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HISTORY: Litchfield County Established

The Goshen News - Staff Photo - Create Article
Barb Harnett

It was in 1716 that lands in Western Connecticut were purchased by John Marsh and Thomas Seymour from the Tunxis  Indians for 15 pounds. They had traveled on Indian trails to the Naugatuck  establishing  some 60 land parcels. Settlers from the Connecticut River Valley moved west, onto these lots, clearing new land for homesteads, farm and pasture, mills, and small industry.

In 1719, Litchfield settlers petitioned the Colonial Assembly of Connecticut and incorporated as a township.  Settlers continued to flow in through Litchfield into Northwestern Connecticut, widening footpaths and trails into early roads.  Litchfield had laid out roads through the village and then out to its borders, connecting  Harwington, NewMilford, Goshen and Woodbury with five major  routes by 1740. These routes were readily adopted by stagecoach lines running between Hartford, New Haven and Albany, offering Litchfield a surge of economic growth, which continued throughout the 1830s.

Business and commerce spawned litigation.  By 1751 Litchfield was named the County seat by the Connecticut Assembly.  A courthouse was established to hear civil and criminal cases, a jailhouse built and a county sheriff appointed to bring offenders before the court.