Litchfield During the Revolutionary War


Major Moses Seymour's house
LITCHFIELD's INLAND LOCATION on major trade routes gave the town a unique role during the American Revolution. Because Litchfield was considered a “safe town,” secure from British attack, patriot leaders asked the townspeople to serve as jailers for loyalist prisoners. The prisoners were in Litchfield’s jail and in the home of Major Moses Seymour. Litchfield’s best known prisoners were William Franklin, the royal Governor of New Jersey and son of Benjamin Franklin, and the mayor of New York City. Located at a crossroads, Litchfield was a central point on several routes between important Connecticut towns and the strategic military posts in the Hudson River Valley. As a result, patriots used the town as a critical supply depot for military stores and munitions.


The Ezra Stiles map

However, Litchfield’s most unusual role in the Revolutionary War may have been played by the women and children of the community. In 1776, the Sons of Liberty pulled down the equestrian statue of King George III that stood on Bowling Green in New York City. The pieces were sent on to Litchfield, where the many of the town’s women and children members them into 42,000 bullets in the orchard behind Oliver Wolcott’s home on South Street. Wolcotts’ eleven year old daughter Maryann kept a detailed list of the number of bullets made by each person.


The Sons of Liberty pull down the statue of George III.
Maryann Wolcott (right) kept a detailed list as the pieces were turned into bullets