This two story Greek Revival building was built by Joseph Parker Thomas in 1839 as a home for him and his wife, Melinda (Holt) Thomas. Joseph Thomas had an array of careers while living in this home, starting as a toolmaker and a blacksmith as well as a deacon in the village. In later life, Joseph worked as a Deputy Collector for the Treasury Department of the United States Military out of the Castine area. Two of Joseph and Melinda’s daughters became teachers, first their eldest daughter Melinda A and then their younger one, Delia. The family resided in this home until Joseph’s death in 1886, when Melinda moved out of the home to live with her children.
The next known family to reside in the home was in 1899, when Asa Otis Littlefield M.D. took up residence there with his wife, Mary O. Littlefield (née Saunders). Asa, or “Otis” as he preferred to be called, was born to Captain Samuel B. Littlefield (1836 – 1865) and Drusilla Rosilla Littlefield (nee Gray 1836 – 1917). Samuel Littlefield was involved in a shipwreck in 1862 and while everyone had given up on him, Mary refused to do so and waited. Otis remembers his mother having a vision of his father at sunset and wearing new clothes after coming home from his journey. This vision came to pass as Samuel returned from his shipwreck, whole and hardy. In 1863, Samuel left for the Grand Banks of Newfoundland to go fishing and sent Mary letters during this voyage. Sadly, in 1864, Otis’ father Samuel died at sea after contracting smallpox in Vera Cruz, Mexico when Otis was three years old. As the oldest man in the house, Otis had worked an odd variety of jobs to support his education – from being a miner to being a bartender to managing a stables and beyond.
In 1892, Otis Littlefield married Mary Olive Saunders in Glocester, Massachusetts on June 21 when he was 30 years old. The two had the following children together: Jane Elizabeth “Jennie” Littlefield (1893-1980), Grace Edith Littlefield (1895 – 1990), Mary Olive Littlefield (1898 – 1985) and Walter Hunt Littlefield (1901 – 1986). In 1899, Otis and his wife took up residence at 61 Union St in Blue Hill, the old Joseph Parker Thomas house, where he used to sell raspberries to Mrs. Thomas as a child. As the story goes, when Otis and Mary bought the house Mrs. Thomas, an elderly woman at the time, gifted the couple a crib that had been used for the Thomas’ sons, Edward and George who both had died while serving in the American Civil War. Otis walked Mrs. Thomas out the door to her waiting daughter, the two arm and arm as they remembered the day of Otis’ youth and the Blue Hill of the last century.
Otis was never idle, making sure to tend to all the needs of the town and making house calls for all kinds of ailments or the delivering of babies with his horse and buggy. He worked for the Village Improvement Society, a local organization of like-minded townsfolk that wanted to make sure that the Village was the best it could be, from watering down the roads to prevent dusty travel to helping improve the general look of the town by sponsoring everyone to have little gardens in their front yards. Otis Littlefield was a great doctor, earning a Gold Medal from the Maine Medical Association in 1935, but many also knew him to be a great authority of local history – his autobiography currently sits in the Blue Hill Historical Society’s collection.
The Littlefields remained in the house on Union Street until Otis’ death in February of 1942, with his wife preceding him in 1937. The house is listed as vacant in the 1950’s census records, which is true of many of the houses listed in Union Street. Regardless, this lack of a chain of ownership makes it difficult to ascertain what became of the ownership of the home until the 2000’s when it came into the Bauer’s ownership.
If you have any stories or pictures that you want to share about this building or its inhabitants don’t hesitate to post them in the comments section. Next Sunday, we’re going to hone in on the home of The Chase Family. See you then!