that he was a useful man, and supposed that they should receive a large sum for his ransom. It does not appear where Littlefield’s letter was written; from the fact stated by Moody, we presume that, at the time, he was not far from Canso.

January 29, 1710. I thought it convenient to give to his Excellency an account where I am, and how the case stands with me. I was coming home in the fall, and was taken by a canady Indian which told me that I must go back to Canady again, and I told him I thought I could not by reason of sickness in my journey, and he told me that he would kill me, and was a Indian that longing to Norigway, and I spoke to him to plead for me, that I might remain at Norrigway all winter, and with much persuading he sold me to a Indian belonging to Norrigway, which has nursed me and have recovered me, and have promised him payment for the love he bare to me in that respect, for he has been like a father to me, and now he is very willing that I should come home, if your Excellency would give leave that a sloop may come to Sacaty Hock, and to send Joseph Bane, for they have a desire to come to speak together, and they would have no other man than Joseph Bane to come for they reckons it all one as though your own person was there, if Joseph bane be living, and if not some other good onest man.

So I remain your humble sarvent, hoping that you will take pity on me. Josiah Littlefield. And to send but three men besides Joseph bane in the sloop. And after the arrival of this letter, the sloop to Sacaty Hock in fifteen days.

Littlefield, we suppose, had entered into some agreement with his master, to go with him to Sagadahock, in the confidence that he could there make provision for his ransom. He had had before a hard experience in his endeavors to reach his home through the wilderness. As he states in his letter, after being wearied out, and reduced by disease, he was re-captured and carried to Norridgewock. He might well feel that the same fate would overtake him if he made another similar attempt. The first Indian whom he might meet, would seize upon him, knowing that thereby he should secure a valuable prize; he therefore agreed with his master, and two other Indians, to accompany him to the fort at Canso.

Having arrived in the neighborhood of the fort, and Littlefield being secured, the Indians went forward, under a flag of truce, and after stating to the officer that they had Littlefield in possession, endeavored to enter into some negotiations for his delivery. Moody, who then had charge, was not fully satisfied of the truth of the statement ; but the Indians, having obtained stationery for the purpose, returned to Littlefield, who wrote the letters which are here incorporated ; so that there could be no doubt of their statements. Beside the letter to the governor, he also addressed the following letter to Moody:

Jan. 29, 1709-10. Capt. Samuel Moody, after my love to you, I would pray you to make these Indians very welcome for one is my master, therefore be kind to them and if you can, send to me an old Cot, and a pair of stockins, and a little solt, if it be but a pound or two. No more, but remain, Josiah Littlefield. Yours to command.

He seems to have made large promises for his ransom, as he also sent by the Indians the following letter to his friend in Boston:

Jan. 29, 1709-10. Cozen Barba: After my love to you and all my friends, I have sent a letter to the governor, that a sloop may come to Sacot Hoss, and I would pray you to send me this goods which I two hogshsiss of meat and one hogsiss of corn, ten yards of broadcloth of a sad color, and for a great variety of articles. Josiah Littlefield.

This order was for the purpose of fulfilling his contract with the Indians. Having left some property in Wells, his cousin Barber could well trust him for this purpose. The governor, though anxious for Littlefield’s restoration, was for good reasons, opposed to purchasing the liberty of any of the unfortunate captives. Littlefield well understood this matter; but one will give everything for his life. In the hands of his enemies, who in the event of the disappointment of their expectations might carry him back into captivity, or perhaps, in revenge for his breach of faith, put him to torture or a cruel death, he endeavored to obtain the means for his liberation, without the knowledge of the governor. …  

His home might not have been of the most cheery character, but still it was his home. His wife was not the most gentle of the sex. A strong litigious proclivity sometimes carried her beyond the bounds of a becoming female modesty. But yet she was his wife, and men will love their wives. Though the smiles on her face, like angel’s visits, might be few and far between, yet when they did come, they were so much the more joyful to his heart. They had children also, with whose lives all the fibers of his soul were entwined. How then could he go back into captivity without once again fixing his eyes on his longlost home. But the governor in one of his letters to Moody had said:

I always pity a prisoner in Indian hands, especially when their masters are indigent, in necessity of everything ; but no consideration of that nature has yet altered my resolution never to buy a prisoner of an Indian, lest we make a market for our poor women and children in the frontiers.

Littlefield felt that recaptivity, and perhaps death, would be the consequence of his failure to fulfill his promises, and he may therefore have sent other letters to his cousin Barber, beside that which we have before copied. The letter of the governor enumerates several articles which are not named in Littlefield’s. None of the letters of the latter name the place from whence they were written. We presume he was forbidden by the Indians to make that known. Moody seems to have been aware of the contents of all his letters, and fearing that some difficulties might grow out of these orders for goods, if sent, kept this one to Barber in his own hands, while that to the governor was sent by Bean.

This latter was laid before the legislature, by whom the governor was advised to send Bean to relieve Littlefield and to ascertain “what the indians would say.” But the governor says, in a letter to Moody, that before Bean was ready to sail “we are surprised by a letter from the fort, signed by Robert Pike (son-in-law of Joseph MOYCE), that tells us of other letters from Littlefield, importing the sending of hogsheads of corn, meal, pease, clothes, shoes, &c, of which you gave me no advice.” Bean was therefore sent to Canso to obtain these other letters before adopting any measures for the release of Littlefield. Moody, feeling that he had mistaken his duty, in not sending all their letters to the governor, writes to him Feb. 1709/10:

“I solemnly protest to your Excellency, before God, I lie not, that my design was only to prevent its coming into the hands of private persons, who might have sent these supplies, without their coming to your Excellency’s knowledge.”

Moody enclosed the letters to Dudley, who wrote to him in reply Feb. 11th:

“The business of seeing them at Sagadahock (being entangled with that expectation of a trade with Barker) is perfectly over, and will admit of no further consideration.”

He had written to Moody Feb. 4, that he “must insist on the delivery of Littlefield without any purchase, but that on his delivery to you, if they will, then tell me what they would have me know from them.” And he now repeats “if they are in earnest to release Littlefield, or hope for anything from me, and then you will exactly follow your orders of the 4th of February, to insist on the delivery of Littlefield, and tell you their errand to me, they shall have my answer in twenty days.” Here was a sad fix for Littlefield. His scheme for his redemption was all frustrated, and his hopes of soon being homeward bound, blasted. Red tape, or official punctilio, had no charms for one in the hands of savages, suffering from the unnatural life which he was then living, and yearning for the old blessings and comforts of civilization.

The Indian, his master, had evidently been exceedingly kind in his treatment of him, and Littlefield felt that he was worthy of reward. He had brought him here without the consent of the French, in the expectation of being paid for his fidelity, and this untutored native, apparently somewhat christianized, must have felt that but little reliance could be placed in the word of the white man. In times of war, we are aware, there may be occasion, and thence justification, for extraordinary proceedings, but it seems too much like despotic usurpation, to prohibit one who has been a loyal citizen and a faithful subject from redeeming himself from bondage. The effect of such a ransom, to be sure, might not have been favorable to the general weal.

Such a purchase of one’s liberty might have encouraged the enemy to secure others as prisoners, to profit in he same way; but no civil law, and no other law, human or Divine, can justify the oppression of one honest citizen, because thereby good may come to others.

What course the disappointed Indians took under the circumstances, we have been unable to learn. Littlefield, being cut off from all access to his friends, or to the fort, was unable to do any thing toward the fulfillment of his promises, and we suppose he was carried ack to Norridgewock. But after three or four months more in captivity, they concluded to trust to the governor’s intimation that he would do what was right in twenty days after he was delivered up, and brought him back and surrendered him at the fort.

On the tenth of July, Littlefield’s master and many other Indians came in, and now had no commerce with them, and asked a supply of provisions, agreeably to the governor’s intimation. Littlefield’s captivity was thus ended, and he returned home to the great joy of his friends. But it was only for a little while that his fireside was gladdened by his presence; or that he was permitted to enjoy that liberty for which he had so long sighed. He was an energetic man, and unwilling to be pent up and excluded from the activities of life, he went about his work as before, forgetting the sufferings of his captivity and fearless of again falling into the hands of the enemy.

On the 18th of April, 1712, while teaming with others, he was shot down by the Indians, who still lurked about in the forest. Thus his earthly experiences were ended, to the great sorrow of many hearts. He had been a valuable citizen and an efficient man, on whose aid and counsel the people had placed much reliance. He was elected to municipal offices of trust and responsibility, was selectman several years, town agent, and captain of the militia. His death brought heavy affliction to all.

3. Deborah Littlefield (See Samuel WEBBER‘s page)

4. John Littlefield

John’s wife Joanna [_?_] was born in 1659

5. Charity Littlefield

Charity’s husband William Webb was born in 1660 in Wells, York, Maine. His parents were John Webb and [__?__]. William died in 1701 in Wells, York, Maine.

6. Lydia Littlefield

Lydia’s first husband Capt. Samuel Storer was born 1653 in Dover, Strafford, New Hampshire. His parents were William Storer and Sarah [__?__]. She is not Sarah Starbuck(b. 1639) daughter of Edward STARBUCK and Catherine REYNOLDS. nor is she Sarah “Bosworth”, who is not one of the four documented childred of Edward BOSWORTH.  Samuel died 10 Jun 1700 in Charlestown, Suffolk, Mass.

Lydia’s second husband  Josiah Winn was born 15 Mar 1674 in Woburn, Mass.  His parents were Joseph Winn and Rebecca Read and his grandparents were our ancestors Edward WINN and Joanna SARGENT. After Lydia died, he married Mary Wyman as his second wife on 17 August 1733 in Woburn, Mass. Josiah died before 10 February 1734/35 in Wells, Maine.

22 Apr 1708 – Lieutenant (in the York militia) Josiah Littlefield and Joseph Winn were beset by Indians.  Josiah was captured and taken to Montreal, where he was allowed to write his family in Wells and Governor Dudley in Boston to petition a hostage swap (he and a white child for two Indians taken captive by the settlers).  He also wrote to his best friend  Joseph [Josiah?] Winn, asking him to take care of his estate and his minor children until Josiah could be rescued or if he died in captivity.  Neither the French nor the Indians were in a hurry to exchange Josiah, for they discovered his “mechanical services” and knowledge of mills and water courses most useful to their own needs.  While in captivity the court ordered that his estate and children be placed in charge of Josiah Winn, who had married his sister Lydia. (See Josiah Littlefield’s complete story above) Children of Lydia and Josiah:

Children of Josiah Winn and Lydia Littlefield

7. Mercy Littlefield

Mercy’s first husband Jacob Luffkin was born about 1663. Jacob died in 1702 in Wells, York, Maine Mercy’s second husband Richard Stimson was born 10 Mar 1678 in Ipswich, Essex, Mass. His parents were George Stimson and Alice Phillips. Richard died in Wells, Maine.

8. Eliab Littlefield

Eliab’s wife Rachel Sibley was born 20 Aug 1675 in Manchester, Essex, Mass. Her parents were John Sibley and Rachel Pickworth. Rachel died in Dec 1718 in Wells, York, Maine.

Eliab’s second wife Lydia Storer

Eliab settled in Manchester, Massachusetts, probably on account of the Indian wars. He inherited much property at Wells. He deeded, November 6, 1712, land grant of two hundred acres for building a mill at the falls and the remains of the mill which had been burned to John Cousins. Jonathan Hammon, Samuel Wheelwright and John Bullard were his partners in the mill grant and ownership. He sold land at Wells to Zachariah Goodale, of Wells, June 15, 1715; also land formerly owned by John Wells (his father) to George Jacobs, of York, January 18, 1715-16; also the land on the northeast side of Cape Porpoise known as Barrot’s farm on Millers creek, December 26, 1715, to Thomas Perkins of Topsfield, Massachusetts; also land formerly owned by Henry Scratts, to whom it was granted March 28, 1699, to Willaim Sayer, of Wells, January 19, 1715. Administration granted son-in-law Joseph Leach, of Manchester, April 16, 1717, and the estate was divided December, 1718.

Children, the first five of whom were born at Wells: 1. Eliab, born October 23, 1697, mentioned below. 2. Patience, August 17, 1699, married Joseph Leach. 3. Rachel, January 31, 1700-01, died at Wells, January 3, 1701-02. 4. Deborah, April 25, 1702. 5. Rachel, January 19, 1704-05. 6. Eliza. 7. Abigail. 8. Sibyl. 9. Lovey. The last four shared in the partition of the father’s estate.

9. Patience Littlefield

Patience’s husband James Webber was born 1665 in Wells, York, Maine. His parents were Thomas WEBBER and Mary PARKER. James died 19 Mar 1729 in Medford, Middlesex, Mass.

10. Elizabeth Littlefield

Elizabeth’s husband Edward Beale was born 1677 in York, York, Maine. His parents were Arthur Beale and Agnes Hilton. His grandparents were William HILTON Sr.and his second wife Frances Hayward. Edward died in 1711 in York, York, Maine.

(GDMNH pg. 84) Edward Beale, called ‘my only son’ in 1711; m. 1694 Elizabeth Littlefield. Lists 38, 279. He deeded the homestead to his son Josiah in 1736; widow living 1747.

i. Mannering, b. 1 Jan. 1697/98. m. Sarah Mitchell, d. York 20 Nov. 1781. 4 ch. rec.

ii. Nicholas, b. 30 Apr. 1702, mariner, m. Bethula Young. 1 dau. rec.

iii.  Joanna, b. 19 July 1706, m. 31 Mar. 1726 Johnson Lunt of Newbury, d. 1 Sep. 1791.

iv. Edward, b. 10 July 1708. List 279. Josiah, b. 17 Apr. 1710. List 279. M. 1st (int. 8 Jan. 1736) Esther Sayword; 2d Mercy Webber. Ch.

v. Elizabeth, b. 16 Jan. 1711/12, pub. 1 Mar. 1734/35 to Nathaniel Crediford (forbid by her); m. 30 Nov. 1738 Josiah Littlefield.

vi. Zachariah, b. 17 Jan. 1711/12, m. 11 Mar. 1735/36 Ruth Stickney of Newbury.

vii. Catherine, b. 23 Nov. 1713, m. 5 June 1734 Benjamin Harmon.

ix. Benjamin, b. 11 Jan. 1718/19, m. Mary — Drew, Moore or Jones.

Sources: Genealogical and Family History of the State of Maine, Vol. 1; compiled under George Thomas Little.

Genealogical Dictionary of Maine and New Hampshire (GDMNH)

The history of Wells and Kennebunk from the earliest settlement to the year 1820, at which time Kennebunk was set off, and incorporated (1875) By: Bourne, Edward Emerson, 1797-1873; Bourne, Edward Emerson, 1831-

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9 Responses to John Littlefield

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