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Johnson Family of Norwich Vermont

The Johnson Family were numerously represented in the early history of the town. Of this family there were several branches. Captain Hezekiah Johnson was an original proprietor of the town and one of its earliest settlers. He settled on the north bank of the Pompanoosuc River near its mouth and fixed his residence where Mr. Richard Waterman now lives. Captain Johnson was born in Woburn, Massachusetts, May 12, 1724, but emigrated to Norwich from Mansfield, Connecticut. He married, at Mansfield, Dorothy Slafter, sister of Deacon John Slafter, January 25, 1750. He was in the fullest sense one of the “fathers of the town.” He was chosen selectman in 1765, ’67, ’68 and 78 and during the fifteen years following the settlement of Norwich held all the most important town offices. He was a member of a committee appointed by the town that laid out most of the earliest roads in town; was also one of the town committee of safety during the Revolutionary war. He gave to the town land for the old burial ground (about two acres), which lies opposite the place of his residence on the south bank of Pompanoosuc river, where his own and the remains of his family are buried, together with many of the early settlers of the northern portion of the town. He gave liberally to the endowment of Dartmouth College in 1770 (one hundred acres of land and also a contribution in money). He is described as a man of “sound judgment and benevolent disposition.” Captain Johnson died Dec. 22, 1806, and Mrs. Johnson died April 24, 1811. Samuel Slafter Johnson, son...

Hutchinson Family of Norwich Vermont

Hutchinson is an old and numerous family in Norwich, as well as in other parts of the country. They were among the early settlers of Massachusetts and were in Lynn and Salem in that colony as early as 1628, or 1629. A descendant of these early colonists, named Abijah, who was a tailor, removed from Salem to Windham early in the eighteenth century. His son Samuel, born about 1719, in company with his son, John, came to Norwich in 1765. They cleared an island in the Connecticut River, opposite the present residency of John W. Loveland, and planted it with corn. In the fall of that year they returned to Connecticut, and in company with a younger son, Samuel, returned in the spring of 1766, and made a permanent settlement. The elder Samuel spent the remainder of his life in the town, and died February 8, 1809. His wife was Jemina Dunham; she died January 12, 1798. Besides the two sons named above, he had three daughters: Sarah, married Francis Smalley; Tabitha, married Jonathan Delano; Jerusha, married Nathan Roberts. They all died young,’ soon after marriage. Hutchinson, John, son of Samuel, was born in 1741, in Windham, Connecticut, and married Mary Wilson, who was born in Ashford, Connecticut, in August, 1744. He enlisted in the Continental Army, and died at Philadelphia, June 22, 1778. His widow afterwards married Solomon Strong. His children were: Jerome Hutchinson, see further; John Hutchinson, who removed to New York State, where he died; Lydia Hutchinson, who was probably the first child born in Norwich, married D. Hammond, of Thetford; Abigail Hutchinson, married Honorable John...

Mound Builders

The types of the human skulls taken from those ancient mounds said to have been erected by a prehistoric race, and now called “Mound Builders” a race claimed to be far superior to our Indians are characteristic, not only of the ancient Mexicans, Peruvians and other ancient tribes of South America, but also of the ancient Natchez, Muskogee’s, Choctaws, Chickasaws, Cherokees, Seminoles, Yamases and others of the North American continent. And it is a conceded fact that all Indians ever found in North and South America possess many common features. I have seen the native Indians of Mexico, Arizona and California, and recognized them at once to be of the North American Indian race. I have seen them singly and in groups; given special attention to their features, the expression of their eyes, their walk and manner of sitting, their manner of carrying their babes and heavy burdens, and found them all to be exactly the same as the southern Indians over seventy years ago. The Indians of North America, as well as those of South America, when first known to the whites down to the years they were banished to the then wilderness west of the Mississippi river, lived everywhere in villages and towns upon the sites of which stand today many of our towns and cities: Natchez, Mobile, New York and others. Carter, in 1535, visited an Indian village named Ho-che-la-ga; De Soto, 1540, and all the early explorers, La Salle and others down to Lewis and Clark, in 1804; thence to the missionaries, in 1815; and thence to their banishment west of the Mississippi river, found the Indians everywhere living...

Biography of John Hatch, Esq.

The elder of the brothers, John and Joseph Hatch, was born at Preston, Connecticut, June 9, 1727; came to Norwich Vermont in the earliest days of its settlement and founded his home on the hill farm owned and occupied at a later day by Deacon John Dutton. At a proprietors’ meeting at Mansfield, Connecticut, in 1766, Mr. Hatch was elected one of the selectmen of Norwich; at a town meeting at the latter place, held in 1769, he was elected selectman, town clerk and one of a committee of five to lay out highways “where they shall think needful.” He held the office of town clerk continuously until 1780, except for the year 1766, when it was filled by Peter Olcott. Mr. Hatch was a practical surveyor of land, and his services were much in request for that purpose. He made the survey of Norwich into lots in 1766, and laid out in person most of the highways in town during the first twenty-five years after its settlement. In 1778 he was employed to make a survey of the town of Hartford into lots, under the direction of Benajah Strong and Israel Gillett, a committee of that town. At that time he held the office of county surveyor of Cumberland County, by the appointment of the Governor and Council of Vermont. April 10, 1772, he was commissioned a justice of the peace for Gloucester County by William Tryon, the royal governor of New York, he executed the duties of this office for several years, probably until the establishment of state government by Vermont in 1778. Mr. Hatch married Sarah...

Mohawk Warrior Uncas

Who that has read Cooper’s “Last of the Mohicans,” but remembers Uncas, the young Mohawk warrior, and jointly with that of his white friend Leather Stocking, the hero of the story? It is said his Indian name was Tschoop; but if it is corrupted as badly as all other Indians names when put in print by the whites, it is as foreign from his true name as that by which he figured in the “Last of the Mohicans.” However, he has been handed down as a noted warrior among his people the once powerful and warlike Mohawks who inhabited the now State of New York in the years of long past famous for his daring exploits in war, and his fiery eloquence in the councils of his Nation. In 1741, he was often visited at his home by a Moravian missionary, named Christian Rauch, who often spoke to him upon the subject of religion during their frequent social conversations; and finally asked him if he had any desire to save his soul. “We all desire that,” responded Uncas. The good missionary, in his zeal, became persistent in urging upon him the importance and great necessity of his becoming a Christian, praying and pleading with him often with tears; and after many months of prayer and entreaty, the pious Rauch was delighted to see his forest pupil a changed man a truly pious Christian, whom he baptized under the name of John. In a letter Uncas afterwards sent to the Delaware Indians, he said: I have been a bad, very bad, man. But a white preacher told me there is a God. I said:...

Cushman Family of Norwich Vermont

The Cushman family in New England dates from the year 1621, the first after the landing of the Pilgrims from the Mayflower, when Robert Cushman, who was a prominent leader and organizer of the Plymouth Colony, brought from England the earliest recruits and supplies to the wasted and famishing settlement. A century and a half later Solomon Cushman, a descendant of Robert, in the sixth generation, born at Plympton, Mass., in 1745, having married Sarah Curtis, daughter of Simeon Curtis, at Lebanon, Conn., in 1768, removed to Norwich, probably in company with the Curtis family. Solomon Cushman (afterward known as Captain Solomon) was in those days a famous hunter and marksman, the terror of bears and catamounts. He once shot and killed a deer at a distance of seventy-two rods1. In the war of the Revolution he served three years as lieutenant in the Norwich militia in the campaign of 1777 against Burgoyne, and the following two years on the northern frontier as captain of a company of Rangers in the regiment of Colonel Timothy Bedel of Haverhill, N. H. His health was much broken as a result of his service in the army. In 1784 he removed to Tunbridge, Vt., where he died in 1799, at the age of fifty-four. His son, Benjamin H. Cushman, born in Norwich, recently died at Tunbridge, upwards of ninety years old, and the father of twelve children. Three years after the removal of Captain Solomon Cushman to Tunbridge, another Solomon Cushman, the fifth in descent from Robert Cushman, the Pilgrim ancestor, came to Norwich from Willington, Conn., with his family. He was...

Cook Family of Norwich Vermont

Three brothers, Samuel, Francis, and Lyman, with their two sisters, (children of Jonathan and Lydia [Aldrich] Cook), ran away from the Shaker settlement at Lancaster, Mass., where they had been placed by their parents before 1800, and came to this vicinity at an early day. Samuel settled in Norwich, and married Anna Pratt, by whom he had nine children. From Samuel the later generations of Cooks in town were descended. Francis also located in Norwich, on the farm now occupied by David Sargent, and there he lived and died. He was never married. Lyman Cook settled in Thetford. Another brother, Washington Cook, settled in New York State, and himself and his son were made prisoners by the Indians, and taken to Canada, but were subsequently released from captivity. Seventeen acres of the farm where Samuel Cook located were bought by him at auction when they were sold for taxes, and fifty acres were purchased at private sale from Stephen Percival. Leonard Cook, son of Samuel, died at Norwich, on the paternal acres, May 13, 1886, aged seventy-seven years. He was the last surviving child of his parents’ nine children, all of whom lived to have children of their own, sixty, all told. Mr. Cook‘s son, Royal E., now resides in Norwich Village, having removed from the ancestral home several years since, leaving it in the possession of his son, George, whose children are the fifth generation of the family to live on the...

Prominent White Men among the Chickasaws

At an early day a few white men of culture and of good morals, fascinated with the wild and romantic freedom and simplicity of the Chickasaw life, cast their lot among that brave and patriotic nation of people. I read an article published in Mississippi a few years ago, which stated that a man by the name of McIntosh, commissioned by British authorities to visit the Chickasaw Nation and endeavor to keep up its ancient hostility to the French, was so delighted with the customs and manners of that brave, free and hospitable people that, after the accomplishment of his mission, he remained among them; then marrying a Chickasaw woman he became identified with the tribe; that he became an influential character among the Chickasaws; that he found the whole Nation living in one large village in the “Chickasaw Old Fields”; that he persuaded them to scatter, take possession of the most fertile and watered lands, and live where game was more plentiful; that he planted a colony at a place called Tokshish (corruption of Takshi-pro. Tark-shih, and sig. Bashful) several miles south of Pontotoc; that this colony became the favorite residence of the white renegades, etc. All of which is without even a shadow of truth. True, a man by the name of McIntosh once visited the Chickasaw Nation as stated; but after his diplomacy was accomplished, departed and returned no more. There never was a McIntosh identified in any way with the Chickasaws at that early day, nor has there been one from that day to this. The only white men adopted and identified with the Chickasaws at that early...

Biography of George Partridge Colvocoresses

Born in Norwich, April 3d, 1847, only son of Captain George Musalas and Eliza F. Colvocoresses. During the civil war he served in the navy as captain’s clerk for over two years on board the U. S. ships “Supply” and ” Saratoga.” He was a cadet at Norwich University and subsequently entered the U. S. Naval Academy in 1864, graduating in 1869. His naval service has been performed on all the foreign stations and on shore as an instructor at the Naval Academy and at the Hydrographic Office. Promoted to Ensign 1870, Master 1872, Lieutenant 1875, Lieutenant-Commander 1897. Commander 1900, Captain 1905. Lieutenant-Commander Colvocoresses was executive officer of the cruiser “Concord” in Commodore Dewey’s squadron at Manila and was advanced five numbers in his grade for “eminent and conspicuous conduct in battle.” He returned home as executive officer of the flag-ship “Olympia.” The following two years he was engaged in preparing for publication the “Naval War Records of the Rebellion,” after which he was appointed to the command of the U. S. Cruiser “Lancaster,” and later the cruiser “Yankee.” Since the expiration of this sea duty he has been employed, at the New York Navy Yard. Commander Colvocoresses married Miss Mary Dwight Baldwin of New York City in 1875 and has two sons, George M., a graduate of Yale University, and mining engineer, and Harold, lieutenant U. S. Marine...

Biography of George Musalas Colvocoresses

Born in Scio, Grecian Archipelago, October 22, 1816. During the Greek Revolution the Turks invaded that island in 1822, and after narrowly escaping the massacre that followed, George with his mother and two young sisters were carried captives to Smyrna. Through friends in that city he was ransomed and sent in an American brig to Baltimore; much kindness was shown him by members of the Greek Relief Committee, and the story of his misfortunes excited the sympathy of Captain Alden Partridge, head of the military academy then at Norwich, who offered to receive and provide for young Colvocoresses as his son. Accordingly, he was sent to Norwich and his kind benefactor educated him in his military academy and secured for him an appointment in the United States Navy in 1832. He was a passed midshipman in the Wilkes Exploring Expedition in the Pacific, 1838- ’42, and saw service in all parts of the world during his naval career. He married Miss Eliza Freelon Halsey, niece of Captain Thomas W. Freelon, U. S. N., in 1846, and Norwich continued to be his home until 1863, As lieutenant and second in command of the U. S. S. “Levant,” on the China station, he took part in the bombardment and capture of the Barrier Forts in the Canton River. At the outbreak of the Civil War he was ordered to the U. S. S. “Supply” and promoted to commander; while in this ship he captured the “Stephen Hart” of Liverpool, loaded with arms and ammunition for the rebels. He was in constant service along the Atlantic coast and in the Gulf of...
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