Litchfield is a city in and the county seat of Meeker County, Minnesota, United States. The population was 6,726 at the 2010 census.The January 22, 1880 Litchfield News-Ledger newspaper stated, “Twenty-five years ago (1855), where now stands the beautiful and enterprising city of Litchfield, was an unimproved waste, inhabited only by wild beasts and wandering bands of red men.” There wasn’t much else here other than some thick woods and a prairie. The famous “Big Woods” was just four miles away. But, the plentiful wood, nearby water, and rich black earth was appealing to settlers. And the price was right…$1.25 per acre for the homesteader. (The homestead law did not become effective until January 1, 1863.)
In an early historic document, our area of Minnesota was called the “garden of the State”. In the late spring/early summer of 1855, John W. Huy, Benjamin Brown and someone named Mackenzie (John?), all employed by a St. Paul lumber company, paddled a canoe up the Crow River to the Minnesota Territory’s west-central area in search of pine timber. Not satisfied with their findings, they returned to St. Paul, but Huy organized another exploring party, consisting of young lawyer D. M. Hanson (called the first Swede to visit the area), Dr. Thomas H. Skinner, and Rudolph Schultz. Late that summer, the explorers took off for the same area and, in the fall, they stopped in what is now the township of Harvey.
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