William Lithgow

Major William Lithgow, 11th Regiment, Massachusetts Continental Line -Original Member (Massachusetts Society)

A son of Hon. William and Sarah (Noble) Lithgow, he was born in Phippsburg, Maine, in 1750, died in Georgetown, Maine, February 16, 1796, unmarried; had a good academic education; studied law with James Sullivan (afterward Governor of Massachusetts) in Biddeford, Maine; was still studying at the outbreak of the Revolution; Captain, Massachusetts Militia in 1776; Major, 11th Massachusetts, January 1, 1777; wounded at Stillwater July 7, 1777; resigned July 29, 1779. Despite his having been wounded previously Major Lithgow is one of the officers depicted in John Trumbull’s well-known painting, Burgoyne’s Surrender at Saratoga. After leaving the service he opened a law office in Augusta, Maine; was esteemed by all and enjoyed a large practice; was twice a Massachusetts State Senator from the District of Maine; was a Major General of the Maine Militia; and first United States Attorney for the District of Maine. He wrote a hand nearly equal to copper plate, and kept it up as long as he lived; in a letter applying in this Society dated Georgetown (Maine) December 7, 1787, he mentioned ‘the severe and debilitating wound which I received at Stillwater,’ which had obliged him to resign from the Army; was receiving a pension at the time from the United States on account of it. He was admitted a member of this Society July 4 1788; was engaged to be married to Mary Deering, the widow of Commodore Preble of Portland, when he died, and she still had a fine miniature of him when she died in 1851. His brother Arthur was appointed administrator of his estate on January 15, 1799. He had 3 brothers and 5 sisters.

Abstracted from James Archer O’Reilly III, Memorials of the Massachusetts Society of the Cincinnati (Boston 2004), 239-40. William Lithgow was represented in the New Hampshire Society from 1896 to 1949 by William Lithgow Willey, and has been represented again in the Massachusetts Society since 1999.