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1912 - Litchfield Held in Poison Case - Indictment Follows Death of Whittier.
One Count Relates to His Actions for Six Months Past.
He is Related to Wealthy Southbridge Family.
Wilford J. Litchfield, 45 years old, was arrested yesterday in his apartment in Hotel Navarre within an hour after being indicted by the Grand Jury in connection with the death of Frederick N. Whittier, who expired las Monday morning from cyanide of potassium poisoning after becoming ill in the rooms of the accused.
Related to the wealthy Litchfield family of Southbridge, Litchfield enjoyed a large income and lived in ease in the hotel.
As a result of several conferences between Medical Examiner Leary and officials of the district attorney's office, it was decided that Litchfield acted improperly in speech and behavior for six months. Beside the indictment on this charge, the Grand Jury yesterday returned one other indictment against him.
The accused took his arrest calmly. At Police Headquarters he talked with his attorney, Cornelius A. Parker. He was photographed and Acting Inspector James Claflin took his finger prints.
Whittier was not related to the family of the poet Whittier, as had at first been given out. He had frequented Litchfield's apartment and the latter had at different times given him money.
A waif, Whittier was adopted when 7 years old by a family named Woodbury living near Worcester. Four years ago, he ran away from home. He was 24 years old.
Wilford J. Litchfield was born in Southbridge. His relatives control Litchfield Shuttle Company, a large manufacturing concern.
He graduated from Southbridge High School at the age of 18. He then went to Canton, N.Y. where he graduated from St Lawrence University in 1894. At college he made few friends and was generally regarded as a youth of none too robust physique by his fellow students. He was always plentifully supplied with money, but was considered a poor student.
He returned to Southbridge and became known as an antiquarian and historian. He wrote a history of the town of Southbridge, which is now in the town library. He also specialized in genealogy and busied himself inquiring into his own family history. He removed to Boston a number of years ago.
Litchfield has for a number of years given prizes for excellence in modern languages at St Lawrence and he has visited Canton, N.Y. each year. He was the first secretary of the Southbridge Y.M.C.A. He last visited his native town about four weeks ago. He is unmarried.
The Boston Globe
November 8, 1912
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