William C Gilman.

The celebration of the two hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the settlement of the town of Norwich, Connecticut, and of the incorporation of the city, the one hundred and twenty-fifth, July 4, 5, 6, 1909: online

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Online LibraryWilliam C GilmanThe celebration of the two hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the settlement of the town of Norwich, Connecticut, and of the incorporation of the city, the one hundred and twenty-fifth, July 4, 5, 6, 1909: → online text (page 16 of 19)
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the higher life of this town. Let us remember that the
greater the blessings bestowed upon us by our Methodist
ancestors, the heavier is the responsibility resting upon us to
hand down to our successors not only unimpaired but
enhanced in value our splendid heritage.


Among the replies from absent sons and daughters
received by the Committee on Invitations the following
were printed in the Norwich Bulletin:

Washington, D. C.
Mr. William H. Shields, Norwich, Conn.:

Dear Sir: Being a native of Norwich, and too feeble
to attend the coming celebration, I respectfully solicit one
of the beautifully illustrated invitations of the 25oth anni-
versary of Norwich Town, the dearest spot on earth to me,
which I wish to have framed and hung beside a picture of
my mother.

I was born at Bean Hill, June 26, 1823. My parents
were Capt. Thomas D. Winship and Philas Yale Winship,
his wife.

In my childhood I used to visit my father's aunt, Mrs.
Barrett, who lived aside from the main road to Bean Hill.
Adjoining their home was a field where I romped and
played. A lone grave was there and I used to visit it with


childish sympathy as aunt told me "A man was buried there
years ago." I thought he was without friends or home or
he would have been buried in the cemetery, and it was not
until I heard a memorial was to be placed there did I know
it was the grave of the heroic John Mason, who fought in
the first war of the colonies. All honor to the patriotic
citizens of Norwich for commemorating his memory. I
would like to lay a fresh garland of flowers on his monu-
ment in my eighty-seventh year, as I did on his lone grave
in childhood, if I could be there.

Hoping the weather will be propitious and the celebra-
tion a success,

I am yours respectfully,

Mrs. Sarah F. Woodworth.

506 Rhode Island Avenue.

San Francisco, Cal., June 16, 1909.

Mr. William H. Shields, Chairman of the Invitation Com-
mittee, Norwich, Conn. :

My Dear Sir: I am in receipt of your invitation to
attend on the 5th and 6th proximo the 25oth anniversary
of the founding of the town of Norwich and the I25th of
the incorporation of the city. In reply I will say that I
regret exceedingly that I will be unable to be present on
this occasion, as it would certainly give me great pleasure
to be present.

Having spent my young boyhood days in and about
Norwich, I have and always will have a kind feeling in
my heart for the old town, and while I have been all over
the continent and in other countries as well I have as yet
never met a place that I have the same kind feeling for
that I have for Norwich.

Trusting that you may have a successful gathering
upon this occasion, I am,

Very sincerely yours,

J. F. Farley.


Portland, Oregon,
"The Rose City of the West."

June 15, 1909.

William H. Shields, Chairman of Invitation Committee,
Norwich, Conn.:

Dear Mr. Shields : Acknowledging receipt of your
city's invitation to be present at the I25th anniversary of
the incorporation of the city of Norwich, permit me to most
gratefully thank you for the kind remembrance that once,
in the long, dreamy past, it was my pleasure to call your
beautiful city my home.

The engraving upon your invitation awakens pleasant
memories of childhood, as when

"Lulled in the countless chambers of the brain,
Our thoughts are linked by many a hidden chain ;
Awake but one and lo ! what myriads rise,
Each stamps his image as the other flies."
The beautiful engraving appeals to memory so strongly
that it seems but yesterday that, together with dear old
"cronies," we were swimming in the river and hunting for
pigeons in the old wooden railroad bridge that crossed the
river to the West Side; and with Longfellow I can feel-
ingly say:

"How often, oh, how often,
In the days that have gone by,
Have I stood on that bridge," etc.

But that was forty years ago, and many old school-
mates and friends have looked their last upon the "chang-
ing seasons," yet in memory's casket friendship's jewels
still reflect the splendors of long ago.

There is one tie that binds me to your beautiful city
that is sacred above all others; it is the one connecting
link the only surviving member of our family my own
dear sister, who has been a resident there for over forty
years. Is it any wonder, then, that Norwich is so dearly

Permit me to wish you a most enjoyable reunion and
to express again most feelingly my admiration for the
artistic engraving on the invitation that has awakened


such a flood of pleasant memories of the almost forgotten

Here's to the Rose of New England.
May her sweetness perfume the lives of her children !
Very sincerely yours,

E. L. E. White.

Rotterdam, Holland,

June 25, 1909.

Hon. William H. Shields, Chairman of Invitation Com-
mittee, Norwich, Conn.

Dear Sir: It is with much pleasure that I acknowl-
edge, though tardily, the receipt from you of the hand-
some invitation card presenting me on behalf of the
citizens of old Norwich with the freedom of their city next
month; and it is with much greater regret that I realize
the impossibility of my being with you all. I use the pro-
noun their in this connection, but although not a resident
of the old place for many years I feel, whether rightly or
wrongly, that I have an equal ownership with its citizens.

Although I immigrated over twenty-eight years ago, I
find that with me "absence makes the heart grow fonder,"
and the hills, woods and rivers of the old town, with its
green, and its ancient houses, and the newer part with its
attractive streets and residences, appear in my recollection
more and more beautiful with each passing year.

The thought just now occurs to me, do those of you
who have "staid by" the old town fully appreciate its beau-
ty? How often do you look into the old burying ground
at Norwich Town, climb Meeting House Rocks or wander
along the little Yantic? But the prodigal son will remember
all such spots and on his return will, like Stedman looking
for his brook, search out his old haunts.

So here's to the Rose which has never faded; may her
beauty and fragrance never grow less and many happy
returns of the day for her.

Yours very truly,

Chas. N. Almy.


Robert College, Constantinople, Turkey,

June 21, 1909.
Mr. William H. Shields, Norwich, Conn. :

Your kind invitation to visit Norwich at the celebra-
tion of its 25oth anniversary has just reached me. Nothing
could give me greater pleasure, but distance forbids.

I cannot, however, help writing a word to express my
love for the dear old town, and my thankfulness that it was
the home of my childhood. I love to recall the Meeting
House Rocks, up town, and other rocky ridges over which
we boys used to roam with endless pleasure. And when
in later years I have revisited the old home I have often
asked myself: "Is any other town quite equal to Norwich,
in its combination of picturesque variety of scenery with
shaded streets and charming homes?"

Above all it is a joy to think how many people have
dwelt here who were worthy of such a home men and
women of thought, of honor, of refinement, of patriotism,
of practical Christian character. Whatever may be true in
other lands, I am sure that in America the best, most char-
acteristic life of the nation is to be found, not in the great
cities so much as in the smaller towns. As a lover of my
country I should be willing to have any cultured foreigner
visit Norwich and form his opinion of America from that

In the new century upon which we have entered, may the
sons and daughters of Norwich realize that no town can
live upon its past; and that the way to keep its laurels
green is for all to observe the Christian precept, "By love,
serve one another."

Very truly yours,

Henry S. Huntington.

Durango, Colorado.

Hon. William H. Shields, Chairman of the Invitation Com-
mittee, Norwich, Conn.:

Dear Judge: I have the honor to acknowledge the
receipt of the invitation to come home and join in the cele-


bration of the 25oth anniversary of the founding of Norwich
and the I25th anniversary of the incorporation of the city
of Norwich.

I have delayed this acknowledgment, hoping that it
would be possible for my family (my wife and daughter)
and myself to accept the invitation and be present in person,
but fate and over 2,500 miles distance prevent, and we must
be content to be present in spirit only. I remember very
well the 1859 celebration and was on the float of The
Norwich Bulletin, in the procession, making myself useful,
and afterwards partook of the good things in the large tent
on the lot west of the Norwich Free Academy. As a boy
of 13 years, with red blood in his veins, I did not miss
much, and I have a very fair recollection of what occurred.

Yours very truly,

Richard M'Cloud.



Persons and Places





Prepared for the

Two hundred and fiftieth

Anniversary of the Town, and of the City

The One Hundred and Twenty-fifth,

July 4th, 5th and 6th,


The Committee on History, in compiling these notes,
acknowledge their obligations to Miss Caulkins's "History
of Norwich," Miss Perkins's "Old Houses of Norwich," and
to Stedman's History of the Bi-centennial Celebration, to
which those desiring further information are referred.

The Committee greatly regret that their work is not
free from errors. They regret still more that because of
limited space and lack of time for preparation, many note-
worthy names do not appear in these pages.

The Founders of Norwich.

[The numbers correspond with numbers on markers in localities referred to.]

1 DEACON THOMAS ADGATE. 1659. Born about

1620; died 1707. One of those appointed to "dignify
the pues." His house was on north end of Low-
thorpe Meadows.

2 ROBERT ALLYN. 1659. "First constable in the

Town." Died 1683, at Allyn's Point.


3 WM. BACKUS. 1659. Died soon after the settlement.

His home-lot was next north of Thomas Bliss from
Washington street to the river. Father of Stephen

4 LIEUT. WM. BACKUS, JR. 1659. He styled him-

self "yeoman," but was known successively as ser-
geant, ensign and lieutenant.

5 JOHN BALDWIN. 1659. Constable in 1696. Ances-

tor of Judge Simeon E. Baldwin, of New Haven.
Home-lot on West Town street near the river.

6 DEACON THOMAS BINGHAM. 1659. Born 1642;

died 1730. Home-lot on West Town street above
Thomas Waterman and extending to the river.

7 JOHN BIRCHARD. 1659. Born 1628; died 1702.

First schoolmaster. Home-lot on West Town street
opposite Samuel and William Hyde.

8 THOMAS BLISS. 1659. Died 1688. Home-lot on

Washington street adjoining John Reynolds. His
house is still standing.

9 MORGAN BOWERS. 1659. Home-lot on West

Town street adjoining John Post.

10 JOHN BRADFORD. 1659. Son of Governor Brad-

ford, of Plymouth. Townsman in 1671. Home-lot
on East Town street west of Huntington lane.

11 DEACON HUGH CAULKINS. 1659 Born 1600;

died 1690; one of the most useful men of his time.
Home-lot on West Town street.

12 JOHN CAULKINS. 1659. Born 1634; died 1703.

Active in town affairs. Home-lot on West Town

13 RICHARD EDGERTON. 1659. Died in 1692.

Townsman and constable.


14 REV. JAMES FITCH. 1659. Born 1622; died 1702.

First pastor of First Church in Norwich ; held the
office fifty-six years. Called by Cotton Mather, "the
holy, acute and learned Mr. Fitch." Home-lot from
Simon Huntington to the river.

15 JOHN GAGER. 1659. Died 1703. Constable in 1674

and 1688. He was son of William Gager, "a right
godly man and skillful chyrurgeon."

16 LIEUT. FRANCIS GRISWOLD. 1659. Born 1622;

died 1671. Represented the town in the General
Court in eleven sessions. Home-lot on West Town


townsman. Died 1691. One of the most useful of
the pioneers. Home-lot on Washington street cor-
ner of East Town street.


1629; died 1706. Townsman in 1690 and 1696. Home-
lot on south side of East Town street west of Lieut.
Thomas Tracy.

19 SAMUEL HYDE. 1659. Died 1677. Home-lot on

north side of West Town street above the rocks.

20 WM. HYDE. 1659. Died 1682. Townsman in 1673

and 1679. Home-lot on West Town street.

21 THOMAS HOWARD. 1659. Slain at the Narragan-

sett fort fight in 1675. Home-lot on north side of
West Town street below Bean Hill church.


1622; died after 1714. Home-lot located on the cor-
ner of the present Washington street and Harland
road. House occupied by D. M. Torosian in 1909.
Leffingwell was famous for bringing relief to Uncas


when he was besieged by the Narragansetts. Repre-
sented the town in fifty-six sessions of the General

23 MAJOR JOHN MASON. 1659. Born in England;

died in Norwich 1672. Deputy Governor of Colony
of Connecticut. Distinguished among the Founders
of Norwich. In his hand the sword of the Lord was
mighty against the savage Pequots. Firm friend of
Uncas and the Mohegans. Valiant soldier; wise
counsellor. Home-lot corner of Town street and
New London turnpike.

24 DR. JOHN OLMSTEAD. 1659. Born about 1626;

died 1686. The first doctor in the town. Home-lot
where the Gilman family live, at 380 Washington

25 JOHN PEASE. 1659. "A sea faring man." Home-

lot the last on West Town street at the river cross-

26 JOHN POST. 1659. Born 1626; died 1710. Home-

lot on West Town street next above Thomas Bing-

27 THOMAS POST. 1659. Died 1701. Constable.

Home-lot on West Town street adjoining John

28 JOSIAH READ. 1659. Died 1717. Constable.

Home-lot on Washington street east of the Coit

29 JOHN REYNOLDS. 1659. Died 1702. His dwell-

ing, on Washington street, is one of the oldest in
Norwich. Home-lot included Backus Hospital

30 JONATHAN ROYCE. 1659. Died 1689. Home-lot

on West Town street between Allyn and J. Tracy.


31 REV. NEHEMIAH SMITH. 1659 Born about 1605 ;

died 1686. Home-lot on West Town street north
side opposite T. Post.

32 SERGEANT JOHN TRACY. 1659. Died 1702.

Home-lot on south side of West Town street between
John Baldwin and John Pease.

33 LIEUT. THOMAS TRACY. 1659. Born about

1610; died 1685. Home-lot on East Town street ad-
joining Christopher Huntington. One of the most
distinguished of the Founders of Norwich. He and
John Mason were witnesses of the deed of Unkos,
Owaneco, and Attawanhood granting nine miles
square to the inhabitants of Norwich, for the sum of
seventy pounds. First representative to the General

34 ROBERT WADE. 1659. Date of birth and death

unknown. Home-lot south side of West Town street
between John Birchard and John Gager.


1644; died 1708. Home-lot on West Town street ad-
joining John Mason. Youngest of the Founders,
sixteen years of age. He represented the town in the
General Court in 1679.

Other Early Settlers.

36 CALEB ABELL. Died Aug. 7, 1731. Three of this
name are found at an early period among the inhabi-
tants of Norwich Caleb, Benjamin and Joshua.
Caleb married in July, 1669, Margaret, daughter of
John Post. Robert Wade transferred to Caleb Abell
his house lot, Town street. It was located between
John Birchard and Morgan Bowers. He was chosen
constable 1684; townsman 1689; appointed to keep
tavern in 1694.


Gen. Elijah Abell, a gallant officer in the Revolu-
tionary War, born in Norwich, was a descendant of
Caleb Abell.

37 RICHARD BUSHNELL. Was born September,

1652; died 1727. Came to Norwich with his step-
father, Thomas Adgate. Married in 1672, Elizabeth
Adgate. In the earlier part of the eighteenth century,
Richard Bushnell was one of the most noted and
active men in Norwich. He performed the duties of
townsman, constable, schoolmaster, poet, deacon,
sergeant, lieutenant and captain, town agent, town
deputy, court clerk, and justice of the peace. His
dwelling was on the Montville road a mile south of
the city.

38 SAMUEL LATHROP. Died Feb. 29, 1700. Was

son of Rev. John Lathrop, of London ; came with his
lather to America in 1634 when about fourteen years
of age. He married at Barnstable, Mass., Nov. 28,
1644, Elizabeth Scudder. He was a house carpenter,
and came to Norwich in 1668. He had nine children
by his first wife. His second wife, Abigail Doane,
survived him and lived to the age of 103 years.

39 JOHN ELDERKIN. Died June 23, 1687. Elderkin's

earliest grant at Norwich was in 1667, and was con-
veyed in 1668 to Samuel Lathrop. The next was at
the old landing place below the Falls, where he built
a grist-mill for the convenience of the town. Here
for a long course of years stood the mill and the
miller's house. Elderkin built the second meeting-
house for the town. Of his first wife nothing is
known. His second wife was Elizabeth, relict of
William Gaylord, of Windsor.

40 STEPHEN GIFFORD. Born about 1641 ; died 1724.

He was an early settler and is classed as a proprietor
by Miss Caulkins. Constable in 1686. His home-lot


extended from Mediterranean lane to the chapel of
First Congregational church.


1660; died 1735. "The first born of males in Nor-
wich." Son of Christopher Huntington the Founder.
A man of the highest character, and a prominent
contributor to the prosperity of the most vital inter-
ests of the town. For near forty years he "used the
office of a deacon well." Town Clerk 1678 to 1691.

42 ELIZABETH HYDE. Born August, 1660; died at

Lyme, 1736. Daughter of Samuel and Jane (Lee)
Hyde, the first child of English parentage born in
Norwich. Married, in 1682, Richard Lord, of Lyme.


1734; died 1810. Pioneer paper manufacturer. Sol-
dier and patriot in the Revolution. Prominent citi-

44 MAJOR JAMES FITCH. James Fitch, Jr., was born

in Saybrook, 1647; died 1727; married (i) 1676,
Elizabeth Mason, married (2) 1687, Mrs. Alice (Brad-
ford) Adams. During his residence in Norwich "he
took a leading part in all town affairs, and served as
land-surveyor, registrar, captain of the train-band,
and commissioner of boundaries." In i6gS-'gg he
sold his house and home-lot to Samuel and Simon
Huntington, and later made his home in Canterbury.
His home-lot was on the east side of the town Green,
and his house probably stood south and near to the
present residence of Wallace S. Allis.

Other Prominent Men of Early Times.


Born 1731 ; died 1796. Representative in Legislature
1764 and Senator 1773; Associate Judge Supreme


Court of Connecticut 1774; member of Congress
1775-1780; member of the Marine Court; signer of
the Declaration of Independence ; President of Con-
gress 1779-1781 and 1783; Chief Justice of Connecti-
cut 1784; Lieutenant-Governor 1785; Doctor of Laws,
Yale College, 1779; Governor i786-'96.


died Oct. 16, 1800. Graduated at Yale 1761 ; mar-
ried, daughter of Col. Jabez Huntington, of Wind-
ham ; State Counsellor during Revolutionary War ;
director of battery built on Waterman's Point 1775 ;
agent of colony to purchase the "Spy," bought to
watch British; superintended building of the "De-
fence" 14 gun brig, 1776; representative from Nor-
wich 1775; member Continental Congress 1784 and
of Constitutional Congress 1789; Judge Superior
Court 1793; LL.B. from Dartmouth College 1782;
moved to Rome, N. Y., 1796. His body was brought
to Norwich for burial. First Mayor of Norwich,
1784 to 1796.

47 BENEDICT ARNOLD. Born, Norwich, 1741; died

in London, 1801. General in the Revolutionary army.
Distinguished for his heroism at Quebec, Lake
Champlain, Ridgefield, and Saratoga. Detested for
his treason and for the burning of New London. The
house where he was born, on east side of Washington
street, below LaFayette street, was destroyed sixty
years ago.

48 AARON CLEVELAND. The Aaron Cleveland house

is now standing on West Town street at Bean hill
next below the Meeting-house. Here Aaron "carried
on" the hat business, and at the same time wrote
poems, essays, lectures, and sermons upon all sub-
jects of the day, social, political and religious. Aaron
was great-grandfather of Grover Cleveland (see No.


49 WILLIAM CLEVELAND. Died in 1837. Rev. Ben-

jamin Lord purchased the Mason home lot and erect-
ed a house on the site, next to the Johnson home.
This was his residence. This property was held by
the Lord heirs until 1830, when it was sold to Wil-
liam Cleveland, grand-father of the President. Wil-
liam built a shop east of the house where he carried
on the business of a gold or silversmith. This dwell-
ing house was burned in 1852 (see No. 79).

50 DR. PHILIP TURNER. Born in Norwich 1740; died

in New York in 1815 and was buried in St. Paul's
church yard. Surgeon-general in the Revolutionary
army. He was highly distinguished for his profes-
sional skill.

51 JOSEPH TRUMBULL. The eldest son of Governor

Trumbull, and the first Commissary General Conti-
nental Army. In 1778 bought the property between
the present residence of A. W. Dickey and the house
of Mrs. Kelley.

52 DIAH MANNING, 1760-1815. Drum-major of Wash-

ington's Body Guard. He carried to Major Andre
his breakfast, on the day of his execution, bringing
it from the table of General Washington. House on
Town street, corner Old Cemetery lane.

53 REV. BENJAMIN LORD, D.D. He was born at

Saybrook, Conn., in 1694, and died at Norwich in
1784. For sixty-seven years pastor of the First
Church in Norwich. He was graduated at Yale in
1714 and received the degree of D.D. in 1774.

54 DR. SOLOMON TRACY. Born in 1650; died in 1732.

He was a youth at the settlement of the town. In
addition to the duties of his profession he served the
town as representative in the General Assembly and
as lieutenant in the train-band.


55 MADAM KNIGHT (Mrs. Sarah Kemble Knight).

Was born in Boston in 1666 and died in New London
in 1727. The greater part of her life was spent in
New London and Norwich, where she stood high in
social rank and was respected both in church and
civil affairs. In 1717 the town of Norwich granted
her liberty "to sitt in the pue where she use to sitt in
ye meeting-house." A silver tankard which she pre-
sented to the church is still preserved. She was re-
markable for her versatile gifts and is remembered
by her journal of a journey alone on horseback, from
Boston to New York, in 1704.


died 1824. John Elderkin sold land on East Town
street to Samuel Lothrop, who built a house upon it
soon after 1668. Portions of his house were probably
incorporated in the present building now owned by
Mr. Fitch which was constructed about 1740, by
Joshua Huntington (1608-1745). See No. 61. Com-
missary General, judge and merchant. Lived in this
house from 1766 until his death.

57 SIMON HUNTINGTON, JUNIOR. Born 1659 ; died

1736. In i688-'8 Simon Huntington, the proprietor,
granted land on East Town street to his son, Simon,
who held many civil offices, was deacon of the church
from 1696 to 1736, and in 1706 opened "a house of
public entertainment." Captain Joseph Carew prob-
ably used parts of the house built by Simon Hunt-
ington, Jr., when he constructed in i782-'83 the house
now occupied by Mr. Kelly. Joseph and Eunice
Carew Huntington and their children occupied this
house until 1854.

58 HON. JABEZ W. HUNTINGTON. Born 1788; died

1847. United States Senator from 1840 to 1847, lived
in the Simon Huntington house (see No. 57) after
his marriage in 1833 to a daughter of Joseph Hunt-


ington. "A statesman of unbending integrity and
unswerving fidelity to the interests of the Union."


1743; died 1818. Fought at Bunker Hill and in many
of the most important battles of the Revolution. He
entertained both Washington and Lafayette in the
house on the corner of East Town street and Hunt-
ington lane. He married in 1766 Faith Trumbull, the
daughter of the famous war governor. After the war
he held many important positions and in 1789 was
appointed collector of customs at New London and

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 16 18 19

Online LibraryWilliam C GilmanThe celebration of the two hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the settlement of the town of Norwich, Connecticut, and of the incorporation of the city, the one hundred and twenty-fifth, July 4, 5, 6, 1909: → online text (page 16 of 19)