Location: Waterbury Vermont

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...

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Biography of Captain Harry C. Fay

Captain Harry C. Fay, editor-in-chief of the National Eagle, a bright and thoroughly up-to-date newspaper published in Claremont, was born in Richmond, Vt., November 30, 1830, son of Captain Nathan and Polly (Colby) Fay. Stephen Fay, his great-great-grandfather, was an early settler in Bennington, Vt., and was the father of eight children. His son John kept the Catamount Tavern, which during his day became a meeting-place for many great statesmen, who formed a legislative body, and held there meetings known as “Councils of Safety.” He, John, fell in the battle of Bennington. His son, Nathan Fay, served as a Colonel Warner’s command. Nathan, who was a cloth-dresser by trade, removed from Bennington to Richmond, Vt., about the year 1781, and established there a cloth-dressing house, which he carried on successfully for a number of years, leaving a flourishing business at the time of his death, which occurred at the age of seventy-seven. He married a daughter of Colonel Safford, a member of an old and prominent family of Bennington. Captain Nathan Fay, father of the subject of this sketch, continued the business of clothdressing after the death of his father; but, it subsequently becoming less profitable, he turned his attention in part to farming, and at the time of his death was the owner of one thousand acres of land. A member in early life of the Democratic party,...

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Biographical Sketch of Cephas Sheldon

Cephas, son of Remembrance Sheldon, was born in Bernardston, Massachusetts, 1754. He was a soldier in the revolution from Bernardston and Deerfield, in Captain Amasa Sheldon’s company, Colonel Elisha Porter’s regiment, from July 10 to August 12, 1777, in the northern army; also in Captain Joseph Sheldon’s company, September 23, to October 18, 1777, in the northern army. He removed to Vermont. According to the first federal census he was living in 1790 in Rochester, Windsor county, Vermont, and had in his family two sons under sixteen and four females. He went thence to Waterbury, Vermont, where his sister, Persis (Sheldon) Allen, also settled. His name appears in list of revolutionary veterans who settled...

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Biographical Sketch of Richard Sheldon

Richard, son of Cephas Sheldon, was born in Vermont and died suddenly while in Canada. He lived most of his life in Waterbury, where his father and aunt and perhaps other relatives settled. He had four sons: Erastus, born June 2, 1810; Charles, mentioned elsewhere; William R., August 24, 1815; David F.. September 24, 1819. William R. was a bachelor, of a roving disposition, and very courageous: he piloted trains over the plains through to California at an early day; he also served as city policeman in...

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Biographical Sketch of Charles Sheldon

Charles, son of Richard Sheldon, was born in Waterbury, Vermont, March 16, 1813. He was educated in the common schools. He came to Phelps, Ontario county, when a young man. Afterward, he decided to locate in what was then the west and he went on foot to Illinois where he took up a large tract of land, but he eventually sold out and returned to Phelps. He engaged in farming there the remainder of his life. He was a member of the Methodist Episcopal church at Phelps and superintendent of the Sunday school for many years. He married Sarah Crittenden, born January 11, 1814, daughter of Osee Crittenden. Children: Jane, born September 15, 1839; Augusta, March 27, 1842; Cassius C.. mentioned elsewhere; Mary, September 30. 1848; Adelaide, March 26, 18J7; Florence, June 17....

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