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First Settlements in Norwich Vermont

Having glanced thus briefly at the action of the Norwich proprietors in opening a way to reach their new township in the wilderness, and in dividing up a portion of its surface into lots suitable to become the homesteads of future settlers, let us pause a moment and see what had meantime been done in the work of actual settlement. I am indebted to Rev. Edmund F. Slafter of Boston for an interesting account of what was unquestionably the first attempt at settlement made within the limits of the town. I quote from the Slafter Memorial: “Samuel Slafter [of Mansfield, Connecticut], the father of John Slafter, being an original proprietor, and being at the first meeting chosen treasurer of the corporation, took a deep interest in the settlement of the town. At his suggestion, his son John made a journey through the forests of New Hampshire in 1762, to examine the territory and report upon the advantages it might offer as a place of settlement. He found it pleasantly situated on the western banks of the Connecticut, with a good soil, but for the most part of an uneven, hilly surface. He reported it well watered, not only by the Connecticut but by several small, clear streams, and by one more important one called the Ompompanoosuc, an Indian name signifying ‘the place of very white stones’ whose waters emptied themselves into the Connecticut at the northeastern part of the town. As he was inclined to engage in the settlement of the new town, the next year (June 7, 1763) his father transferred to him as ‘a token of his...

The Proprietors of Norwich Vermont

The larger part of the names of the grantees of Norwich are names of Connecticut men then resident in Mansfield and neighboring towns. Captain Hezekiah Johnson, Samuel Slafter, Joseph Storrs, and William Johnson 3rd, are known to have lived in Mansfield; Amos Fellows, James West, Adoniram Grant, and Samuel Cobb were of Tolland; Ebenezar Heath, Captain Abner Barker and William Johnson of Willington, towns adjacent to Mansfield on the north. The last nine names are those of New Hampshire and Massachusetts men, several of them members of the provincial government in the former province. Major Joseph Blanchard was of Dunstable, Mass. He had executed in 1760, by direction of Governor Wentworth, the first survey of the townships lying along the river from Charlestown to Newbury. His name appears as proprietor in many town charters about this time. But few of the original grantees ever came personally to Norwich to settle. Many of them, it is probable, were people of considerable property, well advanced in life, whose years unfitted them to endure the hard-ships of pioneers in a new settlement. Such would naturally transfer their rights to their sons, or to the young and enterprising among their friends and neighbors. This is known to have been the case in several instances. But Jacob Fenton and Ebenezar Smith, both proprietors, were here in 1763. The former died on the 15th of July of that year, and was thus the first white man known to have died within the township. Captain Hezekiah Johnson emigrated to the town very early and settled near the mouth of Ompompanoosuc River. He was long a leading...

The Founding of Norwich Vermont

As we have already seen, Norwich virtually had its origin in the colony of Connecticut in the year 1761. On the 26th day of August of that year, at the house of William Waterman, inn-holder, in the town of Mansfield, in said colony, were convened the proprietors or grantees of a newly granted township of land situated 150 miles away to the northward, in a wilderness country then just beginning to be known as the “New Hampshire Grants.” These men were assembled to decide upon the first steps to be taken to open up to settlement and improvement a tract of forest six miles square located on the west bank of Connecticut River forty miles north of Charlestown, New Hampshire (Fort Number Four), then the farthest outpost of civilization in the upper valley of that river. At the time of which we are speaking all that portion of the present state of New Hampshire lying west of the intervals of the Merrimac in the vicinity of Concord was entirely uninhabited, and lay in the primitive wildness of nature. A few townships along that river above Concord had been surveyed and located, and thither a few resolute pioneers had already penetrated, among them Captain Ebenezar Webster, the father of the future expounder of the Constitution, whose cabin was at one time, it is said, nearer the north star than that of any other New Englander. But beyond a narrow fringe of settlements along the Merrimac, the whole of western New Hampshire north of Keene was alike covered by primitive forests and untouched by the hand of man1. To the westward...

Norwich Vermont an Independent Township

In America the germ of political organization is the Township, older than the County, older than the State. In New England we find towns established as independent communities, endowed with distinctive rights and privileges, as early as the middle of the seventeenth century. It is to these town governments that we must look for the foundation of republican liberty, to the town meeting, where all citizens meet on a plane of equality to choose their local officers and manage their local affairs. Here is the firm basis upon which all free institutions can rest. Ralph Waldo Emerson once proposed that the records of a New England town should be printed and presented to the governments of Europe, to the English nation as a thank-offering and as a certificate of the progress of the Saxon race; to the continental nations as a lesson of humanity and love. De Tocqueville said that the government of a New England township was the best specimen of a pure democracy that the world has ever seen. The town charters granted by New Hampshire conferred upon the inhabitants of each township, from its first organization, the right of self-government in town meeting, by the election of town officers and general ejection of town affairs. Such, also, had long been the practice in Connecticut, from whence a large proportion of all the early settlers had immigrated to their new homes in the New Hampshire Grants. The royal decision of July 20, 1764, which extended the boundary of New York to the west bank of the Connecticut River, soon resulted in the practical relinquishment by New Hampshire...

Biography of Isaac Waterman

Isaac Waterman, of the Atlantic Petroleum Works, is a native of Bavaria, Germany, a son of Jacob Waterman, and was born August 16, 1844. He was educated in a common school till eleven years old; then spent two years in a mercantile college in the city of Fuerth, and in October, 1858, reached London, Ontario, his present home. Here, after clerking in a store for one year and attending a night school, he was sent by his employer to take charge of a store in Kingston. In 1864, after spending a few weeks in Watertown, N. Y., Mr. Waterman returned to London and engaged in the oil business, with his brother Herman Waterman, the firm of Waterman Brothers being one of the leading houses in the Province engaged in refining petroleum, and manufacturing paraffin wax candles. They are doing a very large and extensive business, and the “Atlantic Petroleum Works are known far and wide.” Our subject attends particularly to the manufacturing department, and has made many very important improvements in the methods of making oil and its products, for which improvements the firm has received a number of gold medals. In 1876 he was a member of the Advisory Board for the Province of Ontario for the International Exhibition at Philadelphia. In 1878 Mr. Waterman attended the International Exposition held at Paris, and rendered important services during the progress of that grand exhibition of the world’s industries. That service was thoroughly appreciated by the French Government, which, as a token of its appreciation, bestowed upon him the decoration, and made him a chevalier of the Legion of Honor....

Biography of Henry Waterman Sr.

Henry Waterman, Sr., was born in Germany, February 13, 1841. At the age of ten he went to New York to live, and two years later moved to Macon, Ga. He was married to Louisa Harris of Augusta, Ga., March 25, 1860. At the beginning of the War Between the States he enlisted on the side of the Confederacy and fought until the close of the war. Seven children were born to Henry and Louisa Harris Waterman, two having died in infancy. Henry Waterman, Jr., married Theresa Worthington, of Peoria, Illinois; Mollie Waterman married Henry L. Manne; Alice married Samuel Mayer, a merchant of Cochran, Ga., who afterwards became a cotton exporter of Macon, Ga. Emanuel Waterman was never married, and Maude Smith Waterman married Ernest H. Piper, who was connected with a chain of large hotels in Detroit, Michigan. At the close of the war, Henry Waterman, Sr., located in Hawkinsville and began the operation of a live stock business there, later bringing his youngest brother, Maurice, from Germany, to be associated with him. After the death of his wife, he moved to Macon, Ga., leaving his son, Henry, in charge of the business in Hawkinsville. Pine Level, an aristocratic community of pioneer Hawkinsville, was the location of the Waterman home. A typical Southern house and surroundings, with a half-mile race track, where trotting and pacing races were frequently held, was the home of this family, lovers of horses. It is probable that no woman ever lived in Pulaski County who possessed a more positive personality than Mrs. Mollie Waterman Manne. With a heart of genuineness and sincerity,...

Biography of George Brown Waterman

GEORGE BROWN WATERMAN, postmaster of Williamstown, is a descendant of an old and prominent Massachusetts family, his paternal great-grandfather, John Waterman, who was born in Coventry, Rhode Island, May 18, 1755, came to Cheshire, Massachusetts, in the latter part of 1776 or 1777. During the first and second years of the Revolutionary War he was a sailor or privateersman annoying the commerce of Great Britain. After coming to Massachusetts he made his home for two years in the family of Captain Daniel Brown, remaining there in the absence of the captain while he was in command of his company at the Battle of Bennington, August 16, 1777. Mr. Waterman was enrolled as a minute man. In 1803 he moved to his farm adjoining the village of North Adams. During his youth he had received but a limited education, but he became one of the best informed men of his day, and was fortunate in numbering among his friends such men as Dr. William Towner, who practiced medicine in Cheshire before his removal to Williamstown, and Elder John Leland. Mr. Waterman served as a delegate from Adams to the State convention of 1820, for amending the constitution of Massachusetts, and previous to that time had been a member of the legislature. He was of a social disposition, and was kind to the poor and unfortunate. He moved to Williamstown in 1829, and his death occurred there May 28, 1830, at the good old age of seventy-five years. He married, about 1780, Anna Hall, a native of Stafford, Connecticut, and they were the parents of eight children all born in Cheshire,...

Ponca Tribe

Ponca Indians. One of the five tribes of the so-called Dhegiha group of the Siouan family, forming with the Omaha, Osage, and Kansa, the upper Dhegiha or Omaha division. The Ponca and Omaha have the same language, differing only in some dialectic forms and approximating the Quapaw rather than the Kansa and Osage languages. The early history of the tribe is the same as that of the other tribes of the group, and, after the first separation, is identical with that, of the Omaha. After the migration of the combined body to the mouth of Osage river the first division of the Omaha group took place, the Osage settling on that stream, and the Kansa continuing up Missouri river, while the Omaha and Ponca crossed to the north side. The course of the latter is given from the tradition recorded by J. O. Dorsey1 as follows: The Omaha and Ponca, after crossing the Missouri, ascended a tributary of that river, which may have been Chariton River, and finally reached the pipestone quarry in south west Minnesota. All the traditions agree in stating that the people built earth lodges or permanent villages, cultivated the soil, and hunted buffalo and other animals. When game became scarce they abandoned their villages and moved north west. On reaching a place where game was plentiful, other villages were built and occupied for years. Thus they lived and moved until they reached the pipestone quarry. After reaching Big Sioux river they built a fort. The Dakota made war on the Omaha and their allies, defeating them and compelling them to flee south west until they reached Lake Andes, South Dakota. There, according to Omaha and...

Biographical Sketch of Hon. Vernon W. Waterman

Hon. Vernon W. Waterman was born in Johnson, Vt., July 30, 1811. When three years of age he went with his farther to Montpelier, Vt., to live, and remained there until nineteen years of age, when he came to Morristown to reside with his uncle, Hon. David P. Noyes, who was engaged in mercantile pursuits. At the age of twenty-one years he entered into partnership with Mr. Noyes, continuing the connection about eight years, when he engaged in business for himself, at Cady’s Falls. For his first wife Mr. Waterman married Adaline Cady, of Stowe, by whom he had two children, George L., now an attorney-at-law, of Hyde Park, and Caroline E., wife of Hon. H. H. Powers, of Morrisville. Mrs. Waterman died April 23, 1843 , Mr. Waterman then married Amanda S. Wales, daughter of Hon. Geo. E. Wales, of Hartford, Vt., February 26, 1846, this union being blessed with three children, only one of whom is now living. Mr. Waterman has held many positions of trust, among which that of representative in the legislature for 1844-’45, he was also assistant judge of the county court two terms, sheriff two terms, and has been postmaster at Cady’s Falls ever since the office was established there, in 1858. He has also attended every court held in Lamoille county since its organization, in 3835, was court auditor for nearly thirty years, and was one of the three delegates from Lamoille county to the constitutional convention held at Montpelier in January,...

Waterman & Schmitz

This representative enterprise dates its formation back to 1889. The premises occupied are on the corner of Front and Center streets, and are of ample dimensions for the storage of the large stock carried. Carrying a large stock of imported wines and liquors and cigars, their trade has steadily grown from a small beginning until today It is the largest in this section of the state. They cater extensively to the family trade, having such high grade goods in stock as Bond & Lilliard’s, McBrayer’s, Spring Hill, Old Hermitage, Old Crow, Jesse Moore, Crescent Rye and Bourbon, controlling the sole agency of the three latter brands of whiskies. In cigars they carry all the lending brands, including Powell, Smith & Co.’s goods, La Flor de Madrid, Estrellas, Chancellors and others. They also own the Bottling Works, and manufacture all kinds of soft drinks, such as soda, cider, sarsaparilla, and so forth. In this department they employ five men continuously. Their success has been altogether due to their carrying pure liquors, and their reliable and honest treatment of all patrons. Few men can point to a more successful and dignified business career in Baker City, than John Waterman and John Schmitz, and no man has a higher standing either commercially or...
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