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History of the Merchants of Norwich VT

Peter Olcott had a store near his residence at the Center, in the time of the Revolutionary War. Abel Curtis was for a time associated with him in this business. Stephen Burton, eldest son of Elisha Burton and a graduate of Dartmouth College in 1790, was probably the first to open trade at Norwich Plain, prior to the year 1800. Ichabod Marshall of Hanover, also a Dartmouth graduate in 1790, is understood as having been engaged in mercantile business in Norwich (possibly in partnership with Stephen Burton) for several years. Both these young men emigrated to the West early in the century, Burton to central New York where he died in 1812, and Marshall to Ohio in the year 1818. George Woodward kept store before 1799 in the building now occupied by Mrs. Gardner Davis as a dwelling. Oliver Hatch was in trade on the corner where F. W. Hawley is in business. In 1801 or 1802, he was succeeded by William Little, who came from Strafford and bought the store building and prosecuted business there till about 1816, part of the time in company with Jona Lovejoy from Boston. They dissolved partnership in 1809. About this time a store was kept by Charles Hutchins from Concord, N. H., in the building that in later years became the residence of the late Jas. S. Currier, just north of “Newton Inn.” Little and Lovejoy were succeeded by Waterman Ensworth and Rufus Hatch, Cyrus Partridge, not long after, becoming a member in place of Mr. Hatch. Capt. Ethen Burnap was a merchant in Norwich from about 1817 to 1828 or ’29,...

History of the Industries of Norwich VT

Although the products of the industries in Norwich have not been of great magnitude they have been quite varied in character. Such information in regard to these callings as we have been able to obtain we will present to our readers, though not in strict chronological order. Among the earliest establishments coming under this head was a grist mill established as early as 1770, by Hatch and Babcock on Blood Brook, on or near the site of the grist mill now operated by J. E. Willard, a short distance up the stream from where it empties into the Connecticut River. As has been stated in a previous chapter, it was voted at a proprietors’ meeting held September 17, 1770, to give to Joseph Hatch and Oliver Babcock the “tenth river lot on condition they execute a deed * * * * for upholding a grist mill where said gristmill now stands.” Since the ownership by Hatch and Babcock this property has been in the possession among others of Aaron Storrs, who sold it in 1793 to Doctor Joseph Lewis; Horace Esterbrook, who sold it to J. J. Morse; the latter to G. W. Kibling; Kibling to Crandall and Burbank; they to Doctor Rand of Hartford, Vt., and from the latter’s estate, J. E. Willard, the present proprietor, bought it. During Mr. Kibling‘s ownership of the property he had a department for making doors, window sashes, etc., in addition to a grist mill. In 1766, Jacob Burton built a saw mill on the north bank of Blood Brook, a little further down the stream than Messenger and Hazen‘s late tannery...

Postmasters and Postal Service in Norwich Vermont

It was fifteen years after the admission of Vermont into the Federal Union, and forty years after the settlement of the town, before Norwich had a post office. The first post office was established at Norwich Plain, July 1, 1805, and Jacob Burton was appointed postmaster. Postmaster Burton kept the office in his harness shop on the main street of the village, nearly opposite the present residence of Mrs. William E. Lewis. Probably the duties of the office were not so great as to interfere much with the prosecution of his trade. It is doubtful if Mr. Burton had more than two mails per week to distribute, and these were much smaller in bulk than either of the three daily mails now received at the village office. It is certain that less mail matter was then handled here in the course of a year than now in a week, although the territory accommodated at the office and the population of the town itself were each considerably greater than at present. It is safe to say, moreover, that the people now living in Norwich receive more letters and miscellaneous mail matter every year than did all the 150,000 inhabitants of Vermont in the year 1805. The post office is essentially a modern institution, whose importance and value increases year by year with cheaper postage and the general diffusion of cheap printed matter among the people. At the time of the admission of Vermont into the Union, in 1791, there were only five post offices in the State (at Brattleboro, Windsor, and Newbury on the Connecticut River, and at Bennington and...

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