Collection: History of Norwich VT

Cook Family of Norwich Vermont

Three brothers, Samuel, Francis, and Lyman, with their two sisters, (children of Jonathan and Lydia [Aldrich] Cook), ran away from the Shaker settlement at Lancaster, Mass., where they had been placed by their parents before 1800, and came to this vicinity at an early day. Samuel settled in Norwich, and married Anna Pratt, by whom he had nine children. From Samuel the later generations of Cooks in town were descended. Francis also located in Norwich, on the farm now occupied by David Sargent, and there he lived and died. He was never married. Lyman Cook settled in Thetford. Another brother, Washington Cook, settled in New York State, and himself and his son were made prisoners by the Indians, and taken to Canada, but were subsequently released from captivity. Seventeen acres of the farm where Samuel Cook located were bought by him at auction when they were sold for taxes, and fifty acres were purchased at private sale from Stephen Percival. Leonard Cook, son of Samuel, died at Norwich, on the paternal acres, May 13, 1886, aged seventy-seven years. He was the last surviving child of his parents’ nine children, all of whom lived to have children of their own, sixty, all told. Mr. Cook‘s son, Royal E., now resides in Norwich Village, having removed from the ancestral home several years since, leaving it in the possession of his son,...

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Biography of George Partridge Colvocoresses

Born in Norwich, April 3d, 1847, only son of Captain George Musalas and Eliza F. Colvocoresses. During the civil war he served in the navy as captain’s clerk for over two years on board the U. S. ships “Supply” and ” Saratoga.” He was a cadet at Norwich University and subsequently entered the U. S. Naval Academy in 1864, graduating in 1869. His naval service has been performed on all the foreign stations and on shore as an instructor at the Naval Academy and at the Hydrographic Office. Promoted to Ensign 1870, Master 1872, Lieutenant 1875, Lieutenant-Commander 1897. Commander 1900, Captain 1905. Lieutenant-Commander Colvocoresses was executive officer of the cruiser “Concord” in Commodore Dewey’s squadron at Manila and was advanced five numbers in his grade for “eminent and conspicuous conduct in battle.” He returned home as executive officer of the flag-ship “Olympia.” The following two years he was engaged in preparing for publication the “Naval War Records of the Rebellion,” after which he was appointed to the command of the U. S. Cruiser “Lancaster,” and later the cruiser “Yankee.” Since the expiration of this sea duty he has been employed, at the New York Navy Yard. Commander Colvocoresses married Miss Mary Dwight Baldwin of New York City in 1875 and has two sons, George M., a graduate of Yale University, and mining engineer, and Harold, lieutenant U. S. Marine...

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Biography of George Musalas Colvocoresses

Born in Scio, Grecian Archipelago, October 22, 1816. During the Greek Revolution the Turks invaded that island in 1822, and after narrowly escaping the massacre that followed, George with his mother and two young sisters were carried captives to Smyrna. Through friends in that city he was ransomed and sent in an American brig to Baltimore; much kindness was shown him by members of the Greek Relief Committee, and the story of his misfortunes excited the sympathy of Captain Alden Partridge, head of the military academy then at Norwich, who offered to receive and provide for young Colvocoresses as...

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Biography of Zebina Coit

The death of Zebina Coit at Norwich, September 28, 1886, aged eighty-one years, removed another of the ancient landmarks of the town. Mr. Coit was a son of Captain Samuel Coit, who emigrated to Norwich from the town of the same name in Connecticut over one hundred years ago, and who married Mary Burton, sister of Pierce Burton, Esq., and Henry Burton, at Norwich in 1788. The ancient seat of the Coit family, a family historic in the annals of Connecticut, was in and around New London. Captain Coit, at that time a youth of nineteen, was present as a soldier at the burning of that town by the British under the traitor Benedict Arnold, and the bloody massacre of the garrison of Fort Griswold on Groton Heights, on the opposite bank of the river, at the same time. He died at Norwich in 1851 in his eighty-ninth year. Zebina Coit, born in 1805, lived all his days on the paternal homestead, situated on the height of land in the northwest part of the town near the town lines of Strafford and Sharon. Here Captain Coit kept for many years a well known hostelry, in the old times of stage coaches and travel over the turnpike road laid through town from Chelsea court house, and thence to Montpelier in the year 1807. By reason of the great longevity of...

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Biography of Doctor Thomas S. Brigham

Doctor Thomas S. Brigham was the oldest son of Honorable Paul Brigham, and was born in Coventry, Conn., in 1769, coming to Norwich with his father when twelve years of age. After reaching his majority he studied medicine (with what practitioner is not known) possibly with Doctor Joseph Lewis. This was before the founding of Dartmouth Medical College. When about twenty-five years old Mr. Brigham married Polly Dana, born in 1769, a daughter of General James Dana, and settled in town, where he practiced his profession for several years previous to 1809, when he removed from Norwich, going to Amesbury, Mass., where he married for the second time, becoming the father of five children by this union. From Amesbury he removed to Maine, where he located as a practicing physician. While living in Norwich three sons and two daughters were born to Doctor Brigham. These children and their mother remained in Norwich after the husband and father removed from town, and the family were never reunited thereafter. Doctor Brigham is said to have attained considerable eminence in his profession. He died in...

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Biography of Fairbanks Bush

It is probable that Fairbanks Bush, son 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...

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The Bush Family of Norwich Vermont

Captain Timothy Bush, the progenitor of this family in town, came to Norwich in the early days of its settlement (from what place is not known). He married Deborah House, and they had ten children (five of whom were born in Norwich), viz., John Bush, married Abigail Marvin and had at least one son: George Bush. Barzilla Bush. Timothy Bush. Fairbanks Bush. Alexander Bush. Bela Bush. Harry Bush. Nathaniel Bush. Mary Bush, who married Nathaniel Seaver. Lavina Bush, who married Doctor Hamilton of Lyme, New Hampshire. Captain Bush appears as a voter in town in 1772, and March 9, 1799, he was chosen one of the board of five selectmen. He was prominent in town affairs till about the time he removed to the State of New York (about 1809), where, it is reported, he died in 1815. It is current with some persons that he ended his days here in Norwich and that he was buried in the old graveyard near the mouth of Pompanoosuc River, but no gravestone can be found to indicate his burial there. When Captain Bush located in Norwich it was in the Pompanoosuc section of the town, where he became an extensive landowner. He was one of the original proprietors of the town of Orange, Vermont, chartered by the state in August, 1781. His son, John, with Paul Brigham, Nathaniel Seaver, John Hibbard, Elihu White, and John White, were other...

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Biography of Prof. George Bush

George Bush, one of the most eminent Biblical scholars and Orientalists of his time in America, was born in Norwich, Vt., June 12, 1796, a son of John and Abigal (Marvin) Bush, and grandson of Capt. Timothy Bush. The boyhood of George Bush was mostly passed in Hanover, New Hampshire, whither his father removed when he was quite young. The son gave early indications of superior intelligence. His eldest sister says “he had a ravishing love of books from her first remembrance of him.” He frequented the College library at Hanover and would bring home ponderous volumes, almost as large as he could carry. Old residents remember him riding to mill on horseback with his face hidden in the pages of an open book that he held before him. At the age of nineteen he entered Dartmouth College, graduating in 1818 with the valedictory and the highest honors of his class, which was of more than average ability, containing among others such scholars as Professor William Chamberlain of Dartmouth College, and the late Professor Thomas C. Upham of Bowdoin College. During a part of his college course, Mr. Bush was a private tutor in the family of Honorable Mills Olcott, and there probably was formed an intimate friendship between himself and Rufus Choate of the class of 1819. The two young men chummed together during the college course, and...

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Biography of Honorable Daniel Azro Ashley Buck

Daniel Azro Ashley Buck, the eldest son of Honorable Daniel and Content (Ashley) Buck, was born at Norwich, Vt, April 19, 1789. He received a collegiate education, graduating at Middlebury in 1807, in the same class with William Slade and Stephen Royce, a class which is said to have contained more eminent men in proportion to its numbers than can be matched in the record of any American college. The following year he graduated from West Point Military Academy, and was appointed second lieutenant of engineers, to date from January 25, 1808. Oliver G. Burton, a native of Norwich but at that time a resident of Irasburg, was also a graduate from West Point of the same year. D. A. A. Buck served on the northern frontier during the second war with England. He was commissioned a captain in the Thirty-first Regiment of United States Infantry, an organization composed wholly of Vermonters, April 30, 1813, raised for one year’s service. Ethan Burnap of Norwich was captain of a company of the Thirty-first and his brother, Calvin Burnap, lieutenant. At other times during the war, Mr. Buck served as an officer of artillery, and in November, 1812, was appointed major in a volunteer corps by the Vermont legislature, though it is doubtful if he ever accepted this appointment. At the close of the war he left the military profession, studied...

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Biography of Paul Brigham

Hon. Paul Brigham, son of Paul and Catharine (Turner) Brigham, born in Coventry, Connecticut, January 17, 1746; married, October 3, 1767, Lydia Sawyer, of Hebron, Connecticut; came to Norwich from Coventry, in the spring of 1782, bringing his family with him, all of his children having been born in Connecticut. In 1788, he built the house on ”Brigham Hill,” for many years occupied by his great-granddaughter, the late Miss Louisa D. Brigham. The farm had been previously owned and occupied by Elihu Baxter. In what esteem Mr. Brigham was held by the people of his adopted state and town, is shown under appropriate heads in other places in this volume. Captain Paul Brigham in the Revolutionary Army, June-August 1777. Mr. Brigham served four years as Captain in the Continental Army in a Connecticut regiment commanded, first, by Colonel Chandler and afterwards by Colonel Isaac Sherman. He entered the Army January 1, 1777, and was discharged April 22, 1781. A portion of the time he served under the immediate command of Washington, and was engaged in the important battles of Germantown, Monmouth, and Fort Mifflin. He was enlisted by General McDougal from Coventry, Conn., and his regiment seems to have been largely composed of men from that section of the State. We have been privileged to read a fragment of a diary kept by Captain Brigham during a part of his...

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Biography of Honorable Daniel Buck

Daniel Buck came to Norwich in 1784 or ’85, and opened the first lawyer’s office in town, on the hill near the old center meeting house, then just being completed and there continued to live and transact business for twenty-five years, or until he removed to Chelsea in 1809. Norwich then contained probably about one thousand inhabitants, but no village, there being at that time not over three or four dwellings where Norwich village now stands. But little is known of Mr. Buck previous to his coming to Norwich. He was born at Hebron, Conn., November 9, 1753, and was the second son and child of Thomas and Jane Buck of that town. He had been a soldier in the Revolution, and had lost an arm at the battle of Bennington. He had also lived some time in Thetford, which was settled largely by people from Hebron, and perhaps also in Hanover, N. H. He acted as secretary to the council in June, 1785, when the Vermont legislature assembled at Norwich, having been assistant secretary of the same body during their session at Rutland the preceding October. He seems to have been a householder at Norwich at this time, as by a resolution of the council on June 17, the treasurer of the State was directed “to pay Daniel Buck twenty shillings hard money for the use of his...

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Burton Family of Norwich Vermont

Jacob Burton It is quite impossible to indulge in even a brief review of Mr. Burton‘s advent into Norwich from Preston, Conn., without repeating something of what is said of him in other places in this volume. Mr. Burton came to Norwich, to reside, in the latter part of 1765, bringing with him his sons, Elisha, John, Josiah, Isaac, and Asa, and his eldest daughter, Anna, who, soon after, married Simeon Carpenter. For some time she was the only young lady in town. Before locating in town, Mr. Burton had purchased two one hundred acre lots of land, which embraced the greater part of the present Norwich village, and built his dwelling-house (the first one erected in town) on the southern and eastern part of his purchase, and tradition has it that it was built directly over a large pine stump, which protruded through the floor, and its top having been smoothed off and recesses made in its sides for cupboards, it was used as the family table. Elisha, one of the sons, built the house where Samuel A. Armstrong resides, and John, another son, built the house now the home of Thos. A. Hazen. Mr. Burton‘s political record is given under its appropriate head in another part of the book. 1See: Political Parties in Norwich Vermont Of Mr. Burton it may be said that he was literally and...

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Brown Family of Norwich Vermont

The parents, birth, and birthplace of Ebenezer Brown are not known. He graduated from Dartmouth College in 1778. He studied for the ministry and preached for a time in Bethel, Vt., but was never ordained. He soon settled in Norwich as a farmer on a farm on Christian St., lately occupied by Roswell Tenney, where he died May 10, 1830, aged 80 years. He was familiarly known in Norwich as “Deacon Brown.” He married Patience, daughter of Samuel Bell of Norwich. Ebenezer Brown, son of Shubael and Edith (Bradford) Brown, came to Norwich at an early age from Canterbury, Conn. He graduated from Dartmouth College, 1787; studied law with Hon. Daniel Buck, and opened the first law office on Norwich Plain, and there practiced his profession till his death, September 25, 1822. He was assistant judge of Windsor County Court in 1814 and chief judge of the court in 1815. He married (1) Anna, daughter of Hon. Thomas Murdock, January 13, 1793, and (2) Mary, daughter of Rev. Josiah Dana of Barre, Mass., January 12, 1814. He was brother of John Brown, many years first constable of Norwich and otherwise prominent in town affairs. Mr. Brown‘s first wife was mother of the late Miss Julia Brown, and his second wife mother of the late Mrs. Mary Godfrey, both of...

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Boardman Family of Norwich Vermont

Samuel Borman emigrated from Devonshire or Somersetshire, England, in 1639, and settled in Wethersfield, Conn., in 1641, where he died in 1673. His name is identified with many official positions in the early history of the Colony. The following is a copy of an original letter to Samuel Borman from his mother, carefully preserved by William Boardman of Wethersfield, Conn., one of her seventh generation: “Obrydon, the 5th of February, 1641. “Good Sonne, I have received your letter; whereby I understand you are in good health, for which I give God thanks, as we are all. Praised be God for the same. Whereas you desire to see your brother Christopher with you, he is not ready for so great a journey, nor doe I think he dare take uppon him so dangerous voige. Your five sisters are all alive and in good health and remember their love to you. Your father hath been dead almost this two years and this troubling you no farther at this time I rest praying to God to bless you and your wife unto whom we all kindly remember our loves. “Your ever loving mother, “Julian Borman.” The names “Borman” and “Boreman” appear on the Wethersfield records until 1712; afterwards it appears as “Bordman,” and later on as “Boardman.” Capt. Nathaniel Boardman, great-grandson of Samuel Borman who settled in Wethersfield, Conn., in 1641, was...

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Blaisdell Family of Norwich Vermont

Michael Blaisdell, the progenitor of the family in Norwich, came from Plainfield, N. H., in the year 1813, and settled on the farm where Henry S. Goddard now lives. His sons were Jonathan, Levi, Stephen, and Thomas. Of these Levi and Stephen spent their lives in town and reared large...

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