Many engaging stories about families involved in Littleton’s history are told through the Littleton Museum archives and several books. A listing in …
This item is available in full to subscribers.
If you're a print subscriber, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one.
Click here to see your options for becoming a subscriber.
If you made a voluntary contribution in 2022-2023 of $50 or more, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one at no additional charge. VIP Digital Access includes access to all websites and online content.
Many engaging stories about families involved in Littleton’s
history are told through the Littleton Museum archives and several
A listing in the history section of the city website includes
some information about the extended Chatfield family, a history
that is greatly expanded with publication of “The Chatfield Story,”
about Civil War Private Edward L. Chatfield, of the 113th Illinois
Regiment, and his extended family for whom the park, road and dam
Authors Terry M. McCarty and Margaret Ann Chatfield McCarty will
appear at 7 p.m. June 8 at Bemis Library, 6014 S. Datura St.,
Littleton to speak about history gleaned from the letters and
diaries of Edward L. Chatfield. (The diaries are in the Littleton
Museum collection). Terry McCarty says that the Chatfield Ranch at
one time included a portion of Highlands Ranch.
Margaret Ann Chatfield McCarty is a descendent of Edward, a
great grandniece, who was entrusted with Civil War letters Edward
wrote to his family by her cousin Endaline, Edward’s only child, in
1964, when Terry and Peg were about to marry. Peg is the great
granddaughter of Edward’s brother James.
The ensuing research and book project took on a life of its own,
leading the McCartys, who reside in Texas, on a journey that
followed Edward’s travels (a map is in the book), four years, hours
of research. Terry figures that about 8,000 hours were involved
before publication. The book is now in a second printing and they
are traveling to various Civil War sites to promote it, in addition
to the Littleton visit. (It’s available at Amazon.com).
Edward Chatfield enlisted in the Union Army and was captured at
Brice Crossing, following a disastrous encounter with the
Confederates, who operated under different rules and strategies
than those the Union generals had learned at West Point and other
military academies. He was captured and spent time in the dreaded
Andersonville and other prisons.
There is a 10-month hiatus in Edward’s letters and diary
entries, which the authors have filled in with a narrative covering
the war, his escape and eventual return to his Ohio grandmother
Lucy, then to the family home at Kankakee, Illinois. During his
ordeal, he dropped from 156 pounds to about 90 due to starvation
and illness. He did recover, return to complete his service and
finally head west to Littleton, where he had a ranch.
Prior to Edward’s journey to Colorado, his cousin Isaac and wife
Eliza had traveled to Denver, eventually to a ranch at the
intersection of the South Platte River and Plum Creek in about
1871. Edward visited there and the two found an acreage for him
that was bordered on the east by what is now South Platte Park,
including a portion of the South Platte River that is now the
spillway for Chatfield Dam.
Edward’s parents Nathan and Margaret had determined, following
family tradition, to provide each of their children with land.
Edward married Anna Bates of Ohio in 1877 and they returned to the
family farm until 1879, when six Chatfields moved to Littleton: the
parents, Edward and Anna and siblings Mary and Charles., Later they
were joined by brother James and his wife and brother Newton and
his family. The brothers were active in Littleton affairs, leaving
their stamp on the growing agricultural community.
The McCartys, who will, appropriately, camp at Chatfield State
Park while in the area, have several other engagements: 6:15 p.m.
June 9 with the Columbine Kiwanis Club; 6 p.m. June 10 with the
Rocky Mountain Civil War Round Table at Columbine United Church; 7
p.m. June 12, Chatfield State Park Amphitheater.
If you go:
“The Chatfield Story” lecture will be at 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 8
at Bemis Library, 6014 S.
Other items that may interest you
We have noticed you are using an ad blocking plugin in your browser.
The revenue we receive from our advertisers helps make this site possible. We request you whitelist our site.