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Biography of Fairbanks Bush

It is probable that Fairbanks Bush,┬áson of Captain Timothy Bush, came to Norwich with his father when the latter settled in town. His place of birth is not known to us. He first appears as a voter in town in 1807. He married Amy Yeomans. Previous to 1796 he removed to Orange, Vt., but later returned to Norwich, where he died February 24, 1873, lacking but twelve hours of having rounded out a life period of one hundred years. Fairbanks Bush was Norwich’s minstrel poet. We are told that the spirit of our modern age is unfavorable to poetry. However that may be, the poetical temperament and endowment are still found among men, the poet is still born in the world. Among our own townsmen, Mr. Fairbanks Bush was endowed in some degree with the poetic gift. As being a natural musician also, his poetry for the most part took a lyrical shape, which is everywhere the earliest and simplest artificial form of poetical composition. “Lyric poetry is made to be sung, and is song in its nature and essence, Mr. Bush was accustomed to sing his own verses very often from memory. Many that he composed and sung were never committed to writing, and consequently have been lost beyond recall. We give in the latter part of this book a few specimens of the style and scope of his verse. As has so often been the case with the noble fraternity of the poets, fortune did not always smile upon the lot of Mr. Bush. Perhaps he had not worldly thrift; clearly his affairs were often involved in...

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...

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...

Obed Todd

Obed Todd5, (Joel4, Ithamar3, Michael2, Christopher1) born in 1778, died Feb. 21, 1811, married Mary Parker, who was born in 1782, died Nov. 19, 1867. Obed Todd died rather young, as may be seen by the above dates, and left a widow with three small girls. He had built a house to make a home for his family, but at his death, his widow being without any means was obliged to sell the place and take the amount he had put into it. Being thus left without a home, the girls were sent to strange homes. Caroline was taken by a family in Middletown till she married and went to Providence, R. I., to live. Mary had a home with a Mrs. Lyman Allen, who lived in a small house opposite the Squire Eastman or Ward place in North Haven. Lodema lived with Mrs. Lyman Thorp. In her later days, Mrs. Todd made her home with her daughter Lodema. Children: 510. Caroline, m. Henry (?) Yeomans, and lived in Providence, R. I. 511. Mary Ann, m. Dennison Yeomans a brother of the above. They too, lived in Providence, R. I., not very far from her sister. 512. Lodema Delight, m. Isaac Londsbury. They lived in Meriden,...

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