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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...

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...

Biography of Alexander Sproat

Alexander Sproat, banker, and formerly member of Parliament from the north riding of Bruce, was born at Esquesing, near Milton, county of Halton, June 24, 1835. His father, Adam Sproat, farmer, was from the county of Kirkcudbright, Scotland; his mother before her marriage, was Eleanor Brown, daughter of Alexander Brown, a United Empire Loyalist. Alexander was educated at Knox College, Toronto, and Queen’s College, Kingston, receiving the degree of Bachelor of Arts from the latter institution in 1852. After leaving college, he was on the engineer’s staff at the construction of the Grand Trunk railway; subsequently studied surveying, and followed the business of provincial surveyor until 1861, when he assumed the management of the Commercial Bank of Canada, at Southampton, county of Bruce, and held that situation until the failure of that institution in 1867. In the spring of 1868, Mr. Sproat was appointed manager of the Merchants’ Bank of Canada, at Walkerton, and is still connected with that institution. He is a first-class business man. Mr. Sproat was treasurer of the county of Bruce for seventeen years; has held the offices of mayor and reeve of Walkerton, and was a member of the House of Commons, from 1867 to 1872, his politics being Conservative. He was defeated for re-election in 1872, by less than a score of votes, the riding being Reform. In 1861 Mr. Sproat was appointed Captain of the Southampton Rifles; served three months as acting Major during the Fenian raid of 1866, being stationed part of the time at Goderich and part at Sarnia, and was promoted to the Colonelcy in the autumn of the...

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