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Johnson Family of Norwich Vermont

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The Johnson Family were numerously represented in the early history of the town. Of this family there were several branches. Captain Hezekiah Johnson was an original proprietor of the town and one of its earliest settlers. He settled on the north bank of the Pompanoosuc River near its mouth and fixed his residence where Mr. Richard Waterman now lives. Captain Johnson was born in Woburn, Massachusetts, May 12, 1724, but emigrated to Norwich from Mansfield, Connecticut. He married, at Mansfield, Dorothy Slafter, sister of Deacon John Slafter, January 25, 1750. He was in the fullest sense one of the “fathers of the town.” He was chosen selectman in 1765, ’67, ’68 and 78 and during the fifteen years following the settlement of Norwich held all the most important town offices. He was a member of a committee appointed by the town that laid out most of the earliest roads in town; was also one of the town committee of safety during the Revolutionary war. He gave to the town land for the old burial ground (about two acres), which lies opposite the place of his residence on the south bank of Pompanoosuc river, where his own and the remains of his family are buried, together with many of the early settlers of the northern portion of the town. He gave liberally to the endowment of Dartmouth College in 1770 (one hundred acres of land and also a contribution in money). He is described as a man of “sound judgment and benevolent disposition.”

Captain Johnson died Dec. 22, 1806, and Mrs. Johnson died April 24, 1811.

Samuel Slafter Johnson, son of Hezekiah Johnson, and the only one out of a family of six children who survived him, settled in Norwich, but removed late in life to the state of New York. He was twice married and raised a large family of children, all of whom were born in town.

Dorothy, daughter of Capt. Hezekiah Johnson, married Jeremiah Hedges in 1784 and settled in Norwich. One of their daughters, Lucinda Hedges, married Samuel A. Wright, Jr., in 1810. Another daughter, Leanthy, married Joseph Root, also of Norwich, whose descendants, it is believed, still live in town.

Mrs. Hedges died September 16, 1804.

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