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John Pitcher

August 23, 1794
Home Town:
Watertown, CT
Later Residences:
Rockport, IN
Biographical Notes:
John Pitcher was born in Watertown, CT. He moved west in 1816, stopping briefly in Cincinnati, OH and St. Louis, MO. He eventually settled in Spencer County, Indiana in 1820. He served as sherrif, state representative, and state senator. He was an active Mason. He is said to have lent law books to a young Abraham Lincoln, who he visited at the White House. He was married and had thirteen children. Only two survived him.
"Many years ago, when I was at Mount Vernon, Indiana, I learned from Judge John Pitcher, that between the years 1820 and 1830, when he was living and practicing law in the town of Rockport, the county seat of Spencer County, Indiana, Abraham Lincoln on several occasions came down from his home in the village of Gentryville, distant about fifteen miles, and talked to Judge Pitcher about books, asking how to read them and how in other ways to obtain or at least improve his education. ‘I counseled with him,’ said Pitcher,’ and loaned him several books, some of them being law books, which he took home with him to read. I understood he wanted to become a lawyer and I tried to encourage him.’ The specific titles of the volumes which Judge Pitcher loaned young Lincoln the former did not indicate, ...

Years at LLS:

Profession / Service
Political Office; Lawyer
Admitted To Bar:
1816 in Litchfield County Court
Political Party:
Whig; Republican; Democrat
State Posts:
State Representative (Indiana) 1830-31
State Senator (Indiana) 1841-44
Local Posts:
Sheriff (Spencer County) 1826-30
Judge Jefferson County 1817
Judge Circuit Court (Posey, Gibson, Vanderburgh, and Warrick counties)

Related Objects and Documents
help The Citation of Attendance provides primary source documentation of the student’s attendance at the Litchfield Female Academy and/or the Litchfield Law School. If a citation is absent, the student is thought to have attended but currently lacks primary source confirmation.

Records for the schools were sporadic, especially in the formative years of both institutions. If instructors kept comprehensive records for the Litchfield Female Academy or the Litchfield Law School, they do not survive. Researchers and staff have identified students through letters, diaries, family histories and genealogies, and town histories as well as catalogues of students printed in various years. Art and needlework have provided further identification of Female Academy Students, and Litchfield County Bar records document a number of Law School students. The history of both schools and the identification of the students who attended them owe credit to the early 20th century research and documentation efforts of Emily Noyes Vanderpoel and Samuel Fisher, and the late 20th century research and documentation efforts of Lynne Templeton Brickley and the Litchfield Historical Society staff.
Litchfield County Bar Association Records, 1815, Litchfield Historical Society, Helga J. Ingraham Memorial Library.

Catalogue of the Litchfield Law School (Hartford, CT: Press of Case, Tiffany and Company, 1849), 13.
Secondary Sources:
Weik, Jesse William The Real Lincoln: A Portrait, 1922, University of Nebraska Press, 130-131 accessed at:

"The Oldest Mason Gone" The Daily Picayune August 7, 1892, New Orleans, LA.

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