Edmund Littlefield

Edmund LITTLEFIELD (1592 – 1661) was Alex’s 10th Great Grandfather; one of 2,048 in this generation of the Shaw line.

Edmund Littlefield – Coat of Arms

Edmund Littlefield was baptized on 27 Jun 1592 in Titchfield, Hampshire, England.   His parents were Francis LITTLEFIELD and Mary E. FRENCH.  He married Annis (Anne or Agnes) AUSTIN on 16 Oct 1614 in Titchfield, England.  He emigrated in 1637 with his oldest son still living Francis and, settled at Exeter, NH and later was one of the first settlers in Wells, Maine. His wife Annis and six other children came a year later.  Edmund died 12 Dec 1677 in Wells, Maine.

Edmund Littlefield, the founder of Wells, Maine, established a saw mill at Webhannet River Falls as early as 1641.

Annis (Anne or Agness) Austin was born 1 Feb 1595/96 in Exeter, Devon, England.  Her parents were Richard AUSTIN and Ann [__?__]. Annis Littlefield came from Titchfield 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. Edmund and his oldest son Francis had come to America the year before. Anne died 12 Dec 1677 in Wells, York, Maine.

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

Children of Edmund and Annis:

Name Born Married Departed
1. Anne Littlefield 11 Feb 1615/16
Titchfield, Hampshire, England
2 Jan 1616/17
Titchfield, England
2. Edward Littlefield bapt,
17 Feb 1617/18
Titchfield, England
13 Jun 1635
3. Francis “The Elder” Littlefield bapt.
17 Jun 1619
Titchfield, England
Jane Hill
20 Dec 1626?
Rebecca Rust
27 Apr 1648
Woburn, Mass
Mary Wade
Ipswich, Mass.
15 Jan 1712
Wells, Maine
4. Anthony Littlefield bapt.
7 Oct 1621
Titchfield, England
Mary Page
11 Dec 1661
Wells, Maine
5. John LITTLEFIELD baptized on 1 Nov 1624
Titchfield, England
Mary Mere?
Wells, Maine
9 Feb 1696/97 Wells, Maine
6. Elizabeth (Annis/Anna) Litlefield bapt.
22 Jul 1627
Titchfield, England
John Wakefield (Patience’s brother & son of JOHN WAKEFIELD)
Wells, York, Maine
Wells, York, Maine
7. Mary Littlefield c 1630
Titchfield, England
John Barrett
Thomas Page
1703 Wells, York, ME.
7. Thomas Littlefield bapt.
10 Aug 1633
Titchfield, England
Ruth [__?__]
c. 1667
Sarah [__?__]
drowned before
5 May 1689
9. Hannah (Anne) Littlefield 10 Jul 1633
10 Aug 1633
Titchfield, England
Peter  Cloyes
c. 1663
Wells, Maine
10. Francis “The Younger” Littlefield bapt.
24 Mar 1635/36
Titchfield, England
Meribah Wardwell
c. 1658
5 Feb 1674
Wells, Maine

Edmund Littlefield  the father of Wells Maine, established a permanent home, sawmill and gristmill as early as 1640-41 at the falls of the Webhannet River.


Edmund’s father Francis LITTLEFIELD was born about 1565. His place of birth is, as yet, unresolved. He may have come from Exeter or could be a local Hampshire lad.

Francis married twice. First to Mary in about 1591 at St Peters Church, Titchfield and then when Mary died in 1605 he married again this time to Annis Wigg on 5 July 1606. He was buried in Titchfield on 11 October 1618. His first wife Mary was born in Exeter.

Francis and Mary were married in St Peters Church, Titchfield first built in 680 [and no, i didn’t leave off a “1”

Francis was a successful cloth maker and merchant. He owned a fulling mill. The only fulling mill known on this stretch of the Meon was Little Funtley Mill about 2 miles upstream from Titchfield village and just south of the Longwater Bridge.  Fulling is a step in woolen clothmaking which involves the cleansing of cloth (particularly wool) to eliminate oils, dirt, and other impurities, and making it thicker. From the medieval period, the fulling of cloth often was undertaken in a water mill, known as a fulling mill. The cloth was beaten with wooden hammers, known as fulling stocks or fulling hammers the machinery was operated by cams on the shaft of a waterwheel which lifted the hammer.

The mill itself can no longer be seen on the ground, but some outline is said to be visible in aerial photographs. The mill’s head-leat, which lies imediately north of the bridge, still exists.  There still remains part of the sluice gate which allowed water to bypass the mill pond.

Francis must have been a wealthy man as his will shows.  The original copy of the Will is held in the Winchester, Hampshire, UK Public Records Office although it is slightly illegible.

” I make my wife Anne and son James my executors and if at any time they disagree then by consent of my overseers, division shall be made equally of such goods as do remain betwixt them, and my wife to have the dwelling house next adjoining to my fulling mill with the apurtenances thereto belonging, holden by lease of John Hauksford of Bishop’s Waltham, and my son James to have the fulling mill with the appurtenances thereto belonging. Overseers: Thomas Knight Senclares in the parish of Drexford, my brother James Litlefield of the same parish and Nicholas Waller of Swanswicke in the parish of Titchfield and for their pains I giave each 5s.

(signed) Frances Littlefield his mark

Witnesses: John Wither Robert Poulet Frances Waller

Debts owing by me: To Nicholas Waller £12. Johne Ossment £8, Robard Wedge £5 and Elizabeth Wedge £20. Proved November 21, 1618 by Anne Littlefield, widow and relict of the deceased, and James Littlefield, sone of the deceased, the executors named. Bords: Said Anne, James Littlefield of the same, clothworker, Edward Hardwell of same, yeoman, and John Witherd of Eckeham, husbandman”

Francis had seven children, the eldest, Edmund was born in 1591 but strangely back in Exeter.  We can at least be sure he was back in Titchfield in 1614 because at the age of 23 he married Annis Austin on the 16 October. Annis was from Exeter. He lived in the centre of the village in the cottages now known as Barry’s Cottages.

From manuscript Joseph Austin of Dover, NH and Matthew Austin of ME p 123-4, by Edith Austin Moore:

“Edmond Littlefield came from Titchfield, ENG in 1637, settled at Exeter, NH and later moved to Wells, ME. He was one of the original settlers at Wells and probably built the first house there. In 1641 he built a saw and grist mill on the Webhannet River. He was agent of Thomas Gorges to give possession of house lots to settlers, and was one of the committee for settling the boundary between Wells and Cape Porpoise, and a commissioner to try small causes from 1654 to 1661. On Dec. 11, 1661, he made his will at Wells, ME. He named his wife, Annis and sons Thomas and Francis extrs. HE HAD TWO SONS NAMED FRANCIS, BOTH LIVING. Francis and Anthony came with their father in 1637.”

From MAINE WILLS by Sargent p. 4: “Will of Edmond Littlefield of Wells, ME. Names wife Annas, sons Francis, Thomas and John, daughters Mary Barrett, and Hannah. Will recorded Jul. 16, 1662.”

From THE BURGESS FAMILY TREE by Paul Burgess p. 514:

“Edmund came from Titchfield to Boston in 1637 with Rev. John Wheelwright and they became the first settlers of Wells, ME in 1641. Edmund was listed as living in Boston in 1638. Annis Littlefield came from Titchfield 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. Edmund and his oldest son Francis came to America about 1637.

From PIONEERS OF MAINE AND NEW HAMPSHIRE 1623 – 1660 by POPE page 128-129:

LITTLEFIELD, LITTLEFEILD, LETLEFEILD, Edmund, Exeter, signed the combination 5 (4) 1639. His wife Annis, ae, 38, with 6 children, and servants John Knight, and Hugh Durdal, came in theBevis in May 1638. It may be presumed that he either came at that time, (though not named on the passenger list) or had come before. He rem. to Wells, Me; had a grant of land from Thomas Gorges 14 July 1643. Took oath of allegiance to Mass. govt. 5 July 1653, as did his sons Francis Senior, Anthony, Francis Junior, and Thomas.

He made will Dec. 11, 1661, beq. his estate to wife Annis, sons Francis, Anthony, Thomas, Francis Jr., and John, to daughters Elizabeth Wakefield, Mary Barrett, and Hannah Littlefield. Inventory rendered 24 (10) 1661. The widow and sons Thomas and the two Francises made an agreement concering the estate 17 Dec.

The widow made will 12 Dec. 1677, giving estate to her daughters Elizabeth Wakefield, Mary Barrett, Hannah Cloyce and Meribah; to sons Peter Cloyce and John and Thomas Littlefield; to grandchild Katherine W.

Maine Wills 1640-1760 by Wm M. Sargent; page 76: The Last Will and Testament of Annis (Austin) Littlefield

12th December 1677: In the name of God Amen/The last Will & testament of Annis Littlefield/

1: first I bequeath my soule into the hands of the Almighty God, my maker, my body to be buried in Christean buriall, at ye discretion of my executor hereafter mentioned/

1: I do give unto my daughter Hannah Cloyce my bed & bowlster, & Katterine Wakefeild to deliver It to her/

2: I give unto my three daughters, Elizabeth Wakefield, Mary Barrett, & Hannah Clyce, all my lining & Wollen New & ould to bee equally divided amougst them/

I give unto my sonn John Littlefield my Cow Gentle & five burlls of Corne/

I give unto my daughter Merribah foure buslls of Wheate due from ye Mills/

I give to my Grandchild Katterine Wakefeild my Rugg & eight bulls of Corne/

I give to sonn Peter Cloyce too Acres of marsh bee it more or less, yt lyeth on the South West side of Mr. Whelewrights Necke of Land/

I give unto my sonn Thomas Littlefield, who hath taken a great deale of care of mee, all the rest of my household goods Corne & Chattles, & I do make my sd sonn Thomas Littlefield, my whoole & soole executor, & to receive all debts comeing to mee, & to pay all If any thing there bee that I do ow, & to take all the remaindr to him selfe & to see my will fullfilled/ Signed, & Delivered, Annis Littlefield her marke (x) In ye presence of us, Joseph Bolls/William Symonds/ (Sworn to by attesting witnesses & recorded 2 April 1678; Inventory returned at 36 lbs:15:0, by Samuel Austine and Joseph Bolls, appraisers, 7 March 1677/8.)

History of Wells, Maine

The town of Wells, Maine, a seacoast town in the southern most county of York, was named for the cathedral city of Wells, in Somerset, England.  From Drakes Island to Moody the marine shoreline sweeps in a crescent, bordering the Atlantic Ocean with sandy beaches and rocky promontories.  Behind the dunes a tidal river flows through the green and gold marshes and is met by many smaller streams, which originate inland among the forests and distant hills.  Everywhere is found evidence of the last glacial age; in the stone walls of the pastures, the great boulders in the fields and forests, the bare scoured ledges and in the rocks along the shore.

Wells is located in the section of Maine awarded to Sir Ferdinando Gorges on 10 Aug 1622 by the Plymouth Company in England.  Gorges was named the Lord Proprietor of Maine with almost regal powers over the province.  Unable to come here himself, he sent his young cousin, Thomas, to act as his deputy and agent.  Thus it was Thomas Gorges who granted the lands from Northeast of the Ogunquit River to the Southwest of the Kennebunk River to agents from Exeter, New Hampshire on 27 Sep 1641 for the purpose of settling the plantation of Wells.  The original settlers of Wells paid annual fees to lease the land.  After the death of Sir Ferdinando Gorges and with the political upheaval in England, the Massachusetts Bay Colony took advantage of the situation and laid claim to all of Maine.  On July 4th & 5th in 1653 Wells submitted to the control of the MBC with their laws and Puritan beliefs.  Although Wells residents were reluctant to submit, the town was now incorporated and as free men each was now the owner of his own lands.

Edmund Littlefield First Laying Out of Wells

The original land grants to the first settlers in Wells stretched two and a half miles inland from the upper edge of the marsh.  The farmsteads and gardens were followed by orchards, pasture land, hay fields and inland wood lots.  The inland boundaries were where the Ridge and Branch Roads are today.  On early deeds this was called the Upper Post Road and was parallel to Lower Post Road (Route One).

When attempting to best describe Wells, one must consider its geographical content and size.  Now approximately 60 square miles in size, its original boundaries included the towns of Kennebunk and Ogunquit.  The number of rivers and brooks in the area was one of the enticements to early mill owners.  Clusters of farms were concentrated near rivers and brooks, where the mills operated.  Usually evident in these areas of concentrated population were a blacksmith shop, a store and eventually a post office.  A local one-room school and a church provided the educational, social and cultural opportunities for each area.  These early settlement patterns comprise the various sections of Wells today; Coles Corner, Wells Corner, Eldridge Corner, Moody, Tatnic, Merriland Ridge, Highpine (formerly Wells Deport) and Wells Branch derive their names from  earlier times.

Long before Wells incorporation in 1653, as the third town in Maine, temporary residences were built on the beaches by traders and fishermen.  Edmund LITTLEFIELD, the father of Wells, established a permanent home, sawmill and gristmill as early as 1640-41 at the falls of the Webhannet River.   Reverend John Wheelwright soon followed and by 1642 was attempting to provide religious freedom here for himself and his followers.  He established the first church and claimed several tracts of land for himself.  During his brief three or four year stay, he also served as one of the agents appointed to survey and allot lands of Gorges grant to Wells settlers.

The Indian Wars, from 1675 until the mid-1700s, made existence in Wells almost beyond human endurance.  The men and women who remained were forced to withstand many terrors and adversities.  They were murdered, their homes and mills burned, and their farms laid waste.  The Indians devastated all the territory northeast of Wells, leaving Wells the frontier town.  The inhabitants were compelled to breast the full fury of the French and Indian forces.  One of the most significant battles took place in 1692 at the site of Storers Garrison on Post Road.  This three day battle fulfilled an earlier prophesy: Berwick, Kittery, York shall fall, Wells shall stand to see it all.  Academic historians now agree, that because Wells did withstand that particular battle, the English foothold in the northeast was insured.

The settlers rebuilt again and again.  Having survived poverty and disease as well, they were again called to fight.  During the Revolutionary War Wells contributed extensively to the army.  At one time at least one-third of all able-bodied men served.  No other town in York County contributed a greater number of officers.  Following this conflict Wells prospered, with shipping and trade extending to the West Indies and Europe.  The area was set back briefly by the War of 1812, but the glorious Age of Sail soon followed with shipbuilding and commerce by the coastal schooners flourishing.

Wells vs. Kennebunk from The history of Wells and Kennebunk

George Buckland, William Stmonds, and Daniel Pierce were in possession of lands within the limits of Kennebunk when the Indians conveyed the whole territory of the town to John Wadleigh in 1649. This is manifest from their deed ; but we have no evidence that any of them resided on their lots. George Buckland soon after lived in Ogunquit ; William Symonds on the western side of Little river, near the sea. In 1658, he bought of Anthony Littlefield the Great Hill farm of about 230 acres, embracing tillage, pasture, and upland, bounded by the Cape Porpoise river and by the first great creek, and thence by the sea, extending eastward far enough to em-brace the number of acres. He may have built the house which soon after stood on Great Hill. If Daniel Pierce occupied his tract as a home lot, he lived near where the Wentworths or Boothbys have since lived; but we have no satisfactory evidence that either of them dwelt on this territory.

These are the only persons residing in the eastern end of the town previously to the year 1660. It is a remarkable fact, though so many years had elapsed since its incorporation, that there never had been any definite settlement of its entire boundaries. The act by which it was made a town simply says that ” Wells shall be a township by itself.” No boundaries are stated, and no allusion is made to its limits in any direction. Grants had been made of its lands by two different proprietors ; but Massachusetts claimed the whole territory from Piscataqua, far east of Wells, and ordered a settlement of the line, commissioners being appointed by the general court for the purpose, who in May, 1659, made the report which we have before stated, upon the line between Wells, York, and Kittery.

But the principal difficulty in adjusting the boundaries arose from the uncertainty of the line on the northeastern side of the town. Which was the Kennebunk river seems to have been an unsettled question. The inhabitants of Cape Porpoise insisted that the river then called the Cape Porpoise was the Kennebunk; that the town derived its name from the river passing through it, and that it would have been absurd that a river two miles from it should be called the Cape Porpoise, when navigators would be thereby so much deceived as to enter a harbor which was not the one to which they were bound. One would have supposed that the Indians, who were then living on the territory, could have settled this matter beyond controversy. Kennebunk is an Indian name, and they surely knew to which stream it belonged. They had lived on the banks of the most westerly for centuries. Cape Porpoise was an English name of recent application. But the people of those days were not remarkable for quickness and accuracy of perception, or for sound reasoning; and as the territory was not very valuable at this period, there being but two or three inhabitants on it, neither party, we think, took very great pains to ascertain the truth in regard to the matter in controversy. But sufficient excitement had been awakened by the dispute to render it necessary that the question should be settled, and committees of the two towns were appointed for the purpose ; Edmund Littlefield and William Hammond on the part of Wells, and Morgan Howell and William Scadlock on the part of Cape Porpoise.

They met at the house at the mouth of Kennebunk river, which was afterwards occupied by Harding. It may have been at this time occupied by William Reynolds, the ferryman. The ferrymen were generally licensed for the sale of liquors and the accommodation of man and beast with the necessaries of life. Littlefield and Hammond were men of integrity. We are not particularly acquainted with Howell and Scadlock, but their characters were such as to commend them to their townsmen, though we have sufficient knowledge of the latter to wonder that to him should be committed a public trust of any importance whatever. Towns, as well as individuals, must expect to reap the fruits of their own action. The commissioners entered upon the examination of the business with which they were entrusted. It was then the custom to introduce all such consultations and prepare for the work by stimulating the vital energies, and awakening every faculty to the discharge of its appropriate duty. Scadlock was an old hand in this mode of action.

What progress they made in the duties of their commission, from day to day, has not come down to us; but on the first day of their meeting a violent storm arose, so that they were confined to the house. As they were not educated men, instructed in argumentation, they did not spend much time in discussion, and thus time passed very tediously, so that they felt the need of frequent inspiration to maintain their equanimity. The bottle, of course, was the resort to refresh the inner man. The storm continued three days, and the expenses reached a magnitude rather startling. Cape Porpoise was poor, and the thought came over the commissioners from that town, that there would be some complaint
among the people about the costs of this proceeding. They had made no progress in the settlement of the question submitted to them, and fearing that the bill, if they continued there longer, would
be more than the town would pay, and having become sufficiently elevated by their liberal potations, they made to the Wells committee the proposition that, if they would pay all the bills, they would
agree on Kennebunk river as the boundary of the towns. The committee from Wells at once assenting, they sat down and made this return :

” We whose names are here underwritten, being chosen by the towns of Cape Porpoise and Wells for the laying out of the dividing line of said towns, do mutually agree that the river Kennebunk shall be the bounds of Cape Porpoise and Wells, to the utmost extent of both the towns, being eight miles up into the country. Witness our hands the tenth day of May, 1660.
Edmund Littlefield,
Morgan Howell,
The Court allows and approves of this Wm. Hamans, return, as attest, Edward Rawson. Wm. Scadlock.

Thus was the boundary between the two towns permanently settled. Our impression is that the evidence preponderated in favor of the claim of Cape Porpoise ; but we do not think it expedient here to enter on any discussion of the subject. The result affords a striking illustration of the evil of committing important interests to the hands of men who are in the habit of indulging in the free use of intoxicating liquors. The most valuable portion of the town of Kennebunk, it is very probable, was the just property of Kennebunkport. But the folly of the people of that town, in entrusting their rights to the care of intemperate men, had its due reward in the loss which they thereby suffered. The towns, situated along each side of the river, might have constituted a convenient and influential corporation, now numbering a population of six or seven thousand souls.

One of the arguments in favor of the claim of Cape Porpoise was, that Rigby, whose patent extended to Kennebunk river, made grants of territory bounded on the river furthest west, which grants had
not been interfered with by the proprietors of the Wells plantation. In 1641, under this authority, what is now termed the Great Hill farm was granted to John WAKEFIELD and John LITTLEFIELD.

The hill at that time extended much farther into the sea than it now does ; and with the projecting land at the eastern end was called the Great Neck. The features of this interesting locality have undergone a wonderful modification since that period. Within the memory of many now on the stage of life, the sea has swallowed up a large part of the soil. Not many years since the point was connected with the hill by a broad surface of land, which was always kept in a state of cultivation by the occupant, whose house stood on the small part of it still remaining. The sea, by its inroads, disconnected it with the shore, and from that time it has been rapidly disappearing. Between Great Hill and the Mousam river there was nothing but a pine swamp. Wakefield and Littlefield did not take possession and occupy under this grant. If the eastern river was the Cape Porpoise, then the Lygonia patent did not include this territory. Perhaps this uncertainty as to the title was the reason why possession was not taken. Wakefield afterwards lived on Drake’s Island, and Littlefield in Ogunquit.

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-

Edmund Littlefield, the great progenitor, probably came here in 1641 from Exeter. We suppose he came over to this country, from Southampton, about the same time with Rev. John Wheelright. He was one of his church at Exeter in 1630, and one of the combination, having twenty-one acres of land assigned to him. This church was founded by those whose theology was denounced by the Massachusetts church, and who could find no resting place under that government. As Littlefield’s name does not appear in the list of those who were driven from that colony, we infer that he may have arrived at Boston in 1637, a little while before the expulsion took place. Pormotte, who was with him at Exeter and Wells, and adhered, with him, to the church, and, we suppose, a special friend, came over in 1634; but, as Littlefield was never of the Boston church, we think he did not arrive until his friends were involved in the trouble with the ruling hierarchy in Boston, and thence took care not to become one of the subjects upon whom its wrath was to be vented.

He had eight children, five sons and three daughters : Francis, Anthony, Elizabeth, John, Thomas, Mary, Hannah, and Francis, junior. Anthony came over with the father, all the rest of the family remaining in England. Having determined to abide in the country, he sent for them to come, and his wife, Annas Littlefield, and her six children left their home and took passage for Boston, in the Bevis, of Hampton, Capt. Tounes, in May, 1638.

Littlefield and his sons were millmen and farmers, principally of the latter class. Such, also, has been the occupation of nearly all their descendants. They have been, generally, industrious, hardy, and respectable agriculturists. Devoting themselves to the cultivation of the soil, and invigorated by the salubrious and strengthening air of a New England climate, they have sent forth their branches all around. Possessing physical constitutions unimpaired by the luxuries and indigencies which enervate so many of the race, they have wonderfully carried out the injunction given to our first parents. In looking over the various family records, so far as we have had opportunity, we cannot b,ut wonder at the large families with which so many of them have been blessed. The Littlefields have been favored with more twins than all the rest of the inhabitants.

The ancestor of this family was a man of respectable standing, of fearless enterprise, and sound moral principle. Though we have no reliable evidence that any particular person established himself here before him, yet there are many facts which justify the supposition that he was not the first settler. Others must have preceded him on the plantation. He had built a saw-mill and grist-mill on Webhannet river in 1641. This fact would seem to indicate that he could not have been alone in the wilderness. A grist-mill would have been a very unprofitable establishment where there were no customers. It would seem very unlikely that he would have gone into the manufacture of meal, at a large expense, unless to supply others besides his own family. The fishermen on the coast might, perhaps, have availed themselves of the opportunity of obtaining flour or meal for their own use ; but most of them were engaged in their business at the eastward, and would not be very likely to come to Wells for such supplies. In addition to this, without producers, where would the corn come from? At this time there were no coasters here, and it would be highly improbable that vessels would have been chartered to bring corn to Wells for grinding and then carry back the flour to Boston or some other mart.

The argument in regard to the saw-mill is of a similar character, though not so conclusive, as here the material for the manufacture of lumber was very abundant; but still no reasonable man, at that period, when lumber was so easily and cheaply obtained, would have thought of building a saw-mill, remote from any settlement, for the purpose of its manufacture, where no aid was to be had, and where there was no such intercourse with any other mart as to furnish opportunity for sale.

Littlefield was, without doubt, fully satisfied that numbers must be speedily added to his neighborhood. His surroundings were of such a character as to captivate the attention of men seeking for a location fitted for the acquisition of a comfortable support. Here every facility was offered for that purpose, and his anticipations were soon realized in the acquisition of Wheelright and his company of persevering adherents. Probably the work done by Littlefield, introductory to clearing the wilderness and subjecting the territory to the uses of civilization, and the aid which his mills would give in providing for their families, did much toward inducing their emigration to this place, and on this account we think he is entitled to be regarded as the father of Wells. With the aid of his large family, lie here prepared the way for the habitation of man.

He have before stated that, on account of his firm moral character, he was appointed by the governor of Massachusetts agent for the sale of ardent spirits in Wells, it being then of the utmost importance that great discretion should be used in the sale of liquor to the Indians. He was also one of the committee for settling the boundary between Wells and Cape Porpoise, and a commissioner to try small causes, elected by the people for the years 1654, 1655, 1658, 1660, and 1661. He was also agent of Gorges to give possession of lots to settlers. He is called, in some instruments, ” Old Edmund Littlefield,” not on account of his age, but because one of the sons of Francis, the elder, had been given the same name. All his family survived him. His eldest daughter, Elizabeth, married John Wakefield ; Mary married John Barret and Thomas Page, of Saco ; Hannah married Peter Cloyes.


3. Francis Littlefield Elder

Francis’ first wife Jane Hill was born 1621 in England. Her parents were Ralph Hill and Elizabeth Parker. Jane died 20 Dec 1646 in Woburn, Middlesex, Mass.

Francis’ second wife Rebecca Rust was born 31 Jan 1630 in England. Rebecca died Mar 1683 in Wells, York, Maine

Francis’ third wife Mary Wade was born 2 Oct 1633 in Charlestown, Suffolk, Mass. Her parents were Jonathan Wade and Susanna Prence. She first married William Symonds in 1669. Mary died in 1693 in Ipswich, Essex, Mass.

The history of Wells and Kennebunk (1876)  has a romantic 19th Century version of the story of the prodigal son.

The oft-told story of his separation from his family was the imagining of some one trying to account for two brothers of the same name, and not unlikely he accompanied his father here, but moved around before settling in Wells, where (he was) granted 50 acres by orges in 1643.-Francis Sr. was married three times the first in Mass. Francis Sr moved often he was granted 50 acres in Wells in 1643 but was taxed in Woban MA in 1646; Dover NH in 1648; was back in Wells but bought a house in Charlestown MA in 1653.

Was Representative from York, and Wells through 1660’s. Served on Grand Jury and was county treasurer during same period. Innholder at Ipswich MA May 1670. Licenced at Wells 1700-1702. Wife Rebecca was living when he deeded homestead to sonDependence, except what he already given to sons James and Daniel. Inventory of estate of Francis Sr. 1712/3 administered by son Dependence, who’s bill called Francis lately deseased billed for two years of diet and attendance and transporting mydear father twice from the westward to Wells.

Francis, the oldest son, has a peculiar history. It will be seen that there were two of the children of this name. The circumstances connected with this singular fact have been variously stated; but from a defect of knowledge in regard to the ages of the children, and of certain other facts which appear of record, the tradition has gathered to itself some material errors. Francis, the elder, was born in 1619. From some cause, of which we have no explanation, in early childhood he disppeared from his father’s house. He could not then have been more than six or seven years old. Francis, junior, was born about twelve years after. This is manifest from the fact that he was required to sign the submission to Massachusetts in 1653, which he would not have done had he then been a minor. The absence of Francis, senior, must have been voluntary. He could not have been abducted. If he had been, he would, at some subsequent time, surely, have notified his parents of that fact. It is strange that a young child like him should conceive the idea of abandoning the scene of all his comforts and all his support. The roving impulse, sometimes manifesting itself in boys, may have been strong within him and have led him to London or some of the great cities of the kingdom.

We are very confident he did not then come to New England. No vessel would have taken an unknown boy of that age. But when he approached manhood it is very probable that the spirit of adventure may have taken hold of him. Great numbers were then flocking to these western shores. Ship after ship was leaving England, laden with passengers seeking their fortunes beyond the waters. Vessels were returning, bringing cargoes of fish, furs, and other articles, the product of their voyages to the western world. All were talking of this wonderful country, abounding in gold, silver, precious stones, and other commodities, and the heart of the young man was touched by the fascinations which allured so many of maturer age. He could not resist the temptations which came over him, in the general excitement, somehow or other, to follow the multitude in the rush to the new world. He contrived to secure a passage, perhaps as a cabin boy, or as a servant to some one who was leaving his country for a home in the far-off Eldorado. He had left his parents, weeping at his departure, and now, under some assumed name, without sending to them the cheering word that he was still in the land of the living, he joins the multitude for the new world. He seems to have been one of those, found here and there, whose thoughts are more absorbed in their immediate surroundings than in the remembrance or happiness of the dear ones at home. Years passed away and no tidings came from him. The hearts of his parents were filled with sadness. Though the professed followers of Christ, the faith which comes by him is not always sufficient to sustain the soul. Weak and imperfect humanity will sometimes give way, even under temporary bereavements. The heart, for a time, will be bowed down by such family separations. Thoughts of the lost one will intrude, despite of all our self-control and all our Christian trust. No light beamed in upon them as to his fate. At last, all hope of seeing him again died within them, and they were obliged to come to the conclusion that he was dead. But Providence has many ways of compensation for these saddening incidents of our human condition. The bereaved parents had a new object of interest and affection presented by their Creator to cheer their wounded hearts. Another son was born to them, and they couldgive him no other name than Francis.

The parents were not satisfied with their condition in England. Though arrived at middle age, the fever for adventure took hold of them. Littlefield was a man of energy and resolution, and while so many of the young about him were crowding the passenger ships for the new land of freedom and imagined wealth, he could not keep aloof from the enterprise, but took passage and came to New England. From Boston he went to Exeter with Wheelright and his associates. His son, Anthony, was already with him, and he was soon joined by his wife and the children who came with her. This change, from the midst of civilized life to an entire wilderness, rauot have been appalling indeed to his large family. The night bowlings of the wolves, then so abundant, must have come to their ears with fearful power, and the deprivations which they began to experience have filled their souls with longings for the peace and comforts of the old homestead in England.

The precise year when the meeting with Francis took place does not appear from any surviving record. He was not living at the time, as has been said in some histories, on a farm in Wells. In 1639, he was, without doubt, at Exeter. He was then twenty years old, but was, with his father, so far acknowledged a member of the Wheelright combination as to have a lot of land assigned to him. In the list occurs the name ” Goodman Littlefield, four acres, twenty rods,” and afterwards ” Goodman Littlefield ” occurs again, with an assignment of twenty-one acres. This was for Edmund Littlefield,

his wife, and children, while the former was for Francis, who would soon be of age and could then assume the responsibilities of one of the combination. From Exeter Francis went to Woburn. Here he was married ; but his wife, Jane, died on the 20th of December, 1646, leaving a daughter, Mary, four days old. We suppose this child did not long survive her mother, as the father does not record her name with the family. He left Woburn as soon as his wife died and came to Wells.

The History of Wells and Kennebeck also has an account of how Francis’ teenage son Isaac was killed during King Philip’s War

On the eighteenth of October [1676] they came again to Wells, with great force, under the command of Mugg. The soldiery was altogether insufficient to meet them in the open field, though it required but a small proportion, as to numbers, to put them to flight. Their only protection now was at the garrison, which was at ” the town’s end.”

They had just taken prisoner at the eastward, one Walter Gendall, whom they sent into the fort to demand a surrender, before they made an onset. But the bold commander was not intimidated, and replied to him, ” Never, never shall the gates be opened till every one within is dead.’

Mugg became convinced that there was no hope of success against such determined bravery, and abandoned the attack. They probably did not approach sufficiently near to expose themselves to the fire of the garrison. At some time during the siege they killed Isaac Littlefield, the son of Francis, sen., who was about sixteen years of age. We have no knowledge of the circumstances. They also killed one other man and wounded a third, whose names are unknown, and maimed thirteen cattle, which they left, after taking out their tongues. In regard to Littlefield, they seem to have manifested a different spirit from that which was usual toward those who fell into their hands. They demanded of him to surrender. But he peremptorily declined; and continuing to do so, they shot him.
After this they gave liberty to his friends to take his body, offering it no further inhumanity, and attempting no violence to those who came to take it away.

Francis Littlefield Elder

4. Anthony Littlefield

Anthony’s wife Mary Page was born 1636 in Shatton Island, York, Maine. Her parents were Thomas Page and Elizabeth Felkin. Mary died 13 Mar 1662 in Kennebunk, York, Maine,

Anthony is thought to be the son that traveled with his father from Southampton to New England in 1637. Anthony lived at Wells, Maine all his life.  Anthony died July 1662 a few months after his father Edmund.

History of Wells and Kennebunk (1875) doesn’t have good things to say about Anthony

Anthony Littlefield died in 1662. He was the son of Edmund and one of the first inhabitants. He had a grant of 230 acres of land on the easterly side of Mousam river, which included Great Hill. This lot he sold to Hartakendon Symonds in 1658. He was a man of little energy and made no other investment in real estate. When he died, he had but a hundred dollars in personal property, as the result of twenty years’ labor. We have good reason for the belief that he was not a temperate man. His father, by his will, gave him nothing but his old clothes, or his wearing apparel. He had had no education, and thence would not be likely to have any just appreciation of life and its responsibilities.

Family legend  says Josiah Harvey FOSTER’S wife, Mary Ann Turk (1811 – ?), was  related to General Greene of the Revolution.  My grandmother’s second cousin Lydia Smith Townsend (1869 – 1946)  remembered seeing a family silver tray that had belonged to him.  She didn’t know what had become of it.  While  I’m sure the fact that  Edmund Littlefield was  his wife’s 3rd Great Grandfather isn’t what she was thinking about, here’s our closest  connection to General Nathanael GREENE  that I can find.

Child of Anthony Littlefield and Mary Page: (Edmund Littlefield’s grandson)

i. Caleb Littlefield Sr., b. 4 Sep 1659, Braintree, Suffolk, Mass, d. 1741, Block Island, Rhode Island.; m. Lydia Mott on Abt. 1690 in Braintree, Norfolk, Mass, daughter of Nathaniel Mott and Hanna Shooter. Lydia died in 1705.

Child of Caleb Littlefield Sr. and Lydia Mott  (Edmund Littlefield’s great grandson)

i. Caleb Littlefield Jr. b. Jul 1692 in Braintree, Norfolk, Mass. d. 18 Dec 1769 in New Shoreham, Block Island, Rhode Island; m. Mercy Mott

Child of Caleb Littlefield Jr and Mercy Mott (Edmund Littlefield’s 2nd great grandson)

i. John Littlefield b. 1 Mar 1718 in New Shoreham, Block Island, Rhode Island; d. 13 Jun 1795 in New Shoreham, Newport, Rhode Island; m. Phebe Ray

Child of John Littlefield and Phebe Ray (Edmund Littlefield’s 3rd great granddaughter)

i. Catherine (Caty) Littlefield b. 17 Dec 1753 in Block Island, Newport, Rhode Island. d. 2 Sep 1814 in Cumberland Island, Dungeness, Georgia; m1. Nathanael GREENE (1707 – 1768); m2. Phineas Miller on June 13, 1796 in Philadelphia’s First Presbyterian Church

5. John LITTLEFIELD (See his page)

6. Elizabeth Littlefield

Elizabeth’s husband John Wakefield was born 1615 in Pomfret, Kingston-on-Hull and Seassey, Yorkshire, England.  His parents were  JOHN WAKEFIELD and Mary SAWKIN. John died 15 Feb 1674 in Saco, York, Maine.

Elizabeth married Patience Wakefield’s brother John, some say 1637 others 1661.   He was the progenitor of the Maine family of Wakefields and was born in England.  The first American record we have of him is dated Jan 1, 1637, when at a town meeting held at Salem he was assessed fifteen shillings as an inhabitant of Marblehead, colony of Massachusetts Bay.  He probably did not come over in winter and must have come at least as long before as the summer or fall of 1636.

John Wakefield was a commissioner of Wells in 1648, and afterwards one of the selectmen. He bought Drake’s Island of Stephen Batson in 1652, and occupied it two or three years, when he sold it to Samuel Austin and moved to Scarboro.

26 Dec 1638 – At a town meeting held at Salem   among the several portions of land laid out at Marblehead, on the 14thof the same month, John Wakefield received his first American land grant of four acres “on the Neck,” John Endicott and others signing the grant. (Original Book of Grants of Salem, Essex County Inst., vol. ii. p 74.)

Owing to the unfortunate incompleteness of the early town records of Salem, Marblehead, Wells, Scarboro, and Saco (Biddeford), we are forever deprived of any record of the date of his birth, the marriage to his wife, Elizabeth Littlefield, the place where it was solemnized, and the same of the birth of their children.  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.

The Dec 1661 marriage date for John Wakefield and Elizabeth Litchfield is often shown in Watertown, Litchfield, Connecticut.  Could this be someone else?

John Wakefield moved to Wells, Maine before June of 1647 when he appears on a town list there for “appraising the swine for Mrs. Cole.”

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

John and his brother-in-law, John Littlefield, were granted under the authority of the Laconia Patent, (now called) “Great Hill Farm.” This hill extended much farther into the sea in 1647 then it now does and with projecting land at eastern end.

John served as commissioner and selectman 1648, 1654, 1657. He was ‘of Wells’ 2 July, 1657, when he witnessed a grant of John Barrett

In 1652, John Wakefield purchased Drake’s Island of Stephen Batson and moved there where he lived for three years. He sold it to Samuel Austin. In 1661 he removed to Scarborough where he purchased land and resided for several years.

3 Apr 1661 – Moved to Scarborough, Cumberland, Maine. Sold to Mr. John Gooch from his estate in Wells, one track of marsh land lying on the north side of the harbor and abutting upon the sea southeast, upon the Mussell Ridge west, and joining to a tract of upland on the north side— two acres.

Children of John and Elizabeth:

i. Mary Wakefield (1639 – ) married to William Frost.

ii. Henry Wakefield (1641 – ) died unmarried, later than March 39, 1677.

iii. John Jr. Wakefield (1643 – 1692) married Hester Harbor, who married, secondly, William Hayward  Jan 1706/07.

iv. James Wakefield (1645 – 1707) married Rebecca Gibbons; he was drowned October 25. 1707.

v. William Wakefield (1650 – 1707) married March 13, 1698, Rebecca Littlefield; he was drowned October 25, 1707.

vi. Katherine Wakefield (1656 – )  married, between 1677 and 1694, to Robert Nanny.

7. Mary Littlefield

Mary’s first husband John Barrett was born in 1628 in England.  His parents were Humphrey Barrett

(1590 – 1662) and Mary [__?__] (1590 – 1663).  John died in 1662 in Wells, Maine.

Mary’s second husband Thomas Page’s origins are unknown.

History of Wells and Kennebunk

John Barret died in 1662. He married Mary, the daughter of Edmund Littlefield. In 1658 he was appointed ensign of the military company in Wells. He left a respectable property for that period. His only descendant, of whom we have knowledge, was his son, John Barret, jr., who subsequently moved to Cape Porpoise. He was also ensign of the militia, but did not bring much honor to his father. He was deficient in true manliness of character; disregarding his conjugal obligations, and treating his wife with unkindness, and sometimes with great severity. The town lost nothing by his removal beyond its borders.

8. Thomas Littlefield

Baptised on samed day as sister Anne.  Thomas was a constable 1661 and 1664; had a grant of   land in 1665.There was an inquest in 1689 and 1670 into the untimely deaths of Samuel Lord, Robert Houston, and Thomas Littlefield of Wells Maine. They all drowned the same day at Berwick.  Inquest into their untimely death held prior to 5 Mar 1689, consisted of three constables and three coroners.

9. Hannah Littlefield

Hannah’s husband Peter Cloyes was born 27 May 1640 in Watertown, Middlesex, Mass. His parents were John Cloyes and Abigail Mournings. After Hannah died, he married 2 Jan 1704 in Watertown, Middlesex, Mass to Susanna Harrington. Peter died 18 Jul 1708 in Framingham, Middlesex, Mass

10. Francis Littlefield (Younger)

Francis’ wife Meribah Wardwell was born 14 May 1637 in Boston, Mass. Her parents were William Wardwell and Alice Pyce. William was a tavern keeper.

Francis, named for his grandfather, was a house carpenter; had a grant of 200 acres in Wells in 1658. He was called “Ensign”. He executed his will Feb 5, 1674/75; appraisers of his estate gave date of death; inventoryincluded saw and corn mills. Wife Meribah survived him.  Meribah died in Wells, ME, bef 12 Dec 1679; she was 42.


Edmund Littlefield Bio







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-

This entry was posted in 12th Generation, Historical Church, Historical Site, Immigrant - England, Line - Shaw, Pioneer, Twins, Violent Death and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to Edmund Littlefield

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  2. David Cook Littlefield, son of George Francis Littlefield, Boston, Ma., and Conway N.H. says:

    This is so interesting. Also cousin to Arthur Leavitt, whose mother was Littlefield,Conway N.H.

  3. David Cook Littlefield, son of George Francis Littlefield, Boston, Ma., and Conway N.H. says:

    Very interesting. Our family is from Conway, N.H. second cousin is Arthur Leavitt, whose mother was a Littlefield, sister to my grandfather, George Francis Littlefield. I am the eldest of four, all born in Boston, Ma. Please keep me in your thoughts. D. Littlefield

    • Howard R Littlefield Thetford Vermont says:

      interesting to be sure,if our geneology is correct i am a descendent of Francis Littlefield Jr,and my son will end this long journey.

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  13. Sue says:

    I am a descent of Edmund by way of Anthony Littlefield. Is this a private or public site. I would be interested in being able to use some of the dates for my own private genealogy. Also would like to mention that the Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, 1500-1900s shows Edmond Littlefield immigrated in 1937 with children. The children are presumed to the Francis “the Elder” and Anthony, his two oldest sons.

  14. Jeff says:

    Great info…, thnx! I am of the Francis Littlefield and Rebecca Rust line…. down to Dependance Littlefield, Isaac, Joseph and so on and so on!

  15. William Sargent Littlefield, Col, USA, ret says:

    Appreciate the history. Father Harold Grant Littlefield was from Wells, became track star at Bowdoin Collage in Brunswick. I am retired now after long career in the Army. Enjoying my three sons and Korean daughter as they pursue their careers. Bill littlefield, Topsham, Maine

    • markeminer says:

      You are a real downeaster! Ten generations?

      • William Sargent Littlefield says:

        After 4 plus decades away, was more than happy to return to Topsham and settle in the family home. Several generations of my family are in the Riverview cemetery of Topsham. Named after Topsham, England, our town is enjoying a well controlled growth and a fine river system, capped by the Androscoggin, which begins in New Hampshire and powered many mills in the last century.

  16. ruminski says:

    Exhaustive and amazing research! Edmund Littlefield was my 9th great grandfather. I have visited the Wells library. My great aunt and my second cousin knew Charles Littlefield Seaman and shared information with him. I look forward to reading more of your posts.

    • Carol Myers says:

      Wow all my many hours and lots of walking, research, cemeteri es, libraries etc. All the info available is amazing. My line is through Francis jr. And Meribah Wardwell.. My grandfathers (Frederick kidder Church) mother was Ida Littlefield. My uncle Roland Littlefield Church has a grandson Devon Littlefield Church..They had no idea where it came from…life goes on..Carol Manchester, N. H.

  17. Brad Littlefield says:

    Wonderful work! My 4th great-grandfather was Asa of Vermont. Just visited there and Wells. There was a great research library in Bennington, wish I could have spent more time there. I defended from the two Elisha’s and live in Idaho. Love to hear from any Asa defendants.

  18. (1) Edmund Littlefield was my 9th great grandfather. (2) Elizabeth Littlefield (3) William Wakefield (4) Jonathan Wakefield (5) Jonathan Wakefield (6) Peter Wakefield (7) Lovina Wakefield (8) Jackson Reed (9) Frank H. Reed (10) Bernice Reed (11) Harland R. Miller (12) Richard A. Miller. No 6 Peter Wakefield moved to Newport, N.H. I live in the next town over in Claremont, N.H. I love going to Wells, Maine every summer for a vacation. Never once dreamed that some of my ancestor’s owned most of the town at one time. But love finding ancestors like this, to me it is like digging up a treasure or pot of gold.
    Thank you so much for posting the history of Edmund Littlefield’s family and descendants. Love reading it.
    Sincerely Richard M.

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