R. I. LITCHFIELD, who follows farming in Bennington township, is a native son of Marshall county, his birth having occurred in that township May 24, 1864. His father, John LITCHFIELD, was born in Cambridgeshire, England, in 1821 and was a son of Richard L. and Sarah LITCHFIELD, also natives of that country. In 1847 the grandfather came to America at the age of eighty-seven years, there being ten in the party, and located on a farm in Indiana, where he spent his remaining days. His wife, who was an earnest and consistent member of the Baptist church, died at the age of sixty-seven years. In his family were nine children, all of whom came to America, with the exception of the eldest daughter who spent her entire life in England.
In the schools of his native country John LITCHFIELD acquired a limited education and at the age of fifteen years came to the new world, being thirteen weeks upon the water and landing on New Year's day of 1837. The voyage was made in a sailing vessel, the St. Lawrence, of an American line belonging to a company at Richmond, Virginia. Mr. LITCHFIELD first set foot on American soil at New Orleans and, proceeding up the Mississippi river, settled in Indiana, where he made his home until 1849, when he removed to Macomb, McDonough county, Illinois, where for two years he was engaged in teaming. It was in 1851 that he took up his residence in Bennington township, Marshall county, where the year previous he had entered one hundred and sixty acres of land. As time passed he prospered in his farming operations and became the owner of over three hundred acres of land, two hundred acres of which constitutes the old homestead. For the past six years, however, he has made his home in Toluca, where he is now practically living retired, enjoying a well earned rest. His political support is given the men and measures of the democracy. Near Evansville, Indiana, he was married in 1853 to Miss Emily PALMER, who was born in England in 1832 and is still living. This worthy couple are now the parents of ten children,
In early life R. I. LITCHFIELD pursued his studies in the Palmer school, which was named for his maternal grandfather, and he early became familiar with all the duties that fall to the lot of the agriculturist. In 1882 he commenced farming on his own account on the old home place and has since met with excellent success in his chosen field of operation. For the past six years he has operated the home farm, but in the meantime he lived just across the road for some time, having lived for five years upon a farm belonging to his mother, which is now a part of the village of Toluca. He next removed to Belle Plain township, where he lived on a place belonging to his father for six years and then returned to the old homestead in Bennington township. In connection with farming he devoted considerable attention to stock-raising, making a specialty of polled Durham cattle for the past ten years and has a fine registered bull at the head of his herd.
In 1888 Mr. LITCHFIELD married Miss Naomi STRATTON, who was born in Bennington township, Marshall county, in 1868 and is a daughter of James and Marcia STRATTON, farming people of that township. The parents were both born in England and are now deceased. Mr. and Mrs. LITCHFIELD have become the parents of six children, namely: Emily M., who was born in 1889 and is now attending normal school; Ray B., born in 1892; Ruth I., in 1894; Orville L., in 1896; Esther, in 1900; and Mildred, in 1904. Mr. LITCHFIELD takes quite an active and influential part in local politics and has been called upon to serve as road commissioner for two years in Bennington township and also two years in Belle Plain township. He is an enterprising, wide-awake business man of known reliability, and as a citizen stands high in public regard.
Extracted July 2011 by Norma Hass from Past and Present of Marshall and Putnam Counties Illinois, 1907.