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Geographical Names of the Norwich VT Locality

Of the little settlements in the township of Norwich which seem to be existing in the sunset of their former glory, may be mentioned Beaver Meadow, or West Norwich. This place presents a notable instance of that decline in population and decay of business interests in a rural community, of which Vermont affords many examples since the advent of railroads and the fever of western emigration set in. For more than thirty years population, wealth, and enterprise have been drifting away from that section of the town. Probably the settlement reached the height of its prosperity previous to 1840. During the decade that preceded this date two churches were built here, a Baptist church in 1835, and Methodist church about two years later. Regular meetings were held, and full congregations gathered from the immediate neighborhood. Large families of children filled the schools, to the number of sixty pupils of a winter, sometimes. The village had for many years its well-stocked country store, and a variety of mechanics’ shops. Intelligent and thrifty farmers cultivated the productive farms. Before 1850 the exodus commenced. The Baptist society had its last settled minister in 1869, and a few years later, the church having become nearly extinct, the meeting house was taken down, and the lumber used to build a parsonage for the Baptist church in Sharon village. Four years earlier the Methodists had their last regular appointment from the Conference, though regular preachers were had some portion of the time much later. Many farms tilled forty years ago are wholly abandoned as homesteads, and others are in process of abandonment. It is impossible...

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