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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...

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 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...

Norwich Vermont in the War of 1812

In the spring of 1812, war with Great Britain again seemed imminent. Causes of complaint against the aggressions of the British government had existed for a long time, and the irritation was now increasing on all sides. It did not seem possible that actual war could much longer be postponed, although public opinion in the United States was still far from unanimous for an immediate appeal to arms. Norwich, as had been her wont in Revolutionary times, again let her voice be heard when great public and national interests were being agitated before the people. At the close of a town meeting held June 18, 1812, a paper was presented to the meeting containing the preamble and resolutions which we copy below. On account of the great length of the preamble, we are obliged to abridge it considerably. The document was obviously drawn up with much care by some person familiar with the political history of the country. After some debate the clerk was directed to read the paper. A spirited discussion ensued, and the preamble and resolutions were finally adopted by a large majority, as true in their statement of facts and expressive of the sense of the town on the question at issue. It was voted that the same be put* on record in the town clerk’s office. A final clause appended to the fourth resolution denouncing in severe terms as enemies of their country that portion of the Federal party who were at that time most unsparing in their criticisms of the war policy of President Madison, and the measures of Congress then pending to procure...

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...

Church History of Norwich Vermont

The great achievement of the first generation of Norwich settlers was the building of a meeting house. More than any other event of the time, with the possible exception of the accomplishment of the national independence, this was an undertaking that enlisted the energies and taxed the resources of our forefathers. The building of a meeting house in a New England frontier settlement a century ago was regarded a matter of public concern, to be supported by the whole community without regard to sect or party, like the opening of roads or any other public charge. In less than ten years from the time the first clearing was made in Norwich, the preliminary steps were taken to provide a meeting house to be used for the accommodation of the whole people in the public worship of God. The question of the location of this building was sharply agitated, re-resulting in a keen competition between different sections of the town for the coveted distinction, inasmuch as the location of the house was supposed to fix the site of a possible future village where much of the business of the town would be transacted. When it became apparent that no agreement could be reached, a locating committee of three men from out of town was chosen and summoned upon the ground to decide where the meeting house should stand. The formal report of this Committee as made at the time has recently been found among the papers of the late W. H. Duncan, Esq., of Hanover, N. H., and by the kindness of Honorable Frederick Chase has been furnished to the...

Norwich Vermont and Dartmouth College

Notwithstanding the fact that Norwich had for many years within its borders a collegiate institution of its own, founded and directed by its most distinguished son, the relations of their people towards Dartmouth College on the opposite bank of the Connecticut were always intimate and friendly.

1894 Michigan State Census – Eaton County

United States Soldiers of the Civil War Residing in Michigan, June 1, 1894 [ Names within brackets are reported in letters. ] Eaton County Bellevue Township. – Elias Stewart, Frank F. Hughes, Edwin J. Wood, Samuel Van Orman, John D. Conklin, Martin V. Moon. Mitchell Drollett, Levi Evans, William Fisher, William E. Pixley, William Henry Luscomb, George Carroll, Collins S. Lewis, David Crowell, Aaron Skeggs, Thomas Bailey, Andrew Day, L. G. Showerman, Hulbert Parmer, Fletcher Campbell, Lorenzo D. Fall, William Farlin, Francis Beecraft, William Caton, Servitus Tucker, William Shipp, Theodore Davis. Village of Bellevue. – William H. Latta, Thomas B. Williams, Hugh McGinn, Samuel Davis, William Reid, Charles B. Wood, Marion J. Willison, Herbert Dilno, Jerry Davidson, Edward Campbell, John Markham, Jason B. Johnson, Josiah A. Birchard, Richard S. Briggs, John Ewing, George Crowell, Henry Legge, James W. Johnston, Luther Tubbs, Oscar Munroe, John W. Manzer, Henry E. Hart, Leander B. Cook, Cyrus L. Higgins, Martin Avery, John M. Anson, Washington Wade, George P. Stevens, James Driscoll, Alexander A. Clark, Antoine Edwards, George Kocher, Charles W. Beers, Lester C. Spaulding, George Martin, Griffen Wilson, Sr., Amos W. Bowen, Josiah G. Stocking, Charles A. Turner, Levi 0. Johnson, Sullivan W. Gibson, Alonzo Chittenden. Benton Township. – Oliver P. Edman, Charles T. Ford, Emanuel Ream, Samuel Bradenberry, Isaac Mosher, Ezra W. Griffith, Joshua Wright, Michael Lynn, Mitchell Chalender, Luther Johnson, George A. Godsmark, George Wigent, Daniel Place, John J. DeWitt, Jay Henderson, William H. Barr, Josephus Sanborn, John C. Thomas, Michael Hamill, William Mitchell, Henry Thrall, William Motter, George Upright, Thomas J. Hitchcock, Asa Goodrich, Charles Albright, George Hoag, David Wise,...

List of the Principal Pioneer Settlers in Norwich Vermont

The counties of Cumberland and Gloucester had been organized by New York in 1766, out of the territory lying between the Green Mountains and Connecticut River. In the year 1771 a census of these counties was made under the authority of that province. All the towns in Windham and Windsor Counties, as now constituted, belonged to Cumberland County; the remaining portion of the state to the north-ward, then mostly unsettled, was called the county of Gloucester.1 By the census of 1771, the population of the two counties of Cumberland and Gloucester was returned as 4669, (Cumberland, 3947; Gloucester, 722). Norwich was found to contain 206 people distributed among forty families. In this enumeration the inhabitants were classified as to age and sex only. The number of males above sixteen years of age was found to be 66, the number of females 48. The number of males under sixteen was 53, the number of females 39. The number of children or young people under sixteen (92 out of a total of 206) is remarkable. Beckoning forty families in town, there would remain twenty-six unmarried men and eight unmarried women over sixteen years old in the new settlement. Using the results of this census in connection with the list of subscribers to the 1770 fund for the founding of Dartmouth College and with some help from the town records, we are able to ascertain with considerable certainty the names of each of the forty men, heads of families, living in Norwich in the year 1771. These are the names of the principal pioneer settlers of the town, and they may properly...

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...
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