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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...

Norwich Vermont in the Civil War

During the four years of war for the suppression of the Rebellion, Norwich furnished 178 different men for the armies of the Union. There were seven re-enlistments, making the whole number of soldiers credited to the town 185. By the census of 1860, the number of inhabitants was 1759. It appears, therefore, that the town sent to the seat of war rather more than one in ten of its entire population, during the four years’ continuance of hostilities. About the same proportion holds good for the state at large, Vermont contributing, out of an aggregate population of 315,116, soldiers to the number of 34,555 for the defense of the Union. Of the 178 men enlisting from Norwich, twenty-seven laid down their young lives in the service of the country. The soil of every southern state, from the Potomac to the Rio Grande, was moistened by the blood or supplied a grave to one or more of these. The town paid the larger part of these men liberal bounties, amounting to about $32,000, in addition to their state and government pay. All calls for men upon the town by the national authorities were promptly and fully met. The patriotic response of our people to the expenses and sacrifices of the war was, in general, hearty and emphatic; and yet candor and the truth of history compels us to confess that there were here, as in most other towns throughout the north, a few disloyal spirits who sympathized with the Slaveholders’ rebellion, who denounced the war from beginning to end, and who scarcely concealed their satisfaction when news came of rebel...

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