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 4 of 19)
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Shannon Building.

The Norwich bank, a quaint little building, having a
portico with four wooden columns, stood for sixty-six years
in the most conspicuous situation in the city, on the corner
of Main and Shetucket streets, until 1889, when the bank
honorably discharged all its liabilities and retired from
business. The building, with some adjoining property,
was then acquired by James B. Shannon, who erected a
commodious five-story building for business purposes.
This was destroyed by a disastrous fire in 1908. Undis-
mayed by his heavy loss Mr. Shannon immediately pro-
ceeded to erect a larger and more costly building for stores
and offices on the same site. It was the first absolutely fire-
proof structure ever erected in Norwich, and it not only
protects its own occupants, but would be an effectual barrier
in case of fire in the adjacent buildings. This and other
buildings erected by Mr. Shannon are monuments to his

Among the noteworthy public buildings of recent
years, in addition to those named, are the Broad street
school, the Laurel Hill school, and the enlarged Central
school district building on Broadway, the Broadway
theater, which compares favorably with theaters in larger
cities, and the Masonic Temple. The corner stone of this
stately building was laid with impressive ceremonies on
July 3, 1893, by the Grand Lodge of the Most Ancient and
Honorable Fraternity of Free and Accepted Masons.
Arthur H. Brewer, the president of the Masonic Temple
corporation, in an introductory speech, referred felicitously
to the immediate environment of the new building the
church on one side, and that powerful engine of modern
civilization, the public press, on the other, and, in near
proximity, the refining and educational influences of the
public school, the free library, the dramatic stage, and also


the court house, representing the majesty of the law. The
principal historical address was delivered by Charles E.

The Young Men's Christian Association's building, the
St. Mary's Total Abstinence and Benevolent Society's
building, and the Wauregan House extension, all on lower
Broadway, the State Armory on McKinley avenue, built
in 1903, the Norwich Bulletin company's building on Frank-
lin street, the United States post office built in 1905, the
Central Vermont railroad station, and the New York and
New Haven railroad station, all these are important addi-
tions to the architectural features of the city.

There are few cities of the size of Norwich that can
point to such a group of modern bank buildings as may be
seen in "Bankers' Row," where, as long ago as 1863, the
Norwich Savings Society, the Thames National bank, and
the Chelsea Savings bank erected a large building for
their own use, and for offices. In 1895, the Norwich Savings
Society, finding its quarters too limited, built a banking
house worthy of its reputation, on the corner of Main
street and Broadway, and maintains in connection with it
a fire and burglar proof safe deposit department. The presi-
dent is Charles Bard, and the treasurer, Costello Lippitt.

The Shannon building fire in 1908 destroyed the build-
ings of the other banks just named, and drove them into
temporary habitations. The Thames bank rebuilt on the
same site a modern fire-proof building thoroughly equipped
with every requisite for its business and the accommodation
of its customers. This institution has prospered from its
foundation in 1825. The president is Willis A. Briscoe and
the cashier and active manager is Col. Charles W. Gale.

Other banks on Shetucket street are the First National,
the Uncas National, and the Thames Loan and Trust com-
pany, and on Main street are the Merchants National bank,
founded in 1833, an d the Dime Savings bank.

After the fire the Chelsea Savings bank purchased the
Universalist church property at the junction of Main and
Cliff streets, and has now completed (1911) a remarkably


fine building of classical architecture and fire-proof con-
struction, furnished with all modern appliances for the trans-
action of its business. The president is Gen. Edward Har-
land, and the treasurer, Charles B. Chapman.

The Norwich Free Academy.

Reference has been made on a preceding page to the
progress of the Academy as shown by the number of its
scholars. Durjng the celebration in 1909 the original build-
ing, which had served for more than fifty years, was being
replaced by a larger structure, severely plain in its exterior,
but admirably adapted within for the purposes of the
school. The Manual Training department had already been
established in 1895 in a well equipped and well arranged
building costing about $12,000, which was contributed in
large part by the alumni. The Slater Memorial building,
the gift of William A. Slater in 1886, in honor of his father,
John Fox Slater, contains the Slater Museum, a large
auditorium containing many portraits and the Peck library.
The Art gallery, annexed to it, was founded by the bequest
of Col. Charles A. Converse. These four buildings and
the residence of the principal of the Academy are ideally
well situated on a broad campus extending to the Rockwell

The foundation of the Academy was due to the zeal
of the Rev. Doctor John P. Gulliver, who persuaded citizens
of Norwich to contribute $80,000 for the purpose. It is
to be regretted that the long list of the original subscribers
and subsequent benefactors cannot be reprinted here. It
included such names as William A. Buckingham, Russell
Hubbard, Mr. and Mrs. William Williams, Mr. and Mrs.
William P. Greene, Moses Pierce, Henry B. Norton, and
many others equally worthy of mention. The spirit kindled
by Dr. Gulliver's enthusiasm is illustrated by Mr. Hubbard's
unsolicited offer to give "one tenth of seventy-five thousand
dollars for a free academy," and by Mr. Greene's response,
"I will give one tenth of seventy-five thousand dollars, or


one tenth of any other sum you can raise." The funds
acquired by the academy have come solely from the
generosity of enlightened public spirited citizens, and would
suffice to make the institution literally free for a limited
number of pupils, as it is in name, but, obviously, if the
number of pupils shall continue to increase, the academy
must receive a larger endowment, or else the town, until it
shall establish and support a free public high school, must
relieve parents from the necessity of paying a part of the
cost of instruction, an arrangement distinctly advantageous
to the town rather than to the academy which is independ-
ent of political control.

The principals of the academy have been Elbridge
Smith, William Hutchison, and Robert Porter Keep, all of
whom have departed this life, and Henry A. Tirrell, who
succeeded Dr. Keep in 1903. Under these honored instruc-
tors the academy has fulfilled Dr. Gulliver's hope that it
might become "a University of Secondary Education."

The mayor of Norwich doubtless remembered the time
honored maxim, "say nothing but good of the dead," when
he humorously said, "the best citizens of Norwich are in the
grave-yard." However true that may be it is nevertheless
certain that they did not always escape the breath of
calumny in their lifetime. It would be well if the applica-
tion of the maxim were so extended that honor to whom
honor is due should not be withheld from the living, for
there are still worthy descendants of the old stock who
reflect honor upon their ancestors but have not received the
recognition they deserve. The good work they are doing
to-day will live after them.

But, happily, there is one son of Norwich who will be
gratefully remembered so long as his beneficent purposes
shall be fulfilled in the Backus Hospital and in the Slater
Memorial, and who has the happiness, not accorded to all
men, of receiving while he is living the enthusiastic en-
comiums of his townsmen who participate in the benefits
conferred by the munificence of William A. Slater.


Maplewood Cemetery.

The population of Yantic cemetery had increased so
largely since its consecration in 1844 that after sixty years
the necessity of making provision for the future was im-
perative. Through divided councils the city was so slow
to act that a private corporation, the Norwich Cemetery
Association, was organized in 1902 to meet the urgent
need. It bought a large tract on the Salem Turnpike, known
as the Osgood farm, laid out roads, planted trees, and,
under the name of the Maplewood cemetery, made the place
beautiful and suitable in every way for a burial place. By
the provisions of the charter the ground, and every burial
lot and the monuments thereon will have perpetual care,
and after the stockholders shall have been reimbursed for
their investment, at cost and a moderate interest, the ceme-
tery will become the property of the city.

Norwich, England.

It is worthy of record in this place that through the
public newspaper press and the librarian of the Otis
Library occasional courtesies have been exchanged for
many years between the new Norwich in Connecticut and
the old Norwich in Norfolk, England, which is regarded by
some whose dwelling is in the newer town as their ancestral
home. In 1904 the honorable Mayor of Norwich, Con-
necticut, received from the worshipful Mayor of Norwich,
England, as an interesting souvenir, an embroidered cushion
cover that had been presented to the Cathedral in 1651 by
Thomas Baret, the brother of Margaret Baret Huntington,
who came to Saybrook in 1633, and is the ancestress of
all the Huntingtons in New England. The whole story is
told in the following correspondence:

Guildhall, Norwich, loth January, 1905.
Dear Mr. Mayor:

I have the honour to transmit in a wooden case a
Resolution which was unanimously passed by the Council


of this City on the 22nd November last, with newspapers
containing an account of such meeting; likewise the cushion
cover referred to in the Resolution.

I trust that the case will arrive safely, and that the con-
tents thereof will prove an object of interest to your Citizens,
and remind them of the old City from which yours has taken
its name.

I am, Mr. Mayor,

Yours faithfully,

Arnold H. Miller,

Town Clerk.
The Worshipful,

The Mayor of Norwich,

U. S. A.

f" At a Meeting of Council of the Mayor, Alder-
J men, and Citizens of the City of Norwich, held
orw . | on the twenty-second day of November one
I thousand nine hundred and four.

Mr. Alderman Wild moved, Mr. Councillor Hewlett
seconded and it was unanimously

Resolved, On the Report and recommendation of
the City Committee that two of the cushions presented
to the Corporation by Thomas Baret, Mayor of the City
in 1651, for use at, but not now required at the Cathe-
dral, be given one to the Castle Museum Committee,
and the other to the Mayor and Corporation of Nor-
wich, Connecticut, U. S. A., for preservation and exhibi-
tion in the Museum of that City, and that the Town
Clerk be authorized to affix the Corporate Seal to this

The Corporate Seal of the ^

Mayor, Aldermen and Citizens

Arnold H. Miller,
of the City of Norwich was \. T- /~i i

f Town Clerk,

hereunto affixed in the

presence of, J


City Clerk's Office, Norwich, Conn.

WHEREAS, The Council of the Mayor, Aldermen and
Citizens of the City of Norwich, England, by resolution
bearing date November the twenty-second, 1904, did, on
behalf of that Corporation present to the Mayor and Cor-
poration of this City, one of a set of cushions presented to
the first named Corporation in 1651 by its then Mayor, Hon.
Thomas Baret, and said gift has now come into the posses-
sion of this Council for preservation and exhibition,

Resolved, That said gift be and it is hereby accepted
in the name and behalf of the Mayor and Corporation of
the City of Norwich, Connecticut, and

Resolved, That the same be and hereby is perpetually
loaned to the Norwich Free Academy to be by said Corpora-
tion placed in the Slater Museum for preservation and
exhibition, together with the certified copy of the original
resolution of gift accompanying the same, and

Resolved, That the thanks of the Court of Common
Council and of the citizens here represented by its member-
ship are due and are cordially extended to the Donors ; and

Resolved, That a copy of these resolutions suitably
engrossed be forwarded to the Mayor, Aldermen and Citi-
zens of Norwich, England, in testimony of our apprecia-
tion of their distinguished consideration.

Attest: City Clerk, Steven D. Moore.

These introductory pages have necessarily dwelt for the
most part on material things, but, although these may
indeed be regarded as outward, visible signs of sterling
virtues and inward graces, no adequate history of Norwich
could fail to commemorate the good people in all walks of
life who have made Norwich better because they have lived


here, or to comment on the irresistible influences that have
made for righteousness in the community for the last fifty
years. While it is lamentably true that wickedness and
vice exist and have existed, they do not and will not
prevail, and never was it so true as now that peace and
happiness, truth and justice, religion and piety, are here
firmly established for all coming generations.

The Quarter Millennial Celebration.


So great was the success of the Old Home Week
celebration in 1901 that a wide-spread disposition to make
it an annual festival might have prevailed had not Gen.
William A. Aiken and others wisely suggested, that, as the
Quarter Millennium of Norwich was then in the near
future, it might be prudent to keep the supply of powder
dry for that coming event.

The first official action looking towards the celebration
of the dual anniversaries of the city and the town was taken
by the Court of Common Council, June 12, 1907, when on
the recommendation of Mayor Charles F. Thayer, presiding,
it was voted that the matter of the one hundred and twenty-
fifth anniversary of the city be referred to the amusement

The next organization to take action on the subject
was the Norwich Board of Trade. At a meeting of its
executive committee, February 3, 1908, President F. W.
Gary in the chair, it was voted that the president appoint
an anniversary committee to confer with such committees
as might be appointed by other organizations. The anniver-
sary committee so appointed met March 14, 1908, and voted
to recommend to the executive committee a celebration
in 1909 of the founding of the town of Norwich, and further,
to arrange at once for such a celebration by calling a mass
meeting of the citizens of Norwich for the appointment of
a general committee. On March 23, 1908, the executive
committee accepted the report of the anniversary committee
and authorized it to proceed on the lines suggested. On
April 6 the anniversary committee of the Board of Trade
and the amusement committee of the Court of Common
Council, in joint meeting, voted to call a mass meeting of
citizens in accordance with the following notice:


Notice !

All residents of Norwich and vicinity who are interested
in commemorating the 25oth anniversary of the settlement
of the town and the I25th anniversary of the incorporation
of the city are requested to meet in the Town Hall, Wednes-
day, April 8th, 1908, at 8 o'clock, p. m., to make preliminary
arrangements for the due celebration of these events.

Charles E. Chandler, Henry Gebrath,

Winslow Tracy Williams, Geo. M. Hyde,

Charles W. Gale, Charles D. Noyes,

John Eccles, Howard L. Stanton,

Frederic W. Cary. Arthur D. Lathrop,

Albert L. Potter, Charles F. Thayer.

Committees of Board of Trade and Common Council.

The meeting convened at the time and place appointed ;
and Edwin A. Tracy was elected chairman and Gilbert S.
Raymond, secretary. It was voted : That it is the sense
of this meeting that the 25oth anniversary of the settlement
of the town and the I25th anniversary of the incorporation
of the city should be celebrated in 1909. It was also voted
that a permanent committee of arrangements be appointed
with power to add to its numbers, to appoint sub-commit-
tees and others for special purposes, and with full power to
raise and expend money and make every arrangement for
the celebration.

A nominating committee appointed by the chair
reported the names of two hundred and fifty members as
a permanent committee of arrangements, who were
approved by the meeting. A complete list of their names
follows :

William A. Aiken, Jonathan H. Allen, M.D., John C.
Averill, Wallace S. Allis, Nelson J. Ayling, Leonard B.
Almy, M.D., Rev. J. J. Ambot, Dwight W. Avery, Fitch L.
Allen, Jos. D. Aiken, Willis Austin, Geo. W. Adams, Her-
man Alofsin, Samuel Anderson, Frank W.Browning, Horatio
Bigelow, John A. Brady, Nathan L. Bishop, B. P. Bishop,


Arthur H. Brewer, Charles Bard, Willis A. Briscoe, Richard
Bushnell, Amos A. Browning, Lucius Brown, Frank T. Brown,
George C. Butts, William F. Bogue, Charles R. Butts, Wm. A.
Breed, Wm. B. Birge, Thos. F. Burns, Waterman R. Burn-
ham, Martin Burns, Ellsworth E. Baker, Jacob C. Benjamin,
Rev. J. A. Broden, Rev. H. A. Beadle (Franklin), W. W.
Bentley (Bozrah), F. E. Beckwith, Albert H. Chase, Rev.
Xeilson Poe Carey, Frederic W. Gary, Lewis R. Church,
Adams P. Carroll, William Caruthers, James L. Case, Patrick
Cassidy, M.D., Rev. Joseph F. Cobb, Albert S. Comstock,
Charles N. Congdon, Charles E. Chandler, Felix Callahan,
Chas. J. Carew, E. H. Crozier, W. B. F. Cranston, S. Ashbel
Crandall, Chas. Billings Chapman, M. J. Connell (Lisbon),
Geo. A. Comeau, Tyler Cruttenden, A. J. Dawley, Jeremiah J.
Desmond, Aron W. Dickey, Francis E. Dowe, John Donovan,
Charles B. Davis (Franklin), George A. Davis, Alexander H.
Disco, M. H. Donahue (Baltic), Henry B. Davenport, Gros-
venor Ely, John Eccles, Rev. G. H. Ewing, Otto Ernst, William
D. Fitch, Joseph T. Fanning, John E. Fanning, Calvin H.
Frisbie, John R. Fowler, Charles W. Gale, Henry H. Gallup,
Henry Gebrath, S. Alpheus Gilbert, Wm. C. Gilman, James
Graham, Gardiner Greene, James Grierson, Frederic P.
Gulliver, Nathan S. Gilbert, Lemuel M. Gilchrist, Prof. J. H.
George, Squire Gregson, M. J. Green, Alphonso J. Grant, Jacob
Gordon, Edw. W. Higgins, John A. Hagberg, Albie L. Hale,
Joseph Hall, Joseph D. Haviland, Edward Harland, Patrick
Harriman, M.D., Gilbert L. Hewitt, Michael C. Higgins,
William F. Hill, J. A. Hiscox, C. Leslie Hopkins, Charles
L. Hubbard, Albert C. Hatch, George M. Hyde, Calvin L.
Harwood, Charles S. Holbrook, John D. Hall, John P.
Huntington, George R. Hyde, Michael J. Higgins, Samuel
G. Hartshorn (Franklin), Curtis L. Hazen (Sprague),
Frank E. Hull (Sprague), Chas. H. Haskell, Alexander C.
Harkness (Preston), Edw. P. Hollowell (Preston), H. J.
Hirsch, Oliver L. Johnson, Charles Amos Johnson, Raymond
J. Jodoin (Sprague), A. B. Kingsbury, Rev. M. S. Kaufman,
Frank J. King, Samuel Kronig, George A. Keppler, Rush W.
Kimball, M.D., Thos. J. Kelly, Thomas B. Linton, Arthur D.


Lathrop, Bela P. Learned, Charles B. Lee, Herbert M. Lerou,
Frederick W. Lester, Costello Lippitt, Francis J. Leavens,
Albert W. Lillibridge, Thurston B. Lillibridge, N. B. Lewis,
M.D., Benj. Lucas (Preston), Ira F. Lewis (Griswold),
Christian A. Marx, John McWilliams, E. Judson Miner
(Bozrah), Timothy C. Murphy, Chief John Murphy, Archi-
bald Mitchell, Charles O. Murphy, Jas. C. MacPherson,
John W. Mullen, Jas. McGrory, W. E. Manning, John H.
Miner (Bozrah), William A. Norton, Charles D. Noyes, W.
Tyler Olcott, P. J. O'Connor, Charles H. Osgood, Frederick L.
Osgood, William H. Oat, Albert L. Potter, James B. Palmer
(Lisbon), William H. Palmer, Henry F. Parker, Angus Park
(Sprague), Arthur L. Peale, George E. Parsons, A. Walton
Pearson, Henry G. Peck, George E. Pitcher, Ira L. Peck,
Joseph D. Pfeiffer, John Porteous, Thomas Potter, George S.
Porter, John H. Perkins, Rev. Lewellyn Pratt, Edmund A.
Prentice, Frank H. Pullen, Charles H. Preston, Louis I. Pratte,
M.D., Alex. B. Pendleton (Bozrah), Chester Parkhurst,
Shepard B. Palmer, Rutherford C. Plaut, Hezekiah Perkins,
Chas. W. Pearson, W. E. Peck (Sprague), John Quinn
(Sprague), Henry Ruggles, William C. Reynolds, Rev. Charles
H. Ricketts, Gilbert S. Raymond, Zebulon R. Robbins, Thomas

A. Robinson, Orman E. Ryther, Woodbury O. Rogers,
Frank A. Robinson, Frank E. Robinson (Griswold),
Vine S. Stetson, John H. Scott, George O. Stead, James

B. Shannon, Dennis J. Shahan, M.D., William H. Shields,
Frank H. Smith, Archibald S. Spalding, Howard L. Stan-
ton, Henry J. Steiner, Owen S. Smith, Louis J. Saxton, John
T. Sullivan, Clarence D. Sevin, N. Douglas Sevin, Chas. W.
Scott, John S. Sullivan (Bozrah), William G. Tarbox,
Nicholas Tarrant, Charles F. Thayer, John M. Thayer, Henry
W. Tibbits, Witter K. Tingley, M.D., Henry A. Tirrell, Edwin
A. Tracy, Rev. Hugh Treanor, Jonathan Trumbull, Rev. W. T.
Thayer, W. H. Tift (Griswold), Dwight L. Underwood,
Fred D. Vergason, James H. Welles, Charles D. White,
Winslow Tracy Williams, Rev. Peter C. Wright, Frank L.
Woodard, Otto E. Wulf, Charles E. Whitney, Chas. W.Wolf
(Lisbon), Alfred A. Young (Griswold), James M. Young,


William B. Young, H. L. Yerrington, John T. Young,
Peter T. Young, Luther C. Zabriskie (Preston).

At the first meeting of the permanent committee of
arrangements, held May i, 1908, the following officers and
executive committee were elected: President, Charles F.
Thayer; vice-presidents, Edwin A. Tracy, Winslow T.
Williams, John Eccles, John McWilliams, Gen. William A.
Aiken, and Jeremiah J. Desmond; secretary, Gilbert S.
Raymond ; assistant secretary, William A. Breed ; treasurer,
Charles W. Gale ; executive committee, Dr. P. H. Harriman,
Arthur D. Lathrop, John Porteous, Albert L. Potter,
William B. Young, Henry A. Tirrell, James B. Shannon,
Charles D. Noyes, Timothy C. Murphy, Howard L. Stanton,
and Albert S. Comstock.

In these and subsequent proceedings the coincidence
of the anniversaries was not forgotten, but the relations
between town and city have always been so intimate, and
their boundaries have been changed so many times as
shown by the interesting series of maps prepared by Dr.
Frederic P. Gulliver that no effort was made to separate
them in the celebration. No Temple Bar has ever
obstructed the progress of the First Selectman in riding
down from his farm to the town hall, nor has the Lord-
Mayor, meeting him at the gate, proffered his sword in
token of allegiance. Town and city have lived harmoniously
like mother and daughter under one roof. The old lady and
her selectmen have managed her side of the house to her
entire satisfaction, and she is not disposed as yet to give
up the pleasures and responsibilities of housekeeping to
her strong-minded daughter, who feels quite competent to
run the whole establishment in her own way.

On June 4, 1908, the executive committee received and
accepted with regret the resignation of Mayor Thayer as
president of the committee of arrangements and as a mem-
ber of the executive committee, and thus lost the benefit of
his experience as the moving spirit in the Old Home Week
celebration. On June 17, Gen. Edward Harland was elected


president of the committee of arrangements, and Edwin A.
Tracy was made chairman, and Gilbert S. Raymond, secre-
tary of the executive committee.

It was voted that the chairman be a member ex officio
of all sub-committees, and that William B. Young, Dr.
P. H. Harriman, Henry A. Tirrell, and Charles W. Gale
be a committee to name members of the various sub-com-
mittees. On October 26, 1908, Gen. Edward Harland by
letter resigned as president of the general committee, and
Winslow Tracy Williams was elected in his place. At
subsequent meetings the nominating committee reported
the names of the various sub-committees, which were ap-
proved, and the full list as revised and completed, of officers
and members elected, here follows:

General Committee of 250 Members Winslow Tracy
Williams, president; Edwin Avery Tracy, John Eccles,
John McWilliams, William A. Aiken, Jeremiah J. Desmond,
P. H. Harriman, vice-presidents ; Charles W. Gale, treasurer.

Executive Committee Edwin Avery Tracy, chairman ;
Winslow Tracy Williams, vice-chairman ; Gilbert S. Ray-

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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 4 of 19)