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Migration of Families out of Norwich VT

At the first enumeration of the inhabitants of eastern Vermont, as made by the authority of New York in 1771, Norwich was found to be the most populous of all the towns of Windsor County, having forty families and 206 inhabitants. Windsor followed with 203, and Hartford was third with 190. The aggregate population of the county (ten towns reported) was then but 1,205, mostly confined to the first and second tiers of towns west of the Connecticut River. Twenty years later, in 1791, Hartland led all the towns of the county with 1,652 inhabitants, Woodstock and Windsor coming next with 1,605 and 1,542 respectively. Exceptional causes made the little town of Guilford (now numbering scarcely more than one thousand inhabitants), till after the year 1800, the most populous town in the state. In Norwich, the great falling off in the size of families in recent years is seen in the fact, that in the year 1800, the number of children of school age was 604, out of a total population of 1,486, while in 1880 with a nearly equal population (1,471) it was but 390. In the removal of large numbers of the native-born inhabitants by emigration, we must find the principal cause of the decline of our rural population. Preeminently is this true of Norwich. The outflow of people began very early and now for more than a century there has been one unbroken, living stream of emigration pouring over our borders. Several families that had first located here became, before the close of the Revolutionary War, the pioneer settlers of Royalton, Tunbridge, and Randolph. Some of...

History of Norwich Vermont Education

From the town records it appears that the first attempt to divide the town into school districts, was at a town meeting held November 19, 1782, when John Slafter, Elijah Brownson, Ithamar Bartlett, Joseph Loveland, Paul Bingham, Joseph Hatch, Daniel Baldwin, Abel Wilder and Samuel Brown, Jr., were made a committee for that purpose. Soon thereafter the committee reported that they “could effect nothing on the business of their appointment,” and were discharged. No further move in town meeting towards districting the town for school purposes appears to have been made until March 30, 1785, when, on petition of persons residing in the southeastern part of the town, the territory, to be described, was embraced in a district designated as the “First School District: Beginning at the southeast bound of Norwich; thence running on the line between Hartford and Norwich, two miles; thence northerly so wide as to include Benjamin Hatch and Benjamin Burton and Mr. John Knight; thence easterly so as to take into s’d district Nathaniel Brown, Esq., Esquire Elisha Partridge and the Rev. Lyman Potter; thence due east to Connecticut River.” At a town meeting held March 14, 1791, districts Nos. 1 to 12, both inclusive, were established; March 13, 1798, district No. 13 was organized; No. 14 (from the consolidation of districts 9 and 10) in 1818; No. 15 (Bicknell), in 1827; No. 16, March, 1828; No. 17, June, 1828; No. 19, March, 1834; No. 20, Oct. 20, 1834; No. 18 (Podunk), 1841. At a town meeting held in May, 1834, it was “voted to set off Ira Baxter, Isaac Partridge, Cyrus Partridge, and Calvin...

Norwich Vermont in the Revolutionary War

The sources of information in regard to the part taken by the town in the Revolutionary struggle are few and scanty. The earliest allusion in the town records to this important epoch of the country’s history is found in the election of a Committee of Safety at the annual town meeting, March 11, 1777. This committee was five in number: Deacon Joseph Smalley, Samuel Hutchinson, John Hatch, Captain Hezekiah Johnson and John Hopson. There is much reason to believe, however, that this was not the first Committee of Safety that acted for the town; but was a new committee selected to conform to a recommendation made to the towns in Cumberland and Gloucester Counties by the Convention at Westminster which declared the independence of Vermont the preceding January.1 It is pretty certain that a company of militia was organized in Norwich as early as the year 1774 or 1775. Of this company Peter Olcott was chosen Captain and Thomas Murdock, Ensign, doubtless by the votes of the men enrolled in the same. The company was probably a purely voluntary organization of patriotic young men, in Colonel Seth Warner‘s regiment of Rangers in 1775, in the continental service. Colonel Timothy Bedell, of Haverhill, N. H., also raised a regiment the same year for service in Canada. Fresh regiments were enlisted early in the spring of 1776, by both Colonel Bedell and Colonel Warner. Again on the 7th of March Colonel Morey writes to the New Hampshire Committee of Safety: “Some recruiting officers from Colonel Warner‘s party [regiment] have enlisted a considerable number of fine men, they had the money to...

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