Hidden in Plain Sight tells the story of one town – Litchfield, Connecticut – through an exploration of its cultural landscape:  monuments, markers, signs, old roadbeds, and other footprints of the past.  Suggestions or ideas for future posts are always welcome!

38 thoughts on “About

  1. Pete,

    The town of Warren has some hidden gems of history you might like to check out when you do your presentation there. I’m happy to have found your blog and enjoy your discoveries.

    Don’t forget to visit the Red School House, Charlie Finney’s memorial, also there is(was) a tunnel that went between the Rooster Tail B&B underground to the house across the street, which I always heard was used for the Underground Railroad, also in the old Warren Center cemetery is a gravestone in memory of a child slave know as “Ned” put there by his owner. I’d love to know more about these history’s as Warren has been a drive-through town, yet it’s history helped shape America, like so much of Litchfield County. Oh don’t forget to look into bullets made from the John Bull statue that once stood in NYCity. It’s a favorite Litchfield story of mine.

  2. Love your book, especially the section about Litchfield caring (or attempting to) for the poor/paupers of the town. There was a CT Supreme Court case involving my 3rd Great Grandfather of Norfolk Louis Parret/Parrott, called Town of New Hartford v. Canaan from 1886 or so which was about who was to care for a pauper family (Louis’s son LaFayette). LaFayette had some issues with himself and his family tragedy.Very interesting story and Google books has several links to the errors court case. https://books.google.com/books?id=3C8sAQAAMAAJ&dq=la%20fayette%20parrott%2C%201836%2C%20massachusetts&pg=PA159#v=onepage&q=la%20fayette%20parrott,%201836,%20massachusetts&f=false

    I have another mystery that does involve the Litchfield poor house or farm. On the 1860 census a orphan is listed at 3 years old. They have his full name listed, Henry Ebenezer Clark. Someone has to have known the family of this child if they have his name right? YDNA proves that he is indeed a Clark son. He matches my dad’s direct ancestral line of Clark’s which have been traced to John Clark of New Haven, CT b. 1637 and d. 1719 in West Haven. According to your book, the town should have asked family to support the boy, so I believe there should be some record of who it could be? I am in California, but would love to find out where these records could be? County courthouse? Historical Society? Thanks for your help.

    • Christine, I would love to connect with you. I’m a descendent of that Henry Ebenezer Clark! He was my father’s grandfather. After decades of research he remains quite a mystery. My dad had his YDNA tested and that’s how I learned that our Henry was indeed a “Clark”. I’ve been unable to locate any records of the Town Farm in Hartford or Litchfield.

      My cousin and I have some theories about Henry’s ancestry, which I’d be happy to share.

      Please email me at lcmurray926@gmail.com.

    • Peter, I’m so delighted to discover your books and this blog! I too am searching for ancestors who lived in Litchfield County poor houses/town farms.

      If you do have any tips on finding records from the Litchfield Town Farm from the 1850-1870 timeframe I would be incredibly appreciative, as my great-grandfather, Henry Ebenezer Clark, was living as an orphan in the town farm at about the age of 3 in 1860. By the 1870 census, at the age of 14, he was living on the farm of an Ira Emmons.

      My great-great-grandmother was living in the New Milford Poor House, and census records say she was “possessed of the devil”. Poor thing. Her daughter, Emma Evitts, my great-grandmother, went on live in the home of the, prominent I believe, Buck family in New Milford, and eventually married Henry Ebenezer Clark. Do you have any tips of finding the records of the New Milford Poor House?

      Thank you!

      • Hello,

        Wow! That’s quite a story. I would suggest contacting Linda Hocking at the Litchfield Historical Society about the Litchfield Town Farm. However, since that was an enterprise run by the town it is possible that the records are with the town clerk. The same would go for New Milford. Good luck!

      • Hi Peter, thank you for your response! Could you possibly put me in touch with “Christine” who posted above on June 27, 2015? She is also researching Henry Ebenezer Clark, my great-grandfather. Thank you so much — I would really appreciate it!

      • Hello Laura, we are already communicating via email because of my dad’s FTDNA YDNA test results and I am a guest on your tree at Ancestry. I will send you another email. Thanks. Christine

  3. Hi,

    I was wondering if you ever came across any information regarding Elisha Taylor? His wife’s name was Lydia (Cook) and he was the son of Joel Taylor and Eleanor (Goodell). The only other thing I really know about him, is that he fought in the Revolutionary War. I am his descendant via his son Elisha, who moved to Hiram, Ohio in 1818.

      • Thanks! I would appreciate that greatly! I know my ancestors brother and sister stayed in CT (the brother was Phineas Taylor and the sister was Polly…I believe she married into the Judson family). I believe there were a couple other siblings, but he didn’t seem to stay in contact with them…or at least none of the letters have survived.

    • Hello Cousin:
      I am also descended from Elisha Tayor of Hiram, OH through his only daughter, Nancy Jane who married my grandfather Edward White. After the Civil War they settled in Winterset, IA and are buried in the Primitive Baptist Cemetery there. You must be descended from my gr. uncle Benjamin Taylor, Elisha’s son.
      If you haven’t found it yet, here is the link to the Taylor Family pages:
      If you dig in there you will find that one of our ancestors is Matthew Grant, The Recorder of the Connecticut witch trials.

      • Nice to meet you Frank! Correct, Benjamin Taylor is my great great great grandfather. My grandfather was the son of his son Carl. I did not know there were any Taylors in Iowa; I grew up in Ohio, not far from Hiram, but now currently live in Wyoming. Thank you for the link and the interesting information!

      • Frank, I mentioned you to a cousin of mine, who is into genealogy, he would like to get a hold of you. What would be the best way to do that?

  4. d the Milestone article recently regarding Judge Jedediah Strong’s marker milestone. Unfortunately for all his stature and knowledge, his death was sad. I signed up to your site and will look forward to receiving more interesting material about your town.

  5. Hello, Peter,

    thanks for your excellent blog and historical research. I am researching the history of Florence Chandler Maybrick in Connecticut and wondering if you have done any research on her. Such a fascinating character. I am trying to locate possible interviewees with firsthand or family experiences of Florence, in addition to artifacts from her house on Old Stone Road.

    If you have any stories or leads I’d be grateful for any assistance you can offer. Best wishes,

    Ron J. Suresha
    New Milford, CT

    • Hello! Thanks for the kind words. No, I have not done any research on her, but having just read a bit, I think I will try to find her grave in South Kent. If I hear of anyone, I’ll pass the name along to you.

  6. The three towns of Torrington, Litchfield and Harwinton originally met in a “fork of the Waterbury River” (now the Naugatuck) essentially behind right field of Fuessenich Park. Harwinton gave the northwest corner of the town to Torrington in the 1920s. Litchfield at some time also granted around a square mile to Torrington in it’s northeast corner. Civil war era maps show the original town line which ran adjacent to Albert St. in Torrington. It is also possible the land under Charlotte Hungerford Hospital was originally part of Litchfield. I have asked a few people and read the Histories of Torrington and Litchfield without success. Present day maps show a scallop shaped parcel joined to Torrington out of the original straight east – west northern bounds of Litchfield. Links to view the maps:
    Page 214 & 215 of Town and city atlas of the State of Connecticut. / Compiled from government surveys, county records and personal investigations

  7. I think there could be a fascinating topic for your “Hidden in Plain Sight” column on what might be called “The Ghost Roads of Goshen.” In researching my ancestors who lived in Goshen 1758-1812, I found that so many of the roads that served their farms and homes have been “discontinued” over the years. In fact, the Town has a seven page list of discontinued roads.

    Click to access title21.pdf

    But many are still there, in traces. Some are visible in the now untracked woods from aerial photographs where only the boundary stone walls remain.

    I’ve a few photos I could share if there’s an e-mail I could send them to.

    Dan McGrath
    Brookfield, CT

  8. Hi. I am looking for more information about these CHD stone markers pertaining to those on Meriden Rd. in Wolcott, CT. Please contact me if you can provide more information. Thanks.

    • Hello! Thanks for reading my blog. I don’t know anything specific about the markers in Wolcott, however I imagine that they, like most of the CHD markers, are marking what land is owned by the state.

      • Hi. Since the stones are square, what is the actual boundary line? Measured from the top edge (facing the road) or the bottom edge (facing the other property)? Asking because a Surveyor used one of these stones to designate a property boundary on my property. He used a stone 69 feet from my property line. Seems like not the most accurate reference to me.

      • The middle of the stone, sometimes there is a plus mark in the center, but not always. The rodman of a surveyors team, puts his ”rod pole” on the center while the surveyor ”shoots” the distance with a theodolite, a precision optical instrument for measuring angles between designated visible points in the horizontal and vertical planes. Traditional use has been for land surveying.

  9. CHD markers stand for Connecticut Highway Department using metes and bounds measurements and descriptions. Surveyor have stringent mathematical rules and measuring devices when surveying land. Title searches of property deeds, recorded in cities/town halls, along with prior maps and survey computataions, when available, give surveyor and engineers the information needed to begin their work. Map, drawing and mathematically computations must be within close tolerances to be certified accurate.

    You could go to your town/city clerk to request copies of any maps already recorded for your property. Good to know, some survey maps may never be recorded for reasons only the property owner knows.

  10. I am giving up posting here. I posted answers to the questions on CHD monuments. Are they not being received, I wonder.

  11. You might be interested in the one room brick school house in Warren. The town historical society began restoring the small building with history programs scheduled to be available for students and the public.

    • Thank you very much! I took some time away to work on a book project. I am shopping that around now to publishers so hopefully I will be more active on the blog soon. I appreciate your kind words!

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