Littlefield Gallery: Founding Family of Wells

The name Littlefield signifies “dweller at the little field.”  Edmund and Annis Littlefield and their six children traveled from England and settled in the town of Wells in 1641.  Edmund’s first mill was at the edge of the salt marsh, a short distance south of the Meetinghouse.  Early town boundaries, from the Kennebunk River to the Ogunquit River, were marked by his mills.

 

At his death in 1661, Edmund Littlefield was one of the most prosperous men in Wells in terms of land and mill privileges.  He was survived by more than forty grandchildren, progenitors of Littlefields in Wells today.  Historians recognize him as the “Father of Wells.”

Ivory Littlefield, a descendent of Annis and Edmund, wrote for the Biddeford Journal under the pen name "Webhannet."  He lived next to the Webhannet Falls, where a grist mill, located at the base of the falls until the 1880s, was owned by an eighth-generation descendent of the mill's first owner, Edmund Littlefield.

From his writings: "At the distance of half a century, I can hear the creaking of the mill gear, sounding to my then childish ears as though it said, 'Bel-ze-bub,' slowly drawn out, delivering the last syllable as though it was a great relief to its burdened mind."

Ivory Littlefield, 1829-1895

Roby Littlefield's WWI Trench Coat, as displayed in the Service & Sacrifice Gallery of our museum.

Another descendant of Edmund and Annis Littlefield was noted Ogunquit resident Roby Littlefield.  Roby served in the Great War and went on to serve his community in many ways over the years.  He farmed and sold vegetables from Beach Plum Farm in Ogunquit  starting in the 1920s and established a tradition of community garden plots which continues to this day.  Roby served in the Maine Senate and is also credited with spearheading the preservation of Ogunquit beach for public use.

Roby was also instrumental in the formation of the Historical Society of Wells & Ogunquit and served as its second president - which brings us to his trench coat.  One of the dearest items in our museum is the WWI trench coat that Roby wore in battle in France.

 

We recently made the unfortunate discovery that Roby's trench coat needs serious restoration work if it is to survive for future generations.  We've set up a GoFundMe page to raise funds for the restoration.  Even the smallest donation will help.  Please spread the word, and help us honor Roby's service and the sacrifices of all who have fought for our freedom.  Thank you!

Roby Littlefield and Joseph Littlefield c. 1940

Do you have Littlefield ancestors?  Our library has an extensive collection of books on Littlefield history and genealogy and we are always happy to share with the many Littlefield descendents who reach out to us from near and far.  Here's how to plan your visit or contact us.