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Full text of "Old houses of the antient [sic] town of Norwich, 1660-1800"

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BOOK 974.65.P4 190 c. 1 

PERKINS # OLD HOUSES OF ANTIENT 

TOWN OF NORWICH 



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OLD HOUSES 


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THE ANTIENT TOWN 


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NORWICH 


1 660 — 1 800 

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IV/T// MAPS, ILLUSTRATIONS, 


PORTRAITS and GENEALOGIES 


By 


MARY E. PERKINS 


NORWICH, CONN. 


189s 






Copyr-igJit , iSgj, 
By Mary E. Perkins. 



All 7-is^Jits reserved. 



Press of The Bulletin Co., Norwich, Conn. 



Coloii'd Map by Tlic Heliotypc Printing Co., Boston. 



PREPACK. 

np HIS book is one of a projected series of volumes, which will aim to give an account of the 
old houses of Norwich, their owners and occupants, from the settlement of the town to 
the year iSoo. 

This first volume includes all the buildings on the main roads, from the corner of Mill 
Lane, or (Lafayette Street), to the Bean Hill road, at the west end of the Meeting-house Green. 

In the genealogical part will be found the first three generations of the earliest set- 
tlers, but beyond this point, in order not to add to the bulk of the book, the only lines 
carried out, are of those descendants who resided in the district covered by this volume, and 
these, only so long as they continued to reside in this locality. An effort has been made to 
follow back the direct line of each resident to his first American progenitor, but this has not 
been feasible in every case, owing to the great expense of such a search, in both time and 
money. In these difficult cases, a possible ancestry is sometimes given, marked by a line 
across the page, in the hope that some descendant, through family papers or personal search, 
may furnish the missing links, or prove another line of descent. 

The records of the early land grants of Norwich are very imperfect, and various attempts 
were made from the year 1672 to the beginning of the eighteenth century " to find the names of 
the first purchasers and what estate each of them put in " to the town. The first book of 
records give the bounds of estates, but not the measurements, and the second and third registers 
vary, as other lands have been added to or .sold from the original grants. Then some of the 
proprietors failed to record their home-lots, and the measurements and situation of these can 
only be ascertained from the deeds of sale, so, in the map of 1705, it was found impossible to 
accurately define the home-lots, or to give more than their approximate measurements or outlines. 

In many cases, houses have probably, for a longer or shorter period, been occupied by 
other tenants than those mentioned, but unless they were actual purchasers of the property, there 
is often no trace of this occupancy, as leases were seldom recorded, and even in case of an 
actual purchase, the grantee does not necessaril}' become an occupant, so mistakes are easily 
made. It has been endeavored, when possible, by reference to deeds and other records, to dis- 
tinguish between owners and occupants, but if any persons, through documents in their possession, 
can rectify any errors in this respect, or in any dates of births, deaths, or marriages, or in lines 
of descent, and will address P. O. Box 63, Norwich, Conn., such information will be gratefully 
received. 

In the long period of 140 years (1660-1800), many generations come and go, and new resi- 
dents are continually appearing, .so space will not permit any very extended account of each 



iv PREFACE. 

individual, still the author hopes that the meagre details she has given of these lives of the 
early inhabitants, may be of some interest to their descendants of the present da}'. 

To mention all the genealogical and historical works consulted, and all the persons who 
have furnished copies of pictures, dates, and many items of interest, would be impossible, so 
the author must confine her acknowledgments to those who have made more substantial con- 
tributions to the work : as to Donald G. Mitchell, who has generously given the colored map, 
the frontispiece, which will recall to his contemporaries many old landmarks which have long 
since passed away ; to the Hon. John T. Wait, who has supplied most of the anecdotes and re- 
miniscences of the past which help to enliven these otherwise dry pages ; to H. \V. Kent of the 
Slater Museum, who has furnished the map of 1705, and the Church plans of 1756 ; to Frederic 
P. Gulliver, who has drawn the map of 1795 ; to Charles E. Briggs, who has contributed 
photographs of the old Indian sites, and the relics of the last "Church on the Hill;" to 
Henry McNelly and Edwin S. Barrows, who have given the author much information about the 
old localities ; to J. Millar Wilson, by whose aid the material for the book-cover was procured ; 
to Ruth H. Bond of New London, who supplied the cover design ; to the Town Clerk of 
Norwich, Samuel H. Freeman, whose courtesy and helpfulness have been unfailing, and under 
whose careful supervision, the old town books have been copied, fully indexed, and attractively 
bound, and are now a pleasure to the eye, and accessible for reference ; to the Rev. Richard 
H. Nelson, Rev. Charles A. Northrop, Herbert L. Yerrington and William H. Allen, for 
access to the records and pamphlets of Christ Church and the First and Second Churches ; to Mrs. 
Daniel F. Gulliver, for^the sketches of the lives of her father and grandfather, Henry Strong and 
the Rev. Joseph Strong ; and last but not least to Ellen D. Larned, author of the History of 
Windham County ; Mrs. George B. Ripley, Maria P. Gilman, Mrs. Frederic L. Osgood, Emily 
N. Perkins, Sarah H. Perkins, Mrs. Henry Reynolds, and Mrs. Henry L. Butts of Norwich ; 
Mrs. Clarence Deming and Louise Tracy of New Haven ; Julia Chester Wells and Elizabeth N. 
Perkins of New York ; John Bliss of Brooklyn, L. L ; Gen. Edward Harland of Norwich ; Henry 
R. Bond of New London ; Warren F. Kellogg of Boston, Mass., publisher of the New England 
Magazine ; William Read Howe of Orange, N. J. ; William H. Shields of Norwich ; Rev. 
Christopher Leffingwell of Bar Harbor, Me. ; and Joseph H. Carpenter of Norwich, who 
by information furnished, and the loan of valuable books, newspapers, manuscripts, letters, &c., 

have greatly facilitated the author's labors. 

M. E. p. 
Norwich, Conn., Nov. 26, 1S95. , 



CONTENTS. 



Chapter I. 

Projected Settlement at Mohegan. — Deed of Land from Uncas, Owaneco and Attawanhood. — 
Arrival of the Settlers. — Naming of the Town. — List of Settlers. — Indian Attack. — 
Poem on Norwich by McDonald Clarke. — Description of Norwich by Mrs. Sigourney. 

Chapter II. 

Home-lots and Fences. — Houses and Furniture. — Modes of Heating. — Vehicles and Roads. — 
First Turnpike-road and Toll-rates. 

Chapter III. 

Dress of the Early Settlers. — Law of 1676. — Fashions preceding and during the Revolution. — 
Fashions of 1793. — Letter of Rachel Huntington. — Fashions of the 19th Century. — Enter- 
tainments. — Guy Fawkes' Day. — Barrel-bonfires on Thanksgiving Day. 

Chapter IV. 
Classes, Trades, and Occupations. — Business Enterprises. 

Chapter V. 

John Reynolds' Home-lot. — Old Reynolds Homestead. — Journal of Abigail Reynolds. — Visit 
to Lyme. — Small-pox. — Epidemics of 1792-3-4-5. — Drought of 1795. — Influenza of 1793. 

Chapter VT. 

Home-lot of Thomas Bliss. — Samuel Bliss, as a Merchant. — Inventory of Elizabeth (Bliss) 
White. — Geometry Bridge. — Mills of Christopher and Elisha Lefifingwell. — Old Stocking 
Shop. — Louis Barrel and William Cox. — Jackson Browne House. 

Chapter VII. 

Lt. Thomas Leffingwell's Home-lot. — Samuel Leftingwell, 2nd. — Col. Hezekiah Huntington. — 
Capt. William Hubbard. — Love Letter of Daniel Hubbard to Martha Coit. — Boston Citizens 
take refuge in Norwich at the beginning of the Revolution. — Hezekiah Williams. — Joseph 
Strong. — Meteorological Disturbances of 1806-S. 

Chapter \"III. 

Lt. Thomas Leflfingwell's Home-lot, (continued). — House built by Thomas Leffingwell, 4th. — 
Peabody Clement. — Capt. Samuel Leffingwell's House. — Judge John Hyde. — Samuel 
Leffingwell's Stocking Factory. — Rufus Darby. — Capt. Philemon Winship's House. 



vi CONTENTS. 



Chapter IX. 



Jonathan Pierce's Home-lot. — Col. Hezekiah Huntington. — John Hutchins. — Dr. Jonathan 
Marsh, ist. — Dr. Jonathan Marsh, 2nd. — Anecdotes of Dr. Samuel Lee, and Dr. Benjamin 
Dyer. — Jacob Ladd. — Family of Joseph Marsh. 

Chapter X. 

Thomas Letifingwell, 2nd's, First Grant. — Joseph Bushnell's Home-lot. — Bushnell House. — 
James Lincoln's House. 

Chapter XI. 

Home-lot of Thomas Leffingwell, 2nd, (later Ensign T. L. ) — Old Garrison House on Sentry 
Hill. — Thomas Leffingwell, 3rd. — House of Thomas Leffingwell, 4th, (now known as Edger- 
ton House), 

Chapter XII. 

Home-lot of William Backus, Sen. — Stephen Backus, ist. — Stephen Backus, 2nd. — Leffingwell 
Inn. — Ensign Thomas Leffingwell. — Benajah Leffingwell. — Col. Christopher Leffingwell. — 
Leffingwell Row. — Stocking Factory, Mills and other Business Enterprises of Col. Leffing- 
■^■ell. — War Correspondence. — Visit of Gen. Washington. — Ruth Leffingwell, (widow). 

Chapter XIII. 

William Backus' Home-lot (continued). — Footpath. — Opening of Lower Road or Cross Highway. — 
Leffingwell Shop (later Strong Shop). — Shop in rear of Leffingwell Shop. — David Greenleaf's 
House. — Jesse Williams. — (Widow) Mary Billings. — Timothy Lester. — House of Capt. 
William Billings. — John Huntington, Jun. — Joseph Coit. — Charles Lathrop. — Goodell 
Family. — Miss Sally Goodell's School. — Cary Throop's shop. — First Fire Engine House. — 
Judah Paddock Spooner. — Thomas Hubbard and Ebenezer Bushnell. — William Leffing- 
well. — Visit of Dr. Mason Cogswell. — John Huntington, Jun. — Epaphras Porter. — House 
owned by Thomas Williams. — Rufus Sturtevant. — Ira Tossett. — Col. Leffingwell's Stone- 
ware Kiln (later Charles Lathrop's). — ChristoiDher Potts & Son. — Cary Throop's Shop. 

Chapter XIV. 

Home-lot of Ebenezer Carew. — Old Carew Homestead and Shop. — Carew Lineage and 
Family. — Changes in the Lower Road. 

Chapter XV. 

Rev. James Fitch's Home-lot. — Zebadiah Lathrop House. — Asa Lathrop. — Jabez Avery 
House. — Rev. John Sterry. — Luther Case. — Capt. Joseph Winship's House. — Thomas 
Tilden. — Hon. John T. Wait. — Rockwell Manning House. — William Baldwin. — Samuel 
Manning House. — Diah Manning. — Revolutionary Services of Diah and Roger Manning. — 
Asa Manning's Service in the War of 1812. — Jean Pierre Boyer, afterward President of the 
Republic of Hayti. — William Clegg. 

Chapter XVI. 

Rev. James Fitch's Home-lot (continued). — Fitch Homestead. — Life and Family of Rev. James 
Fitch. — Inscription on the Rev. James Fitch's Grave-stone. — Love Letter of Rev. Edward 
Taylor to Elizabeth Fitch. — Theological Students. — John Waterman. — Eleazer Lord's 
Tavern. — Winthrop Saltonstall and Judge Marvin Wait. — Asa Lathrop, — William 
Lathrop. — Bridge Across the Yantic. 



CONTENTS. vii 

Chapter XVII. 

Common Lands on Town Street. — Early Home-lots. — Highway Survey of 1705. — Old High- 
way Over Sentry Hill. — Common Lands laid out in 1737-S. 

Chai'TF.r XVIII. 

Shop of Tracy & Coit. — Charles P. Huntington. — Epaphras Porter. — Jesse Huntington. — 
Law Oflfice of Henry Strong. 

Chapter XIX. 

Shop of Huntington & Carew. — David Nevins' Shop. — James Lincoln. — William Cox. — House 
of Thomas Harland. — Watch and Clock Trade. — Fire Engine. 

Chapter XX. 

Thomas Williams' House and Shop. — William Beard. — Naming of the Town Streets. — Cary 
Throop. 

Chapter XXI. 

Brick School House. — Mrs. Sigourney's Early School Experiences. — Consider Sterry. — Hon. 
John T. Wait's Early Teachers, Dyar Harris and Samuel Griswold. — Asher Smith. — George 
Bliss. 

Chapter XXII. 

Col. Simon Lathrop's Shop. — Rufus Lathrop's Shop. — Old Primus and Flora. — Fire Engine 
House. — Oldest Fire Engine of Norwich. — Subscription List of 1769. — Bills for Work on 
Engine. 

Chapter XXIII. 

Slavery in Early Times. — Slave Advertisements and Bills of Sale. — Runaway Slaves. — Aaron 
Cleveland's Articles Against Slavery. — Grave-stones of Bristo Zibbero and Boston Trow-Trow. 
— Laws Against Slavery. — Anti-Slavery Society. — Records of Slave Births. — Abolition of 
Slavery. 

Chapter XXIV. 

John Olmstead's Home-lot. — John and Elizabeth Olmstead. — Samuel Lathrop, 2nd. — Division 
of Lathrop Property. — Col. Simon Lathrop's House. — Mason Controversy. — Campaign 
Song. — Obituary Notice of Col. Lathrop. — Rufus Lathrop. — Jonathan Bellamy. — Aaron 
Burr. — Lucretia and Rufus Huntington. 

Chapter XXV. 

John Olmstead's Home-lot (continued). — Thomas Lathrop. — Dr. Daniel Lathrop. — Madam 
Jerusha Lathrop. — Mrs. Sigourney's Reminiscences of the Lathrop House and Family. — 
Daniel Lathrop. — Stephen Fitch. — Mrs. Elizabeth (Coit) Gilman. 

Chapter XXVI. 

Simeon's Case's House. — Dr. Joshua Lathrop. — Mrs. Sigourney's Recollections of Dr. Lathrop 
and His Wife. — Gardner Thurston. 



viii CONTENTS. 

Chapter XXVII. 

Lathrop Drug Shop. — Drs. Daniel and Joshua Lathrop. — Benedict Arnold. — Solomon Smith. 
— Dr. Joseph Coit. — Coit & Lathrop. — Daniel Lathrop Coit. — Ebenezer Carew. 

Chapter XXVIIL 

Thomas Lathrop's House. — Thomas Lathrop's Family. — Letter of Rev. David Austin. — Mrs. 
Thomas Lathrop. 

Chapter XXIX. 

Josiah Read's Home-lot. — Josiah Read. — Capt. Richard Bushnell, — Great Snow-storm of 
1717-18. — Capt. Benajah Bushnell. — Gift of Christ Church Lot to the Episcopal Society. — 
Church Lot given by Phinehas Holden. — Capt. Joseph Coit. — Early Voyages. — Daniel 
Lathrop Coit. — Thomas Coit. — Dr. Joseph Coit. — Journey to Europe of Daniel Lathrop 
Coit. — Daniel Wadsworth Coit. — Old Elm Trees. 

Chapter XXX. 

Noah Mandell's Shop. — Jabez Perkins. — Old Elm Trees of Norwich. — Nathan Cobb. — Na- 
thaniel Parish House. — Ebenezer Case. — Calvin Case. — Adgate Shop. — Samuel Case. — 
James Norman's Home-lot. — Ebenezer Case House. — Asahel Case. — Joshua Prior House. — 
Gideon Birchard. — Jeremiah Griffing. — Joshua Norman. — Elisha Birchard. — Mrs. Mary 
Lathrop. — Hannah Dawson. — Joseph Smith. — Abial Marshall Lot. — Aaron Chapman's 
House. — Matthew Adgate, 2nd. — John Huntington's House and Shop. 

Chapter XXXI. 

Home-lot of Dea. Thomas Adgate. — Dea. Thomas Adgate, 2nd. — Adgate Shop. — Matthew 
Adgate. — William Adgate's House. — Lathrop Cotton Factory. — Joseph Lord's Shoemaker's 
Shop. — Daniel Lathrojj's Shop. — Henry Cobb. 

Chapter XXXII. 

Christopher Huntington's Home lot. — Christopher Huntington, ist. — Christopher Huntington, 
2nd. — Jeremiah Huntington. — Samuel Avery. — Caleb Huntington. —John Huntington. — 
Ezra Huntington. — Malt House. — Old Huntington Homestead. — John Huntington, ist. — 
Capt. Rene Grignon. — Isaac Huntington. — Isaac Huntington's Day-Book. — Benjamin 
Huntington. — Poem by Benjamin Huntington. — Philip Huntington. — Joseph Gritifin. 

Chapter XXXIII. 

Land Owned by Josiah Read. — Jonathan Crane House. — Israel Lathrop. — William Lathrop. — 
Reasons Given by William Lathrop and Wife for Joining the Separatists. — Capt. Ebenezer 
Lathrop. — Jedediah Lathrop. — Felix Huntington, ist. — Augustus Converse, Sen. — House 
Built by Felix Huntington. — Daniel Lathrop. — James Stedman. — George C. Raymond. — 
Daniel Tracy's House. — Stephen Backus. — Capt. Elisha Leffingwell. — Charles Bliss. — 
George Rudd. 



CONTENTS. ix 

Chapter XXXIV. 

Home-lot and House of Thomas Sluman. — Thomas Huntington. — Barn-lot of Jonathan 
Crane. — Blacksmith Shop. — Shop of Avery & Tracy. — Samuel Avery & Son. — Roger Hunt- 
ington & Co. — Hou.se of William Lathrop, Jun. — Ezekiel Huntley. — Early Home Life of 
Mrs. Lydia (Huntley) Sigourney. — First Inexperiences as a School-teacher. — Marriage to 
Charles Sigourney of Hartford. 

Chapter XXX\'. 

Thomas Danforth's House. — John Danforth's House. — Lineage of Thomas Danforth. — Dan- 
forth Shop. 

Chapter XXXVI. 

Land granted to John Elderkin. — Home-lot of Samuel Lathrop, ist. — Rev. John Lothropp (or 
Lathrop). — Removal of Samuel Lathrop from New London to Norwich. — Abigail (Doane) 
Lathrop. — Israel Lathrop. — Jabez Lathrop. 

Chapter XXXVII. 

Samuel Lathrop's Home-lot (continued). — Capt. Joshua Huntington. — Hannah (Perkins) (Hunt- 
ington) Lynde. — Zachariah Huntington. — Judge Andrew Huntington. — Death of Lucy 
(Coit) Huntington. — Hannah (Phelps) Huntington. — Bill of Wedding Dress. — Dr. Charles 
Phelps of Stonington. — Lathrop Lots. — Felix Huntington Shop. — Samuel Danforth's Shop. 

— Roger Huntington & Co. 

Chapter XXXVIII. 

Samuel Lathrop's Home-lot (continued). — House of Samuel Lathrop, 2nd. — Joseph Lathrop, 
ist. — Joseph Lathrop, and. — Thomas Grist. — Early Meeting of the Episcopal Society at 
the house of Thomas Grist. — Shop of John Grist. — Zephaniah Huntington. 

Chapter XXXIX. 

Samuel Lathrop's Home-lot (continued). — House of Col. Joshua Huntington. — Capt. Charles 
Whiting's House. — Mundator Tracy. 

Chapter XL. 

Samuel Lathrop's Home-lot (concluded). — Zachariah Huntington's Shop. — Gen. Jedediah Hunt- 
ington. — Samuel Loudon. — House of Gen. Jedediah Huntington. — Faith (Trumbull) Hunt- 
ington. — Ann (Moore) Huntington. ~ Entertainment for French Officers. — Duke de Lauzun. 

— Gen. Lafayette. — His Last Visit to Norwich in 1S24. — Gen. Ebenezer Huntington. 

Chapter XLI. 

Home-lot of Lt. Thomas Tracy. — Tracy Ancestry. — Division of Property. — Sale of the Tracy 
Homestead to Israel Lathrop. — Daniel Tracy. — Accident at Lathrop's Bridge. — Purchase 
by Daniel Tracy, 2nd, of part of the Tracy Home-lot from Israel Lathrop. — Samuel Tracy — 
Maj. Thomas Tracy. — Ann Thomas (Tracy) Richards. — Shop of Capt. Charles Whiting. — 
Charles Beaman. — Roswell Huntington. — Mundator Tracy. 



X CONTENTS. 

Chapter XLII. 

Home-lot of Lt. Thomas Tracy (continued). — Dr. Solomon Tracy's Home-lot. — Simon Tracy, 
ist. — Simon Tracy, 2nd. — Shop of Simeon and Jabez Perkins. — Nathaniel Townsend. — 
Talleyrand. 

Chapter XLIII. 

Home-lot of Lt. Thomas Tracy (concluded). — Gov. Samuel Huntington. — Nathaniel Hunting- 
ton, Jun. — Betsey Devotion. — Mrs. Gov. Huntington. — Public Life of Gov. Huntington. — 
Death and Funeral. — Visit of Dr. Mason Fitch Cogswell. — Gov. Samuel Huntington of 
Ohio. — Frances (Huntington) Griffin. — Rev. Edward Dorr Griffin. — Asa Spalding. — 
Luther Spalding. 

Chapter XLIV. 

Home-lot of Simon Huntington. — Simon Huntington, 1st. — Inventory of his Library. — James 
Huntington. — Peter Huntington. — Col. Samuel Abbot. — Capt. Simeon Huntington. — 
Francis Green of Boston and the Sons of Liberty. — Cemetery Lane. 

Chapter XLV. 

Home-lot of Simon Huntington (continued). — Philip Turner. — John Manly. — Thomas Dan- 
forth. — Richard Charlton. — Charlton Family. — Jesse Charlton. — Samuel Charlton. — Capt. 
Jacob Perkins. — Mrs. Martha Greene. — Capt. Russell Hubbard. — David Nevins. — 
Drowning of David Nevins, ist. — Revolutionary Services of Capt. David Nevins. 

Chapter XLVL 

Home-lot of Simon Huntington (continued). — Simeon Carevv. — Joseph Carew. — Com. Gen. 
Joseph Trumbull. — Business Life. — Visits to Norwich of Gov. Trumbull and his Wife. — 
Mrs. Trumbull's Scarlet Cloak. — Com. Gen. Joseph Trumbull's Public Services and Death. — 
Epitaph. — Amelia (Dyer) Trumbull's Costly Dress. — Newcomb Kinney. — Asa Lathrop. 
— Alice Baldwin. 

Chapter XLVII. 

Home-lot of Simon Huntington (continued). — Grant to Simon Huntington, 2nd. — Samuel Abbot's 
Shop. — Thomas Carey. — Daniel Abbot. — Capt. Joseph Carew. — Family of Capt. Joseph 
Carew. — Joseph Huntington. — Hon. Jabez Huntington. — Obituary Notice. 

Chapter XLVIII. 

Simon Huntington's Home-lot (continued). — John Arnold. — Samuel Huntington. — Home-lot of 
John Bradford. — Thomas Bradford. — Sale to Simon Huntington, 2nd. — Division of Simon 
Huntington, 2nd's, Property. — David Rogers. — Cyrus and Lucy (Huntington) Miner. — 
Lyman Roath's Shop. — Boy's Lending Library. 

Chapter XLIX. 

Simon Huntington's Home-lot (continued). — Andre Richard. — Daniel Needham. — Benjamin 
Butler. — Anecdote of Benjamin Butler. — Dr. Benjamin Butler. — Gardner Carpenter. — 
Rev. Hiram P. Arms. 



CONTENTS. xi 

Chapter L. 

Home-lot of Simon Huntington (continued). — Gen. Jabez Huntington's Distillery and Cooper's 
Shop. — Andrew Huntington. — William Bradford Whiting. — Emigrates to New York. — 
Anecdote of Amjs wife of William Bradford Whiting. — Zenas Whiton (or Whiting). — His 
Skill as a Bridge-builder. — Dr. Rufus Spalding. 

Chapter LI. 

Home-lot of Simon Huntington (concluded) and part of John Bradford's Home-lot. — Joseph 
Carew's Shop. — Asa Lathrop's Shop. — Shop of Charles Gildon. — Isabella Gildon's School. 
— Shop of Capt. Jacob Perkins. — Capt. Russell Hubbard. — David Nevins' Hat Factory. — 
Samuel Gaine. — Simon Carew. — Jeremiah Leach's Shop. — Simeon Huntington's Store and 
Blacksmitli Shop. — John Hughes. — Nathaniel Townsend. — Jabez Perkins. — Capt. Joseph 
Gale. — Azor Gale. — Shop of Gen. Jabez Huntington. — Andrew Huntington. — Shop of 
Zachariah Huntington. 

Chapter LIL 

Home-lot of John Bradford (continued). — Gen. Jabez Huntington. — Revolutionary Services. — 
Illness and Death. — Elizabeth (Tracy) Backus. — Hannah (Williams) Huntington. — Col. John 
Chester and His Wife, Elizabeth Huntington. — Gen. Zachariah Huntington. — Leader of the 
Choir. — Family of Gen. Zachariah Huntington. 

Chapter LIIL 

Peter Morgan's Home-lot. — Rev. Joseph Strong's House. — Rev. Joseph Strong. — Henry 
Strong. — ]\Iary (Huntington) Strong. — Robert Lancaster's House and Shop. — John 
Lancaster. 

Chapter LIV. 

Home-lot of the Rev. James Fitch. — Maj. James Fitch's House. — Public Career of Maj. James 
Fitch. — Alice (Bradfoi'd) (Adams) Fitch. — Family of Alice (Bradford) Adams. — Rev. 
Samuel Whiting. 

Charier LV. 

Home-lot of the Rev. James Fitch (continued). — Illness of the Rev. James Fitch. — Efforts of 
the Church to Procure a Settled Pastor. — Rev. Jabez Fitch. — Rev. Henry Flint. — Rev. 
Joseph Coit. — Settlement of the Rev. John Woodward. — Disagreement about the Saybrook 
Platform. — Dismissal of the Rev. John Woodward. 

Chapter LVI. 

Home-lot of the Rev. James Fitch (continued). — Sale of the Parsonage to Madam Sarah Knight. — 
Lineage of Madam Knight. — Her Journal. — Removal to New London. — Edmund Gookin. 

Chapter LVIL 

Home-lot of the Rev. James Fitch (continued). — Curtis Cleveland's House. — His Lineage. — 
Joseph Peck. — Elizabeth (Lathrop) (Carpenter) Peck. — Gardner Carpenter. — Andre 
Richard. — Sylvanus Jones. — William Darby. — Capt. William Fountain. — Huguenot Ances- 
try of Elizabeth (Rame) Fountain. — Capt. Philip Turner. — Joseph Peck. — Peck Tavern. — 
Entertainments at the Tavern. — John Wheatley. — Service in the Revolution. — Deodat 
Little. — Jonathan Trott. — Peace Celebrations. — Trott Lineage and Family. 



xii CONTENTS. 



Chapter LVIII. 



Home-lot of Rev. James Fitch (continued). — Sylvanus Jones' House. — Ebenezer Jones. — Sale 
of Lots. — George Wickwire's House. — Asa Lathrop's Shoe-shop. — Eliphaz Hart's Dwelling 
House. — Sketch of the .Wickwire Family. — John Manly's Shop. — Thomas Danforth's 
Shop. — William Morgan. — William Morgan's House. — James Noyes Brown. — Lineage of 
James Noyes Brown. — Nathan Stedman. — Dr. Gurdon Lathrop. — Gerard Lathrop. — 
Peter Lanman. 

Chapter LIX. 

Home-lot of Rev. James Fitch (concluded). — Jonathan Wickwire's House. — Jonathan Goodhue. — 
Samuel Waterman's Shop. — Sketch of Goodhue Family. — John Perit. — Rev. Peter Perit. — 
Inscription on Grave-stone. — Family of Rev. Peter Perit. — John Peril's Services in French 
War and in the Revolution. — His Family. — Perit Shop. — Asa Spalding. — County House 
and Jail. — Store of George D. Fuller. — Alexander McDonald. — Gurdon Lathrop. — Re- 
moval of Gurdon Lathrop to a New Shop. — Burying-ground Lane. — Old Burying-ground. — 
Death and Burial of French Prisoners. — Burial of a Pequot and a INIohegan Indian. 

Chapter LX. 

Home-lot of Maj. Mason. — Sketch of the Life of Maj. Mason. — Pequot War. — Death of Maj. 
Mason. — Anne (Peck) Mason. — Sermon by Rev. James Fitch on the Death of Mrs. Anne 
Mason. — Sketch of Maj. Mason's Family. — Capt. John Mason, 2nd. — Capt. John Mason, 
3rd. — Mason Controversy About Indian Lands. 

Chapter LXI. 

Home-lot of Maj. Mason (continued). — Call E.xtended by the First Church to Rev. Benjamin 
Lord. — Sketch of the Rev. Benjamin Lord. — Ann (Taylor) Lord. — Inscription of Tomb- 
stone of Rev. Benjamin Lord. — Anecdotes of the Rev. Dr. Lord. — Inventory of Abigail 
(Hooker) Lord. — Division of the Lord Property. — Ebenezer and Benjamin Lord. — Lucy 
(Lord) (Avery) Perkins. — William Cleveland. — Cleveland Shop. — Rev. Joseph Howe. 

Chapter LXII. 

Home-lot of Maj. Mason (continued). — Nathaniel Lathrop, — Lathrop Tavern. — First Stage 
Line to Providence. — Azariah Lathrop. — Anecdote by Hon. John T. Wait. — Augustus 
Lathrop. — Burning of the Tavern. — " Sans Souci " Assemblies. — Poem by William Pitt 
Turner. — Jabez Smith, Singing Teacher. — Theatricals and Wax Works. 

Chapter LXIII. 

Maj. Mason's Home-lot (continued). — First Courts in Norwich. — Building of First Court House. — 
Second Court House. — Powder House. — Blowing Up of Powder House. — Boston Circular. 
— Tea Drinking Parties Prohibited. — Committee of Correspondence. — City Hall Built at New 
London. — Removal of Court House. — Whipping Posts, Stocks and Pillory. — Early Sentences 
of the Court. — Theatrical Entertainments. — Singing School. — Dancing Classes. — Re- 
moval of Courts to the Landing. — Court House Used as a School House. — Destruction of 
the Old Court House. 



CONTENTS. xiii 

Chapter LXIV. 

First Meeting House of Norwich. — New Church Building Erected on the Rocks in 1O75. — 
Seating of People According to Rank. — Repairing the Meeting House in 1705. — Bell Pre- 
sented by Capt. Rene Grignon in 170S. — New Meeting House Built in 1713. — A Fourth 
Church Building Begun in 1753. — Church Singing as Described by Mrs. Sigourney. — 
Church Burned by an Incendiary in 1801. — New Church Erected Partly by Subscription 
and Partly by Lottery. — Laying of Corner Stone for the New Church in 1801. — Lombardy 
Poplars. — Names of Pastors of the Church. 

Chapter LXV. 

Home-lot of Stephen Gifford. — Family of Stephen Gifford. — Sale of Gifford Lot to the Town. — 
Land granted as "Parsonage Land" to Rev. John Woodward. — Granted to Rev. Benj. 
Lord. — Building of Court House on this Land in 1735. — Land Ceded by the Lords to the 
Church Society. — Ebenezer Lord's House and Shop on Common Land. — Ebenezer Lord. — 
Dudley Woodbridge. — Lineage and Family of Dudley Woodbridge. — Gurdon Lathrop 
Occupies Woodbridge Shop. — Joseph Huntington. — Carew & Huntington. — Jos. & Chas. P. 
Huntington. — Roger Griswold. — Family of Roger Griswold. — Public Life of Gov. Roger 
Griswold. — Inscription on Tomb-stone — Incendiarism. — Huntington Shop and Griswold 
House and Church Burnt in 1801. — Joseph & Chas. P. Huntington Build a Brick Store. — Brick 
Store sold to Capt. Bela Peck, and later presented for a Chapel to the Norwich Town Church 
by Mrs. Harriet (Peck) Williams. — Lot No. r, of Parsonage Lands, leased to Dudley Wood- 
bridge and Roger Griswold. 

Chapter LXVI. 

Parsonage Lands. — Lease of Lot No. 2 to Jesse Brown. — Brown Tavern. — Jesse Brown's 
Marriages. — Revolutionary Services. — Visit of Pres. John Adams and Wife to Norwich. — 
Stage Lines to Hartford, Boston, Providence, and New York. — John and Ann (Brown) 
Vernet. — Dr. I. Greenwood, Dentist. — Capt. Bela Peck. — Peck Library. — " The Rock 
Nook Home." 

Chapter LXVI I. 

Parsonage Lands. — Lots No. 3 and No. 4 Leased to Joseph Carpenter. — Carpenter Family. — 
Building of Joseph Carpenter's Shop. — Joseph Carpenter as a Goldsmith. — Gerard Carpen- 
ter. — Seth Miner's House on Parsonage Land. — Sketch of Asher Miner and the Hon. 
Charles Miner. — "The Judges' Chamber." — Judge William Noyes. — Judge Benjamin 
Coit. — Judge William Hillhouse. — Judge Noyes in Family Prayer. — The Hon. Charles 
Miner's I^ast Visit to Norwich. 

Chapter LXVIII. 

Early Schools and Schoolmasters of Norwich. — John Birchard. — Daniel Mason. — John Arnold. 
— Richard Bushnell. — Thomas Eyre. — Jared Bostwick. — Old Brick School House on the 
Plain. — Mr. Goodrich. — School E,Khibitions. — Dr. Daniel Lathrop's Endowment. — Ebene- 
zer Punderson. — Sketch of the Punderson Family. — Tea Drinking Episode. — School 
Reminiscences of the Hon. Charles Miner. — Mr. White. — Newcomb Kinney. — His Skill in 
Penmanship, and Advertisement as a School Teacher. — Alexander McDonald. — As Author, 
School Teacher and Bookseller. — William Baldwin. — Mrs. Sigourney 's Recollections of 
William Baldwin. 



xiv CONTENTS. 

Chapter LXIX. 
School Reminiscences of Mrs. Sigourney (continued). — Pelatiah Perit. — Rev. Daniel Haskell. 

Chapter LXX. 

Parsonage Lands (continued). — Gardner Carpenter's Store. — Nathaniel Townsend's Barber Shop. 
Store and Baker House. — John Wheatley's Shoe Shop. — Nathaniel Patten's Book Store. — 
Gideon Denison. 

Chapter LXXI. 

Parsonage Lands (continued). — Earliest Jail. — Second Jail (Burnt in 17S6). — Jailers. — Sims 
Edgerton. — Dr. Benjamin Church. — John Barney, Jun. (Jailer). — Darius Peck. — Seth 
Miner. — Ebenezer Punderson. — Escape of Prisoners. — New Jail Built on Opposite Side of 
Green in 1815. — Office of Norwich Packet. — William Lax. — Darius Peck. — Joseph Car- 
penter. — Beginning of "The Norwich Packet." — Alexander and James Robertson. 

Chapter LXXII. 

Parsonage Lands (continued). — Darius Peck House. — Gideon Denison. — Dr. Philemon Tracy. — 
Mrs. Sigourney's Recollections of Dr. Tracy. — Medical Practice and Family of Dr. Tracy. — 
Houses of Samuel and John Charlton. — Parmenas Jones House. — William Osborne House. — 

Chapter LXXIII. 

Norwich Town Green. — Early Trainings. — Nathaniel Lathrop's Shop. — Liberty Pole. — Field 
Reviews. — The British and American Flags. — Scenes on the Green During the Revolution 
and on the Yearly Training Days. — Military Uniforms. — Election of the Colored Governor. — 
Games of Norwich Town Boys. — Anecdote by the Hon. John T. Wait. 



ILLUSTRATIONS. 



LIST OF MAPS AND HALF-TONE PRINTS. 



I. Colored Map of Norwich, 



By Donald G. MiicIwU Frontispiece 



The William W. Backus Hospital, 
Thanksgiving Barrel-burning on Jail Hill, 
Reynolds House, .... 
Silhouette of Abigail Reynolds, 

Bliss House 

Old Stocking Spiop, 

Jackson Browne House, 

Lt. Thomas Leffingwell's House, 

Site of Shantok Fort and Mohegan Burying-ground, 

11. House Built by Thomas Leffingwell, 4th, 

12. Capt. Samuel Leffingwell's House, . 
r 13. RuFus Darby's House, 

Probable Site of Joseph Bushnell's House, 

Old Bushnell Apple Tree, .... 

James Lincoln's House, .... 

Home-lot of Ensig.n Thos. Leffingwell and Sentry Hill 

House of Thomas Leffingwell, 4TH, . 

View Looking Down the Street fro.m House of T. L., 4111 

East Side of Leffingwell Inn, . 

North Side of Leffingwell Inn, 

Silhouette of Col. Christopher Leffingwell, 

Fork of Roads. Site of Christopher Leffingwell's S 

David Greenleaf's House, 

Capt. William Billing's House, . 

House Occupied by Judah Paddock Spoon 

Zebadiah Lathrop's House, . 

Jabez Avery's House 

Capt. Joseph Winship's House, 

Rockwell Manning's House, 

Old Miniature of Diah Manning, 

Samuel Manning's House, 

Eleazer Lord's Tavern, 

View of Yantic Looking South from the Bridge Back 

OF THE Lord T.averx, 
Map of Norwich as in 1705, .... Dr 

Thomas Harland's House. 
View of Old Clock, Made by Thomas Harland, in 

Hall of His H(«iuse 



2. 

3- 
4. 

5- 
6. 

7- 
8. 

9- 
10. 



14- 

15- 
16. 

17- 
18. 
19. 
20. 
21. 
22. 

23- 
24. 

25- 

26. 

27- 

28. 
29. 
30. 

31- 

32. 
33- 
34- 

35- 
36. 
37- 



Photographer 


Page 


M. E. Jensen 


6 


Clarence E. Spalding 


19 


M. E. Jensen 


23 


" " 


26 


' ' ** 


31 




34 


' ' ' ' 


37 


' ' ' ' 


38 


Charles E. Bri'ggs 


40 


M. E. /ensen 


47 




49 




51 


" 


57 




59 




60 


" 


61 




64 


ll'nt. S. Latghton 


f'5 


-i 


66 


" 


68 




72 


Erancis Gil/nan 


74 


M. E. Jensen 


77 


" 


78 


N. A. Gibbs 


80 



by 







91 


M. K. Jensen 




92 
93 
93 
95 

102 


H. W. Kent 




104 


Ansel E. Beck 


•uith 


112 


A^ E. Jensen 




"3 



XVI 



ILL USTRA TIONS. 



38. Clockface, by Thomas Harland, .... 

39. Thomas Williams' House and Shop, .... 

40. School House, 

41. Old Fire Engine, Formerly Used at Norwich Town, 

42. Old Fire Buckets, Formerly Beloncing to Levi Hunt 

INGTON, • . 

43. House ok Dr. Daniel Lathrop, .... 

44. Dining Room of Lathrop House (now owned by the 

Misses Oilman) . 

45. Corner Dining Room Closet, .... 

46. Simeon Case's House 

47. Dr. Joshua Lathrop's House 

48. Old Lathrop Drug Shop 

49. Thomas Lathrop's House, . . . • . 

50. Garden Walk, 

51. View from the Lathrop Terrace, 

52. Approach to House of Daniel Lathrop Con, . 

53. Daniel L. Coit's House 

54. Old Elm Trees in front of Coit House, . 

55. Nathan Cobb's House, 

56. Plan of Norwich as in 1795, .... Drawn 

57. Joshua Prior's House, 

58. Old Norman House, 

59. William Adgate's House, 

60. Old Homestead of Christopher Huntington, . 

61. Jeremiah Huntington's House, .... 

62. Ezra Huntington's House 

63. Daniel Tracy House and House Built by Capt 

nolds on Site of Jonathan Crane House, 

64. House Built by Felix Huntington, 

65. Avery & Tracy Shop and House of Wm. Lathrop, Jun 

(Early home of Mrs. Sigourney. ) 

66. Thomas Danforth's House 

67. Capt. Joshua Huntington's Hoise (possibly built by 

Samuel Lathrop, ist), 

68. View from Capt. Joshua Huntington's Grounds, 

69. Col. Joshua Huntington's House 

70. Capt. Charles Whiting's House, .... 

71. Gen. Jedediah and Gen. Ebenezer Huntington's House 

72. Samuel Tracy House, ....... 

73. Gov. Samuel Huntington's House, .... 

74. Portrait of Martha Lathrop Devotion (Wife of Rev 

Ebenezer Devotion), ...... 

75. Cemetery Gate, Erected by " The Rural Society." near 

or on Site of the Early Homestead of Simon 
Huntington, ist, 

76. Capt. Jacob Perkins' House, (later Nevins house), . 

77. Com. Gf:n. Joseph Trumbull's House and Col. Samuel 

Abbot's Shop, ^ . 



Rev 



Photographer 


Page 


M. E. Je7isen 


114 


" 


117 


" 


119 


Clarence E. Spalding 


124 


C. E. Briggs 


126 


Norris S. Lippitt 


137 


M. E. Jensen 


138 


" 


139 


" 


146 


" " 


147 


W. Hamilton Burnett 


150 


M. E. [ensen 


152 




153 


Norrts S. Lippitt 


154 


M. E. /ensen 


155 




161 


Frederic L. Osgood 


165 


M. E. Jensen 


167 


by Frederic P. Gulliver 


168 


M. E. Jensen 


170 


" " 


171 


" 


176 


Elisha Ayer 


178 




180 


M. E. /enseti 


182 


.. 


188 


" " 


191 




193 



IVni. S. Laio-Iiton 



Frederic P. Gulliver 
M. E. Jensen 



209 
213 
218 
2ig 
221 
229 
238 

240 



249 
253 

256 



ILLUSTRATIONS. 



xvii 



78. Cai't. Josei'H Cakew's H(Hsk, ...... 

7g. Gardner Carpenter's House, v 

80. W^r. Bradkord Whiting's Hotse, 

81. Silhouettes of Whiting Family, 

82. Jahez Perkins' House (the fourth white house to the left 

of picture is the Col. Samuel Abbot house, which 
formerly stood on opposite side of the street), . 

83. Corner ok Huntington Lane, with a View Down the 

Town Street to the Gardner Carpenter House, 

84. Gen. Jabez Huntington's House, ..... 

85. Rev. Joseph Strong's House, 

86. Silhouette of Rev. Joseph Strong, 

87. Curtis Cleveland's House and Peck Tavern, . 

88. SvLVANUs Jones' House, 

8g. Gerard Lathrop's House 

90. John Perit's House, 

91. John Perit's Store, 

92. Burying-ground Lane, 

93. Court House, 

94. View from Meeting House Rocks (Site ok the Second 

and Third Churches), ....... 

95. Plan of Pews in Church about 1756, . . Drawn by 

96. Church, ........... 

97. Chapei 

98. Jesse Brown Tavern, ........ 

99. Mourning Piece by Charlotte and Harriet Peck, . 
100. Joseph Carpenter's House and Store, .... 
loi. Old Brick School House 

102. Dr. Philemon Tracy House, ...... 

103. Parmenas Jones' House, ....... 

104. Pencil Sketch of Norwich Town Plain about 1840, 

105. View of the Plain in 1895 



Photographer 

Frederic P. Gulliver 
M. E. /ensen 



N. A. Gihbs 
M . E. Jensen 



Frederic P. Gulliver 



N. A. Gibbs 
H. W. Kent 



Frederic P. Gttlliver 
M. E. Jensen 



Page 
260 
271 
272 
272 



279 

23l 
282 
288 
288 
306 

319 
321 
324 

343 

350 

352 
357 
363 
365 

367 
368 

374 
391 
394 
395 
402 



ILLUSTRATIONS. 



Y. 



LIST OF PORTRAITS AND MINIATURES. 



1. Joseph Reynolds, 

Copied by permission of the owner, Mrs. Henry L. Reynolds. 

2. Enoch and Sally (Canfield) Reynolds, 

Copied by permission of the owner. Miss Mary Reynolds, Washington, D. C. 

3. William and Sally (Beers) Leffingwell, 

Copied by permission of the New Haven Art School. 

4. RuFus AND Hannah (Choate) Lathrop, 

Copied by permission of the former owner. Miss Lucretia H. Grace. 

5. Dk. Joshua and Mercy (Eels) Lathrop, 

Copied by permission of the owner, Mrs. George B. Ripley. 

6. Hannah Bill Lathkop, 

Copied by permission of the owner, Mrs. George H. Ripley. 

7. Daniel L. and Elizabeth (Bill) Coit, 

Copied by permission of the owners, the Misses Gilman. 

8. Lydia (Huntley) Sigourney, 

Copied by permission of the owner, Rev. Francis T. Russell of Waterbury, Ct. 

g. Gen. Jedediah Huntington, 

Copied by permission of the owner. Miss Sarah L. Huntington. 

10. Gen Ebenezer Huntington 

Copied by permission of the owner, Miss Sarah H. Perkins. 

11. Col. Simeon Perkins, 

Copied by permission of the owner, Rev. Newton Perkins, of East 52nd Street, N. 

12. Gov. Samuel Huntington of Connecticut 

Copied by permission of E. Huntington of Painesville, O. 

13. Gov. Samuel Huntington of Ohio, 

Copied by permission of E. Huntington of Painesville, O. 

14. Com. Gen. Joseph Trumbull, ....... 

Copied by permission of the owner, Mrs. L. R. Cheney of Hartford, Ct. 

15. Joseph and Eunice (Carew) Huntington, 

Copied by permission of the owner, Mrs. Daniel F. Gulliver. 

16. Amy (Lathrop) Whiting, 

Copied by permission of the owner, Thomas C. Brainerd, of Montreal, Canada. 

17. Gen. Jabez Huntington, ........ 

Copied by permission of the owner, Mrs. Mary H. Childs of Florence, Italy. 

18. Elizabeth (Huntington) Chester, in Youth and Old Age, 

Copied by permission of the owner, Miss Julia Chester Wells, of West 31st Street, 

19. Col. John Chester, 

Copied by permission of the owner. Miss Julia Chester Wells, of West 31st Street, 

20. Mary (Huntington) Strong, ....... 

Copied by permission of the owner, Mrs. Daniel F. Gulliver. 

21. Ruth (Webster) (Perit) Leffingwell, ..... 

Copied by permission of the owners, the Misses Huntington. 

22. John Perit, ........... 

Copied by permission of the owner, P. Webster Huntington of Columbus, Ohio. 

23. Dr. Benjamin Lord, 

Copied by permission of the owner, John Bliss of Brooklyn, L. I. 

24. Jesse Brown, } 

25. William Brown, S 

Copied by permission of the owners, the Misses Ingham of Wilkesbarre, Penn. 

26. Ann (Brown) Vernf.t, ] 

27. John Vernet, \ 

Copied by permission of the owners, the Misses Ingham of Wilkesbarre, Penn. 



N. Y. 

N. Y 



Page 
26 

28 

82 

^34 

148 

154 
164 
200 
222 
228 
236 
238 
242 
256 
262 
274 
282 
284 
286 
290 
322 
324 
336 

364 
368 



PART I. 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 



ERRATA. 



Page i6, Line i, Read "Rachel" for "Rebecca" Huntington. 



" 32, 


' 15, 


" lOI, 


' 25, 


102, 


' 3. 


" 239, 


'6, 


" 242, 


' I, " 


" 392- 


' 2, 



Richard " Carder " for Richard "Caider." 

"Winthrop" Saltonstall for "Gilbert" Saltonstall. 

" second " election (1793) for " first" election of Gen. Washington. 

"Frances" Huntington for "Hannah." 

"Diadema" for "Jerusha" (Hyde) Butler. 



CHAPTER i. 

IN May, 1659, a large number of the inhabitants of vSaybrook appHcd to the 
General Court at Hartford for permission to make a settlement at Norwich, 
or, (as it was then called), Mohegan. The Court "considered," "approved," and 
"consented to" the desire of "ye petitioners respecting Mohegin, provided y' within 
ye space of three yeares they doe effect a plantation in ye place propounded." 

The settlers evidently lost no time in arranging for removal, for in June, 
1659, the three sachems of Mohegan, Onkos (Uncas), Ovvaneco, and Attawanhood 
deeded to "the Tovvne and Inhabitants of Norwich" a tract of land, beginning 
on the southern line "at the brooke falling into the head of Trading Cove," and 
extending from thence east, west and north, on both sides of the river over a terri- 
tory nine miles square. 

The town was first known as Mohegan.* The first reference to it as Norwich 
is in March, 166 1, when the constable at " Seabrook " is required to levy a certain 
sum "upon ye estates of such at Norridge, as are defective in their rates." In 1662 
it is "enrolled as a legal township." f This is all that is actually known of the 
settlement of the town. The records, both of vSaybrook and of Norwich, are silent 
as to the reasons for removal, the naming of the new township, and the arrival of 
the settlers ; so on these matters we may speculate at will. 

vSome may believe the tradition recorded in President Stiles' diary, that our 
ancestors were driven from Saybrook by the immense flocks of crows and black- 
birds, which infested the fields in May and June, and others that Maj. Mason, in one 



*The original deed has not been found, but a copy was recorded at Hartford in 1663, and 
later at Norwich and New London. These all vary somewhat in wording, but the fact that the 
first entry was made after the town received its name may account for this phrase " Towne and 
Inhabitants of Norwich." 

f Miss Caulkins' History of Norwich, p. 71. 



2 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

of his numerous expeditions, perceiving the great natural advantages which this 
Mohegan country offered for a settlement, persuaded some of his friends to leave 
their level coast-lands for this more attractive region of wooded hills, and sheltered 
vales, and rushing streams. We may suppose that any project of Maj. Mason's 
would naturally meet with approval, and that, when it was seconded by the pastor. 
Rev. Mr. Fitch, most of the settlers would be ready to follow, wherever their milita- 
ry and religious leaders should show the way. 

As the adventurers sailed up the river, the Indian stone fort, towering up on 
Weequaw, or Waweequaw Hill, later called Fort Hill (now Jail Hill), may have sug- 
gested the castle-crowned Norwich, on the other side of the water, perhaps to the 
brothers Huntington, who are supposed to have emigrated from Norwich, England, 
or perchance to William Backus, for whom the historian of the Backus' family 
claims the honor of having named the town ; but the silence of the records on this 
point, gives us all liberty to decide the matter for ourselves, and the erratic spelling 
of the earliest manuscripts will allow us to christen the town Norwitch, Norwhich, 
Norwig, Norige, or Norridge, as we prefer. 

The number of first settlers is usually given as thirty-five, and this is based 
upon a manuscript of Dr. Lord's, which says : " The town of Norwich was settled 
in the spring of 1660 : the Purchase of sd Town was made in ye month of June, 
1659, by 35 men." We learn from Miss Caulkins, that the number is altered in the 
manuscript from thirty-four, and the name of John Elderkin is interlined, as if there 
was some doubt of his right to be named among the first settlers. 

In 1694, the inhabitants of Norwich, "being sensible of their neglect in not re- 
cording at first settling, what was laid out in the first, second, and third divisions, as 
also the names of the first purchasers," appoint Lt. Leffingwell, John Post, Lt. 
Backus, Thomas Adgate, John Birchard, vSimon Huntington, Sr., and Jonathan 
Tracy "to search out and do the best they can," to find the names of the original 
settlers, what estate each one " put into the town and make return ; " but this elTort, 
only thirty-four years after the settlement, to obtain a perfect registry of the first 
proprietors, and their lands, seems to have been as unsuccessful as several former 
ones in 1673, 1681, and 1684, and neither on these, nor on a later record, prepared 
by Capt. James Fitch, can we entirely rely. 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWrCH. 3 

Miss Caiilkins gives in her history of Norwich the names of twenty-eight men, 
whom she believes to have indisputable claims to rank as first proprietors, and an 
additional list of ten doubtful ones, bringing the number up to thirty-eight. Two 
of these, Hendy and Wallis, though possibly among the first purchasers of land, can- 
not be numbered among the first settlers, as Wallis did not come to Norwich to 
reside until about 1670, and Hendy was probably never an actual resident of the 
town. The Rev. E. B. Huntington, of vStamford, Ct., names thirty-six men, whom 
he supposes to have been original proprietors ; but one of these was Richard Wallis, 
and another was Caleb Abel, who in 1660 was only about fourteen years of age. 

Now when Dr. Lord was ordained in 17 17, many were living, who were in 
their boyhood, when the town was settled, and who must have often heard discussed 
by their fathers these questions of proprietary rights, and the incidents of the settle- 
ment, and from their testimony, this list of Dr. Lord's was probably prepared. 

We have been unable to discover any trace of Dr. Lord's manuscript, but have 
found a list naming thirty-five original settlers, in which John Elderkin's name 
appears, and this, rather than make one of our own, we will adopt, believing that it 
may possibly be a copy of the list of Dr. Lord. Among these names are several 
which figure in IMiss Caulkins' doubtful list, but the entries of their home lots bear, 
as do the others, the date 1659, and though the youngest* was at the time of the set- 
tlement, only sixteen years of age, it is possible that he was considered old enough 
to receive an allotment of land. 

The following is the list, from which we shall exclude the name of John 
Elderkin, as his earliest land grant was dated 1667, and we will assume that he did 
not become an inhabitant until that year. This reduces the number to thirty-four. 
With the wives and children, whose births are found on record, the whole number 
of earliest inhabitants would amount to 143, but as it is probable that some of these 
children did not survive until 1660, and very uncertain whether the wives of Thomas 
Tracy, Robert Allyn, and William Hyde, were then living, we may conclude that 
the correct number lies between 130 and 140. 



* Thomas Waterman. 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 



First Setf/i'rs. 
Maj. John Mason, . 

Rev. James Fitch, . . 

Thomas Leffingwell, . 

Thomas Adgate, 
Wilham Backus, Sr., . 



Wives. 
Anne, . . 



Mary, 



Mary 



Ann, 



Thomas Bingham, .... 
(Stepson of W. Backus, Sr.) 



WiUiam Backus, Jun., 


. Eh"zabeth, 


(Son of W. B., Sr.) 




Christopher Huntington, . 


. Ruth, . 


Simon Huntington, . . 


. Sarah, . 


Thomas Tracy, .... 


• — (?). ■ 



John Tracy, , . 

(Son of T. T.) 

Thomas Waterman, 

John Bradford, Martha, 

John Olmstead, Elizabeth, 

William Hyde, (?), . 

Samuel Hyde, Jane, 

(Son of W. H.) 

John Rejmolds, Sarah, . 

Thomas Bliss Elizabeth, 

Thomas Post, Mary, . 

John Post, Hester, . 

John Gager, Elizabeth, 



John Birchard, . 
Morgan Bowers, 
Nehemiah Smith, 



Christian, 
Judah (?), 
Ann, 



Richard Edgerton, . . . Mary, 

Robert Allyn, (?), . . 

Jonathan Royce Deborah (?), 

■John Baldwin Hannah, . 



Childreji. 

Priscilla, Samuel, John, Rachel, Anne, 
Daniel, Elizabeth, 

James, Abigail, Elizabeth, Hannah, 
Samuel, Dorothy, 

Rachel, Thomas, Jonathan, Joseph, 
Mary, Nathaniel 



(Elizabeth, Hannah, 

- Bits hue II \ Richard, Joseph, 

( Children. ( Mar}', Mercy, 

Stephen, 



William, 



Ruth 

Sarah, Mary, Simon, 

Thomas, Jonathan, Miriam, Solomon, 
Daniel, Samuel, 



John, Sarah, Susanna, Joseph, 

Elizabeth, Sarah, Mary, Thomas, Do- 
linda, Samuel, 

Sarah 

Margaret, Elizabeth, John, Sarah, . 

John, Elizabeth, Sarah, Hannah, Sam- 
uel, Rethiah, 

John 

Sarah, Mary, Hannah, Mercy, Nehe- 
miah, Lydia, Ann, Mehitable, . 

Mary, Elizabeth, Hannah, 

John, Mary, Deborah, Hannah, . 



John, Hannah, Sarah, 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 5 

First Settlers. VVroes. Children. 

Francis Griswold, .... , .... Sarah, Mary, Hannah 5 

Hugh Calkins, Ann, 2 

John Calkins Sarah, .... Hugh, 3 

(Son of H. C.) 

Robert Wade, Susanna (?), 2 

Thomas Howard, i 

John Pease, i 

143 

The lands of the new township were surveyed, and home lots assigned by 
November, 1659, but it seems hardly probable that the settlers would brintj their 
wives and children, so late in the season, to face the discomforts of the winter in 
Norwich. A rude building may have been hastily put together for shelter, and 
some of the men may have braved the cold and storms, constructing houses for the 
families, who were to arrive in the spring. One building was certainly standing in 
the spring of 1660, as a document of the General Court, dated June 9, 1660, thus 
reads : 

"Not many weeks now past, we are by sufficient information certified, that 
one night at ye New Plantation at Monheage, some Indians, as will appeare, of the 
Narragansetts shot 11 bullets into a house of our English there, in hopes, as they 
boasted, to have slain him whome we have cause to honor, whose safety we cannot 
but take ourselves bound to promote, our Deputy Gov'' Major Mason." 

Another account says that 8 bullets were fired into an English house, 
"wherein 5 Englishmen were asleep." Miss Caulkins thinks this may have been the 
house of Alaj. Alason, which is said to have stood on the site of the Norwich Town 
school-house at the south-east corner of the Green, but there is nothing in the record 
to confirm this supposition. 

We shall probably never know whether the families who were to settle in 
Norwich, all arrived at the same time, or came one b}' one, as fast as homes were 
ready to receive them. It is not probable that the family of Joseph Reynolds, whose 
son Joseph was born in March, 1660, at Saybrook, or that of William Backus, Jun., 
whose eldest son William was born in the following May, arrived before the late 
spring, or early summer of that year. But we know that Samuel Hyde and his wife 



6 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

were domiciled here by August, as their daughter Elizabeth, who came into the 
world in that month, was the first child born in Norwich. 

But whether all together, or in separate parties, the settlers no doubt came by 
water from Saybrook, disembarked at the old Indian landing-place at the Falls, and 
following the Indian trail, later know as Mill Lane (now Lafayette Street), through 
No-man's Acre, along the banks of the Yantic, arrived at the corner, near the spot 
where now stands the new William W. Backus Hospital. Here, sheltered by the 




hills on one side, the meadows and lowlands spreading out to the west and south 
along the river, formed the attractive spot chosen for the new settlement. 

The highway had probably been roughly staked out, and the lands covered 
with rocks, trees and underbrush, must have revealed more of "the Caledonian wild- 
ness," which Mrs. Lydia Huntley Sigourney mentions as a feature of Norwich 
scenery, and less of "the tender softness of the vale of Tempe," than characterizes 
its present aspect. 

Mrs. vSigourney, who was born in Norwich, always writes in glowing terms of 
her early home. In a book published in 1824, entitled "Connecticut Forty Years 
Since," and in other of her works, she gives many pictures of the town, and its inhab- 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWJCIf. 7 

itants. These carry us back about one hundred years, but farther into the past we 
shall have to travel in imaginati(m, for we know of no earlier description of the town 
and people than this. 

One writer, who flourished in the beginning of this century, Macdonald Clarke 
(b. 179S, d. 1S42), called by his contemporaries the "Mad Poet," though not a native 
of the place, has written a little poem about Norwich, two verses of which we will 
quote, as they voice the prevailing sentiment of many a lover of the old town. 

"'Tis the village town, and many a voice, 

And many a gladden'd gaze. 
Have said 'twould be their dearest choice 

Here to spend their fading days. 
For this little white town, 

Half-naveled among the rocky hills, 
In summer's smile, or winter's frown, 

The sweetest spot of memory fills." 

"The wild villages among the Alps 

Are far less lovely to the sight, 
With a green coronet on their scalps, 

Their brows bound with a band of light, 
When sun-down sheds its golden glare 

Across the silent air." 

j\Irs. Sigourney describes Norwich* "as viewed from the eastern acclivity," 
seeming "like a citadel, guarded by parapets of rock, and embosomed in an amphi- 
theatre of hills, whose summits mark the horizon with a waving line of forest green." 
"Its habitations bear tew marks of splendour, but many of them retiring behind the 
shelter of lofty elms, exhibit the appearance of comfort and respectability." " In 
the northern division of Norwich" (the seat of the first settlement), may be found 
"a society remarkable for the preservation of primitive habits." "A more moral 
state of society can scarcely be imagined, than that which existed within the bosom 
of these rocks. Almost it might seem as if their rude summits, pointing in every 
direction, had been commissioned to repel the intrusion of vice." 

Into this moral region, we are now about to enter. But before we walk 
through the town, it would be well to know something of the customs, dress, style of 
houses, and general surroundings of the people, whose acquaintance we are about to 
make. 



*" Connecticut Forty Years Since." 



CHAPTER II. 

THE home-lots of the first settlers were surrounded by high fences, the early 
law requiring that those in front should be "a five rayle or equivalent to it, 
and the general fence a three rayle." Later " a good three rail fence, four feet high, 
or a good hedge or pole fence well staked, four and a half feet high " was allowed. 
These were quite necessary, on account of the free range that the cattle, sheep and 
swine enjoyed, the latter proving a great nuisance, so much so, that ma-ny laws were 
passed, requiring that they be "yoked" or "ringed," even as late as 1757. Two 
pounds were established at the ends of the town, but later, owing to the numerous 
"strays," the number was greatly increased. Every man's cattle had a special ear 
i^ark — one or more slits, variously shaped crosses, holes, &c., to distinguish them as 
they fed in common, or wandered off to distant pastures. After a time, goat-raising 
became a source of profit, and though no laws had then been made for their re- 
straint, who can blame Joseph Tracy for impounding the fifty-four belonging to 
Joseph Backus, which like a devastating army invaded his lands in 1722. 

It is probable that, as in all new settlements, many of the earliest houses of 
Norwich were log-houses ; but the nearness of the New London saw-mill, and the 
fact that the services of experienced carpenters could be procured from there, would 
lead one to believe that those of the " well-to-do " settlers were possibly of better 
finish and construction. The smaller houses of this period were usually of one 
story, or one story and a half, with two rooms, a kitchen, and a large "best " room 
(often utilized as a bed room), upon the first floor, and rude sleeping places in the 
attic above. 

The -larger houses were of two stories, generally square, with a huge central 
chimney, and a long roof, which, extending at the back of the house almost to the 
ground, formed a one story projection called the lean-to in the rear. On the first 



OLD HOUSES OF NOKir/C/f. 9 

floor were oenerally four rooms — the "(ircat Room" or "Company Room," or 
" Keeping- Room " (as it was sometimes called), a large chamber, a kitchen, and a 
pantry or milk-room. On the second floor were chambers, and very often a porch 
chamber, which, according to the early deeds, seems to have been quite a feature of 
the first Norwich houses. Heavy beams crossed the ceiling overhead, ran along the 
sides of the wall, and down the corners, and these in the oldest buildings are rough- 
hewn, often showing the mark of the axe. The doors and window shutters were 
fastened with huge bars of wood, a feature still to be seen in some houses of ancient 
date. 

The kitchen was the principal room, and made a cheerful gathering place for 
the family circle, with its rows of burnished pewter dishes on the dresser, the log 
seats and high settle in the chimney corner, the deep cavernous fire-place, with its 
imposmg array of cranes, kettles, jacks, spits, pot-hooks or trammels, and the fire- 
dogs, on which the burning logs piled up against the huge back-log blazed far up 
mto the chimney. Into one side of the chimney was built the oven, and over 
the fire-place was a high shelf, and there were recesses for books, and closets in 
most unexpected places. Hanging from the ceiling were the family stores of flitches 
of bacon, venison, skins of wild animals, and strings of dried apples, ears of corn and 
pumpkins. The floors were sanded, and before the introduction of glass the small 
windows were of oiled paper. After glass came into use, the panes were at first 
diamond-shaped with lead casings. 

High chests of drawers, huge carved chests, stift' old-fashioned chairs, and 
stools, and high-post bedsteads with hangings, formed the furniture of the other 
rooms. The food was plain. vSamp, pounded maize, hasty puddings (or mush), 
succotash and yokeug, baked beans, bean-porridge and Indian pudding, were staple 
articles of diet. Norwich puddings were of huge size, and as famous among the 
local wits as New London dumplings. 

The open wood-fire was for a long time the only mode of heating. There 
was no way of warming the churches, so that the women carried little foot stoves 
and the men sat with their feet incased in large leather overshoes called "boxes." 
The Franklin stove was not invented until 1741. Though the luigiish cannel coal 
was occasionally used in the early part of this century, the hard anthracite did 



lo OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

not come into general use until after 1820. The daughters of Daniel Lathrop Coit 
used to tell how their hope and faith in this new fuel were shaken, when their 
father brought from the West a lump of anthracite, placed it upon the burning logs 
in the open fire-place, and the assembled household waited long and in vain for the 
flame to appear. The draft not being strong enough, it obstinately refused to kindle. 
As wealth increased toward the middle of the eighteenth century, the style of 
building changed, the gambrel and other roofs replaced tlie lean-to, the beams and 
stairways were often carved, wide halls extended through the house, the rooms 
were heavily wainscoted, carpets were introduced, and deep window seats, and 
larger windows with square panes of glass took the place of the small high windows 
and diamond-shaped panes of the early days. Tall clocks, and more elaborately 
carved chairs, sofas and lounges appeared. Oil portraits, paintings on glass, and 
colored prints adorned the walls. China superseded the earthen and wooden ware, 
and silver began to take the place of pewter. 

Paint came into use on houses toward the middle of the eighteenth century, 
and a cheerful coloring, principally red, but often yellow, blue and white prevailed. 
One inventor}^ mentions a green house. Two colors were often used, one as a trim- 
ming. The almost universal use of white pamt did not appear until toward the mid- 
dle of the nineteenth century. Macdonald Clarke, in alluding to the changes in the 
style of building of this latter period, writes : — • 

" Houses in clusters hang around 

These pleasant hills, like nestling grapes, 
And ripening Taste I've lately found 

Are giving them classic shapes. 
The Corinthian and the Doric styles 

Mi.x'd with the old hum-drum, 
And some of our Grannies often smile 

And say, 'What next '11 come?'" 

For a long time the only way of getting from place to place was by horse- 
back, on saddle or pillion, and rude carts were used for the conveyance of goods. In 
1768, the first stage-coach line was established between Norwich and Providence, 
running weekly, and leaving Lathrop's tavern every Wednesday morning. 

Miss Caulkins relates that Samuel Brown set up the first chaise in Norwich, 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. ii 

and was fined for ridint^- in it to meeting;-. wShe also says that "Col. Simon Lathrop's 
effeminacy in this respect was excused on account of the feeble health of his 
wife." Only six chaises, or gigs (as they are now called), were owned in Nor- 
wich, at the time of the Revolution. "The owners of these six were: ist, Gen. 
Jabez Huntington ; this gig was large, low, square-bodied, and studded with brass 
nails, that had square and flat heads ; it was the first in town that had a top which 
could be thrown back. 2nd, Col. Hezekiah Huntington. 3rd, Dr. Daniel Lathrop ; 
this was regarded as a splendid vehicle ; it had a yellow body, with a red morocco 
top, and a window upon one side. 4th, Dr. Theophilus Rogers. 5th, Elijah Backus, 
Esq. 6th, Nathaniel Backus, Esq., of Chelsea ; this afterwards belonged to Capt. 
Seth Harding." * 

Mrs. Sigourney, in her " Connecticut Forty Years Since," describes this chaise 
of Dr. Daniel Lathrop, when long past its prime : " This equipage (Madame Lath- 
rop's), which moved rather slowly, was a chaise whose form displayed none of the 
light and graceful elegance of modern times. Its heavy body was painted a dun 
yellow, and studded thick at the sides and edges with brass nails. This supported a 
top, whose wide and low dimensions jutted over in so portentous a manner, that had 
a person of the height of six feet essayed to be benefited by its shelter, he must 
have persisted in maintaining that altitude which Dr. Franklin recommended to 
those who would enter his study. Its clumsy footstep, and uncurved shaft was 
so near the ground as greatly to facilitate the exploit of ascending, and likewise 
to diminish the danger of a fall in case of accident. This vehicle, which was of 
venerable antiquity, was the first of its kind which had been seen in the streets of 
Norwich. In those early days, it w^as viewed as a lamentable proof of aristocratic 
pride, particularly as on the back might be traced the semblance of a coat of arms. 
It was drawn by a heavy black steed, who some fifteen years before had been in his 
prmie, and who had as much the habit of stopping at the abodes of poverty as 
Peveril's Black Hastings had of turning towards the window of mourning. In 
summer he was carefully guarded from the depredations of flies by a net made of 
twine, while one of bleached cotton with tassels and balls, exquisitely white, over- 
shadowed his huge frame, when he bore his load on Sundays to the house of God." 



*Miss Caulkins' History of Norwich. 



12 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

The early roads were rough cart-paths, or foot paths, and until about the 
middle of the eighteenth century, there was little attempt to keep them in order. 
In 1794, Dr. Joshua Lathrop, having observed "that Norwich Town Street has many 
sloughs and bad places in it, which I don't see are like to be effectually mended in 
the common mode of highway work," gives $300 to be laid out on the improvement 
of the road, " beginning at the bridge below the widow Reynolds, and so round 
the old street by Benjamin Huntington, Jun., Esq., to the Bridge at the upper end of 
the Town Street." 

The first road to New London was laid out about 1670, under the direction of 
Joshua Raymond, who for his services was granted a large farm on the route, which 
his descendants have recently sold. In 1789, an effort was made to improve this 
road; money was raised by a lottery granted for the purpose, and in 1792, it was 
made the first turnpike road in the United States. The toll-rate was as follows : — 

Four-wheel carriages, 9 d. 

Two-wheel carriages, 4^ d. 

Loaded team, 3d. 

Empty team, 2d. 

Horse-cart, loaded, 2d. 

Horse-cart, empty, id. 

Neat cattle, etc., each, id. 

Pleasure sleigh 3d. 

Loaded sled or sleigh, 2d. 

Empty sled or sleigh, id. 

Man and horse, id. 



CHAPTER III. 

AMONG the early settlers, long- cloaks, hats with broad brims and steeple-crowns, 
and square-toed shoes with enormous buckles were worn by both sexes. 
The men often wore boots with short, broad tops. The doublet was also used by 
both men and women, the former wearing it over a sleeved waistcoat, the sleeves 
often slashed and embroidered. Stiffly starched ruffs, falling bands and deep linen 
collars, gloves with heavily embroidered and fringed g-auntlets, and large breeches 
tied with ribbons above the knee, later coming below the knee and fastened with 
buckles, completed the prevailing costume for men. wSwords were suspended 
from elaborately embroidered belts. Long hair, though much inveighed against, 
remained in fashion until superseded by the wig. Laborers wore knit caps often 
ornamented with a tassel, and leather clothing, though the latter was frequently 
worn by the better sort. 

Lender the pointed stomacher and gown with elbow sleeves, the women wore 
petticoats of woolen, but soinetimes of silk or brocade, and fine, stiffly starched 
aprons. The matrons wore caps, and silk and velvet hoods were much in vogue, 
as well as the riding-hood — a short cape with hood attached. 

In 1676 a law was passed in Connecticut forbidding anyone with an estate 
of less than ^150, to indulge in gold or silver lace, gold buttons, ribbons, bone-lace, 
&c., except the families of public officials, military officers, and those who had been 
reduced from a state of affluence ; but these laws were little regarded, and the 
style of dress became much more costly and elaborate in the eighteenth century. 

In the early part of this latter period wigs were worn, but later the long 
hair was combed back, powdered, and tied into a queue, which was bound with 
black ribbon. The men also wore three-cornered hats, deep, broad-skirted coats, 
sometimes black, but often gay in color, generally of broadcloth, but for full dress, 



14 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

of silk or brocade and trimmed with gold or silver lace ; large, deep-pocketed 
under-waistcoats of holland, dimit}^ grogram, silk or velvet, often richly em- 
broidered ; neck bands, and ruffled or lace-trimmed shirts, with a trimming of the 
same at the wrist ; small clothes ornamented at the knee with buckles ; long stock- 
ings often of silk, and buckled shoes. Long cloaks, sometimes scarlet in color 
(Hopestill Tyler, of Preston, has in his inventory, 1733, an orange-colored cloak), 
and " roquelaures" (long, buttoned surtouts), were also worn. 

The high-heeled, pointed slipper of kid, silk or satin replaced for women the 
square-toed shoe. For out-door wear, clogs, goloshes, and pattens* kept the fair 
wearers out of the mud. Hoops appeared, and over the rich silk or satin under- 
petticoat long trains were worn, which in the street were carried on the arm. 
Ruffles of lace adorned the neck and elbow sleeves. The hair was powdered, and 
brushed high over an under-cushion stuffed with wool, which necessitated for street- 
wear the calash, an immense silken structure ribbed with whalebone, which could 
be pulled and stretched at will over the mountain of hair, and which bobbed and 
swayed with every motion of the wearer. 

Miss Caulkins quotes from a Norwich paper of 1780, a poem ridiculing this 

fashion : 

" Hail, great Calash ! o'erwhelming veil, 
By all-indulgent heaven, 
To sallow nymphs and maidens stale, 
In sportive kindness given." 

" Safe hid beneath thy circling sphere, 
Unseen by mortal eyes, 
The mingled heap of oil and hair 
And wool and powder lies." 

This high head structure, according to the Norwich Packet, made the female 

figure so 

" Heavy above and light below 
She sure must Tops-a-Turvey go, 
Unless she's in proportion." 



* Pattens were formed of iron rings raised on upright supports and holding wooden soles 
fastened to tlie foot by leather straps. One of these curious specimens of foot-wear, belonging 
to a Huntington ancestress, is still preserved by a New London resident. 



Or.D flOUSES OF NORWfCTT. 15 

So hoops were introduced, as the poet goes on to sav : — 

" Invention to complete the whole 
Produced a thing just like a bowl 
And placed it on the hip, sir. 
Which kept them all in equipoise. 
No longer now the sport of boys, 
Nor prone to make a slip, sir " 

Just before the Revolution, turbans of gauze or muslin, adorned with feath- 
ers and ribbons, were worn, and a poem taken from a London paper, and printed 
in the Packet, alludes to this Gallic fashion of " martialized " and " cockatooned " 
heads. At this time great extravagance in dress prevailed. The daughters of 
Gen. Jabez Huntington, Elizabeth, who afterward married Col. John Chester, of 
Wethersfield, and Mary, who became the wife of the Rev. Joseph Strong, were 
sent to a boarding school in Boston, and an outfit of twelve silk gowns was deemed 
sufTficient for the needs of one of the daughters, but the instructress wrote to the 
parents, that another gown of a rich stuff, recently imported, was absolutely 
necessary to complete her wardrobe. 

At the beginning of the Revolution all these rich goods of foreign manu- 
facture were discarded, and long home-made gray woolen stockings, top-boots, and 
garments of home-spun were adopted by the men, and simple gowns of domestic 
manufacture by the women. But this period of simple attire did not last long. 
After the struggle for liberty was over, the silks and satins again appeared, and 
costumes were as costly as ever. The Norwich Packet of 1784 deplores "the 
extravagance of the present day," inveighs against " the broadcloth coats, the silk 
gowns, the powder and feathers, the ruffles and cardinals, the silk stockings, and 
feet trappings, the feasts, the dancing parties, «&c ," and asks "where is that sim- 
plicity of dress and manners, temperance in meats and drinks, which formed the 
virtuous character of our illustrious ancestors ? O the degeneracy of the times ! " 

In 1793, according to the Norwich Weekly Register, to be in the fashion, one 
must have " a head, bonnet and all, as big as the head of a great pin, little tiny 
straw hats, a waist as large as the aforesaid pin, and bent forward in the middle 
at an angle of ijs'', petticoats," &c., as usual, "the whole supported on the tips of 
the toes, and a little stick about three inches long at each heel." 



1 6 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

A youngs Norwich girl, Rebecc a Huntington (b. 1779), daughter of the Hon. 
Benjamin Huntington, and later the wife of William Gedney Tracy, of Whitestown, 
N. Y., writes from New York, in 1797, to her sister Lucy : — 

"I have bought two bands, which are the most fashionable trimmings for 
beaver hats, a white one for the blue hat, and a yellow one for the black one, they 
should be put twice round the crown, & fastened forward in the form of a beau 
knot. Brother has got each of you a pink silk shawl which are very fashionable, 
also many ladies wear them for turbans, made in the manner that you used to make 
muslin ones last summer. George has given me one like them. The fine lace 
cost 10 shillings a yard, & I think it ver}^ handsome, there is enough for two 
handkerchiefs and two double tuckers, the way to make handkerchiefs is to set 
lace or a ruffle on a strait piece of muslin (only pieced m the back to make it set 
to your neck), & put it on so as to show only the rufBe, & make it look as if it 
was set on the neck of your gown, many Ladies trim the neck of their gowns 
with lace, & go without handkerchiefs, but I think it is a neater way to wear them 
with fashionable gowns, it will not be necessary to have much more than half a 
yard in the width of your tuckers."* 

It was customary at this time, in the larger cities, to exhibit the fashions on 
dolls imported for this purpose from Europe, so this young girl dresses a doll in 
the latest style, to send to her sisters in the country. vShe writes : — 

"I send a doll by Brother George, which I intended to have dressed in a 
neater manner but really could not find time. It however has rather a fashionable 
appearance, the cap is made in good form, but you would make one much handsomer 
than I could, the beau knot to Miss Dolly's poultice neck-cloth is rather large but 
the thickness is very moderate. I think a cap, crown and turban would become 
you. I have got a braid of hair which cost four dollars, it should be fastened up 
with a comb (without platting), under your turban if it has a crown, &- over it if 
without a crown. Brother has got some very beautifull sattin muslin & also some 
handsome tartan plad gingham for your gowns, there is a large pattern for two 
train gowns of the muslin, which should be made three breadths wide, two 



♦Copied from the original letter, by permission of the writer's granddaughter, Julia Chester 
Wells, of West 31st Street, N. Y. 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 17 

breadths to reach to the shoulder straps forward, and one breadth to be cut 
])art of the wa}' down before to <yo over the shoulder, and part of it to be 
pleated on to the shoulder straps meeting the back breadths, and some of it to 
go around the neck like the dolls— the pleats should be made pretty small, 
and not stitched to the lining, but you should wear binders over your shoulders, 
an inch and a half should be the width of your binders, (I must have done 
writing this pretty soon, the last sentence if you observe is quite poetical — but 
let me stick to my text Fashion). It is the fashion to have draw strings fastened 
on the corners of the shoulder straps, by the sleeves on the back, and have a tuck 
large enough for them to run in, made to cross on the back, run under the arms an 
inch below the sleeves & tie before. I should advise you to have your gingham 
ones made in that way with draw'd sleeves for sister Hannah, & I have seen as large 
ladies as you with them, & I think they would look very well for you. Sleeves 
should be made half a yard wide, and not draw'd less than seven or eight times, 
I think they look best to have two or three drawings close together, and a plain 
spot alternately. Some of the ladies have their sleeves covered with drawing tucks, 
and have their elbows uncovered. If you dont like short sleeves, you should have 
long ones, with short ones to come down allmost to your elbows drawed four or 
five by the bottom — if you want to walk with long gowns you must draw the 
train up thro' one of the pocket holes. I have bought some callico for chintz 
trimmings for old gowns, if vou have any that you wish to wear short they are 
very fashionable at present & yours that are trimmed with them should be made 
only to touch the ground, there is enough of the dark stripe for one gown, & enough 
of the light for one, there should be enough white left on the dark stripe to turn 
down to prevent its ravelling. I gave 10 shillings for the callico & have been 
laughed at for my foolish bargain but I am not convinced that it is foolish. The 
Williams vStreet merchants ask three shillings a yard for trimmings like the wide 
stripe, & two for the narrow. The kid shoes are of the most fashionable kind, and 
the others of the best quality." 

vShe writes again to her sister: "I am now engaged in making a gown for 
myself which (I rejoice to tell you) Fashion (that tyraness) will permit to swing 
above the dirty puddles and filthy scinque drains." 



1 8 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

The fashions of the early part of the nineteenth century were comparatively 
simple. Mrs. Sigourne}^ says that frocks low in the neck, and with short sleeves 
were worn for both winter and summer. A plain white frock, a broad blue or pink 
sash usually passed over the shoulder, and shoes of the same color was the usual 
costume on gala occasions of the young- girl of that period. The hair was worn 
"full-mane or half-mane " (as Mrs. wSigourney's friend Nancy Maria Hyde had 
christened their style of hair-dressing), the one meaning "the whole mass of tresses 
pendent," the other "a portion confined by the comb, and falling gracefully over it." 
The dress for winter and summer varied very little ; open-work stockings, kid slip- 
pers, a leghorn hat tied down with ribbon, a blue satin pelisse lined with yellow, and 
a white muslin gown being considered ample protection against the Boston east 
winds by a Norwich belle, who was going to that city for a winter's visit. Petti- 
coats were few and scant. No wonder that Rev. Joseph Strong, in one of his 
anniversary sermons, alludes to " the pulmonary complaints," which, in the early 
years of his ministry, formed "an awful besom of destruction." Even the huge 
muffs, now seen occasionally unearthed from ancient attics, and which, in 1786, were 
of such huge size, that the Norwich Packet says " a Hermit's beard bears nothing 
in comparison," might at this period of light attire have proved some protection 
against the keen and piercing winter cold, but even these were frowned upon by 
English fashion writers, as rather "gross and bourgeois." 

Men's coat tails became narrower at this period, powder was no longer used, 
and the hair was combed over the forehead very much in the style of the " dude" 
of later days. Ruffled shirts were still worn and high and full cravats. Blue coats 
with brass buttons were fashionable, and tall beavers appeared. 

Sleighing parties to some half-way tavern, tripe suppers, turtle entertain- 
ments, afternoon tea parties, and dances which began early, and ended usually at 
nine o'clock, (on ver}^ festive occasions at one), and where the simple refreshment 
consisted of fruit, nuts, cake, and wine or cider, were the principal gaieties. Ordi- 
nations were a mild form of dissipation, and the clergy showed their skill in 
mixing the punch, which was a great feature of such occasions. 

Thanksgiving day. Fast day. Election and Training days were the great 
holidays of the year. The Weekly Register of November, 1792, hopes that "the 



OLD HOUSES OF NORVVfCH. 



'9 



savage practice of makino- boniires on the evening of Thanksgiving may be 
exchanged for some other mode of rejoicing, more consistent with the genuine 
spirit of Christianity." Mrs. Daniel Lathrop Coit (b. 1767. d. 184S), used to tell her 
grandchildren of the Guy Fawkes day. observed in Norwich in her childhood. An 
effigy of straw was carried through the streets, and afterward burned, and she 
remembered snatches of the doggerel sung: — 

The rtfUi of November 

You must al\va3-s remember ; 

The Gunpowder Plot 

Must never be forgot. 

Ding ! Dong ! 

The Pope's come to town. 

It is said that in Portsmouth, N. H., November 5th is still observed by 
the boys with bonfires. Miss Caulkins mentions that Washington, in one of his 




army orders, prohibited the soldiers from any demonstrations on Guy Fawkes or 
Pope-day out of deference to our French allies, and that the New London boys, 



20 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

for the same reason, were persuaded during the war to give up their usual 
celebration. 

After the Revolution was over, Pope-day revived again, and the New Lon- 
don authorities then prevailed upon the populace to substitute Sept. 6th, the day 
that Arnold burnt the town, and to burn the traitor in effigy instead of the Pope. 
Patriotic motives may have also influenced the Norwich boys to transfer their 
annual barrel burning to our New England festal day, and long may they keep 
up this custom, peculiar to the town. 



CHAPTER IV. 

GLAvSS distinctions were very marked in the early days of the country. The 
title of Esq. (or "wSquire") was only used by ofificials and persons of dis- 
tinction. Mr. was applied to clergymen, and deputies, and those known to be of 
good English descent. Only a very few were allowed to write after their names 
"gentleman," or "gent" (as it was often written). "Goodman" was the common 
term for yeomen and farmers, and "goodvvife" or "goody" for their wives. 
The office of deacon was highly esteemed, and also the positions of captain, lieu- 
tenant, ensign, and sergeant in the train-bands. The term mistress designated 
usually a young unmarried woman. Miss was not used until about the middle 
of the eighteenth century. 

Though some of the settlers of Norwich were probably of humble origin, 
the greater part evidently belonged to the respectable middle classes of England, 
and some could trace descent from the landed gentry. The civil war and re- 
ligious troubles had probably either diminished or made away with their property 
in many cases. They could bring but few household goods with them, as the 
difficulties of transportation were so great. Money was scarce, even in England, 
whence they came, so we find the great body of settlers, using all ways and 
means to make a fortune. 

The lands must first be cleared, and the houses built. As laborers and ser- 
vants were scarce, everyone must lend a hand. Each village must have its 
blacksmith, its cooper, weaver, shoemaker, carpenter and wheelwright, so in the 
new settlements the skilful mechanic always finds a warm welcome and a pros- 
perous livelihood awaiting him. Those, who have not already learned a trade, 
find it for their interest to do so. Young men were obliged to serve an appren- 



22 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

ticeship, usually of seven years, ere they were considered capable of starting in 
business for themselves. 

The early laws of Connecticut allowed "no person or householder" to 
"spend his time idlely or unprofittably," for the constables were instructed to 
"use speciall care and dilligence to take knowledge of offenders in this kind," 
and to bring them before the courts ; so if we could have looked in upon our 
forefathers in the early days of Norwich, we should have found them laboring to 
fulfil the scriptural injunction of doing with all their might whatever their hands 
found to do. 

Farming operations were often combined with a trade, and those who were 
fortunate enough to possess capital became merchants, and as money was scarce, 
and country produce must often be taken in payment, cargoes of this were 
shipped to foreign lands; and by these "ventures," as they were called, fortunes 
were gradually accumulated. Almost all the prosperous merchants began life as 
captains of merchant ships, and so acquired a knowledge of the needs and re- 
sources of foreign markets. The hat, shoe, and carriage trades were especially 
prosperous, as great numbers of these articles were shipped to the West Indies ; 
so shoe-shops, hat and carriage factories and tanneries abounded. The black- 
smiths carried on a thriving trade in farming tools, and, during the war, in fur- 
nishing muskets and cannon for the army. A former inhabitant, writing of the 
business activity of Norwich, as he remembered it one hundred years ago, com- 
pared the place to a "beehive." The innkeeper was always an important member 
of the community. In early times only well-to-do citizens were licensed to 
keep an inn. 

By the waters of the rapid Yantic and Shetucket, which at first were only 
utilized for the town saw-mill and grist-mill, were soon located, in the eighteenth 
century, fulling-mills, woolen-mills, foundries, oil-tuills, paper mills, cKrc, followed 
in the nineteenth century by other industries, gradually increasing in number and 
size until the present day. 

Now, with this short preamble, let us be prepared not to expect too much 
of our plain, quiet forefathers, as we start to wander through the town which 
they founded two hundred and thirty-five years ago. 




CHAPTER Y 



STARTING from Mill Lane (now Lafayette Street), the first home-lot on the 
left, as we enter the main highway, is that of John Reynolds,* of whose 
antecedents we only know, that he came from that part of vSaybrook, which is now 
Lyme, where he had married shortly before the emigration, Sarah, daughter of 
William Backus, and brought with him to Norwich his wife and four children — 
John, Sarah, Susanna, and Joseph. Four more children were born after his settle- 
ment in Norwich — ^Lary, Elizabeth, Stephen, and Lydia. He was by trade a 
wheelwright, and in his will he calls himself a kinsman of Ensign Thomas Leff- 
ingwell. 

The two following entries of his home-lot will show how the early records 
vary. In the first book, it is described as of four and a cpuirter acres, abutting east 



*Itis possible that John Reynolds may be a descendant of either Robert or John Reynolds, 
early settlers of Watertown, who moved from there to Wethersfield. John Reynolds moved to 
Stamford, and Robert is believed to have returned to Massachusetts. The same names occurring 
in succeeding generations of the Norwich and Stamford Reynolds families may be an indication 
of kinship. 



24 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

on the highway to the Landing Place, abutting north on the highway to the Great 
Plain, west on land of Lt. Thomas Leffingwell, south-east on the way to the Mill, 
with an addition on the south of six acres adjacent to it, abutting south on the land 
of William Hyde, and south-east on the highway to the Mill. 

The second book gives the following record : — Six acres and ten acres of 
first division land, in all sixteen acres of meadow and upland, more or less, abutting 
on the Town vStreet, and the way to the Mill 68 rods, "being a crooked line," 
abutting south on land of Samuel Hyde 52 rods, abutting west on land of Thomas 
Leffingwell 31 rods,* "and the nor-west a crooked line being in length 10 rods," 
then abutting north on the highway T^d rods. The home lot was laid out in 
November, 1659, the first division land in April, 166 1. 

The highway to the Great Plain is the little lane between the Reynolds and 
Bliss properties, which, crossing the river at "the fording place," joins "the Great 
Plain path" near the residence of the late Hezekiah Rudd. This was ordered, in 
1663, to be a pent highway, and so remained as late as 1793. 

The house, and the land on which it stands, is still in possession of descend- 
ants of the first John Reynolds, but the greater part of the land has recently 
been sold by the family of Charles Reynolds (great-great-great-grandson of John 
Reynolds, the first propietor), to the founders of the hospital. The house, the 
framework of which, it is claimed, is the same that was erected by John Reynolds, 
the first proprietor, still retains its huge central chimney, and many old-fashioned 
features, though it has been greatly modernized. When first built, the entrance 
door was on the south, and by this door still stands the old well. The present 
street door opens into a hall, which was formerly a room, where the pillions and 
saddles were kept. This was always known as "the pillion room." 

John, the first-born son of the proprietor, was killed by the Indians, while 
spreading flax "over Showtuckett River" in 1676. The account says that"Josiah 
Rockwell and John Renolls, Jun., were found dead, and thrown down ye River 
bank, theire scalps cutt off." The son of Josiah Rockwell, about thirteen years of 
age, was carried off by the Indians, but soon afterward restored to his friends. 

To his only remaining son, Joseph, John, according to the early custom, deeds 



*This is the "Point" lot now belonging to the W. W. Backus Hospital. 



OLD HOUSES OF NORll'/C/f. 25 

in 1690, the west "halfe" of the house and home-lot, and the other lialf in rever- 
sion on the death of liiniself and wife. In this deed he mentions the pond soutli 
of the house. This was probably the one reeently drained and filled up in the 
laying- out of the hospital grounds. 

Joseph Reynolds marries Sarah, daughter of Richard l-2dgerton. In 1711-12 
he was allowed liberty "to sett the shop, he hath already sett up the frame of, to 
sett the one halfe of sd sh(jp in the street, and so to continue during the towne's 
pleasure." This may have been the old house which formerly stood facing the 
south close to the street, near the present entrance to the hospital grounds. 
In the early 3'ears of the century, this was occupied as a dwelling, and about the 
middle of the century, was moved down the lane to a site back of the Reynolds 
house, where it now remains. It is said to have been used formerly as a shop, but 
no one remembers the date of its erection, and no record of it has been discovered. 

In 17 14, Joseph Reynolds was licensed to keep a house of entertainment, 
and in 1717-18 (his wife having died in 1714), he deeds to his son John, his house 
and home lot, "except reserving" to himself "ye West Room," "ye Lodging- 
Room, with ye Porch chamber" &c , "during my natural life," and then makes 
the wise, (but in this case) unnecessary provision " if I do marry again, and it 
shall please God to remove me by death, and leave my wife surviving that she shall 
have ye free use and benifct of ye west rooms and ye Lodging Room," ike, " dur- 
ing ye time of her living in sd house a widow." 

This son John married in 1720, Lydia Lord, daughter of Captain Richard 
Lord of Lyme, and his wife, Elizabeth Hyde, who was the first chUd born in 
Norwich. This Lydia, Miss Caulkins says, "was an admirable Christian woman, 
surviving her husband more than forty years, and dying in 1786, aged 92." On 
her gravestone is inscribed, " Here lies a lover of Truth." 

John and Lydia Reynolds had eight children, who married prominent in- 
habitants of Norwich, Middletown, and Lyme. Their eldest son, John, while visitmg 
friends on Long Island in 1752, was killed by a ridmg accident, his horse running 
against a tree. His brother Joseph inherited the homedot after the death oi his 
mother. He had married in 1755, Phoebe Lee, daughter of Elisha and Hephzibah 
Lee of Lyme, and had eleven children. He died after a very short illness in 1792, 



26 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

and the house and home-lot came into the possession of the widow and son Elisha, 
who was second mate on the ship Gen. Lincoln. Elisha was lost overboard in a 
gale in 1799, while only three days out of New London. After the widow 
Phoebe's death in 1818, the daughters, Phoebe and Sarah, reside with Capt. Giles 
and Abigail L'Hommedieu, their sister and brother-in-law, who then owned the 
homestead. 

Many years ago an old manuscript record of the Reynolds family was found 
in a Norwich Town attic, which says: "This family name is likely to become extinct 
in this town as there is not any of this name that will probably keep it up. It may 
truly be said of the most of those that descended from the first John, that they 
have been smart, active, sensible men and women for a period of 148 years ; the 
few relatives which now remain will in a short time be off the stage, and the name 
will be forgotten, as there is not at this time, 1808, a man of the name living here." 
This melancholy prophecy is not yet fulfilled, as after the death of Capt. Giles 
L'Hommedieu, the nephews, Henry and Charles Reynolds, entered into possession 
of the property, and the heirs of Henry Reynolds still retain the old homestead. 
An old journal exists, written by Abigail Reynolds (Mrs. Giles L'Homme- 
dieu), which gives such a vivid and interesting picture of a young girl's mind 
and life one hundred years ago, that we venture to give a 
few extracts from it. The spelling is ingenious and char- 
acteristic of those days. 

" I have seated myself down to contemplate on the 
vanity of all human enjoyments, to read the book of Nature, 
and beholde the misteries of Divine Providence. Nature has 
put on its lovelyest charmes, and smiles in all its gayest 
attire, the virder of spring breaths forth ambrosial sweets, 
whence are these flowers but to please our sight, to capti- 
igai eyno s. yate our senses, and to teach us admiration for the power 
who formed them, and to teach us our own frailty, our own dissolution." 

At the age of sixteen, she goes to Lyme to visit her relatives, the Elys 
and the Griswolds. Here, she says, "a youth of brilliant appearance paid his ad- 
dresses to me, and this was the first time in my life, that ever I was accosted 





Joseph Reynolds. 

i 76 6-18-44. 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 27 

with the language of love. I heard the sound, but felt not its imnioti(jns — my 
young and bashful heart was quite eonfused at sueh an interview — words wanted 
utterance, nor could I answer him, only with a blush." 

She writes, that she found him of "a earacter not pleasing to me," but, by 
the advice of friends gave him " admittiance " to vfsit her after her return home. 
"The indifferance with which I treated him, prompted him to retalliate, and his 
visit was delayed after the time appointed. I considered him as beneath my at- 
tention, and resolved to treat him with no more than common civillity. My heart, 
I was sure, was safe from his intrusion. I consider'' him void of that true dignity 
which constitutes a man of honnor. Very unexpectedly he came to visit me. I 
pretended not to know him during the whole evening. I treated him as one 
who had taken lodgings for the knight, — poor youth was obleaged to make him- 
self known, — requested my forgiveness, which I granted, after pointing out the 
impoliteness he had treated me with, and forbad him to visit me more. He rose 
in the morning before the sun, and left us while we war yit in silant repose, 
this manieuvier put our family upon inquiry." 

Another admirer soon appears, " a young lawyer of distinguished beauty," 
whom her brother Joseph met at the South. She is soon displeased that he should 
attempt to make a conquest of her heart "of the affect of flattery." She writes 
"he could not persuade me to think I was more than mortal," and she soon con- 
vinced him that "he carried his compliments to far." After this "he put on 
airs of respect, which I doughted he in reality felt, and took care to believe as 
much as I thought proper." The admirer soon "retired to his father's seat in the 
country," and shortly after this her two sisters "ware anockolated for the small 
pox," and were absent from home for four weeks. " Overjoyed at their returne " 
she "inconsiderately flew to meet them." "But," she writes, "how just was our 
imprudence rewarded." 

In four days after their arrival, she went to Saybrook to visit her relatives, 
and was there "taken sick." "My secret conjectors ware, that I had the small- 
pox, but I dare not make it known, and was willing to put that dismal idea from 
me, as it afflicted my tnind, and added greatly to my bodily distress, — the third 
night after my illness, — My good Mrs. Wood came into my room with a counti- 



28 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

nance which expressed a great tenderness and conscearn. She informed me my 
disorder termmate in the small-pox— she was sure I had every symtom — altho my 
fears ware great, yet theas words struck me like thunder. — The next day, I was 
conveyed to a hospital — everyone in the hous ware intire strangers to me, and it 
resembled the abode of savages more than that of sivilized people. I was taken 
like an infant from the shays, and laid in a low bunck, instead of an ornamental 
dress I was covered with rags. My friend Mary who accompany'' me to this 
dreary place left me to the company of a noisy gang who felt not my distress." 

She had the disease very badly, and writes, "This affliction was subsur- 
viant to my good. While it disfigured my extarnal form, it was a lesson of vir- 
tue to my soul." She returned to her parents "more a child of pity than of 
pleasure." " M}^ appearance shocked every beholder." I had not been home more 
than a fortnait, when Alfaret (this is the name she gives to her last admirer), 
"came to visit me." She says she felt "quite disconscearted at his appearance." 
He stayed three days, gave her "the olTer of his hand " and assured her she "had 
his heart" but she considered "his love but momentary" and "refused to en- 
courage him." 

She then continues : " When he left us, I was blest with an indulgent 
father, but now that loved voice is no more, but a fortnat after his diparture 
Heaven was pleased to bereave «s of that tender parent. But that God of infi- 
nite goodness, who bestows our blessings and preserves our lives has an un- 
doughted right to us, and we must acquiesce in all his dealings. I can never 
forget with what composure he bad adieu to everything mortal. C) what an 
awful scean ! Death how frightful is thy appearance. I have seen but felt its 
terrors, — his illness was from Saturday til Monday noon, when (I trust) all his pains 
ware ended, the lo!''. of December, 1794, it is now two years since this bereaveing 
stroke of Providence, and every sircomstance is still fresh in my memory." 

Then follows a poem on her father's death, and many melancholy reflections, 
which ended with another visit to Saybrook at the Lay's, and also at Ctov. Matthew 
Griswold's. On her return home she became engaged to Giles L'Hommedieu. She 
writes: "In the twenty-second year of my age, on the loth day of May, 1795, ^i*^ 




>• 

(U 

PC 




Of.n HOUSES OF NORWTCn. 29 

T binde myself with the indisolviable tic of marriage to a man of my choice, happy 
hour, never to be forgotten, and I hope never to be repented of." 

After her marriage, she gives the account of two " voiges " taken with her 
husband, who was a sea captain, in 1808-9, to \'irginia, which are extremely interest- 
ing. In one part of her journal, she says : " I have retired to my chamber to 
reflect on the maloncholy situation of the times" and then proceeds to tell of the 
small pox epidemic in Boston, in 1792, which raged for two or three months, 
" when all business was stopped, and a great part of the people left the town, 
and great numbers ware swept away by this shocking disease," of the "pestilence" 
which appeared in Philadelphia the summer following, "to which 'tis supposed one 
third of the inhabitants fell a sacrafice." " Hundreds ware buried in a day. Some 
ware well and dead in the course of a few hours." "Parents denyed children, and 
children denyed parents thair assistance — when once they fell they had none to help, 
the markets ware stopped, and those that ware left almost perished for want of 
food." "Thair was no remedy for some time — almost everything was trved but 
inaffectuas, till they applyed cold water and fresh air, which proved very beneficial 
and releaved many." 

" The next year after this disease broak out in New Haven, but proved not 
so mortal as before, — to prevent its proving so fatal, when they first began to feel 
this disorder, which took them \vith a violent pain in the head, and continual 
puking, the phisions bled them almost to death, to take away the putrifaition 
which made the disease more favourable." 

" For the three last years the ajasient towns have been visited with dis- 
tressing sickness called the canker rash." She also speaks of New York, as 
afflicted, in 1795, with "the same voilent disease which raged first in Philadelphia." 
In this same year she writes : "Connecticut has been at^icted with a severe dearth " 
(the word " drouth " has been commenced, but the spelling uncertain, has been 
partly erased and dearth substituted). " Our fealds, trees and wells have suffered 
from its effects, — from May to February we have been blest with but few small 
showers, — but none sufficiant to reach the springs." All these afflictions we may 
suppose, like the small-pox, were also "subsurviant to good," and so perhaps was 
the influenza which the Norwich Weekly Register alludes to as having "again 



30 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

made its appearance " in Norwich in 1793, "more than half the people being now 
under the operation of it." Abigail L'Hommedieu died in 185 1, and her husband, 
Capt. Giles, in 1859, in the ninety-fourth year of his age, just six days after the 
celebration of the Norwich Bi-Centennial. 




iii 




tmi. 



WA 



4i 




CHAPTER VI. 



JUST beyond the little lane or "highway to Great Plain" lies the home-lot 
of Thomas Bliss, of five and a quarter acres, abutting east on the Town 
street 20 rods, south on the highway to Great Plain 58 rods, west on the river 16 
rods, and north on the land of Stephen Backus 36 rods. This extends from the 
lane to the land of the late Benjamin Huntington. 

Thomas Bliss was the son of Thomas Bliss, who was born in ( )kehampton, 
in the parish of Belstone, C<mnty Devonshire, England, came to Braintree (now 
Quincy), Mass., in 1635, and from thence went to Hartford, where he died in 1650. 
His widow, Margaret, an enterprising, capable woman, went with her other 
children to Springfield, Mass., where her descendants still remain. But the son, 
Thomas, though a homic-lot had been assigned to him at Hartford, moved to 

Saybrook. He married, in 1644, Elizabeth , and came with the first settlers 

to Norwich in 1660. 

His eldest son, Thomas, died in 168 1-2, and the father in 1688, leaving to 
his only surviving son, vSamuel, the house and home lot. This Samuel Bli.ss mar- 



32 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

ried, in 1681, Ann, daughter of John Elderkin. He was a merchant, and among 
the many valuable family papers owned by his great-great-g-reat-grandson, Mr. 
John Bliss, of Brooklyn, L. I., are an account of vSamuel Bliss with Daniel 
Johonnot, "the wine merchant of Boston," from 1704-6, for Rum, leather gloves, 
"hogs fatt," pork, &c., for which Samuel gives country pay, in pork, beeswax, 
" Baiberry wax," beaver skins, otter, mink, and " Deare " skins; another account 
with a Mr. Leaske from 1703-6 in which Samuel Bliss is credited with 14 "bare" 
skins, pork, " rackoon," mink, fox, and beaver skins &c. ; the New London cus- 
tom house clearance of the sloop Ann, in April, 1697, with a cargo of wooden 
ware, earthen ware and powder ; the bill of sale from John Richards and 
Thomas Avery to Samuel Bliss, in 1705, of y^ part of the sloop Love and Ann 
for ^^46, 9 s., I d. ; and another bill of sale dated 1700 from John Chandler of y^ 
part of the "brigantoon" Success, "about 54 tons burthen" for ^^37. In Aug., 

1705, Samuel Bliss ships to Barbadoes in the sloop Love and Ann, Richard 

r 
Ca/der, master, a new water hogshead, 1049 staves, and a horse, "paying frait for 

said horse ten pounds if he lives, and nothing if he dies." 

In 17 18, and again in 1722-3, he is accused of selling liquor to the Indians. 
The fine for this offense was 20 s., one-half to go to the complainant ; and as the 
Indian, Apeanuchsuck, when brought before the justice, and sentenced to pav a fine 
of los., or to be " whipt 10 lashes on ye naked body," accused Samuel Bliss "yt he 
sold him two pots of cider," he obtained the money necessary to pay the fine, and 
doubtless went off rejoicing. Ann, the wife of Samuel Bliss, was disciplined by the 
church in 1724 for "neglecting the ordinances of religion," but was "restored " to 
all the privileges of membership in 1736. Her brother, John Elderkin, who had 
also been "under discipline" was "restored" in i7.?5. 

In 1729, vSamuel Bli.ss deeds to his second son, Samuel Bliss, jun., his house 
and home lot, and dies in 1731. Samuel Bliss, Jun., had married, m 17 15, Sarah 
Packer, probably daughter of John Packer, of Groton, and died in 1763. 

The inventory of the sister of Samuel Bliss. 2nd, Elizabeth, widow of Capt. 
Daniel White, of Middletown, who came back to the homestead after the death of 
her husband in 1726, and died in 1757, is rather interesting as illustrative of the 
dress of that period. 



OLD HOUSriS OF NORWICH. 33 

To cjuote from Miss Caulkins, she hud "j^owns of brown duroy, striped stuff, 
plaid stuff, black silk crape, calico, and blue camlet, a scarlet cloak, a blue cloak, 
satin-fiowered mantle, and furbelow scarf, a woolen petticoat with a calico border, a 
camlet riding' hood, a long silk hood, velvet hood, white hoods trimmed with lace, 
a silk bonnet, 19 caps, a cambrick laced handkerchief, silk do., linen do., 16 handker- 
chiefs in all ; a muslin laced apron, flowered laced apron, green taffety apron, 14 
aprons in all ; a silver ribband, silver girdle and blue girdle, 4 pieces of flowered 
satin, a parcel of crewel, a woman's fan, Turkey worked chairs, a gold necklace, a 
death's head gold ring, a plain gold ring, sett of gold sleeve buttons, gold locket 
silver hair peg, silver cloak clasps, a stone button set in silver, a large silver 
tankard, a silver cup with two handles, do. with one handle, and a large silver 
spoon." 

Samuel Bliss, 2nd, leaves to his son John (b. 17 17), the house and home-lot. 
From this son John, who died in 1809, the property passes to his son John 
(b. 1748-9), who dies unmarried in 1815. John Bliss, 2nd, wills it to his brothers 
Elias and Zephaniah. Elias was a bachelor, but Zephaniah had married in 1794, 
Temperance, daughter of Ebenezer Lord, and grandaughter of the Rev. Benjamin 
Lord. John Bliss, ist, (b. 1717), was distinguished as a bridge builder. A model 
still remains in the possession of his great-grandson and namesake, John Bliss, of 
Brookl)^, L. L, of a bridge built by him, and known as " Geometry Bridge." It is 
thus described in a newspaper article of June 20, 1764: 

" Leffingwell's Bridge over Shetncket River at Norwich Landing is completed. It is 124 
ft. in length, and 28 ft. above the water. Nothing is placed between the abutments, but the 
bridge is supported by Geometry work above, and calculated to bear a weight of 500 tons. The 
work is by Mr. John Bliss, one of the most curious mechanics of the age. The bridge was raised 
in two days, and no one hurt. The former bridge was 28 days in raising." 

This bridge is supposed to have stood on the site of the present Laurel Hill 
bridge. It is said that John Bliss, in early life, desiring to learn the art of paper 
manufacture, journeyed on horseback to Germantown, there sold his horse, and 
travelled on foot to Philadelphia, where was located a large paper factory, in which 
he applied for employment as a common operative; and long after, he was able to 
put the knowledge so gained to practical use in building for Col. Christopher 



34 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 



Leffingwell the first paper mill in Connecticut, in 1766. He also built a chocolate 
mill, and a grist mill for Christopher and Elisha Leffingwell. 

From Elias and Zephaniah, the property passed to George, Sarah, and Lydia, 
children of Zephaniah. After the death of George Bliss, the two sisters occupied 
the homestead for many years, and dying, left it to a nephew, Charles Bliss, who 
sold it, in 1885, to its present owner, Angell vStead. The house has always been 
kept in good repair and though the chimney was rebuilt, has probably been other- 
wise little altered since first erected, and still retains its old lean-to. 




The small, old, gambrel-roofed house, which formerly stood near the lane, 
and which was torn down in 1894, was at one time a stocking factory, and the traces 
of red paint, its original color, and the faint outline of a stocking could still be seen 
upon the door, just before its destruction. The first deed of the building, in which 
it is called " the red shop," is dated 1809, but it is known to have been in existence 
long before that date. 

Now the shops in Norwich were many, and were constantly changing oc- 
cupants, and the advertisements of those in this neighborhood, alwa3's locate them 
indefinitely, "just below the shop of Christopher Leffingwell," or "a few rods 
south of the store of Tracy & Coit." As this " red shop," and another between 
the Sheltering Arms and the house of Mr. William Bliss on the corner, are the 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 35 

only ones we know of, to which this description would apply, we assume that this 
is the shop, in which Louis Barral or (Barrel) carried on his business of stocking 
weaving in 1792, "a few rods south of Trac}' & Coit's store." 

In 1784, Louis "Barrel" advertises that he has just moved into the shop 
lately occupied by vSamuel Leffingwell, and as no advertisement has been found 
between 1784 and 1792 to indicate a removal on the part of Barrel, we may sup- 
pose that Samuel Leffingwell had also been an occupant of this building. Where 
Louis Barrel (or Barral or Bariel) came from, we have not ascertained, but he 
married in 1780, Mary Beckwith, and the births of two children are recorded in 
Norwich, Mary (b. 1782), and Louis (b. 1784). The entries of baptism of Henry 
(1781), and Lucretia (1787), children of Louis and Mary " Baral," are to be found 
in the Christ Church records. In 1785, Louis ''Baral" buys land on Mill Lane 
of Joseph Reynolds, and builds the house, at present occupied by Hunt, the 
florist, and owned by Mrs. Goldsworthy. In the latter part of 1792, intending to 
leave Norwich, he offers his house and shop for sale or to rent, and in 1795, ^^ 
is living in Northampton, Mass. Philip Hyde purchases the house in iSoo, and 
after his death it is sold to David Yeomans in 1826, and in 1846 to Daniel Tree, 
the father of Mrs. Goldsworthy. It is said that Mill Lane was later christened 
Lafayette Street, to commemorate a call that Lafayette made at this house upon 
Louis Barrel, who was a Frenchman. This was possibly in 1785, when the 
General was in America for a short time. 

There is no record of the lease of the shop, but in 1793, William Cox, 
another stocking weaver, moves into Barrel's shop from his former stand " oppo- 
site Col. Leffingwell's Long Row." Miss Caulkins says that both Barrel and Cox 
were foreigners. William and Anna Cox, children of William and Sarah Cox, 
were baptized, in 1780, in Christ Church, Norwich. The marriage probably of 
William Cox, 2nd, to Polly Averill, of Preston, in 1809, is to be found in the 
town records, and the births of two children, Olive (181 1), and Mary Abby 
(1813). The William Cox who in 1837 marries Elizabeth Thompson, John Cox 
who in 1829 marries Mary M. Baker, and George who marries ^laria Merryfield 
in 1854, may also belong to this family. 

This shop is said to have been at one time used as a turning shop by Elias 



36 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

Bliss, and also by the firm of John and Consider Sterry, and Epaphras Porter, as 
the printing office for their paper, " The True Republican." This must have been 
between 1804-7. -^.t the death of John Bliss in 1809, "the red shop" and garden 
became the property of his son William (b. 1766), and the shop was converted 
into a house (dimensions 40 x 13 ft.), which was sold by William to Elias Bliss 
in 1826. George Bliss taught school here in the winter of that year. This old 
building was for many years occupied by the Lowrey family, and at the time of 
its destruction was owned by Angell Stead. 

The north part of the Bliss lot, with a frontage of 5 rods, 17 links, was 
deeded by John Bliss, in 1784, to his son Zephaniah. Shortly before 1783, Zephaniah 
had built a house upon the lot, which, according to a deed in the possession of 
Mr. John Bliss, of Brooklyn, resembled in "modle and dimensions 38 x 29 ft.," 
the house now standing on the west side of North Washington Street, just below 
the corner of Lafayette Street, and now occupied by Thomas Moran, except that 
the Zephaniah Bliss house had a lean-to in the rear. Zephaniah Bliss was not mar- 
ried until 1794, so probably did not occupy the house, but Jackson Browne, an 
Englishman, was living here in 1801, when it was burnt to the ground, and his 
little daughter, Sophia, about seven years of age, perished in the flames. The 
Browne family moved to the Teel House on the Parade (now the Park Church 
parsonage, but formerly well known as the residence of Gen. William Williams). 
Mr. Browne went later to Barbadoes, where he died in 1804. Mr. Charles Miner 
thus alludes to the Brownes* in his recollections of Norwich. " Note that dashing 
gentleman and lady on the fine pair of blacks. They have a foreign air. It is 
Jackson Browne, supposed to be an agent of the British Commissary Department. 
They do not stop to have a gate opened, but bound over it as if in pursuit of a 
fox." 

In 1828, the Bliss heirs sold this land to Mrs. Hannah Lathrop, widow of 
Thomas Lathrop, who built the house now standing on the lot. The Bliss family 



* Children of Jackson and Eliza Browne: 
Louisa, ■] 

jicks^o'n, j- ^^'^P^-' ^S°^' ^" ^^"^^ Church. 

Thomas Sanford, J 

Sophia — Perished in the burning of the house in 1801, aged 7. 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 



37 



made many acquisitions of land, and perhaps the spirit which animated Samuel 
Bliss, 2nd, to retard the buildini^ of the wSecond Church, in 1760, by his determi- 
nation " not to sell an inch " of his adjoining land, has descended from generation 
to generation, for the heirs still retain a large portion of their early grants. 





CHAPTER VII. 



JUST across the street from the Bliss home-lot, was that of Lieut. Thomas 
Leffingvvell, with a frontage of 6i rods on the main road, and of 25 rods 
on the highway leading into the woods (now the road by the Sheltering Arms). 
It was first recorded as six acres, more or less, abutting west on the high- 
way to the Landing Place, north on the highway into the woods, east " on the top 
of the ledge of rocks," with an addition of 18 acres of "plow" and rocky land 
adjacent, abutting south and west on the land of Christopher Huntington, and 
south-east on the brook. 

In the second record, the points of the compass have changed, the ledge 
has moved to the north, and with the Christopher Huntington land on the south, 
has become the property of Joseph Bushnell. This record gives the property 
as "12 acres, — abutting north on the land of Joseph Bushnell 17 rods, abutting 
west on the highway 86 rods, abutting south-east on the land of Joseph Bushnell 
20 rods, abutting east on his own pasture land, with 10 acres of pasture land, 
abutting west on his home-lot, and land of Joseph Bushnell, east on the Rocks, 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 39 

and northerly to a point." These measurements brins^ the north line of the lot 
beyond the old Samuel Lcffingwell barn, which stood, until within a few months, 
north of the house of Thomas Gilroy. 

This is the Thomas Leffingwell, who, about the year 1645, when Uncas 
was besieged by the Narragansetts at his fort on Shantok Point, nearly opposite 
Poquetanock, and reduced to a starving condition, "loaded a canoe with beef, 
corn, and pease, and under cover of the night paddled from Saybrook into the 
Thames, and had the address to get the whole into the fort." At the dawn of 
day. Miss (^aulkins says, "the Mohegans elevated a large piece of beef on a pole," 
to show their enemies the relief they had obtained. When the Narragansetts 
learned that the English had come to the assistance of Uncas, they abandoned 
the siege. Trumbull says, " For this service, Uncas gave said Leffingwell a deed 
of great part, if not the whole town of Norwich." 

There is, however, no record of such a deed, but in 1667, Leffingwell, 
petitioning the General Court to confirm to him some land offered by Uncas in 
return for this great service, received 200 acres on the east side of the Shetucket 
river. 

At the time of Thomas Leffingwell's arrival in Norwich, he was in the 
prime of life, about 37 or 38 years of age. According to a family tradition, cited 
by Miss Caulkins, he came to America from Croxhall, County Yorkshire, England, 
when 14 years old, but returned to England at the age of 21, and married Mary 
White. He then came back to America, bringing with him a younger brother, 
Stephen, 15 years of age. The births of four sons, Thomas, Jonathan, Joseph and 
Nathaniel, and of two daughters, Rachel and Mary, are recorded at Saybrook. 
Another son, wSamuel, was probably born in Norwich, though his birth was not 
registered. It is possible that Jonathan and Joseph died before the family moved 
to Norwich, as there is no further trace of them. Rachel married Robert Parke, 
and Mary became the wife of Joseph Bushnell. 

Lt. Lefifingwell took a leading part in the new settlement, was frequently 
chosen townsman, and was one of the first deputies to the General Court, which 
office he held for many years. He also served in the Courts of Commission, was 
chosen ensign of the train-band in 1672, rendered important service in the Indian 



40 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

wars, and in 1680 received his commission as lieutenant. He had many grants, 
and made many purchases of land, and became a wealthy man for those days ; 
but all these lands he divided among- his heirs before his death. Miss Caulkins 
thinks this occurred about 17 10, but in September, 17 14,* Thomas Leffingwell 
"(yeoman)" "in ye consideration of my comfortable maintainence Dureing my 
naturall life, ... by my grandson Samuel Leffingwell " deeds him "all my home-lot 
that is not disposed of before ye date hereof, with ye Buildings upon it," &c., &c. ; 
and Richard Bushnell testifies that "ye subscriber, Thomas Leffingwell personally 
appeared, and acknowledged the above written instrument to be his own voluntary 
act and deed before me." At this time, Lt. Leffingwell must have been about 
92 years of age. 

The grandson Samuel (b. 1691) was the son of Lt. Leffingvvell's son Samuel, 
who had married in 1687, Ann Dickinson. The mother and father both died in 
1691, probably leaving the child to the care of the grandparents, and he grew up 
to be the support and comfort of their old age. He married in 1725, Judith, 
daughter of Christopher Huntington, 2nd, and lived in the old homestead until 
1 73 1-2, when he bought two farms on Plain Hills, of Thomas Bingham and Samuel 
Griswold, and sold his house and home-lot to his brother-in-law, Hezekiah Hunt- 
ington. The deed reads, " bounded, beginning at the west corner by the Town 
Street, from thence running east as the fence stands (abutting north on the street 
or highway), to the slaughter-house." A later deed of this same property gives 
this highway frontage as 3^ rods, which would locate the slaughter-house just 
below the Sheltering Arms, and unpleasantly near the Leffingwell mansion. 

Col. Hezekiah Huntington, son of Christopher Huntington, 2nd, was the 
third proprietor of this house. He was born in Norwich, 1696, and married (i) 1719, 
Hannah Frink, whom we believe to be a daughter of Samuel and Hannah (Miner) 
Frink of Stonington, Ct. She died in 1746, and he married (2) 174S-9, Dorothy 
(Paine) Williams, daughter of Nathaniel and Dorothy (Ransford) Paine and widow 
of John Williams of Bristol, R. \. 

In 1737, Hezekiah Huntington was appointed deacon of the First Church, 



*Lt. Leffingwell must have died shortly after, as in Jan., 1714-15, Thomas Leffingwell, 
2nd, signs his name without the Junior. 




Old Indian Burying-ground at Mohegan. 




Site of Shantok Fort. 

LThese photographs are contributed by Charles E. Bkiggs, of Norwich, Conn., who, after many explorations of 
the river shore in search of Indian relics, has decided that this is the only spot, which, in its natural features its 
steep, easily defended .sides, the spring by the bank, and the remains of stone-work, answers to the description of 'the 
old fort of Uncas. It lies near the Mohegan Station, north of the old burying-ground, and nearly opposite Poquetanock ] 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 41 

and in 1746, he had a slight "difference" with his pastor, which was happily 
"accomodated." This "difference" was not explained, but it may have had some 
connection with the later accusation brought against him by Dr. Benjamin Wheat, 
of sympathizing with the seceding vSeparatists, and allowing them to hold a meet- 
ing at his house. This accusation was afterward retracted by Dr. Wheat, who 
confessed that it was instigated "by a lack of brotherly love." 

In 1 761, Col. Huntington was connected with John Ledyard of Hartford, 
William Williams, Col. Eleazer Fitch, and Jonathan Trumbull of Lebanon, in a con- 
tract to furnish supplies to the colonial army. He was prominent in all town affairs, 
and the early Revolutionary movements ; was a deputy to the General Court for 
many years; and in 1739 was appointed lieut. -colonel of the Third Regiment. He 
was also a Judge of Probate and of the County Court ; and, while engaged in his 
official duties, died suddenly at New London in 1773, and was buried in the Norwich 
Town burying-ground, where, on his grave-stone may be read, " His piety, affability, 
prayers and example, wisdom, and experience endeared him to his friends and 
the State ;" and to this is added, — 

"And all Judah and ye Inhabitants of Jerusalem 
Did him Honour at his Death." 

His widow Dorothy died in 1774 in her sixty-seventh year, after a short illness, 
"having labored under bodily infirmities for many years." 

Eight daughters and four sons were born to Hezekiah, but one by one the 
children, and many of his grandchildren passed away; and at his death in 1773^ 
his grandson, Hezekiah Williams, son of his datighter Eunice, inherited the house. 
This grandson (b. 1762), died in 1790, leaving a widow Dorothy and a young son, 
Hezekiah, who died in 1815 aged 25, and Hinman mentions this coincidence, 
related to him by Nathaniel Shipman, that Col. Samuel Coit and Col. Hezekiah 
Huntington were both colonels of militia, and Judges of the County Court at the 
same time. Nine children of each family arrived at maturity. In 1835, all that 
remained of the blood of Col. Hezekiah Huntington was contained in the veins 
of five children of the Hon. Frederick Wolcott of Litchfield, while Col. Coit's 
descendants numbered over five hundred. 



42 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

During the minority of Hezekiah Williams, the house was rented, and Miss 
Caulkins says that Capt. William Hubbard occupied it for many years. 

William Hubbard (b. 1740), was the son of Daniel Hubbard of New Lon- 
don, and Martha Coit, daughter of John and Mehetabel (Chandler) Coit. Daniel 
Hubbard (b. 1706), was the son of Rev. John and Mabel (Russell) Hubbard of 
Jamaica, L. I., and descended from a long line of distinguished ancestors. His 
great-grandfather. Rev. William Hubbard of Ipswich, w^as the historian of the 
Indian wars. Daniel Hubbard graduated at Yale in 1727, was for a while a 
tutor of the college, then settled at New London as a lawyer, and became High 
Sheriff of New London county. He celebrated his appointment to this office, by 
opening his house for the reception of guests at an evening entertainment, July 
28, 1735. He was "of upright and honored life, religious and poetic." 

The following letter addressed to 

M^ Jhon Coit 
att 

N — London. 

will show how his wooing was conducted 164 years ago : 

" Honoured Sir «& Mad'", J blush & tremble on my knees while J study 
how to approach your Presence, to ask of you a Blessing for which J have long 
address'd y'' vSkies. From my first Acquaintance at your House I have wish'd my 
Happiness thence ; nor have I yet found it in my Power to seek it from an Other. 
My careful Thoughts with ceaseless Ardors commend y Affair to that Being, who 
alone inspires a pure & refined Love. The Eye- Lids of y" Morning discover me 
in my secret Places, with my first Devotions solliciting y^ dear important Cause ; 
and y Evening-vShades are conscious to y'' Vows J make for y f'' Creature, who 
next to Heaven holds the Empire of my Heart. And now while I write J pray 
y*^ great Master of vSouls to incline yours to favour my Address. By y Love of 
God J beseech you— Ye happy Parents of my Partner Soul— but J forbare till J 
may be honoured with y'' Oppertunity of a personal Application. In y" mean time 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 43 

J consecrate my best wishes To y" Interest of y"" Family — & with y higliest Re- 
spect subscribe my vSelf, JSir and Madam, y"" most devoted most humble Servan' 

D. HURHARl) 

Stonington, Decem'"' 1730"* 

"The partner soul" and her parents were not unmoved by these ardent 
protestations of love, and Daniel and Martha were married in August, 1731. After 
the death of Daniel, the widow married in 1744, Thomas Greene, son of Nathaniel 
and Ann (Gould) Greene of Boston, Mass., whose first wife was Elizabeth, daughter 
of John Gardiner of Gardiner's Island. A portrait of the fair Martha, and one of her 
second husband, Thomas Greene, painted by Copley, are in the possession of their 
great-grandson, Rev. David Greene Haskins, D. D., of Cambridge, Mass. 

Capt. William Hubbard married in 1764 his first cousin, Lydia, daughter of 
Capt. Joseph and Lydia (Lathrop) Coit, then of New London, but later residents 
of Norwich. In 1773, he was established in business in Norwich as a member of 
the firm of Hubbards & Greene. Their store was in that part of Norwich, then 
known as Chelsea or the Landing. In the early part of his residence in Norwich, 
Capt. Hubbard occupied the Benedict Arnold house, but in 1776, he had moved 
to the Hezekiah Huntington house, and advertises in February of that year to sell 
at this house a variety of articles, window glass, nail rods, coffee, sugar, brandy, &c. 
In September of that year, he advertises again at his Landing Store. In 1777, 
he calls upon "the humane and benevolent farmers" to furnish him with "a part 
of that bounty Heaven has blessed them with," "that he may have it in his power 
to sell to those who stand in greatest need." 

In November, 1778, Lydia, his wife, died of consumption, having, as her 
father, Joseph Coit, writes in his diary, " been in a decline 5 months and a half. 
Most remarkable was her faith, patience and Resignation, even from the first to 
the last — a day or two before her death, I asked her if she had no scruples that 
she was deceived, and after a short pause, she answered, not the least, for, said 
she, — I know whom I have believed I have the witness in inyself and ye spirit 
of God witnesseth with my spirit that I am a child of God." 

The Norwich Packet says: " Few of her sex were more esteemed or 



* From N. E. Historical and Genealogical Register of October, 189.}. 



44 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

engaging. An enemy to all forbidding moroseness, both of temper and conduct ; 
she in life exemplified the fact that cheerfulness and piety are not incompatible." 

William Hubbard married (2) about 1779, Joanna Perkins, daughter of 
James and Joanna (Mascarene) Perkins of Boston, Mass. Joanna was of Huguenot 
descent. Her great-grandfather, Jean Mascarene, a councilor of France, and of a 
distinguished Languedoc family, imprisoned and finally exiled from France for 
his devotion to the Protestant faith, wrote, while in prison : " Although my religion 
passes for a crime, and I well know that but for my religion I should not be in 
my present position, I make bold to justify this so called crime, and choose rather 
to be the criminal I am, than to recover all I have lost." He lived for ten years 
in exile, and died in 1698, aged thirty-eight years. His son, Jean Paul Mascarene, 
the grandfather of Joanna Hubbard, fled from France to England, there entered 
the army, rose to high rank, and was appointed governor and commander-in-chief 
of the province of Nova Scotia, which office he held from 1740 to 1749. He then 
retired to Boston, where he died in 1760, aged seventy-five. 

In 1784, the firm of Hubbards and Greene dissolved partnership, and shortly 
after William Hubbard moved to Boston. In 1788, his wife Joanna died, and in 
1789, his eldest son William, and another son aged nine years, the child of his 
second wife; and in 1790 he was again afflicted in the death of his daughter 
Lydia, wife of Thomas Lathrop, and of another son, Joseph, aged twenty years. 
The marble slab inserted in the tomb-stone of the Hubbard family in the Nor- 
wich Town burying-ground, having been within the last year removed, and 
destroyed, we will give the inscription entire : 

"Tomb of Lydia Hubbard, daughter of Joseph & Lydia Coit, 
& wife of William Hubbard, who died Nov. 2, 1778, aged 37 years, 
also the remains of four children of William & Lydia Hubbard, 
Lydia Lathrop, wife of Thomas Lathrop, who died Dec. 26, 1790, 
aged 25, William who died vSept. 10, 1789, aged 22, Joseph who died 
May 25, 1790, aged 20, Lucretia who died Oct. 14, 1775, aged 5. 

" Each humane virtue their mild eyes exprest, 
And a young heaven was opened in their breasts; 
In the last hour their triumph shone complete, 
And death disarm'd sat smiling at their feet. 
And now, thou faithful stone, proclaim aloud, 
A Christian is the noblest work of God." 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 45 

William Hubbard died in Colchester, Ct., in 1801, ag^ed 61 years. During- 
his residence in Norwich, he was most active in all benevolent enterprises, and 
gave largely to public improvements, notably the widening and beautifying of 
Crescent vStreet, and the old cross highway. 

At the beginning of the Revolution many Boston citizens sought a quiet 
refuge in Norwich, among others, Dea. William Phillips, who, it is said, arrived 
in a coach with outriders, and lived for a while in the Benedict Arnold house. 
Rev. Joseph Howe of the New South Church, the family of Josiah Quincy, and 
some of the Greenes also came to Norwich, the latter residing with Capt. William 
Hubbard during their stay in town. It is said that when the Greenes returned 
to Boston, that Zachary, an Indian runner, carried their little daughter in a basket, 
fastened by a leather strap bound around his head. 

Two of the daughters of Hezekiah Huntington, Eunice and Lucy, married, 
the former John Williams in 1757, the latter Samuel Williams in 1741, possibly 
relatives or sons of the widow Dorothy Williams, Col. Hezekiah's second wife. 
John Williams, the husband of Eunice, was lost at sea in 1764, and his wife, 
Eunice, died in 1766, leaving two children, John (b. 1760), and Hezekiah (b. 1762). 
To Hezekiah, his namesake, Col. Hezekiah wills the house, and the two young- 
men possibly live here while in business together in 1786. The shop, which they 
advertise as a few rods south of Col. Christopher Leffingwell's, may possibly be 
the one between their grandfather's house, and the house now known as the 
" Sheltering Arms," for one formerly stood there, though we have not yet given 
its history. Hezekiah later moved to the Landing. 

John Williams. 2nd, died in 1787. In his will, he leaves a bequest to his 
cousin, Dorothy Leonard (b. 1764), daughter of the Rev. Abiel and Dorothy 
(Huntington) Leonard, to whom he seems to have been attached. Very shortly 
after his death, in 1789, Dorothy marries his brother Hezekiah. 

In 1790, Daniel Lathrop moves for a time into the shop formerly occupied 
by Hezekiah Williams. It may be, that into the former Hezekiah Huntington 
house John Sterry moved his book shop from the Landing in 1793, and possibly 
he remained here until he purchased the Jabez Aver}" house in 1806. In 1797, he 
seems to have been associated in business with Nathaniel Patten. In 1806, the 



46 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

widow Dorothy Williams, as guardian to her young son Hezekiah, sells this house 
to Joseph vStrong, son of the Rev. Joseph and Mary (Huntington) Strong, who 
lived here for many years, and it is still called by old residents, " the Strong 
house." Since the death of Joseph Strong, it has been bought and sold many 
times, and is now owned by William H. Bliss. 

About 1738, Hezekiah Huutington set out two elm trees in front of the 
house, which flourished for seventy years, then met with a melancholy fate, accord- 
ing to the journal of Abigail Reynolds, from which we will quote a little, for the 
benefit of those who are interested in meteorological matters. 

" 28. June, 1808, we experienced a violent tornado in Connecticut, it came 
up on a sudden about three in the afternoon, & Blew for several minutes very 
violent, attended with thunder, lightning, & rain in torrents, in New London one 
boy killed while at school, i man in Lyme, one Girl in Stoonningtown with lightning 
— the wind was much more severe in Norwich, Preston, & Lisbon. 2 large elm 
trees which had stood seventy years ware blown up by the roots in front of Mr. 
Joseph Strongs house, many fruit trees ware blown down, but in Lisbon whole 
forrests ware laid flat, some of 100 acres, some of less, whole orchards ware blown 
down, with many barnes, in Preston 19 barnes of i mile & half distance ware 
blown down, but I do not hear of much dammage among the shipping." 

"2 weeks previous to the tornado 15 June we experienced a severe hail 
storm which cut down whole fields of grain, gardens, & swept everything before 
it. Several days after the hails measured three inches in circumference." 

''In the year 1806, June 6, at 11 in the Morn, the sun was eclipsed in some 
places total which made it dark to lite a candle for a few moments to say half 
an hour." 

The question naturally arises, as to whether any part of the framework of 
the original Leffingwell house still exits in the present structure standing on the lot. 
Mrs. Henry Butts, who occupied the house about twenty-five years ago, relates that 
when alterations were made in the interior, an old beam was uncovered, bearing a 
date, which unfortunately she failed to write down, but figured at the time that the 
house must then have been 175 years old, which would bring its present age to 200 
years, and this would carry it back to the lifetime of Lt. Thomas Leffingwell. 



; ■ |K3SSl«tfI!*?%a«BW!raSRa»-.-Ki-»' 









CHAPTER VIIL 



IN the first survey of town highways, this road on the nortli of the Leffingwell 
lot, is described as "a highway turning out toward Wequanock by Thomas 
Leffingwell's the younger, att his house two rodds wide, att the house of Joseph 
Bushnell 5 rodds wide, between the lotts of sd Bushnell & the lott of Ensign 
Thomas Leffingwell in the narrowest place 4 rodds wide, from thence to the 
norwest corner of sd Leffingwells lot, from sd corner to Capt Bushnells lott 6 
rodds 6 foot wide, from thence to the house that formerly belonged to vSamuel 
Rood, and there to be 3 rodds wide, from thence to the common that is between 
the pastures to be 3 rodds wide." This is later known as the Centre Hill road, 
and more recently as the old Canterbury road. 

In 1728, Samuel Leffingwell, 2nd, sells to Thomas Leffingwell, 3rd, "one 
and a half acres of my home-lot, with part of hill adjoining at the east end, be- 
ginning at the north-west corner of my home-lot, and abutting on the highway 
and Benajah Leffingwell's slaughter house and yard 9 rods, 6 ft, to the south-east 
corner of the slaughter house, then abutting south on Samuel Leffingwell's land 



48 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

36 rods," &c., &c. Thomas Leffingwell, 3rd, gives this land, both by deed and 
will, to his son Thomas Leffingwell, 4th, in 1733, and the latter buys in 1737-8 
"the slaughter house," and land on which it stands, of Benajah Leffingwell, who 
had inherited it from his father, Ensign Thomas. Some time after 1733, but at 
what date we cannot tell, Thomas Leffingwell, 4th, built the house, (now the 
" vSheltering Arms"), and a shop, which stood on the south part of the lot, on the 
probable site of the old slaughter house. It is impossible to tell all the occupants 
of this house from the time of its erection, as there is no deed referring to it 
until 1783, when it is given to Thomas Leffingwell, 5th, by his father, and then 
passes by inheritance successively, to Lydia, (wife of Rev. Levi Hart), in 1814 ; in 
1820 to Elizabeth, widow of Peabody Clement, and in 1834, the Bliss heirs (Eliz- 
abeth Clement, daughter of Peabody C, has married Charles Bliss) quit-claim to 
Mary Ann Clement (the sister of Elizabeth Bliss), who in 1836 marries Gilbert 
Huntington. Mrs. Gilbert Huntington sells the house in 1865 to Miss Eliza P. 
Perkins, who sells it in 1878 to the Society of United Workers. Since that time 
the house has well fulfilled for the sick and the suffering, the mission that its 
name, the "Sheltering Arms," implies. 

Miss Caulkins says in her history, that Jabez Perkins at one time occupied 
a house on this road. It may have been that this was the house, as his wife was 
a niece of Thomas Leffingwell, 4th. If Miss Caulkins' statement is correct, he 
must have lived here prior to 1758, but no record of his occupancy has been 
found. We have reason to believe that Capt. Joseph Coit, on his arrival from 
New London in 1775, lived here for a time. His payments of rent were made to 
Martin Leffingwell, son of Thomas, and it is possible that the house was con- 
sidered as Martin's property, though not formally deeded to him by his father. 
Martin died in 1781, and Andrew in 1782. In 1783, Thomas Leffingwell, 4th, 
deeds the property, consisting of house and shop, to his only remaining son, 
Thomas, Leffingwell, 5th. The house was then occupied by a Mrs. Cary. Peabody 
Clement came here to live shortly before his death, which occurred in 1820. To 
Peabody Clement, the town is indebted for the beautiful enclosed elm at the 
foot of Washington Street, which he planted in his twenty-first year. He was 
born in 1746, which would make the age of the elm at this date, about 128 years. 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 



49 



The shop, which stood quite near the house of William Bliss, may be the one 
which was tenanted in 1786 by Hezekiah and fohn \Villiams, and on their re- 
moval, by Daniel Lathrop, for a short time in 1790. In April, 1791, Lester & 
Hazen, cabinet makers, may have established their business here, a " few rods below 
the store of Tracy & Coit." The partnership is dissolved in 1792, and Timothy 
Lester carries on the business alone until X796, when he moves to the Greenleaf 
house. This shop was moved from here about 1865. 

Next above the "Sheltering Arms," lies the land, given by Lt. Thomas 
Leffingwell to his son Ensign Thomas, and by the Ensign to his son Thomas, and 
at the death of the latter in 173;^, it passes to his son .Samuel. 

This Samuel LefSngvvell (b. 1722), probably lived for a time with his 
widowed mother, in the homestead across the street. In the will of Lydia Lef- 
fingwell, widow of Dea- 
con Thomas, made in 
1737-S, though not pro- 
bated until 1763, she 
leaves to Samuel, "nails, 
boards &c preparatory 
for building." It is pos- 
sible that these materials 
were designed for the 
new house, which was 
built upon this lot, just 
north of the " Sheltering 
Arms," either shortly 

after the making of this will, or perhaps about the time of Samuel's marriage in 
1744. We know certainly, that the old house, across the way, had disappeared, 
and this new one was built, before 1759. 

The first wife of Samuel Lefifingwell was Hannah, daughter of Daniel and 
Elizabeth (Perkins) Buck of Southington, Ct. She died in 1761, and he married 

(2) Sarah, daughter of Joseph and .Sarah (Paine) Russell of Bristol, R. I., and 

(3) Abigail, daughter of Jonathan and Mary (Chester) Burnham of Glastonbury, 







50 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

Ct. He had eleven children, who all died young, except Daniel (b. 1752), who 
married in 1772, Elizabeth, daughter of Col John Whiting, and died in 1776. 

Daniel Leffingwell left three daughters, Hannah, who married Peleg Tracy, 
Betsey, who became the wife of Joseph Chapman, and Sarah Russell Leffingwell, 
who married in 1798 Judge John Hyde, son of Ezekiel and Rachel (Tracy) Hyde. 
Judge Hyde was for many years a citizen of prominence at Norwich Town, as 
a lawyer, justice of the peace, postmaster, and judge of probate. Miss Caulkins 
says of him " he is remembered also as a school teacher — a friend of the young, 
and an enemy to all oppression." He died in 184S, aged seventy-four. Samuel 
Leffingwell died in 1797. The house has become so identified with the Hyde family, 
who occupied it for many years, that it is always mentioned even at this late 
day as "the Hyde house." Abigail Hyde (b. 1800), a daughter of Judge John 
and Sarah (Leffingwell) Hyde, married, 1822, Henry Harland, and her heirs still 
own their great-grandfather's house, which, little altered since its first erection, is 
now occupied by the House family. 

On Wednesday, Oct. 12, 1774, the family of Capt. Samuel Leffingwell were 
greatly excited over the advent of a burglar to their quiet household. A tank- 
ard marked M. C, a silver can marked S. tt. R. and several spoons were missing. 
A rather suspicious looking individual, dressed in a blue coat and yellow breeches, 
with thick, bushy, light brown hair, appeared at the house the day before, and 
when it was learned, that the same person had delivered a watch to a Norwich 
jeweller, from which the maker's name had been erased, and wished the name of 
Joseph Greenhill substituted, and also attempted to sell some melted bullion, 
efforts were made to arrest him. A reward was offered and on Oct. 20th, he was 
found at Pawtucket, and committed to "goal;" but alas! the old silver heirlooms 
were already melted into bars. It was discovered that he was an old offender, 
and bore the mark of amputation on his ears, which may have accounted for the 
bushy nature of his hair. He was sentenced to Newgate prison, Simsbury, for 
ten years. Capt. Samuel Leffingwell was one of the committee appointed in 17 86 
to arrange for the division of the town. He received his captain's commission in 
1758, was first selectman in 1774, and was one of the committee appointed by the 
town to see to the enforcement of the non-importation agreement. 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 



SI 



The small house, now occupied by Thomas Gilroy, just beyond the Samuel 
Leffingwell house, is said to have been an old building, which was moved here 
long- ago, but its early history is unknown. It was standing here in the year 
iSoo. It is said to have been used as an office at one time by Judge Hyde. 
Rufus Darby occupied it as a dwelling in the early part of this century. It is 











,^^^ ' ^ '■■■;■;'... 




possible that this may have been the building which Daniel Leffingwell used as 
a stocking manufactory in 1776. After Daniel's death, his father carried on the 
business. The advertisement reads : — 

" At Samuel Leffingwell's Esq ; Stocking Manufactory are 
now taken in, 
Silk, Thread, Cotton and Worsted, to make into Stockings, Breeches-Patterns, 
and all Fashions of Mitts, and Gloves, by the celebrated workman William Cox, 
heretofore so well known and approved of, as an excellent workman at Christo- 
pher Leffingwell's, Esq ; Stocking Shop : The said noted William Cox is now 
engaged as a Foreman to Samuel Leffingwell's, Esq ; Stocking Manufactory, at 
his house in Norwich," &c., &c. 

"Norwich, Dec. 28, T778." 



We have reason to think that wSamuel Leffingwell may have afterward 



52 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

moved to the shop on the main road (known recently as the Lowrey house), where 
Louis Barrel was later located. 

After passing the site of the Samuel Leffingwell barn, which has recently 
been torn down, we come to a highway, turning off from the main road, toward 
the woods. This is the continuation of the old Indian trail, leading over the hill 
to the ford at the Shetucket. It is described in the old highway survey, as " a 
highway turning up into the woods by Joseph Bushnells, between sd Bushnells 
lot and Ensign Thomas Leffingwells lot fourteen rodds to the brook, and from 
thence to be four rodds in width till it be past all the pastures." On the right 
hand side of this road stands a small, old house, lately occupied by the Abner 
family, and known for many years as the Mead house. This was built by Capt- 
Philemon Winship, on land purchased of Samuel Leffingwell in 1772. In 1826, 
it passes out of Winship possession, and in 1830 is purchased by John Mead, a 
colored man, son of Samson Mead of Norwich, and here the old man and his 
wife lived for many years, the former dying about 187 1, and the latter in 1869, 
both aged 88. The property passed then into the possession of the Abner family, 
and in June of this year (1895), was purchased by Gilbert Pierce. The father of 
John Mead was a slave, in the days before slavery was abolished at the North. 

Capt. Philemon Winship (b. 1735), was the son of Joseph Winship of Charles- 
town, Mass. He came to Norwich with his brother Joseph. They were both sea 
captains. He married in 1762, Mary, daughter of Nathan Stedman, a prominent 
attorney of Norwich, and had four children. 

Just beyond the Winship house stood the tan-yard of Jesse Williams, on 
land purchased of Samuel Leffingwell in 1770. This is sold in iSoi to John Hyde. 
Beyond this was the Wigwam pasture, where long after the law had been made, 
forbidding any Indians to linger in the town, or any of the inhabitants to harbor 
them under penalty of 20 s. fine, there still stood for many years an old wigwam, 
the last vestige of Indian occupation. In the woods near by, were several of the 
mortars, in which they ground their corn, but only one, we believe, is now 
remaining. 



CHAPTER IX. 

ON the opposite side of the lane, stood formerly a large, square, gray house, 
known as the Marsh house. This was torn down about twenty-three years 
ago, but the remains of the cellar are still visible. It is one of the most beautiful 
sites in town, the high ground back of the house, commanding an extensive view 
in almost every direction. The lower part of the present lot was the land, which, 
in 1705, the town sets apart "above the Cold Spring between the highwayes, 
adjoining to Ensign Leffingwell's land by Joseph Bushnell's house" "for the 
encouragement of a blacksmith to come and settle in the Town and do the 
Town's work." This is granted in 1711-12 to Jonathan Pierce, who, with Ebenezer 
Pierce, is voted in as an inhabitant in 17 14. It is difficult to say with any certainty, 
who were the parents of Jonathan and Ebenezer Pierce. If they were brothers, we 
have found no record of their birth. If only relatives, it is possible that Ebenezer 
was the son of Thomas and Rachel (Bacon) Pierce, who came from Woburn, 
Mass., to settle at Plainfield, Ct., at the end of the seventeenth centur}^ and 
Jonathan may have been the Jonathan (b. 1693), son of Jonathan and Hannah 
(Wilson) Pierce, of Woburn. To be sure, it is recorded that he died in 1694, but 
the father is also said to have died in the same year, and there may have been 
an error in the record, and Jonathan may have been one of the many children, 
who are reported to have died in infanc}^, and who yet return to life again in a 
most wonderful manner. Jonathan married, 17 15, Hannah Mix, and had four 
children : 

1. Jonathan, b. 1715-6, d. • . m. 1744 ]\[ary Gates. 

2. Ann, b. 1717-1S, d. . 

3. (Capt.) Moses, b. 1720. Drowned at sea 17S1. m. Thank- 

ful , b. 172S-9, d. 1 82 1. 

4. Cvi'KiAN, b. 1724, d. . 



54 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 



In 1719, Jonathan Pierce sells this land with all the buildings, orchard, &c., 
to Hezekiah Huntington, and moves to Preston. Hezekiah Huntington resides 
here until the spring of 1732, when he moves to the Samuel Leffingwell house 
on the "Town Street," and sells this house and land to John Hutchins, "begin- 
ning at the north-west corner at a rock in Mr. Leffingwell's fence, thence abutting 
north on Leffingwell land a bowing line inward 16 rods, thence abutting east on 
Commons 4 rods 5 ft., then abutting south on the highway ii)4 rods, then 
abutting west some ° south on the highway 8 rods, thence abutting west some ° 
north on the highway 2 rods, 6 ft. to the first corner" &c., &c., "except reserving 
to myself the shop that adjoins the house, and the malt house and works." In 
1746, John Hutchins straightens the "bowing inward" line on the north of the 
property by purchasing additional land of Benajah Leffingwell, and in the same 
year sells the house and land to Dr. Jonathan Marsh. 

John Hutchins, whom we believe to be a descendant of the Haverhill, 
Mass., family of that name, married, 1715, Jerusha, daughter of Joseph and Mary 
(Leffingwell) Bushnell. He was a tailor by trade, with evidently some veterinary 
knowledge as well, for in the settlement of Samuel Bliss's estate in 1 730-1, ^i, 5s., 
is paid to John Hutchins for " medicons for a sick horse," and 8s. for " curing 
another of Ghistile." We believe that his first home was near the house of his 
father-in-law, Joseph Bushnell, but where, we have not discovered. In 1726, he 
purchases of his father-in-law, a lot of land, south of the vSamuel Leffingwell home- 
lot. On this he builds a house, which he sells in 1730 to Absalom King, formerly 
of Southold, L. I., which property passes later into the possession of Benedict 
Arnold, who marries the widow King. John Hutchins fills the office of constable 
in 1726, and 1727. In 1746-7, he sells to Dr. Jonathan Marsh the house and 
home-lot, purchased of Hezekiah Huntington in 1732, and moves to another part 
of the town. 

Dr. Jonathan Marsh was the son of Ebenezer and Mary (Parsons) Marsh, 
of Hadley, Mass., and great-grandson of John and Ann (Webster) Marsh, first of 
Hartford, later of Hadley and Northampton, Mass. He is said to have studied 
medicine with his brother-in-law. Dr. Ezekiel Porter of Wethersfield, Ct., and 
married in 1747 Sarah Hart of Farmington. He was a surgeon in the army at 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 55 

Crown's Point in 1755-6. Dr. Ashbel Woodward writes : " Dr. Marsh was chiefly dis- 
tiiii^'uished for skill in bone setting-. His death in 1766 was caused by the absorption 
of virus, in treating a wound accidentally inflicted at a celebration of the repeal of 
the stamp act in Hartford." He left four daughters and two sons. His daughter 
Sarah married in 1769, Dr. vSamuel Lee, the inventor of Lee's pills, which sustain 
their reputation to the present day. Dr. Lee was not only a skilled physician but 
a great social favorite. He was also famous for his great strength. * It is said that 
he once lifted a cart, in which were nine of the strongest men in Windham, by 
placing himself under the axle. He could hop fort}' feet at three bounds. He 
served also as an army surgeon. Dr. Marsh's second daughter, Abigail, married 
John Ripley of Windham ; his third daughter, Hannah, married Dr. Joshua 
Sumner, first of Windham, and later we believe of Middletown. The youngest 
dauo^hter, Mary, married in 1783, Dr. Benjamin Dyer, (son of the Hon. Eliphalet 
Dyer of Windham), who first opened a drug store in Norwich, but later moved 
to Windham. Dr. Dyer was remarkable, as the late William Weaver narrates, 
"for his short, pithy sayings, and terse laconic expressions." As a specimen of his 
business correspondence, Mr. Weaver tells of a Providence merchant, who after 
inspecting some of Dr. Dyer's dairy products wrote to him that he would like to 
buy one half of a cheese. The doctor's letter was short and to the point : 
" Dear Sir. 

Whole or none. 

B. Dyer." 

Jonathan Marsh, Jun., was only twelve years old, when his father died, but 
under the tuition of his mother, who claimed skill in the art of bone setting, he 
became famous in that special department. It seems to have been a custom in 
this family for the husbands to impart their medical knowledge to their wives. Dr. 
Jonathan Marsh, Sen., may have seen the practical benefit of this in his sister 
Mary's case, who, instructed by her husband, Dr. Porter, was enabled, after his 
death, to carry on his practice for many years. 

Dr. Jonathan Marsh, 2nd (b. 1754), married, 1776, Alice Fitch, daughter of 
John Fitch, 3rd, of Windham. His death in 1798 was considered "a great public 



* Lee Family Memoir. 



56 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

calamity." It was said of him, "that he was ever ready to exercise his skill for 
the relief of the distressed and the destitute." His widow at once advertises "that 
she herself understands bone setting, and with the assistance of a partner will 
carry on the business." Dr. Marsh left three daughters. One of these, Mary 
Marsh, was teaching school in 1S03. She marries in iSii Bela B. Hyde of Rome, 
N. Y., son of Benjamin Hyde, at one time of Franklin, later of Taberg, N. Y. 

In 181 1, William Leffingwell sells to Jacob Ladd the land north of the 
Marsh house, extending to the stone wall on the north of the present lot. This 
had been the Leffingwell pasture, since the days of the old Ensign, passing from 
him to his son Benajah, and then to Col. Christopher Leffingwell. In 181 6, the 
widow, Alice Marsh, sells her house and land to Jacob Ladd. In 1824, Russell 
Ladd sells to Ephraim Kittle. In 1830, the property is sold to Phinehas Marsh 
(b. 1 801), the son of Joseph (brother of the second Dr. Jonathan Marsh), and 
remains in the possession of this branch of the family until 187 1, when it is 
sold to Monroe Huntington. The old house was then destroyed. 








CHAPTER X. 



VE will not wander farther up this road, but crossing- the street, and leaving 
out the upper part of the Thomas property, (which, in the early days of 
the settlement, belonged to Josiah Read), we will take the land which, fronting 
on the road, begins about the middle of the Thomas garden, and extends to the 
Edgerton property on the corner of the main highwa}-. 

At a "towne" meeting, on Dec. 26, 1679, "one acker where he hath built 
his house," is granted to Thomas Leffingwell, Jun. (later known as Ensign Thomas 
Leffingwell), "and a small pees the quantity being about an acker more or less, 
joyning to his father's home lot a lying betweene the cold spring and the brooke." 
This small "pees," "being measured by the appoyntement of the towne, appears to 
be but ;V4 of an acker, and is bounded upon the south upon the home-lot of 
Leiftenant Leffingwell, upon the East bounded upon a small brooke, upon the 
North and the West upon the highwayes, leaving out the spring called the Cold 
Spring, leaving about 2 redds between the spring and his fence for cattels coming 
to the water." 



58 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

This three-quarters of an "acker" is the north part of the lot on the oppo- 
site side of the street, just above where the old barn stood, which has recently- 
been torn down. The cold spring is still there to refresh the weary traveller, 
and passing "cattels" can still come "to the water." Other land was also added 
to the home-lot grant, for in Feb., 1688, Thomas Leffingwell, Jun., sells to Joseph 
Bushnell, " two acres of land more or less, which land ye sd Joseph hath built on, 
and is bounded southward upon land of Thomas Leffingwell Jun., and westward 
upon the commons, and northward on ye land of Josiah Read, and eastward on 
the highway, (a highway for carting to lye open between the house of Joseph 
Bushnell and his barne excepted.)" The small "pees" on the opposite side of the 
highway is also included in this sale. The town also grants additional land to 
Joseph Bushnell, and he now records his home-lot as of " two and a half acres — 
beginning at a stone at the south-east corner " — from thence, it abuts east on the 
highway it^Yz rods "a compassing line," — abuts north on Josiah Read's land 22 
rods, — then abuts west on the street, and south-west on Commons 1834 rods to a 
rock, thence south on land of Thomas Leffingwell, Jr., 7 rods to the first bound," 
" (part grant and part purchase, only highway excepted)." This extends from 
about the middle of the Thomas garden to the south line of the house lot recently 
occupied by Gilbert Pierce. 

Joseph Bushnell, aged nine years, came with his step-father, Dea. Thomas 
Adgate, and his mother, Mary, widow of Richard Bushnell, to Norwich in 1660. 
In 1672, Thomas Leffingwell, Jr , married Mary Bushnell, and in 1673, Joseph 
married Thomas Leffingwell's sister Mary, and the brothers-in-law settled side by 
side upon this road. They all lived to a good old age, Joseph Bushnell, dying in 
1746 at ninety-five years of age, and Mary, his wife, and his sister Mary, both 
dying in 1745 at the age of ninety-one. On Mary Bushnell's grave-stone is in- 
scribed this testimony: — 

" A virtuous woman, a loveing wife, 
It was the habit of her life." 

In 1708, Joseph Bushnell of Norwich (probably this Joseph, as his son 
would certainly have been entitled Junior), "complained against himself" to 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 



59 



Richard Bushncll, "Justice of the Peace," "for y' he had killed a Buck contrary 
to law." He was sentenced to pay a fine of los., "one half to y'' county treasury 
and one half to complainant." One is puzzled to know whether to admire Joseph 
most for his conscientiousness or his shrewdness, as by his self-accusation, in the 
abatement of the fine, and the value of the buck, he must have made a little 
money. He was by trade a weaver. 

After the death of Joseph in 1746, Jonathan Bushnell, whose house was in 
the Wequonnock region, became the owner of the house and home-lot, and at his 
death in 1758, "the old house in ye town near Dr. Marsh's," is set out to his 
widow, Hannah, and in 1761, the land where Joseph Bushnell "last dwelt and 
died," (with no mention of a house, though it was possibly still standing), is sold 
to Dr. Jonathan Marsh. In 1789, the north part of the lot (now included in the 
Thomas garden), is sold by Joshua and Hannah (Marsh) Sumner to Dr. Joshua 

Lathrop, and is given by the 
latter to his son Thomas. 
The middle of the lot, ex- 
tending down to the part 
recently occupied by Gilbert 
Pierce, was sold in 1780 by 
John and Abigail (Marsh) 
Ripley to Thomas Harland, 
and is still retained by his 
heirs. " The small pees " on 
the opposite side of the road, 
passed, in the distribution of 
,.=»=-. g5,„~. Joseph Bushnell's estate, to 

Job and Rebecca (Bushnell) Barstow, and was sold by them in 1748 to Samuel 
Leffingwell. In the deed, it is called "the little orchard," and the old apple tree, 
with its huge propped limb, which stands near the spring, may be one of the trees 
planted by Joseph Bushnell more than 150 years ago. 

When the old Bushnell house disappeared, we do not know, nor who occu- 
pied it after the death of Joseph. There are remains of the foundation of a house, 




'^'^S*-M,jj»-^-: 



6o 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 



and of an old well near the bars on the Harland property. The line of the wall 
at the rear of this home-lot can still be traced above the rocks, at the back of 
the former Pierce house. We should judge from the wording of the old highway 
survey, that the barn must have stood north of the house. We have found no 
traces of the highway between the house and the barn. In the latter part of 
the eighteenth, and early part of the nineteenth century, a small one-story and 
a half cottage stood on that part of the Bushnell lot, which is now the Thomas 
garden, and was then owned by Thomas Lathrop. This cottage was occupied by 
an old servant of his, named Ovvnie Douglass, and has long since disappeared. 
In 1716, Joseph Bushnell deeds to his son-in-law, John Hutchins, who has 
married his daughter Jerusha, the south part of the home-lot (site of the Pierce 
house). This is sold in 1747-S to Dr. Jonathan Marsh, and is called the Hutchins' 
"Calf or Close pasture," and in 1757, it is purchased by Thomas Leffingwell, 4th. 
In 1784, Thomas Leffing- 
well, 4th, sells a part of 
this land, with a frontage 
of 3 rods, \2% feet, to 
James Lincoln, who 
builds the house lately oc- 
cupied by Gilbert Pierce, 
where he lives until 1793, 
when he moves across the 
river to a house formerly 
occupied by Hezekiah 
Lefifingwell, near the 
paper mill. He still owns 

this house, which is tenanted by various persons, and at his death in 1807, it passes 
to his daughter Hannah, who has married in 1801 James Day. The house was 
at one time occupied by Thomas Lathrop's coachman, Anthony Church. In 1833, 
it was sold by Capt. James L. Day, son of James and Hannah (Lincoln) Da}', to 
Henry Harland, and is still in the possession of the Harland family. 





CHAPTER XL 



AFTER the sale by Thomas Leffingvvell, Jun., of a part of his grant to 
Joseph Bushnell, the record reads "he hath reserved i6 rods of ground 
about his house upon the side of the hill to himself." A second grant is also 
given him b}^ the town of " a small parcel of land to build on, beginning at a 
rock between Joseph Bushnell's house and his running southerly and abutting 
east on the highway 12 rods, then running west up hill and abutting on Commons 
7 rods, then running North-westerly and Northerly and North-east by the rocks 
to Joseph Bushnell's line, thence runs East and abuts North 7 rods to the highway 
on Joseph Bushnell's land." This is the rocky lot of land between the Lincoln 
lot and the wall at the back of the Edgerton property, and here stood the house, 
"founded upon a rock, and sheltered by the hill,"* which Miss Caulkins wrongly 
believed to have been the house of Lieut. Thomas Lefhngwell. 



Miss Caulkins. See History of Norwich, 1S66, p. 65. 



62 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

In 1681, the town grants to "Thomas lepingwell, Jun , (later Ensign Leffing- 
well), a small pece of land above his house to sett a barn upon." In 17 10, " Sargt." 
Thomas Leffingwell, Jun., (Thomas Leffingwell, 3rd), is allowed to set up an end 
to his new barn, not to exceed n foots into Common lands." In 1720, the same 
"Sargt." Thomas is granted "liberty to fence in a yard on ye Commons at ye 
north end of his barn, and to improve ye same for his use, so long as he shall 
leave open to ye Commons for ye Town's use, so much of ye south part of his 
own land there adjoining." Where this house and barn stood, we can only con- 
jecture. From the wording of a deed of 1759, we should judge the house stood 
within the first six rods of frontage above the Edgerton wall, and from another 
land record, that the barn stood on the site of the Harland garden. In 1759, 
the house had disappeared, whether burnt or torn down, we know not. 

In 1700, Thomas Leffingwell, Jun., (afterward Ensign Leffingwell), buys 
and moves into the house on the " Town Street" (later known as the Christopher 
Leffingwell house), and he probably gives the house on the side hill to his son 
Thomas (b. 1674), who has married, 1698, Lydia, daughter of Dr. Solomon Tracy, 
though there is no formal deed of the property until 17x9, when Thomas Leffing- 
well, 3rd, is living in the house. 

In describing this lot, Miss Caulkins says " Sergt. Leffingwell was pecul- 
iarly the soldier and guardsman of the new town,* and Sentry Hill was the look- 
out post, commanding the customary Indian route from Narragansett to Mohegan. 
A sentry box was built on the summit, and in times of danger and excitement, 
a constant watch was kept from the height. Here too, in the war with Philip, a 
small guard-house was built, sufficient for some ten or twelve soldiers to be 
housed. It has of late been called Center Hill, an unconscious change from 
Sentry." 

In December, 1675, during King Philip's war, the inhabitants of Norwich 
requested that a guard should be sent to protect them, " they bordering upon the 
enemie and haveing so many in the field." The General Council sent ten men 
from Hartford County, eight from New Plaven, and eight from Fairfield, " to lye 
in garrison " at Norwich. This may have been the time when the garrison-house 



*This description refers to Thomas Leffingwell, ist. 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 6t, 

was built, thoiioh we have found no mention of it on the records, and no allu- 
sions to Sentry Hill, though at a later date, the name of Center Hill often 
appears. If a guard-house had been built at this time, it would be natural that 
such an important matter should appear on the town books ; but is it not possible 
that the guard- house had been already built long before, at the time of the set- 
tlement, and perhaps this was the very building into which the bullets had been 
fired in 1660. How much more natural, that the first guard-house should be 
erected here, on high ground, overlooking the Indian trail for a long distance, 
than on the enclosed plain. As we can find no record to set us right, let us 
suppose, that here, from the earliest years of the town, it stood, used as a shelter 
and watch-tower for the first settlers, and as a garrison-house during King Philip's 
war. By 1705 it may have disappeared, as in the highway survey, there is no 
mention of it. 

Thomas Lefitingwell, 3rd, (who is better known by his title of Deacon), 
probably occupied his father's house, from the time of the latter's removal to the 
main road, though he did not receive a deed of the property until 17 19. The 
deed gives to him " the house and tan-yard, and home-lot on both sids of ye 
highway, and ye Rock pasture above ye sd home-lot," &c. Thomas was by trade 
a "tanner" and " cordwainer." He died in 1733, and in his will he bequeaths to 
his " dearly beloved " wife, Lydia, " the halef of my now dwelling house for bur 
one youse during her natural life," &c., and as he has already given a house and 
barn, and "sum" land to his son Thomas, he gives to Samuel, "my well-beloved 
sun, the now dweling houes I live in, and horn lot one both sids of the hieway, 
with the barn, with the heither end of the pastor at horn, and the pastor up the 
hill, lying between the two heyways with the woodland adjoyning tharto," &c. 
Samuel, and his mother, Lydia, occupy for a time the old homestead, but before 
1759 it has disappeared, and they are living in the house across the street, later 
known as the Hyde house, and now occupied by the House family. We do 
not know when the Leffingwell barn disappeared. The land between the Leffing- 
well lot and the commencement of the high board fence on the Edgerton property, 
was early common land, in part used as a branch of the highway which led down 
over the hill. It came later into the possession of Thomas Leffingwell, 4th. 



64 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 



Coming down to the corner, we pass an old, square, gray house (still retain- 
ing, in spots, some traces of its original red color), which has been known for 
many years as the " Edgerton house." This stands on land, granted by the town 
to vStephen Backus, and sold by him in 1704 to Dr. Caleb Bushnell. In 17 18, 
Caleb sells to Thomas Leffingwell my "40 rods of land lying in ye crotch of ye 
highwayes near Ensign Thomas Leffingwell's now dwelling house, on ye north- 
east side of ye common street, near ye southeast end of the Norwich Town 




plot," &c., "being encompassed with highwayes, which land hath an allowance for 
a way through it to a shop." This land has a frontage on the street of 10 rods, 
and abuts south on the highway 5 rods. Here Thomas Leffingwell (cordwainer), 
builds a house, which he gives to his son Thomas, possibly on the latter's marriage 
to Elizabeth, sister of Rev. Benjamin Lord, in 1728-9, but there is no record of 
this transfer until 1732-3, the year of Dea. Thomas Leffingwell's death, when both 
by deed and will, it is given to his son Thomas Leffingwell, 4th. In 1783, ten 
years before his death, the latter deeds to his son Thomas Leffingwell, 5th, this 
house, and also the house opposite (now the " Sheltering Arms"), and adjoining shop. 
Thomas Leffingwell, 5th, was a bachelor. He died in 181 4, and wills these houses to 
his sister, Lydia Hart, wife of Rev. Levi Hart of Preston. In 1820, Rev. Thomas L. 
vShipman inherits from his aunt Lydia this house, which he sells in 1S33 to George 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 



65 



H. Edgerton. Both Thomas Leffino-well, 4th, and his son Thomas, 5th, were 
strong tories, and remained to the end of the war, though threatened with prose- 
cution and imprisonment, staunch in their allegiance to the king. Thomas 
Leffingwell, 5th, insisted, to the last days of his life, that "the rebellion was all 
wrono-." 





CHAPTER XII. 



ON the opposite side of the street, next to the Bliss property, began the home- 
lot of the first William Backus, which, including the triangle of land at 
the intersection of the highways, extended from the Bliss line to the lane south 
of Gager's store. It consisted of six acres, "more or less," abutting east on the 
highway ;^;^ rods, north on the land of John Olmstead 36 rods, west on the river 
34^ rods, and south on the land of Thomas Bliss 37^ rods. 

William Backus is supposed to have been an inhabitant of Saybrook as 
early as 1637. He was a smith, or cutler by trade, and his first wife, Sarah, was 
the daughter of John Charles of Branford, Ct. She died in Saybrook, and just 
before removing to Norwich, he married Ann, widow of Thomas Bingham. On 
his arrival at Norwich, his household probably consisted of his wife, his son 
Stephen, and his step-son Thomas Bingham. Three daughters had married in 
Saybrook, one only, coming to Norwich, Sarah, the wife of John Reynolds To 
his eldest son, William, had been assigned a home-lot near Bean Hill. William 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 67 

Backus, Sr., died soon after the settlement of Norwich, probably between 1661 and 
1664, so the land is recorded as the home-lot of his son wStephen. 

vStephen Backus married in 1666 vSarah Spencer (possibly a daughter of 
Jared vSpencer of Haddam, Ct.), and had two sons and six daughters. Miss 
Caulkins says that he removed to Canterbury in 1692, and died there in 1695. 
We have not found the date of his death, but know that it occurred before 1700, 
so the latter part of her assertion may be correct, but we doubt the removal to 
Canterbury. 

In April, 1700, Stephen Backus, 2nd, of Norwich, in exchange for " 150 acres 
of land lying on Rowland's Brook at Peagsconsuck (Canterbury), a house to be 
built on the land, and a yoke of oxen," sells the Backus home-lot to Sergeant 
(later Ensign) Thomas Lefifingwell (yeoman), and this may have been the date of 
the family removal to Canterbury. Sergeant Thomas Lefifingwell, leaving perhaps 
his son Thomas, who had recently married, to occupy the house on the " wSentry 
Hill " road, moved to the Backus homestead, and in May, 1701, is appointed 
Ensign of the train-band (a title, by which he is later designated), and in July of 
the same year, he is granted liberty by the town "to keep a publique house of 
entertainement of strangers." This house was probabh' then enlarged to suit the 
requirements of a tavern, and was known for many years, far and wide, as the 
" Lefifingwell Inn." 

The house is large and rambling, and many parts of it bear the marks of 
great age. Some of the rooms are on a much lower level than others, and these 
may indicate where additions were made to the original Backus homestead, for 
this is one of the houses which claims to date from the settlement of the town. 
The windows still retain their wooden shutters, the door its bar-fastening, and the 
rooms are heavily wainscoted, the large north parlor panelled throughout. The 
entrance door was formerly on the north of the house, and faced the old high- 
way coming down over the hill. Either the course of this highway, or the desire 
to have the house stand due north and south, may perhaps account for its singu- 
lar position at the present da}'. It is said that in early times, slave auctions were 
held at this north door. 

Ensign Thomas was also a merchant, and we should judge from the word- 



68 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 




ing of some of the deeds of neighboring property, that his " warehouse " stood 
just beyond the inn, possibly where later stood the "Leffingwell Row." The shop 
and the inn must have prospered, and the Ensign's revenues yearly increased until 
his death in 1724, when he left the large estate, for those days, of ^9,793, 9 s., 
II d. His wearing apparel was valued at ^^27, his wig at 20 s., his silver watch 
^t ;^5. The walking staff with the silver head, said to have been brought by 
Lt. Thomas Leffingwell from England, descends from father to son, until, from 
the fifth Thomas, it passed to his nephew. Rev. Thomas Leffingwell Shipman. 
His "rapier, with silver hilt and belt," and his "French gun" must have seen 
constant service in the Indian wars, and his "three tankards," "two dram cups," 
and "four silver cups w'ith handles," form quite an array of silver for those days. 
Ensign Thomas died intestate, so by agreement among the heirs, the widow Mary 
received " the use of the south part of the house, with back lean-to and bedrooms 
in sd lean-to," &c. P. Webster Huntington of Columbus, Ohio, remembers see- 
ing some initials and the date 17 15, which were cut in a clapboard at this end of 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 69 

the house, but later alterations necessitated their removal. In these rooms Mary 

lived, surviving her husband many years, and the inscription on her grave-stone 

reads : — 

I N 
MEMORY 

of an aged nursing 

Mother of G O D ' vS N e w - 

e n g 1 i s h Israel, viz. Mrs. 

Mary L e f f i n g \v e 1 1 , wife 

to Ensign Thomas Lef- 

fingwell Gent" who died 

Sept. ye 2^ A.D. 

1745. Aged 91 years. 

Of the sons of the Ensign, John lived near Bean Hill, and Thomas in his 
father's old homestead on the "Sentry Hill" road. Ensign Thomas had given to 
Benajah in 1717-1S, the deed of the north part of the home-lot, and in the division 
of the property, Benajah received the rest of the land and house. The inn and the 
store continued to thrive under his management, and his inventory shows the 
tavern well provided to accommodate many more guests than in his father's day. 
There are large stores of bedding, sheets, table-linen and kitchen utensils. One 
is inclined to wonder in which of the chambers stood the bed with its " yaller " 
bed-curtains and hangings, which was adorned with the " sute of plaid curtains," 
or "the streaked linen" or the "blew lintiwooley," and where we should find 
" the bed that was Madam Livingston's," which, in the division of property, was 
given to the widow Joanna. We should much prefer the silk quilt as a bed-cov- 
ering to the "black frog coverlid," which, if adorned with very life-like represen- 
tations of that animal, must have been a grewsome sight to the waking eyes of 
some guest, who had partaken too largely of the landlord's tempting potations. 

We would like to have looked into the kitchen, with its rows of pewter 
dishes, brass kettles, and chafing-dish, shining on the dresser, and its copper ves- 
sels and utensils of every description. In the "Great Room " or " Keeping" room, 
we might find possibly the "Great Black Chair," the " turke work" chairs, and 
some of the " straight-backed," standing stiffly against the walls, and in the guest- 



70 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

room, which we may fancy to be the north front room, commanding all the ap- 
proaches to the Landing-, we might get a glimpse of some of the prominent 
citizens, who had perhaps strolled iij to chat with the landlord and the guests of 
the house, and get the latest news. 

This room, which is panelled throughout, has cupboards in every possible 
cranny, in which were stored perhaps the "blew and white china," the "decanters," 
the "silver tankards and flagons," the "large flowered beekers," and the "blew 
and red beekers." In the evening, when the guests would gather round the 
tables, to drink from the "double flint drinking glasses," their daily potions of 
rum and Geneva brandy, cider or metheglin, undoubtedly, at times, the "two 
beekers with handles," filled with flip, stirred with a red hot poker, were passed 
from lip to lip, and jokes and stories were interchanged, until the curfew rang the 
signal to retire. 

Benajah had married in 1726, Joanna, daughter of Judge Richard Christo- 
phers, a wealthy citizen of New London, and had a large family of sons and 
daughters. His son, Benajah, settled early at the Landing. Hezekiah lived for a 
time near the paper mill. Elisha also lived at the Falls, and Richard was a pros- 
perous sea-captain, and died in the Mole of Hispaniola, while on a voyage in 1768. 
At one time, in 1767, he carried 240 Acadians back to Nova Scotia, from which 
they had been exiled in 1755. At Benajah's death in 1756, the property was 
divided among his numerous children. Christopher received the house and home- 
lot, and the widow Joanna, "the use of the Great South Room," and the same 
"lean-to" rooms, which her mother-in-law, Mary, had formerly occupied, but these 
she did not long enjoy, as she married in 1759 Col. John Dyer of Canterbury. It 
is said that she took her chaise with her to Canterbury, which caused such a sen- 
sation in that small town at its first appearance on the Sabbath day, that she was 
obliged to postpone her church-going, until the congregation had assembled. 

Christopher Leffingwell, at his father's death, was only twenty-two years of 
age. He married (1) 1760 Elizabeth Harris, daughter of John Harris of New 
London ; (2) in 1764 Elizabeth, daughter of Capt. Joseph Coit, then of New London, 
but later a resident of Norwich ; and (3) in 1799 Ruth, widow of John Perit, and 
daughter of Pelatiah Webster of Philadelphia. By purchase and inheritance, he 



OLD J/0 USES OF NORWICH. 71 

regained all the home-lot, except the land on which stood the Greenleaf and 
Billings houses, and he also purchased a small piece of land adjoining on the 
north, belonging to the Lathrop lot. 

Many were the busmess enterprises of Col. Christopher Leffingwell, who is 
still well remembered as one of the most prominent and public-spirited of citizens. 
Miss Caulkins says that he was one of the first to begin the business of stocking 
weaving in 1766, with an English superintendent, William Russell. In 1791, he 
had 9 looms in operation, producing annually from 1200 to 1500 pair of hose, also 
gloves and purses. Miss Caulkins also says that the long, low building, known as 
"Leffingwell Row," formerly standing north of the house, was built by Col. 
Leffingwell "after 17S0, to accommodate his looms and other utilitarian projects." 
This possibly stood on the site of the old Leffingwell "ware-house," occupied by 
the Ensign in 1705. The north shops of "Leffingwell Row " consisted of one story 
and a basement, the south part was of two stories. In this south upper story, a 
school was kept, in which, at one time, Judge John Hyde, and we believe also at 
another period, Judge Henry Strong, were teachers. It is possible that until 
"Leffingwell Row" was built, the old ware-house may have remained standing, 
and here Col. Leffingwell may have started the stocking factory under the super- 
intendence of William Russell, who was later succeeded by William Cox. 

In 1784, Daniel Williams, "Taylor," occupied No. 2, Leffingwell Row. In 
October, 178S, Alexander McDonald (book-binder), moves from the Landing into 
the same No. 2. In 17S7, Thomas Hubbard and Christopher Leffingwell carry on 
in partnership in this building, the manufacture of Breeches, Waistcoat pieces, 
Stockings, Mitts, Gloves, &c. In 1791, Thomas Hubbard moves to his father's 
former shop near the Green. For some time before 1787, David Nevins occupies 
one of the shops in this Row, No. 5, as a hat shop, but in 17S7, moves to a shop 
near Gov. Huntington's, formerly occupied by Capt. Russell Hubbard, and .shop 
No. 5 is advertised as "having proper bow-room and other accomodations for a 
hatter." In 17S8, Roswell Gaylord takes possession, and advertises to sells hats, 
and buy shipping furs at " No. 5 Leffingwell Row," where he continues for several 
years. In 1S13, Henry Strong has his law office in this building, but in the same 
year moves to the opposite side of the street. There was also a cooper shop, and 



72 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

in the basement a potash shop. In 1814, the south two-storied part was sold to 
Charles P. Huntington, who either pulls it down, or moves it away, and builds 
a new store, which he occupies for many years, and in which was later located 
the tin-smith, Jacob Miller, and at one time Henry McNelly, and later, Cady & 
Gorman. In 1836, Leffingwell Row was sold by the Leffingwell heirs to William 
C. Oilman, who sells it in 183S to Henry Harland. About fifteen or more years 
ago, as the " Holly Tree Inn," it offered a resting-place and refreshments at a very 
moderate rate to weary teamsters and pedestrians. It was burnt to the ground 
in 1882, with the adjoining store of Cady & Gorman, and the land now forms a 
part of the Huntington grounds. 

Col. Christopher Leffingwell built the first paper-mill in Connecticut in 1766, 
the Connecticut Gazette being printed on paper from his factory, in December of 
that year. In 1770, with his brother Elisha, he started a fulling-mill and dye-house, 
a grist-mill, and a chocolate- mill. A pottery was also among the enterprises of 
Col. Leffingwell. He was an ardent patriot, and as one of the committee of 
correspondence, appointed in 1775, "the chief labor" (as President Daniel Gilman, 
of John Hopkins' University, says, in his historical discourse delivered at the 
Norwich BiCentennial Celebration in 1859),* "of that arduous post, seems to 
have fallen upon him." 

" Five days before the battle of Lexington, we find John Hancock, presi- 
dent of the provincial congress just adjourned, thanking Mr. Leffingwell for the 
important intelligence he had communicated ; which appears to have been a full 
private letter from England, giving an account of the action of the ministry." 

" The first announcement of the battles of Lexington and Concord was ad- 
dressed to him. . . . Col. Jedidiah Huntington writes to him a little later from the 
camp at Roxbury, and Col. Trumbull from the camp at Cambridge, asking for 
supplies. Whenever New London was threatened by the enemy's fleet, a mes- 
sage was sent to Norwich, and more than once, Capt. Leffingwell and his light 
infantry, went down to the defense of their friends at the river's mouth." It was 
said that none of all the companies, who marched to the relief of New London, 
equaled in order and equipments the light mfantry under Capt. Leffingwell. 



* Pies. Daniel Oilman's Historical Discourse in "The Norwich Jubilee." 



Col. Christopher Leffingwell. 

1734-1810. 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 73 

"In May, 1776, Nicholas Brown of Providence, sends him muskets to be 
forwarded to Gen. Washing-ton— relying on 'his well-known lead in the c(jmmon 
cause, to send them as soon as possible.' At a later day, load after load of tents are 
brought him to be forwarded with all expedition to the commander-in-chief." At the 
beginning of the war, " he was one of those sagacious citizens of Connecticut, who 
saw the importance, of promptly securing the forts upon Lake Champlain, and 
who quietly united in sending a committee to Vermont, supplied with the necessary 
funds, to engage the services of Col. Ethan Allen, and the Green mountain boys, 
for that hazardous undertaking." 

"Gen. Washington, in one of his visits, partakes of the hospitalities of the 
Leffingwell home, and Gov. Trumbull sends his respectful apology that he is unable 
to meet, at Mr. Leffingwell's, the commander-in-chief." * 

Col. Leffingwell was the first naval officer of the port appointed under 
the U. S. Government, in 1784. In that year, he contributed land toward the 
opening of Broadway, and planted some of the fine elms, which are such an 
ornament to the town. He died in 1810, and the house became the property of his 
widow, Ruth Leffingwell, who lived to the good old age of 85, dying in 1840, and 
leaving the house to the children of her granddaughter, Mrs. Benjamin Huntington, 
who still retain possession. 



* Oilman's Historical Discourse. 




CHAPTER XIII. 



THE road on the left, after we pass the Leffingvvell Inn, was, in 1661, "a 
footway 6 foote broad through the home lots of Steven Backus, John Holm- 
sted, and Mr. Fitch," coming out near the church and parson's domicile, whither 
all paths led in olden times. This remained for nearh^ one hundred years a 
pentway with gates and turnstiles at each end, and between the lands of the 
several proprietors. In 1739-40, an attempt made to open a highway through 
these lands, was voted down by a large majority, but in 1752, at the motion of 
William Hyde, and sundry of the inhabitants of Norwich, and neighboring towns, 
showing the great necessity of this measure, land was purchased of Benajah 
Leffingvvell, the Watermans, and Col. Simon Lathrop, and a road 2 rods, 6 ft. wide 
was laid out through this district; the part through the Letifingwell land, "begin- 
ning at the Town Street between the Letifingwell shop and the little gate, and 
running through sd home lot to Col. Simon Lathrop's home lot, touching sd 
Lathrop's home lot a little southerly from ye style." 

The road was soon completed, in spite of remonstrances from Col. Simon 
Lathrop. According to Miss Caulkins, much was done to beautify and improve 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 75 

it, at a later date, by Capt. William Hubl)arcl. It was early known as "the road 
through the grove," but after 1752, as the "cross road" or "cross highway." 
"Tradition depicts it," Miss Caulkins says, "as a beautiful winding cart-path 
along the river bank, over-arched with lofty trees, and crossing a rapid stream, 
where the teamsters paused on a hot summer's day to refresh themselves and 
their cattle in the shade." But though beautiful and romantic by day, adventurous 
indeed were those, who dared to pass through it in the night-time. It is said that 
in the early years of the town, a young man named Waterman, going to visit 
his lady-love, who lived below the Plain, was hissed at by a rattlesnake, and 
snapped at by a wolf, as he passed through the turn stile at the corner.^-' 

About the middle of the nineteenth century, the road was filled out and 
straightened, which process resulted probably in the destruction of many beautiful 
trees, for long after, it was a sunny, dusty road, until the present time, when the 
trees set out during the highway alterations by Wolcott Huntington, and in later 
years by the Norwich Town Rural Association, are beginning to afford a pro- 
tection from the noontide glare. 

On the triangle of land, at the fork of the roads, stood the shop of Col. 
Christopher Lefifingwell, built possibly, shortly after his father's death. Here he 
sold goods of his own manufacture, and everything else that could satisfy the 
needs of those days, and here he was later succeeded by his two sons, W^illiam 
and Christopher. 

William Leftingwell served as post-master from 1789 (when the office was 
transferred from the Woodbridge shop on the Green to this shop on the corner), 
till 1793. He advertises in 1790, that the eastern mail will close on Mondays and 
Thursdays, and the western mail on Tuesdays and Fridays, at seven o'clock p. .m. 
This gave plent}' of time to get the mails ready for the morning coach. 

In 1793, William Leffingwell left Norwich, and entered into a business 
partnership in New York with Hezekiah Beers Pierpont, as the firm of Leffing- 
well & Pierpont. Christopher Leffingwell, Jun., carried on the post-office and 
the store for a while, then went to Albany, and later we believe to Ohio. In 
iSoi, the shop is occupied by the firm of Baldwin & Strong. 



*Miss Caulkins' Hist, of Norwich. 



76 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

In i8oS, Joseph Strong purchased the store, which was of two stories, 
painted yellow, with a gable roof, the gable end facing down the street. In front 
of the shop was a level plot of land, which necessitated a high wall and basement, 
and an approach by steps from the lower road. Behind the store was a lane, lead- 
ing from the upper to the lower road, and on this side of the store was a high 
door, where the carts loaded and unloaded their goods. Standing on the other 
side of the lane, just behind the Leffingwell store, its site marked by the begin- 
ning of the present picket-fence, stood another two-storied shop, with doors 
opening on the lane and street. When this shop was built, and by whom, we are 
unable to say, but as early as 1773, there was a shop standing "near the store of 
Christopher LefUngwell," in which Thomas Harland began his watch-making 
business in 1773, where Thomas Leffingwell, 4th, was located in 1776, in which 
John Richards, in 1778, give swool-cards in exchange for well-tanned sheepskins, 
and James Lincoln sells wool-cards in 1785, and Thomas Morrow advertises as a 
weaver in 1786. All these announce themselves as "near the store of Christopher 
Leffingwell," so we shall have to assume that they occupied this shop, or possibly 
another on the same site. This building was later used as a store-house by Joseph 
Strong. These two shops stood close to the walk on the upper road, and the walk 
passed outside of the large elm tree on the corner, so the present sidewalk passes 
over the site of Christopher Leffingwell's store. Both buildings were removed 
in 1866. 

In the boughs of the many branched elm tree, in front of the Christopher 
Leffingwell shop, some years before the middle of this century, the boys of Nor- 
wich Town built an arbor, to which they could ascend by means of a rope, and 
which, when the rope was also drawn up, formed as delightful and inaccessible 
a retreat, as a boy's heart could desire. It is' said that under this tree the troops 
assembled, the day they marched to Lexington. 

Opposite the store of Christopher Leffingwell, and just beyond the "Leffing- 
well Row," stood a house, which was built by David Greenleaf, on land purchased 
of Hezekiah, son of Benajah Leffingwell, in 176 1. It was built possibly about 1763, 
the date of David's marriage to Mary Johnson. 

David Greenleaf was a goldsmith. He was born possibly in Bolton, Mass., 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 



11 




in 1737, where his father, 

Dr. Daniel Greenleaf, was 

a practicing; physician. 

His grandfather, Rev. 

Daniel Greenleaf, was a 

physician in Cambridge, 

Mass., for some years, 

then, in 1706, became a 

preacher, was ordained 

pastor of a church in 

Yarmouth, Mass., where 

he remained for twenty 

years, then removed to 

Boston, and opened a drug store on Washington Street. David's uncles were 

wealthy and influential citizens of Boston. One of them, Hon. Stephen Greenleaf, 

was the noted Tory High Sheriff of Suffolk County. Another brother. Gen. William 

Greenleaf, married Sally Quincy, sister of the famous Dorothy Ouincy, wufe of 

Gov. Hancock. David Greenleaf .sold his house to Jesse Williams in 1769, and 

removed to Boston. He is later said to have resided in Coventry, Ct. From 1769 

to about 1772, the house was owned and occupied by Jesse Williams. 

We believe that this is the Jesse Williams, who married in 176S Sarah 
Williams of Stonington, but whether he is the Jesse Williams (b. 1741-2), son of 
Samuel and Mary Williams of Stonington, or the Jesse (b. 1735-6), son of Jedediah 
and Hannah (Dawson) Williams of Preston, or some other Jesse Williams, we 
know not. Besides this house, he owned a tan-yard just beyond the Philemon Win- 
ship (now Abner) house. After 1772, we find no further trace of him, and think 
that he probably died between 1772 and 1775, and that his widow, wSarah, married 
in the latter year Charles Charlton of Norwich. 

In 1774, this house passes into the possession of Capt. William Billings. In 
1796, the widow Mary Billings is living in it, having rented her other house across 
the way. In this year it was sold to Timothy Lester, the cabinet maker, whom we 
suppose to have occupied at that time a shop near the house now known as the 



78 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 



Sheltering Arms. He moves his place of business to his new home, where he 
resides until his death. His heirs sell the property in 1854 to the family of its 
present owner. 

Beyond the store of Christopher Leffingwell, on the same side of the street, 
stood a house built probably about 1758 by Capt. William Billings, who in 1757 
had married Mary, widow of Nathaniel Richards, and daughter of Benajah Lef- 




fingwell. Nathaniel Richards was the son of Capt. George Richards of New 
London. The date of his marriage to Mary Lefifingwell has not been found, but 
he probably died shortly after. Capt. William Billings was the son of Capt. Roger 
Billings, and grandson of William Billings, both prominent citizens of Preston. 
His mother, Abigail Denison, was a great-granddaughter of the renowned Capt. 
George Denison of Stonington, and his wife. Lady Ann Borrodell, Boradil, or 
Borrowdale, as it is variously written. William Billings was a sea captain, and died 
"universally lamented," of a fever, in Dominica, while on a voyage to the West 
Indies in 1774. At the time of his death, he owned not only this house, but also 
the Greenleaf house on the other side of the street. In 1796, "the widow 
Billings," (whose only remaining son, Richard LetSngwell Billings (hatter), had 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 79 

died in 1795), was living- in the (ireenleaf house, and this house, known as "the 
widow BilHng-s red house " was occupied by other tenants, perhaps by the family 
of John Huntington, Jun., who was living here in 1806, when it was sold by the 
Billings' heirs (Mary Billings having died in 1805), to Joseph Coit, of the firm of 
Tracy & Coit. In 1S07, Joseph Coit died, and the house was, we believe, owned 
and occupied for a time by his mother, Mrs. Sarah Prentice. From 1820 to 1824, 
Charles Lathrop lived here. He had married in 1793, Joanna, daughter of Col. 
Christopher Leffingwell. In 1824, the house was sold to William, Sally and Lucre- 
tia Goodell, the son and daughters of Capt. Silas Goodell of Norwich. The lane 
on the north is mentioned for the first time in this deed. 

In the old Rufus Lathrop house, later in a little building in her own grounds, 
and again, in the old brick school-house opposite Gager's store, and in several 
other locations, Miss Sally Goodell taught the rising generation of Norwich Town. 
Raps on the head with a thimble, suspensions from the wall in bags, the tying 
of bashful boys to the apron strings of pretty girls, to whom they had presumed 
to whisper during school hours, were punishments that linger yet in the memories 
of some of her pupils ; but though painful at the time, these were the severest 
penalties which her gentle nature could inflict, and her scholars seem to cherish 
none but tender recollections of their former teacher. 

Across the street, nearly on the site of the small house, which stands quite 
back from the street, stood after 181 1, the blacksmith shop of Gary Throop, and 
also near by, it is said, the first fire-engine house. 

Nearly opposite the foot of the lane, which leads by Gager's store, stands 
an old brown house, which, in the first deed that mentions it, seems to be the 
property of Col. Christopher Leffingwell, and to have been built between 1768 and 
1774. It was at this latter date occupied by Judah Paddock Spooner, who, born 
in 1748, was the son of Thomas Spooner (a carpenter), who had moved from New 
Bedford to New London. Thomas Spooner's daughter, Rebecca, married in 1763 
Timothy Green, printer and editor of the New London Gazette, and Judah mar- 
ried in 1770 Deborah, daughter of Nathan Douglass of New London. Judah 
was for a time a carrier of the New London Gazette, and not only wrote the 
New Year's address, but satires and other articles for the paper. In 1773, he came 



So OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

to Norwich to establish a printing office, in partnership with his brother-in-law, 



Timothy Green. At this same time, the Robertsons and John Trumbull began to 
publish the Norwich Packet. 

Judah Paddock Spooner remained in Norwich for five years, and in that 
time brought out an edition of Watts' Psalms in 1773, and of the Manual Exer- 
cise as ordered by his Majesty in 1774, various school books and almanacs. Dr. 
Hopkins' dialogue concerning African Slavery in 1776, and Paine's Common 
Sense. 

At the time of the Revolution, leaving his family in Norwich, he marched 
to Boston, and took part in the battle of Bunker Hill, where, having delayed to 
fire a last shot, as his comrades were retreating, he was slightly wounded in the 
side. He was afterward in the privateer service, and was captured and imprisoned 
in the old prison ship, " Jersey," at Brooklyn, N. Y. From here he returned with 
a broken constitution. 

He then went to Hanover, N. H., then belonging to Vermont, and here 
published a newspaper, but when New Hampshire claimed the east side of the 
river, he removed to Westminster, Vt., and in 1781, commenced the "\"ermont 
Gazette," or " Green Mountain Post-Boy." In 1783, he sold out and returned to 
New London, but a few years later went back to Vermont to join his brother, 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 8i 

who was editing' the " VeniKMit Journal" at Windsor. Here, he was at that time 
persuaded by a man named Matthew Lyon, to start a paper called " The Free- 
man's Library " at Franklin, \'t. Lyon was indicted for too radical and seditious 
writings, and wSpooner again relinquished his business, and soon after, discouraged 
and disheartened, died at the home of one of his daughters. His wife, it is said, 
taught school for many years at New London and Saybrook, and was distinguished 
"for her piety, prudence, talent and culture." 

In 1790, Col. Christopher Leffingwell gives this house to his son William. 
At that time it was occupied by the brothers-in-law Thomas Hubbard, and Ebenezer 
Bushnell, who then moved to the house just beyond the church, where they pub- 
lished, for several years, "The Weekly Register." 

William Leffingwell was born in 1765, and married in 17S6 Sally Beers, 
daughter of Isaac Beers, the well-known bookseller of New Haven. They were 
married by the Rev. Achilles Mansfield, uncle of the bride, the evening before 
the commencement, which was to make the bridegroom a bachelor of arts. We 
do not know for a certainty, whether William Leffingwell occupied this house for 
the few years longer that he remained in Norwich, but v/e think it possible that 
he did. Where he lived from 17S6 (the year of his marriage), to 1790, we also do 
not know, but think it must have been in one of the houses in this neighborhood, 
possibly the Billings house. We would like to know in which house he entertained 
Dr. Mason Cogswell in 1788, who writes in his diary, that "turkey and pompion 
pie" and "everything in nice order" graced the board. Samuel Huntington, Jun., 
and Daniel Lathrop were among the guests, and the late Rev. Dr. Leonard Bacon of 
New Haven, in his review of the Cogswell journal,* says : — " It could not but be a 
pleasant party, — six at the table, all young, four gentlemen, as well as the hostess, 
overflowing with memories of Yale and New Haven," and "that smart girl," Joanna 
Leffingwell, "with her pleasing countenance, expressive eye, and good manners." 
Dr. Bacon also says that " those who knew Mrs. William Leffingwell long' afterward, 
when she had become a grandmother, and especially those who were acquainted with 
her housekeeping, cannot but understand that this dinner was not only well got 
up, everything in nice order, but well enlivened and brightened by her sprightly 



* The New Englander of January, 1S82. 
6 



82 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

talk." Dr. Cogswell was again entertained at the Leffingwells', in a circle of "no 
less than sixteen ladies besides many supernumeraries." 

In 1793, William Lefifingwell removes to New York. In 1809, he retires 
from active business, and moves to New Haven, where, as Dr. Bacon says, he 
resided till his death in 1834, in a stately but old fashioned mansion on Chapel 
Street, at the corner of Temple Street, with a terraced garden, which extended half 
way up to College Street. He was considered the richest citizen of New Haven. 
One of his daughters, Caroline Mary, married Augustus Russell Street, and her 
daughter Caroline, married Admiral Foote. Mrs. Street built and endowed the 
School of Fine Arts in New Haven. 

This old mansion of William Leffingwell was built by Jared Ingersoll 
before the Revolution ; was purchased by Pelatiah Webster of Philadelphia in 
1782, as a wedding present for his daughter Sophia, wife of Thaddeus Perit ; was 
sold in 1809 to William Leffingwell, and after his death became the residence of 
Mrs. Street, and later of her son-in-law, Admiral Foote. 

In 181 r, William Leffingwell sells his house in Norwich to Epaphras Porter. 
At that time it was occupied by John Huntington, Jun., father-in-law of Epaphras 
Porter. He had moved here probably about 1806, from the widow Billings house 
across the way. Epaphras Porter lived here until his death, and the house is still 
called by old residents "the Porter house." He married in 1806, Lucretia, daughter 
of John Huntington, was a bookseller and bookbinder, and in connection wath the 
Sterrys, carried on a marble paper manufactory, and edited a paper called "The 
True Republican." 

John Huntington (b. 1745), was the son of James and Elizabeth (Darby) 
Huntington. He married in 1773, Abigail, daughter of Capt. Joshua and Anne 
(Backus) Abel. He was a saddler, and in 1774 was in partnership with Daniel 
Carew in a shop formerly standing just north of the Harland house. In 1777, he 
enlisted in Capt. William Richards' company of the First Regiment for three 
years. He was at Reading in 1779, and on the first of January, 1780, he was on 
the muster roll of Col. Comfort vSagis' regiment as sergeant. His wife died in 
1 8 14, and he died in 18 15. 

Back of the Porter house stood a small house, which was built by Thomas 




kJ 




p; z > 

cj_ L- o in 

03 iti n uj 

in < m ^ 






cn- 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 83 

Williams, possibly the one who resided on the upper road. He bought the land 
of Col. Christopher Leffingvvell in 1774. This house is purchased in 1797 by Rufus 
Sturtevant, a former paper-maker of Milton, Mass., who had married in 1794, Polly 
Manning. In 1797, it passed into the possession of Asa Spalding, and in 1816, it 
was sold to Epaphras Porter. It was torn down about 1850. It is not known 
who were its various occupants, during all the years of its existence. 

At one time in 181 1, and for some years after, a rather entertaining old 
colored man lived here, named Ira Tosset, who was famous for his hearty laugh- 
ing powers, and a benevolent lady who resided in the neighborhood used to make 
him frequent presents, only asking in return that he should laugh for her, which 
he did to order, with a will which made the neighborhood resound. This Ira was 
the last of the old African Governors. 

A path twenty feet wide led from this house to the lot on the north, on 
which stood Col. Leffingwell's (later Charles Lathrop's) stone-ware kiln and shop. 
This was one of the numerous enterprises of Col. Leffingvvell, started about the 
time of the Revolution, in which he was succeeded by his son-in-law, Charles 
Lathrop, in 1793. It is possibly the one mentioned in Prime's " Pottery and Por- 
celain" as advertised in a newspaper of 1796, in which Christopher Potts & Son 
are named as successors of Charles Lathrop. In 181 1, it was the shop of Cary 
Throop, "subject to removal on notice to that effect," and before 1816 it seems 
to have disappeared. 



CHAPTER XIV. 

THE land beyond the pottery kiln, extending to the brook, was the garden 
and barn lot of Ebenezer Carew, part of which was inherited from his 
wife's grandfather. Col. Simon Lathrop, and part purchased in 1776 of Rufus 
Lathrop. The land on the north side of the street, now a precipitous sandy bank, 
much cut away in places, was formerly a sloping grassy incline where, after the 
marriage of Ebenezer Carew and Eunice Huntington in 177 1, the bride's grand- 
father. Col. vSimon Lathrop, presented them with a house-lot (frontage 6 rods). 
Here Ebenezer, who was a carpenter, built his house and shop. In 1776, he 
purchased the adjoining land on the south (frontage 3 rods), of Rufus Lathrop. 
The shop, which in the early part of this century was occupied as a house by 
Lydia and Thankful Jones, daughters of Benjamin and Thankful (Vergason) 
Jones, has long since disappeared. About the middle of this century, the house 
was moved across the street, and is now owned by Mrs. Moore, and occupied 
by several families. All that remains to indicate the former situation of the old 
homestead, is a clump of lilac bushes, standmg up on the bank, almost directly 
opposite its present site. 

In the early part of the eighteenth century, three brothers. Palmer, Joseph 
and Thomas Carew came to Norwich. Palmer married in 1730, Hannah Hill of 
New London. Thomas married in 1724, Abigail, daughter of Daniel Huntington, 
and Joseph in 1730, Mary, the sister of Abigail. 

A Thomas* Carew came in 1679 to Boston, in the ship Benjamin from 
Barbadoes, and it is possible that he was the ancestor of the Carews who 
came to Norwich. A Thomas Carew, possibly this Thomas, or perhaps his son. 



* Possibly son or brother of Richard Carew, who at that time owned a plantation in Bar- 
badoes. 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 85 

married, sometime before 1700, Anna Tompson (b. 1676), daughter of Benjamin 
Tompson, the famous sehoolmaster and town clerk of Braintrce, Mass., who, 
according- to the record of his successor in the last named office, was " a Practi- 
tioner of Physick for about 30 years, during which time he kept a Grammar 
School in Boston, Charlestown, & Braintry & having left behind him a weary 
world, 8 children, & 28 grand- children, he died Apr. 13, 17 14, & lieth buried in 
Roxbur}', iVtatis sue 72." On his tombstone, he is called "the Renowned Poet of 
New England." Benjamin's father was the Rev. William Tompson, the first 
pastor of Braintree, and also one of the earliest missionaries sent to evangelize 
Virginia, whom Cotton Mather describes in his Magnalia as of 

"Tall comely presence, life unsoiled with stain." 

The births of John and Thomas Carew are recorded in Boston, and a 
daughter Anne is soon after born in Braintree. The records of birth of Palmer 
and Joseph have not yet been found. Benjamin Tompson had a daughter Elinor 
who married (i) Rev. Elcazer Moody, and (2) Rev. Thomas Symmes of Boxford, 
and we must acknowledge that the mention of " my aunt Elinor Symmes " in the 
will of Joseph Carew, forms the very slender clue, by which this lineage was 
traced, but we think, as far as it goes, it is probably correct. 

Ebcnezer Carew (b 1745), was the son of Joseph and Mary (Huntington) 
Carew, and married in 1771, his cousin Eunice (b. 1747), daughter of Jonathan 
and Eunice (Lathrop) Huntington. According to the Norwich Packet, Eunice 
Carew died in 1785, in the thirty-eighth year of her age, '"after languishing five 
years under a hectick disorder," and Ebenczer married in 1786, Mehetabel Gar- 
diner (b. 1753), daughter of Samuel and Abigail Gardiner of New London. Her 
parents were cousins, and both were grandchildren of John, the third "Lord of 
Gardiner's Isle." 

In 1779, Charles Staebehen from Berlin, proposes to teach the French 
language, and asks those desirous to learn, to call upon him at Ebcnezer Carew's. 
Ebenezer Carew died in iSoi, and his son Ebenczer (b. 1.778), lived for a 
time in the homestead, and married in 1S15, Sally, daughter of Edward and 
Mercy (Denison) Eels of Stonington. In iSor, he took the drug business of Daniel 



86 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

Lathrop Coit, in the shop on the side-hill next to Dr. Joshua Lathrop's house, as 
Mr. Coit was intending to move to New York. 

The road between the Carew house and the one next above, described in 
former days, a long, winding curve, crossing the brook by a bridge, but about the 
middle of this century, under the superintendence of Wolcott Huntington, the 
present road was filled in, and made to lead in almost a straight line to the 
church. It was possibly about this time, that the Carew house was moved across 
the street. 



CHAPTER XV. 

THE brook, which we are now approaching-, formed the eastern bound of the 
Rev. James Fitch's home-lot, which, beginning- at the river, and following 
for part of the way the line of the brook, and beyond this, the eastern bound of 
the oldest part of the cemetery, came out on the street leading by the Green, 
just north of the house of Miss Grace McClellan, and from here the street front- 
age extended to the river. The record gives the home-lot as ii acres, " more or 
less," of meadow and upland, abutting south on the river 41 rods, east on land 
of John Olmstead 20 rods, south on land of John Olmstead 8 rods, east on Thomas 
Adgate i4>^ rods, north on Lt. Thomas Tracy 15 rods, east on Lt. Thomas Tracy 
8 rods, 4 ft., north on land of Simon Huntington 18 rods, east on land of Simon 
Huntington 29^ rods (changed in the record from 19 rods, 12 ft.), the line then 
runs 2 rods east over the brook, then north 2 rods, 4 ft., then north-west 4 rods, 
then abuts north on the land of Simon Huntington 8}4 rods (changed from 14 
rods), to the street, then the line runs south, south-west and south to the river 
69^ rods, abutting north-west and west on "the Town Green," and "west on the 
highway. Three acres of this land is given by the Rev. James Fitch to 
his eldest son James, which includes the old part of the cemetery, and all that 
part of the home lot, north of the cemetery lane. In 1702, the rest of the Fitch 
home lot is sold to John Waterman, and the Waterman heirs later dispose of the 
land on the north side of the street to various purchasers. 

The small house just beyond the brook, was built by Zebadiah Lathrop 
shortly before 1790, on a part of the Fitch home-lot (frontage 6 rods, 10 1.), 
purchased of Dr. Joshua Lathrop, to whom it had been conveyed in 1768. In 
1792, Zebadiah deeds it to his son Asa. In 1800, Asa sells it to Moses Cole or 
Cowles, and since that time, it has had many owners. In 1S24, it is purchased 



88 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 




- ^ -^^^^P^^^Jl^^^^ " 



by the widow Mary Clegg ; 
in 1836, it is sold to Charles 
Robinson; in 1858, Nancy 
Chapman becomes the 
owner. It is now owned 
by Thomas McGarrity. 
Zebadiah Lathrop 
(b. 1725), was the son of 
Nathaniel Lathrop, who 
kept the tavern on the 
Green. He married Clor- 
inda Backus (b. 1730), 

daughter of the Rev. Simon Backus, and his wife, Eunice Edwards, a sister of the 

celebrated Rev. Jonathan Edwards of Stockbridge, Mass., and daughter of Rev. 

Timothy Edwards of East Windsor, Ct. One may infer that Clorinda Lathrop was a 

superior woman, as her mother and grandmother were highly educated for those 

days ; the former, after receiving from her father a collegiate education, spending 

some time at a finishing school in Boston. Zebadiah and Clorinda had four sons 

and one daughter. The son Asa, who inherited the home, was a shoemaker. 

He married in 1793, Rachel, daughter of Ebenezer Jones. He occupied for a 

time a shoemaker's shop on the Green near the residence of his father-in-law. 

The house, standing on high ground next to Zebadiah Lathrop's, is also on 

Fitch land, which was sold 

in 1760, by Nathaniel 

Backus (to whom it had 

been conveyed by the 

Waterman heirs), to John 

Avery, and by John Avery 

in 1762, to Jabez Avery, 

who builds the house. 

The frontage of the lot 

was i3'_> rods. 




OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 89 

Jabez Avery (b. 1733), was the son of John and Lydia (Smith) Avery of 

Preston. He is said to have married (i) Lydia (though the record of his 

first marriage we have not found), and (2) in 1761 Lucy, daughter of Richard and 
Lucy (Perkins) Bushnell. He was a coachmaker, and died in 1779 of the small 
pox, leaving a widow and seven small children, five sons and two daughters. 
His widow, Lucy, died in 1788. In 1776, John Saltmarsh, a leather breeches- 
maker from London, "just arrived from Lyme," advertises "to make all sorts of 
of doe and buckskin breeches at Jabez Avery's near the Court House." A black- 
smith shop formerly stood between this house and the Zebadiah Lathrop house, 
but this had disappeared before 1790. In 1806, the Jabez Avery heirs sell this 
house to John Sterry. 

John Sterry (b. 1766), was the son of Roger and Abigail (Holms) Sterry 
of Preston. He married in 1792, Rebecca Bromley, daughter of Bethuel and 
Arabella (Herrick) Bromley of Preston. After serving an apprenticeship, John, 
and his brother. Consider, began business as booksellers and bookbinders at Nor- 
wich Landing. They were self-taught, and in many ways, remarkable men, with 
a special genius for mathematics. They wrote and published "The American 
Youth," a new and complete course of arithmetic and mathematics, the first 
volume of which appeared in 1788. In 1793, they removed to Norwich Town, and 
John occupied for some years, we believe, the Strong house, and there for a time 
established his book store. In 1795, he was associated in business with Nathaniel 
Patten, as the firm of vS terry & Patten. In 1806, he moved to this house on the 
" cross highway." Without previous instruction in the art, he undertook, and 
carried on successfully the manufacture of marble paper, m companv with 
Epaphras Porter, and with the latter, and his brother Consider, issued from 
1804 to 1807, a newspaper called "The True Republican." About 1816, he 
operated also a silk-spinning factory. In ]8oo. he assisted in organizing the 
First Baptist Church of Norwich, of which he was ordained Elder, an office 
which he held till his death in 1823. Miss Caulkins says :— " He was a fluent 
and forcible speaker, and large demands were made upon him in the way of 
preaching and exhortation." His salary was " a mere pittance." As one of his 
sons remarked :— " He preached for nothing, and furnished his own meeting-house." 



90 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

He was a devoted Free Mason, and the following account of his funeral was 
taken from the journal of a thirteen-year old school girl : 

Thursday, Nov. 6th. "This morning, I heard the bell toll for Mr. Sterry, 
pastor of the Baptist Church in Chelsea, who died after a lingering illness, which 
he bore with Christian fortitude." 

Friday, Nov. 7th, 1823. "This afternoon the Rev. Mr. Sterry was buried 
with masonic honors — the procession attended the mourners from the house of 
the deceased to the Court House, where a sermon was preached by Eldef Wilcox 
— the procession was then formed again, and proceeded to the burying-yard — 
first came a man with a drawn sword — ^then stewards with white rods— after these 
a long procession of masons with white aprons which is their badge of mourning 
— then the Holy Scriptures on a black velvet cushion borne by the oldest member 
of the lodge — then stewards with black rods — then the hearse with four clergy- 
men for pall-bearers — followed by the mourners and other citizens. When they 
arrived at the grave the masons formed a circle around it, and the service was 
read by Dr. Eaton — then they threw into the grave a white apron as the emblem 
of innocence, and a right-hand glove then they walked round the grave, and each 
one cast in a sprig of evergreen." 

In 1829, the property was sold to Luther Case. 

In 1753 and 1756, Capt. Joseph Winship buys that part of the Fitch land, 
which is now the property of the Hon. John T. Wait, and Mrs. Cynthia Backus. 
He purchased the part nearest the Green (frontage 5 r., 12 ft.), in 1753, ^^"^ land 
adjoining the Avery lot (frontage 8 r., 12 ft.), in 1756. Before 1761, he resides 
with his brother-in-law, Samuel Manning, who has married his sister Anna. 
About 1761 he builds the house now occupied by the Hon. John T. Wait. 

Capt. Joseph Winship (b. 1727), was a descendant of Edward Winship of 
Charlestown, Mass. He, and his brother Philemon, with whom he came to Nor- 
wich, were both sea captains. Joseph married in 1750, Elizabeth, daughter of 
Jabez Lathrop, and had four sons and four daughters. We read in the town 
records, that "Capt. Joseph Winship sailed from New London, the nth of Octo- 
ber, 1765, and was spoke with on the coast the i8th of December following in a 
storm, and hath not since been heard of, but 'tis supposed was lost in sd storm. 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 



9' 



his son Joseph being on board with him." His daiighter EHzabeth, at the age 
of fourteen, was summoned to appear before Justice Richard Hyde in 1770, and 




answer to the heinous charge of walking "in the street" with another young 
girl, and some young boys of the town on the Sabbath Day, "upon no religious 
occasion." In 1S05, the Winship heirs sell the house and land, to Asahel Case, 
who moves here from the upper road. In 1S31, the property is sold to Thomas 
Tilden, and in 1842, is purchased by the Hon. John T. Wait. A drive, or "gang- 
way," as it was called, branched off from the old highway near the house now 
owned by Mrs. Backus, and passing in front of the Winship house, led up to the 
Avery homestead. This was purchased by Mr. Vv^ait in 1S42, and is now a part 
of the main highway. 

In 1783, and 1785, Frederick and Rockwell Manning purchase in two parcels, 
the land on which now stands the house of Airs. Backus. In the 1783 purchase, 
a hatter's shop was included. In 17S6, Rockwell Manning purchases the share of 
his brother Frederick, and builds the house, which stood for many years on the lot, 
and a few years ago was purchased by Fitch Allen, and moved down the street 
next to the Porter house, where it is still standing. Rockwell Manning advertises, 
in the Norwich Packet of 1785, that he "carries on the stone-cutting and engraving 



92 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 




business at his house in the City of Norwich, or at the house of Mr. William 
Bingham's in Canterbury. Any that are desirous of having the American 

marble which makes elegant Tables - _ - , 

may be furnished by sd Manning." 
In 1793, he deeds his house and land 
in Norwich to his son, Mansur, and 
daughter, Sally, who sell in i8c6 
and 1S09 to Luther Spalding. In 
181 1, the property is purchased by 
William Baldwin, who, we believe, 
resides here till his death. In 1820, 
his widow, Ahce Baldwin, in ex- 
change for a house on "Pork Street," ' 
sells this house to Nabby (Lord) Tracy, wife of Mundator Tracy. Nabby Tracy 
died in 1821, and Eleazer Lathrop afterward occupied the house for many years. 
When the old house was moved from the lot a few years ago, the present 
house of Mrs. Backus was erected. We have not been able to find the record 
of birth or parentage of Rockwell Manning, but he married in 1783 Sarah 
Answorth of Canterbur}^ and had two children, Mansur (b. 17S3), and Sally 
(b. 1788). 

In 1750, David and Elizabeth Waterman sell 40 rods of land, "lying near 
our small dwelling house bounded by the highway to the Burying Place, at the 
north-east end of our lot," to Samuel Manning. This lot extended 12 rods, 3 ft., 
on the highway to the Burying Place, then south 17'' w 6f2 rods, then north-west 
13 rods, 3 ft., to a point to the first corner. Here Samuel Manning builds a 
house. In 1753, he sells one-half of this house to his brother-in-law, Joseph Win- 
ship, and the two families reside together until 1761, when Joseph deeds his share 
of the house to Samuel. 

Samuel Manning (b. 1723), was the son of Capt. John and Abigail (Winship) 
Manning of Windham, Ct., and a descendant of William Manning, a prominent 
and wealthy citizen of Cambridge, Mass. He married in 1746, his own cousin 
Anne, daughter of Joseph Winship of Charlestown, ]\Iass., and came to Norwich 




Diah Manning. 

1760-1815. 

Driim-Hajor of Washington's body-g-aard. who carried to Maj. Andre 
his last "breakfast on the morning of his execution. 



[Copied from one of those old miniatures, in which the face alone is painted, the coat is of cloth, and fitted to 
the figure, and the hair is made of wool or fia.x, and tied into a queue.] 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 



93 



to reside. He died in 1783, and the widow Anne, danghter Euniee, and son 
Diah inherited the house, and the garden and shop were left to the son Roger, 
who died shortly after, and this part of the property passed later into the posses- 





sion of the Winships, and a part of it was sold to Eliphalet Carevv, who in 1S16, 
sells it to William Clegg. The shop, which stood on Roger Manning's land, may 
have been the hatter's shop, which was later sold to Frederick and Rockwell Man- 
ning, but of this we are not certain. 

Diah Manning (b. 1760), married in 17S4, Anna Gilford, daughter of James 
and Susanna (Hubbard) Gilford. He was for many years the bell-ringer of 
Norwich Town and a famous drummer as well. Both he and his brother, Roger, 
serv^ed as drummers during the Revolutionary war. In 1775, Roger was in Col. 
Israel Putnam's regiment, and Diah in the Eighth regiment under Col. Jedediah 
Huntington. At Valley Forge, in 1778, both the brothers were among the picked 
men chosen to serve in Washington's body-guard. 

Diah Manning's son, Asa (b. 1795), was also a drummer in the war of 1812, 
and from the history of Norwich, we quote his own account of the battle of 
Lundy's Lane. " There were some 45 of us Norwich boys, who fought at Lundy's 



94 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

Lane, some of whom laid down their lives on that bloody field, and all fought 
with courageous gallantry. We brought off our flag, though it was shot from the 
staff, and riddled with 30 or 40 bullet holes." 

The family of Diah Manning were extremely kind in their attentions to a 
young Haytien mulatto, who had been taken prisoner in iSoo, by an American 
ship, during the Haytien war, and brought with several others of his countrymen 
to Norwich. This young mulatto, Jean Pierre Boyer, afterward became the Presi- 
dent of the Republic of Hayti, and nearly twenty years afterward, sent a present 
of $400 each to the widows of Consider Sterry and Diah Manning, in return for 
their kindness to him in his captivity. The family of Diah Manning continued 
to reside here until 1S13, when the house is sold to William Clegg, a recently 
naturalized Englishman, whose occupation was that of a blacksmith. 




CHAPTER XVI. 



JUST across the street from the Manning house, stood the house of the Rev. 
James Fitch. At the time of his occupancy, there was no road through 
the property, only a narrow foot-path, and the house stood, probably, facing the 
Green, about on the site of the one now occupied by William Lathrop. Rev. James 
Fitch was born in 1622, in the town of Bocking, Essex Co., England. His father 
was a clothier, and evidently a man of means. In his will, probated in 1632, he 
leaves ^100 to his son James, "to be paid him when he shal be a batchelor of art 
of two yeares standinge in the univ'sity of Cambridge," and also "^^30 a year from 
the tyme of his admission to be a scholler in Cambridge until he be or have 
tyme then to be a master of arts." In his will, he remembers his loving friends, 
Mr. Hooker and Mr. Nathaniel Rogers, who were possibly the two distinguished 
divines, who afterward came to New England. The widow Anne and three of 
the sons, Thomas, Samuel, and Joseph, came to America in 1638. 

At the time of James's arrival in this country he was only sixteen years 
of age. He finished his theological studies imder the direction of the Rev. 
Thomas Hooker of Hartford. In 1646, he was ordained pastor of the church at 



96 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

Saybrook, and here he remained until 1660, when, though urgently desired to stay 
in Saybrook, he finally decided, after much meditation and prayer, or as Dr. 
Strong-, in his anniversary sermon, says, " under the influence of imperious circum- 
stances," to go with the majority of his church members to found the town of 
Norwich. 

Shortly after his arrival at the new settlement, the Hartford church extended 
to him a flattering call to be their pastor, but though this offered him a wider 
field and greater influence, his only reply was, " With whom then, shall I leave 
these few poor sheep in the wilderness.?" He was devoted to his people, and 
they retained to the last a deep affection for him. 

Mr. Fitch was considered a man of great learning, and was called by Cotton 
Mather, "the holy, acute and learned Mr. Fitch." A few of his writings remain : 
— A sermon preached on the death of Mrs. Anne Mason, wife of Major Mason, 
and a small volume containing a treatise on the reformation of those evils, which 
have been the procuring cause of the late judgments upon New England ; the 
Norwich Covenant, which was solemnly renewed by the church, March 22, 1675, 
and a brief discourse proving that the first day of the week is the Christian 
Sabbath. He preached in 1674, the oldest election sermon on record in Connec- 
ticut, from the text, " For I, saith the Lord, will be unto her a wall of fire round 
about, and will be the glory in the midst of her." Mr. Fitch took a deep interest 
in the Indians, learned their language, preached to them, and befriended especially 
those who were rendered homeless by King Philip's war. He obtained a grant 
of land for them to settle upon, on Waweekus Hill, near Bozrah, but for some 
reason, the settlement was never made. But in 1678 a small Indian village was 
formed between the Shetucket and Quinebaug rivers. These Indians were called 
" the vShowtucketts." They lingered here for a while, but gradually became extinct. 

In 1676, during a great drought, the Indians, having exhausted all their 
incantations, applied to Mr. Fitch, who promised to pray for rain, if Uncas would 
acknowledge, before all his people, that the Indian powwows had been in vain ; and 
that if rain should come in answer to Mr. Fitch's prayer, he should know that 
God had sent it. As Mr. Fitch says, " the next day there was such plenty of 
rain that our river rose more than two feet in height." 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 97 

The Indians were warmly attached to Mr. Fitch, and gave him several 
grants of land, one of 120 acres near what is now the town of Lebanon, and 
another of a tract five miles in length, and one in breadth, called "Mr. Fitch's 
Mile." These lands now form part of the town of Lebanon, the name of which 
was suggested to Mr. Fitch, by the height of the land, and a large cedar forest, 
lying within the limits of the Mile. 

In 1694, Mr. Fitch was rendered unable to preach by a stroke of palsy, but 
though his people were obliged to seek another pastor, they paid yearly to Mr. 
Fitch from ^30 to ^70 until his death. In 1695, a settlement was made in 
Lebanon, to which removed four of Mr. Fitch's sons, Jeremiah, Nathaniel, Joseph, 
and Eleazer ; and in 1701, Mr. Fitch retired there to end his days. He died in 
1702, in the eightieth year of his age, and lies buried there in the old cemetery. 
On his gravestone is a long Latin inscription, said to have been written by his 
son. Rev. Jabez Fitch, which, translated, reads : — 

"In this tomb are deposited the remains of the truly Reverend Mr. James 
Fitch ; born at Bocking, in the county of Essex, England, Dec. 24, 1622 :— who 
after he had been well instructed in the learned languages, came to New England 
at the age of 16, and passed seven years under the instruction of those eminent 
divines, Mr. Hooker and Mr. Stone. Afterward he discharged the pastoral ofiEice 
at Saybrook for 14 years, from whence, with the greater part of his church, he 
removed to Norwich, and there spent the succeeding years of his life, engaged in 
the work of the Gospel, till age and infirmity obliged him to withdraw from pub- 
lic labor. At length he retired to his children at Lebanon, when scarcely half a 
year had passed, when he fell asleep in Jesus, Nov. 18, 1702, in the Soth year of 
his age. He was a man for penetration of mind, solidity of judgment, devotion 
to the sacred duties of his office, and entire holiness of life, as also for skill and 
energy in preaching, inferior to none." 

Mr. Fitch married (i), in 1648, Abigail, daughter of the Rev. Henr}' Whit- 
field of Guilford, who, as his successor in the ministry, Rev. Thomas Ruggles, 
writes, was " a well-bred gentleman, a good scholar, a great divine, and an excellent 
preacher." He was the son of an eminent English lawyer, and was settled at 
one time over a parish at Ockham, Co. Surry. Censured by Bishop Laud for 



98 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

not reading the royal proclamation for sports on the Sabbath, he resigned his 
living and came to America in 1637. Later, he went to found the town of 
Guilford, Ct., where he officiated as minister for 12 years. He built as a house 
for himself, and also as a fort for the protection of the settlers, the stone house, 
which is still standing in Guilford. In 1650, he returned to England, and died 
at Winchester, where it is said that he was settled as a minister. His daughter, 
Abigail Fitch, died in 1659, and in 1664, the Rev. James Fitch married Priscilla, 
daughter of Major John Mason. He had a large family of sons and daughters. 
James, the eldest son, resided for a while in Norwich, then went to found the 
town of Canterbury ; Samuel settled in Preston, Daniel at Montville, John in 
Windham ; Jabez lived in Ipswich, Mass., and Portsmouth, N. H., and Jeremiah, 
Eleazer, Joseph, and Nathaniel, made their homes in Lebanon. The daughters 
are said to have been very handsome and attractive. Abigail, the eldest, married 
Capt. John Mason, 2nd ; Hannah, Thomas Mix or Meeks ; Dorothy became the 
wife of Nathaniel Bissell ; Anna of Joseph Bradford ; and Elizabeth married 
the Rev. Edward Taylor, who had been one of her father's theological students. 
A quaint and curious love-letter from the Rev. Edward to his lady-love, is still 
extant. On the letter, is drawn a carrier dove with an olive branch in its mouth, 
and this inscription on its back, " this Dove and olive branch to you is both a 
post and emblem too." 

The address reads : — 

" For my friend and only beloved 
Miss Elizabeth Fitch 
at her father's house in Norwich." 

"Westfield, Mass, S'.'l day of the 7"! Month, 1674. 
"My Dove 

" I send you not my heart, for that I hope is sent to Heaven long since, and 
imless it has awfully deceived me it has not taken up its lodgings in any one's 
bosom on this side the royal city of the Great King ; but yet the most of it that 
is allowed to be layed out upon any creature doth safely and singly fall to your 
share. 

" So much my post pigeon presents you with here in these lines. Look not (I 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 99 

entreat you) on it as one of love's hyperboles. If I borrow the beams of some spark- 
ling metaphor to illustrate my respects unto thyself by, for you having my breast 
the cabinet of your atTections as I yours mine, I know not how to offer a fitter 
comparison to set out my love by, than to compare it unto a golden ball of pure 
fire rolling up and down my breast, from which there fiies now and then a spark 
like a glorious beam from the body of the flaming sun. But alas I striving to 
catch these sparks into a love letter unto yourself, and to gild it with them as 
with a sunbeam, find that by what time they have fallen through my pen upon 
my paper, they have lost their shine, and fall only like a little smoke thereon 
instead of gilding them. Wherefore finding myself so much deceived, I am ready 
to begrudge my instruments, for though my love within m}' breast is so large that 
my heart is not sufificient to contain it, yet they can make it no more room to 
ride into than to squeeze it up betwixt my black ink and white paper. But know- 
that it is the coarsest part that is couchant there, for the finest is too fine to 
clothe in any linguist and huswifry, or to be expressed in words, and though this 
letter bears but the coarsest part to you, yet the purest is improved for you. But 
now, my dear love, lest my letter should be judged the lavish language of a 
lover's pen, I shall endeavor to show that conjugal love ought to exceed all 
other love. 

" ist. appears from that which it represents, viz : The respect there is betwixt 
Christ and his church. Eph. 5th, 25th, although it differs from that in kind ; for 
that is spiritual, and this human, and in degree, that is boundless and transcend- 
ant, this limited and subordinate ; yet it holds out that this should be cordial 
and with respect to all other transcendant. 

" 2nd. Because conjugal love is the ground of conjugal union, or conjugal 
sharing the effects of this love, is also a ground of this union. 

"3rd. From those Christian duties which are incumbent on persons in this 
State as not only serving God together, a praying together, a joining in the ruling 
and instructing their family together, which could not be carried on as it should 
be without a great degree of true love, and also a mutual giving each other to 
each other, a mutual succoring each other, in all states, ails, grievances ; and how 
can this be when there is not a love exceeding all other " love to any creature ? 



ioo OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

And hereby if persons in this state have not love exceeding all love, it's with 
them for the most part as with the strings of an instrument not tuned up, when 
struck upon makes but a jarring harsh sound. But when we get the wires of an 
instrument equally drawn up, and rightly struck upon, sound together, make 
sweet music whose harmony doth ravish the ear ; so when the golden strings of 
true affection are strung up into a right conjugal love, thus sweetly doth this 
state then harmonize to the comfort of each other and to the glory of God when 
sanctified. But yet, the conjugal love must exceed all other, yet it must be kept 
within bounds, for it must be subordinate to God's glory, the which that mine 
may be so, it having got you in its heart, doth offer my heart with you in it 
as a more rich sacrifice unto God through Christ, and so it subscribeth me yr 
true love till death. 

Edward Taylor." 

Several other young men studied for the ministry with the Rev. Mr. Fitch. 
Rev. Eliphalet Adams of New London was under his instruction, also the Rev. 
Samuel Whiting of Windham, who married, in 1696, Elizabeth Adams, the half- 
sister of Eliphalet, and step-daughter of Maj. James Fitch. 

The date of the death of Priscilla, wife of Rev. James Fitch, is unknown. 

In Feb., 1702, the Rev. James Fitch and his son Daniel, to whom he has deeded 
part of the house, sell the property to John Waterman (husbandman), in all, 9^^ 
acres, with the buildings — bounded south on the river 41 rods, west on the high- 
way leading to the river 31 rods, bounded north on ]\Iaj. James Fitch 64 rods, abut- 
ting east 20 rods on land formerly John Olmstead's, south 8 rods on Olmstead land, 
east 14^ rods on land of Thomas Adgate, and bounded north 15 rods on land 
of Thomas Tracy. 

John Waterman (b. 1672), was the son of Lt. Thomas and Miriam (Tracy) 
Waterman, whose home-lot was on the road to Bean Hill. He married (i) 1701, 
Elizabeth, daughter of Samuel and Hannah (Adgate) Lathrop, who died in 170S. 
He married (2) 1709, Judith Woodward, daughter of Peter Woodward of Ded- 
ham, and sister of the Rev. John Woodward, second minister of the Norwich 
church. He married for the third time, in 1721, Elizabeth Basset, possibly daugh- 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. loi 

ter of David Basset of Boston, Mass., and if so, of Huguenot descent. He had 
eleven children. One of his daughters, Hannah, married (i) Absalom King and (2) 
Benedict Arnold, and was the mother of the traitor. After the death of John 
Waterman, the widow and her son, David Basset Waterman, lived in the homestead 
until 1755, when they transfer the property to Nathaniel Backus, Jr., husband of 
Elizabeth Waterman, and he sells it to Eleazer Lord, who at that time is residing 
on a farm in the Weciuonnock region. In 1760, Eleazer Lord, Sen., deeds to 
Eleazer Lord, Jun., one acre of this lot (which is the corner where the house of 
William Lathrop now stands), abutting 4 rods on the cross-lot highway, and 30 
rods on the highway to the river. There is no mention of a house on the prop- 
erty, and it is probably about this time that Eleazer Lord, Jun., builds the one 
now standing on the lot, which, according to family tradition, was built in 
forty days. Eleazer Lord, Sr., was the son of Benjamin and Elizabeth (Pratt) 
Lord of Saybrook, Ct. He married (r) Zerviah, daughter of Dea. Thomas Leffing- 
well, and again in 1754, Abigail, widow of Thomas Mumford of Groton, Ct. 

Eleazer Lord, Jun., married, in 1753, his cousin Elizabeth, daughter of the 
Rev. Benjamin Lord, and had two daughters, Nabby (b. 1754), and Elizabeth, 
(b. 1757). The former married (as second wife), Mundator Tracy in 17S6, and 
Elizabeth married, in 1780, Asa Lathrop (b. 1755), son of Nathaniel Lathrop, 2nd. 
P^leazer Lord, Jun., must have built his house sometime between 1760, when the 
land is deeded to him by his father, and 1773, the year his father's will is made, 
in which the house is mentioned. Here he keeps an inn for manv years, which 
was much frequented by the lawyers, who came to attend the sessions of the 
court at Norwich. Among the constant patrons of the Lord tavern were two 
New London lawyers, Gil-bert Saltonstall (son of Gen. Gurdon Saltonstall), and 
Judge Marvin Wait. 

Judge Marvin Wait was born at Lyme in 1746. He was the son of Richard, 
and Elizabeth (Marvin) Wait of Lyme, and married for his first wife, in 1779, 
Martha (or Patty) Jones of New London, and (2), in 1805, Harriet (Babcock) 
Saltonstall, widow of Gilbert Saltonstall, and (3), in 18 10, Nancy Turner, daughter 
of Dr. Philip and Lucy (Tracy) Turner of Norwich. He was a successful lawyer 
in New London, and for a time a partner of Gen. Samuel Holden Parsons of 



I02 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

Revolutionary fame. He retired from practice in 1800, was frequently a member 
of the State legislature, was a judge of the county court, a presidential elector at 
the first election of Gen. Washington, and was one of the council appointed to 
dispose of the lands belonging to the vState, and to establish a school fund. He 
died at New London in 1815. His wife returned to Norwich to reside, and died 
here in 1851. He had seven children by his first wife, one of whom, Harriet, 
married Francis Richards of New London, and another, Eliza, married Jedediah 
Huntington of Norwich, who as a memorial of his wife, established and endowed 




the Eliza Huntington Memorial Home for aged ladies. By his second wife, he 
had one son, Marvin (b. 1806), who resided for a time in Norwich, and died in 
Pensacola, Fla , in 1832, aged 26. Judge Wait's last wife was the mother of the 
Hon. John T. Wait, one of the most prominent lawyers of Norwich, and a member 
of Congress from 1876 to 1887, who, though eighty-four years old, still attends to 
an extensive law business, and is as hearty and vigorous, with a memory as clear, 
and a mind as keen, as in his younger days. 

Eleazer Lord died in 1809, leaving his property to his two daughters and 
his grandchildren. 

In 1810, Asa Lathrop moves to the inn to reside. His wife, Elizabeth, had 
died in 1805. Asa dies in 1835. The property descends through Asa's son, Eleazer, 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 103 

and the daughters, to William Baldwin Lathrop, son of Eleazer and Jerusha 
(Thomas) Lathrop, who still owns and occupies his great-grandfather's house. 

Shortly after the town was settled, a horse-bridge was built across the 
Yantic at the west of the Fitch lot, which, owing to frequent and disastrous 
freshets, was being constantly rebuilt. The more substantial wooden bridges 
later erected met the same fate. The present structure is of iron. 



CHAPTER XVII. 

To understand the division of lands on the east side of the main highway, 
from the Edgerton house to " Peck's corner," it will be necessary to first 
locate the lands allotted before 1705, the date of the earliest highway survey. 
At the settlement of the town, all the land on the east side of the street, except 
perhaps the home-lot of Josiah Read, was the town "commons," that is, land left 
open for general use, where the cattle could range at will. 

The records of the Read lands vary so much, and are so confused with 
purchases from, and sales to Jonathan Crane, who came to Norwich about 1679, 
that, though it is easy to fix the probable site of the house, it will be impossible 
to entirely settle the question of bounds. The Read barn was on the lot now occu- 
pied by the dwelling of Miss C. L. Thomas. The house stood probably near, or 
on the site of the present residence of Gardiner Greene. The property was owned 
in 1705 by Richard Bushnell. 

Just north of the Read house (leaving the Read home-lot a frontage of 
about 12 rods), began the orchard or barn-lot of Dea. Thomas Adgate, having a 
frontage of about 18 rods on the Read (later Bushnell) cartway, leading over the 
hill. The houses, standing at this time on the opposite side of the street, were 
that of vSamuel Lathrop, 2nd, where the Misses Gilman now reside, and the 
Adgate homestead on the upper part of the meadow below the house of Jabez 
Lathrop. This house of Mr. Lathrop was possibly the former home of Deacon 
Christopher Huntington, 2nd, and north of this, on the lot now occupied by the 
Rogers and Yerrington houses, stood the dwelling of the first Christopher Hunt- 
ington, which, in 1705, was in the possession of his son John. 

The Jonathan Crane house (owned in 1705 by Israel Lathrop), stood on the 



I. Jol^n Ketjnolds Hom&Lol , 1659 h r si division of land, /^^/ | 

Occupied bijJos ReLjOolds, //^i" 

E. roini Lol" owned bu Lh. Thomas LeffifApwell 

HI Thomas Bliss HonneLol-, /S5d. House occbi^ Samuel Bliss, /7^5. 

I?. L^. Thomas Leffinowells Home LoK 1659. Livmo l^ere, /705 

1 Land oranl-ed U 5^ephen Backas Sold l-o Or Caleb Basbnell bi^SkphenSackus^Jr/Z^^ 
B Ension Thomas LeffiHowell s rirsV HomeLol'y^7.9 Occupied buThos.Lefbnowell 3' 1703 
^. Josepb Bushnells HomeLoK Purchase S' GranV^ /g^S. Livino lnere,/7^5". 

M. JoSiah Read S barn I oK Purchased o(- JonalKanCr<3ne. Owned bu Richard Bushnell, //^5 
IX Josiah Reads HomeUt , /^55(?'j Owned bi^ Richard Bashnell,/7^5 j 

X. Oea Thomas Adpal-£S orchard 3n<^ barn I oh. 

XI. Jonalin^n Cranes HomeLot", /6S5 Owned bi^ Israel Lamrop, 1705- 
TIT. Chns^opber Hunhnpl-on I5f S Home[.o\JS59 Owned 2<probablu occ bi^JohnHumtmoi-on,/ 7^5- . 
XDl. Chrisl-Qpher Hunbnobn ^ntj Pa rj- of his Faliaers Home LoK/^59. Livlno bere,/ 7^5- 
M. Dea Thomas Ad oafe , /^J9. L ivmoViere,/ 7/75- l, 
m. John Olmsfeads HonneLoL 7^55. Occupied bu Samuel Lallnrop, 2(), /705- 
M William Bachus Ist's Honne Lol-, 7559. Occupied bi^ EnsionThos Leffioowell, 1705. 
M Rev James Fifch (Pari- ol bis Home Lo^),/^J5. Occupied bij Johr^Waterrr^ah , J705. 
M Maj John Masons Home Lol, 755^. Grar^l-ecS bi^ Church 1-0 Mr.Woodvv/ard , JJOO- 
m. Parf of Rev.Mr Fikhs HomeLol,76'55. Sef oFf for burL|ing oroand . /S99 
M. Maj JamesFilchs HomeLokParfofRev.JdsFil-chsHomeLoL/^^a 

Occupied bi^ Rev/.JohnWoodwarc!, 17 05. 
5n."Mee^ng House" Plain Old Meehn^ Mouse sHIl sl-andm^ . I703 

OT St-ephen G'ffords Home LoK Houseprobablijdisjppeared "Parsonaoe " Und 1705. 

ffl. Simon Hunbngl-ons Home Lot/^55 (N.rlhsfde of sWeeK) House builf bi^ JohnArnold 

OvNne<) hu Simon HunHnol-or* , Jr , /705- 

SX5. Simon HuniinoUnJrS HomeLoK ParUf his falbers HomeLoF Given fohim .n /6SS-3 

Li\/ino nere^/TO 0. 



5 innon Hunhnofon 5r s Home Lol-, /^55. Liv/ino here m 1705- 

IXS. LhThosTraCLj's WoVf\e\^o\.JS59. Easl- house occ/ 7^5", buD-anielTracu Cross denol-es 
former sik of UT.TracLjS house, prokablq disappeared before /705 \Nes\- house occu- 
piecJ bui Dr SolomonTrdcu . 1105 ■ 

John Bradford s Howe Lo^, /^55 Owned bu S.'nnon HunHnohn ,Jr , 1705. 

Samuel Lamrop I si s Home Lo|- PurchasecJ,/^^^^ Nor[h house occ bu Jos L^fhrop^ HOS 

Ooum house occ bu IswclLalhrop, I105 
M Thomas Slumans Home Lof, /<f^3. House probablij disappeared before, \10b. 




ouses shil sbndinp. (895 

uses disappeared , 1895. 

uses possiblu exisKmo. 

^ ^ 189^. 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 105 

Lovett lot at the junction of the cross-roads, and the grounds extended below 
the Rudd house. The south part of the Rudd property, and the land on which 
now stands the house and barn of George Raymond, was owned formerly by 
Josiah Read, but, in 1705, was the orchard of Israel Lathrop. 

We will now give the 1705 surv^ey of the old highway, leading from the 
bridge over the Yantic, near the Norwich Town depot, to Mill Lane (now Lafay- 
ette street), but the part we shall especially consider, extends from Peck's corner 
to the Edgerton house. 

HIGHWAY SURVEY OF 1705. 

"The highway between Mr. John Woodwards^ lot and the lot of John Waterman- from 
the river to the Meetinghouse green to be four redds wide, and from sd Woodwards lot to the 
southeast corner of the Parsonage^ lott to be seven rodds & eleven foot, and from the Parson- 
age lott square cross the Green, att the north end of the Meeting-house^ to Mr. Woodwards^ 
fence to be twenty-three rodds and nine foot, and from the northwest corner of sd Wood- 
wards lott, cross the Green to the northeast corner of the Parsonage Lott. where it joynes to 
Simon Huntingtons" orchard, is ten rodds, and att the house of sd Simon Huntington^ four 
rodds wide, and from thence to the brook att Israel Lothrop's'* four rodds wide and of the same 
widdth five or six rodds beyond the brook and then the highwaye widens gradually to the south- 
east corner of sd Israels'' house lot, and from thence to the northeast corner of the lot belonging 
to the heirs of Christopher Huntington, Senior,'" the way to be nine rodds and ten foot from sd 
Huntingtons corner to Lothrops'' orchard four rodds wide, and from the southwest corner of 
sd Lothrops orchard to the fence of Christopher Huntington'- five rodds wide, and from sd 



^Mr. John Woodward's lot is that now occupied by the school-house, Sterry and Hale 
houses, and extended from the Green to the river. 

-John Waterman's lot is where the William Lathrop house now stands. 

3 The Parsonage lot extended from the chapel to Mediterranean lane. 

^Probably the first old Meeting house, no longer in use. 

■"^This is the home-lot of Mr. Woodward, and extended from the Burying-ground lane to 
the present house-lot of Rev. Wm. S. Palmer. 

''Simon Huntington's orchard was on the site of the house now owned by Rev. William 
Clark. 

"This is either the house of Simon Huntington, Jun., which stood on the site of the house 
recently occupied by Rev. C. A. Northrop, or the house of the first Simon Huntington, which stood 
between the Young and Dickey houses. 

■*This is the brook at the residence of Mrs. John White. 

'•'The corner by the house of Ira Peck. 

'"The corner by the house of H. Yerrington. 

"Lot where the Lovett, Rudd, and Raymond houses stand. 

'-The Jabez Lathrop and Potter houses stand on the former home-lot of Christopher Hunt- 
ington, 2nd. 



io6 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

Huntingtons fence up hill eastward to the north corner of Thomas Adgates'-' lot seventeen 
redds and six foot, att the house of sd Adgate^^ from his fence up the hill to his barn nine 
rodds two foot, from the southwest corner of Capt. Bushnellsi'' lott formerly belonging to Josiah 
Read westward to Thomas Adgates fence nine rodds from the northwest corner of sd Bush- 
nellsi" lott which lott joins to Joseph Bushnells' • lott from sd corner to Sargt. Samuel Lothrops' " 
fence westward ten rodds and thirteen foot, from the southwest corner of Joseph Bushnell's barn 
lott to sd Lothrops fence westward nine rodds, and from sd lothrops fence up the hill east- 
ward to the fence of Joseph Bushnell on the west side of his house^" twenty-five rodds ten foot, 
from Ensign Thomas Leffingwells ware-house-" up the hill to his lot by his barn-i nine rodds 
wide, the street between Lt. Thomas Leffingwells-- and Samuel Blisses--' home lotts and so to 
to the mill path to be four rodds wide," &c. 

A great width of open land or " Common " is included in the general term 
"highway" from Christopher Huntington, 2nd's, house to Lt. Thomas Leflfingwell's, 
but the traveled road for carts and horses, turning up the hill just beyond the 
Adgate house, led back of where now stands the Thurston and Donahue houses, 
and branched near the Harland house ; one branch coming into the main road 
nearly opposite the Leffingwell Inn, and the other passing back of the Edgerton 
house into the Sentry Hill road. Another highway turned " out of the Town 
street by Samuel Lothrops between the lots of Capt. Richard Bushnell att the 
narrowest place three rodds wide." This is the present highway between the 
houses of Miss C. L. Thomas and Gardiner Greene. 

Beyond the Adgate house, was the ravine mentioned by Miss Caulkins, 



i^The orchard and barn lot of Thomas Adgate are now a part of the propert}' occupied by 
Gardiner Greene. 

'^The Adgate house stood in the upper part of the meadow just below the Jabez Lathrop 
house. 

1^ Lower corner of the property now occupied by Gardiner Greene. 

'"The northwest corner of Miss Carrie Thomas' house-lot. 

''The Joseph Bushnell lot began half way across the garden of Miss Carrie Thomas and 
the house faced on the upper road. 

'**The Samuel Lathrop lot extended from Gager's lane to the north garden wall of the 
Gilman grounds. 

'■'The site of the Bushnell house was possibly near the bars in the lot above the Pierce 
house on the Sentry Hill road. 

-"The ware-house stood possibly on the later site of Leffingwell row. 

-'The barn stood possibly where now is the Harland garden. 

--Now the residence of William Bliss. 

^^Now the residence of Angel Stead. 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 107 

" with a pitch of several feet, through which, in times of abundant rain, a gurgling- 
stream, formed by rivulets trickling down Sentry Hill passed into the dense alder 
swamp below." This was "the dark and dolorous swamp,* antecedently the haunt 
of wolves and venomous serpents, from whence it is said, often at nightfall low 
howlings issued, and phosphorescent lights were seen, very fearful and appalling to 
the early planters." 

Mr. Henry McNelly remembers being told in his youth by an old resi- 
dent, of his having heard an old lady narrate, that she once saw a bear shot in 
this swamp, now a fair and open meadow. For wild animals abounded in those 
early days, wolves, foxes, wild cats, deer and bears, and rattlesnakes were so 
numerous that large premiums were offered for their destruction. 

On Feb. 4, 1737-8, the proprietors order in meeting that some common 
lands shall be sold, and appoint Messrs. Hezekiah Huntington, Simon Tracy and 
Richard Hyde "a commete " to sell "some of ye sd Common land lying in the 
Town platt between Ebenezer Lothrop's orchard and ye end of ye hill by Thomas 
Leffingwell's house and to attend ye following method, (viz.) to convey and lay 
out Lotts of sd Land and number the same, No Lott to be more than 4 Rods 
wide fronting on the street Westward, and so to run up ye Hill Eastward, leav- 
ing a highway on the hill at ye Rere of ye Lotts one rod and a halfe wide, and 
leaving the Street or highway at the west end of ye Lotts 3 rods wide," and also 
" to sell of sd Lotts at publick Vandue to the highest bidder for money till they 
have sold to ye value of 80^ or 90^ money, the A^andue to begin at one of ye 
Clock on ye first day of March next at ye house of Mr. Thomas Lothrop leaving 
needful highways up ye hill." 

The auction was held, and enough lots, five in number, were sold to raise 
the required sum, and the rest of the land was then laid out in small lots, and 
distributed to various inhabitants of the town. One might infer from the great 
elevation of the Harland property, that where the road now passes below the 
house, there was formerly a steep bank, crossed perhaps by a foot-path. No record 
has been foimd of the time when this part of the main road was laid out, nor 
when the ravine was filled up in front of the Beach house, unless the clause in 

*]\Iiss Caulkins' History of Norwich. 



jo8 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

this act of 1737-8 "leaving the street at the west end of ye lots 3 rods wide," 
has reference to these changes in the highway. It is plain, however, from the 
evidence of deeds, that the road over the hill ceased about this time, or shortly 
before, to be the traveled highway. 



CHAPTER XVIII. 

Now, returning to the north bound of the Edgerton lot, the land between this 
point and the early south line of the Harland property came, in 1741 and 
1747, into the possession of Thomas Leffingwell, 4th, who lived in the " Edgerton " 
house ; that nearest to his house by grant, the land beyond by purchase. The 
purchased part was a piece of land, which had been granted to Isaac Cleveland 
in 1714, but not laid out to his heirs until 1734-5. This was opposite the Leffing- 
well ware-house, and, beginning about where the injured elm stands, abutted 
south-west on the street 5 rods, north-west 4 rods, north-east 4 rods, then south-east 
on a highway 5 rods, i ft. It was sold by the Cleveland heirs to Joshua Hunt- 
ington, and by him, in 1741, to Thomas Leffingwell. 

About 1780, Thomas Leffingwell leases land, beginning 4 rods, 9 ft. north 
of his house, where the remains of a cellar are still visible, to the firm of Tracy 
& Coit, and they possibly then build the shop, 50 ft. long and 32 ft. broad, in 
which they carry on for many years an extensive business. This shop was a 
long gambrelroofed one story and a half structure, and is well remembered by 
many, as it was burnt down only about fourteen years ago. 

Uriah Tracy and Joseph Coit were associated together as the firm of Tracy 
& Coit. The latter was the son of Joseph and vSarah (Mosier) Coit of New Lon- 
don. He was born in 1748, and died unmarried in 1807. Uriah Tracy (b. 1753), 
was the son of Joseph and Anna (Hinckley) Tracy. He married in 1794, Lydia 
Hallam of New London, who was said to have been engaged to Capt. Nathan 
Hale, "the martyr spy." Uriah Tracy buys in 1790 the Benedict Arnold house, 
where he afterward resided, and died in 1832. For a short time, his son, George 
William Tracy, carried on the store in partnership with Edward Tracy. At 



no OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

the death of George William Tracy, which occurred in 1834, this line became 
extinct. 

At the time this store was established, in 1780, Norwich Town was the 
great centre of trade, as the "the Landing" is at the present day, and the shops 
were patronized by people from far and wide. The firm of Tracy & Coit was 
one of the representative stores of Norwich, so perhaps it would be well to 
look at their stock of goods, that we may get a general idea of " the trading 
shop " of those times. Their advertisements are of great length, and include 
every article under the sun — paints, dyes, pewter, brass kettles, warming-pans, 
frying-pans ; looking-glasses, window-glass, saddlers' wares, Webster's Spelling- 
books, paper-hangings. New England, Jamaica, and "Demerary " rum, Geneva and 
"coniac " brandy, port, claret, Madeira, Lisbon, and Malaga wines; sugar, spices, 
Hyson, Bohea, and Souchong tea, " chocolet " coffee, codfish, raisins, &c.; mosaic and 
fancy chintzes, copper-plate and furniture calicoes, Queen's ware, rose blankets, 
baizes, jeans, fustians, birds-eye, bolting-cloths, denim, corduroy ; London smoke, 
bottle-green, blue, drab, black and scarlet broadcloths, cassimeres, " furr " trimmings, 
laces, edgings, black silk mitts and gloves, and white fancy kid, and lamb gloves, 
men's and women's beaver gloves, serges, poplins, muslins, Irish linens, "cam- 
bricks," lawns, "sattins"; gauze, bandana, romal, pullicat and china silk handkerchiefs; 
"chain, soufiee, cypress, nett and crape gauzes," stuff shoes, fans, ribbons, twilled 
velvet, plain and spotted black gauzes, "sattin" stripes and cords, shawls, lastings, 
wildbores, " dimothies," humhums, lutestrings, "taffeties," modes, pelongs, durants, 
shalloons, feathers ; chip, beaver, castor, willow, Blenheim and Leghorn hats ; 
moreens, taboreens, bombareens, velverets, sattinetts, camblets, corduretts, rus- 
seletts, sarsnetts, rattinetts, jennetts, muslinets, thick setts and toilinetts, &:c., (S:c. 
Difficult indeed to please must be the feminine mind, which could find nothing 
to suit her taste and needs in all this attractive array. The firm did a lively 
shipping business as well, advertising for horses, oxen, live shoats, turkeys, oats, 
corn, barrel-staves, clover seed, pork, bees-wax, &c., &c., which they sent to 
foreign ports, and brought back foreign goods in exchange. 

Charles P. Huntington at one time occupied this store before 1814. In 1825, 
it was sold to Epaphras Porter. At that date, the house below is occupied by 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. in 

Mrs. Nancy Wait, the mother of the Hon. John T. Wait, who returned to Norwich, 
after the death of her husband, Judije Marvin Wait of New London, which 
occurred in 1815. 

Epaphras Porter occupied this shop for some years, and Jesse Huntington 
(his brother-in-law), son of John and Abigail (Abel) Huntington, was also for a 
time established here as a saddler. 

In 1 813, Thomas Leffingwell, 5th, leases a lot of land (frontage 46 ft.) 
between the large elm tree and the Tracy & Coit store, to Henry Strong, who 
builds here a law office, which about 1835 or 1836 was moved to a site near the 
residence of his daughter, Mrs. Daniel Gulliver, where it still stands. 

In 1S33, Thomas Shipman sells to Henry Harland all the land between the 
Edgerton and Harland properties, extending back to the "Sentry Hill" road, 
subject to two unexpired leases, to Henry Strong and Epaphras Porter. This 
land still remains in the possession of the Harland family. 




CHAPTER XIX. 



NORTH of the Isaac Cleveland grant, 124 rods of land (frontage 10 J 2 rods), 
were laid out in 1740, of which Col. Simon Lathrop becomes the owner, 
and in 1770, sells a small piece (frontage 2 rods), "beginning 14 links of a chain 
from the south-west corner of Thomas Williams Taylor's shop " to John Hunting- 
ton, Jun., and Daniel Carew. On this they build a shop, in which they carry on the 
saddlery business. Col. Simon Lathrop also allows his grandson, David Nevins, 
to build a shop on the south part of the land, where David makes and sells hats, 
advertising frequently for musquash skins. This shop stands on land, having a 
frontage of 2 rods 20^2 links, beginning 3 rods 4 links south of the middle of 
the Harland house. At Col. Simon Lathrop's death in 1774, both land and shop 
become the property of David, and in 1778, he sells to Thomas Harland. We are 
inclined to believe that in this year Thomas Harland moves into the shop for- 
merly occupied by Carew & Huntington, and that John Richards takes the shop, 
where Harland was formerly located "near Christopher Leffingwell's." James 
Lincoln, a button-maker from Boston, also advertises in 177S, as located "opposite 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 



113 



the store of Christopher Leffingwell, where he makes silver-plated, copper, 
brass, and white metal buttons," and we think that he is probably then occupying 
the former Nevins shop. 

In 1779, the year of his marriage, Thomas Harland probably built the 
house, now occupied by his descendants. In 1787, he buys the land north of his 

._. -_ house of the firm of Carew & Huntington, and 

though no shop is mentioned in the deed, it may 
nevertheless have been included in the sale. We 
believe that this former shop of Carew & Hunt- 
ington, or perhaps another built on the same site, 
was the "valuable clock & watch manufactory," 
which was burnt to the ground in December, 
'795' "between the hours of eleven and twelve 
at night. The loss was computed at $1,500 ! 
through the spirited exertions of the citizens, 
the flames were prevented from communicating 
to any of the adjoining buildings."* After the 
fire, Thomas Harland must have moved into the 
Nevins shop, which he was occupying at the time 
of his death in 1S07. 

Between 1778 and 1795, ^^^^^ Nevins shop 
had probably various occupants. In February, 
1 79 1, William Cox informs his old customers, and the public in general, 
that he has " begun to work a compleat New Stocking Loom in a small 
shop opposite Col. Leffingwell's Long Row, where he will be glad to receive their 
stuff, and directions for Pattern Pieces, Stockings, Gloves, Mitts," &c. " With regard 
to pay, tho he does not mean to refuse cash, yet as he has heretofore found the 
pernicious qualities of that root of evil, he must beg his customers would not 
ungenerously crowd him with that article, but grain, pork, butter, cheese, and most 
other kinds of produce will be thankfully received, and a generous price allowed." 




*The Norwich Packet of Dec. 17, 1795. 
8 



1T4 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 



In this same shop James Lincoln sells woolcards in 1792. and Jeremiah Griffing 
works his stocking loom for a short time in 1793. 

Thomas Harland came from England to America in one of the ships, 
which brought the tea to Boston in 1773. His intention had been to settle in 
Boston, but finding the town in an excited and imsettled state, he decided to go 
at once to some more remote place in the country, and so came to Norwich. 
He was an experienced goldsmith, and had served a long apprenticeship in 
England, and as was the custom in those days, after his apprenticeship was over, 
he journeyed from place to place, wandering as 
far east as Warsaw, possibly exercising his craft, 
and learning foreign ways of working. He was 
evidently a man of education, for the inventory of 
his library, which was a large one for those days, 
shows in the variety and selection of the books, a 
familiarity with the best historical and philosophical 
writers and poets of that period, and the large 
number of French books would imply a thorough 
knowledge of that language, which was then not 
common. 

In his first advertisement, he calls himself " a 
watch and clock maker from London," and "begs 
leave to acquaint the public, that he has opened 
a shop near the store of Christopher Leffingwell, 
Esq.," " where he makes in the neatest manner, and on the most improved prin- 
ciples, horizontal, repeating, and plain watches, in gold, silver, metal or covered 
cases, spring, musical, and plain clocks, church clocks, regulators," cScc. He also 
engraves and finishes clock faces for the trade, and cuts and finishes "watch-wheels 
and fuzees of all sorts and dimensions." 

In November, 1774, not cpiite a year after his arrival in Norwich, he 
"returns thanks to his friends for their kind encouragement, and begs leave 
to inform them, and the public in general, that he has now compleated an Assort- 
ment of Warranted Watches, viz : — Horizontal, Shewing Seconds from the Centre, 




OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 115 

Day of Month, Skeleton and Eight-Day Watches, in gilt, Tortoiseshell and plain 
Silver Cases; Eight-Day Clocks, in Mahogany and Cherry-Tree Cases. He also 
keeps Workmen in the Jewelry Business, and has for sale Brilliant, Garnet and 
plain Gold Rings, Gold Necklaces, Garnet and Brilliant Broaches, and Hair-Sprigs 
in Gold and Silver ; Variety of Pearl, Brilliant, and Cypher Ear-Jewels ; Cypher 
and Brilliant Buttons and Studds ; a large Silver Tea-Pot, Sugar-Basket, Cream- 
ieure, Tea-Tongs, Spoons, &c., Chrystal, Silver, Plated and Pinchbeck Buckles of 
the neatest Patterns, Silver, Gilt and Steel Watch Chains ; Variety of Seals, Keys, 
iSL'C. The above Goods will be sold cheap for Cash or Country Produce." 

In 1790, according to Miss Caulkins, he had twelve hands in constant 
employ, and it was stated, that he made annually two hundred watches and forty 
clocks. His price for silver watches varied from ^4 10 s. to ^7 10 s. Two 
of his numerous appprentices were Nathaniel Shipman and WilUam Cleveland, the 
grandfather of the President. The row of elm trees, standing directly in front of 
the Harland house, were set out by Nathaniel Shipman, Sept. 6, 178:, the day that 
New London was burnt by the British. 

In 1788, the citizens of Norwich Landing, disturbed by the many fires which 
were constantl}" occurring, resolved to have a fire-engine, and at the desire of some 
of his friends, Thomas Harland sent in proposals which were accepted, and he 
made, not as has been supposed the first fire-engine of Norwich, but one which was 
evidently of superior construction to the one then used at Norwich Town. To the 
assertion of a Litchfield correspondent of the Norwich Packet, that a " Mr. vSamuel 
Thomas, coach and chaise-maker, was entitled to the credit given to Mr. Harland 
for this piece of curious workmanship," Mr. Harland makes such a fair and honest 
answer, that, quoting from the Norwich Packet, we will let him tell the story in his 
own words. 

"The gentlemen of Norwich Landing having determined to purchase a Fire 
Engine " " expressed a wish that I would inspect some of the latest made and most 
approved machines of that kind, that if there were any new improvements I might 
adopt them." — "Having found one that appeared to me superior to any I had seen, 
I took the exact plan and dimensions of it, and as I did not see anything I could 
make any improvements upon, I adhered to said plan with very little intentional 



ii6 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

variation. Mr. Samuel Thomas assisted in making said engine ; he did all the wood- 
work, and also assisted in some other parts of the machinery. The valves, the 
pistons, the large screws for the several joints, I made myself ; two of my appren- 
tices, with a smith, and a founder were also employed occasionally, till the whole 
was compleated." — " As Mr. Thomas seemed to wish to continue in this business," 
Thomas Harland gave him letters of recommendation, and offered him the use of a 
shop and tools, but as he himself happened " to have business enough in another 
line," he did not care for engine work, and never "assumed or arrogated" to him- 
self "any merit as an inventor or improver of said machines " and he adds—" I never 
entertained an idea that it could be considered as a proof of mechanical genius to 
construct a machine so simple, so frequently and accurately delineated, so common, 
and so open to inspection as the Fire Engine." 

Thomas Harland married in 1779, Hannah, daughter of Elisha and Hannah 
(Lefifingwell) Clark, and had three sons and four daughters. At his death in 1807, 
the widow and daughters, Mary and Fanny, inherited the property, which finally 
passed into the possession of the only remaining son, Henry Harland, who married 
in 1822, Abigail, daughter of Judge John Hyde and Sarah Russell Leffingwell. 
The family of Henry Harland still retain possession of the homestead, which 
they have recently much altered and modernized. The shop has long since 
disappeared. 




CHAPTER XX. 



IN the division of common lands after 1638, 64 rods (beginning at the south- 
west corner of wSimon Lathrop's shop, and with a frontage on the highway of 8 
rods), were laid out to Joshua Huntington, and sold by him in 1741 to Thomas 
Leffingwell, who, in 1759, sells the south part (frontage 6 rods), " southerd " of 
" Rufus Lathrop's " shop, to Thomas Williams, who builds a house and shop. 
We are unable to determine which of the many Thomas Williamses of vStonington, 
Montville, Windham County, or Massachusetts, this may be. We are inclined to 
think that he may have been a Thomas Williams of Montville (b. 1735), son of 
Ebenezer and Hannah (Bacon) Williams, who is said to have married, in 1767, 
Jerusha Abel, and had one son, Elisha, (b. 1770). If this is the case, he probably 
sold all his possessions in Norwich, in the last years of the eighteenth century, 
and perhaps moved out of town. He was a tailor by trade, and built south of 
the house his shop, which we believe to be the building raised on a high founda- 
tion, now enclosed within the Harland grounds. He was also at one time engaged 
in manufacturing "flour of mustard." 



iiS OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

In 1798, he sells his land and buildings "south of Rufus Lathrop's shop" 
to William Beard of Preston, whom, as we have found no record of marriage or 
births of children, we have been unable to locate. He may possibly have been 
a relative of Nathaniel Beard, "clothier from London," who lived at one time at 
Bozrah, and later at Poquetannock, or perhaps a descendant of the Milford 
Beards. He resided here until about 181 1, when he sold his land and buildings 
on "Pickle" Street, "south of where Rufus Lathrop's shop formerly stood," to 
Daniel Mason of Lebanon. 

It is said that many years ago, the wags of Norwich went about one night- 
time christening the streets, and the morning light revealed their titles in 
conspicuous places, " Pickle " Street, to designate this end of the present North 
Washington Street, and " Pork " Street, the one running at right angles. This must 
have occurred in the early part of this century, as from about this date, these 
names occasionally appear in deeds of property. It may have been at this time 
that the road, leading from the Green by the house of Dr. Tracy, received the 
name of Mediterranean Lane. Many years later, this christening feat was again 
attempted, and at that time the road leading by the Sheltering Arms received 
the name of " Maiden Lane." 

Shortly after the purchase of this property by Daniel Mason, Gary Throop 
became the occupant of the house, which he purchased with the shop in 1823. 
This Gary Throop, was possibly a descendant of William Scrope, the regicide, 
who, on his arrival in this country, changed his name to Throop, and he may 
have inherited some of the puritanical spirit of this ancestor, for the Hon. John 
T. Wait tells us, in his inimitable way, how in the days of his boyhood, he once 
met Mr. Throop, returning on Sunday morning from a visit to his pasture on the 
hill, beyond the Mead house. Mr. Wait inquired eagerly if Mr. Throop had seen 
a swarm of bees, in which the boys had been much interested the night before, 
in the neighborhood of the pasture. Mr. Throop regarded him sternly, and in 
the severest manner replied : " Young man ! aren't you ashamed to speak to me 
of bumble bees on Sunday morning." In 1831, the house and shop were sold 
to Henry Harland, whose family still retain possession. 




CHAPTER XXI. 



IN December, 17 89, Thomas Leffingwell, 4th, " for ^6 received of my son Thomas 
Leffingwell, Jun.," sells to the "Inhabitants of the East School District" the 
land north of the Williams' house (frontag-e 2 rods), " for the purpose of sd 
Inhabitants building' a school thereon, and improving the same forever." Shortly 
after the purchase, the little brick school-house was built, which Mrs. Sigourney 
describes as similar to the one on the Green, having unpainted desks and benches 
on three sides, and on the other a recess for the teacher's desk, a closet for books, 
a water-pitcher, and a capacious fire-place. 

The actual date of the building of this school-house, and the names of the 
first teachers have not been ascertained, but about the year 1795, Lydia Huntley 
(Mrs. Sigourney), then four years old, was a pupil here, and describes her first 
teacher, as a woman " above the medium height," with sharp black eyes, large 
hands, a manly voice, a capacious mouth, and a step that made the school-room 
tremble." She wore an immense black silk calash, and wdien Lydia saw it "bob- 



I20 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

bing up and clown over the garden wall," she " hid like Eve in the garden." 
She does not give the name of this instructress, but it was possibly " Miss 
Molly" (?) (or Sally) Grover, whom Miss Caulkins mentions as a noted teacher in 
the "town plot." 

Under her sway, the chief accomplishment seemed to be spelling, where 
the scholars "went above," according to their "skill" or "the mistakes of 
others." " The position being held but one night, the chieftain going to the bottom 
of the class, and rising again, pacified the discomfited, while at the same time it 
nourished an unslumbering ambition in the bosom of the aspirant."* 

The next teacher,f to Mrs. Sigourney's horror, was a man, and his scholars 
spent most of their time " covering large sheets of paper with fine chirography 
of different sizes, they having been previously ruled and ornamented with devices 
in bright red, blue, and green ink." Mrs. Sigourney remembers them, as " having 
somewhat the effect of the old illuminated missals." She found her services in 
great demand in devising decorations and selecting poetry for these works of 
art, and soon became a great favorite with teachers and pupils. A graduate^ 
of Trinity College, Dublin, was the next teacher, "grave, silver-haired and erudite," 
under whom she gained a thorough knowledge of mathematics. 

In 1798, Consider Sterry opens an evening school "in the Brick school- 
house, a few rods north of Mr. Harland's, for instruction in Writing, Book-Keep- 
ing, in the Italian, American, and English systems." He teaches "Mathematics 
in their various branches both in theory and practice, particularly the modern, 
and most accurate practice of surveying without ploting, laying out of lands, 
&c. He would particularly notice those Gentlemen, ivho go Joii'n to the sea in ships, 
and occitpv their business on the great ^caters, that he will teach them to find their 
Longitude at sea, by Lunar observations, also how to find their Latitude, by 
observations of the sun's altitude, either before or after his arrival to the meridian, 
&c." The price of tuition "for Writing and Common Arithmetic" was is. 3d. 
head per week, "for Bookkeeping and the higher branches of the Mathematics," 
IS. 6d. per week, "for finding the Latitude as above, $1 for the complete 



*Mrs. Sigourney's "Letters of Life." 

f 1796- 

\ Possibly 1797. 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 121 

knowlcdi^e." If sufficient encouragement is given, he offers to open a day school, 
at ^3 per quarter. " None admitted but such as can at least read in class." 

Consider Sterry (b. 1761), was a brother of the Rev^ John vSterry. He 
married, in 17S0, Sabra Park (b. 1763), daughter of Silas and Sarah (Ayer) Park 
of Preston, and had a large family of sons and daughters. Miss Caulkins writes, 
" Few men are gifted by nature with such an aptitude for scientific research as 
Consider Sterry. His attainments were all self-acquired under great disadvan- 
tages. Besides a work on lunar observations, he and his brother prepared an 
arithmetic for schools, and in company with Nathan Daboll, another self-taught 
scientific genius, he arranged and edited a system of practical navigation, entitled 
"The Seaman's Universal Daily Assistant," a work of nearly three hundred pages. 
He also published several small treatises, wrote political articles for the papers, 
and took a profound interest in free-masonry. 

The Hon. John T. Wait, who came to Norwich from New London after 
1S15, attended school in this building for a while. He remembers vividly his first 
teacher, Dyar Harris, good-natured, addicted to naps in school-time and to taking 
snuff. He used to call his ruler " Old Goldings," and now and then, he would 
call out in school-hours, " Anyone who wants to go out can do so, by coming up to 
the desk, and taking two licks from ' Old Goldings,' " and the boys, ready enough 
to take the "licks" for the outing, would at once present themselves. He would 
then give one blow with the ruler, and refuse to give the other. At times, he 
would adjourn the whole school to the hill behind the school-house to try a new 
gun which he had recently purchased. These practices did not meet with the 
approval of the parents, so his stay was short, and his successor, Samuel Griswold, 
was much more severe in discipline. Mr. Wait relates how he used to sit with 
his feet on the table, and call the boys up to walk around it, hitting them in turn 
with his ruler as they made the round. Asher Smith also taught here, about 
1S22, and George Bliss, the latter teaching the public school at $22 per month in 
winter, and a private school in summer from 1823 to 1824, during a part of 1S25 
and 1826, and again in 1827. In 1828, he moved to the school-house on the 
Green, but returned to "the school-house near Mr. Throop's " in 1829. Many 
years later. Miss Goodell taught here for several years, 



CHAPTER XXII. 

N 1733, a lot of land, on the side-hill opposite his house, with a frontage of 30 
ft. and beginning 41 ft. from his land, is granted to Simon Lathrop, and on 
this, in 1734, he erects "aware-house 30 foot oneway and 20 ye other." Before 
1759, this building has possibly disappeared, and his son Rufus builds another, for 
from this date, the shop standing on the lot is always called Rufus Lathrop's shop, 
and in the pile of stones now standing in the middle of the lot, the foundation- 
stone may still be seen with the initials R. L. and the date 1759. 

After Rufus Lathrop, whom we believe to have been a goldsmith by trade, 
had relinquished the building as a shop, it became the home of an old colored 
man named Primus, who was formerly a slave.* Mrs. Sigourney describes " old 
Primus" as "venerable at once for years and virtue," and "respected alike by 
young and old." "The mild eye beaming love to mankind made the beholder 
forget the jutting forehead, and depressed nostrils." " A gentle yet dignified 
deportment, a politeness which seemed natural to him, and the white blossoms of 
the grave, curling closely around his temples, suffered not materially in their 
effect, from the complexion which an African sun had burnt upon him. It was 
remarked by children in the streets, that no one bowed so low or turned out 
their toes so well as Primus." 

" Early instructed in reading, and the principles of religion, he had imbibed 
an ardent love for the Scriptures, and stored his memory with a surprising- 
number of their passages." He might have been styled "a living concordance." 
It was the custom in private religious meetings, when the place of any text 
was doubtful to appeal to the venerable African. He had been for more than 
half a century a member of the Congregational church. " Though four-score 



*See "Slaves" in Index. 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 123 

years had passed over him," he still worked occasionally in the gardens of his 
neighbors. The school children would often pay him a visit, and he would explain 
to them the only picture which hung in his house " the tearing of the forty and 
two children who mocked at the bald-headed prophet," or tell the story of how 
he was brought in a slave ship from Africa, torn from the bedside of his sick 
mother, and when he arrived at the ship, among a crowd of other captives, he 
found his father ; of their sufferings on the voyage " between two low decks, 
where the grown people could not stand upright ; " how they were brought on 
deck to jump for exercise, or to sing, and punished with the cat-of-nine-tails, or 
put in irons, if they failed to comply ; how a fatal illness began among them, 
and his father was one of the first to die ; how at last he found a kind master, 
who taught him to read the Bible, and through him, he found his Saviour. 

This old African had a daughter, who resembled her father neither " in per- 
son or mind." She was "a spy, and a gossip," and "the time-keeper" for all the 
single ladies of her acquaintance, " who approached the frontier of desperation." 
They could "never curtail a year from the fearful calendar" within her hearing, 
but they were brought back at once to the correct date. Cats were her favorites of 
every color. "At her meals, she was the centre of a circle," who, " with lynx eyes " 
and "discordant growls" "grudged every morsel which was not bestowed upon them." 

" Frequently she was seen issuing from her habitation, her tall gaunt form 
clad in a sky-blue tammy petticoat, partially concealed from view by a short, faded, 
scarlet cloak, bearing a basket of kittens" to some "rat-infested" household. She 
used to mount guard over a barberry-bush, which grew on the rocks above her 
house, and drive away the children who essayed to pick the valued fruit. Her prin- 
cipal amusement was watching the sky to find signs of a coming storm. " No 
mariner, whose life balances upon the cloud, transcended her in this species of dis- 
cernment." After old Primus' death the old house was torn down, or moved away. 
It disappeared sometime between 179S and 181 1. 

In 1828, Charles P. Huntington purchased the lot, and erected a small build- 
ing in which was housed for many years the town fire-engine. This engine was 
removed, presented as an old-time relic to the Thamesville fire-company, and the 
building was torn down not many years ago. 



124 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 



Shortly before 1770, John Bliss collected subscriptions, and superintended the 
construction of what was probably the first fire-engine of Norwich. The old sub- 





^lPi?!^*^^^i^' 



ijji:i*»is*-."aiai 



scription list is now in possession of his great-grandson and namesake, John Bliss of 
Brooklyn, L. I. The amount which was to have been raised was ^60. The follow- 
ing is the list, from which unfortunately a fragment is missing, that would give the 
date, and a few of the subscribers names : 



Thomas Lathrop, 
Christopher Leffingwell 
Simeon Huntington, 
Samuel Abbot, . . 
Ebenezer Whiting, . 
Jedediah Huntington, 
Andrew Huntington, 
Jabez Huntington 
Samuel Tracy, 
Ebenezer Lathrop 
Thomas Danforth 
Samuel Wheat, 
Samuel Huntington, 
Ebenezer Thomas, Jun 



£. s. d. £. s. d. 

40 o Hugh Ledlie, i 00 

300 Thomas Fanning, i 00 

15 o William Hubbard, i 00 

I 10 o Azariah Lathrop, 2 10 o 

10 o John Perit, i 00 

30 o Benj. Huntington, Jun i 00 

25 o Benj. Butler, 

40 o Jacob Perkins, Jun., . . . . 

20 o Elisha Tracy, 

20 o Gideon Birchard, 

100 Jedediah Hyde, 

20 o Simon Tracy, Jun 

I 10 o Hezekiah Huntington, .... 

12 o John Bliss, 









10 





12 





ID 





5 





TO 





20 





20 






OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 



125 



Daniel Lathrop 6 

Samuel Leffingwell, 
Joseph Carew, .... 

Joseph Peck 

Thomas Leffingwell, . . 
Thomas Leffingwell, Jan., 
Thomas Williams, 
Rufus Lothrop, .... 

Nathan Cobb, 

Daniel Hyde, Jun 

Asa Waterman, Jun., 
Joshua Prior, Jun., . 
William Lathrop, 



r 


.f. 


r/. 


6 








2 


















10 







10 






























3 o 

10 o 

10 o 

10 o 



Simon Lothrop 

George Dennis 

John Huntington, 

John Huntington, Jun., .... 

Benjamin Lord 

Eleazer Lord, Jun., 

Joseph Reynolds 

Martin Leffingwell 

William Billings 

Jabez Avery (to be paid in work), 

John Lancaster, 

Eliphalet Carew 

Jesse Williams, 



£. 



s. 


^/. 


20 





15 





10 







4 


10 





10 





10 





10 





10 





10 





10 





6 





4 






Mr. Bliss has also bills from Nathan Cobb, Richard Collier, and others, 
which we will give, as a partial estimate of the cost of the work, for those who 
are interested in the old machine, and its construction. 

Nathan Cobb sends in a bill for "work done on the enjoin" in 1769: 

£. s. d. 
To 8 hoops for the wheels, o 80 

" sharing (?) the wheels, o 17 o 

" makeing 2 axletrees & gaging, . . . i 49 

" 24 Large brads, o 20 

' ' 3 bolts & keys, o 26 

' ' 4 screws & nuts, o 50 

" 2 staples, o 08 

" 2 hooks, o 24 

" 2 screws & nuts o 16 



The following is a memorandum of "weight of work of Injine " : 

The pumps for the Engine lihH'- 

The plates and Crooks, 2^Ll>. 

The elbows, SZ/a>^ 

The chamber, ■i'^Lb.]^ 

The spout, iLd.% 



126 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 



1770. Mr. John Bliss. Dr. 

L- s. d. 

To Bras and copper & soudre of the artecls worked in to the enjine, ... 11 15 6 

To working the above, 12 00 o 



Pd. 



George Denniss. 



23 15 6 



In 1789, shortly after Thomas Harland had made an engine for the resi- 
dents of Chelsea, or the Landing, this old machine is repaired, and Nathan 
Cobb's bill amounts to 9s. 8d. and Richard Collier charges for "Repairing Copper 
Air Vessell for Engine 12 s. 6d." We are unable to say whether this old fire- 
engine is the one now so carefully preserved by the Thamesville fire-company, 
or whether the latter was built at a later date. 




CHAPTER XXIII. 

THERE are many old people now living, who remember the days when 
slavery was an institution in this town, for, until 1S48, it was not entirely 
abolished. The first slaves in New England were the Indian prisoners captured 
in war. The males were sent to the West Indies, the women and children dis- 
tributed in the various towns. Until about 16S0, there were very few negro 
slaves, but after that date, they became more common. In the eighteenth century, 
there was hardly a Norwich household which did not own one or more slaves. 
This advertisement sounds curiously to us at the present day : — 

TO BE SOLD VERY CHEAP. 
A Likely, healthy good Natured, strait Limbed, honest NEGRO BOY, 
that can do any kind of Kitchen Work, and attend on a Gentleman's 
Table— he has no Fault.— For Par- 

ticulars enquire of the Printers. oct. 30, 1775. 

Or this, which appears in 1776 : — 

" To be sold — A likely Negro wench, Has no fault but want of em- 
ployment." 

The following bill of sale has been preserved in the family of a grandson of 
Capt. William Coit of Norwich : — 

"To all People to whom these presents shall come Greeting. 

Know ye that I Andrew Perkins of Norwich in y" County of New 
London do Bargain Sell and Convey imto Mr. William Coit of s 
Norwich a certain Negro Man Named Pharaoh of the age of about 
thirty two years as a slave for life for & in consideration of forty 
Pounds Lawful money Received of Sd Coit ; And I Assert that I 
have good right to Sell Sd Negro man as above said. And that he 



128 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

by virtue of these Presents shall & may have, hold & enjoy him y« 
Said Pharaoh as Such free from all Other rights & claims from any 
other Person whatsoever in witness whereof I have hereunto Sett 
my Hand this 14th March, 1774-* 
In presents off ANDREW PERKINS. 

Elisha Lathrop, 

Joseph Williams. 

In 1774, an act was passed, forbidding the importation of Indian, negro, 
or mulatto slaves into the State, under penalty of a ^{^loo fine. In this same 
year, Samuel Gager frees, for faithful services, two of his slaves, Fortune and his 
wife Time, and grants them a farm on favorable terms, and also frees another 
slave, Peter. The slaves were as a rule, treated with kindness and consideration, 
were often educated, and taught a trade, through which they became frequently 
a source of revenue to their masters. 

Fugitive slaves were often advertised. John, Hannah, and Joshua Perkins 
offer $20 reward in 1774, for the recovery of three runaway slaves, Jeam, Cudge 
and Bristol. The first of these was a shoemaker, and could read ; the third could 
read, write, cypher, sing, and fiddle. John Perkins was the son of Capt. John 
Perkins of Hanover, who died in 1761, in whose inventory, fifteen slaves are 
mentioned. Hannah was the widow, and Joshua the son of Capt. Matthew Perkins, 
who died in 1773, of lockjaw, caused by a bite on the thumb, which he received 
from a young negro slave, whom he was chastising. Matthew's house is still 
standing in Hanover, and over the old-fashioned kitchen are the small chambers, 
where the slaves are said to have slept. 

Capt. Joseph Coit brought with him from New London, two slaves, whose 
services were in constant demand, and on their master's account book appears 
frequently a charge against a neighbor for a day's work by Pero or Bristol. 
Bristol Barney (as the latter was called), was freed by his master in 17S5, but 
two female slaves, Violet and Eunice, remained long in the service of the family. 

Just before the Revolution, the question was constantly discussed, whether 
it was right to fight for liberty, and yet to hold others in bondage. Frequent com- 



* Copied by permission of Miss Hannah Ripley, a great-granddaughter of William Coit. 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICIT. 129 

munications appear in the Packet, inveighing against slavery, many of which 
are supposed to have been written by Rev. Aaron Cleveland (the great-grand- 
father of President Grover Cleveland), who, in 1775, published a poem against 
slavery, and in 1779, while a representative in the Legislature, "introduced a bill 
for its abolition." During the Revolution, many of the slaves enlisted, and fought 
for the country which held them in captivity. One such slave, Leb Quy, served 
during three years of the war as a faithful soldier. 

The slaves had a special corner set apart for them in the meeting-house, 
and in the grave-yard. At one end of the old buryingground may be seen a 
stone, erected " to the memory of Mr. Bristo Zibbero of Norwich, a captive from 
ye land of Afifrica," who died Jan. 26, 1783, aged 66. Nearby, lies Boston Trow- 
Trow, " Govener of y' Affrican Trib," who died May 28, 1772, aged 66. 

In 1784, a law was passed, that no negro, or mulatto, born after March, 
1784, should be held as a slave, after reaching the age of 25, and in 1797, it was 
decreed that all slaves, born after Aug. 1797, should receive their freedom at the 
age of 21. In 1790, the Connecticut Anti-Slavery Society was formed, with Ezra 
Stiles for President, and a secretary of Norwich descent, Simeon Baldwin. At this 
time appear on record the births of slaves ; Azariah Lothrop recording " Vilet " 
(b. 1784), Jack (b. 1788), Bristow, son of Nancy (b. 1793), Rose, daughter of Nancy 
(b. 1796). Rev. Joseph Strong records the birth of Jenny (b. 1792), daughter of 
Zylpha. Desire Dennis enters the birth of Martin (b. 1787), son of Chloe, and 
Joseph Williams, that of Jude (b. 1786), daughter of Phillis. Thomas Coit 
enters the births of Anthony (b. 178S), Robert (b. 1791), and James (b. 1796). 
Jabez Huntington emancipates a negro named Guy in 17S0, and Col. Joshua 
Huntington, his negro servant Bena, in 1781. Dinah, wife of Scipio, both slaves 
of the Rev. Benjamin Lord, gives birth to twenty children who were all duly 
baptized by her master. According to Miss Caulkins, only forty-seven slaves re- 
mained in the State in 1800, and by an act of the Legislature, slavery was 
entirely abolished in 184S. 



CHAPTER XXIV. 

ACROSS the road, opposite the school-house, begins the Ohiistead home-lot, 
recorded as 8 acres, more or less, abutting east on the Town street 30 
rods, abutting south on the land of Stephen Backus 37 rods, north-west, and north 
on the land of Rev. James Fitch, and Deacon Thomas Adgate 73^2 rods, and west 
on the river (with a foot-path through it). Miss Caulkins errs in her map of the 
early home lots of Norwich, in placing the Olmstead property west of the lower 
road, whereas it fronted on the present North Washington Street, extending from 
the Gilmans' north garden wall to the lower fence line of the lane leading by 
Gager's store, and was bounded on the west by the river. 

Dr. John Olmstead (or Holmstead), is said to have come to New England 
with his uncle James, who was one of the first settlers of Hartford. Dr. John 
went froin Hartford to Saybrook, and from thence, in 1659-60, to Norwich. On 
the Saybrook records of i66t, he is called John Olmstead of " Mohegan (shoe- 
maker)," but with this trade, he probably combined the calling of a surgeon, as 
he served in that capacity in King Philip's war, and is known as the earliest 
physician of Norwich. Dr. Ashbel Woodward of Franklin, writes of Dr. John 
Olmstead: "He is said to have had considerable skill in the treatment of wounds, 
particularly, those caused by the bite of a rattlesnake. He was fond of frontier 
life, and enjoyed in a high degree the sports of the chase." 

Dr. Olmstead married Elizabeth, daughter of Matthew Marvin of Hartford, 
later of Norwalk, Ct. He died in 1686. Even at this early date, several slaves 
are mentioned in his will, who are to have their freedom at the death of his wife. 
The widow, Elizabeth Olmstead, died in 1689, leaving in her will ^50 to the 
poor of Norwich, ^^lo to the Rev. Mr. Fitch, legacies to Sergt. Richard Bushnell, 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 131 

to "brother Adgate's four children," and to the children of her husband's sister, 
Newell, but the greater part of her real estate, including house and home-lot, to 
her "friend, and kinsman, wSamuel Lothrop." vSamuel Lathrop had married Hannah 
Adgate, the step-daughter of Mrs. Olmstead's sister, Mrs. Mary Adgate. This is 
the only relationship which has been traced between them. 

Miss Caulkins surmises that the original lot, assigned to John Elderkin, 
and sold to Samuel Lathrop, was in this neighborhood, which was not the case. 
We shall come to the Elderkin lot later. This land was Olmstead land, and 
Samuel Lathrop received it only by inheritance from Elizabeth Olmstead. 

This vSamuel Lathrop^'' (b. 1650), was the son of the first Samuel Lathrop, 
who came to Norwich about 1668. Samuel, 2nd, married in 1675, Hannah, daughter 
of Deacon Thomas Adgate. She died in 1695, and he married (2), in 1697, Mary 
(Reynolds) Edgerton, daughter of John Reynolds, and widow of John Edgerton. 
He had three daughters and four sons, and in a deed of 17 14, gives the house lot 
to his sons, Thomas and Simon, the former receiving the north part with the 
house, and the latter the larger division of land on the south. In 1717, Samuel, 
2nd, reserving only ^30 per year, "for the maintenance of myself, and now wife 
Mary," and as much land as he " sees cause to improve," gives his remaining 
property to his four sons, Thomas, Samuel, Simon, and Nathaniel. He dies in 
1732, and in 1731 Thomas and Simon execute a deed, making a more formal 
division of the home-lot, giving each an equal street frontage of 15 rods, n ft.; 
" then the dividing line runs west from sd street through the old part of the 
barn flower by the middle of the door and runs through the mowing land to the 
stone at the foot of the hill 2iJ-4 rods, thence west and by south ye nearest 
cross of ye hill to ye footway where the hill comes nearest ye river, then runs 
north, northwest on ye side of ye hill above sd footway to ye brook by ye 
bridge at ye west end of sd lot to a stone 21 rods," Simon receiving the south- 
west part, or " what lieth on ye south side of ye bounds and line," and Thomas 
the north part, and the house. This gives to Simon the land between the lane, 
and the south bound of the present Oilman propert}-, and all the land facing on 

*As it is difficult to mark the line when the various Lathrop families of Norwich made 
the change from the " o" to the " a " in the first syllable of this name, \ve use almost invariably the 
latter form, except when quoting from the town records. 



132 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

the river, as far as the little brook, including the hill in the rear, now owned by 
the Misses Oilman. 

On this south part of the Olmstead home- lot, and partly on the site of 
Gager's store, Simon Lathrop (b. 1689) builds a house, probably about 17 14, the 
date of his father's deed, and of his own marriage to Martha Lathrop, twin-sister 
of his first wife, Mary, both daughters of Israel Lathrop. 

Col. Simon Lathrop was a prominent character in the history of the town, 
commander of one of the Connecticut regiments in the expedition against Annap- 
olis and Louisburg, and at one time in the chief command of the fortress at Cape 
Breton. At the time of the famous Mason controversy about the Indian lands, 
the second Court of Commissioners met at his house for two days in 1743. This 
must have been an exciting time for the neighborhood, when all the distinguished 
men of the colony assembled here, crowds of people whose lands were involved 
in the dispute driving in from the neighboring towns, and the whole tribe of 
Mohegan Indians hovering about, for whom the sympathizing Lathrops, Hunting- 
tons, Lefifingwells, Tracys, and other leading citizens kept open house during the 
proceedings. On the third day all this excitement proved too much for the 
household of Col. Simon Lathrop, and the sessions, which lasted for seven weeks, 
were adjourned to the meeting house on the Green. Col. Lathrop, by his skill in 
"traiding" in the shop "across the way," his real estate transactions, and proba- 
bly also by old-fashioned frugality in household management, accumulated a large 
fortune for those days. The following campaign-song, sung by his soldiers, 
alludes to his faculty for money-making : 

" Col. Lotrop he came on 
As bold as Alexander : 
He wa'n't afraid, nor yet ashamed, 
To be the chief commander. 

" Col. Lotrop was the man, 

His soldiers loved him dearly ; 
And with his sword and cannon great. 
He helped them late and early. 

" Col, Lotrop, staunch and true, 
Was never known to baulk it ; 
And when he was engag'd in trade, 
He always filled his pocket." 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 133 

In the first edition of Miss Caulkins' history of Norwich, she gives this 
anecdote of Col. Simon. " Some laborers were one evening sitting under a tree, 
and conversing about the moon. One said there was land there, as well as upon 
earth ; others doubted it. At length Col. Lathrop's negro man, who was near, 
exclaimed — ' Poh ! Poh ! no such thing — no land, there, I'm sure. If there was, 
Massa have a farm there before now!' " 

At Col. Lathrop's death in 1774, at the venerable age of eighty-six, he left 
five slaves. Primus, Beulah and her child, Black Bess (then quite old, from the 
value attached to her), and Leah. The obituary notice, in the Norwich Packet, 
gives such a pleasant picture of the good old man, and tells so well the story of 
his life, that we will give it entire. 

"On the 25th of January (1774), departed this life. Col. Simon Lathrop of 
this Town, in the 86th year of his Age. He was an Honour to the Respectable 
Family from which he desended, and to which he stood Related. He was naturally 
active and Industrious, and enjoyed a long series of Prosperity, by the Blessing 
of God. As his Genius was turned to military Exercises, he was long a Captain 
of Foot, in this Town. Present at, and engaged in two important Expeditions, one 
against Annapolis, and the other the memorable Seige of Louisburg, 1745, in 
which he was Col. of a Regiment. He was respected and beloved by his numer- 
ous Acquaintance, To whom he was very Benevolent, sociable and Friendly. He 
continued in the Marriage Relation about 60 years — thro all which Time, he 
shewed every Instance of the Dearest truest Friendship and Kindness to his 
Consort, who deeply mourns his Loss. He was a parent of Tenderness — a gentle 
Master, provident for, and Kind to all his Family, who sensibly feel his Loss. 

" His Conduct from early Life was irreproachable ; — and he was long a pro- 
fessor of the Holy Religion of Christ, and an Ornament to that profession, a 
Zealous Adherent to the perculiar Doctrines of the Gospel ; Canded, Charitable, 
a Lover of Good Men ; Faithful and Exemplary in the Instruction of his Family, 
with whom he took much pains to Train them up for God. A Man fervent and 
Instant in Prayer, and who delighted, and was very profitable, in Christian Con- 
versation. In his last Months, which were peculiarly distressing, his Patience and 
Resignation were remarkable : —He shewed a quick sensibility and thankfulness 



134 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

to his Friends, for even the smallest Kindnesses, expressed a steadfast and perse- 
vering Trust in God, only thro the Merits of a vSaviour to whom he expressed an 
ardent Love : full of Desire after Christ and Spiritual Things, he gently fell 
asleep without a struggle. He has left a sorrowful widow, — 6 children, 34 Grand 
Children and 14 great Grand Children. 

The Memory of the just is blessed." 

To his wife, Martha, and his son, Rufus, Col. Simon leaves the house and 
home-lot. His wife Martha had joined the vSeparatists, and far from interfering with 
her religious convictions, he carried her every Sunday in his chaise up to the Sepa- 
ratist meeting at Bean Hill, while he went to his own church, and after the service, 
called to take her home again. Martha did not long survive him, dying in 1776. 

Some of the articles of her inventory will give us a picture of her costume 
on state occasions : a velvet cloak, a crimson cloth cloak, a gauze hood, a velvet 
hood, a scarlet petticoat, a purple and white gown, a Persian apron, blue and 
red silver girdles, &c. 

Rufus Lathrop (b. 1731), married (i) Hannah, daughter of Francis Choate 
of Ipswich, Mass. She died in 1785, and he married (2) his cousin Zerviah, 
daughter of Capt. Ebenezer Lathrop. The Norwich Packet, referring to the latter's 
death, and that of Martha, first wife of Dr. D wight Ripley, in 1795, says, 
" Panegyricks on the dead are so common, and many times so undeserving that 
they become fulsome. But from the sweetness of disposition of the former (Mrs. 
Ripley), and the amiable deportment of the latter (Mrs. Lathrop), few we trust 
lived more esteemed, or died more lamented." By his first marriage, Rufus 
Lathrop became the great-uncle of the celebrated lawyer, Rufus L. Choate, who 
was his namesake. Rufus Lathrop was possibly a goldsmith, as, in the shop 
across the street, David Greenleaf (who was later a goldsmith), served as his 
apprentice, and " so faithfully " according to the testimony of Rufus, that he remem- 
bers him in his will with a bequest of ^50. He leaves also to the First Church of 
Christ ^'30, for the poor and needy members, to the selectmen for the benefit of 
the poor of the town ^^30, to Hannah Teel,* who seems to have been placed in his 



* Hezekiah Thatcher married, 1S09, Hannah Teel. 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 135 

care, and for whom he has a " particular affection," ^20, desiring, that if his life 
"should be taken away, while sd Hannah is in her nonage, that his executors" 
see to it without fail, to place her in a family of known piety, and who are at 
least respecters of the religion of the blessed Jesus." 

The house became the property of his niece, Lucrctia, daughter of Jonathan 
and Eunice (Lathrop) Huntington. Lucretia Huntington (b. 1749), became engaged 
to Jonathan, son of the Rev. Joseph Bellamy, probably about 1775-6. Jonathan 
or John Bellamy (b. 1752), graduated at Yale College in 1772, studied law with 
Gov. Samuel Huntington, and became a practicing attorney at Norwich. During 
the Revolution he entered the army, and just as he was returning to visit his 
friends in 1777, he was taken ill with the small pox, and died at Oxford, N. J., at 
the age of twenty-four. 

Miss Lucretia Grace of Norwich Town, is the possessor of the mourning 
ring of Lucretia Huntington, which is of gold, with the name John Bellamy and 
the date 1777 in black enamel ; the stone, a small crystal, in the shape of a coffin, 
in the centre of which is visible the miniature image of a skeleton. 

In Davis' life of Aaron Burr are several letters from Jonathan Bellamy, 
and one from Burr to Matthias Ogden (later Col. Ogden) of New Jersey, dated 
1775, in which he says : " I have struck up a correspondence with Jonathan Bellamy 
(son to the famous divine of that name). He has very lately settled in the 
practice of law at Norwich. He is one of the cleverest fellows I have to deal 
with, sensible, a person of real humor, and is an excellent judge of mankind, 
though he has not had opportunity of seeing much of the world." 

In a letter to Aaron Burr, dated 1776, Jonathan Bellamy writes : "Curse on 
this vile distance between us. I am restless to tell you everything, but uncertainty, 
whether you would ever hear it, bids me be silent, till in some future happy meeting 
I may hold you to my bosom, and impart every emotion of my heart." Whether 
this confidence is his recent engagement or not, there is no further correspond- 
ence to explain. 

Lucretia never married, and after her death in 1826, her brother, Rufus Hunt- 
ington, and her sister, Abigail Pierce, inherit the house, and after the death of 
Rufus in 1837, the property passes into the possession of Ebenezer Carew. 



J 36 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

Between this date and 1851, the house was torn down, and the land sold to 
several purchasers. Shortly after, according to Miss Caulkins, the tall old pine 
tree, which was standing for some time after the house was destroyed, also 
disappears. 




m^^^w^ 





CHAPTER XXV. 



THE old homestead of John Olmstead and Samuel Lathrop, 2nd, passed, in 
the division of the property to Thomas Lathrop (b. 1681), the brother of 
Simon, who married in 170S-9, Lydia, daughter of Joshua and Bethiah (Gager) 
Abell. After a long and useful life, he died in 1774, in the 95th year of his age. 
His obituary says : " He was a Gentleman of a benevolent disposition, made the 
precepts of the Gospel the rule of his Conduct, and in the important stations of 
Husband, Father, and Master, acquitted himself well. His children, numerous 
Relatives, and Friends console themselves with the Hope, that the Creator, whom 
he fervently adored, has assigned him a Portion with the Just." 

Mrs. Sigourney says that his death took place, " while his frame still possessed 
vigour, and his unimpaired mind expatiated freely upon the past, and looked 
undaunted toward the future." "Religion had been his anchor from his youth, 
sure and steadfast ; and, with the dignity of a patriarch, he descended to the tomb, 
illustrious at once, by the good name he bequeathed to his offspring, and by the 
lustre which their virtues in turn, reflected upon him." He died intestate in 1774, 



138 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 



and the heirs quit-claim to Dr Daniel Lathrop, " the house, in which he dwells." 
This is the house which Miss Caulkins believes to have been " the house of 
Samuel Lathrop, Esq.," mentioned in a Boston paper, as having been "burnt at 
night," in February, J745, and "almost all its contents destroyed. The loss esti- 
mated at ^2000 Old Tenor." Miss Caulkins also says that the house (now occupied 
by the Misses Oilman), was built by Dr. Daniel Lathrop in this same year. At 
that date, 1745, Samuel Lathrop, 2nd, had been dead twelve years, and the house 




mentioned, was probably that of his son Samuel (b. 1685), who as justice of peace 
in that year, would be naturally entitled Esq. This third Samuel died at Newent, 
then a part of Norwich, in 1754. This house on the Olmstead lot is continually 
referred to as " the house of Thomas Lathrop," and probably, as there is no deed 
on record, conveying it to his son Daniel, continued to belong to Thomas until 
his death in 1774. One part of the house is evidently very old, the ceilings low, 
and the beams showing in places the mark of the axe. The workmanship of 
this part does not resemble that of houses built in the middle of the eighteenth 
century, and we believe, that though Dr. Daniel Lathrop may have thoroughly 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 



139 



repaired, added to, and remodeled the house, a portion of it, at least may pos- 
sibly date from the time of the settlement. 

Mrs. Sigourney, who, as a child, was brought up in the family of Mrs. 
Daniel Lathrop (her father being a valued retainer of Mrs. Lathrop), both in her 
" Letters of Life," and "Connecticut Forty Years vSince," describes the old house and 
grounds, as she remembered them in her chilhood ; with " the white rose, and the 
sweet-brier" climbing over its walls almost to the roof, and "its court of shorn 
turf, like the richest velvet, intersected by two paved avenues to the principal 
entrances, and enclosed by a white 
fence, resting upon a foundation 
of hewn stone." "Two spruce 
trees, in their livery of dark green, 
stood as sentinels at the gate." 
"The house was environed by 
three large gardens." In the 
southern one, which " lay beneath 
the windows of the parlor," beds 
of mould were thrown up, and 
regularly arranged " in cjuadran- 
gles, triangles and parallelograms," 
" according to what the florists of 
that age denominated "a knot." In a diamond shaped bed in the centre "a rich 
crimson peony" "reared its head like a queen upon her throne; surrounded by a 
guard of tulips, arrayed as courtiers in every hue, deep-crimson, buff streaked 
with vermilion, and pure white mantled with a blush of carmine." 

" In the borders the purple clusters of the lilac, mingled with the feathery 
orb of the snowball, and the pure petals of the graceful lily." Here flourished 
also "the amaryllis family, white and orange-coloured, the queenly damask rose," 
" the protean sweet-william, the aspiring larkspur, the proud crown imperial, the 
snow-drop, the narcissus, and the hyacinth so prompt to waken at Spring's first 
call, side by side with the cheerful marigold, braving the frost-kiss ; " " pinks in pro- 
fusion, and a host of personified flowers, peeped out of their tufted homes, like 




I40 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

nested birds," — "the beauty by night," "the tawdry ragged lady," "the variegated 
bachelor," "the sad mourning bride," "the monk in his sombre hood," and " the 
mottled guinea-hen." "The dahlias had not then appeared with their countless vari- 
eties, but the asters instituted a secondary order of nobility ; coxcombs and soldiers 
in green rejoiced in their gay uniform ; the borders were enriched with shrubbery, 
tastefully disposed, at whose feet ran the happy blue-bell, and the bright- eyed 
hearts ease intent with a few other lowly friends on turning every crevice to 
account and making the waste places beautiful." "A broad walk divided this 
garden into nearly equal compartments." The western part was "an expanse of 
fair even-shorn turf," "at whose termination was a pleasant arbor, with its lattice- 
work interwoven and overshadowed by an ancient thickly clustering grape-vine. 
Grouped around it was a copse of peach trees, the rich golden-fruited, the large 
crimson and white cling, the colorless autumn varieties, and the more diminutive 
ones, whose pulp blood-tinted throughout, were favorites for the preserving pan." 

" Near the same region was a small nursery of medicinal plants ; for the 
mind which had grouped so many pleasures for the eye and the taste of man, 
had not put out of sight his infirmities, or forgotten where it was written, "in the 
garden was a sepulchre." "There arose the rough-leaved sage with its spiry efflo- 
rescence," or, as she describes it in another place, " the sapient sage, which seemed 
complacently satisfied with its own excellencies, or bearing on its roughened lip 
the classic question. Cur moriatur /loi/io, Juin salis crescit in horto / " * " The aromatic 
tansy" also grew here, the spearmint, "the pungent peppermint for distillation," 
"the healing balm," "the hoar-hound, foe of consumption," "the worm-wood and 
the rue, a spoonful of whose expressed juice, given either as a tonic or vermifuge, 
was never forgotten by the moath that received it;" "the spikenard and the 
lovage," and "the elecampane," " the aperient cumphrey," " the pennyroyal," "the 
bitter boneset, famed for subduing colds;" and "the aromatic thyme that fought 
fevers." "Large poppies scattered here and there, perfected their latest anodyne, 
and hop-vines, clasping the accustomed arches, disclosed from their aromatic 
clusters some portion of their sedative powers." 

" Yet the garden at the opposite extremity of the house was emphatically 



"Why need a man die, who has sage in his garden?" 



OLD HOUSES OF NORlVfCH. 141 

the fruit reg-ion. It was longitudinally divided by a grassy terrace, and with the 
exception of a few esculents, rows of graceful peas, and beans, decking their 
rough props with blossoms, was directed to the v^arieties of fruit that a New 
England climate matures ; currants reached forth their rich and pendulent strings, 
large gooseberries rejoiced amid their thorny armor ; over a broad domain ran 
the red and white strawberry, hand in hand, like a buxom brother giving confi- 
dence to his pale exquisite sister. Through the apple boughs, peered the small 
orb of the deep-colored pearmain, and the full cheek of the golden sweeting, 
while many lofty pear trees aristocratically bore their varied honor thick upon 
them. There were the minute harvest pear, the coveted of childhood for its bland 
taste and early ripeness, the spreading bell, notching a century on its trunk, with 
unbowed strength, the delicious vergaloo, the high-flavored bennet with its deep 
blush, and multitudes of the rough-coated later pears, destined, with culinary 
preparation, to give variety to the wintr}- tea-table." 

"Another extensive and highly cultured spot, called the lower garden, as it 
was approached from the rear of the establishment, by descending a long flight 
of wooden stairs, exulted in all manner of vegetable wealth to enrich the domes- 
tic board ; " " while a large turfy mound, rounded and entered like a tomb, the 
celery and the savoy cabbage claimed as their own exclusive winter palace." 

" Beyond stretched an extensive meadow, refreshed at its extremity by a 
crystal streamlet, flowing on with a pleasant murmur to the neighboring river. The 
domain comprised also a hill, whose trees were sparsely scattered and which 
gently sloping toward the house, had at its foot a large barn." " Its yard com- 
municated by a large gate with an area in the rear of the mansion, which was 
surrounded by a little village of offices. Among them were the carriage-house, 
the wood-house where ranges of sawed hickory were disposed with geometrical 
precision ; the gardener's tool-house, the distillery, where the richer herbs from the 
dispensary, and the fragrant petals of the damask-rose yielded their essence for 
health or luxury ; and the poultry house, with its glass windows and varied 
compartments, where the brooding mothers and their hopeful offspring found 
systematic lodgment and a large prosperity." Mrs. vSigourney describes as her 
" playhouse," " the spacious garret, covering the whole upper story of the man- 



142 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

sion," in one corner of which, was "a heavy old-fashioned carved beaufet, upon 
whose curving shelves," she displayed her toys " so as to make the best appear- 
ance." In one of the garret chimneys was a closet, " where the ropes and pulleys of 
the great roasting-jack hissed and sputtered when put in motion by the fires below." 

She speaks of the parlor " that low-browed apartment, with " its highly 
polished wainscot," its " crisom moreen curtains, the large brass andirons, with 
their silvery brightness, the clean hearth, on which not even the white ashes of 
the consuming hickory were suffered to rest, the rich dark shade of the furniture, 
unpolluted by dust," " the two stately candlesticks," " the antique candelabra ; " 
"the closet, whose open door revealed its wealth of silver, cans, tankards, and 
flagons, the massy plate of an ancient family ; " the " ancient clock, whose tall 
ebony case, was covered with gilded figures, of strikingly varied and fanciful 
character." She also mentions the storied tiles of the fire place, and pictures the 
kitchen with " the dressers unpainted, but as white as the nature of the wood 
permitted them to be," with "rows of pewter emulous of silver in its beautiful 
lustre," the "long oaken table" and "heavy oaken cupboard," the five or six tall 
chairs with rush bottoms, and the wooden settle "not far from the ample expanse 
of the fire-place." " Over the mantle-piece was a high and narrow shelf, which, 
at its western extremity, was multiplied into a triple row of shorter ones ; form- 
ing a repository for a servant's library," which was " composed principally of 
pamphlet sermons, or what was considered Sunday reading." Near this servant's 
library hung the " roasting-jack, which, when put in motion, with its complicated 
machinery, extending from garret to cellar, alarmed the unlearned by its discordant 
sounds, and awoke in the minds of the superstitious some indefinite suspicion of 
the agency of evil spirits." The old housekeeper, Lucy Calkins, was quite a 
character in the household, and there were two colored servants, Beulah and 
Cuffee, children of former slaves. 

Dr. Daniel Lathrop, the fourth proprietor of this mansion, was born 17 12, 
graduated from Yale College in 1733, and went afterward to England to study 
" chirurgery " in St. Thomas's Hospital. He was there in 1737. While in Europe 
he purchased a large quantity of drugs and general merchandise, and on his 
return, started the first drug .shop in Connecticut. 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 143 

According to Mrs. Sig-ourney, "he possessed such acute sensibilities," and 
" was rendered so unhappy by the necessity of performing any surgical opera- 
tion, that he commuted active practice for the business of an apothecary. This 
allowed him frequent opportunities of giving salutary advice especially to the poor, 
which gratified his benevolence, and kept his scientific knowledge from oblivion. 
To a competent patrimony, he added a very large fortune, gathered in his mercantile 
department, which he expended with great liberality. He was held in high honor 
and numbered among the benefactors of his native city, being the first to found a 
school where the common people might be instructed gratuitously in Latin and 
Greek, as well as in the more essential branches of a solid education." 

Dr. Daniel Lathrop died in 1782, and in his funeral sermon, Dr. vStrong testi- 
fies that "he attended well unto that charge to the rich, viz. : to do good, to be rich 
in good works, to be ready to distribute," that he was " kind and generous to the 
widow and the fatherless," " liberal in his contributions to the church, that he 
at one time offered a tenth part of the sum sufficient to support the ministry, 
and schools, free of public charge, though the offer was not at this time accepted." 
In his will he left ^500 to Yale College, ^500 for the support of the ministry, 
and ^500 to found a Grammar School. 

Dr. Lathrop married in 1744, Jerusha, daughter of Gov. Joseph Talcott of 
Hartford. Finding, on a visit to Europe, that the family, from which he was de- 
scended, wrote the name Lathrop, rather than Lothrop, he adopted that form on 
his return to America, and it is now universally used by the families of this name 
in Connecticut, though in other States the "o" is still retained. 

Mrs. Jerusha Lathrop was born in 1717. Mrs. Sigourney describes her, as 
she appeared in old age when " her alert step and animated aspect w'ould scarcely 
permit the beholder to believe that the weight of almost seventy years oppressed 
her." "A tall and graceful person, whose symmetry age had respected;" "the 
fair open forehead, clear, expressive, blue eye, and finely shaped countenance," 
" circled with thin folds of the purest cambrick, whose whiteness was contrasted 
with the broad, black ribband which compressed them, and the kerchief of the 
same colour, pinned in quaint and quaker-like neatness over her bosom," give us 
a mental picture of the charming old lady, as she appeared, pruning and training 



144 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

the flowers in her garden, or entertaining the little children of the neighborhood, 
whom she often gathered about her in the afternoons, by cutting with her scissors 
from white paper, groups of dancing girls, tall trees with little squirrels springing 
from bough to bough, or producing from her children's library those delightful 
books: "The Bag of Nuts ready-cracked,"' the renowned " History of Goody Mar- 
gery Two-Shoes," or the wonderful exploits of the " Giant Grumbolumbo." In a 
poem dedicated to Mrs. Daniel Lathrop, Mrs. wSigourney depicts : — 

" The dext'rous scissors ready to produce 

The flying squirrel, or the long-neck'd goose ; 
Or dancing girls with hands together join'd ; 
Or tall spruce trees, with wreaths of roses twin'd ; 
The well dress'd dolls whose taper forms display'd 
Thy pen knife's labour, and thy pencil's shade." 

At these childrens fetes, Madame Lathrop would sing songs at their request. 
" The Distracted Lady " and the " Address of the Ghost of Poinpey to his wife 
Cornelia," were great favorites, also " Indulgent Parents Dear," in which the 
hero "loved a maid of low degree," and when he discovered that his proud 
mother had taken the life of the kneeling fair one, reproached her for the deed, 

" his rapier drew. 

And pierc'd his bosom through, 
And bade this world adieu, 
Forever more." 

The song, " While shepherds watched their flocks by night," and an early 
supper usually closed the entertainment. Mrs. Sigourney was never tired of 
dilating on the virtues and charms of Madame Lathrop, of her liberality to the 
poor, of her piety, "which was not a strife about doctrines," "for she looked upon 
the varying sects of Christians, as travellers, pursuing different roads to the 
same eternal city," a liberality of sentiment not always found in later days. 
Three sons were born to Madam Lathrop, who all died within a few days of 
each other of some inalignant disease. Then followed the death of her hus- 
band, and finally, her own mental powers failing, she died in 1S05, at the age of 
eighty-eight (to quote from her funeral sermon), a loss "to the city," and "to 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 145 

the church of God, which she honored. The sick and the sorrowful mourn a 
benefactor; for she stretched forth her hands to the poor, and needy; she com- 
forted the widow and the fatherless. She opened her mouth with wisdom ; on her 
tongue was the law of kindness ; Give her of the fruits of her hands ; let her 
own works praise her in the gates." 

In 1S06, after the death of Madam Lathrop, the property passed into the 
possession of her nephew, Daniel Lathrop (son of Dr. Joshua Lathrop), who was 
then living in the house now occupied by George C. Raymond. He was born in 
1769, graduated at Yale College in 1787, and married in 1793, Elizabeth, daughter 
of Dr. Philip Turner. Mrs. Sigourney describes Daniel Lathrop as "a gentleman 
of portly form, whose movements were as leisurel}- as those of his elder brother 
were mercurial. He almost always smiled when he spoke, and ever had a kind 
word or benevolent deed for the lowly and poor. He and his fair wife were 
patterns of amiable temperament and domestic happiness." One of his daughters 
married Jonathan G. W. Trumbull, son of Gov. David Trumbull. His only son, 
Frank Turner Lathrop, married Elizabeth Macalester of Philadelphia, and died 
in 1832, s. p. Another daughter, Cornelia, married George Willis of Hartford, and, 
when left a widow, resided in this house for many years. In 1S52, the house 
was sold to Stephen Fitch of Bozrah, and, in 1862, when purchased by Mrs. 
Elizabeth (Coit) Gilman, grand-niece of Dr. Daniel Lathrop, came again into 
the possession of the Lathrop family, to whom it for so many years belonged. 




CHAPTER XXVI. 



IN 1740, 2iy2 rods of land, "on the side hill near Capt. Simon Lothrop's shop," 
were laid out to John Reynolds. The southern line of this lot began "at 
the highway, four rods north from the north-west corner " of the Lathrop shop. 
The heirs of John Reynolds sell this land in 1755 and 1756, to Simeon Case, 
who builds the house now standing on the lot. The north part of the land (front- 
age 6 ft.), between the Reynolds lot and the Lathrop shop, became the property of 
Daniel Tracy, and was sold by him in 1760, to Simeon Case. 

Simeon Case was the son of John Case, who came to West Farms (now 
Franklin), before 1727, and married in 1727, Hannah, probably daughter of John 
and Susanna Ormsby. We think he was possibly a son of John and Desire 
(Manton) Case, who came to Windham, Ct., from Martha's Vineyard, shortly 
before this time. Two of their sons, Barnard and Benjamin, settled in Windham. 
A Moses Case, possibly another son, appeared in Lebanon, married in 1717-18, 
Mary Haskins, and moved to Norwich between 1721 and 1727. A Mrs. Case is 
said to have died in Norwich, in 1764, aged 104, who perhaps was the aged 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 



M7 



mother of John and Moses Case. vSix children were born to John and Hannah 
(Ormsby) Case, of whom Simeon was the third. He was born in 1733, married 
in 1759, Mehitable Allen of Pomfret, Ct., and died in 1785. He had nine children. 
Simeon, his second son (b. 1761), became the next owner of the house, and died 
in 18 16. After his death, Susanna, widow of his brother Samuel, occupies the 
house, and buys, in 1S22, the Isaac Tracy land on the south. In 1833, this house 
is occupied by Curtis Bliss. Susanna Case dies in 1848, and her son, Samuel, sells 
the property in 1855, to Amos Cobb ; and in 1857, it is sold to Mrs. Lucy Blake. 
It is now the property of Thomas Donahue. 




Three separate lots of land, with a combined frontage of 1 1 rods (the first 
beginning 8 rods north of Col. Simon Lathrop's shop), were laid out to various 
persons, but all sold between 1745 and 1752, to Dr. Joshua Lathrop, who built the 
house now owned by Mrs. Gardner Thurston. Dr. Joshua Lathrop (b. 1723), 
graduated at Yale College in 1743, and married in 1748, Hannah Gardiner, daugh- 
ter of David Gardiner, "Lord of Gardiner's Isle." She died in 1760, and in 1761 
he married Mercy, daughter of the Rev. Nathaniel Eels of Stonington, for whom 
the chapter of the Daughters of the Revolution in that town has recently been 



148 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

named. Mrs. Sig-ourney cherished a vivid recollection of Dr. Joshua Lathrop, of 
" his small, well-knit, perfectly erect form, his mild benevolent brow, surmounted 
by the large round white wig, with its depth of curls, the three-cornered smartly 
cocked hat, the nicely plaited stock, the rich silver buckles at knee and shoe, the 
long waistcoat, and fair ruffles over hand and bosom, which marked the gentle- 
man of the old school." 

" He was a man of the most regular and temperate habits, fond of relieving 
the poor in secret, and faithful in all the requisitions of piety. He was persever- 
ing to very advanced age in taking exercise in the open air, and especiall}^ in 
daily equestrian excursions, withheld only by very inclement weather. At eighty- 
four, he might be seen, mounted upon his noble, lustrous black horse, readily 
urged to an easy canter, his servant a little in the rear. Continual rides in that 
varied and romantic region w^ere so full of suggestive thought to his religious 
mind, that he was led to construct a nice juvenile book on the works of nature, 
and of nature's God. Being in dialogue form, it was entitled 'The Father and 
the Son.'" " It was stitched in coarse flowered-paper, and sometimes presented as 
a Thanksgiving gift to the children of his acquaintance, or any whom he might 
chance to meet in the streets. How well I recollect his elastic step in walking, 
his agility in mounting or dismounting his steed, and that calm, happy temper- 
ament, which, after he was an octogenarian, made him a model for men in 
their prime." * 

A large oil portrait of him, '' with one of his beautiful wife, courteously 
presenting him a plentiful dish of yellow peaches, adorned their best parlor, 
covered with green moreen curtains." On these, Mrs. Sigourney says, she gazed, 
when a child, "with eyes dilated, as on the wonders of the Vatican." These 
portraits are now in the possession of Mrs. George B. Ripley, the grand-daughter of 
Dr. Joshua Lathrop. The Rev. Dr. Strong also adds this tribute to the good old 
doctor in his funeral sermon : " His enemies, if he had any, were silenced into 
respect by his virtues, and his friends were numerous and sincere. It was during 
his college life he commenced that race of godliness, in which he steadily perse- 
vered." " Though he was in his eighty-fifth year, he by no means outlived himself. 



* Mrs. Sigourney's " Letters of Life." 




Q 




— CO X 

a '^ -> 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 149 

Neither debility of body, or mind, prevented his bringin^^ forth much fruit, even 
at that very advanced period." " Though he had Hved many years it was not 
long enough to satisfy the wishes of either his friends, or of the unfortunate." 

Mercy (Eels) Lathrop (b. 1742), the second wife of Dr. Joshua, was the 
daughter of Rev. Nathaniel and Mercy (Gushing) Eels of Stonington, and grand- 
daughter of the Rev. Nathaniel Eels of Scituate, Mass., and his wife, Hannah 
North, who was said to be the aunt of Lord North, Prime Minister of England. 
"This consort of Dr. Joshua Lathrop," according to Mrs. Sigourney, * " was a lady 
of fine personal appearance, and great energy. In an age when domestic science 
was in universal practice and respect, she maintained the first rank as a pattern 
housekeeper. The young girls brought up by her were uncommon workers, and 
thoroughly indoctrinated in moral and religious obligations. They often married 
well, and in thrift and industry were a fortune to their husbands. She was a 
sagacious observer of human nature, and not unfrequently a profitable adviser 
to her lord, whose unsuspicious charity made him occasionally the prey of impos- 
ture. One morning a man presented himself with a written paper, purporting 
that he was deaf and dumb." "This stranger enforced his claims by signs, and 
answered in pantomime such queries as were made palpable to the eye. The pity 
of the good old gentleman was warmly awakened." "The antique dark mahog- 
any desk was opened, which never turned upon its hinges in vain. Still a pair 
of keen black eyes, occasionally raised from the needle, critically regarded the 
mute applicant. Suddenly a sharp report, like a pistol, issued from a chestnut 
stick that had intruded itself among the hickory on the great blazing fire, and he 
involuntarily started. 'My dear,' said the lady, 'this person can hear.' Horror- 
struck, and enraged at thus losing the large bounty almost within his grasp, he 
discourteously, and it is to be hoped, unconsciously exclaimed, ' You lie ! ' And 
the illusion was dissolved." 

" Mrs. Joshua Lathrop survived her husband many years, and until past the 
age of ninety, retained her active habits, and mental capacity unimpaired." \ She 
died in 1833, and the house was sold in that year to Gardner Thurston, whose 
widow still retains possession. 



f Mrs. Sigourney's "Letters of Life." 




CHAPTER XXVII. 



IN 1709, a Thomas Lathrop receives a grant of four rods of land, opposite his 
father's house. This is not "laid out" until 17 14, when it is divided into two 
lots, each having a frontage of 2 rods. A ware-house, built by Benajah Bushnell 
before 17 12, encroached on the north of this land, so Benajah buys the lot adjoin- 
ing his own property in 18 14. On the south lot stands for a while Thomas 
Lathrop's "bark house." Later, Dr. Daniel Lathrop established here the first drug 
shop in Connecticut, probably shortly after 1737. ^^^ brother Joshua, after 
graduating from Yale in 1743, became a member of the firm. 

Miss Caulkins says that they imported not only medicines, but fruits, wines, 
European goods, &c., &c. The invoice of drugs, imported by them in one vessel, 
was valued at ^^8,000. A curious, old earthen drug-jar used formerly in the 
Lathrop shop may be seen at the store of C. P. Capron at Norwich Town. 

It is said that this was the first drug-shop between Boston and New York, 
and Miss Caulkins relates an anecdote, which helps to confirm this statement. 
In 1749, a malignant epidemic prevailed in some of the western towns of the 
colony, and the Rev. Mark Leavenworth of Watcrbury, came to Norwich on 
horseback to obtain medicines for his suffering people, making the journey hither 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 151 

and back, in three days. He would certainly have i^'-one to New Haven or 
Hartford if there had been a drug- shop in either town. 

Benedict Arnold and Solomon vSmith were among the apprentices of the 
Doctors Lathrop. Arnold settled as a druggist in New Haven, and vSolomon 
Smith was assisted by the Drs. Lathrop in establishing the first drug-store in 
Hartford in 1757. Dr. Joseph Coit became later a member of the Hartford firm. 

Mrs. wSigourney writes of the conscientious and kindly care which Dr. 
Daniel Lathrop and his wife bestowed upon their apprentices, receiving them into 
their own family, and constantly striving to bring them up to be good and useful 
members of society. But their efforts were wasted upon Benedict Arnold. He 
abused the cats, the dogs, and the horses, dismembered the birds, and stole and 
crushed their eggs. When dispatched to the mill for Indian corn, he would 
frighten the miller by clinging to the spokes of the revolving wheel, at one time 
submerged, then again flying through the air, while the miller called him " an 
imp of the Evil One." 

In 1774, the firm of Drs. Daniel and Joshua Lathrop was dissolved, and 
Dr. Joshua formed a partnership with his nephews, and later with his son. 

In 1785, the firm of Coit & Lathrop was established, the partners being 
Daniel L. Coit, and Thomas Lathrop, son of Dr. Joshua. In 1796, this partnership 
ceased, and Daniel L. Coit carried on the business until iSoi, when he was suc- 
ceeded by Ebenezer Carew, who soon moved to the Landing. The shop was 
destroyed within the last few years. 




CHAPTER XXVIII. 



N the hill, above the Lathrop drug-shop, and approached by a succession of 
terraces, was the house of Thomas Lathrop, son of Dr. Joshua Lathrop. 
He was born 1762, and married in 1783, his cousin, Lydia, daughter of Capt. 
William and Lydia (Coit) Hubbard, who died in 1790, and he married (2) 1791, 
Hannah, daughter of Capt. Ephraim and Lydia (Huntington) Bill. The north 
part of his lot, where his house stood, was formerly the barn-lot of Josiah Read, 
and, when purchased by the latter from Jonathan Crane, to whom it was first 
granted, was recorded as "one acre of upland on the hill, abutting east on the 
highway 8 rods, south on land of Joseph Bushnell 22 rods, west on the street 16 
rods, and north on a highway 16 rods." Josiah Read sells it with the rest of 
his property to Richard Bushnell in 1698. It then descends to Benajah Bushnell, 
and is sold by his heirs, Phinehas and Zerviah Holden, to Joshua Lathrop, in 
1764. Joshua gives it, with an addition of part of the Joseph Bushnell lot, to 
his son Thomas, who, about the time of his marriage, builds the house at 
present occupied by Miss C. L. Thomas. 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 153 

Mrs. Sigourney speaks of this "elegant mansion," which, to her, seemed 
"like that of Peveril of the Peak." wShe describes Thomas Lathrop as inheriting the 
energy and ambition of his mother. " No equipage was so conspicuous as his, no 
horses so fine, no harnesses so lustrous, no carriages of such immaculate neatness and 
taste." The Hon. Charles Miner also alludes to "the spanking bays," and "the 
plain, yet neat, double-carriage " of Mr. Thomas Lathrop. The same perfection 
which seemed to characterize all his belongings, appeared also in the attributes 
of his eldest daughter, Jerusha (later the wife of Pelatiah Perit). She was contin- 
ually extolled as a model of goodness by mothers to their daughters, and teachers 
to their pupils, until one imperfect little mortal, goaded to desperation, was heard 
to say, "I wish there wa'n't no Rush' Lathrop. Pm tired out of the sound." 




A long gravel-path, extending through the garden at the south of the house, 
commands a most extensive view over the river, the meadows and distant hills. 
A very beautiful letter from the Rev. David Austin to one of his nieces, the 
young daughter of Thomas Lathrop, pictures her walking with her mother, 
friend, and sister in this garden, " down the broad, cleanly, well-swept aisle, adorned 



154 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 



with plants, flowers, shrubs, and vines." " We 
walk," he says, " we chatt, we admire, and catch 
from the lofty heighth and descending slope, and 
fertile valley, and rising, ragged, and verdant 
rocks, and meandering stream, the inspiration of 
the place," and he hopes that "the vines, and 
the plants, the rocks, and the plains, and the 
soul-inviting and heart-bending language of the 
skies," may "lead the thoughts" of his little 
niece, until " her eye is extended, her spirit 
ravished, in the multiplied and variegated beau- 
ties and glories of the Great Supreme;" and as 
™ she now walks in " this garden of the earth," so, 
he wishes, she may some day walk " in the gar- 
den of the Heavens." 

Thomas Lathrop died in 1817, and his 
widow lived for a while in the house on the 
hill, but after her children married, she found her home too large and lonely, 
so, buying the lot on which formerly stood the Jackson Browne house, she 
built herself in 1828 a new house, in which she resided till her death in 1862, 
aged ninety-two. Mrs. Sigourney describes her, as exhibiting at the age of ninety, 
a rare example of comely appearance, active habitudes, and serene piety, and 
"with unbowed frame, directing the daily operations of a systematic household, 
and delighting in the skilful use of the needle." She classes her with " those, 
with whom, as Cicero says, wisdom is progressive to their latest breath." 

Mrs. Lathrop (b. 1769), was one of the daughters of Capt. Ephraim Bill, all of 
whom (as their portraits testify), were handsome and attractive. Lydia Bill married 
Joseph Rowland of Norwich, later of New York, and the other daughter, Elizabeth, 
married Daniel Lathrop Coit, who occupied the house just north of Thomas Lathrop's. 
In 1828, the former home of Thomas Lathrop is sold to Henry Thomas, a 
New York merchant, of Norwich lineage, who returns to reside in his native 
place, and for 67 years his family have owned and occupied the house. 





Hannah \Biil. Lachiup. 

WiFt; OF Thomas L-'throp 
1769-1862. 

PAINTED BY ALVAN F.SHEIR. 




CHAPTER XXIX. 



Two approaches, from northerly and southerly directions, lead from the main 
highway, and unite in another road, separating the house of Thomas Lathrop 
from the one on the north, in which resided his cousin, and also brother-in-law, 
Daniel Lathrop Coit. The land on which this house stands, was the southern 
extremity of the Josiah Read home-lot, a partial description of which was given 
in the account of the old highway. 

The first record of this home-lot gives it as 7J2 acres, abutting south on 
the highway into the woods, east on Commons, north on land of Goodman Adgate 
and Commons, and west on the "Town Street." The second record is of 8 acres 
home-lot, and pasture land, with an addition granted by the town, abutting west 
on the Town Street 12 rods, south-east on a highway 92 rods, east on Commons 
9 rods, north on a highway 21 rods, and west on Commons 15 rods to a stone 
"above the head of the spring."* This home-lot record was dated 1659. The 



* Though the home-lot of Josiah Read bears the date 1659, his name appears in Miss 
Caulkins' list, of those whose claims to first proprietorship are doubtful, and not at all on the 
list of Dr. Lord. 



156 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

pasture, which is registered as dating from 1663, abuts north on Commons, and land 
of Richard Bushnell t^^ rods to a corner, abuts north-east on land of Bushnell 4 rods, 
and north-west and west on land of Richard Bushnell and Thomas Adgate 27 rods. 

From these measurements it is not easy to exactly define the limits of this 
home-lot, but, if we leave a west frontage on the street of about 12 rods, then 
allow for the adjoining Adgate lot a depth of 12 rods, and a frontage on the 
cart-path over the hill of about 17 rods, then call the north-west corner beyond 
the Adgate lot the Bushnell grant, we may perhaps safely venture to include all 
the rest of this land bounded north, east, and south by highways, in the Josiah 
Read home-lot. 

Of the parentage of Josiah Read we know very little. We quote from 
Miss Caulkins, that " the marriage of Josiah Read to Grace, the daughter of 
William Holloway, took place at Marshfield, in November, 1666." "It is probable 
that Josiah and John Read married sisters. The farm of William Holloway in 
Marshfield fell to his two daughters. It was sold, one half in 1670, by 'Josiah Read 
of Norridge, in the Colony of Connecticut,' as the inheritance of his wife Grace, 
and the other half in 1673, by ' Hannah Read, formerly Holloway,' whom we 
suppose to have been the wife of John. The only proof, however, is the coincidence 
of name. A third brother, Hezekiah Read, was considerably younger than the 
others. "The father, whose Christian name has not been recovered, died in 1679, 
leaving Hezekiah a minor, who, in accordance with his own request, was committed 
by the court to the guardianship of his brothers, Josiah and John, ' for his good 
education in the fear of God, good literature, and some particular calling.' * The 
mother of Hezekiah Read in 1680, was Ruth Percy." This Read home-lot was prob- 
ably first granted to the father of Josiah, who, dying early, as in the case of 
William Backus, Sen., the home-lot was entered in the name of his son. A John 
Read received a grant of land in New London in 1651, which he afterward 
forfeited. A Robert Persey (Percy) bought a house in New London in 1678, and 
sold it in 1679. It is possible that these may have had some connection with 
the Reads of Norwich. Miss Caulkins also mentions a Joseph Read of New 
London, who may have been the father of the family. A Josiah Read, who 



Miss Caulkins' History of Norwich, 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 157 

owns land at New London in 1662, may be the same who later came to Norwich, 
perhaps after the death of his father. Josiah Read was by trade a tailor. Miss 
Caulkins says that he removed to Newent, then known as " over Showtucket," 
to a farm he had purchased, in 1687, but the deed of the homestead to Richard 
Bushnell is dated 1698. He had eight children, four of whom were sons, Josiah, 
Jun., William, John and Joseph, who became " farmers in ye crotch of ye Rivers." 
Josiah, Sr., died in 17 17, his wife Grace in 1727. 

In purchasing- this home-lot of Josiah Read, Richard Bushnell may have 
realized a youthful ambition to own the land, with whose streams and broad 
meadows he had been familiar from boyhood, when he lived with his step- 
father, Dea. Thomas Adgate, on the opposite side of the way. Here he now 
settles to a long life of usefulness and honor, in a neighborhood of relatives, his 
mother and step-father, and his two brothers-in-law, Samuel Lathrop and 
Christopher Huntington, 2nd, across the street, and his brother Joseph, and 
brother-in-law, Thomas Lefifingwell, just below him on the "Sentry Hill" Road. 
Richard Bushnell was born in 1652, and was the son of Richard Bushnell of 
Norwalk, Ct., who married Mary, daughter of Matthew Marvin, and later moved 
to Saybrook, where he died about 1658. The widow, Mary, married just before 
coming to Norwich, Deacon Thomas Adgate, and when Richard arrived here 
with his mother and step-father he was about eight years of age. In 1672, he 
married his step-sister, Elizabeth Adgate, and had two sons and two daughters. 
Anne Bushnell was married in 1695 to William Hyde, and Elizabeth in 1709 to 
Jabez Hyde, sons of Samuel and Jane (Lee) Hyde. Caleb (b. 1679), married in 
1699 -1700 Anne Lefifingwell, and Benajah (b. 1681), married in 1709 Zerviah 
Leffingwell, daughters of Ensign Thomas Lefhngwell. 

According to Miss Caulkins, in the early part of the eighteenth century, 
Richard Bushnell was one of the most noted and active men of Norwich, and 
very popular also, we should judge, from his being chosen to fill the important 
offices of townsman, constable, school-master, sergeant, lieutenant and captain of 
the train band, town agent, and justice of the peace. He was repeatedly chosen 
deputy to the General Court, in all thirty-eight times ; and he officiated also as 
clerk, and speaker of the house for many years. 



158 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

In 1683, he was appointed to take care of the town's stock of ammunition. 
In 1693, he was appointed ensign of the train band. In 1697, he was chosen 
school-master for two months in the year, the terms 4 d. per week for each 
scholar, the rest of the salary to be paid by the town, who empowered Lt. 
Leflfingwell and Ensign Waterman " to satisfie " him in land " for his teaching 
school, to say what the schoolers doe not doe." At this same date, he was also 
called "shoemaker," and it is possible that he hammered nails into the shoes 
and ideas into the heads of the children at the same time. In 1698, he was 
commissioned lieutenant, and in 1701 captain of the train band. 

He served as town clerk from 169 1 to 1698, and again from 1702 to 1726, 
and his books show a great improvement on the work of his predecessor, John 
Birchard. The following specimen of his poetical powers was written by him, 
as a begging petition for Owaneco, Sachem of the Mohegans, who spent the last 
years of his life, wandering about the country, soliciting alms of the English : — 

" Oneco King, his queen doth bring, 
To beg a little food ; 
As they go along, their friends among, 
To try how kind, how good." 

■' Some pork, some beef, for their relief, 
And if you can't spare bread, 
She'll thank you for pudding, as they go a-gooding. 
And carry it on her head."* 

At the time of the great snow storm, in the winter of 1717-18, the meeting of 
Commissioners, in the Mason and Indian controversy, was appointed to take place 
at the house of Richard Bushnell, but on the 17th of February it began to 
snow, and continued for two nights and a day, with a furious wind, which piled 
the snow up into huge drifts ten or twelve feet high. For days, the Commis- 
sioners were hardly able to get together. 

Richard Bushnell died in 1727. His son. Dr. Caleb Bushnell, who, as physician, 
captain of the train-band, and a prosperous merchant, was "almost as conspicuous 



* " The last line alludes to the Indian custom of bearing burdens in a sack upon the 
shoulders, supported by a bark strap called a metomp passing across the forehead." — Miss 
Caulkins' History of Norwich. 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 159 

in town affairs as his father," had died in 1724. In his will, Richard states that 
he never intended to give a double portion to his oldest son (as was the custom), 
but to give his children equal portions of his property. To his son, Benajah, 
he gives his double-barreled gun, silver-hilted sword, and belts, ivory-headed cane, 
and silver whistle ; to his son, Richard, his small rapier, and two pistols. The gun, 
silver-hilted sword, and pistols may have been those left to him by Capt. Rene 
Griguon. The inscription on his grave-stone reads : 

HERE LIES ye BODY 

OF CAPT. RICHARD 

BVwSHNELL ESQUIRE 

WHO DIED AVGVST 

ye27.. i727..&inye 

75th YEAR OF HIS AGE 

AS YOU ARE 

SO WAS WE 

BUT AS WE ARE 

YOU SHALL BE. 

After the death of Richard, his son Benajah (b. 168 1), occupied the house and 
home -lot. He had four children. One daughter (named for her mother), Zerviah, 
married in 1 750-1 Phinehas Holden. Another daughter, Elizabeth, married in 
1730 Isaac Tracy, son of John and Elizabeth (Leffingwell) Tracy, and the son 
Benajah (b. 1714-5), married (i) in 1740 Hannah Griswold, daughter of John and 
Hannah (Lee) Griswold of Lyme, and later in 1774, Betsey Webster of Lebanon. 
This son settles on a farm which was given to him by his father. 

Benajah Bushnell, ist, was chosen lieutenant of the first company, or 
train-band, in 17 14. In 1720, he was elected deputy, an ofRce which he 
filled eight times in dift'erent years. In 1721, he was appointed captain of 
the train-band, and in 1723, he took a prominent part in settling the boundary 
line between Norwich and Preston. He was an influential member of the 
Episcopal Church, was senior-warden and treasurer of that organization, and 
gave, in 1746-7, a lot of land "at the north-east end of Waweequaw's hill, near 
the old Landing Place," on which to build a church. This is the land on which 
Christ Church now stands. He also contributed ^"40 to forward the erection 



i6o OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

of the first Episcopal Church, which, built at that time, was later, in 1789, moved 
to another lot, given by his son-in-law, Phinehas Holden, a little east of the 
present Trinity Church, and again, in 1S30, to the village of vSalem, where it 
still stands, now serving as the Salem Town House. 

During the latter part of Benajah Bushnell's life, he resided at the Land- 
ing. He died in 1762, and his wife in 1770. After their death, the old house at 
Norwich Town, and the land around it, passed to Elizabeth and Isaac Tracy, 
and the north part of the lot to Phinehas and Zerviah Holden. In 1775, Isaac 
Tracy, Sen., then living at the Landing, deeds this old house and land to his 
son Isaac, Jun., who is residing on Plain Hills. Isaac Tracy, Jun., sells the 
house and land to Joseph Coit in 17S3, and in the course of several years the 
Coit family acquire nearly the whole of the former Bushnell property. 

Capt. Joseph Coit was the son of John and Mehetabel (Chandler) Coit of 
New London. He was born in 1698, and married (i) 1732, Mary Hunting, 
daughter of the Rev. Nathaniel Hunting of East Hampton, L. I. His wife died 
in 1733, and he married (2) in 1739-40, Lydia, daughter of Thomas and Lydia 
(Abel) Lathrop of Norwich. In early life he went to Boston "to learn to be 
a boat-builder," but " likt it not" and returned home, and "learned of his father 
to be a ship carpenter." An injury to his foot, while at work at Gardiner's 
Island, in 1718, led to his adopting a seafaring life. From Jan. 12, 1719, to 
April 30, 1731, he made, to use his own words, "3 voyages before the mast, as 
mate 5, and as master n, 19 in all, in which time, by the nearest calculation, I 
was 1 100 days on the high seas, which is 3 years & 5 days, and what is very 
remarkable that in all these voyages, never lost but one white man, who dyed 
on ye Island of Barbadoes, viz , Andrew Denison, and an Indian boy before we 
left England, and out of 363 horses carryed out, lost only 3, one of which in 
good weather by the botts, one killed by carrying away of boom, and one by 
bad weather." After 1731, he became a merchant, and was active in all New 
London town affairs, until April 26, 1775, when, either influenced by the danger 
of invasion, which threatened New London, or the fact that most of his children 
were living in Norwich, he moved to the latter place, and went "to lodge" at 
Thomas Leffingwell's. We have reason to think, that for a time, he occupied 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 



[6i 



the house (now the "Sheltering- Arms"), which belonged to Tliomas Leffingwell. 
In 1 78 1, he lost two houses and two stores, in the burning of New London. In 
1783, he bought the old homestead of the Bushnells. In 1785, his son, Daniel 
Lathrop Coit, built the house which is now occupied by Gardiner Greene, Sen., 
and the old Bushnell house was probably torn down or moved away. Capt. 




Joseph Coit and his wife, Lydia, lived with their son, Daniel, until the father's 
death in 17S7, the mother's in 1794. In his latter years, Capt. Joseph Coit lost his 
eyesight, but his mind remained bright and active till the last. Three of his 
daughters married Norwich citizens, Christopher Leffingwell, Andrew Huntington 
and William Hubbard, and three of his sons, Thomas, Joseph and Daniel also 
moved to Norwich. 

Thomas Coit (b. 1752), was apprenticed at the age of twelve to his brother- 
in law, Christopher Leffingwell, and afterward started in business at the Land- 
ing. He built the house on Broadway now occupied by ex-Mayor Hugh H. 
Osgood, and about 1795 moved to Pomfret, then to Canterbury where he died 
in 1832. Joseph and Daniel served as apprentices to their uncles, Drs. Daniel 
1 1 



1 62 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

and Joshua Lathrop. Joseph married in 1775, Elizabeth Palmes of New London, 
daughter of Dr. Guy and Lucy (Christophers) (Douglas) Palmes, and in 1776, his 
uncles established him in the drug business at Hartford, in partnership with one 
of their former apprentices, Solomon Smith. On a visit to Norwich in 1779, 
Joseph died after a short illness, and on his grave-stone in the Norwich Town 
burying-ground may be read : — 

" Stop here, kind friend, 
and drop a tear 
Upon y youthfull dust, 
that slumbers here. 
And while you read, 
the fate of me, 
Think of the glass, 
that runs for thee." 

He is said to have possessed " a cheerful disposition, a fund of ready wit 
and humor, and the talent of easy versification." The widow, who, it is said, 
made in her youth a solemn vow that she would " never marry a Coit," again 
exercised a woman's privilege of changing her mind, and married in 1780, Capt. 
William Coit of Norwich, and after a long life, died in 1803, "leaving a reputation 
for intelligence, energy, and piety." The Hon. Joshua Coit was the only one of 
the children of Capt. Joseph Coit, who remained in New London. 

Daniel Lathrop Coit was born in 1754, served with his brother Joseph, as 
an apprentice in the drug-shop, living at the time in the household of his uncle, 
Dr. Daniel Lathrop. In 1783, he left Norwich for a trip to Europe, and his 
journal shall tell us of the difficulties he encountered, in starting from " the head 
of navigation " on the Thames : — 

"Thursday Morning, May 29, 1783. 

Sailed from Norwich — 11 o'clock A, M. Anchored about 5 miles down the 
River — lodged on Board. We got aground only 14 times. Braddick-Boatman. 
4 Passengers. Went on shore & staid the night, next morning went on shore, 
& walked to New London. 

30th. Arrived at N. L. about 2 o'clock friday. 

31st. Sailed from N. L. for N. York in Sloop Polly Braddick & had a fine 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 163 

fun — this day arrived within about 14 miles of N. York, when we anchored for 
the night. 

June ist. Arrived in N. York about 11 o'clock with 14 sail which passed 
Hell Gate with us. Weather Lowry & unpleasant. Passengers, W. Coit, Jun., 
Benjamin Coit, Capt. T. Fanning, L. McCurdy, Andrew Wattles. 

June 7th. Went on board the Brig Iris about 3 o'clock. Fell down to 
Staten Island. Anchored for the night being Friday. 

8th. Weighed anchor in the morning — ran down to the Hook where we 
waited for Mr. Cruden until about 12 o'clock when we sat sail." 

On Saturday, July 6th, he landed at Portsmouth. He visited England, 
Holland, and France, and passed the winter of 1784 in Paris, to acquire a familiar- 
ity with the language. Here he enjoyed the acquaintance of Dr. Franklin, then 
our minister to France, and of the Marquis de La Fayette. He saw the first 
successful balloon-ascension, made by Messrs. Robert and Charles, in December, 
1783, in the gardens of the Tuileries, and his letter, describing this event, was 
printed in the Norwich Packet. He writes : " The two men ascended to about 500 
yards in the air, and then sailed on the wings of the wind about 9 leagues. The 
wind was small, and they sailed along very prettily ; they were about 2 hours 
and a half in going 9 leagues. The novelty of the thing is so great that it in- 
grosses half the talk and attention of the city." 

After his return from Europe he resided until his marriage in 1786, with 
Madam Jerusha Lathrop, the widow of his imcle Daniel. ]\Irs. Sigourney says : 
" His aged relative, whom he revered as a parent, and by whom his attachment 
was reciprocated, used familiarly to style him her 'philosophical nephew.'" "By 
casual observers, he was deemed reserved or haughty ; but those who were able 
to comprehend him discovered a heart true to the impulses of friendship and 
affection, and a mind capable of balancing the most delicate points of patriotic 
and moral principle." " He was fond of the science of Natural History, and of 
exploring those labyrinths where nature loves to hide." After his return from 
Europe, he entered into partnership with Thomas Lathrop, succeeding Dr. Joshua 
in the drug business, and after the retirement of Thomas Lathrop about 1796, he 
continued it alone for some years. In 1801, he went to New York, where he was 



1 64 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

for two or three years in partnership with his brother-in-law, Joseph Howland. 
He then retired from active business, and returned to Norwich. He had invested 
largely in the lands of the Western Reserve, or New Connecticut (as it was 
called), in the State of Ohio, and experimented in silk-making, in order to ascer- 
tain if this industry could be made productive in the new region. 

'■'■ Unassuming, and punctilious in rendering to everyone the dues and courte- 
sies of life, nothing could surpass his forbearance and indulgence for the failings 
and weaknesses of others, while his sincerity, and freedom from prejudice, united 
with a judgment, ripened by a wide intercourse with mankind, gave a weight and 
sanction to his counsels, that were often sought, and were unobtrusively rendered." 
He married in 1786, Elizabeth Bill, daughter of Capt. Ephraim and Lydia (Hunt- 
ington) Bill, "a woman of great benevolence, unpretending piety, and undeviating 
sweetness of disposition," who died in 1846. The portraits of Daniel and Elizabeth 
(Bill) Coit, painted by Fisher, are now owned by their granddaughters, the Misses 
Oilman. 

Their daughter, Lydia, married Prof. James L. Kingsley of New Haven. 
Maria became the second wife of Peletiah Perit of New York, later of New Haven. 
Eliza Coit married William C. Gihnan. Of their sons, Henry married Mary, 
daughter of Shubael Breed ; Joshua graduated at Yale in 1819, practiced law in 
New York for many years, traveled in Europe, and then retired to New Haven, 
where he died a short time ago. 

Daniel Wadsworth Coit, the eldest son (b. 1787), married in 1834 his 
cousin, Harriet Frances Coit, daughter of Levi and Lydia (Howland) Coit, and 
after many years spent in travel, settled down in the former home of his father, 
and died in 1876. The house has never passed out of the family, as, when sold 
by the heirs of Daniel Wadsworth Coit, it was purchased by the Misses Gilman, 
grand-daughters of the Daniel Lathrop Coit who first built it in 17S4. 

In front of the house, stand the immense elms, of which Mrs. Sigourney 
wrote : — 

■' I do remember me 
Of two old elm trees' shade ; 
With mosses sprinkled at their feet. 
Where my young childhood played." 



^.vf-^^ 




CHAPTER XXX. 



N 1740, a piece of land, containing 15 rods, was laid out near Capt. Bushnell's 
house on the south side of the brook, abutting west on the Town Street 6 rods. 
This came into the possession of Noah Mandell, who also purchased in 174S, 8 rods 
of adjoining land, which had been granted to Isaac Huntington, abutting west on 
the Town Street 4 rods, 4 ft. "to a heap of stones on a flat rock," then bounded 
south on a highway i rod, 1 1 ft., then bounded east on a highway 4 rods, then abut- 
ting north on Alandell's land 2\-. rods to the first corner. Here Noah Mandell builds 
a blacksmith shop and coal house, which he sells in 1749 to Jabez Perkins, 3rd. 
We only know of Noah Mandell that he married in 1746, Sarah Corner, and had 
two children, John (b. 1748), and Mary (b. 1750). The name is probably Mendhall 
or Mendall. 

Miss Caulkins relates of Jabez Perkins that he lived on the Sentry Hill road, 
and that one day in 1754, he brought from the woods two young elms of a size that 
he could conveniently bear upon his shoulder, and set them out in such positions 



1 66 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

that, when grown, they would throw their shade over the shop in which he worked. 
These she believes to be the great elms which stand in front of the former Coit 
house, now occupied by Gardiner Greene, Sr. This story may be true, but it 
seems to us that one of these elms may possibly antedate the other. Of course 
allowance must be made for habitat, injuries, and many other circumstances, 
which naturally retard or promote the growth of a tree, but in order that all 
may have an opportunity to judge for themselves, we will give a few statistics. 

To begin with the famous elm on Boston Common, which was blown down 
in 1S76, we find that in a map of Boston of 1722, this tree appears quite fully 
grown ; in 1792 it is called an ancient tree ; in 1854-5 its girth, measured four 
feet above the ground, was 17 feet ; the average spread of its branches, diameter 
loi feet. 

Now the following are the Norwich trees for which the dates are given : — 

Supposed date. Girth sf^- above the ground. 

o -t TTi ,-,, ' 17 feet, II inches. 

Coit Elms. 1754- -\ c ^ ,/ ■ -u 

'■'^ / 13 feet, ()%. inches. 



(Set out by Jabez Perkins.) 

Elms in front of Mrs. John White's house. 1751-61- \]\ \ll\' V''\nrh^^^' 

(Set out by Zachariah Huntington.) 



/ 13 feet, I inch. 



Washington Street Elm.* 1767. 13 feet, i inch. 

(Set out by Peabody Clement.) 



Harland Elms. 17S1. 

(Set out by Nathaniel Shipman.) 



S 7 feet, 10 inches. 
'J 8 feet, I inch. 



Now if this Boston elm, after all its reputed years of growth, could only 
boast of 17 feet of girth, 4 feet above the ground, is it not possible, that the larger 
Coit elm may have existed nearer the time of the town's settlement, than 1754? 
Yet, proud as we well may be of this beautiful elm, it is only a second class tree 
after all, for, according to the standard of Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes, a first-class 
elm must have over twenty feet of girth, five feet above the ground, and a spread 
of branches a hundred feet across. In this last requirement, at least, our elms 
come up to his standard, for the Doctor tells, in his "Autocrat of the Breakfast 



*When this tree was planted it was said to have been about " the size of a bean pole." 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 



167 



Table," of a "very pretty" letter he has received from Norwich, giving an account 
of these elms, and the spread of their branches, "one hundred and twenty-seven 
feet from bough-end to bough-end." The Doctor writes: "What do you say to 
that? and gentle ladies beneath it, that love it, and celebrate its praises ! and that 
in a town of such supreme, audacious, Alpine loveliness as Norwich ! * Only the 
dear people there must learn to call it Norridge, and not to be misled by the 
mere accident of spelling. 

NoryfvV//. 

PortV/mouth. 

Cincinnati?//. 

What a picture of our civilization ! " 

Jabez Perkins sells the blacksmith's shop in 1761 to Nathan Cobb, who 
builds the house, lately occupied by Thomas Donahue, near the brook, and 
resides here with his family till his death in 1807. 




Nathan Cobb (b. 1734J, was the son of Henry Cobb of Stonington, and a 
great-grandson of Elder Henry Cobb of Barnstable, Mass., who was a member 



* Dr. Holmes is of Norwich descent through his grandmother, Temperance Bishop, (wife 
of Dr. David Holmes), who was a granddaughter of Joseph Lathrop. 



1 68 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

of the Rev. John Lathrop's church in London, and, escaping imprisonment, when 
the pastor and many of the congregation were arrested, came to Plymouth in 
New England. From here he went to join his former pastor at Scituate, and 
also followed him to Barnstable. He was senior deacon of the church at 
Scituate, and in 1670 was chosen ruling elder of the church at Barnstable, which 
office he held till his death. His son, Henry, moved in 1705 to Stonington, Ct., 
and the latter's grandson, Nathan, came to Norwich about 1761. Nathan Cobb 
was a blacksmith (or rather gunsmith), by trade. He married in 1757 in Ston- 
ington, Katherine, daughter of Jonathan and Margaret (Stanton) Copp. After 
his death in 1807, his family continued to occupy the house until 1830, when 
they sell it to Ebenezer Lord, and the land, where the shop formerly stood, to 
Daniel Coit. In 1838, the house also comes into Coit possession. It is now 
owned by the Misses Oilman. 

North of the brook, a small lot (frontage 3 rods), is laid out to Richard 
Charlton in 1741, and sold in 1771 to Nathaniel Parish who builds a house 
which, in 1791, is purchased by Asahel Case for his father, Ebenezer Case. 

We think this was Nathaniel Parish (b. 1748), son of Nathaniel and Kesiah 
(Armstrong) Parish. 

Ebenezer Case (b. 1 730-1), was the son of John and Hannah (Ormsby) Case 
and the brother of Simeon, who lived a short distance down the street. Ebenezer 
married in 1762, Prudence Cooley of Windham, and had a family of eight 
children. He lived for a time in another house a few rods above the Parish 
house, which he relinquished in 1791 to his son Asahel. He resided in the 
former Parish house until his death. It was then occupied by his son Calvin 
(b. 1779), who married in 1799 Mary KiUgrove — and later by Calvin's daughter 
Nancy, who had married John G. wSmith, and in 187 1 it was sold to Daniel W. 
Coit, and the house was soon after destroyed. 

North of the Parish house was a narrow road, called in old times "the 
Adgate cartway," leading to the barn on the hill ; and north of this was a small 
lot of land (with a frontage of 3J2 rods on the Bushnell cartway leading over 
the hill, and a frontage of 6 rods, 6 feet on the main street, and Adgate cartway), 
which was laid out to Matthew Adgate between 1738 and 1740. A shop was 




NOR 



■ HOUSES 
O HOUSES 
X HOUSii 



1° /" i"' 



leeC 



f P Gl/LL/VER 1895 



MAP OF 1795 



1 Pliofbo Roynolils (widow). 

:i Stocking' shop. 

:i .John Bliss. 

■I Jackson lirowne. 

r> Jlezokiiih Williams'' heirs (owner). 

() Timothy Lester (?) slio]). 

7 Thomas Leffing-wcll, 5th, (owner). 

8 Samuel Leffingwell. 

9 Samuel Lefflngwell (owner). 

10 Capt. Philemon Winship. 

11 Dr. Jonathan Marsh, 2ivl. 
Vi Thomas Lathrop (owner). 

1:5 Former site Joseph Bushnell liouse. 

14 James Lincoln. 

15 Former site Ensign Leffingwcll house. 
H) Thomas Lefflngwell, 5th. 

17 Col. Chris. Lefflngwell. 

18 Lefflngwell row. 

19 Wm. Lefflngwell's shop. 

20 Shop back of Lefflngwell's shoji. 
:il Widow Mary Billings. 

22 Widow Mary Billings (owner). 

23 Wm. Lefflngwell (owner). 

24 Thomas Williams (owner). 

25 Pottery kiln and shop. 

26 Carew.shop. 

27 Ebenezer Carew. 

28 Asa Lathrop, 3rd. 

29 Jabez Avery's heirs. 

30 Family of Capt. Joseph Winthrop. 

31 Rockwell Manning. 

32 Diah ]N[anning. 

33 Eleazer Lord's tavern. 

34 Tracy & Colt's store. 

35 Shop. 

36 Thomas Harland. 

37 Thomas Harland's watch factory. 
08 Thomas Williams' shop. 

39 Thomas Williams. 

40 School-house. 

41 Old Primus. 

42 Ruf us Lathrop. 

43 Jeruslia Lathrop (widow). 

44 Simeon Case. 

45 Dr. Joshua Lathrop. 

46 Lathrop drug shop. 

47 Former site of Bushnell warehouse. 

48 Thomas Lathrop. 



Daniel L. Coit. 97 

Cobb shop. 98 

Nathan Cobb. 99 

Ebenezer Case. 100 

Case shop. 101 

Asahel Case. 102 

Jeremiah Grifflng. 103 
Tracy & Coit (owners). [house. 104 
Former site of Aaron Chapman's 1(15 

Eunice Adgate (widow). liiii 

Lathrop factory. 107 

Daniel Lathrop's shop. 108 

Henry Cobb. 109 

Caleb Huntington. 110 

Malt shop. Ill 

Ezra Huntington. 112 

Town clerk's office. 112( 

Benjamin Huntington. 113 

Daniel Lathrop. 114 

Daniel Tracy (owner). l]5 

Ebenezer Carew (owner). ntj 

Avery & Tracy shop. 117 

Dorcas Lathrop (widow). 118 

Samuel Danforth (owner). 119 

Samuel Danforth. 120 

Andrew Huntington. 121 

Samuel Danf orth's shop. 122 

Felix Huntington's shop. 133 

Heirs of Thomas Grist. 124 

Col. Joshua Huntington. 125 
Mandator Tracy (owner). -126 
Shop Ebenezer Huntington (ownei-). 127 

Gen. Ebenezer Huntington. 128 
Former site of Daniel Tracy's house. 12i) 

Samuel Tracy. 130 

Site of Charles Whiting's shop. 131 

Mundator Tracy (owner). 132 

Gov. Samviel Huntington. 133 
Gov. Samuel Huntington (owner). 134 

Capt. Simeon Huntingon. 135 

Capt. David Nevins. 136 

Charles Charlton. 137 

Asa Lathrop, 2ud. 138 

Daniel Abbot. 139 

Capt. Joseph Carew. 140 

Simon Huntington (owner). 141 
Benjamin Butler, 2nd, (owner), shop. 142 
Gardner Carpenter. 



Distillery. 

Azariah Lathrop (owner). 

Shoi) Joseph Curew (owner). 

Asa Lathrop's shop. 

Charles Gililon. 

Nevins' hat factory. 

Shop (Simeon Huntington, owner). 

•leremiah Leach's shop. [shop. 

Simeon Huntington's blacksmith 

Nathaniel Townsend. 

Capt. Joseph Gale. 

Andrew Huntington's shop. 

Zachariah Huntington's shop. 

Zachariah Huntington. 

Rev. Joseph Strong. 

John Lancaster. 

( John Lancaster's shop. 

Widow Elizabeth Peck. 

Capt. Bela Peck. 

Ebenezer Jones. 

Ebenezer Jones' shop. 

Asa Lathrop's shop. 

Former site of Manly shop. 

Former site of Morgan shop. 

Gurdon Lathrop. 

Gurdon Lathrop's shop. 

Asa Spalding. 

Simon Carew's shop. 

Ebenezer Lord. 

Lathrop tavern. 

Court House. 

Church. 

Carew & Huntington's shop. 

Hon. Roger Griswold (owner). 

Brown tavern. 

Joseph Carpenter. 

Joseph Carpenter's shop. 

Seth Miner. 

School-house. 

Gardner Carpenter's shop. 

N. Townsend's shop. 

Jail. 

Shop. 

Shop. 

Dr. Philemon Tracy. 

Parmenas Jones. 

William Osborn. 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 169 

built on this land, which, in the division of the Adgatc property in 17S7, was 
given to Daniel Adgate (b. 1768), son of William. He sold it in 1789 to Samuel 
Case, who was a carpenter by trade. Samuel Case died in 1791. We have found 
no other deed of the property, but the land is sold by Asahel Case in 1802 to 
Jeremiah Griflfing, and is now part of the present Jones' grounds. 

In 1 7 14, the town grants to Isaac Huntington 4 rods of land (frontage 2 
rods), "on ye side of ye hill to be taken up between Sergt. Israel Lathrop's orchard 
and vSergt. Thomas Adgate's cartway," and here he builds a shop, and in 17 17 
he receives a grant of land south of this " to build a house on," but he evidently 
prefers to buy his grandfather's homestead, when the opportunity offers, and the 
land and shop (frontage 6^4 rods) are sold in 1722 by Christopher Huntington, 
who has become the owner, to James Norman. James Norman either alters the 
shop into a dwelling, or builds a new house, which seems to stand on the former 
site of the shop. 

At the auction sale of lands at Thomas Lathrop's in 1737-8, lot No. 2, of 
29 rods of land (frontage 4 rods), north of James Norman's dwelling house, is 
sold to John Williams, who sells it in 1740 to Joshua Huntington, and it is 
purchased by James Norman in 1742-3. Lot No. 3, back of the Norman 
property, and No. 4, (with a frontage on the street of 3 rods), south of and ad- 
joining No. 3 and the Norman lot, are sold to James Norman at the auction sale. 
Lot No. 5 (frontage 3 rods) is sold to Benjamin Durkee, and by the latter to 
Joshua Prior in February, 1739, and by Prior to James Norman in November of 
that year. These additions give the Norman lot a frontage of 16)2 rods. 

Miss Caulkins mentions a James Norman, who, in 17 15 was captain of a 
vessel engaged in the Barbadoes trade, and in 171 7 was licensed to keep a tavern. 
This James Norman may be the one whose house we have just located, or 
possibly the latter was the son of the sea captain. He was in 1723 a "cloathiar." 
No record has been found of his marriage, or of the birth of children, but we 
know that a James Norman married after 1730 Mary (Rudd) Leffingwell, widow 
of Nathaniel Leffingwell, of whose estate he was the administrator. Mary 
(Leffingwell) Norman died in 1734. James Norman died in 1743, leaving a 
widow, Elizabeth, and three children, Caleb, Mary, and Joshua, the two latter 



lyo 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 



choosing their brother Caleb for guardian. The heirs divide the property in 
1753-4. Mary Norman marries Eleazer Burnham, and sells her share, the south 
part of the lot (4 rods frontage), to John Hughes in 1753. In 1758, John Hughes 
sells the land to Ebenezer Case, who builds a house, in which he lives until 
about 1 791. Ebenezer's son, Asahel, then occupies the house until October, 1801, 
when it catches fire from the snuff of a candle, thrown into a pile of shavings, 
and is burnt to the ground. In 1802, Asahel Case sells the land to Jeremiah 
Griffing. The rest of the Norman home-lot, with house and barn, passed into Joshua 
Norman's possession in 1759. In that year, the latter sells to Joshua Prior, Jun., a 
piece of land (frontage 4 rods) north of the Ebenezer Case house. Here Joshua Prior 




builds a house, perhaps about 1766, the time of his marriage to Sarah Hutchins 
of Killingly, and resides here for a time, but in 1789 he is living on the road 
near Elderkin's bridge, and in 1790 he sells this house and land to Gideon 
Birchard, who also buys in 1795 a small piece of adjoining land {i). rods frontage) 
of his son Elisha, who has purchased the property on the north. 

Gideon Birchard (b. 1735), was the son of John and Jane (Hyde) Birchard 
and great-grandson of John Birchard, the first town clerk of Norwich. He 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 



171 



married in 1757, ICunice Abel, daughter of Capt. Joshua and Jerusha (Frink) Abel, 
and had eight children. He was a carpenter by trade, and before 179Q moves to 
Whitestown, New York, and sells, in 1799, his house and land to Jeremiah 
Grififing. The house is still often called by old residents the Griffing house. In 
1858, it is sold by the Griffing heirs to Daniel W. Coit, who sells it in 1871 to 
William Alfred Jones, who still resides here. 

Jeremiah Griffing (b. 1773), was the son of James Grififing of New London, 
and a descendant of Sergt. Ebenezer Grififing, who came to New London about 
1698, and married Mary (Harris) Hubbell, widow of Ebenezer Hubbell. Jeremiah 
married in 1793, Betsey Spinck, and had eight children. He was a stocking 
weaver, and also a Methodist lay-preacher. 

Joshua Norman married in 1760, Content Fanning, and had seven children. 
He lived in the old Norman house for a while, but moved away before 1768, in 
which year he sold his 
house to Col. Simon La- 
throp, whose heirs con- 
veyed the property in 1791 
to Elisha Birchard, son of 
Gideon. No house is men- 
tioned as standing on this 
property at the time. The 
former Norman house 
faced the south, and stood 
on the site of the present 
house, now owned by 
Joseph Smith, and it is 
possible that this, though not mentioned in this deed of 1791, may be the 
old Norman house. North of the house stood a barn. In 1801, Elisha Birchard 
sells this property to Samuel Avery and Thomas Tracy. In 1830, it is sold to 
Mrs. Mary Lathrop, widow of Augustus, and in 1846 to Hannah Dawson. In 
1S70, it comes into the possession of Joseph Smith, its present owner. 

The 44 rods of land (frontage 4 rods), "south of Ebenezer Lathrop's 




172 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

orchard, beginning at the northwest corner near John Huntington's shop," was 
lot No. I, sold to Abial Marshall, the highest bidder, at the " Public Vandue " 
at the house of Thomas Lathrop in 1737-8. Abial Marshall sells this lot to 
Aaron Chapman in 1742, and the latter builds a house, in which he may have 
resided for a time, but in 1757, he is living on a farm near the Shetucket 
river. In 1760, he sells the house to Matthew Adgate, who before 1767 moves to New 
Canaan, N. Y., and in the latter year sells the property to John Huntington, who 
resides here until about 1791, when Samuel Avery becomes the owner. In 1792, 
the land and house are sold to Joshua Lathrop, and presented by him to his son 
Daniel. It is probable that, about this time or shortly after the house disappears. 

Aaron Chapman (b. 17 18), was the son of Joseph and Mercy (Taylor) 
Chapman of Norwich, and a grandson of William Chapman of New London. He 
married in 1739, Kesiah Rood, possibly daughter of George and Hannah (Bush) 
Rood, and had nine children. 

Matthew Adgate (b. 1737), was the son of Matthew and Hannah (Hyde) 
Adgate. He married in 1762, Lucy Waterman, daughter of Asa and Lucy (Hyde) 
Waterman, who died the same year. Matthew Adgate moved to Canaan, N. Y., 
where he married Eunice, daughter of Samuel Baldwin, and again for the third 
time in 1795, Mrs. Jane Williams, a widow, who died of the yellow fever in 1796. 
He soon after moved to a place called from him, Adgate's Falls, in Chesterfield, 
N. Y., and there married in 1815, the widow of Col. Rufus Norton of Chesterfield. 

" In consequence of lameness, he was precluded from entering the army, 
but as a civilian he took an active part in the struggle. He was a member of 
the convention that formed the Constitution of New York in 1777." "'• He was 
afterward a judge of the County Court, and was, for several years in succession 
a member of the State legislature. He was a farmer and a mill-owner, and died 
in 18 1 8, at Chesterfield. His last wife survived him, and died at Guilford, Ct. Asa 
Adgate (son of Matthew), was a member of Congress from Essex County, N. Y., 
from 1 81 5 to 181 7. 

Dividing this property from the next was a lane, called in the deeds 
" Stonney " or Stony lane, and leading probably up to the Bushnell cartway, and 



* Walworth's "Hyde Genealogy." 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 173 

near this stood the shop of John Huntington, which the town granted him liberty 
in 1734, "to improve and maintain," where he had already built it, "over the 
highway against his father's house," "during the town's pleasure." In 1770, the 
town desires him to remove it, and for conveying the shop to another site, he 
pays John Bliss 4 s. in November of that year. 



CHAPTER XXXI. 

OPPOSITE the Josiah Read home-lot, and adjoining the Olmstead property, 
was the home-lot of Deacon Thomas Adgate. Miss Caulkins represents 
this lot as extending to the corner opposite the Harland house, whereas, its con- 
fines were the north wall of the Oilman grounds, and the south wall of the Jabez 
Lathrop property. The good old deacon had evidently such confidence in his 
neighbors, that he never thought it necessary to record the actual measurements 
of his home-lot, but gives it as six acres, abutting east on the highway, west on 
the lands of Rev. Mr. Fitch and Thomas Tracy, north on the home-lot of 
Christopher Huntington, and south on that of John Olmstead. He also buys 
before 1678, 25 rods of the home-lot of his neighbor, Christopher Huntington, 
and, though this sale is mentioned in the town book, no deed has been found on 
record. This is probably the 24 rods, sold afterward in 17S8, by the Adgate 
heirs to Samuel Avery, and when Caleb Huntington purchases the Avery 
property, it comes again into the possession of a descendant of the first 
Christopher. It is now included in the Jabez Lathrop property. 

Nothing is known of Thomas Adgate previous to his arrival at Saybrook. 
The name of his first wife, and the date of her death, are unknown. The births 
of two daughters are recorded at vSaybrook, Elizabeth (b. 1651), and Hannah 
(b. 1653). Between 1658 and 1660, Thomas Adgate married Mary (Marvin) 
Bushnell, widow of Richard Bushnell, and daughter of Matthew Marvin of 
Norwalk. On their arrival at Norwich, the household consisted of Deacon 
Thomas and his wife, his two daughters, Elizabeth and Hannah, and the four 
Bushnell children, Joseph, Richard, Mary and Mercy. Three other daughters 
were born in Norwich, and one son. The family must have been not only a 
very united one, but uncommonly attractive as well, for Richard Bushnell married 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 175 

his step-sister, Elizabeth Adgate, and one by one, the neig-hbors' sons succumbed 
to the charms of the remaining daughters. 

Thomas Adgate held many important offices, was frequently chosen towns- 
man, and was one of the first deacons of Mr. Fitch's church, officiating for nearly 
half a century. He died in 1707, in the eighty-seventh year of his age. His 
wife, Mary, died in 1713. Two small, rough slabs of granite, with rudely-lettered 
inscriptions, still mark their resting places in the old burying-ground near the 
Green. Deacon Thomas deeded in 1702, one-half of the house and home-lot, 
also land and a barn on the opposite side of the street, to his son Thomas. This 
latter barn-lot adjoined the Read, or Bushnell lot, and is mentioned in the 
account of the old highway. 

Thomas Adgate, 2nd (b. 1669-70), married (i) in 1692, Ruth, daughter of 
Benjamin and Anna (Dart) Brewster. His wife died in 1734, and he married 
(2) in 1749, Elizabeth (Morgan) Starr, widow of Capt. Jonathan Starr of Groton, 
and daughter of Capt. James Morgan. After his father's death, Thomas occupied 
the house and home-lot, and also succeeded his father as deacon, holding the 
office until his death in 1760, aged 91. His widow died in 1763. 

In 1749-50, Deacon Thomas Adgate, 2nd, deeds the house and home-lot to 
his only remaining son, Matthew. The house stood a little south of the Jabez 
Lathrop grounds, and below this, in 1787, stood a shoe-maker's shop. 

Matthew Adgate (b. 1706), married (i) 1727, Hannah, (daughter of William 
and Anne (Bushnell) Hyde, who died in 1766. In 1773, he married (2) Abigail 
(Culverhouse) Waterman, widow of John Waterman, who was born in 17 19, and 
died in 1777. He had a large family of sons and daughters, of whom only two 
were living at the time of their father's death : Lucy, widow of Joseph Lord, 
and Matthew, who had moved to New York state. 

The south end of the Adgate lot (frontage 4 rods), was deeded by Matthew 
in 1768 to his son William, who probably, about this time, built the house, now 
owned by the Misses Gilman, and occupied by the Rev. Nathaniel Beach. 

William Adgate (b. 1744), was a goldsmith by trade, and married in 1767 
his step-sister, Eunice, daughter of John and Abigail Waterman. He died in 
1779. His widow resided here until her death in 1813. In 1818, the house and 



176 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 



land is sold by the heirs of Dr. Joshua Lathrop, who had purchased it, to Daniel 
Lathrop, who occupied at that time the house on the south, now owned by the 
Misses Oilman. 




Dr. Joshua Lathrop purchased in 1789, that part of the Adgate lot which 
adjoins the present garden- wall of Jabez Lathrop (frontage 141^ rods, 6 links), 
with house and shop, and on the lower part of the land he builds a cotton 
factory. Miss Caulkins says that he began with " five Jennys, one carding 
machine, and six looms. This machinery was afterward increased, and a great 
variety of goods manufactured, probably to the amount of two thousand yards 
per year." The firm in 1793 was Lathrop & Eels (Joshua Lathrop and Gushing 
Eels), and in that year they advertise a great variety of cotton goods, consisting 
of " Royal Ribs, Ribdelures, Ribdurants, Ribdenims, Ribbets, Zebrays, Satinetts, 
Satin-Stripes, Satin Cords, Thicksetts, Corduroys, Stockinetts, Dimotys, Feathered 
Stripes, Birdseye, Denims, Jeans, Jeanetts, Fustians, and Bed Tickings that will 
hold feathers." This business was not found profitable and after eight or ten 
years was discontinued. North of the factory stood the shoe-maker's shop, which 
in 1787, was occupied by Joseph Lord. He advertises to sell Ladies' Everlasting 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 177 

Shoes, Pumps and Slippers. When, and by whom this shop was built, we do 
not know. 

Joseph Lord (b. 1762), was the son of Joseph and Lucy (Adgate) Lord. 
He married in 1784, Lucy Abel, daughter of Joshua and Lucy (Edgerton) Abel. 
About 1790, they removed from Norwich to Canaan, N. Y., "where he was a justice 
of the peace, and member of the state legislature." "He was brigade major of the 
militia for about thirty years, and was the author of two publications upon 
military tactics : ' Lord's Military Catechism,' and ' The Militiaman's Pocket Com- 
panion.' For one of these publications, the state of New York paid him $1600. 
He died 1S44 at Canaan."'* 

Either in this shop, after the departure of Joseph Lord, or possibly in a 
new building on the same site, Daniel Lathrop, 2nd, established his drug and 
general merchandise business, which he carried on for many years. Both these 
buildings, the factory and the shop, had projecting roofs and were painted blue 
with white trimmings. 

The upper part of his 1789 purchase (frontage 4 rods), adjoining the 
Lathrop wall, with the old Adgate house, were sold in 1794 by Joshua Lathrop to 
Nathan and Henry Cobb. The latter probably resided here until about 1803, when 
he removed to Stonington, and in 1813, the land and the house were sold by the 
heirs of Nathan Cobb to Elisha Lefifingwell, who m 18 14 sold the land wuth no 
mention of the house to Daniel Lathrop. We do not know the date of the dis- 
appearance of the shop, factory, and house, but it was probably very early in this 
century. Henry Stanton Cobb (b. 1761), married 1791, Mary Cobb of Stonington. 
He was the son of Nathan and Katharine (Copp) Cobb, who lived on the opposite 
side of the street. 



■Chancellor Walworth's "Hyde Family Genealogy." 



12 




CHAPTER XXXII. 



NEXT to Deacon Thomas Adgate's lot, and beginning at the south wall of 
the Jabez Lathrop property, was the home-lot of the first Christopher 
Huntington, of six acres, abutting north on the Town Street 21 rods, abutting 
west on the land of Thomas Tracy 42 rods, 4 feet, abutting south on Thomas 
Adgate's lot 34 rods, abutting east on the Town Street 42 rods. 

Simon Huntington, the father of Christopher, was born in England, where 
he married Margaret Baret, who is supposed to have been a native of Norwich, 
England, and possibly a relative of Christopher Baret, who was mayor of Norwich 
in 1634. vSimon Himtington died of small pox, while on the voyage to America 
in 1633, and was buried at sea. His widow, Margaret, who, with her four children, 
came to Roxbury, Mass., married soon after, Thomas Stoughton, a prominent citizen 
of Dorchester, Mass., who later removed to Windsor, Conn. The children probably 
went with their mother to Windsor, but in, or before 1649, Christopher Huntington 
was in Saybrook. He evidently returned to Windsor in 1652, and married Ruth 
Rockwell, daughter of William Rockwell, "a prominent and highly respected 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 179 

member of the community." He then went back to vSaybrook, and later jtnned 
the band of settlers, who in 1660, came to found the town of Norwich. His house, 
situated on an exposed and conspicuous corner, commanding approaches from 
various directions, is said to have been one of the dwellings, which were fortified 
during King Philip's war. In 167S, he was appointed town clerk, which office was 
held by this family for one hundred and seventeen years. Christopher's term of 
service lasted thirteen years. He is said to have died in 1691, and was probably 
buried in the old grave-yard near Bean Hill. Before 1678, he sold twenty-five 
rods of land, the south-east corner of his home-lot, to Deacon Thomas Adgate, 
but no record has been found to establish the measurements of this piece, only a 
brief mention of the sale. The lower part of the Jabez Lathrop lot is probably the 
one in question. 

Before the death of Christopher Huntington, ist, he gave to his son, Chris- 
topher, Jun., apart of the home-lot (frontage 17 rods, 10 feet), north of the piece 
sold to Thomas Adgate. He had given the Sluman lot and house to his son 
Thomas, and the rest of the home-lot and the homestead passes to John, his 
youngest son. 

The part of the home-lot given to Christopher Huntington, Jun., is recorded 
as 2 acres, 54 rods, beginning at the north-east corner, from thence it runs in a 
straight line west 16 rods, 9 feet, and from thence in a straight line south 24 rods, 
9 feet, abutting north and west upon the remaining part of the sd home-lot, then 
runs east 17 rods, 4 feet, and from thence north 6 rods, i)4 feet, then east 4 rods, 
3 feet to the street, abutting south and east on the land of Thomas Adgate, then 
abuts east on the street 17 rods, 10 feet, to the first corner. Christopher Hunting- 
ton, 2nd, or Deacon Christopher (as he is usually called), (b. Nov. i, 1660), was the 
first male child born in Norwich. He married (i) in 16S1, vSarah, daughter of 
Dea. Thomas Adgate. She died in 1705-6, and he married (2) Mrs. Judith (Stevens) 
Brewster, widow of Jonathan Brewster. 

Christopher Huntington was frequently chosen townsman, and also deputy. 
He succeeded Richard Bushnell as town-clerk, which office he held from 1698 to 
1702. He was appointed deacon in 1695-6. He was an expert surveyor, and was 
frequently called upon to settle the question of bounds. He had four daughters, 



i8o 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 



and seven sons. Christopher, his oldest son, settled in Franklin, Jabez in Wind- 
ham, and Matthew in Preston ; Hezekiah and Isaac were living in houses they 
had purchased ; so to John and Jeremiah was given the home-lot, at the death of 
Christopher, in 1735. The brothers perhaps lived together until 1744-5, when 
Jeremiah marries Sarah, daughter of John Reynolds, and in 1745, the home-lot is 
divided, Jeremiah receiving the south part (frontage 6)^ rods), and a house, which 
may be the paternal homestead, though it is not so called in the deed. John 

receives the north part with 
a frontage of 10 rods, 13 
feet, and a barn. Sarah, the 
wife of Jeremiah, dies in 

1747, and he marries (2) 

1748, Hannah Watrous, 
•^T'^i daughter of Ensign Isaac 
.A^^.w and Elizabeth (Brewster) 

'f -^ty Watrous of Lyme, Conn., 
^'^ ^^ who was born in 1725. Jere- 
miah resides in Norwich, 
until after the Revolution, 
then removes to Lebanon, 
N. H., where he dies in 1794. In 1786, after his departure from Norwich, 
he sells "my home-lot and buildings " to Samuel Avery, who also buys 24 
rods of land on the south from the Adgate heirs in 1788, which is probably 
the piece of land alienated to Deacon Adgate shortly after the settlement of the 
town. In 1 791, Samuel Avery sells this house and land to Caleb Huntington, 
son of John, and grandson of the Dea. Christopher who formerly owned it. 

Samuel Avery (b. 1752 ?), son of John and Prudence (Miner) Avery of 
Montville, Ct., married in 1781 Candace Charlton, daughter of Richard and Sarah 
(Grist) Charlton of Norwich. He settled in Norwich as a tailor, and occupied a 
shop on the Tracy property, and was later associated in the mercantile business 
with Major Thomas Tracy, who married his daughter Elizabeth, He died in 
1844, aged 92, and his wife died in t8i6, aged 68. 




OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. i8i 

Caleb Hunting-ton was born in 1748-9, and married in 1795 Anna Huntington, 
daughter of Oliver Huntington of Lebanon, a descendant of the first vSimon. He 
united with the first church in 1788, and was chosen deacon in 1808. He was at 
one time a brewer, and in 1777, the Council of Safety grant him a license "to 
distill from rye, the spirit called Geneva, and sell the same at a reasonable price, 
not to exceed 15 s. per gallon." In 1789, in partnership with Mundator Tracy, he 
sells tobacco of all kinds, " Plugtail, Pigtail, Carrot, and Smoaking tobacco at their 
shop near the Town Clerk's office." Yet, in spite of his dealing in these "roots 
of all evil," he is remembered as a most devout Christian. Whether this shop 
was the building standing near the house of Ezra Huntington, or the store on 
the opposite side of the street, we are unable to decide. 

In the latter part of his life, he was a stone-cutter, and his shop stood 
south of his house. He lived to the advanced age of ninety-five, in full possession 
of his faculties. His children all died in infancy. Two nieces, daughters of Rev. 
Lynde Huntington of Branford, Ct., resided with him. He died in 1842 and his 
wife in 1851. At the division of his father's estate in 1794, he received land 
north of his house, with a frontage of 3 rods, 16^2 links. After his death, the 
house and land were sold in 1857 to Jabez Lathrop, who still retains possession. 

Now in the division of the home lot between John and Jeremiah, no house 
is mentioned as standing on John's share of the property. The only deed, which 
mentions a house, is in the sale to Samuel Avery in i8or. But John must have 
resided somewhere between 1746 and 1767, at which latter date he buys and moves 
into a house on the opposite side of the street, and it seems safe to assume that he 
built, probably about the time of the division, a house in which he resided until 
the date of this latter purchase. It may be that his house was burnt, or that he 
bought the neighboring house intending to resign the home lot to Ezra, who 
married in 1767. In 1771, he deeds to Ezra the north part of the home lot, with 
a frontage of 86 links, on which Ezra's barn stands. It may be that Ezra built 
the house, at present owned by Henry Potter, but of this we have found no 
record, so will leave the matter to be solved by John's descendants. In the division 
of John's property in 1794, Ezra receives land (frontage 4 rods, 9 links), and the malt 
house. This is, we believe, the land now occupied as a garden by Joseph Smith. 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 



John Huntington (b. 1709), married in 1735, Civil, daughter of Simon and 
Mary (Leffingwell) Tracy. She died in 1748-9, and he married in 1749, her sister, 
Mary, who died in 1786. John's occupation was that of a brewer. He had a shop 
at one time across the street. His death occurred in 1794. His oldest son, John 
(b. 1736), was ordained minister of the Third Congregational church in Salem, Mass., 
and "gave much promise of future usefulness and eminence," but died unmarried in 
1766 of a quick consumption, to the great grief of his people and friends 
Solomon, the second son, settled as a saddler at Hebron, Ct. Andrew was a 
deacon of the church in Griswold, Ct., for fifty-one years. Thomas (b. 1744-5), 

was a doctor, first in Ashford, 
and afterward in Canaan, Ct. He 
was a most genial man, and very 
fond of young people, and inter- 
ested in their instruction, devoting 
great attention to the improve- 
ment of the common schools of 
that region. William lived in 
Hampton, Conn. Caleb probably 
lived with his father, until after 
his marriage in 1795, when he 
moved into the Jeremiah Hunt- 
ington house. Ezra (b. 1742), to 
whom John gave the north part of the home-lot, married (i) in 1767, Eliza- 
beth, daughter of James Huntington, 2nd. His wife died in 1796, and he 
married (2) 1797, the widow, Mary (Rudd) Dean of Fianklin, who died at 
Franklin in 1804. In 1S05, Ezra married (3) Elizabeth (Hyde) Lathrop, widow 
of Azel Lathrop and daughter of Phinehas and Ann (Rogers) Hyde of Franklin, 
who was born in 1755, and died at Ashford, Ct., in 1835. Ezra, like all the 
members of this family, was a very religious man, and believed in keeping 
strictly the vSabbath day, for he was the grand juror, who brought before 
Richard Hyde the three young boys (one of them his own apprentice, Asa Fuller), 
and two young girls, for profanely walking together on that day. He advertises 




OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 183 

as a maltster in 1776 and later as a "slaymaker." He sold his house and land 
to Samuel Avery in iSoi, and moved to Franklin, where he died in 1820. 
Samuel Avery sells the property to Capt. Daniel Havens, late of Chatham, 
Mass., in 1812. In 1S67, the Havens family sell to Henry F. Potter, who still 
owns and occupies the house. 

North of this house, on the site of the house of Herbert Yerrington, 
stood the original Christopher Huntington homestead. After the death of the 
first Christopher, this was inherited by his .son John (b. 1666), who married in 
1686, Abigail, daughter of Samuel Lathrop. John Huntington had three 
daughters and two sons. One of the daughters, Martha, through her mar- 
riage with Noah Grant of Tolland, became the ancestress of Gen. U. S. Grant. 
In 1 69 1, John Huntington was chosen constable. We have reason to believe 
that he left Norwich, and moved perhaps to Windsor. He died about 17 14. In 
1719, his son John, who inherits the home lot, sells to Isaac Huntington the 
house and land, about ^% acres, "beginning at the northwesterly corner by the 
brook, then running south, south-west, abutting west and northwest on Daniel 
Tracy's land 42 rods, 4 feet —abutting south on Thomas Adgate 16 rods, 9 feet, 
then east on Deacon Christopher Huntington's land 24 rods, 9 feet, then running 
east to the street 16 rods, 11 feet, — thence abutting east on the street 15 rods, 
3 feet— thence north on the street 21 rods, 5 feet, to the first corner by the 
brook." John (the son of John Huntington), became a resident of Tolland, Ct., 
where he died in 1737. He married Thankful Warner of Windham, who died 
in 1739. 

We learn from a deed of neighboring property, that in 17 12, this house was 
occupied by Capt. Rene Grignon, a French Huguenot, who came to this country in 
the latter part of the seventeenth century, and joined the French settlement at 
East Greenwich, R. I. 

Driven from thence with the rest of the settlers by persecution, in 1691, he 
went to Oxford, Mass., and when that French settlement was abandoned, after 
the Indian massacre of 1696, he moved to Boston, where he was at one time an 
" Ancien " or elder of the French church. In 1699, an attempt was made to re-es- 
tablish the French settlement at Oxford, and many of the former inhabitants 



1 84 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

returned. Rene Grignon and Jean Papineau were associated with Gabriel Bernon 
in setting up "a ' chamoiserie,' or wash-leather manufactory on the mill-stream, 
that flowed through the plantation." This gave employment to the younger men 
of the community, in shooting and trapping game, and wagon loads of dressed 
skins were sent to Bernon in Providence, for the supply of the French hatters in 
Newport and Boston, but in 1704, occurred the Deerfield massacre, and the French 
at Oxford, thoroughly alarmed, and disheartened, again abandoned the settlement, 
and it was probably shortly after this date that Capt. Grignon came to Norwich, 
where he was admitted an inhabitant in 17 10. Miss Caulkins says that when he came 
to Norwich he was master of a trading vessel, but settled here as a goldsmith. He 
died in 17 15. His wife had died shortly before. He made Capt. Bushnell his execu- 
tor and gave him in his will, his silver-hilted sword, double-barreled gun and pistols. 
He gives small legacies to Daniel Deshon and Jane Jearson, alias Normandy, 
and the greater part of his estate to his dear and well-beloved friend, Mary 
Urenne. To Jam.es Barret, an apprentice, he gives the remainder of his time. 

Daniel Deshon, also of French descent, to whom Capt. Grignon gave his 
goldsmith's tools, and ^10 when he should come of age, was afterward a promi- 
nent citizen of New London. It is possible that Capt. Grignon intended leaving, 
or had already left the Huntington house before his death, as he purchased in 
1714-15 two valuable farms with a saw-mill and grist-mill on the outskirts of 
the town, and these are included in his inventory. This inventory is interesting 
from the values attached to the various articles of his stock in trade : — 



Rare Jewels of Gold, 


L 2 




316 Precious Stones, 


^10 




Pearls and Precious Stones, .... 


i:io 




Bags of Bloodstones and others, ... 


L 5 




Gold 


£ 9 




Gold dust 




7 s. 6 d. 


Plate and Bullion, 


i;4i 


3-S-. bd. 


Bullion, 




jg.s-. 



These are only a few of a long list, in which was included also a negro 
woman and child. 

Isaac Huntington (b. 1688), who purchased in 17 19, the old Christopher 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 



185 



Huntington homestead, was a son of Christopher Huntington, 2nd. He married, 
1 7 15-16, Rebecca, daughter of Israel Lathrop. He was by occupation a weaver. 
He was active in all good works, prominent in the civil affairs of the town, and 
was repeatedly chosen representative to the legislature. With Daniel Huntington 
and Philip Turner, he was appointed " to labor for the conviction and recovery of 
the Separates." He held the office of town clerk from 1726, till his death in 
1764. The following items from his day-book, between 1752 and 1756, show the 
charges for recording, &'c., at that time : — 

For writing Benajah Leffingwell's will, 
recording Jonathan Avery's marriage, 
Ruth Post's death, . 
" deed, ..... 

mortgage deed to Dr. Lothrop from Oliver 
Arnold, ...... 

license to Ebenezer Backus, . 
three writs, ..... 

indorsing bounds of land, 

probate of inventory, 

fees on will, ..... 

writing and acknowledging deed, . 

Isaac left a large property in lands, &c., which he divided among his many 
children, thirteen in all, of whom ten were living at his death. Three of his sons, 
Isaac, Nehemiah, and Elijah settled in Bozrah. Five of the daughters married 
prominent citizens and the two remaining sons, Joseph and Benjamin, inherited 
the homestead. Joseph (b. 1732), died unmarried in 1S13. Benjamin (b. 1736), 
married in 1767, Mary (Carew) Brown, daughter of Joseph Carew and widow of 
James Noyes Brown. She died of small pox in 1777. In 1764, Benjamin was chosen 
to succeed his father as town-clerk, and held the office, with the exception of one 
year, 1778, when Samuel Tracy was appointed, until his death in 1801. 

"He was one of the selectmen with Barnabas Huntington, Samuel Tracy, 
and Elijah Brewster, who called together the first revolutionary meeting held in 
Norwich, June 6, 1774. He was evidently a man of humor, and a rhymester, for 
about 1782 or 17S3, he wrote the following : — 





10 s. 






2 S. 






I S. 


Ad. 




8 s. 






I .y. 


-id. 




I s. 


6 d. 




12 .y. 






4 J. 




Zl 


16 .f. 




^I 


6 .y. 
10 s. 





,86 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

This day completes the ei.ejhteenth year, 

That I have served in office here, 

As cleriv of this, a wealthy town. 

And yet, I'm poor as any clown. 

I have not spent my fees for grog. 

Nor wasted time with gun and dog ; 

Nor yet at cards a wager lost. 

Nor on my back laid out much cost. 

My house with painting never shone. 

But tatter'd clapboards hear me groan. 

For want of dry rooms in wet weather ; 

And pork and beans to grace the platter. 

I've bought no lands to drain my purse, 

Nor haunted taverns which were worse ; 

Nor jockey'd horses I but once, 

For which I own I was a dunce. 

Yet in one point, I've acted wrong ; 

I own it freely to the throng ; 

But as my crime from spite was free, 

Some mercy yet, I hope to see. 

'Tis this; if you'll attend I'll tell. 

I've used my customers too well. 

I've not insisted on my pay. 

When 'twas my due from day to day ; 

Nay longer much from j'ear to year, 

Till they are dead or disappear ; 

And so my due forever lost 

And I with disappointment crost. 

I did not ask for my reward. 

When they required me to record 

Their numerous deeds and bills of sale. 

Their births and deaths, a long detail. 

Thus I confess I was to blame. 

And for my fault now suffer shame. 

But I resolve to mend my ways, 

Conduct more just, deserves more praise. 

Now, gentlemen, observe ye well. 

And I my new-made law will tell. 

No more expect that I'll record. 

Till fees are paid, my due reward. 

And as at first, for lawfuU fee, 

A faithful clerk, I swore to be, 

So now again, if swearing's just, 

My fees I'll have, but never trust." 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 187 

Benjamin was succeeded in the office of town-clerk by his son, Philip, 
(b. 1770), who married in 1796, Theophila Grist, daughter of John and Delight 
(Lathrop) (irist. vShe died in 1806, aged thirty-eight. Philip Huntington con- 
tinued to hold this office till his death in 1S25. His son Benjamin (b. 1798), 
became also town-clerk at the death of his father in 1825, and continued in the 
office with the exception of one year from 1828 to (3ctober, 1830. He married in 
1830, Margaretta Perit, daughter of John and Margaretta (Dunlap) Perit of 
Philadelphia, and after a long and honorable life, died in 1881. In 1842, the old 
Huntington homestead was sold to Joseph Griffin. The land was purchased in 
1884 by Lewis Hyde, the old house torn down, and two houses have since been 
erected on the lot. 

The town clerk's office was a small gambrel-roofed building, painted red, 
standing close to the street, with the addition of an ell on one side, which latter 
was used at times as a shop. 




CHAPTER XXXIIL 



THE land between "Stony" Lane and the corner was owned, in the early 
years of the town, by Josiah Read, who sells the north part (frontage 
thirteeen rods), "on the side of the hill by Christopher Huntington's," to Jonathan 
Crane in 1686. The lower part, next to Stony Lane, is entered among his 
records of land, as " one acre, beginning at the northwest corner, abutting west 
on the street 10 rods, south on commons 12 rods, east on the highway 13 rods, 
and north 14J4' rods on the land of Jonathan Crane." In 1679, the town grants 
to Jonathan Crane two acres of land "against Thomas Bingham's to build upon," 
unless he can " find it in some more convenient place." Evidently Jonathan 
does not consider this a desirable spot, for in 16S6, he buys of Josiah Read this 
corner lot. A small piece of adjoining land is granted him by the town, and he 
then records his home-lot as " one acre, 146 rods of land, beginning at the north- 
west corner at a small white oak, abutting west on the street 13 rods, abutting 
south on the land of Josiah Read 15 ^4 rods, and east on a highway 26 rods," 
("part purchase and part grant"). Here he builds his house, which is sold to 
Israel Lathrop in 1695. 

Jonathan Crane (b. 165S), was the son of Benjamin Crane of Wethersfield, 
who is said, by some authorities, to have married in 1655, Mary, daughter of 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 189 

William Backus ; by others, in 1656, Elinor Breck, daughter of Edward Breck of 
Dorchester, Mass. We are unable to say which of these statements is correct. 
It is possible that Mary may have died, and Elinor may have been a second 
wife. Benjamin Crane is said to have lived in Westfield, and Wethersfield, Ct., 
and perhaps at Taunton, Mass. Jonathan was born at Wethersfield, and married 
in 167S, Deborah, daughter of Francis Griswold. He was by trade a blacksmith. 
In 1690, he purchased a large tract of land, in what was then called "Joshua's 
tract," and, with quite a number of Norwich people, went to found the town, 
now known as Windham. He was very prominent in all the affairs of the new 
settlement, was moderator at town meetings, one of the committee for building 
the meeting house, assisted in settling the town bounds, built the first grist-mill, 
kept the first tavern, was chosen ensign of the train-band, and next to Mr. 
Whiting, was the largest land operator in the town. Near the close of his life, 
he removed to Lebanon, probably to live with his son Jonathan. He died in 
1734-5. His house in Norwich was sold in 1695-6 to Israel Lathrop. There is 
nothing in the records to show whether Israel occupied this house or not. We 
assume that he did live here for a while, until some time after his father's death, 
when he moved to the paternal homestead. He buys the land on the south of Josiah 
Read, though the deed of sale has not been found. In the highway survey of 
1705, it is mentioned as "the orchard of Israel Lothrop." At that time, we think 
it is probable that he had moved to his father's house. 

In 1722, Israel gives this house and three acres of land, and "the garden 
place on the north side of the highway against the house," to his son William, 
who in 1729, in exchange for land on Plain Hills, deeds these back to his father. 

William Lathrop (b. 1688), married (i) 17 12, Sarah, daughter of Simon 
Huntington, 2nd. He married (2) in 1731, Mary Kelly, and (3) in 1761, Phoebe 
French. After leaving the Crane house, he lived, till his death in 1778, on his 
farm at Plain Hills, and was a useful and highly respected citizen. He was a 
deeply religious man, and during the Separatist excitement, he, and his second 
wife, Mary Kelly, joined that sect. When summoned before Dr. Lord, for presum- 
ing to join with others in setting up a Separate meeting, he boldly gave these 
reasons : — 



,90 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

"i. The minister, denying- the power of godliness, though not in word yet 
in practice. 

2. Insisting on imprudencies, and not speaking up for that which is good. 

3. Not praying for their meeting (the Separatist), and not giving thanks 
for the late glorious work. (The preaching of Mr. Whitefield). 

4. Not a friend to lowly preaching and preachers, particularly not letting Mr. 
Jewett preach once, and once forbidding Mr. Crosswell (Separatist preachers). 

5. Not having the sacrament for six months, in the most glorious part of 
the late times ; and often enough since the church is in difficulty, and oftener 
now than ever." 

These were Mrs. Lathrop's reasons : — 

" I. As to communion in the church at the sacrament, I did not commune 
because I was in the dark, and thought I was not fit. 

2. Another reason, because I was not edified. 

3. Because the power of godliness, it seems to me, is denied here, and is 
elsewhere. 

4. By covenant, I am not held here any longer than I am edified." 

One of William Lathrop's sons, John (b. 1739), became the pastor of the 
old North Church in Boston. He is alluded to as 

"John, old North, for little worth, 
Won't sacrifice for gold," 

in the famous satirical poem on the Boston ministers supposed to have been 
written by Dr. Benjamin Church in 1774. This Rev. John Lathrop, or Lothrop 
(as his name was written), was the grandfather of John Lothrop Motley, the 
historian, and United vStates minister to Austria and England. 

In 1 730-1, Israel deeds this property on the corner, with "garden spott " on 
the north side of the highway, " with shop by the side of sd highway," to his 
son Ebenezer (b. 1702-3), who had married in 1725, Lydia, daughter of Deacon 
Thomas Leffingwell. This remained in Ebenezer's possession till his death, which 
occurred in 1781. The Lathrop memoir says: "He was a man of note in town, 
both in civil and military affairs." In 1740, he received his commission as Ensign ; 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 



191 



in 1742, as Lieutenant; and in 1745, as Captain, by which title he is best known. 

Ebenezer's first wife died in 1766 and he married (2) before 177 1, Hannah 
Lynde, widow (i) of Capt. Joshua Hunting-ton, and (2) of Col. Samuel Lynde of 
Saybroolc, Ct. His will, shows him to be a man of large possessions. He wills 
the house to his son Jedidiah (b. 1748), who married (i) in 1772, Civil, daughter, of 
John and Lydia (Tracy) Perkins, who died in 1797. He married (2) in 1807, Anna 
Eames. He died in 181 7. Jedidiah sells the old homestead in 1793, to Ebenezer 
Carew. In 1800, it is sold to Felix Huntington, Sen., who lives here till his death. 
Felix Huntington was by trade "a joiner" or carpenter and his shop was on the 
opposite corner, where now stands the house of Ira Peck. 

In 1843, this old Lathrop house was purchased by William M. Converse, and 
was occupied for many years by his father, Augustus Converse, who came from 
vSalem, Mass., in 1834, to end his days in Norwich. In 1877, it is sold to Capt. 
Joseph Reynolds, who tore down the large, square, gray house, which many still 
remember, and built the one at present owned and occupied by Samuel K. Lovett. 

In 1771, Capt. Ebenezer Lathrop sold to Felix Huntington the south part 
of his home-lot (frontage 5 rods), next to Stony Lane, and here Felix builds a 
house and shop. Felix Huntington (b. 1749), was the son of Daniel and Rebecca 
(Huntington) Huntington. />..,«»*ft^^aiafij^A%'^«.=f-'^ 

He married in 1773, Anna, ^ 

daughter of Jacob and Mary i]^ :•./.:.:■:- ■^^3^^mEk5>*'" M 

(Brown) Perkins, who died 
in 1806, aged 50. In 1791, 
Jedidiah Lathrop sells to 
him additional land (front- 
age 2^ rods), north of 
Felix's shop, and Felix then 
sells the whole property 
(frontage 7>4 rods), with house and shop, to Dr. Joshua Lathrop, who gives 
it to his son Daniel, on the latter's marriage in 1793. Daniel Lathrop lived 
here until his removal to the house now occupied by the Misses Oilman. In 
1810, he sells this house to James vStedman, who altered and modernized it, and 




192 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

whose heirs retained possession until a few years ago, when it was sold to 
George C. Raymond. The shop north of the house was probably used by Felix 
Huntington for a time as a joiner's shop. It is not mentioned in the deed of 
sale to James Stedman in 1810, so may have disappeared. 

In 1785, Jedidiah Lathrop sells land north of the Felix Huntington house 
(frontage 4 rods), to Daniel Tracy (b. 1756), son of Josiah and Rachel (Allen) 
Tracy. He married in 1783, Lucy, daughter of Josiah Tracy, 2nd, and Margaret 
Pettis of Franklin. Daniel was a house carpenter, and built himself a house 
upon this lot. Two children were born to him in Norwich, Lucy (b. 1784), and 
Nancy (b. 1786). He then moved to Newton, Mass., and later to Dover, N. H., 
and the house was occupied for a time by Samuel Avery, who was living here 
in 1794. In 1798, it was sold to Stephen Backus of Brooklyn, Ct., who also buys 
of Jedidiah Lathrop additional land (4 rods frontage), on the south. Stephen 
Backus and his wife, Eunice, have one child born in Norwich, George Whitney 
(b. 1800). In 1802, he sells the house and land (frontage 8 rods), to Capt. Elisha 
Lefifingwell (b. 1778), son of Elisha and Alice (Tracy) Leffingwell. Capt. Leffing- 
well married in 1808 Frances Thomas, daughter of Simeon and Lucretia 
(Deshon) Thomas, and had nine children. He was a sea captain, and with his 
oldest son, Thomas (b. 181 1), sailed for South America on Oct. 24, 1825. The ship 
is supposed to have foundered at sea, and all on board were lost. In 1839, the 
house is sold to Charles Bliss, and later by the Bliss heirs to George Rudd, who 
metamorphosed the large, old, square house into a comparatively modern 
dwelling. It is now occupied by Mrs. Lyman. 




CHAPTER XXXIV. 



jN the opposite side of the street leading up Long Hill, was the home-lot of 
Thomas Sluman, which was registered as " home lot and pasture of 
twelve acres more or less, abutting west, east, north, and south on highway." As 
the bounds of the home-lot and pasture are never clearly defined, and the greater 
part of the land is used as pasture land for many years, we will not attempt 
to mark the limits of this home lot, but only locate the houses, which are later 
erected, on that part of the land nearest the main highways. The date of the 
home lot is 1663. In 1668, Thomas Sluman,* of whose antecedents we know 
nothing, married Sarah, daughter of Thomas Bliss. Six children are born to 
them, and the father died in 16S3. In the same year, died Mrs. Solomon Tracy, 
and in 16S6, Dr. Solomon Tracy, who was the administrator of the Sluman estate, 
married the widow Sluman. In 1688, he sold nine acres with the house, 
bounded south on the highway 45 rods, abutting west on his own land 37 rods, 
abutting north on a highway and commons 49 rods, abutting east on his own 



* The son, Thomas Sluman (b. ), moved to West Farms or Franklin, and resided 

near the Peck Hollow Station on the N. L. N. R. R., where he had a saw and corn-mill. — See 
Woodward's History of Franklin, Ct. 

13 



194 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

land i2}i rods to Christopher Huntington, who in the same year presents it to 
his son, Thomas, who has married in 1686-7, Elizabeth, daughter of Lt. William 
Backus. About 1692, Thomas Huntington removes to the then " nameless town 
of Windham," where he becomes a prominent citizen, and his descendants reside 
to this day. Two of his children were born in Norwich, Thomas and Jedidiah. 
In 1696-7, he sells his house and home lot to Thomas Leffingvvell, who sells it 
in three portions : the west part (frontage 9 rods, 6^ feet), and the east (frontage 
81^ rods), to Daniel Tracy, and the middle of the lot (frontage 2 7 ^'2 rods), to 
Christopher Huntington. In these sales no house is mentioned, so possibly it has 
disappeared. Daniel Tracy sells ere long his lots to Solomon, and the Solomon 
Tracy and Huntington families retain the property for many years. 

In 1687, Dr. Solomon Tracy sold 2ii/^ rods at the south-west corner of the 
Sluman lot, abutting north and east on his own land, south on the highway 
6J/2 rods, and west on the highway 4^4 rods, to Jonathan Crane. Here, the latter 
builds a barn. In the sale of the Crane property to Israel Lathrop, this land 
and barn are included. In 1722, Israel gives the land, then called "a garden 
spott," to his son William, who in 1729, gives it back to Israel, who then in 
1731-2, deeds it to his son Ebenezer, "with shop by the side of sd highway." At 
Ebenezer's death in 1781, the garden where the old blacksmith shop stands is 
given to his son Jedidiah, who sells it in 1785, to Samuel Avery. Here is built the 
shop, where Samuel Avery and Maj. Thomas Tracy were associated together in 
business as the firm of Avery & Tracy ; and after the death of Maj. Tracy in 1805, 
Samuel Avery takes his son Henry into partnership, and the firm is known as Samuel 
Avery & Son. In 1818, Roger Huntington and Henry Avery are established here 
as the firm of Roger Huntington & Co. In 1843, David M. Lewis purchases the 
property, which he sells in 1856, to William Jackson, who alters the store into a 
house, in which he lives for many years. 

About 1744, William Lathrop, Jun., buys of Ebenezer Lathrop, Simon 
Tracy and Isaac Huntington, land adjoining the "garden spott." Here he builds 
the house now owned by Owen Smith. William Lathrop (b. 17 15), was a son of 
William and Sarah (Huntington) Lathrop. He married in 1745, Dorcas, daughter 
of Isaac and Rebecca (Lathrop) Huntington. They had no children, and he died 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 195 

in 1770, and lies buried near his father in the old Norwich Town grave-yard. 
Dorcas, his widow, died in 1804, and is buried in the East Chelsea burying- 
ground. After the death of Dorcas, her nephew, Oliver Fitch, inherited the house, 
and sold it in 1806 to Ezekiel Huntley, the father of Mrs. Sigourney. 

Ezekiel Huntley (b. 1750), was the son of Elisha and Mary (Wallbridge) 
Huntley of West Farms (now Franklin). Mrs. Sigourney says that her grand- 
father Huntley emigrated from vScotland to this country early in life, and this 
may be true, for no record of his birth has been found, but as he came from 
Lyme to Norwich, we think he was possibly a descendant, but certainly a 
relative, of the Lyme family of that name. The grandmother, Mary Wallbridge, 
was probably a daughter of Ebenezer and Mary (Durkee) Wallbridge of Frank- 
lin, and was born in 1731-2. Mrs. Sigourney speaks of "the loveliness of 
character," and the piety of her grandmother, " ever industrious, peaceful, and 
an example of all saintly virtues." "At the age of seventy, not a thread of 
silver had woven itself with her lustrous black hair. Then a mild chill of 
paralysis checked the vital current," and gave to her granddaughter " the first 
picture of a serene death." '^ 

Mrs. vSigourney says that her father resembled his mother in " his calm 
spirit and habitual diligence, as he did also in a cloudless longevity." She 
testifies to his mild and gentle nature, and that, throughout his long life, she 
never heard him utter a hasty or unkind word. He served in the army for a 
while during the Revolution, and in 1786, married Lydia Howard, who died 
within a year after marriage, of consumption, and Ezekiel married (2) wSophia 
(as Mrs. Sigourney writes it), or Zerviah (according to the records), Wentworth, 
daughter of Jared Wentworth of Norwich. Mrs. Sigourney describes her as 
young and beautiful, fourteen years younger than her husband, who was then 
forty years of age, and " belonging to a family which stretched its pedigree back 
through the royal governors of New Hampshire to the gifted Earl Strafford, the 
hapless friend of Charles L" 

Lydia, the only child of Ezekiel and Zerviah Huntley, was born in 1791. 
She was baptized before she was two weeks old, as was then the custom. In 



* Mrs. Sigourney's "Letters of Life." 



196 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

earlier times, it was customary to carry the poor little infant to church on the 
day of its birth. Mrs. Sigourney remembers seeing a small white satin bag, in 
which was once ensconced a small baby, whose mother dreaded sending it to 
church on its entrance into the world, on the coldest day of the year. 

The early years of Mrs. Sigourney's life were passed in the household of 
Mrs. Daniel Lathrop, where her father was occupied with the charge of the garden 
and grounds. After the death of Mrs. Lathrop, he purchased the house, where 
Mrs. Dorcas Lathrop formerly lived, and to this home, as Mrs. Sigourney says, the 
Huntley family made their removal " in the bloom and beauty of a most glorious 
June." Lydia Huntley was then a girl of fourteen, but evidently efficient and 
capable, for she superintended entirely the removal and arrangement of the furni- 
ture. The house had two parlors, a bedroom, a spacious kitchen, with a wing for 
the pantry and " milk room " on the first floor ; on the second floor five chambers, 
with one in the attic, "and that delightful appendage to old fashioned mansions, 
a large garret." 

The garden was "skirted by a small green meadow, swelling at its extrem- 
ity into a knoll, where apples trees flourished, and refreshed by a clear brooklet." 
Lydia was installed as assistant or "prime minister" to her mother, who was "an 
adept in that perfect system of New England house-keeping, which allots to every 
season its peculiar work, to every day its regular employment, to every article its 
place." The mother and daughter papered walls, painted the wood-work of the par- 
lors, and Mrs. Sigourney cut silhouettes, and "executed small landscapes and bunches 
of flowers in water colors to embellish the rooms." In a conspicuous place hung 
possibly her first large picture, "Maria," or the "crazy girl, described by the 
sentimental Yorick," who was " represented sitting under an immense tree, with 
exuberant brown tresses, a pink jacket, and white satin petticoat, gazing pensively 
at a small lap-dog, fastened to her hand by a smart blue ribbon. Sterne is seen 
at a distance, taking note of her with an eye glass, riding in a yellow-bodied 
coach, upon a fresh-looking turnpike road, painted in stripes with ochre and bistre." 

"For a hall, in the second story, which was carpetless," Lydia cut " squares of 
flannel, about the size of compartments in a marble pavement, and sewed 
on each a pattern of flowers and leaves cut from broadcloth of appropriate 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. \c)i 

colors. The effect of the whole was that of rich, raised embroidery." Without 
an idle moment, the mother and daughter were "up with the lark" wielding- the 
l)room and duster, keeping every room " in the speckless sanctity of neatness," 
spinning all their household linen, except the "Holland" sheets with which the 
guest-chamber was provided, making flannel sheets, weaving rag carpets, each 
spinning also a gown for herself out of fine cotton yarn, which had been 
"carded in long beautiful rolls" by the mother. "A portion of the yarn was 
bleached to a snowy whiteness, and the remainder dyed a beautiful fawn or 
salmon color. It was woven into small, even checks, and made a becoming 
costume, admired even by the tasteful." Lydia also " braided white chip and 
fine split straw for the large and pretty hats then in vogue." But the pride of 
her heart was the suit of clothes made for her father, for which she spun the 
finest thread "consistent with strength," each thread "carefully evened and 
smoothed with the fingers, ere it received the final twist, and was run upon the 
spindle." " The yarn was arranged in skeins of twenty knots, vernacularly called 
a run, each knot containing forty strands around the reel, which was two yards 
in circumference." An extra price was demanded for weaving, on account of the 
"awful fineness" of the thread. The material was then sent to the fulling-mill, 
and " when brought home from the cloth-dresser a beautiful, lustrous black, and 
made into a complete suit, surmounted by a handsome overcoat or surtout," the 
daughter's happiness was complete. The tenderest relations existed between 
father and daughter. It was a great pride and pleasure to Lydia, from the age 
of eight years, to make her father's shirts, to spin the yarn for his stockings, 
which, after the death of her grandmother, she felt it her prvilege to knit. She 
assisted him in the garden, and together, they set out two apple trees in the front 
yard. "To the rallying remarks of some of his more fashionable friends," 
Ezekiel replied that " it was better to fill the space with something useful, than with 
unproductive shade." To these trees he devoted "almost a florist's care," washing 
their trunks and boughs with soap-suds in the hot summer months, rubbing off 
the moss and excrescences which appeared in places, and then applying with a 
brush a solution of a quarter of a pound of nitre dissolved in warm water, and 
mixed with three gallons of lye from wood ashes, a pint of soft soap, and a 



198 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 



handful of common salt." * In the spring the roots received a bath of "one quart 
of soap and of salt, one pound of flour of sulphur, with a sufficient quantity of 
soft water," and "the earth was opened in a circle around each tree to the 
depth of two inches, and a prescription of compost mingled with two quarts of 
wood ashes, one quart of salt, and the same quantity of pulverized plaster added, 
to quicken their appetite, and the whole neatly raked over." No wonder that 
bushels of fine greenings and russets rewarded all this care, and in the spring 
the fragrance of apple-blossoms filled the house. 

Breakfast in this household was served at "sunrise, dinner at twelve," and the 
hour of supper "somewhat varied by the seasons." The table-fare was "simple," 
but undoubtedly, under the superintendence of these notable housekeepers, 
always "admirably prepared." The animals of this domain consisted of a cow, 
some poultry, and an animal, whom Mrs. Sigourney mentions as " a quadruped 
member of our establishment," "the animal to whom the Evangelists allude," 
"this scorned creature, the poor man's friend," "the adjunct of every economical 
household," "this stigmatized animal," but never once by the common name of pig. 
On the Huntley premises was a small house, whose sole tenant was a widow, 
a weaver by trade, who desired to pay the rent in her own work. From her, Mrs. 
Sigourney learned to spin. "Wrinkled was her visage, yet rubicund with health- 
ful toil ; and when she walked in the streets, which was seldom, her bow-like 
body, and arms diverging toward a crescent form, preserved the attitude, in which 
she sprung the shuttle, and heaved the beam. Her cumbrous old-fashioned loom 
contained a vast quantity of timber, and monopolized most of the space in the 
principal apartment of her cottage. Close under her window were some fine 
peach trees, which she claimed as her own, affirming that she planted the kernels 
from whence they sprung. So their usufruct was accorded her by the owner of 
the soil. As the large rich fruit approached its blush of ripeness, her watchfulness 
became intense. Her cap, yellow with smoke, and face deepening to a purple 
tinge of wrathful emotion, might be seen protruding from her casement, as she 
vituperated the boys who manifested a hazardous proximity to the garden wall. 
Not perfectly lamblike was her temperament, as I judge from the shriek of the 
*Mrs, Sigourney's "Letters of Life." 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 199 

objurgations she sometimes addressed to them ; while they, more quiescent, it would 
seem, than boy-nature in modern times, returned no rude reply." 

Lydia was in the habit of "carrying her pudding- on Sunday noons, and baked 
beans on Saturday nights," and books for the only days in the year, in which she 
indulged in reading, " Sabba' day " as she called it, and the yearly Fast day. In 
conversation, the old woman " evinced a good measure of intelligence and shrewd- 
ness, with those Yankee features, keen observation of other people, and a latent 
desire to manage them. Her strongest sympathies hovered around the majesty 
and mystery of her trade, and her highest appreciation was reserved for those 
who promoted it. The kindness that dwelt in her nature was most palpably 
called forth" by the "quadruped member of the establishment" (the pig), to whom 
she made daily offerings, and exulted in his "increasing corpulence," hinting to the 
Huntleys a " personal claim, or future prospect of a dividend of bacon, on the 
principal of joint investment." 

In 1 810, about four years after her entrance into this new home, Mrs. 
Sigourney realized her earliest ambition "to teach a school." After great efforts 
to obtain pupils, she succeeded in securing two scholars, cousins, of the name of 
Lathrop, one eleven, the other nine years of age. One of the pleasantest rooms 
in the house was fitted up with " a new long desk, and benches neatly made of 
fair white wood," to which she added an hour-glass and a few other articles of 
convenience and adornment, and here for six hours of five days in the week, and 
three on Saturday, did she "sedulously devote to questioning, simplifying, illustrat- 
ing, and impressing various departments of knowledge." The results of her efforts 
are set forth in a certificate, adorned with floral designs in water color, and present- 
ed to one of her pupils, who, during the quarter in which she attended school, had 
"read in the New Testament as far as the fifth chapter of John, read 60 of the 
Psalms, through the American Preceptor in course, and partly through the 
Columbian Orator, Proceeded in Arithmetic from Numeration to Compound 
Division ; learnt the necessary rules and tables, and performed 452 Sums. Written 
118 copies. Studied in Murray's Grammar as far as Punctuation ; and in Morse's 
Geography to the State of Massachusetts ; Learnt to repeat a dialogue ; an hymn ; 
a description of Modesty ; and Reflections on the grave of a young man." A 



200 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

young lady from Massachusetts of the name of Bliss, being in town for a short 
time, also joined the school, during that interval, to pursue drawing, and painting 
in water colors. At the close of the quarter an elaborate examination was held, 
"with which the invited guests signified their entire approbation." 

In order to perfect herself as a teacher, Lydia Huntley went with her most 
intimate friend, Nancy Maria Hyde, to Hartford, and there they attended the 
two best seminaries of the town, devoting themselves " to the accomplishments 
of drawing, painting in water-colors, embroidery of various kinds, filagree, &c." 
On returning to Norwich, they opened a private school on the " Little Plain," 
and later at the Landing, where they taught for several years. 

In 1815, Lydia Huntley went to Hartford, to start, under the auspices of 
Daniel Wadsworth, a small school of fifteen pupils, later increased to twenty-five, 
which she carried on for four years. She also published in 1815, the first of her 
many volumes of prose and verse. In 18 19, she returned to Norwich, to prepare 
for her marriage with Charles Sigourney, a wealthy merchant of Hartford, to 
whom she had become engaged in January of that year. 

On the morning of June 16, 1819, the bridal procession started from the 
house of the Huntleys for Christ Church " in "Chelsea," or "the Landing," where 
the wedding was to take place at the early hour of eight. The ceremony was 
performed by the Rev. John Tyler, rector of the church, assisted by Rev. (after- 
ward Bishop) Jonathan Wainwright of Hartford. After the ceremony, the 
wedding procession (as was the custom of the time), consisting of the bridal 
coach, drawn by white horses, and several carriages filled with friends, journeyed 
to Andover, forty miles distant, where an elaborate wedding dinner was served, 
after which the guests escorted the newly-wedded pair to their home at Hartford, 
took tea with them, and then departed with "cordial good wishes" for their 
future happiness, which were amply fulfilled in a happy domestic life, in the 
love and reverence which Mrs. Sigourney's talents and many deeds of benevolence 
inspired in Hartford, and the honors she receiv^ed in this country and Europe, as 
one of the earliest and most esteemed of American poets. After " a beautiful 



*Not the present Christ Church, but the small building now standing on the Salem Green, 
then located on Church Street, a little east of the present Trinity Church. 




LydlalHundey) Sigcurney. 

1791-1865. 

PAiNTED BY FRANCIS ALEXAHDEB 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 201 

life," as Mrs. Sigourncy testifies, in her "Letters of Life," she died in 1865 in the 
seventy-fourth year of her age. 

At the age of eighty, Ezekiel Huntley and his wife went to reside with 
their daughter in Hartford, and the house was sold in 1830 to Erastus Water.s, 
in 1837, to Nancy Davenport, and in 1839 to David M. Lewis. It is now owned, 
and has been much altered in appearance, by Owen Smith. 




4i^ 



¥• \ T f 



I! 



\ i 







CHAPTER XXXV. 

AT the turn of the road leading- to Dr. GuUiver's on a part of the Sluman 
lot, stood as early as 1747, the house of Thomas Danforth. The first deed 
of this property has not been found, so we are unable to say whether he purchased 
or built the house. The land was bought of the Simon Tracy family. The house 
is still standing, unaltered probably since its first erection. It remained in the 
possession of the Danforth family until 1883, when it was sold to Mrs. Lasthaus. 
In 1769, adjoining land on the south is sold to John Danforth, on which he builds 
a house. In 1786, he deeds this house "which I now live in " to Daniel and 
Samuel Danforth. In 1797, Daniel quit-claims to vSamuel, who in iSoo, sells it to 
Andrew Huntington, and from that time it is owned and occupied by various 
persons, until sold in 1861, to Henry Skinner. 

Thomas Danforth (b. 1703), was the descendant of an old and distinguished 
Massachusetts family. His great-grandfather, Nicholas Danforth of Framingham, 
Suffolk Co., England, was, according to Cotton Mather, "a gentleman of such estate 
and repute in the world, that it cost him a considerable sum to escape the 
knighthood, which King Charles I. imposed on all of so much per annum ; and 
of such figure and esteem in the church, that he procured the famous lecture at 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 203 

Framingham, where he had a fine manor." In 1634, he came to New England, 
and died at Cambridge, Mass., in 1637-8. His son, the Rev. Samuel Danforth, grand- 
father of the Norwich resident, was pastor of a church in Roxbury, Mass., and col- 
league of the Rev. John Eliot, " the apostle to the Indians." He was a very emotional 
preacher, and it is said that he " never finished a sermon without weeping." He 
was celebrated as a poet, astronomer, mathematician, and author of a series of alma- 
nacs. His wife was a daughter of Rev. John Wilson the distinguished pastor of the 
First Church in Boston, who was a son of Dr. William Wilson, Prebendary at 
Rochester, and a grand-nephew of Dr. Edmund Grindal, Archbishop of Canterbury. 
The father of Thomas Danforth was the Rev. Samuel Danforth, 2nd, who for 
forty-four years was pastor of the church at Taunton, Mass., and married Hannah, 
daughter of Rev. James Allen of the old North Church, Boston. He is said to 
have left a large fortune to his children, of whom he had fourteen, but "it 
pleased God to take" four of them "all away at once, in one fortnight's time," in 
their childhood, with a disease called " bladders of the windpipe ; " but " afterward, 
happily, the loss was made up " to him in the birth of ten more. The Rev. 
John Danforth of Dorchester, uncle of Thomas, was famous as a writer of elegies 
and epitaphs, of which this verse from one written on the death of a child of the 
Hon. Edward Bromfield of Boston, in 1709, is a specimen: — 

" Nature and Grace are mourners at this sight, 
But 'tis Religion gives to mourn aright 
Charming the musick in the Heavenly ears 
While Christ is bottling of ^-our trickling tears." 

Thomas Danforth (b. 1703), married (i) Sarah , and had three children, 

born in Taunton. He then came to Norwich, and married in 1742, Hannah Hall. 
Like his father, he had fourteen children, and four of these were all taken away 
" at once in a fortnight's time," but the Norwich records do not say whether the 
malady was also "bladders of the windpipe." 

In 1773, the firm of Thomas Danforth &- Son (pewterers), was dissolved. 
Where their shop or store stood, we do not know, perhaps on the lot purchased 
of Daniel Tracy, opposite Thomas Danforth's house, perhaps on the Green, where 
Thomas at one time owned a shop. 



204 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

Of all the sons of Thomas Danforth, John (b. 1746), is the only one, the 
births of whose children are entered on the records. He married in 1767, 
Elizabeth Hartshorn, and had three sons, John, Samuel, and Daniel, and two 
daughters, Mary and Lydia. John studied medicine, and " his amiable disposition 
and integrity of heart, joined with his good proficiency in the healing science, 
gave a pleasing prospect of future usefulness," but he died, alas I in 1791, at the 
age of twenty-three. Thomas Danforth died in 1786. 

Samuel Danforth (b. 1770), married in 1797, Lucy Hartshorn, and had three 
children. He carried on the trade established by his father, and in 1793, built a 
shop near the present residence of Ira Peck, which he occupied until about 1803, 
when he sold it to the firm of Avery & Tracy. 



CHAPTER XXXVI. 

JOHN Elderkin received from the town in 1667, a grant of six acres for a 
home-lot, abutting south on the Town street 36 rods, west on a highway 
32 rods, north on a highway 29 rods, and east on a highway 32 rods. This is 
the land which Miss Caulkins mistakenly calls the Bradford lot. It is bovmded 
on the north, east, and west, by the road, which, leading from "Peck's" corner 
past the Gulliver residence, comes out again into the main road by the Gen. 
Ebenezer Huntington house (now belonging to William Fitch). On receiving 
other land at the Falls, where he afterward resided, John Elderkin sold this lot, 
"abutting on the highway against Goodman Tracy's house on the south," to 
Samuel Lathrop, in 1668. 

Samuel Lathrop was a son of the Rev. John Lathrop or Lothropp (as the 
name was formerly written), who came to America in 1634. Rev. John 
Lothropp was the son of Thomas Lowthroppe or Lothropp of Etton, Harthill 
Wapentake, East Riding, Yorkshire. He was born in 1584, was educated at 
Queen's College, Cambridge, where he was "matriculated in 1601, graduated B. A. 
in 1605, and M. A. in 1609."* In 161 1, he became the curate of the parish 
church of Egerton, Co. Kent, where he remained until 1623, when, from con- 
scientious scruples, he resigned his office in the Church of England, and became 
pastor of the First Independent Church of London, which had no regular place 
of worship, but met from house to house. With the greater part of his con- 
gregation he was arrested on April 22, 1632, by the spies of Archbishop Laud, 
and confined in Newgate prison, from which he was released in 1634, and sailed 
for New England, arriving in September of that year. He was pastor of the 
church at Scituate, Mass., and later at Barnstable, where he died in 1653. 



* Lathrop Family Memoir by Rev. E. B. Huntington. 



2o6 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

Nathaniel Morton, in his " New England Memorial," names the Rev. John 
Lothropp as among "the specialest" of the ministers who came to New England. 
Mr. Otis of Barnstable, an authority on all that relates to the early history of 
that town, says that "he was a man who held opinions in advance of his times ; " 
that he "fearlessly proclaimed, in Old and New England, the great truth, that 
man is not responsible to his fellow man in matters of faith and conscience. 
Differences of opinion he tolerated. During the fourteen years that he was pastor 
of the Barnstable church, such was his influence over the people, that the power 
of the civil magistrate was not needed to restrain crime. No pastor was more 

beloved by his people, none ever had a greater influence for good To 

become a member of his church, no applicant was compelled to sign a creed, or 
profession of faith. He retained his freedom. He professed his faith in God, 
and promised that it should be his constant endeavor to keep His command- 
ments, to live a pure life, and to walk in love with the brethren." 

During the imprisonment of Mr. Lathrop in London, his first wife died, 

and in 1635, he married (2) Anna . He had fourteen children, of whom six 

were born in this country. Samuel was the only one of the children who came 
to Connecticut. The others remained in Massachusetts. 

Samuel Lathrop, 2nd, was born in England, came to America with his 
father, was at Scituate, Boston, and Barnstable, at which latter place he married, 
in 1644, Elizabeth Scudder, a sister of John vScudder of Barnstable. He arrived 
at New London with the Winthrop colony, probably about 1646 or 1647, where 
he at once became an important citizen, and was chosen with John Wmthrop 
and Thomas Miner, "to act in all Towne affaires, as judge in all cases imder the 
value of 40 s." His home-lot was north-west of Gov. Winthrop's, on the upper 
part of Williams vStreet and Main Street. His house stood "just beyond the 
bridge, over the mill-brook, on the east side of the highway toward Mohegan." 
In 1 66 1, it was sold to Rev. Gershom Bulkeley, and was later known as the old 
Hallam homestead. Samuel had also a large grant of a farm on the west bank 
of the river, four or five miles from New London, called Namucksuck, which 
later belonged to his son Nathaniel. \\\ 1657, when Uncas was besieged 
by the Narragansetts in the fort at the head of the Nahantick river, Lt. James 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 207 

Avery. Mr. Brewster, Richard Haughton, Samuel Lothrop, and others, "succeeded 
in throwing themselves into the fort," and the enemy, alarmed at the appearance 
of the English, abandoned the siege. 

In 1668, Samuel Lathrop removed to Norwich, where he officiated as towns- 
man and constable, and was engaged, on the year of his arrival, in " repairing 
and heightening" the first old meeting-house, for his occupation was that of a 
carpenter. In that capacity, he was constantly associated with John Elderkin. In 
1673, he assists him in building the new meeting-house in Norwich, and in 1679, 
together they contract to build another in New London. 

The date of the death of the first wife of Samuel Lathrop is unknown. 
He married (2) in 1690, Abigail, daughter of Deacon John Doane of Plymouth, 
and died in 1700, leaving a nuncupative will ; which divided the home lot between 
Israel and Joseph, the latter receiving the north part of the lot, and Israel, the 
south part and the house, at decease of wife Abigail, or at the time of her 
"changing her condition." The widow Abigail lived until 1735, outliving Israel. 
Miss Caulkins says: "On the completion of her century, Jan. 23. 1732, the Rev. 
Benjamin Lord preached a sermon in her room, at the house of her son." The 
Boston Weekly Journal prints this notice of her death : — 

" Mrs. Abigail Lothrop died at Norwich, Jan. 23, 1735, in her 104th year. Her 
father, John Done, and his wife came to Plymouth in 1630, and there she was born 
the next year. She lived single till sixty years old, and then married Mr. John * 
Lothrop of Norwich, who lived ten years and then died. Mr. Lothrop's descendants 
at her decease were 365." 

Israel Lathrop (b. 1659), married in 16S6, Rebecca, daughter of Thomas 
Bliss, and in 16S7, he buys the former house of Lt. Thomas Tracy. We assume 
that he occupies the Tracy house until his purchase of the Crane house in 1695-6, 
possibly then resides in the latter for a while, and after his father's death in 1700, 
takes possession of the homestead. Israel and Joseph Lathrop were married on the 
same day, April 8, 1686, Joseph to Mary Scudder, and Israel to Rebecca Bliss. 
With James Huntington, Israel was commissioned by the town, to lay out the 
east sheep walk, later known as the Landing, or Chelsea. 



■ Samuel Lothrop. 



2o8 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

The Lathrop Family Memoir says : " Israel was a man of wordly thrift, 
and had a family of enterprising sons, who are said to have planted themselves 
"on seven hills* within the old nine-miles-square of Norwich." He died in 1733, 
and his wife in 1737. On his gravestone is inscribed : " Here lies buried ye 
body of Mr. Israel Lothrup, ye Husband of Mrs. Rebekah Lothrup, who lived a 
life of exemplary piety and left ye Earth for Heaven, March ye 28, 1733, in ye 
73rd year of his age." 

In the division of the home-lot between Joseph and Israel, Israel's share 
abuts south on the street 38 rods, 7 feet, west on the highway 27 rods, 9 feet, 
east on the highway 19 rods, 2^4 feet, and north on Joseph Lathrop 32 rods, 4 
feet. In 1730-r, Israel deeds one half of the house and lot to his son Jabez, and 
at his death in 1733, the house becomes the property of Jabez, but the land is 
divided between Jabez and Ebenezer. Jabez Lathrop (b. 1706-7), married (i) in 
1728, Elizabeth Burnham, daughter of Eleazer and Lydia (Waterman) Burnham, 
who died in 1730. He married (2) in 1734, Delight, daughter of Judge Joseph and 
Dorothy (Thomas) Otis of Montville. She died in 1747, and he married (3) 
Lydia, widow of Dr. Joseph Wetherell of Taunton, Mass. Jabez had three 
daughters and four sons, and died in 1796. 



* Israel, Jun., lived on Blue Hill, and John on Meeting-house Hill, Franklin ; William and 
Jabez lived on Plain Hill ; Ebenezer at the foot of Long Hill ; Samuel settled at Bozrah, but 
where Benjamin resided, we do not know. 




w Si A r 



- *""""^j"-. ' ^ ■■ WllA' "^ 





CHAPTER XXXVII. 



[N 173S, Jabez Lathrop sells his share of his grandfather's home-lot, with house, 
barn, cider-press and mill, to Capt. Joshua Huntington, beginning at the south- 
west corner of the stone wall by the " Town Street " and abutting south on the 
street 16 rods, 11 feet, east on Ebenezer Lathrop's land 28J2 rods, north on Joshua 
Huntington 17 rods, and west on the highway 28 rods, 5 feet. The house, now 
owned by Mrs. John White, is said to have been built by Joshua Huntington, about 
1740. As a large price was paid for this property, and the house has many features 
which seem to indicate an earlier origin than 1740, it is possible, that, instead of 
destroying or removing the old Lathrop mansion, Joshua may have altered and 
remodeled it, but of this we have have no positive proof. 

Joshua moves to the Lathrop lot, and gives to his son, Jabez, his former 
homestead on the Bradford land. 

Capt. Joshua Huntington was born in 1698, and married in 17 18, Hannah, 
daughter of Jabez and Hannah (Lathrop) Perkins. Miss Caulkins says: "He was 
a noted merchant, beginning business at nineteen, and pursuing it for twenty- 

14 



210 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

seven years, during which time, it is said, that he traded more by sea and land 
than any other man in Norwich. He was one of the first to start the new 
settlement at the Landing, and received a grant of land, 20 feet square, on the 
west side of Rocky Point. He was highest on the list of subscribers to the 
bridge, built in 1737 over the Shetucket, between Norwich and Preston, and was 
prominent in all town affairs, and often served as representative to the General 
Assembly." "In the prime of life, activity, and usefulness, he took the yellow 
fever in New York, came home sick, and died the 27th of August, 1745, aged 47." 
His widow married (2) before 1747, Col. Samuel Lynde, a very influential and 
wealthy citizen of Saybrook, Ct., who died in 1754. She then married (3), between 
1766 and i77r, Capt. Ebenezer Lathrop of Norwich. She died in 178S. Numerous 
relics of Hannah are still cherished among the families of her descendants, who 
hold her in high esteem, and her great-granddaughter, Mrs. George B. Ripley of 
Norwich, still retains the beautiful brocaded satin gown and cj[uilted silk petticoat 
which her ancestress formerly wore. 

After Joshua's death, the house is inherited by his widow, and his son 
Zachariah. This son was born in 1731, and died unmarried in 1761, evidently deeply 
mourned by his own family and a large circle of friends. His nephew, Jedediah, 
writes to his father of the pleasure he always took in his uncle's company and 
conversation. Zachariah is said to have planted the two beautiful elm trees now 
standing in front of the house. 

In 1766, Mrs. Hannah Lynde, the mother of Gen. Jabez Huntington, deeds 
to him one-half of this house and land, and here Andrew (son of Gen. Jabez), who 
had married in that year, comes to live with his young wife, Lucy, the daughter of 
Capt. Joseph Coit. 

Andrew Huntington (or Judge Andrew, as he was always called), was born 
in 1745, and married (i) in 1766, Lucy Coit, daughter of Capt. Joseph Coit, then 
of New London, later of Norwich. Two children were born to them, and the 
young wife died in 1776. Her father, Capt. Joseph Coit, records in his diary: — 

" May 4th, 1776. At three o'clock in the morning dyed my dear daughter Lucy 
Huntington with the consumption, having been in the decline near seven months ; 
her end was even Glorious, her reason continued to the last, she had got the compleat 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 211 

victory over the fear of Death, and with uplifted hands and eyes bid it welcome, 
and a little before she expired, repeated with great immotion the words of 
Musciilus's dying song : — 

" Cold death invades my heart, my life doth fly, 
Oh ! Christ, my everlasting life, draw nigh. 
Why quiverest thou my Soul within my breast, 
Thine angels eome to lead thee to thy rest. 
Quit cheerfully this drooping House of Clay, 
God will restore it at th' appointed day, 
Hast sin'd, I know it, let not that be urg'd 
For Christ thy sins with his own blood hath purg'd, 
Is death affrighting, true, but yet withal 
Consider Christ thro' death to life doth call. 
He triumph'd over Satan, sin, and death ; 
Therefore with joy, resign thy dying breath." 

Judge Andrew Huntington carried on the business of a merchant in his 
father's former store, west of his brother Zachariah's, and about 1790, in company 
with Ebenezer Bushnell, he started a paper manufactory at the Falls. During 
the Revolution, he was a commissary of brigade, and indefatigable in his efforts 
to furnish supplies to the army. He received his title from the office of Judge 
of Probate, which he held for many years. Mrs. vSigourney sa3's : " He was of 
plain manners, and incorruptible integrity. His few words were always those of 
good sense and truth, and the weight of his influence given to the best interests 
of society." 

On May i, 1777, Judge Andrew married Hannah Phelps (b. 1760), daughter 
of Dr. Charles and Hannah (Denison) Phelps of vStonington, a young lady whom 
the Norwich Packet mentions as " possessed of the Beauties of ]\Iind and Person 
in an eminent degree." She was of a much more lively nature than her husband, 
and was always a great social favorite from the time, when, as "a jolly young 
girl of fourteen," she "sticks her compliments" into a letter from Jonathan 
Bellamy to Aaron Burr, to later days, when she impresses Mrs. vSigourney with 
" that elegance of form and address which would have been conspicuous at any 
foreign court." Mrs. Sigourney adds : " She was especially fascinating to the 
children who visited her, by her liberal presentations of cake and other pleasant 



212 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 



eatables, or which was equally alluring to some, a readiness to lend fine books 
with pictures." Many now living remember her wit, her charming manners, her 
never-failing hospitality. Young girls confided to her their joys and sorrows. 
Mrs. Sigourney read to her her earliest poems, sure of an appreciative and 
inspiring listener. 

Her father, Dr. Charles Phelps, was a distinguished physician of Stonington. 
He was also a Judge of the County Court, and used to attend the sessions at 
Norwich. The Hon. Charles Miner thus describes him : " A fine, round, full- 
formed man, — very handsome, of courteous manners, dressed in fashionable style, 
flowing ruffles from his bosom, and ruffles over his hands — exceeding fluent, — an 
agreeable talker." 

The bill for the wedding finery of Mrs. Andrew Huntington is still preserved, 
and may be interesting at this late date : — 



Charles Phelps, Es(^ 

1777- 

April. To 20 yards Brocade 



46/6, 

' ^X yds Lute string @ 21/ 
' 7 yds Blown Lace @ 9/, 
' 10 Do Thread Lace @ ^/ \ 
' 25 yds Trimming {w. 1/6, 
'6 " White ribbon % 3/ 
' I pair White Silk Gloves, 



To William Hubbard, Dr. 

^46 10 o 



8 


13 


3 


3 


3 





2 


13 


4 


I 


17 


6 





iS 





I 

^64 


15 


I 



After the death of his grandmother, Mrs. Hannah Lathrop, Judge Andrew 
acquired entire possession of the house. He died in 1S24, and his wife Hannah, 
in 1838. In this latter year, the house is sold to Wolcott Huntington, who held 
it till his death in 186 1. In 1883, Mrs. John White, its present occupant, became 
the owner. The view from this house extends over the lands of Christopher 
Huntington, Lt. Thomas Tracy, and Dea. Thomas Adgate, to the hill at the rear 
of the former Olmstead property. 

At his father's death in 1733, ^^^^^ south-east part of the Lathrop lot was 
mherited by Capt. Ebenezer Lathrop, except the extreme south-east corner, where 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 



213 



a small lot of land was granted in 1728, to Hezekiah Huntington, "to build a 
house on." This was possibly unenclosed common land at the time of the 
Elderkin grant, or perhaps, as was often the case, had been ceded to the town 




by the Lathrop family, in exchange for other property. Hezekiah Huntington 
sells this land (frontage on the street 6 rods, 6 feet, on the lane 5 rods), to Eben- 
ezer Lathrop, in 1755. At Ebenezer's death in 1776, the barn-lot facmg on the 
lane, beginning 8 rods from the corner, is given to his son, Jedediah, and the land 
on the street, divided into four lots, is inherited in the following order by the 
daughters of Capt. Ebenezer : the one on the corner by Lj-dia, then comes Sibyl's 
lot, then Zerviah's, and next to the Andrew Huntington property, that of Zipporah. 
Zipporah's and Zerviah's lots are purchased and added to the Andrew Huntington 
lands in 1796 and 1797. The lot on the corner, where now stands the house of 
Ira Peck, with 8 rods frontage "on the highway," and 5 rods, 4)2 links on the 
street, is sold in 1795, to Felix Huntington, who builds here a joiner's shop, which 



214 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

is sold in 1822 to Roger Huntington and Henry Avery. The next lot (frontage 
5 rods, ii>4 links), is sold to Samuel Danforth by vSamuel and Sibyl Tracy in 
1793. Samuel Danforth builds a " pewterer's " shop (of one story with gambrel 
roof and painted red), which is sold in 1803, to the firm of Avery & Tracy. In 
181 8, Roger Huntington and Henry Avery have a shop in this building. For a 
long time wooden troughs, or aqueduct pipes, were manufactured here. In 1830, 
these two buildings, the Danforth and Felix Huntington shops were sold to Henry 
Barrows, who alters the latter into a house, which he sells to Wolcott Huntington 
in 1850. In 1870, the Barrows house, and land on which it stands, is sold to Ira 
Peck, who builds the new house which he now occupies. 



CHAPTER XXXVIII. 

IN 1 688, vSamiiel Lathrop, Sr., deeds to his son, Samuel, 2nd, "land, where his 
(Samuel, 2nd's), house stands," 3 rods in depth, abutting north on the highwa}^ 
9 rods, and east, south, and west, on the Lathrop home-lot. The house built by 
Samuel Lathrop, Jun., is probably the one later known as the old "Grist" house. 
In 16S9, Samuel Lathrop, Jun., inherits the Olmstead house, and moves there to 
live, and in 1692, calling himself "yeoman," he sells this house to his brother 
Joseph ("yeoman"). 

Joseph Lathrop (b. 1661), married (i) in 1686, Mary Scudder, probably a 
relative of his mother, Elizabeth. He married (2) 1696-7, Elizabeth, daughter of 
Isaac and Sarah (Pratt) Watrous of Lyme, Ct., and also takes a third wife in 
1727, Martha (Morgan) Perkins, widow of Deacon Joseph Perkins of Newent, and 
daughter of Lt. Joseph Morgan of Preston. After the death of his father, he 
receives as his share of the property, the north part of the home-lot, adjoining 
his newly-purchased house. This land and house he deeds to his son Joseph in 1723, 
and Joseph, Jun., sells to Joshua Huntington in 1725, the house and west part of 
the land, bounded on the north and west by the highway, and south by Israel 
Lathrop's land. In the same year, he sells the land on the east to Daniel Tracy, 
who later sells it in two portions, in 1747 and 1763, to Thomas Danforth. Before 
1806, part of this is taken off to enlarge the highway and the remainder is sold 
to the Rev. Joseph Strong in 1813. Joseph Lathrop, Sr., died in 1740. His son 
Joseph (b. 1688), married in 1735, Mary Hartshorn of Franklin. He moved to 
Waterbury, Ct., in 1743. In 1752, he is living in Bolton, Ct., and dies in 1757. 

Joshua Huntington sells the house and land on which it stands, to Thomas 
Grist in 1726, beginning at the north-east corner by the brook, then running west, 
and by north 7 rods, then south 40" W., ii/S rods, 3 feet, then east by Israel 



2i6 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

Lathrop's land 4 rods, thence bounded east by the land of Daniel Tracy, Jun. 
In 1 761, Thomas Grist deeds one-half of this property to his son John, and at 
his death, it is divided between the children, John receiving one-half, and the 
four daughters, Anna, Hannah, Zillah, and Mary, the other half. The house is 
described by some old persons, who have a vivid recollection of it, as large and 
square, with a long lean-to, and lattice windows. 

Thomas Grist is said to have come from England to Norwich about 1720, 
and to have married in 1721, Anna, daughter of Samuel and Ann (Calkins) 
Birchard. He had a family of nine daughters and two sons. He and Edmund 
Gookin are said to have been " the first Church of England men in the place," 
and services were held alternately at their houses, the Gookin house being situated 
at Bean Hill. At first only a few persons assembled, but as the number increased, 
it was decided to build a church at the Landing. 

Thom.as Grist was appointed one of the building committee, and subscribed 
^40 toward its erection. A lot of land, the present site of Christ's Church, was 
given by Capt. Benajah Bushnell, and the church was completed in 1749. In 1789, 
a more central location was considered desirable, and the church building was 
removed to a lot, presented by Phinehas Holden, on Church Street, a few rods east 
of the present Trinity Church. This later building was erected in 1S28, and the 
old church edifice was in 1830, sold to the Episcopal Society of Salem, Ct. It 
was then moved to a site on the Salem Green, was afterward purchased by the 
town and is now the Salem Town House. 

Thomas Grist was chosen to serve as one of the vestry-men of Christ 
Church. His grand-daughter, Theophila, was one the first children baptized by 
Rev. John Tyler, after his ordination. Mr. Grist was not only devoted to the 
interests of the Church of England, but to his native land as well, and it is said 
that during the Revolution, he and Richard Hyde, who was a strong patriot, were 
continually discussing and disputing the claims of both countries, and freely 
applying to each other the epithets of " tory " and "rebel." Thomas Grist died 
in 1 78 1, aged 81 years, and was buried in the old Christ's Church grave yard, 
from which the stones have been removed.* His business seems to have been the 
*A large number of these gravestones are preserved in the cellar of Christ Church. 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 217 

making of "slays" and harnesses. Mary Grist, the last of the family, dies in 
1824. In 1827, the property is sold to the Rev. Joseph Strong. The house, we 
have been told, remained standing until after 1853. 

On the opposite side of the street from the Grist house stood the joiner 
shop of John Grist, which he sold in 1783 to Zephaniah Huntington. This is sold 
in 1793 to Joshua Huntington, whose heirs sell the land, from which the shop 
seems to have disappeared, to George W. Lee, in 1823. 



m 




CHAPTER XXXIX. 



FOLLOWING the road, as it turns again toward the main street, next to the 
Grist house, we come to the land given by Gen. Jabez Huntington to his 
son Joshua. The house was built about 1771. After Col. Joshua Huntington's 
death, it was sold in 1S23 to George W. Lee, and in 1859, by the Lee heirs to its 
present owner, Theodore McCurdy. 

Col. Joshua Huntington (b. 175 1), married in 1771, Hannah, daughter of 
Col. Hezekiah Huntington. At the beginning of the Revolution, he was already 
established in a prosperous business at the Landing, and had vessels of his own 
at sea, but at the first summons to arms, he hastened to Boston. At that 
time he had already served as lieutenant of militia. Though he felt that his 
business claims required his presence at home, he still remained with the arm}', 
and served for a while in New York. He was later engaged in securing ships 
for the service, and in fitting out privateers. He was agent for Wadsworth & 
Carter of Hartford, in supplying the French army at Newport with provisions, 
and had charge of tiie prizes sent by the French navy to Connecticut. He 
died in 1821. Mrs. Sigourney says of him: "Col. Joshua Huntington had one of 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 



219 



the most benign countenances I ever remember to have seen. His calm, beautiful 
brow, was an index of his temper and life. Let who would be disturbed or 
irritated, he was not the man. He regarded with such kindness, as the gospel 
teaches, the whole human family. At his own fair fireside, surrounded by living 
congenial spirits, and in all his intercourse with the community, he was the same 
serene and revered Christian philosopher." He was for a time High Sheriff of 
New London County. 

Hannah, the wife of Col. Joshua, of whom it was said, "A memorial of 
her virtues will live as long as anyone remains, who had the happiness to know 
her," died in 1S15. They had only one child, a daughter, Elizabeth (b. 1774), who 
married in iSoo the Hon. Frederick Wolcott of Litchfield, Ct. 

In 1757, Hannah Lynde, widow of Capt. Joshua Huntington, sells to Charles 
Whiting the lot of land (frontage 5 rods), next to the present McCurdy residence, 




-.iliill i 



on which he builds the house now occupied by INIrs. Lsabella Williams. The 
Whiting heirs sell this house in 17 85 to Mundator Tracy, who sells in iSio to 
Henry Nevins, and in 1827 it is sold to Mrs. Elizabeth Anderson. It is now owned 
by William Fitch. 

Charles Whiting (b. 1725), was the son of Charles and Elizabeth (Bradford) 
Whiting, and the great-great-grandson of Maj. William Whiting, a distinguished 



2 20 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

and wealthy citizen of Hartford. His grandfather, Col. William Whiting, was con- 
spicuous in the French and Indian wars. On his mother's side, Charles Whiting 
was a descendant of Gov. William Bradford, and also of John and Priscilla Alden 
of Plymouth. His father lived for a time at Montville. Three of his sons, 
Charles, William Bradford, and Ebenezer settled in Norwich. 

The Charles Whiting who built this house, married in 1749, Honor, daughter 
of Hezekiah and Honor (Deming) Goodrich of Wethersfield. He was a goldsmith 
or jeweller, and built a shop, a short distance from his house, on land leased 
from Daniel Tracy. He died about 1765. We believe that Mundator Tracy, who 
bought the house in 1785, lived here for a time, but the deeds do not allude to 
an occupancy. 

Mundator Tracy (b. 1749), was the son of Deacon Simon and Abigail 
(Bushnell) Tracy. A Norwich Packet of 1773, announces the marriage of Mr, 
Mundator Tracy, " an accomplished gentleman, to Miss Caroline Bushnell, a young 
lady endowed with every qualification to make the connubial state happy." His 
wife, Caroline, was the daughter of Benajah and Hannah (Griswold) Bushnell. 
She died in 1785, and he married (2) in 1786, Nabby, daughter of Eleazer Lord. 
Mundator Tracy died in 1816, and his widow in 1821. 




CHAPTER XL. 



ON the west corner of the former Lathrop lot, was for a time located the 
shop of Zachariah, son of Capt. Joshua Huntington. After Zachariah's 
death in 1761, the shop and land, bounded south on the street 6 rods, and west 
" on the lane into the woods," passed into the possession of his brother, Jabez, 
who gives it to his son, Jedediah. The latter builds, about 1765, the house now 
standing on the lot, and lived here until his departure for New London in 1789. 
While Jedediah Huntington was with the army in 1776, the shop was for a time 
tenanted by Samuel Loudon, who offered for sale " a neat assortment of books, 
pictures, glazed and unglazed maps, &c." 

Samuel Loudon had married sometime before 1768, Lydia, daughter of 
John and Hannah (Lee) Griswold of Lyme, and sister of Gov. Matthew Griswold, 
and of Mrs. Benajah Bushnell and Mrs. Elijah Backus of Norwich. He was a 
merchant in the city of New York, where he built in 1771 a large house and 
wharf. He writes to his brother-in-law, Elijah Backus, in March, 1776: — 



222 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

"New York, 29 March, 1776. 

I lately engaged in the Printing Business, as there was nothing to be done 
in the Merchantile, and as I have good encouragement to prosecute it, it will not 
do to leave the city till I'm obliged. I intend to keep my office by head Quarters 
where the posts meet, which will be in or near this city, and if there is apparent 
danger, to move my Family a little way into the Country. Our City is now 
Fortifying ; — every street is strongly Barracadoed and entrenched, and Batterys 
in every part of the City, and they are making a vStrong Fortification on a Hill 
behind the City, and opposite to it on Long Island. We are intrenching and 
Forming a strong Redoubt. Some thousands of the Citizens and Army are 
employed every day at the works ; which make them go on very rapid. Some 
of the Troops from Boston are arrived here and many more expected. We will 
have a large Army here soon, which I hope will be able to repell the Forces 
which Britain may send." 

Mr. Loudon probably fled from the city with the troops and many of the 
citizens in September of that year and came to Norwich, bringing with him a 
large stock of books, &c. He remained here only a few months, then returned 
to New York, where his wife died in 1788. After Gen. Jedediah Huntington 
moved to New London, his nephew, Joseph Huntington, son of Andrew, occupied 
the store for a time in 1790, and during a part of 1791. In 1792, Gen. Jedediah 
Huntington sold the house and store to his brother, Ebenezer, who had married 
in 1 791, and the house remained in the possession of the family of Ebenezer 
until sold in 1886 to its present owner, William Fitch. In 1793, Ebenezer Hunt- 
ington, whose main place of business was at the Landing, opened also a stock of 
goods in this shop. When this building disappeared, we are unable to say. 

Gen. Jedediah Huntington (b. 1743), was the son of Gen. Jabez and 
Elizabeth (Backus) Huntington. After graduating at Harvard College " with dis- 
tinguished honor," he entered into business with his father. At the beginning of 
the Revolutionary troubles, he became an ardent Son of Liberty, and captain of 
militia. In 1774, he was appointed colonel of the Twentieth Regiment of Militia. 
At the news of the British march on Lexington, he started at once with seventy 




Gen . J e de dia h F i un cmgto n 

1743-1818. 

'painted by col. JOHN TRUMBUU. 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 223 

men for the scene of action. He fought at the battle of Bunker Hill, and wSeth 
Miner, who was his orderly sergeant, used to relate how cjuietly and "unconcern- 
edly" Col. Huntington moved amid the shower of cannon balls, with which the 
British were besieging the town. 

After the battle of Bunker Hill, he went with the army to New York, 
stopping at Norwich to entertain Gen. Washington and Gov. Trumbull, who met 
by appointment to dine at his house. He was soon appointed Colonel of the 
Eighth Regiment, raised and drilled under his orders. Miss Caulkins says : 
"This regiment was the best equipped of any in the colony, and was distinguished 
by a British uniform, the Governor and Council having appropriated to them a 
c[uantity of English red-coats taken in a prize vessel." 

Gen. Jedediah served in most of the important engagements of the war, 
both in New York and Pennsylvania, endured the hardships of Valley Forge, and 
helped repulse the British at Danbury, Ct., in 1776. At the battle of Long Island 
in that year, his men " fought with desperate bravery " and many were taken 
prisoners, and died "in the noted sugar-house and prison-ship at New York," of 
disease and starvation. Gen. Huntington was a member of the court martial which 
tried Gen. Charles Lee, was one of the court of inquiry to which was referred the 
cause of Major Andre, and also served on other important commissions. 

\\\ 1777, "at Gen. Washington's request," he was made a Brigadier-General, 
and at the close of the war received the brevet title of Major-General. He 
was one of the first founders of the Order of Cincinnati, and one of the 
delegates to the State convention which adopted ihe Constitution of the United 
States. After the war, he filled many important offices, some of which are 
enumerated in a newspaper announcement of his appointment as Treasurer of 
Connecticut in 178S: — 

" Major-General Huntington, Esq., Vice President of the Order of Cincinnati, High Sheriff 
for the county of New London, Judge of Probate for the district of Norwich, first Alderman of 
the city of Norwich, one of the Representatives of the town in the State Legislature, and one 
of the State Electors, is now appointed by the General Assembly Treasurer for the State of 
Connecticut." 

Jedediah married in 1766, Faith, daughter of Gov. Jonathan Trumbull of 
Lebanon, Ct., the famous war governor, and well known "Brother Jonathan." 



2 24 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

They had one son, Jabez (b. 1767), who later became a prominent citizen of 
Norwich Landing-, or Chelsea. 

Faith Trumbull was born in Lebanon in 1742-3, and went to Boston to 
complete her education, " thence to return (as Stuart says in his life of Gov. 
Trumbull), with skill in embroidery, and with two heads and landscapes in oil of 
her own painting, with which to rouse the curiosity, and for the first time 
stimulate in the art of delineation, the till then wholly unpractised hand of her 
younger brother, the artist of future renown." She accompanied her husband to 
Boston, and her brother, John Trumbull, the artist, writes : " The novelty of 
military scenes excited great curiosity throughout the city, and my sister was one 
of a party of young friends, who were attracted to visit the army before Boston. 
She was a woman of deep and affectionate sensibility, and the moment of her 
visit was most unfortunate. She found herself surrounded not by " the pomp and 
circumstance of glorious war," but in the midst of all its horrible realities. She 
saw too clearly, the life of danger and hardship, upon which her husband and 
her favorite brother had entered, and it overcame her strong, but too sensitive 
mind. She became deranged, and died the following winter at Dedham, Mass. 
In writing of her death to his brother-in-law, Joseph Trumbull, Gen. Jedediah 
says : " Her obligingness and affection were without a parallel. The law of 
kindness was ever on her tongue and heart, but she is gone, and gone, I trust, to 
scenes of uninterrupted bliss. My tears must and will f^ow." 

Gen. Jedediah's second wife, whom he married in 1778, was Ann, daughter 
of Col. Thomas Moore of New York. Her great grandfather, John Moore, an 
eminent lawyer of Pennsylvania, born in England about 165S, is said to be one of 
the sons of Sir Francis Moore. He emigrated to South Carolina, where he prac- 
tised law for a while, then moved to Philadelphia, was soon after appointed 
attorney-general, later register-general and then collector of customs for Pennsyl- 
vania. His son, John Moore, settled as a merchant in New York, was one of 
the aldermen of the city, colonel of a regiment, and at the time of his death a 
member of the provincial council. Col. Thomas Moore (son of John Moore, 2nd), 
was ''born in New York, received his education at Westminster School, London, 
engaged in commercial pursuits in his native city, at the approach of the Revolution 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 225 

retired with his family to West Point, and driven thence by violence, returned to 
the city, where he occupied a place in the custom house during the war." So 
says the Huntington Family Memoir, but, according to Miss Caulkins, Col. Moore 
came to Norwich, and occupied for a time the Arnold house, where he died in 
1784. The newspaper notice of his death, and also the notice of his daughter's 
marriage in 1778, mentions them as "late of New York." Miss Caulkins writes: 
" The Moore family was large, and their dwelling had the reputation of being 
the seat of hospitality and festive enjoyment." Col. Moore was buried in Trinity 
Church grave-yard, New York city. Two of the sons, John, as a merchant, and 
Benjamin, as a physician, remained for some years in Norwich, but before 1793, they 
had removed from the town. Another son was Richard Channing Moore, the dis- 
tinguished Bishop of Virginia. By his second wife. Gen. Jedediah had seven chil- 
dren, one of whom, Joshua, became the pastor of the old South Church in Boston. 
Daniel was settled over a church at North Bridgewater, Mass., and Thomas, who 
first studied for the medical profession, afterward became an evangelist of the 
Baptist denomination in Brooklyn, Ct. The daughters married prominent citizens 
of New London, Norwich, and New York. 

In 1789, Gen. Jedediah Huntington was appointed collector of customs at 
New London, and entered on his ofifice, as the record says, Aug. 11, 17S9, "at 7 
o'clock A. M." He held this office under four successive Presidents, and died in 
1818, aged 75. He was buried in New London, but it was afterward found on 
reading his will, that his desire was to be interred in his native town, so the 
body was removed to Norwich, and now lies in the family tomb in the burying- 
ground near the Green *. 

Miss Caulkins speaks of Gen. Jedediah's " sedate temperament, of his great 
energy, steadiness and dignity, of the neatness and precision of his personal 
appearance, and his polished, though reserved demeanor." He joined the church 
at the age of twenty-three, and was ever after a consistent Christian, and very 
liberal in his charities. According to contemporary testimony, " His munificence 
for its profusion, its uniformity, its long continuance, and for the discretion, by 



*Gen. Huntington built for his residence in New London the house, now occupied by 
Elisha Palmer, on the corner of Broad and Washington Streets. 

15 



2 26 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

which it was directed, was without a parallel in his native state." He was one 
of the founders and the first President of the New London Branch of the American 
Board of Foreign Missions, organized in 1810. 

Mrs. Sigourney describes him as "of small stature, but of correct and graceful 
symmetry. Firm in camps, and wise in council, in refined society he was gentle- 
ness itself." She compares the two brothers, Jedediah and Ebenezer, " to the two 
Gracchi, save that the elder had more gentleness of soul, and the younger less 
ambition for popularity, than their ancient prototypes." 

In 1 781, Gen. Jedediah gave an entertainment for the French officers, who 
were quartered at Lebanon, and these gay young men must have made a fine 
appearance in their brilliant hussar uniforms, * as they rode into town. The two 
Dillon brothers, a major and a captain, were particularly admired " for their 
fine forms and expressive features." One, or both of these brothers, "sulTered 
death from the guillotine during the French Revolution." 

The handsome Duke de Lauzun was one of this company, and what a 
contrast this simple entertainment in a small country town offers to the rest of 
his stormy career, his early years of dissipation, his life as an ambassador at the 
English court, and intimacy with the gay Prince of Wales, afterward George IV., 
then his later life as Duke de Biron, espousing the Orleans cause, and afterwards 
fighting against the Vendeans, until accused of favoring the enemy, he was tried, 
condemned, and executed on the last day of 1793. After dinner the company of 
officers went out on the lawn in front of the house and shouted huzzas for 
" Liberty," and exhorted the people assembled outside " to live free or die for 
liberty." 

Gen. Lafayette made several visits to Norwich, once on a hurried ride to 
Newport, when the need of haste and the intense heat, necessitated a light attire. 
The good people of Norwich were rather scandalized to see him ride up to Gen. 
Huntington's door, dressed in a blue military coat, without vest or stockings, and, 
his boots being short, with the leg bare below the knee. He stopped only a short 
time for refreshment, and then proceeded to Newport. 



*The cavalry of the Duke de Lauzun wore blue hussar jackets and high-crowned round 
hats ; the infantry uniform was black and red. 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 227 

At another time in 1778, he arrived with 2000 men of Gen. Glover's Irish 
Brigade, who encamped on the plain for three days, from Thursday to Sunday, 
while the General was entertained at the house of Gen. Huntington. This may 
have been the time, when at Lafayette's request, on the morning of their departure, 
Mr. vStrong prayed with the soldiers, they forming three sides of a hollow square. 

On Sunday, Aug. 22, 1824, Lafayette visited Norwich, and some old people, 
who remembered him, wept, and the General was also moved to tears. A young 
school girl describes this visit in her journal. : — 

"After church walked to the Landing, as the arrival of Gen. La Fayette, 
the great benefactor of our country, was announced. He arrived in this country 
(in the ship Cadmus from France, accompanied by his son, George Washington, 
and his friend, M. De Vasseur). On Sunday, the Sth of August, he first landed 
on Staten Lsland, and on Monday entered the city of New York, where great 
preparations had been made for his reception. 6 steamboats went down to 
escort him up to New York ; among them were the Oliver Ellsworth and 
Chancellor Livingston, the latter of which he came up in. He landed in Castle 
Garden, and from thence he proceeded to the City Hall, where rooms were prepared 
for him, and he received calls from 12 to 2 o'clock. The steamboats were 
decorated and a band of music on each. From N. Y., he proceeded to New 
Haven and New London and to-night he arrived in this city accompanied by an 
escort from New York and Norwich. Great numbers had assembled to welcome 
and to behold the great man, to whom our country is so greatly indebted. A line 
was formed on either side of the street and the procession passed through con- 
sisting of gigs and horsemen — his arrival was announced by three cheers, & 
followed by clapping of hands, & 13 cannon were discharged. I had the honour 
as most of the town did of being introduced to him and of shaking hands. He 
is of large stature, w^ell proportioned, dark complexion, good looking and looks 
young for his age, which is 68 I could not but pity him, although he remarked 
' that he was not fatigued, that it was such a mark of gratitude & affection, and 
he was also accustomed to fatigue.' He pronounced a benediction upon this 
country and its inhabitants. He sets out this evening for Plainfield on his 
way to Boston (where he is also to be received with great magnificence) & is to be 



2 28 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

at commencement at Cambridge on Wednesday, where his son was graduated." 
This was Lafayette's last visit to America. His death occurred in 1834. 

The second occupant of this house, Gen. Ebenezer Huntington (b. 1754), 
was the son of Gen. Jabez Huntington, and his second wife, Hannah, daughter 
of Rev. Ebenezer Williams of Pomfret, Ct. He was at Yale College, and within 
two months of graduation, when the war commenced. With several other students, 
he asked permission to enter the army, was refused, ran off in the night to 
Wethersfield, enlisted, and left at once for Boston. " He continued firm throughout 
the contest, and rose through the different grades of command to that of Lieut. - 
Colonel in 1778, while yet in the early stages of manhood." He was at the 
surrender of Cornwallis, and his portrait figures in the painting of that scene by 
Col. John Trumbull. He served through the whole war, imtil the troops were 
disbanded in 1783. 

After the war, in 1792, he was appointed Major-General of the State militia, 
which office he held for thirty years. In 1799, when a war with France was 
anticipated, he received from President Adams the appointment of Brigadier- 
General in the U. S. army. He served also in the war of 1812. In 1810, and in 1817, 
he was elected a member of Congress. He died in 1834. Mrs. Sigourney describes 
him as having "a fine figure, with military carriage, and a countenance, which was 
considered a model of manly beauty." She speaks of " the elegant manners," and 
"decision of character," which " were conspicuous in him, and unimpaired by age." 

He married (i) in 179T, Sarah, daughter of Joseph Isham of Colchester, Ct. 
She died in 1793, and he married (2) in 1795, Mary Lucretia (daughter of Gen. 
Samuel McClellan of Woodstock, Ct.), who died in 1819. His son, Wolcott Hunt- 
ington, lived in Norwich ; his other sons settled in New Orleans, La. One 
daughter married the late George Perkins, a well-known lawyer of Norwich ; 
another became the wife of Gabriel Denton of New Orleans. The four remaining 
daughters, who are well remembered as "the Ladies Huntington," lived for many 
years in the old family mansion. The last of the sisters died in 1885, and in 
1886, the house was sold to its present owner, William H. Fitch. 




Gen.Ebenezer Huntineton 

1754-1834. 




CHAPTER XLI. 



PPOSITE the house of vSamuel Lathrop, was the home-lot of Lt. Thomas 
Tracy, which, beginning at the brook by Christopher Huntington's, extended 
to a point three rods east of the cemetery lane. It consisted of nine acres, 
abutting north on the street 34'{' rods, east on lands of Christopher Huntington 
and Thomas Adgate 56 rods, south on the Rev. James Fitch 16 rods, 14 feet, and 
west on Rev. Mr. Fitch and Simon Huntington 5332 rods. 

From Chancellor Walworth's valuable " Genealogy of the Hyde Family," 
we learn that Lt. Thomas Tracy of Norwich, was the grandson of Richard Tracy 
of vStanway, Gloucestershire, England, and his wife, Barbara Lucy, a daughter of 
Sir William Lucy of Charlecote, Warwickshire. From the recent researches of 
Lt. Charles Stedman Ripley, U. S. N., we find that Lt. Thomas was a son of Sir 
Paul Tracy, second son of Richard Tracy, and not as was supposed of the latter's 
eldest son, Nathaniel. 

Lt. Thomas Tracy was born about 16 10 in Tewksbury, Eng., came to 
America in 1636, and received a grant of land at Salem, ]\Lass., where his occu- 



230 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

pation was that of a ship-carpenter. About 1640, he went to Wethersfield, Ct,, 
and is said to have married the widow of Edward Mason in 1641. Shortly 
after, he went to Saybrook, and in 1660, came with the first band of settlers to 
Norwich, bringing with him six sons and a daughter, and possibly his wife, as 
the date of her death has not been ascertained. 

From the very beginning of the settlement, Thomas Tracy was called upon 
to fill important offices, as constable and townsman, was one of the first deputies 
chosen in 1661, an office which he held for many years; served also on Courts 
of Commission, and as Justice of the Peace. In 1666, he was appointed Ensign 
of the train-band, and in 1673, Lieutenant of the New London County Dragoons, 
enlisted to fight the Dutch and Indians. 

After the death of his opposite neighbor, John Bradford, he married the 
widow, Martha, who died ere long, and he then succumbed to the charms of a 
third widow, Mary, relict of John Stoddard, and of John Goodrich of Wethersfield, 
and daughter of Nathaniel Foot. Lt. Thomas died in 1685, leaving an estate of 
^560. His real estate amounted to 5000 acres. John, the oldest son, received 
^140, the other sons, and son-in-law, Thomas Waterman, each ^70. As the 
widow is not mentioned in the distribution, she had presumably died before her 
husband. To John Tracy had been assigned, at the time of the settlement, a 
home-lot at Bean Hill. Thomas and Jonathan had settled in Preston. In the 
division of Lt. Tracy's property, the east and west parts of the home lot were 
laid out to Daniel and Solomon. In 16S7, the centre of the lot (frontage 16)-^ 
rods), with the house, is sold to Israel Lathrop, and entered on the records as the 
latter's home-lot, of three acres, bounded north on the highway 16J2 rods, west 
on land of Solomon Tracy 53 rods, south on Mr. Fitch 7 rods, east on Daniel 
Tracy 41 rods, south on Daniel Tracy 2 rods, 13 feet, east on Daniel Tracy 14 
rods, 4 feet, with highway to brook. 

In 1692-3, the division of the property of Lt. Thomas Tracy is thus quaintly 
recorded in the second book of land deeds: "Cousen Richard Bushnell, I pray, 
enter the records of my fathers lands in the new booke, and then record to my 
brother, Daniel Tracy, a third part of the home lott that was my fathers," &c., &c. 
He also asks to have one-third recorded to Solomon. In 16S8, Israel Lathrop sells 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 231 

land in the rear of his lot to Daniel Tracy, who sells a part to Solomon in 1692, 
which will account for seeming discrepancies in their several records, and also 
serve to date the entries of their lands. 

Daniel's home-lot next to the brook, where he probably built his first 
homestead, is entered (evidently after 1692) as four acres, "bounded north on the 
highway 5 rods, 3 feet, bounded east on Christopher Huntington and Thomas 
Adgate 56 rods, a compassing line, bounded south on Mr. Fitch 7 rods, 6 feet, 
abutting west on Solomon Tracy 41 rods, abutting west on Israel Lathrop 14 
rods, except an open passage to the brook." 

Daniel Tracy (b. 1652), married (i) in 1682, Abigail, daughter of Deacon 
Thomas Adgate, and after her death in 17 11, he married (2) 1712, Hannah, widow 
of Thomas Bingham, and daughter of William Backus, 2nd. In 17 12, Daniel 
Tracy gives (not with the usual " good-will, and fatherly affection " of other 
parents of those days), but "of my own meare good pleasure to my loving son, 
Daniel, the one half of the homested of me the sd Daniel Tracy, containing four 
acres abutting on land in the present tenure of Rene Grignon and Thomas 
Adgate," &c., &c. This deed differing from all others on record in its peculiar 
wording, inclines us to believe, that Daniel was a most exact man and somewhat 
autocratic and dictatorial, evidently one who kept his family in subjection, as will 
appear later. 

In 1728, at the rebuilding of Lathrop's bridge on the Shetucket, connecting 
Newent and Norwich, which had been destroyed in the freshet of 1727, a part of 
the frame-work gave way, and one hundred feet of the bridge, and forty men 
were precipitated into the water. The water was low, and they were thrown upon 
the rocks, and among those most seriously injured, was Mr. Daniel Tracy, who died 
the following day. The pamphlet, giving an account of the accident, says that 
" Mr. Tracy was not a person concerned in the affair, only as he was a benefactor 
to it, and went out that day to carry the people some provision, and happened to 
be on the bridge at that juncture of danger : a man that had always been noted 
for an uncommon care to keep himself and others out of probable danger, and 
yet now himself insensibly falls into a fatal one. And very remarkable is it, that 
to keep his son at home this day, and so out of danger by that occasion, he 



<^ 



232 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

chooseth to go himself " (of his meare good pleasure, we suppose), " on the fore- 
named errand, and is taken in the snare which he thought more probable to his 
son." This son was then a married man, forty years of age ; and Daniel Tracy 
was seventy-six. His foot-stone in the cemetery reads : " This worthy in a good 
old age died by a fall from a bridge." 

Daniel Tracy, 2nd (b. 1688), inherited the house and home-lot. He married 
in 1 7 10, Abigail, daughter of Ensign Thomas Lefifingwell, and had five children, 
according to the records, and sixteen, according to the testimony of the grave- 
stone of one of these children, Hannah, wife of Simon Huntington. 

How long Israel Lathrop occupied the house of Lt. Thomas Tracy has not 
been ascertained. In 1695-6, he purchased the Jonathan Crane house, but in 1705, 
after his father's death, he seems to be living in the paternal homestead across 
the street. It is possible that the Tracy house may have been destroyed by fire, 
which perhaps was the occasion for Israel's purchase of the Crane house. At the 
time of his death in 1733, there is no house upon this Tracy lot, which is then 
called "the orchard of Israel Lothrop," and in 1738, Jabez Lathrop, son of Israel, 
sells it to Daniel Tracy, which gives to Daniel a frontage of about 21 rods, n 
feet. We are unable to say whether Daniel then vacated the house in which he 
was living, and built the one (now standing on the lot, and occupied by Mr. 
Bacheler), as in the settlement of his estate, the measurements of the property, 
which might locate this house, are not given. Daniel died in 1771. It is possible 
that he inherited a portion of his father's decided character, as he was one of 
the proprietors, who, though much importuned, refused to " sell an inch of land" 
to facilitate the erection of the vSecond Church in 1760. 

At the time of Daniel's death, his only surviving son, Samuel, was living 
at the Landing. This Samuel Tracy (b. 1723), married in 1750, Sibyl, daughter of 
Capt. Ebenezer Lathrop, and probably, shortly after his father's death, removed 
to Norwich Town. It is possible that he may have torn down the old house and 
built the new one, which was standing in the centre of the lot at his death, and 
was inherited by his son, Maj. Thomas Tracy, but we are inclined to believe that 
the present house was erected by Daniel Tracy, 2nd. About 1773, Samuel Tracy 
was one of the managers of the lottery for building the great Wharf Bridge at 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 233 

Chelsea. He served for one year as town clerk, and for several sessions as 
representative to the General Assembly. He died in 1798 of the small-pox, and 
his widow and son, Thomas, inherited the house and home-lot. 

Maj. Thomas Tracy (b. 1767), married Elizabeth, daughter of vSamuel Avery. 
With the latter he formed a mercantile partnership in 1793, as the firm of 
Avery & Tracy. Maj. Tracy died in 1806, and his only child, a daughter, was 
born shortly after her father's death. This daughter, Ann Thomas Tracy, 
married in 1834, James T. Richards of New York, and had two children, who, 
dying young, the property was sold to Ferdinand Stedman in 1S52. The house is 
now owned by Mrs. Bacheler. 

Some time after 1750, Capt. Charles Whiting (goldsmith), builds a shop on 
the land of Daniel Tracy. In 1775, Charles Beaman, "Taylor and Habit Maker," 
appears in this shop "opposite Col. Jedidiah Huntington's," and advertises that 
he hopes to recommend himself "by the fashion and neatness of his garments 
that he fabricates," and promises " not to waste nor demand more materials than 
are indispensably necessary. Cabbage and extortion are his aversion." Being a 
stranger in the place he " expects no more favors than his honesty, abilities, and 
sincerity shall merit." 

In 1784, Roswell Huntington advertised as a goldsmith and jeweller opposite 
the store of Gen. Jedediah Huntington. Whether this is the Roswell Huntington 
(b. 1763), son of Ebenezer and vSarah (Edgerton) Huntington, (a descendant of 
the first Simon), who afterwards moved to North Carolina, or another Roswell 
(b. 1754), (son of Samuel Huntington of Mansfield, Ct., and a descendant of 
Christopher Huntington), who married in 1777, Sarah Read of Windham, we are 
imable to say. In 1785, the Whiting heirs sell this shop, "standing on land of 
Samuel Tracy," to Mundator Tracy, son of Simon. The fact that the shop was stand- 
ing on leased land makes it difficult to learn how soon it disappears. It is possible 
that Mundator may have added it to an adjoining shop, which he purchased soon 
after, and converted into a house. 



CHAPTER XLII. 

VE have now arrived at the home-lot of Dr. Solomon Tracy, which is re- 
corded, evidently before 1692, as of three acres, abutting north on the 
street 13 rods, south on the Rev. James Fitch 5 rods, 4 feet, and measuring 53^ 
rods through the middle in length, abutting west on the land of Simon Huntington. 
Dr. Solomon Tracy (b. 1650), married (i) 1676, Sarah, daughter of Simon 
Huntington. After her death he married in 16S6, Sarah, widow of Thomas Sluman, 
and daughter of Thomas Bliss. He was the second physician of Norwich, and 
possibly acquired his medical knowledge from Dr. John Olmstead. He filled the 
offices of constable and townsman, was frequently elected representative to the 
General Assembl}', serving in 171 1 as Clerk of the House, and in 171 7 as vSpeaker. 
In 1698, he was chosen Ensign of the train-band, and in 1701, Lieutenant. He 
died in 1732, and on his grave-stone is written : - 

THE DEAD IN SILENT 

LANGUAGE SAY 

TO LIVING THINKING 

READER HEARE. 

O LOVING FRIENDS 

DOE NOT DELAY 

BUT SPEEDILY FOR 

DETH PREPARE. 

In 1721, Solomon Tracy ("yeoman"), and wife, Sarah, deed to Simon Tracy 
"for love," Szc, "all our Norwich lands and buildings, &c., only reserving to our 
own use and benefit the dwelling house and barn dureing our natural life." 
Solomon Tracy, Jun., son of Dr. Solomon, removes to Canterbury. 

Simon Tracy (b. 1679-80), married in 1708, Mary, daughter of Ensign 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 235 

Thomas Leffingwell. In 1736, he deeds one-half of the house and home-lot to his 
son, Simon Tracy, Jun., and in 1769, the whole of the property (frontage 9 rods, 
23 links), which Simon, 2nd, sells in that same year to Samuel Huntington. 
vSimon Trac}', JSr., possibly goes to reside with his son, Simon, 2nd, on the 
Plain Hills road, where his other son, Moses, also has a house. Simon Tracy lived to 
be very old, and on a head-stone in the cemetery we may read that " the pious 
beloved and very aged Simon Tracy died 14th September, 1775, i^ the 96th year 
of his age." His wife died 1770, aged 88. 

Simon Tracy, 2nd (b. 1710), married (i)'in 1735, Elizabeth, daughter of 
Jabez Hyde, and (2) in 1743-4, Abigail, daughter of Dr. Caleb Bushnell. He died 
in 1793, aged 82. He had filled the offices of representative to the General 
Assembly and deacon of the church, and his obituary notice in the Packet says 
that he was " for many years employed in public trust both in church and state, 
and discharged the several duties of a man, a magistrate, and a Christian with 
integrity." In 1757, Simon Tracy, Sr , and his son, wSimon, sell to Jabez Hunt- 
ington, the east corner of their home-lot (frontage 3 rods). On this Jabez builds 
a shop, which he sells to Simeon and Jabez Perkins, who had served as his 
apprentices for several years, and now wished to set up in business for themselves. 
Jabez (b. 1728), and Simeon (b. 1734), were the grandsons of Jabez Perkins, who 
came with his brother, Joseph, from Ipswich, Mass., to Norwich, in the latter part 
of the seventeenth century, and settled in a part of the town, to which they are 
said to have given the name of Newent. Jabez, 3rd, was the son of Jabez and 
Rebecca (Leonard) Perkins, and Simeon, of Jacob and Jemina (Leonard) Perkins. 
Rebecca and Jemina were daughters of Elkanah Leonard of Middleboro', Mass., 
and step-daughters of Jabez Perkins, Sr. 

Taking a cousinly interest in the two young men, for his mother was also 
a daughter of the first Jabez Perkins, Jabez Huntington had promised, at the end 
of Simeon's apprenticeship, to start them in business. The partnership did not 
last long. Jabez Perkins moved ere long to the Landing. Simeon had married 
in 1760, Abigail, daughter of Ebenezer Backus by his first wife, Abigail, sister of 
Gov. Jonathan Trumbull. Simeon's young wife died within a year after his mar- 
riage, leaving a young son, Roger, and the disconsolate husband, as is evidenced 



236 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

by a diary kept at this time, moved to Liverpool, Nova Scotia, about 1762. Here 
he had a prosperous career as judge of probate, town clerk, chief justice of the 
county courts, colonel of militia, and for nearly thirty years a member of the 
Provincial House of Representatives. He died in 181 2, and a tablet, in the Court 
House of Liverpool, enshrines his memory as " the late first magistrate of this 
county, who for nearly half a century presided in this court with great Integrity, 
Uprightness, and Impartiality, to the great satisfaction of this community." In 
the inscription on his grave-stone, he is said to have been " benevolent to the 
poor, loyal to his king, and a sincere Christian." He married (2) Elizabeth, widow 
of John Hadley of Manchester, N. S., and daughter of Henry Young. 

In 1766, Jabez and Simeon Perkins sell their shop to Jabez Huntington. 
In 1773, Samuel Avery was possibly located here, as he advertises in a shop 
"nearly opposite Col. Jabez Huntington's store." In 1784, it is the barber shop 
of Nathaniel Townsend, and it was possibly in this shop in 1777, that Nathaniel 
offers to pay "i6s. per pound in cash for long, brown, human hair." In 1787, 
he advertises that he has just procured a workman from Philadelphia, and in his 
shop may be procured "the newest fashions in cushions and head-dresses." It is 
said that Nathaniel Townsend used to boast that he had once shaved Talleyrand. 

Though Prince Talleyrand was in this country in 1795, we do not know 
that he ever visited Norwich, and we think that possibly his younger brother, 
who was on the staff of the Marquis Chastellux, may have been one of the party 
of French officers, who were entertained by Gen. Jedediah Huntington in 1781, 
and on that occasion the younger Talleyrand might have visited the shop across 
the way. 

Samuel Adams Drake, in his " Old Landmarks of Boston," describes the 
entry of this young Frenchman into Boston with the French troops in 1782. The 
Marquis Chastellux wished to take him back with him to France, but the young- 
soldier, only eighteen years old, desired to remain. When the army entered 
Boston, "he* obtained a grenadier's uniform, and marched in the ranks of the 
Soissonais, with his haversack on his back, and his gun on his shoulder." He 
was " well known to the superior officers, who pretended not to recognize him. 



* Samuel Adams Drake's "Old Landmarks of Boston." 



?,?rv 




Col- Simeon Perkins. 

I73-4-5 -1812- 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 237 

and his \var]ikc ardor became the town-talk. He was christened Va - de - bon - coeur 
(go willingly), and was the subject of many attentions." Nathaniel Townsend 
not only dealt in wigs and false hair, but other goods as well, rum, maps, dry 
goods, &c. Before 1793, he moved to a shop near the Green, possibly as early 
as 17S7, for in that year this shop is sold by the Huntington heirs to Mundator 
Tracy, who ere long converts it into a house, which he sells in 1815 to Luther 
vSpalding, who then owns the Gov. Huntington house. The land is now part of 
the Charles Young property. 




CHAPTER XLIII. 



SAMUEL Huntington, who had purchased in 1769 the Simon Tracy house, 
was a son of Nathaniel Huntington of Windham, and a grandson of Joseph 
Huntington, who left Norwich in 1692 to become one of the founders of that 
town. Samuel was born in 1731, was apprenticed at the age of sixteen to the 
cooper's trade, and while he worked industriously at this, spent all his spare 
moments in study. At the age of twenty-two, he had determined to become a 
lawyer, and though not encouraged by his father, he had worked his way to the 
bar, and, before he was twenty-eight years old, had established himself as a lawyer 
in Norwich. 

In 1 76 1, he married Martha, daughter of the Rev. Ebenezer Devotion of 
Windham, and his wife Martha (daughter of Col. Simon Lathrop of Norwich). 
This connection, and his Huntington descent, brought him into close relation with 
some of the most prominent families of Norwich. He and his wife occupied for 
a time the old Solomon Tracy house, but shortly after the Revolution, he built 
the house now owned by Charles Young. This house has been greatly altered 




Gov. Samuel HunLington. 

1731-1796. 
Gov. or Connecticut 1/8(3-1796 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 239 

since Gov. Huntino-ton's day. At that time, with its tall pillars extending from 
the ground to the roof, it was said to have greatly resembled the house built by 
Gen. Jedediah Huntington in New London, on the corner of Broad and Wash- 
ington Streets (now owned by Elisha Palmer). 

As the Governor and his wife had no children of their own, they adopted 



a niece and nephew, H anna h and Samuel, children of the Rev. Joseph Hunting- 
ton of Coventry, Ct., and some of their young Windham relatives were constantly 
at the house. Among these were the Governor's nephew, Nathaniel (or Natty, 
as he was familiarly called), (b. 175 1), son of the Rev. Nathaniel Huntington of 
Windsor, Ct., whose early death, in 1774, was deeply lamented ; and "the beautiful 
Betsey Devotion," younger sister of Mrs. Huntington, who died in 1775, aged 24 ; 
of whom, Jonathan Bellamy, who seems to have felt her death keenly, writes, in 
a letter to Aaron Burr : " If a natural sweetness of disposition can scale Heaven's 
walls, she went over like a bird." The Rev. Dr. James Cogswell writes in his 
dairy, "A more amiable, accomplished, benevolent, discreet and religious young 
lady is rare to be found. She was of a beautiful form, had a sweetness in her 
countainance, and pleasantness in her conversation, which was quite graceful, knew 
how to behave to all persons, to all characters, of all ages, in all circumstances, 
so as to render herself agreeable to all. She was an ornament to her family, an 
honor to her Christian profession, and ye glory of her sex, but she is gone." 

A number of young men studied law with Mr. Huntington, and were con- 
stantly at the house. This youthful element, and the warm hospitality of Gov. and 
Mrs. Huntington, made their home a centre of attraction for all the young people 
of the town, and it is said, that after games in the parlor, the young guests would 
often retire to the kitchen, and dance away until the curfew rang at nine o'clock. 

Mrs. Huntington, it is said, was "plain in her manners but affable," and 
Gov. Huntington "though dignified in manner even to formality, and reserved 
in popular intercourse," " in the domestic circle was pleasing and communicative." 
Mrs. Huntington is described as dressing "very simply, often in a white short 
gown and stuff petticoat with stiffly- starched cap, and clean muslin apron, prob- 
ably in the style of her mother, whose portrait is still preserved by her descendants, 
the family of the late John L. Devotion. 



240 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 



In the journal of the Marquis de Chastellux, who dines with Gov. Hunt- 
ington in Philadelphia, in 1780, while Mr. Huntington was President of Congress, 

he describes Mrs. Huntington as " a good-looking 
lusty woman, but not young," who "did the 
honors of the table, that is to say, helped every- 
body, without saying a word." The poor woman 
was probably longing to speak, but rendered 
mute by her ignorance of French. The Marquis 
also speaks of calling upon Mr. Huntington with 
the French Ambassador, and finding him in his 
cabinet, " lighted by a single candle," " this sim- 
plicity " reminding him "of Fabricius and the 
Philopaemens." 

Gov. Huntington was of middle size, with 
a "swarthy" complexion, and a "vivid" and 
"penetrating" eye; "considering comfort and 
convenience " more than splendor in his domes- 
tic arrangements, "moderate and circumspect 
in all his movements," "never frivolous," but 
always "practical" in his conversation. One, 
who had been an inmate of his family for a long time, bears witness that he 
never showed the slightest symptom of anger, nor spoke an unkind word. As a 
judge, he was "impartial in his judgments," "dignified in his deportment," "cour- 
teous and polite to the gentlemen at the bar." He was "a constant attendant at 
public worship, and at conference-meetings, in the absence of the minister, often 
led the services." 

His public life began in 1764, as a Representative to the General Assembly. 
In 1773, he was elected a member of the upper house, in 1774, Associate Judge of 
the Supreme Court of Connecticut, and in 1775, a member of Congress, which office 
he held till 1780. He was also elected a member of the Marine Court, was one 
of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, served as President of Congress 
from 1779 to 1781, and was then obliged to resign on account of ill-health. On 




Martha (Lathrop) Devotion 

1715-1795 
Mother of Mrs. Gov. Huntinizton. 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 241 

retiring- from Congress, he resumed his office of Judg-e of the Supreme Court. 
In 1782 and 1783, he was again elected to Congress, but resigned the office for- 
ever in this last year. In 1784, he was appointed Chief Justice of the Supreme 
Court ; in 1785, Lieut. Governor; in 1786, Governor, which office he held till his 
death. He died in 1796 of dropsy of the chest. His wife had died in 1794, aged 56. 
His funeral was attended by a large concourse of people from Norwich and 
the neighboring towns. The order of the funeral procession from his house to 
the church, was as follows: — 

" A Band of Music. 

The Drummers and Fifers of the Twentieth Regiment. 

Four Military Companies in Uniform with Arms reversed. 

The corps supported by Pall-Bearers. 

Mourners. 

Magistrates and Officers of the Peace. 

About two hundred Officers in their Uniforms. 

Aldermen and Council of the City. 

Selectmen of the Town. 

Clergy of different Denominations. 

Citizens." 

" A sermon was preached by the Rev. Joseph Strong from Acts 13, T^d. 
After the solemnities of public worship, the procession continued to the burying 
ground," where the governor was laid to rest beside his wife, in the family tomb, 
not far from the home where they had so long resided. 

In 1788, Dr. Mason Fitch Cogswell, afterward of Hartford, Ct., while on a 
journey through Connecticut, stopped at Norwich for a short visit at Gov. Hunt- 
ington's. His father, the Rev. James Cogswell, had recently married the widow 
of the Rev. Ebenezer Devotion of Scotland, and Dr. Cogswell writes in his diary, 
" Had I been an own brother, Mrs. Huntington could not have treated me with 
more tenderness and affection, and I never saw the Governor so social and con- 
versible." The latter entertains him with musical anecdotes, and Mrs. Huntington 
regales him freely with "flip and pompion pie." He spends several days in town, 
enjo3nng a round of entertainments among his old friends. 

16 



242 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

Samuel and Harrrrah Huntington, the adopted children of the governor and 
his wife, were the son and daughter of the Rev. Joseph Huntington of Coventry, 
and his wife, Hannah Devotion, sister of Mrs. Huntington, so the children were 
doubly related to their adopted parents. vSamuel Huntington (b. 1765), was 
educated by his uncle, graduated at Yale in 1785, and married in 1791, Hannah, 
daughter of Andrew Huntington and his first wife, Lucy Coit. He was admitted 
to the bar in Norwich, but after his uncle's death, he moved to Cleveland, Ohio, 
and in 1805 to Painesville. Here he was appointed a colonel of militia; in 1802 
was one of the first delegates to the convention which formed the State constitution 
of Ohio. In 1803, he was appointed Judge of the Supreme Court ; in 1804, Chief 
Judge; and in 1808, Governor of the State, which ofifice he held for two years. 
He helped to found the town of Fairport, and during the war of 1812-14, was 
Paymaster of the Northwestern army. 

" At the time that he migrated to Ohio, the State was a wilderness, and 
wild beasts were numerous. While travelling from the east to Cleveland, where he 
then lived, he was attacked, about two miles out of town, by a pack of wolves. 
He broke his umbrella to pieces, in his efforts to keep them off, but owed his 
safety to the speed of his horse."* He died in 1817, and his widow in 1818. 

Frances Huntington (b. 1769), resided with her uncle till his death. A few 
months after, she married Rev. Edward D. Griffin, D. D., of Park vStreet Church, 
Boston, who afterward became President of Williams College. She was said to be 
"a- lady of uncommon delicacy and excellence of character." wShe died in 1837. 

This story is told by Mrs. Sigourney of Rev. Dr. Griffin, when President 
of Williams College. During the prevalence of a northeast storm, he called the 
theological students together, and addressing them in a solemn, impressive man- 
ner, said : " I am satisfied with your class, save in one respect. Of your proficiency 
in study, your general deportment, I have no complaint to make. Still there is 
one very sad deficiency. That to which I allude, young gentlemen, is a neglect 
of the duty of Christian laughter." 

Then, drawing up to its full height of six feet his large, symmetrical person, 
and expanding his broad chest, he commanded, '' Do as I do," and uttered a 
*" Huntington Family Memoir.'" 




Gov. Samuel Huntmm-oJi 

1765-1817. 
GOVflRNOR or OHIO ie08-l8IO. 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 243 

peal of hearty, sonorous laughter. After summoning each one separately to imitate 
his example, and observing how the corrugated muscles untwisted, and the brow 
cast off its wrinkling thought, he said, "There, that will do for the present." 

On leaving town in iSor, Samuel Huntington sold the house to Asa Spalding, 
who, until this time, had resided on the Green, in what was formerly known as 
the " Perit " house. 

Asa Spalding (b. 1757), was the son of Ebenezer Spalding of Canterbury. 
He graduated at Yale in 177S, studied law with Judge Adams of Litchfield, and 
settled as an attorney at Norwich in 1782. He married in 1787, Lydia, daughter 
of Nathaniel Shipman, who, after his death, married as second wife, Capt. Bela 
Peck. In 1786, he purchased the "Perit" house, in which he resided, until, in 
1 80 1, he removed to the Gov. Huntington house, which, as the Spalding Family 
Memoir says, "with its majestic porticoes and massive pillars, presented in i8ir, 
the most imposing apearance of any structure in the town." Asa Spalding's death 
was a very sudden one. The inscription on his gravestone reads: "He died of 
a disease called by the Medical Faculty, Angina Pectoris." 

Though blunt and peculiar in manner, as a lawyer he was eminently 
successful, and acquired a large fortune. On one occasion, while arguing a case 
before a judge of the Superior Court, after the hour for adjournment had arrived, 
the impatient judge, who had frequently presented the face of his watch to Mr. 
Spalding, in the hope of bringing his speech to an end, said angrily, " Excuse me, 
Mr. vSpalding, but you have talked three-quarters of an hour, and have said nothing 
to the purpose as yet." 

"Very well, your Honor," replied the imperturbable lawyer, "I expect to 
speak three-quarters of an hour longer, and before I get through, I hope I may 
say something to the purpose." 

On one occasion, it is said, he was employed by the Hon. John Hancock of 
Boston, to collect a considerable claim, the payment of which was contested. The 
jury having returned a verdict for the defendant, Mr. Spalding procured an order 
for a new trial, and wrote to Mr. Hancock to attend court in person, believing 
that the prestige of his person would perhaps favorably influence the jury. At 
the appointed time, Mr. Hancock appeared in a coach, attended by a retinue of 



244 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

servants at the place of trial (the tale does not give the name of the place), and 
suffering at the time from an attack of gout, was borne into the court room, 
wrapped in flannels. The judges offered him a seat upon the bench, and the 
jury, overawed by his presence, returned a verdict for the plaintiff in full amount, 
with interest. 

Two children were born to Asa Spalding, one of whom died in infancy, 
the other at twelve years of age. The house and land became the property of 
Asa's brother, Luther Spalding (b. 1762), who married in 1796, Lydia Chaffee of 
Canterbury, Ct. He studied law with his brother, and was at one time Judge of 
the County Court. He lived here till his death in 1838. 

In 1854, Charles Spalding, son of Luther, sells the property to Charles 
Stedman. In i860, it passed to Junius Kingsley ; in 1863, to William M. Converse; 
in 1867, to Dr. William Cutler. It is now owned by Charles Young. 



CHAPTER XLIV. 

LEAVING the Tracy property, we now arrive at the home-lot of Simon 
Huntington, which is entered in the first book of records as "four acres, 
abutting east on the land of Thomas Tracy, south on land of Mr. James Fitch 
and north on the highway," also " four acres over the highway against his home 
lot " abutting south and west upon the highway, east on Mr. Bradford, north on 
the pasture of Mr. Fitch. 

In the second book of records it is called, " the home lot lying on both 
sides of the highway." We will give the m.easurements of the house-lot as in 
this second record, leaving the land on the north side of the street for later con- 
sideration. This south division abuts north on the street 2514 rods, west on the 
street 13^2 rods, south on land of Capt. Fitch 14 rods, the line then runs south- 
east 4 rods, abutting north-west on the Fitch lot, thence it runs south-west 2 rods, 
4 feet, thence west 2 rods, then south 20 rods wanting 4 feet, abutting west on 
land of Capt. Fitch, then abuts south on land of Capt. Fitch 18 rods, and east on 
land of Lt. Thomas Tracy 43 rods. Now we find that the frontage of 25^2 rods, 
(beginning at a point in the grounds of Charles Young, three rods east of the ceme- 
tery lane), brings us to the corner, near the house recently occupied by the Rev. 
Charles A. Northrop, and from here the western frontage of 13^ rods, continues 
along the road by the Green, as far as the house now occupied by Miss Grace 
McClellan. On this lot were situated the houses of the first and second Simon 
Huntington. 

The first Simon Huntington of Norwich was born in England about 1629, 
and was probably four years of age, when he came with his parents, two brothers 
and a sister, to this country in 1633. His father having died of small-pox on the 
voyage, and his mother having married again, he lived for a while in the home 



246 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

of his step-father, Thomas Stoughton, at Windsor, Ct., then followed his brother 
Christopher to Saybrook, where he married in 1653, Sarah, daughter of John 
Clark. In 1660, he came with the first band of settlers to Norwich, where he 
took at once a prominent position, serving as constable, townsman, and deputy, 
and holding the office of deacon in Mr. Fitch's church from about 16S0 to 1696. 
In 1695, he was appointed by the town "to keep an ordnary or house of publique 
entertaynement." We may read on two ancient-looking, roughly lettered stones 
in the old burying-ground, at the rear of their former home lot, that vSimon died 
in 1706, aged 77, and his wife, Sarah, in 1721, aged 88. We have so little knowledge 
of these early settlers that every item is of interest. Even the dry inventory, 
which Miss Caulkins gives, of Simon's library, presents a picture of the good 
deacon, standing before his book shelves on vSaturday night, pondering as to 
whether he will read " Rogers, His Seven Treatises," " The Practical Catechise," 
"Mr. Moody's Book," "Thomas Hooker's Doubting Christian," the New England 
Psalm Book, "Mr. Adams' Sarmon," "The Bound Book of Mr. Fitch and John 
Rogers," or " The Day of Doom," to prepare himself for the coming Sabbath. 
" William Dyer" has a doubtful sound, so we will leave that for week-day reading. 
His estate was valued at ^275. 

As Simon died intestate, the heirs sign an agreement, by which Daniel and 
James receive two-sixths of the real estate, on the condition that they are to 
"preveide sutable maintainence for our Honour' Mother, Rellect to the Deseased, 
Dureing her natural life." Simon Huntington, Jun., was living on the north-west 
corner of the home lot (frontage 7^4 rods), which had been deeded to him by 
his father in 1688-9. Joseph had moved to Windham, and Samuel to Lebanon. 
How soon Daniel (who had married Abigail Bingham, the year before his father's 
death), moved to a home of his own, we know not. We think it is evident that 
James, the youngest son, lived with his mother in the homestead, of which he 
eventually became the owner. In his inventory, his home-lot is given, as situated 
on the south side of the street, with a dwelling house and tan-yard, and a lot 
with barn and shop on the opposite side of the street. 

James Huntington was born in 1680, and married in 1702-3, Priscilla Miller. 
He was a man of energy and enterprise, and in 1722, was appointed one of a 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 247 

committee, "to go down to the Landing Place, and lay out what may be needful 
for the town's use." In 1723, vSimon Lathrop, Joshua and James Huntington, and 
Daniel Tracy each received a grant of land, " 20 feet square, on the west side of 
Rockie point," and these four men were among the first to open and develop 
that part of the town, later known as Chelsea. James Huntington and Israel 
Lathrop were the agents of the towm in laying out the East Sheep Walk, as the 
lands now forming the City of Norwich were then called. In 1721, James 
Huntington was appointed Ensign of the first company or train-band. He died 
in 1727, and his widow, according to the testimony of her grave-stone, "after a 
patient and pious life, fell asleep in Jesus, January 19, 1742, in the 67th year of 
her age." Three sons and two daughters were living at the time of their parents' 
death. Peter married in 1734, and James and Nathaniel in 1735. T^mes moved 
to Great Plains. Peter continued to reside on the home lot. We have not ascer- 
tained where Nathaniel resided. 

It is possible that the property of the first Simon Huntington was not 
divided until long after his death, for in 1734 the heirs sign acquittances for their 
shares of the estate, and in 1737 there are various exchanges of different portions 
of the property. In that year, Joshua quit-claims to James and Peter, sons of 
the first James Huntington, " the east part of the home lot which was their father's 
lying on the south side of the street," "abutting north on the street 9^/^ rods," 
to a point " a little west of the house which was their father's, and from thence 
running south across the middle of the well .... with buildings," &c., and James 
and Peter deed to Joshua, the "west part of our honoured father's home lot, 
abutting north on the street S rods, and west on Ebenezer Huntington's 
land." 

The fact that there is also a dwelling house on the west part of the lot, 
makes it seem a little doubtful as to which of the two was the house of the first 
Simon. At the time of James' death, but one house is mentioned as standing on 
the lot, and we may assume from the wording of Joshua's deed to James and 
Peter, that this was the one which James inherited from his father, and in which 
his son Peter afterward resided. This other dwelling may have been built by the 
second James on his marriage in 1735, ^^^^ ^^^ perhaps occupied by him until 



248 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

his removal to the Great Plain, but of this we have no proof, so we will leave 
the matter to be solved by some of James' descendants. 

In 1752, Peter Huntington sells to Samuel Abbot a small lot of land (front- 
age 3 rods), in the north-east corner of the home lot, " on which I now dwell," 
beginning at the north-west corner of Simon Tracy's land. On this lot (now a 
part of the grounds of Charles Young), Samuel Abbot builds a house, in which 
he resides until his death in 1789. In 1792, it is sold to Gov. Huntington, and 
in 1 80 1 passes with the rest of the Gov. Huntington property to Asa Spalding. 
It is said to have been occupied at one time by Luther Spalding, and also by 
Abner Basset. In i860, it is sold to Junius Kingsley, and the house was shortly 
after moved across the street, and is now the residence of Russell Lewis. 

Samuel Abbot (b. 1726), in Windham, Ct., was the son of John and Elizabeth 
(Phipps) Abbot of Franklin, Ct, who came from Stow, Mass., to Windham, Ct., 
about 1726, resided there for a time, but the year after Samuel's birth, purchased 
and moved to a farm in West Farms or Franklin, then a part of Norwich. In 
1749, Samuel married Phoebe, daughter of John and Phoebe Edgerton. They had 
nine children. In 1758, he received his commission as Lieutenant; in 1774, was 
appointed Lieut. Colonel of the Twentieth Regiment of Infantry; and in 1776, 
was commissioned by the government to buy guns for the troops. He was one 
of the members of the Association against Illicit Trade. He died suddenly in 
17S9, and his widow, Phoebe, in 1792. 

In the home of his father, James, which was probably also the house of 
the first Simon, Peter Huntington lived until his death in 1760. He was born in 
1708-9, and married in 1734, Ruth, daughter of John and Ruth (Adgate) Edger- 
ton, and half-sister of Mrs. Samuel Abbot. They had a large family of sons and 
daughters.' 

Simeon (b. 1740), the oldest son, becomes the next owner of the house, and 
marries (i) in 1777, Freelove, "the amiable and accomplished" daughter of Capt. 
Jonathan Chester. His wife died in 1787, and he married (2) in 1789, the widow 
Patience Keeney of Wethersfield, Ct.. who survived him, dying in 1820. Simeon 
died in 18 17. He was a blacksmith, and a very large and powerful man. At the 
beginning of the Revolution, on July 4, 1774, F'rancis Green, a merchant of 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 



249 



Boston, and a noted loyalist, while on a business tour through Connecticut, was 
most rudely received, and ordered to leave the town by the patriots of Windham, 
at whose tavern he intended to pass the night. He left at once for Norwich, 
and word was sent to arouse the town. 

The Sons of Liberty were greatly excited at the news, and it was arranged 
that the moment Mr. Green appeared, Diah Manning should ring the church 
bell. In the morning, when Mr. Green's carriage arrived at Lathrop's tavern, a 
large crowd was ready to receive him, and he was allowed his choice, to depart 
at once or be sent out on a cart. Mr. Green pleaded for delay, attempted to 
address the people, but Simeon Huntington, calling him rascal, grasped him by 
the collar with no gentle hand, and a cart with a high scaffolding appearing in 
sight, Mr. Green thought it wise to get at once into his carriage, and with all 
possible speed leave the town, followed by "drums beating and horns blowing." 
On his arrival in Boston, he offered $100 reward for anyone who would give 
information that would lead to the conviction of " those villains and ruffians," 
particularly mentioning " one Simeon Huntington." The advertisement was 
republished in a handbill, which was sold about the town, and created considerable 
merriment. 

In a letter from Col. Jedidiah Huntington to Gov. Trumbull, dated Sept. 




25 o OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

9' 1775' h® expresses a wish that Simeon Huntin_2^ton would accept a second 
lieutenancy, then vacant, assigning as his reason, " I want officers of a military 
spirit." Simeon was later commissioned as Captain, by which title he is always 
known. After Simeon's death, the land, house, and barn are sold in 1S19 to the 
First Ecclesiastical Society, who, retaining part of the land for the cemetery and 
lane, sell the rest to Lyman Roath, * and the latter in 1820, reserving to himself 
the house and barn, sells the land to David Nevins, who was then living in the 
present Dickey house. 



* It is believed that Lyman Roath, who had at that time purchased land on the Scotland 
road, may have moved this house to that lot, and it may now form a part of the present resi- 
dence of Edward Sterrj'. 



CHAPTER XLV. 

JOSHUA Huntington sells to Philip Turner in 1737-8, the house and land, 
(frontage 8 rods), which had been conveyed to him by James and Peter 
Huntington. In 1738-9, Philip Turner sells the land and house to John Manly, 
reserving for himself for seven years, the use of a shop and water, with " liberty 
to remove the shop," if he should desire. In 1741, John Manly sells to Thomas 
Danforth, house, land and a joiner's shop, and in 1742, Richard Charlton buys the 
same of Thomas Danforth, with the addition of another shop, which may possibly 
be the one formerly reserved for the use of Philip Turner, or perhaps a new shop 
built by Danforth. 

Richard Charlton sells in 1755 the west part of this land, and one of the 
shops, to vSimeon Carew, and the east part is sold in the same year to Charles 
Whiting. The house and the remaining shop are occupied by the Charlton 
family until 1834. 

John Manly married in Windham in 1735, Mary Arnold, granddaughter of 
John Arnold, an early resident of Norwich, later of Windham. Two children 
were born to them in Norwich, John (b. 1738), and vSarah (b. 1742). In 1739, he 
purchased of Philip Turner this house and land, which he sells in 1741. In 1740, 
he purchased land and a shop on the Green, which he sells in 1743. At this later 
date, he is living in Mansfield, Ct. 

Richard Charlton's antecedents are unknown to us. In a family Bible record 
he is said to have been born in England. As this record, however, is not correct in 
every particular, he may, after all, have been born in this country, and may claim de- 
scent from Henri Charlton, probably a French Huguenot, who came to Virginia in the 
ship George in 1623, aged 19 years. This Henri Charlton was possibly the pro- 
genitor of the Southern familv of that name. 



252 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

Richard Charlton married in 1 741-2, Sarah, daughter of Thomas and Ann 
(Birchard) Grist, and had six children. In 1756, he prefaces his will, -'being bound 
to a voige to sea." This was probably the Havana expedition, as in the family 
Bible record we find that he was blown up in a vessel at the rejoicings at the 
capture of Havana in 1757. 

A "blew" coat with velvet cape at the good value for those days of ^2, 
10 s., another "blew" coat at £\, 10 s., two brown coats, one valued at £\, 8 s., 
a plush coat 3 s., and a red coat £\, 15 s., mentioned in his inventory, show that 
he was not indifferent to dress. An ivory book, value ^i, is rather an unusual 
item of this inventory. A large number of pewter basins, plates, tankards, &c., 
which have probably long ago melted away, appear to form a part of his house- 
hold stores. He leaves the " mantion " house to his wife, vSarah, and at her death 
in 180S, it passes to the son Charles. 

Charles Charlton marries in 1775, Sarah, widow of Jesse Williams, and has 
two daughters and three sons. He is a shoemaker by trade, and advertises now 
and then in the shop adjoining his house for apprentices of fourteen or fifteen 
years of age, to whom he offers 40 s. for the first year, and £1 a year and their 
clothes for the following year. In 1797, his son Jesse advertises in the same shop 
as a tailor. About 1800, Jesse Charlton moves to East Windsor. In Stiles' 
History of Windsor he is mentioned as a man "of courteous manners, and genial 
character." After his departure, his brother Samuel occupies the house until 
1834, when he sells it to David Nevins, and moves to a house he has built on 
Mediterranean Lane. The old Charlton house is moved to East Great Plain, 
where it now forms a part of the residence of Elias Wood worth. 

In 1755, the east part of the Charlton lot (frontage 2^2 rods), is sold to 
Charles Whiting, who sells it in 1760 to Jacob Perkins. The latter builds the 
house now owned and occupied by Aaron W. Dickey. In 1782, this is sold to Mrs. 
Martha Greene of Boston, who evidently, though the deed has not been found, 
transfers it to her son, Capt. Russell Hubbard, formerly of New London, whose 
house and shop in that place were burnt by Benedict Arnold in 17S1. This house 
is included in Capt. Hubbard's inventory at his death in 1785. Shortly after the 
death of Capt. Hubbard, it becomes the property of David Nevins, but whether 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 



253 



by purchase or inheritance through his wife, the daughter of Capt. Hubbard, we 
are unable to say. In 1848, the house is sold to George Fuller by Henry Kevins, 




with the addition of the Simeon Huntington land (purchased in 1820), on the 
east, and the Charlton lot on the west, which was sold to David Nevins in 1S34. 
After the death of George Fuller, his daughter, Mrs. Dickey, entered into possession 
of the property. 

Jacob Perkins (b. 1731), was the son of Jacob and Jemina (Leonard) Perkins 
of Newent, then a part of Norwich He married (i) in 1755, Mary Brown, daugh- 
ter of James and Ann (Noyes) Brown of Newport, R. I. His second wife, 
(married in 1767), was Abigail, daughter of Ebenezer and Hannah (Haskins) 
Thomas of Norwich. His shop was on the opposite side of the street. In 1774, 
Jacob Perkins was Lieutenant of the first company or train-band of Norwich 
and later was commissioned as Captain. 

Capt. Russell Hubbard (b. 1732) was the brother of Capt. William Hubbard, 
who at one time occupied the Col. Hezekiah Huntington house. He was first a sea 
captain, then a merchant on Bank Street, New London. During the Revolution he 
moved to Norwich. He married Mary Gray, daughter of Dr. Ebenezer Gray, first of 



254 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

Newport, then of Lebanon, Ct., and his wife, Mary, the daughter of Thomas Prentice, 
and widow of Dr. Thomas Coit of New London. They had two sons : Thomas, 
the editor of the Norwich Courier, and Russell, a sea-captain, who died in iSoo 
unmarried ; and four daughters : Mary, wife of David Nevins ; Martha, who married 
David Wright of New London ; Susannah, who married (i) Ebenezer Bushnell, 
and (2) Robert Manwaring ; and Lucretia, whose first husband was Daniel Tracy, 
and second, Elijah Backus. 

David Nevins (b. 1747), was a son of David Nevins of Canterbury, and his 
wife, Mary, daughter of Col. Simon Lathrop of Norwich. The father was said to 
be of vScotch origin, and to have come from Kingston, Massachusetts, to Connecticut. 
In 1757, he was "engaged in repairing a bridge over the Ouinebaug between 
Canterbury and Plainfield, which had been partially destroyed in a severe freshet." 
" He was standing on one of the cross beams of the bridge, giving directions to 
the workman, and had his watch in his hand, which he had just taken out to see 
the time, when losing his balance, he fell into the swollen stream, was swept 
down by the current, and drowned before he could be rescued." Two of his 
children, Samuel and Betsey, died unmarried. His remaining children were married 
in Norwich: Mary in 1771, to Nathan Lord; Martha in 1774, to Capt. James 
Hyde ; and David in 1777, to Mary Hubbard. 

In the early years of the war, David Nevins, 2nd, "was employed as the 
the confidential messenger of the Norwich Committee of Correspondence, to obtain 
exact news from the seat of war." " His personal activity and daring spirit, com- 
bined with trustworthiness and ardent participation in the popular cause, peculiarly 
fitted him for the work. But the battle of Lexington carried him from all minor 
employments into the army. He joined the Eighth Company, Sixth Regiment, 
which was organized on Norwich Green in May, 1775, and \vas its color-bearer on 
Dorchester Heights."* In October, 1776, he was commissioned as Lieutenant 
and later as Captain. " He remained with the army during the siege of 
Boston, the occupation of New York, and the retreat through the Jerseys, 
returning home in the winter of 1777. He did not, however, relinquish 
the service of his country, but was several times again in the field upon 



* Miss Caulkins' History of Norwich. 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 255 

various emergencies during- the war." -^ He died in New York in 1838, aged 90. 
He had twelve children. His daughter, Mary, whom the Hon. Charles Miner 
calls " the fairest rose that ever bloomed," died at the age of twenty-two. His 
sons became prominent citizens of New York and Philadelphia, and one of them, 
the Rev. William Nevins, was pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Baltimore. 



* Miss Caulkins' History of Norwich. 







CHAPTER XLVI. 



IN 1755, Richard Charlton sells to Simeon Carew, the west part of the land 
(frontage 2 rods, 10 feet), and one of the shops, which he had purchased in 
1742 of Thomas Danforth. In 1763, Simeon sells the property to his brother 
Joseph, who buys of Azariah Lathrop additional land in the rear, and builds the 
house now occupied by the family of Louis Mabrey. In 1778, he sells the house 
to Col. Joseph Trumbull. 

Joseph Trumbull (b. 1737), was the son of Gov. Jonathan and Faith (Robinson) 
Trumbull of Lebanon, Ct. He was educated at the Tisdale School in Lebanon, 
graduated from Harvard College in 1756, then embarked on a business career, 
under the direction of his father, who in 1763 sent him to England to buy 
goods, obtain contracts for building vessels, and form new business connections. 
On his return in 1764, he entered into a partnership with his father and Col. Eleazer 
Fitch of Windham, under the firm name of Trumble, Fitch and Trumble. The 
main store or office was in Norwich, where Joseph came to reside. After 
incjuiries made at the Heraldry Office, during one of his visits to London, Joseph 




Com. Gen. Joseph Trumbull 

1737-1778. 

PAINTED BY COL JOHM TRUMBULL. 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 257 

found that the proper spelling of the last syllable of the family name was bull 
rather than hlt\ and on his return this form was adopted by his father. 

In 1766, the new firm met with heavy losses. Many of their vessels were 
lost, and the firm was threatened with total bankruptcy. Joseph was again sent 
to London, and finally succeeded in making satisfactory arrangements with the 
English creditors. The Governor must have made frequent visits to Norwich, to 
attend to his business affairs and to see his children, Joseph, and Faith, wife of 
Jedediah Pluntington. Miss Caulkins draws an interesting picture of the people 
of Norwich " running to their doors, and bowing and curtseying to the honored 
Governor and his wife as they rode by in their square-topped, two wheeled, one- 
horse carriage, almost as substantial in structure as a house." On some of these 
occasions, Mrs. Trumbull may have worn the famous scarlet cloak, said to have 
been presented to her by Count Rochambeau, Commander-in-Chief of the 
French Allied Army, and which, when a collection was at one time being taken 
up for the soldiers, in the Lebanon Meeting House, Madam Trumbull rose from 
her seat, and "advancing near the pulpit, laid on the altar as her offering to those 
who, in the midst of every want and suffering, were fighting gallantly the great 
battle for Freedom. It was afterward cut into narrow strips and employed as 
red trimming to stripe the dress of American soldiers." * 

Gov. Trumbull was in Norwich on the afternoon of April 20, 1775, when 
the news arrived of the battle of Lexington. With what haste the huge chaise 
must have rattled back to Lebanon, where the Governor was busy for many 
days after, in equipping soldiers with ammunition and provisions for the seat of 
war. In 1775, Joseph Trumbull was appointed the first Commissary General of 
the American Army, an office of great and overwhelming responsibility, so intensi- 
fied by the unwise measure of Congress in 1777, in appointing under-officers 
whom the heads of the department were not allowed to remove, that he felt 
obliged to resign his office. He writes to Congress, " The head of every department 
ought to have the control of it. In this establishment an impcriiiin in impcrio is 
created. If I consent to act I must be at contmued variance with the whole 
department, and of course be in continued hot water. I must turn accuser, and 



* Stuart's Life of Gov. Trumbull. 
17 



258 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

be continually applying to Congress, and attending with witnesses to support my 
charges, or I must sit down in ease and quiet, let the deputies do as they like, 
and enjoy a sinecure. The first situation I cannot think of, the last I never will 
accept. It never shall be said I was the first American pensioner. I am willing 
to do and sufi:er for my country, and its cause — but I cannot sacrifice my honor 
and my principles. I can by no means act under a regulation, which in my 
opinion will never answer the purpose intended by Congress, nor supply the army 
as it should be. I must beg Congress to appoint some person in my place, 
as soon as may be ; until then, I will continue to furnish the army as heretofore."* 

In this same year, 1777, he was married to Amelia Dyer of Windham ; but 
their wedded happiness was very short. He continued in ofifice, though in failing 
health, until April, 1778, when Col. Jeremiah Wadsworth of Hartford, was appointed 
to take his place, and Congress decided to rescind their unwise measure. Ill in body 
and mind, Joseph returns to Norwich, and in this saine month, buys this house of 
Joseph Carew. In June, his father receives, while in Hartford, the news of his 
son's dangerous illness, and hastens to Norwich, finding him better, however, than 
he feared, but still " in a feeble condition easily overset." He writes to a friend, 
" The fatigues of his business, but chiefly the trouble, sorrow and grief for the 
treatment he received after all, broke his constitution ; bro't him next door to 
death, and renders his recovery doubtful ; — former health and strength never to 
be expected." 

In July, Joseph is in his father's house at Lebanon, where he dies on 
Thursday the 23rd, at 4 o'clock a. m. This occurred "directly in the midst of 
the anxious preparations " the Governor was " making for the Rhode Island 
Expedition — preparations so pressing as to require a session of his own Council 
of Safety at Lebanon, on the very day of his son's funeral." " What a hint does 
this furnish us," as Stuart says, "of the sad urgency of the times, that the Gov- 
ernor's own Council are compelled in his own town, — sitting in his own office, 
not twenty paces from the corpse of his eminent son," — "to forgo the courtesy 
of an adjournment," — "denied the melancholy privilege of aiding a weeping 
father" "to wrap the athletic in his shroud and build his tomb."f 



*t Stuart's Life of Gov. Trumbull. 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICir. 259 

The following- epitaph is inscribed on the family tomb at Lebanon : " Sacred 
to the memory of Joseph Trumbull, eldest son of Governor Trumbull, and first 
Commissary Gen'l of the United States of America, a service to whose perpetual 
cares and fatigues he fell a sacrifice A. D. 1778, M. 42. Full soon indeed may 
his person, his virtues, and even his extensive Benevolence be forgotten by his 
friends and fellow-men. But blessed be God ! for the hope that in His presence 
he shall be remembered forever." 

His widow Amelia (b. 1750), the daughter of Col. Eliphalet and Huldah 
(Bowen) Dyer of Windham, married again in 1785, Col. Hezekiah Wyllys of Hart- 
ford, a descendant of Gov. Wyllys. She is said to have been very handsome and ac- 
complished. The late William Weaver of Willimantic relates the following anecdote : 
" Col. Dyer had purchased, while in England, as a present for his wife, a splendid 
silk dress interwoven with gold, such as queens and princesses wore in those days, 
Mrs. Dyer considered it much too costly and splendid for her to wear, so it was 
given to Amelia, who created something of a sensation it is said, by appearing in 
this gorgeous gown in Philadelphia, among the wives and daughters of the dig- 
nitaries of the land." 

In 17S9, the house was sold to Newcomb Kinney. As this was about the 
time that Mr. Kinney was teaching in the brick school house on the Green, it is 
possible that he contemplated residing here, but if so he must have changed his 
mind, for in 1790, he sells the house to Asa Lathrop (b. 1755), son of Nathaniel 
Lathrop, 2nd, and his wife, Margaret. Asa Lathrop married in 1780, Elizabeth, 
daughter of Eleazer Lord, and died in 1835. His wife, Elizabeth, died in 1805. 
In 1810, Asa gives a quit-claim deed of this property to his children, "in return 
from them of a residence for life, in the house in which Eleazer Lord lived and 
died." In 1816, this Trumbull house is deeded by Asa's children to their aunt 
Nabby, wife of Mundator Tracy, and in 1820, she sells to Alice Baldwin this 
house on " Pork " Street, (as this street had been recently christened). After the 
death of Alice Baldwin (widow of the school-teacher William Baldwin), the house 
was sold by her heirs to Joseph B. Ayer in 1843, and in 1847, it was purchased 
by Mary Babcock, whose heirs are still in possession. 












^ju-sissisu ii^&3i«L.«aaB 



CHAPTER XLVII. 



IN 1688-9, Simon Huntington, Sr., grants to his son, Simon, one acre of land, 
bounded south on Capt. Fitch's land 12^2 rods, abutting east on the land of 
Simon Huntington, Sr., 15 rods, abutting north on the Town Street ^yj rods, and 
west on the street i3?/| rods. This is then recorded as the home-lot of Simon 
Huntington, Jun., who was born in Say brook, 1659, and married in 1683, Lydia, 
daughter of John Gager of Norwich. Like his father, vSimon, 2nd, played an im- 
portant part in the history of the town, serving in many civil offices, and in 1696, 
succeeding Simon, Sr., in the office of deacon of the church, which he held until 
his death in 1736. In 1704, he calls himself Simon Huntington (cooper.) In 
1706, he was granted liberty to keep "a house of public entertainment." His 
house, occupying a central position, was honored as the magazine for the defensive 
weapons of the town, and as late as 1720, a report, made to the town, states that 
it contained a half barrel of powder, 3 pounds of bullets, and 400 flints. He died 
in 1736, and leaves to his son, Ebenezer, "the dwcling house, and barn, and all 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 261 

land on that side of the way." To his widow, Lydia, he gives "the use of the 
dweling house and land on each side of the wave with the buildings thereon, and 
to be at her dispose, and all my money I gave her, and if she wants more my 
sons must make it up that she may be comfortably provided for during her 
natural life, and the profit and income of all my fenced lands, two cows," &c., &c. 

The Huntington Family Memoir says of Lydia : " Her grandfather was 
'that right goodly man and skillful chyrurgeon,' who had come to America in 
1630, with Gov. Winthrop. And most worthy did she show herself to be of such 
an ancestry ; falling behind them, neither in the depth of her piety, nor in her 
skill in ministering to all 'aylements' both of the body and mind." Lydia did 
not long survive her husband, dying in 1737, nine months after his decease. 

In 1768, Ebenezer Huntington wills to his son, Simon, "the old house down 
town." In 1773, Simon Huntington, son of Ebenezer, sells to Col. Samuel Abbot 
113/^ rods of land (frontage 36 feet, 9 inches). On this, Col, Abbot builds a shop, 
which is later occupied as a house by his son Daniel. In 1782, Simon Hunting- 
ton sells to Thomas Carey, the old homestead, and a part of the home lot, and 
the latter sells to Joseph Carew. In another deed of the propert}', an old slaughter 
house is mentioned as standing on the lot in 1783. In 1785, Joseph Carew sells 
additional land to Col. vSamuel Abbot (frontage 17 links). At this date, Daniel 
Abbot is living in the shop, which has probably been enlarged and made into a 
house. In the distribution of Col. Abbot's property, Daniel inherits this building, 
which is sold in 1799 to Gardner Carpenter, and then is owned at different times 
by various persons until 1828, when it is purchased by Alice Baldwin, and sold 
by her heirs, with the adjoining house in 1S47 to Mary Babcock. The house is 
now owned by Richard H. Webb. 

Between this house, and the house of Capt. Joseph Carew on the west, 
runs a brook, now quiet and sluggish, but in the early years of the town, probably 
a full and rapid stream. 

Daniel Abbot (b. 175 i), son of Col. Samuel Abbot, married Sarah, daughter 
of Elisha and Sarah (Smallie) Reynolds. He advertises frequently for green calf- 
skins, &c., and was probably one of the many shoe-makers of the town. 

Capt. Joseph Carew perhaps tears down the old Huntington house, and 



262 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

builds the one now standing on the lot, but it is also possible that instead of 
entirely destroying the old homestead, for which, being of Huntington blood, 
(though not a descendant of vSimon, 2nd), he might have had some attachment, 
he may have altered, or added to the old framework, but this, of course, at this 
late day, we have no means of knowing. He also purchases the rest of the 
Huntington land, facing on the Green, except one small piece of one rod frontage, 
which is sold to Gardner Carpenter. The long, low, rambling house has the 
appearance of being of much older date than 1783. It was occupied by Capt. Joseph 
Carew until his death, and then by his daughter, Eunice, and son-in-law, Joseph 
Huntington. 

It was later occupied by Capt. Carew's granddaughter, Sally Ann Huntington, 
who married the Hon. Jabez Huntington in 1833. In 1854, it was sold to Thomas 
Backus. In i860, it came again into the possession of a descendant of Simon 
Huntington, ist, Joseph Otis Huntington, son of Levi Huntington, 2nd. It has 
been occupied until recently as the First Church parsonage. 

Capt. Joseph Carew (b. 1738), was the son of Joseph and Mary (Huntington) 
Carew. He married in 1765, Eunice, daughter of John and Phoebe Edgerton. 
He is said to have been a carpenter in early life, but in 1784 he was engaged in 
business as a merchant, probably in the shop which he built about 1765 on land 
purchased of Zachariah Huntington. From his marriage in 1765 to 17 78, he 
probably lived in the house now occupied by the Mabrey family. In 1774, he was 
ensign of the first company or train-band of Norwich, and in 1781 he was serving 
in the army at West Point as captain of a company in Col. Canfield's Regiment. 
In 1783, he was a member of the Association against Illicit Trade. In 1793, he 
entered into a partnership with his son-inlaw, Joseph Huntington, as the firm 
of Carew & Huntington, in the shop formerly occupied by Dudley Woodbridge 
on the Green. In 1800, the partnership was dissolved. He died in 181S. His 
wife, Eunice, had died in 1772. His only surviving child, Eunice (b. 1769), married 
in 1 791, Joseph, son of Andrew and Lucy (Coit) Huntington. 

Joseph Huntington was born in 176S. He was a prominent citizen and 
merchant, beginning in the shop on the corner of Gen. Jedidiah Huntington's 
house lot, then moving to the Woodbridge shop on the Green, where, first in 




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OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 263 

partnership with his fathcr-in-Liw, Joseph Carew, then with his half-brother, 
Charles Phelps Huntington, and later with his own son, Joseph, he carried on a 
prosperous business for many years. He died in 1837, and his wife, Eunice, in 
184S. One of his daughters, Sally Ann (b. 1811), married Jabez Williams Hunt- 
ington, son of Gen. Zachariah, in 1833. 

Jabez Huntington (b. 1788), graduated at Yale in 1806, and studied law under 
the celebrated teachers, Judge Reeves and Gould, in the famous Litchfield Law 
School, where he afterwards himself became an instructor. He remained in 
Litchfield, practising law for many years, was a Representative in the State Legis- 
lature in 1829, and a Member of Congress from 1829 to 1834. After his marriage 
in 1833, he resided in Norwich, when not engaged in official duties at Washington. 
He was appointed Judge of the Superior Court in 1834, and also of the Supreme 
Court of Errors. 

On the death of the Hon. Thaddeus Betts, Senator from Connecticut in 1840, 
he was appointed to fill his place for the remainder of the term, and at its close 
in 1845, was again elected Senator. In 1S47, he died very suddenly, and the fol- 
lowing tribute to his memory, appeared in the American Obituary of 1847: "A 
statesman of more unbending integrity or more unswerving fidelity to the inter- 
ests of the Union, never occupied a seat in the senate of the United States, and 
the records of that body, during the last eight years, bear ample testimony to the 
untiring industry, energy and distinguished ability, with which he discharged the 
responsible duties assigned him by his native state." His widow resided in the 
house for a few years after her mother's death, then went to reside with her sister 
Eunice, wife of Judge Henry Strong, at whose house she died in 1S61. 



CHAPTER XLVIII. 

THE Huntington land on the north side of the street is recorded as of four 
acres— abutting east on Mr. John Bradford 47 rods, west on the highway 
59 rods, II feet, north on the land of Mr. Fitch 17 rods, and south on the street 
35 rods, 10 feet. The street line begins at Mediterranean Lane, and extends to 
a point about 13 rods, 10 feet, east of the brook. In 1683, John Arnold records 
his home-lot as one acre and thirty rods, bounded south and west on the high- 
way, and east and north on the land of Simon Huntington. This is that part of 
the Huntington land which borders on Mediterranean Lane. It was deeded to 
John Arnold with the proviso that " whenever it is to be sold, Simon Huntington, 
or his heirs, have the refusall, giving as much as another for it." This John 
Arnold was accepted as an inhabitant in 1680, and Miss Caulkins thinks, though 
no record has been found to confirm the supposition, that he may have been the 
town school-master, as he afterward served in that capacity at Windham. 

Before coming to Norwich, he had lived in Newark, N. J., and Killingworth, 
Ct. The fact that his eldest son was named Benedict, would imply a connection 
with William, the progenitor of the Rhode Island family of Arnolds, who also 
had a son named Benedict. He sold his house and land, according to agreement, 
to Simon Huntington in 1686,* and shortly after moved to Windham, where his 
name is found on the list of inhabitants in 1693. He settled in that part of 
Windham which is now known as Mansfield. 

In 1699, Simon Huntington, Sr. (yeoman), "for love, good will," &c., deeds 
to his son, Samuel, "two acres, 'more or less,' lying on the southwest corner of 



* It is possible that after 1686 he may have resided for a time, before moving to Windham, 
at West Farms, or Franklin, (as Dr. Woodward says), in the house later owned by Rev. Henry 
Willes. (See History of Franklin, Ct., by Dr. Ashbel Woodward.) 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 265 

my home-lot, on the northward side of the Town Street with the Dwellins^ house 
upon it, abutting 22 rods on the street to the brook, abutting east on my land 
16)^ rods, abutting north on my land 13^/2 rods, and west on the highway 263^ rods." 

Samuel Huntington (b. 1665), the third son of Simon Huntington, Sr., 
married in 1686, Mary, daughter of John Clark of Farmington, Ct. In 1700, he is 
filled with the desire to join the settlers who go to found the town of Lebanon, 
so in exchange for a quit-claim deed of the Maj. I'itch lot, on the other side of 
the Green, which he had purchased in company with his brother Simon, and which 
Miss Caulkins has mistaken for his home-lot, he cedes this land and house to his 
brother, and then sells the Fitch property to the town. 

He was at that time highly esteemed in Norwich, and had filled the posi- 
tions of townsman and constable, though still quite young. In 1709, after his 
removal to Lebanon, he was chosen as one of the committee to locate the 
Norwich meeting house, and wisely decided in favor of a site on the Plain. But 
the inhabitants would not agree to this, and persisted in building on the hill. 
Later, however, the}^ erected a third church on the site chosen by this committee. 
Samuel was a large landed proprietor, both in Lebanon and Norwich, and held 
the office of Lieutenant in the Lebanon train-band. He died in Lebanon in 17 17, 
and his wife in 1743. 

The home-lot of John Bradford (frontage on the Town Street 19 J 3 rods), is 
recorded as four and a half acres, abutting south and east on the highways, north 
on Commons, and west on Simon Huntington. This extended from the point 13 
rods, 10 feet, east of the brook, to the lane (now street) on the east. 

John Bradford was the son of Gov. William Bradford of Plymouth, and his 
first wife, Dorothy May. His mother was drowned by falling overboard from 
the deck of the Mayflower, in Provincetown harbor, in 1620. He lived for a 
while in Duxbury and Marshfield, serving as deputy in both places. He married 
Martha, daughter of Thomas Bourne of Marshfield. He was townsman in Nor- 
wich in 1671, and died in 1676. By 1679, his widow, Martha, was married to Lt. 
Thomas Tracy, and died before 16S3. The house and home-lot passed into the 
possession of John's nephew, Thomas Bradford. 

Thomas Bradford was the son of Deputy-governor Maj. William Bradford, 



266 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

and his wife, Alice, daughter of Thomas Richards of Weymouth. He married 
Ann, daughter of Nehemiah Smith. In 1691, he sells to Simon Huntington, Jun., 
his "home lot, with my now dwelling house and pasture in all 8}< acres." The 
home-lot abutted south on the Town Street 19 ^ 2 rods, east on the highway and 
Commons 60 rods, north on Commons and Mr. Fitch's land 30 rods. 

Miss Caulkins says that Thomas Bradford, in connection with his brother- 
in-law, Nehemiah Smith, Jun., purchased land on the west side of Nahantick Bay, 
called the Soldier-Farm, having been given by the Legislature to five of Capt. 
Mason's soldiers, for services in the Pequot war. On the north part of this land 
was a farm of 200 acres, where Thomas Bradford settled. His home was not far 
from the north-west corner of what was then known as New London, but would 
now lie in the town of Salem. He died in 1708. Two of Thomas Bradford's 
sisters married in Norwich. Alice became the second wife of Maj. James Fitch, 
and Melatiah married John Steele. His brother Joseph also came to Connecticut, 
married Ann, daughter of the Rev. James Fitch, and settled in Montville. 

After the sale of Samuel Huntington's home-lot in 1700, and the Bradford 
lands in 1691, to Simon Huntington, Jun., the only land on this side of the street 
remaining in the possession of Simon Huntington, Sr., was that extending from 
the brook to the former Bradford lot, with a frontage of 13 rods, 10 feet. This 
was inherited at Simon's death in 1706, by his son James. 

In 1719-20, Simon Huntington, 2nd, "in consideration of love," &c., deeds 
to his son, Joshua, the part of the Bradford lot nearest the lane, abutting 8 rods 
on the street, and to be 40 rods in length. No house is mentioned as standing 
on the land, but as this is after Joshua's marriage, we believe that either the 
house was still there and occupied by Joshua, or that the latter at this time built 
the house now standing on the lot, for in 1724 his house is mentioned as situated 
on this lane. 

At the death of Simon Huntington, 2nd, in 1736, he gives to Joshua the 
rest of the Bradford land, and also divides the lot, extending from the brook to 
Mediterranean Lane, between Ebenezer and Joshua, giving the part next to 
Mediterranean Lane (with i2)4 rods frontage on the Town Street), to Ebenezer, 
and the rest to Joshua. James and Peter Huntington have inherited their father's 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 267 

land, lying between the brook and the former Bradford property (frontage 13 
rods, 10 feet), and in 1737, they sell to Joshua, who thus becomes the owner of 
the whole tract on the north side of the street, except Ebenezer's lot (12)^ rods 
frontage), next to Mediterranean Lane. 

In the will of vSimon Huntington, 2nd, this lot of Ebenezer's is described as 
abutting 12)2 rods on the highway, and running up hill to the "personage lot" 
("the mulbury tree" standing on the line), and abutting west on the "personage" 
land. In 1746, Ebenezer deeds this land to his son Simon. In both these con- 
veyances of the land there is no mention of any building, but a deed of neighboring 
property, dated 1782, alludes to a house on this lot, and a lady who was born in 
1796 remembered perfectly a very old house, which stood here in her youth, and 
was then considered " haunted." This may have been the original Arnold house, 
occupied first b}' John Arnold, then by Samuel Huntington, and later probably 
by various occupants. In 1782, David Rogers was living here. The marriage of 
David Rogers and Elizabeth Sawyer is recorded in Norwich, and the birth of 
four children, Amos (b. 1763), Wheeler (b. 1766), Betsey (b. 1768), and Desire 
(b. 1 771). We believe this family to be of New London origin. 

In the division of Simon Huntington's estate in 1801, this land and house 
are set out to his daughter, Hannah Lyman, but there is evidently some unrecorded 
exchange of property, for it appears soon in the possession of Simon's son, Daniel, 
and is left by him to his daughter, Lucy, who marries Cyrus Miner. The Miner 
heirs sell in 1861 to the Whaley family, who build the new house now standing 
on the lot. A blacksmith's shop also stood back of the old Arnold house. This 
was probably occupied for a time by Benjamin Butler. In 1802, it had been 
converted into a house (size 12x25 feet), and soon after disappears. 

In 1824, land, with a frontage of 1^2 rods, adjoining the Arnold house, is 
sold to Lyman Roath, who builds a shop, which he sells in 1827 to Joseph 
Huntington. Before 1833, this building was used as a school house, was later 
occupied for some years as a law office by Jabez Huntington, the distinguished 
Member of Congress and Senator, and not many years ago served as the dwell- 
ing house of an old colored woman. The Rev. Theodore Weitzel, during his 
pastorate, established here a Lending Library for the boys of Norwich Town. 



CHAPTER XLIX. 

IN 1738, Joshua Huntington sells to Andre Richard (wig-maker), "51 rods of 
land on the Town Street, opposite the house that was my honored father's," 
beginning by the street, and running north 31" W. n rods, abuttmg west on Deacon 
Ebenezer Huntington's land, and taking in one-half of the mulberry tree, thence 
abutting north on the highway 6 rods " against ye parsonage lands," thence it 
runs east 13 rods, 5 feet, abutting on his own land, and thence south 3 rods, 
abutting on the street, "reserving to myself" (Joshua evidently was fond of 
mulberries), "X part of fruit of sd tree." 

Andre Richard builds here a house, which he sells in 1740 to Aaron Fish 
of Groton. The "stump" of the mulberry tree is mentioned, showing that this 
had been cut down. In 1746-7, the house is sold to Daniel Needham. In 1754, 
the latter deeds the land and house "I now dwell in," to his son, Daniel Needham, 
Jun., who sells it in 1761 to Benjamin Butler. 

Andre Richard was a Frenchman, and probably of a Huguenot family. 
His marriage to Hephzibah Grant is recorded in New London in 1726. He appears 
in Norwich about 1727, calling himself of "Old France," and buys land and a 
house near Bean Hill. He makes frequent purchases of property, and seems to 
often change his residence. After his sale of this house in 1740, no further mention 
of him has been found, and it is possible that he then left town. The births of 
three children are recorded in Norwich, Sarah (b. 1727-8), "Lucie" (b. 1730), and 
"Lowes," (Louis, or Louise), (b. 1735). His occupation was that of a wig-maker, 
in which trade as a Frenchman, he must certainly have excelled. 

As Daniel Needham came from Salem, one would naturally suppose that he 
was a descendant of Anthony Needham, who was a citizen of Salem before 1658, 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 269 

but it seems to us more probable that he belonged to the Lynn family of Need- 
hams, in which the name Daniel frequently appears. To Daniel and Isabella 
Needham, six children are born in Salem, and three, after their arrival in Norwich. 
The oldest son, Daniel (b. 1729 in Salem), marries in Norwich in 1751, Hannah 
Allen, and has three children : Hannah (b. 1752), Hannah, 2nd (b. 1753), and Daniel 
(b. 1757). The elder Daniel Needham deeds this house to his son, Daniel, in 1754, 
and the latter sells it in 1761 to Benjamin Butler. In 176S, Daniel Needham, Jun., 
buys another house near Bean Hill, which he sells in 1770. Whether he then 
leaves town or not, we are unable to say. 

Benjamin Butler was a son of Thomas and Abigail (Craft) Butler of Wind- 
ham. It is said that two brothers, Daniel and Thomas Butler, came from 
Massachusetts to Windham, but as we have been unable to find any descendants 
of the Massachusetts Butler families, who would answer to these two, we are 
inclined to believe that they are descended from Dea. Richard Butler of Hartford, 
Ct., as the names Thomas and Daniel appear frequently in the families of his 
descendants. 

Benjamin Butler of Norwich (b. 1739), married in 1761, Diadema, daughter 
of Rev. Jedediah and Jerusha (Perkins) Hyde of Norwich. His first wife died in 
1771, and he married (2) in 1774, Ruth, daughter of Peter and Ruth (Edgerton) 
Huntington. Though Chancellor Walworth calls him a physician, we have found 
nothing to prove that he practiced medicine, but judge from the items of his 
inventory, that his occupation was that of a blacksmith. 

In 1776, he advertises in the Norwich Packet to sell blistered, German, 
English and Venus steel. He was a very eccentric man, witty and original, was 
also a strong Tory, and in 1776, was arrested and imprisoned on a charge of 
"defaming the Honorable Continental Congress." This charge was proved at his 
trial in New London, and he was prohibited from wearing arms, and declared 
incapable of holding office. " This sentence he treated with indifference. He died 
of a lingering illness in 1787."* 

Miss Caulkins relates, how a few years before his death, while in perfect 
health, he selected a sapling, intending to have his coffin made of it when it 



*Miss Caulkins' History of Norwich. 



2 70 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

should grow sufficiently large, but tinding that it increased in size too slowly, he 
had the coffin constructed of other wood, and kept it for a long time in his chamber. 
As he pined away, he w^ould put his hands on his knees, and say, " See how the mal- 
lets grow." He prefaced his will, " My immortal part I resign to the Immortal God, 
my mortal to mortality." On the headstone of his grave is inscribed, at his own 
request, " Alas, poor human nature ! " By his side, in the old grave-yard, lie his 
wife, Diadema, and his daughters, Rosamond and Minerva. 

Benjamin Butler (b. 1764), the oldest son, was educated (as his advertisement, 
which appears in 1787 in a Norwich Packet of 1787, announced), " by the learned 
Doctor Philip Turner, in the Sciences of Physick and Surgery." He married in 
1 791, Hannah, daughter of Capt. William and Mary (Dolbeare) Avery of Groton. 
He practiced for a time, then relinquished his profession ; was a merchant at the 
Landing in 1799; later a shipping merchant at New London; then went to New 
York, where his business was that of a broker, and finally moved to Oxford, N. Y. 
The other son, Thomas (b. 1769), was educated at Yale, but did not graduate. He 
studied law; married in 1792, Sarah, daughter of Joseph Denison of Stonington, 
at which place he resided for a time ; then went from there to Oxford, N. Y., 
and finally settled, in 181 7, on a farm at Plainfield, Ct. Jerusha, the oldest 
daughter (b. 1762), married Gideon Denison. The widow, Ruth, whom Benjamin 
mentions in his will as "an infirm person," died in 1797. In 1793, Gardner Car- 
penter buys the Butler house, and either tears it down or moves it away, and 
builds the present brick house, which, after his death, was sold in 181 6 to Joseph 
Huntington, and in 1841, was again sold to Rev. Hiram P. Arms. When first 
built by Gardner Carpenter, the roof was more the shape of that of the house in 
which he formerly lived, on the opposite side of the Green (now occupied by 
Miss Grace McClellan), but Joseph Huntington, during his occupancy, added the 
upper wooden story. Gardner Carpenter also buys additional land on the west of 
Simon Huntington, and Joseph Huntington purchases still more, bringing the lot 
up to its present limits. The house is now owned by the Rev. William Clarke, 
son-in-law of the late Dr. Arms. 

Joseph Huntington (b. 1792), was the son of Joseph and Eunice (Carew) 
Huntington. He married in 1816, Julia Stewart Dodge (b. 1799), daughter of 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 



271 



David Dow and Sarah (Cleveland) Dodge of New York City. He was for some 
years associated with his father in business in Norwich, but removed to New York 
in 1834, where he was very active in religious matters, and was a deacon of the 
Tenth Presbyterian Church. He died in New York in 1852, and his wife in 1859. 










CHAPTER L. 



IN the distribution of Capt. Joshua Huntington's property, the land between 
Gen. Jabez Huntington's home-lot on the east and the house lot of Daniel 
Needham, is set out to his children, Zachariah, and Lydia, wife of Capt. Ephraim 
Bill. Zachariah receives the west part, and in 1753, he sells to his brother, Jabez, 
the land next to the Needham lot (frontage 43 feet). Here Jabez builds a dis- 
tillery and a cooper's shop, which were inherited in 1786 by his son, Andrew. 
In 181 1, the distillery has disappeared, but the old cooper's shop remains, and 
is sold with the land to Joseph Huntington. 

In 1760, Zachariah Huntington sells to William Bradford Whiting the land 
between the distillery lot and the brook (frontage 4 rods), and the latter builds 
the house now owned and occupied by Mrs. William Fitch. He also builds near 
the street a shoe-maker's shop. In 1771, William Bradford Whiting (then of 
Canaan, N. Y.), sells the land and buildings to his brother-in-law, Azariah 
Lathrop. In 1797, the latter sells the property to Zenas Whiting (frontage 3 rods, 
22 links). In 1800, Zenas sells to Asa Spalding. In 1812, the property passes 
into the possession of Dr. Rufus Spalding, whose family occupy the house until 















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OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 273 

after the doctor's death. In 1S37, it is sold to Henry Lord; in 1S4S, to Dr. 
Jonathan Brooks ; in 1853, to Edward Worthington ; and in 1S57, to the late William 
Fitch, whose widow still retains possession. 

William Bradford Whiting (b. 1731), the first occupant of the house, was 
the son of Charles and Elizabeth (Bradford) Whiting of Montville, Ct., and a 
brother of Capt. Charles and Maj. Ebenezer Whiting of Norwich. He married 
(i) in 1754, Abigail, daughter of Thomas and Abigail (Huntington) Carew, who 
died in 1756. He married (2) in 1757, Amy, daughter of Nathaniel and Ann 
(Backus) Lathrop, who died in 1815. From the mention of the shoe-maker's shop, 
we may conclude that William Bradford Whiting was one of the many who were 
engaged in the shoe trade, which was then so profitable with the West Indies. 
We have found no mention of the shop after 1765, so it may have disappeared 
shortly after that date. Before 1771, William Bradford Whiting had left Norwich 
for Canaan, N. Y., and in that State he served as Colonel in the Revolutionary 
war, was a member of the State Senate for twenty years, and a Judge of the 
County Court for a long period. At this time it required great courage to start 
for the imknown and then frontier region of central New York, but the following 
anecdote, related by a descendant, will show that Col. Whiting had a wife well- 
fitted to be a help-mate to him in this pioneer enterprise : " One day when Col. 
Whiting was obliged to leave home and all of the men were absent, Mrs. Whiting 
decided to make soft soap, and was in the midst of operations when one of the 
girls called out that Indians were skulking around the edge of the clearing. (I 
do not know whether the 'girls' were daughters or servants. The Whitings had 
servants from Dumbleton, who came with Col. Whiting, to old Chloe, a slave, 
who lived in my grandfather's family as cook). A watch was set at the windows, 
the wooden shutters closed. Soon an Indian was seen trying to fire the house at 
one corner. A quantity of ammunition was stored in the house, and it was 
doubly in danger from fire. Mrs. Whiting seized the pot from the fire, ran up- 
stairs and ladled a dipperful of boiling hot soap on the Indian's back as he knelt 
under the window. It is easy to fancy the yells as the lye burned in. Other 
Indians tried other parts of the house, but everywhere the hot soap was shot at 
them. Part of the kitchen furniture was used to keep up the fire. At all events, 

18 



274 OLD HOUSES OP NORWICH. 

the house was kept till sundown and the return of Col. Whiting and his men." * 

We may well believe this to be true of the handsome and determined old 
lady, whose portrait is on the opposite page, with her keen brown eyes, hair all 
tucked away under a white cap, gold beads around her neck ; the soft white 
kerchief folded over the black silk dress, and the general air of spirit and sense 
pervading her face and attitude. The same descendant also writes of this por- 
trait, which hung in her grandfather's house at Milford, Ct. : " The eyes of the 
portrait had the old-fashioned faculty of following one, (especially if naughty), 
about a room, and always, until a woman grown, it was my belief that they shed 
tears. When a quarter of a century later, I asserted that they did so, it was 
explained to me that during a certain ' line-storm,' a leak had been sprung in 
the ceiling of our dining-room, and the drops had fallen upon the old lady's face. 
It may be true, but I prefer to think she cried." f 

Another treasured possession in this grandfather's house was the red cam- 
let cloak worn by Amy (Lathrop) Whiting in her early frontier life. This had a 
hood, and a string with a bullet attached, to hold in the mouth and keep the 
hood in place, when riding on horseback, over the rough and untried roads. 

The house of Col. Whiting had probably various tenants after his departure, 
until it was sold to Zenas Whiting. 

Zenas Whiting (or Whiton, as the name was originally written), was a native 
of Hingham, Mass., where he was born in 1754. He was the son of Daniel and 
Jael (Damon) Whiton (or Whiting). He married (i) in 1778, Sarah Loring, and 
(2) in 1779, Leah Loring, and (3) Phoebe, widow of Ebenezer Raymond. " He 
served on the armed brig Hazard in 1776 and 1777. He was by occupation a 
carpenter, and had the reputation of being a man of genius, and of superior 
executive ability. He moved to Connecticut." J 

We do not know the date of his arrival in Norwich, but he was living here 
in 1794, when he advertises for workmen to assist him in building a bridge over 
the Piscataqua at Portsmouth. From April 20th to Nov. 20th he was engaged 
on this work, which is thus described in the Norwich Packet of Jan. 8, 1795 : — 



* f Letter from Mrs. Clarence Deming of New Haven, Ct. 
X History of Hingham, Mass. 




Amy ( La Lhr op) Whiting- 

1735-1815. 
Wife Of Col Wiuliam Bradford Wmitins 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 275 

" The large and most elegant Bridge in North America, was built last summer over Pis- 
cataqua River in the State of New Hampshire. The length of said Bridge is 2,000 ft., without 
its Butments. One arch, 75 ft. in length, one, ditto, 248 ft., at their basis. This large piece of work 
was directed by Col. Thomas Thomson and John Pierce, Esq., and superintended by Mr. Zenas 
Whiting of Norwich, Connecticut, as Master Workman, much to his honor and credit, for it is 
viewed as one of the greatest pieces of Mechanical genius done in America ; — one hundred 
Piers, from 20 to 25 ft. in length, from 10 to 28 tons of timber in a Pier." 

The Norwich Packet of March 17, 1796, tells us, that "a Model of an Arch 
Bridge on an entire new construction, has been completed by the celebrated 
Architect Capt. Zenas Whiting of this City, and was sent off on vSaturday last for 
Newport, to be embarked in a ship bound to Petersburg in Russia. Thus we see 
the great Tyrant of the North condescending to become dependent for mechani- 
cal invention, on the genius of this new hemisphere. The bridge which the 
Empress has it in contemplation to build, is to be erected over the river Neva, 
which divides the City of Petersburg, and is to be a single arch of eight hundred 
feet in length ! " In 1802, Zenas Whiting was employed by Rowland & Baxter, 
in connection with Timothy Lester, to build the machinery for their cordage and 
hemp-spinning mill. It is possible that he may have left Norwich shortly after, 
as we have found no further trace of him. 

Dr. Rufus Spalding was a brother of Asa and Luther Spalding. He was 
born in Brooklyn, Ct., and married in 1782, Lydia, daughter of David Paine. He 
studied medicine with Dr. Elisha Perkins of Plainfield, Ct. ; practiced first in 
Mansfield, Ct., and then at Holmes' Hole, Martha's Vineyard. During his stay at 
the latter place, he filled the offices of doctor, innkeeper, postmaster, justice of the 
peace, school-director, and village librarian. In 181 2 he removed to Norwich, 
and died here in 1830, 



CHAPTER LI. 

IN 1761, after the death of Zachariah, Capt. Ephraim and Lydia Bill deed to 
Jabez all the land formerly belonging to Zachariah, lying between the Whiting 
house and a lot which they had sold to John Hughes in 1754. In 1765, Jabez sells 
to Joseph Carew land near William Bradford Whiting's shoe-maker's shop, 16^-2 
feet in breadth, and 22^3 feet in depth, and lying one rod north from the high- 
way, with liberty of passing over Jabez' land to the highway. It is said that 
Joseph Carew was formerly a carpenter, but, if this is true, it is certain that he 
soon relinquished that occupation, and became a merchant, and probably in this 
store sold the variety of goods which he advertises : tools, glass, paint, rum, sugar, 
&c., &c. He remained here until 1793, when he entered into partnership with 
his son-in-law, Joseph Huntington, in the shop on the Green. In 1794, after the 
death of Gen. Jabez Huntington, his son, Zachariah, 2nd, sells to Joseph Carew 
the land in front of the shop, bounded 16 J 2 feet on the street. On this land 
now stands a building, owned by Mrs. William Fitch, used formerly as a school- 
house, and now occasionally as a branch chapel of the Episcopal Church. 

In 1794, land with a frontage of 243.4 feet, next to the Carew lot, is sold 
by Zachariah Huntington, 2nd, to Asa Lathrop, who is then living in the former 
Joseph Trumbull house on the opposite side of the street. Here stands, or is 
later built, his shoe- maker shop, which is sold to John Townsend in 181 4. In 1836, 
this has either been converted into a house, or a new house has been built, which 
is then sold to Joseph Kinon. This is possibly the one now standing, occupied 
by the Gorman family. 

Some time before 17 86, a house must have been built on the adjoining 
land (frontage 4 rods, 79 links), which, at this date was occupied by the Gildon 
family, and set out in the distribution of Gen. Jabez Huntington's estate to his 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 277 

son, Zachariah. In i8co, Zachariah sells it to David Nevins. At that time it is 
tenanted by Richard Doyle. In 1793, Charles Gildon advertises as a leather- 
dresser, and leather breeches or glove maker, "opposite Capt. Joseph Carew's." 
His mother, Isabella Gildon, taught a small " dames " school for several years. 
She was the wife of Richard Gildon, and her son, Charles, was born in 1773. 

In 1755, Jacob Perkins, Jun., buys of Zachariah Huntington, ist, 20 rods of 
land (frontage 58 feet), on which he builds a shop and barn, which he sells in 
1 781. In 1782, the property is sold to Mrs, Martha Greene of Boston, and from 
her passed to her son, Capt. Russell Hubbard, and later to David Nevins, Capt. 
Hubbard's son-in-law. 

In 1777, Capt. Jacob Perkins has vacated his shop, and an anonymous adver- 
tisement appears in the Packet, asking for " green sheep and Lamb Skins to be 
delivered at the hatter's shop formerly occupied by Capt. Jacob Perkins," and 
again for " Otter, Mink, Sables, Musquash, Red, Gray and Mungrel Fox Skins," 
&c., for the same unknown person. In 1784, Thomas Hubbard carries on a stocking 
manufactory in this shop of "Russell Hubbard & Son." In 17S7, he moves to 
Leffingwell Row and is associated in business with Christopher Leffingwell. 

In 1787, David Nevins moves his hat-factory to a shop "near Gov. Hunt- 
ington's," and probably this is the shop. Thomas Hubbard also brings his stocking 
business here again for a while in 1791, then moves to his new quarters " west of 
the Meeting-house." David Nevins either continues to occupy this shop as his 
hat-factory, or, possibly in 1800, moves into the Gildon house. In 1823, a building 
was still standing here, called the Nevins hat-factory, but before 184S it had been 
moved away, and now forms part of a house standing opposite the former resi- 
dence of the late Alba Smith. In 1S48, this land is sold to Russell Lewis, who still 
lives here in the "Abbot " house, which he moved from the opposite side of the street. 

In 1797, Samuel Gaine, a hair-dresser from New York, informs the public 
that he has taken "the new shop, a few rods west from Capt. David Nevins hat- 
factory." He offers hard and soft pomatum for sale. We are unable to say which 
shop this may be, unless a new one has been built to take the place of Joseph 
Carew's old shop, or perhaps the Gildons have moved away, and their house may 
have been converted into a shop. 



278 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

In 1746, John Hughes buys of Jabez Huntington, 22 rods of land (frontage 
4 rods), and in 1754, of Ephraim and Lydia Bill, 30 rods of land (frontage 5}^ 
rods). Of this land, John Hughes sells i6)4 rods (frontage 3 rods), to Simeon 
Huntington in 1774, and here are built a store, a blacksmith shop, coal-house and 
cooper's shop. We have been unable to learn when the store was built, and who 
were its occupants. It is possible that this, or the Gildon house, may be the 
shop " next door to the Nevins hat factory " to which Simon Carew transfers his 
stock of books in 1796. 

Simon Carew (b. 1776), was the son of Ebenezer and Eunice (Huntington) 
Carew. His earliest advertisement appears in 1793. In 1795, he has moved from 
his first stand to the building on the corner of the burying-ground lane. In the 
early part of 1796, he moves to this shop near the hat-factory, and in December 
of this same year, to the Landing. 

The cooper's shop stood in the rear of the blacksmith's shop, and was sold 
by Simeon Huntington to Jeremiah Leach in 1791. Simeon Huntington occupied 
the blacksmith's shop. 

Jeremiah Leach (b. i7-)9), son of Thomas and Sarah (Reynolds) Leach, 
married Eunice Hughes, daughter of Capt. John Hughes, and had two children, 
Jeremiah and Eunice, the latter marrying Jedidiah Stor3^ A Jeremiah Leach 
married in 1799, Betsey "Gelding" (probably "Gildon") of Mansfield, and had a 
son, Charles (b. 1800). This might indicate a connection with the family of 
Richard and Isabella Gildon. We are unable to say whether this last Jeremiah 
is the father or son, or which of them occupied the cooper's shop, which in 179S 
came again into the possession of Simeon Huntington, and was sold with the 
rest of his property in 1819 to John Tovvnsend. We are unable to say when these 
buildings disappeared. 

Probably about 1746, or soon after, John Hughes builds on the land purchased 
of the Huntington heirs, a house, which he deeds in 1802 to the family of his 
daughter and son-in-law, Nathaniel Townsend. We know nothing of John Hughes 
previous to his arrival in Norwich. In 1748, he married Zipporah Hartshorn 
(b. 1725), daughter of David and Abigail (Hebard) Hartshorn, and had four 
children. His only son, John, died in 1775. His daughter Eunice was married to 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 



279 



Jeremiah Leach, and Hannah, to Nathaniel Townsend. His wife Zipporali, died 
in 1799, and Capt. Hughes in 1803, aged 84. It is recorded on his gravestone, 
that he was " industrious and useful in life, until debilitated by age and infirmity." 

Nathaniel Townsend (b. 1747), was the son of Jeremiah Townsend, first of 
Boston, later of New Haven, and his wife, Rebecca (Parkman) Coit, widow of Capt. 
Coit of Boston. He began life as a barber, combining with this a small mercantile 
business which gradually became more extensive— his stock of goods later including 
all the necessaries of life, and some of the luxuries. He also at one time carried 
on a bakery on the Green. He died in 1818. His wife died in 1788. 

The Townsend family occupied the Hughes house for many years. In 
186 r, the house was burnt to the ground. The last of the family, Miss Rebecca 
Townsend, died not very many years ago. Two modern houses now occupy the lot. 

In 1746, Jabez Huntington sells 1734 rods of land (frontage 3X rods) to 
Nathaniel Shipman, who sells to Jabez Perkins in 1758. On this lot Jabez builds a 
house, and buys additional land (21 feet frontage), of John Hughes. 











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Jabez Perkins (b. 1728), was the son of Jabez and Rebecca (Leonard) 
Perkins of Newent. In 1751, he married Anna, daughter of Capt. Ebenezer 



2 8o OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

Lathrop. After her death in 1785, he married in 1786, the widow, Lydia Avery, 
of Groton, Ct. He died in 1795. In 1749, he had purchased land and a black- 
smith's shop, in front of the house now occupied by Gardiner Greene, which he 
sells in 1761. Miss Caulkins says that he occupied at one time a house on the 
street leading by "vSentry" Hill. This was probably previous to his purchase of 
this land. At this date, 1758 he and his cousin Simeon were about to start 
in business in the shop across the street, which they relinquished about 1762. In 
1765, Jabez buys a lot at the Landing, and builds a house, to which he soon 
removes, and his former house is sold in 1769. It is occupied for many years by 
Capt. Joseph Gale, whose son, Azor, buys it in 1798, and sells it in 1803 to Luther 
Spalding. In 1832, while tenanted by Diah Bailey, it is sold to Henry Armstrong. 
It is now occupied by Mrs. Jabez Wattles. 

Joseph Gale (b. 1736), was a descendant of Edmund Gale of Cambridge, 
Mass., and a son of Joseph and Mary (Alden) Gale of Marblehead, Mass. His 
grandfather, Capt. Azor Gale, was captain of a vessel, and afterward a merchant 
at Marblehead. Joseph came to Norwich, and married in 1765, Sarah Huntington, 
whose parentage we have been unable to trace. She died in 1787, and he married 
(2) in 1795, Sarah (Leach) McDonald, widow of Alexander McDonald. 

Joseph Gale is said to have been a tin-plate worker. He was a captain in 
the Sixth Regiment (Col. Parsons), of Gen. Putnam's brigade, at the siege of Boston 
in 1775. He was afterward a sealer of measures and a custom house officer. 
Capt, Glover used to say of him that he was the only honest official he ever 
knew, as he was the only one he couldn't bribe. * He had eight children. One 
of his daughters married Augustus, son of Azariah Lathrop. His eldest son, Azor, 
married Eunice, daughter of Ebenezer and Temperance (Edgerton) Lord, and 
granddaughter of the Rev. Benjamin Lord. Capt. Joseph Gale died in 1799. 

Next to the Gale house stood the " long shop " of Gen. Jabez Huntington 
(probably the former shop of his father, Joshua), a long, low, one story and a 
half building, painted red, with the roof sloping to the street. Here for many 
years he carried on an extensive business, having also a warehouse at the Port or 
Landing. At the time of the Revolution, he was said to have owned twenty or 

*Miss Caulkins' History of Norwich. 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 



281 



more vessels engag-ed in foreign trade, but many of these were lost, and his health 
and mind were so seriously affected by those anxious years, that he was never 
again able to resume business, or entirely retrieve his losses. At his death in 1786, 
his sons, Andrew and Zachariah, inherited the shop. Zachariah, however, built for 
himself on the adjoining land another shop, long and narrow, with the gable end 
to the street, and Andrew established himself in his father's "long" shop. Both 
were prosperous and successful merchants, and, in addition to their mercantile 
trade, carried on many manufacturing enterprises. 

In 1824, the heirs of Andrew Huntington sell their father's former store 
to Ichabod Ward, who sells to Henry Armstrong in 1828. At this latter date, no 
shop is mentioned in the deed, and it may possibly have been moved away. 
Before 1832 the house, now standing on the lot, was moved here from Bean Hill, 
and was then occupied by Henry Armstrong. We are unable to say when the 
Zachariah Huntington shop disappeared. 






CHAPTER LII. 



As we now turn down the road leading to Dr. Gulliver's we come to the house, 
which has always been regarded as the oldest of the Huntington homesteads. 
We have found from the records, that this was the Bradford home-lot, which, with 
the Bradford house, were sold to Simon Huntington, Jun., in 1691 ; that the land 
next the lane was granted to Joshua by his father, Simon, in 1719; and that 
Joshua's house was standing on the lane in 1725, and the rest of the Bradford 
land came into Joshua's possession at the death of his father in 1736. 

In 1745, Joshua gives to his son, Jabez, this house with barn and shop, and 
23 acres of land, adjoining the town street, opposite the house of Simon Tracy ; 
" beginning at the southeast corner, east from the shop, and bounded south on 
the street 16 rods, then north 15'' E. 29 rods, to an apple tree marked ZlZ ; thence 
runs west 15° N. 263^ rods to parsonage lands, then bounded west on parsonage 
87 rods, to stones on the west side of the small brook, at the north-east corner of 
sd parsonage, thence runs east about 35" S. 40^ W. 22 rods to a heap of stones 
on a ledge of rocks, thence runs south 18" W. 30 rods to a tree by a stone wall. 




Gen.Jaiez rlunt-inacor, . 

1719-1786. 
Pn'.UJ^D 3Y COL. JOHN TRJMBULL. 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 283 

thence bounded north on the stone wall 2 rods, then bounded east 22 rods, then 
bounded east and south on the highway to the woods 35)4 rods." It is possible 
that Joshua, who had purchased in 1738, another house for himself, gave this one 
to Jabez at the time of the latter's marriage in 1742, though it was not conveyed 
by deed until 1745. 

There is a tradition in the family that at the time this house was built, 
an old building, supposed to have been the family homestead, was moved from 
its site near by, and added to the new structure. We are unable to say whether 
the present house was built in 17 19, when the land was first given to Joshua, or 
after 1740 by Jabez. In the latter case, the addition must have been the former 
house of Joshua ; in the former, the old Bradford homestead, which seems to us 
more probable, as this addition, the western end of the house, is evidently very 
ancient. Here, the old wooden shutters with small heart-shaped openings are still 
retained. The house, large and square, with projecting upper story, stands with 
its side to the street, and the long expanse of lawn extends up to the main 
street, where the shop of Jabez formerly stood. This is one of the houses in 
which, it is said, Lafayette was entertained during some of his visits to Norwich. 

Gen. Jabez Huntington (b. 17 19), was the son of Capt. Joshua and Hannah 
(Perkins) Huntington. He married (i) in 1 741-2, Elizabeth, daughter of Samuel 
and Elizabeth (Tracy) Backus, who was born in 1721 and died in 1745. He then 
married (2) in 1746, Hannah, daughter of Rev. Ebenezer Williams of Pomfret, 
Ct. After his graduation at Yale College in 1741, he entered into commercial 
life at Norwich, and on his father's death in 1745, assumed entire control of the 
latter's business, as his brother, Zachariah, was then only fourteen 3'ears of age. 
He added largely to the ample fortune left him by his father, and at the beginning 
of the Revolution owned a large number of vessels engaged in foreign trade. 

Pres. Daniel C. Oilman of Johns Hopkins University, in his historical 
discourse delivered at the Norwich bi-centennial celebration, says that Gen. Hunt- 
ington was chosen in 1750 "to represent this town in the General Assembly, 
and for several years afterward he was either a member of the Lower House, 
over which he often presided, or was one of the Assistants. While attending the 
semi-annual meetings of the legislature, he would write home to his son, Joshua 



2 84 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

Huntington, particular directions in respect to the farm and store, always closing 
his letters with a devout petition for the blessing of divine providence on all his 
family. When Governor Fitch, in 1765, presented to his council the stamp act, 
and proposed that they should administer to him the oath, which would require 
the execution of that obnoxious measure, Jabez Huntington, with his cousin 
Hezekiah, the other member from Norwich, voted, with a majority of the council, 
to do no such thing, and (when four of the councilors proceeded to administer 
the oath), indignantly left the chamber. In 1774, he was chosen moderator of the 
meeting in which Norwich declared itself in favor of liberty." 

Though he could not but foresee that a war would greatly endanger his 
shipping, and perhaps lead to the utter ruin of his fortunes, not for a moment 
would Gen. Huntington allow his interests to interfere with his patriotism. He 
was one of the most active members of the Committee of Safety, and in 1776, he 
and Gen. Wooster were appointed the two Major Generals of the Connecticut 
militia. On the death of Gen. Wooster in 1777, Gen. Huntington was made sole 
Major General of the State. During the war, he was in constant correspondence 
with Washington, Lafa5'ette, Hancock, Sherman, Trumbull, and many leading 
patriots of the time. Of his fortune he gave largely to the cause, and when 
ammunition was scarce, it is said that he at onetime "permitted even the leaden 
weights, by which his windows hung, to be cast into bullets." 

Though a strong athletic man, the great strain of these trying times upon 
his health and strength, led to a failure of both mental and physical powers. 
He retired from active service in 1779, and the last seven years of his life were 
passed in great mental and bodily suffering till his death in 1786. In his funeral 
sermon, it is said that he "devoted his all to the public good," and "sacrificed 
his ease, his health, and eventually his life, to serve and save his country." 

Pres. Daniel C. Gilman describes the assembling of the Huntington family 
one morning in 1774, when the father told the children of his and their mother's 
decision to risk their fortune and comfort for the cause of freedom, and asked 
the sons, even the little ten year old Zachariah, if they would not also stand 
by their country in its hour of need, and one and all assented heartily, and as 
the Huntington Family Memoir says, "Their names were all identified with the 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 285 

protracted struggle which resulted in the independence of the United States, and so 
well did they perform their part, assigned them in that memorable achievement, 
that the faithful historian of those days has been obliged to leave this testimony 
to their success : ' If the annals of the revolution record the names of any family 
which contributed more to that great struggle, I have yet to learn it.'"* 

Gen. Jabez's first wife, Elizabeth Backus (b. 1720-1), was the daughter of 
Samuel and Elizabeth (Tracy) Backus. She had two sons, Jedediah and Andrew, 
and died at the early age of twenty-four. Her father, Samuel Backus, son 
of Joseph and Elizabeth (Huntington) Backus, was a prominent and wealthy 
citizen. Her mother, daughter of John and Elizabeth (LefiRngwell) Tracy, was 
an ardent Separatist. Refusing to pay the minister's rate in 1752, she was 
seized one night and committed to jail for 13 days. The rate was then paid 
by her son-in-law, Jabez Huntington. Her grandson, Jedediah, used, at a later 
date, to pay her rate annually, that she might remain unmolested. The second wife, 
Hannah Williams (b. 1726), was the daughter of Rev. Ebenezer Williams of Pom- 
fret, Ct., and his wife, Penelope Chester, daughter of John and Hannah (Talcott) 
Chester of Wethersfield, Ct. She lived to the age of So, dying in 1807. Mrs. 
Sigourney writes : " It was beautiful to see how v.^armly she was welcomed, and 
what marked and sweet respect was paid her by all her descendants. Her person 
seemed the centre and crown of their enjoyments. Tenderly cared for, and hon- 
ored, she dwelt under the roof of her youngest son. Gen. Zachariah Huntington, until 
her death, which I think was sudden, and from the effects of a severe influenza." 

One of the daughters of Gen. Jabez Huntington, Elizabeth (b. 1757), "richly 
gifted," as Mrs. Sigourney writes, "both in person and mind," married in 1773 
her cousin, Col. John Chester of Wethersfield, son of John and Sarah (Noyes) 
Chester. The Norwich Packet of that date chronicles the marriage of " the 
amiable Miss Elizabeth Huntington." Her husband, Col. John Chester, was a 
colonel in the army of the Revolution, and, as we read in the Huntington Family 
Memoir, " was much in public life, and always in highest esteem both for signal 
public service, and for his great personal worth." He especially distinguished 
himself at the battle of Bunker Hill. 



* Pres. Daniel C. Gilman's Historical Discourse in " The Norwich Jubilee. 



2 86 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

Gen. Zachariah Huntington (b. 1764), the youngest son of Gen. Jabez and 
Hannah (Williams) Huntington, married in 1786, Hannah, daughter of Thomas and 
Catherine (Havens) Mumford of Groton, Ct. Mrs. Sigourney describes him as "a 
model of manly symmetry and beauty. He was tall, with noble features, a pure 
complexion, and a fresh color upon cheek and lip." To her childish fancy he 
seemed, she says, " like one of the chieftains of the old Douglas blood, who 
ruled the Scottish Kings." * 

Gen. Huntington, who "superintended a mercantile establishment, as well as 
the culture of his extensive grounds, took great delight in music. He possessed 
a scientific knowledge of it, with a voice of great power and melody. A desire 
to improve this important department of divine worship, induced him at one time, 
to become the leader of our choir in church. This voluntary service was appre- 
ciated by the people, and the labor connected with it, felt to be, on his part, both 
a condescension and a religious offering. When he gave out the name of the 
tune, which was then always done in a distinct enunciation, and we rose in our 
seats in the gallery, every eye turning to him for guidance, he seemed, with his 
commanding presence and dignified form, to our young minds a superior being." 

" One of his requisitions was imperative, that the female portion of the choir 
should sing without their bonnets. That article of apparel being then the antipodes 
of the present fashion, and formidable both for size and protrusion, he affirmed 
not only intercepted the sound, but precluded striking the key-tone with accuracy. 
None of us would gainsay his wishes, and the simplicity of the times counted it 
no indecorous exposure." f 

With his brother Ebenezer, Zachariah served in the war of 1812, attaining 
the rank of Brigadier-general. He died in 1850. His eldest son, Thomas Mumford 
Huntington, inherited the house, and married in 1819, Mary Bowers Campbell. 
He died in 1851, and the house is now the property of his daughter, Mary, widow 
of the late Dr. Timothy Childs, who resides in Florence, Italy. The second son, 
Jabez Williams Huntington was at one time a distinguished United States Senator. 
The only daughter, Elizabeth Mary (b. 1793), married John Griswold, a prominent 
merchant of New York, and died early in her married life. Mrs. Sigourney describes 



* f Mrs. Sigourney's " Letters of Life." 




Col. John Chester 

OF WtlTMERSriELDCT. 
1749-1809- 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 2 87 

her as " beautiful," " full of life and spirit," and ardently loved by her family and 
friends. She pays to her this tribute in a poem : — 

" With silent course, 
Unostentatious as the heaven-shed dew. 
Thy bounties fell ; nor didst thou scatter gifts. 
Or utter prayers with pharisaic zeal. 
For man to note. Thy praise was with thy God. 
In the domestic sphere, where Nature rears 
Woman's meek throne, thy worth was eminent ; 
Nor breathed thy goodness o'er cold stoic hearts. 
What gentleness was thine— what kind regard, 
To him thou lov'dst — what dove-like tenderness 
In voice and deed ! Almost Disease might bear 
Its lot without complaining, wert thou near, 
A ministering angel." 




CHAPTER LIII. 



IN 173S, Joshua Huntington sells to Peter Morgan 26 rods of land "on ye south- 
east corner of my pasture, northeast from my dwelling house," the boundary 
line running north 6 rods, then west 4 rods, then south 6 rods to the highway, 
and on this Peter builds a house. In 1743, he buys of Joshua Huntington additional 
land (now the site of the Gulliver house), beginning at the south-east corner of 
his own land, then running north-east 6 rods, then north 2 rods, bounded on the 
highway, then west 5>4 rods, bounded on Huntington land to the north-east corner 
of his first purchase, then running south 6 rods, bounded on his own land, to the 
first bound at the highway. 

Peter Morgan (b. 17 12), was the son of John and Ann (Dart) Morgan of 
New London, and grandson of Richard Rose Morgan, one of the first settlers of 
Waterford. He married in 1738 Elizabeth Whitmore of Middletown and had six 
children. He sold this land and the old house to Jabez Huntington in 1770, and 
moved to the Great Plain, where we believe he kept an inn, and died in 1786. 

Gen. Jabez gave the old Morgan house and land to his daughter, Mary, 
who was married in 1778 to Rev. Joseph Strong, and the young couple built a 
new house near the old one, which latter was still standing in 17S6. Mrs. Strong 



Rev. Josepti Strong. 

1753-1834. 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 289 

received from her father a large amount of additional land, both in 1784 and 
at his death in 17S6, and Dr. Strong also bought adjcnning land, so that their 
domain covered many acres, but the house site was on the Morgan land. We do 
not know when the Morgan house disappeared. After the death of Rev. Joseph 
vStrong, the homestead was inherited by his son, Henry Strong, and is now in the 
possession of the latter's daughter, Mary, wife of the late Dr. Daniel Gulliver. 
Mrs. Gulliver furnishes the following short sketch of the lives of her grandfather 
and father : — 

"Joseph Strong, son of Rev. Nathan Strong of Coventry, Conn., and Esther 
Meacham, was born Sept. 21, 1753. He graduated at Yale College in 1772, at the 
age of 19. Having prepared for college when quite young, he returned to college 
after graduation, by his father's advice, and reviewed many of his studies, and 
afterward prepared for the ministry. He was called to the First Church in 
Norwich, as colleague of Rev. Dr. Lord, and ' the consideration of having so able 
and wise a friend was an influential motive to his engaging in this wide field of 
labor.' His ordination sermon was preached by his brother, Rev. Nathan Strong 
of Hartford, March, 1778, and the charge was given by his father. 

This was his only settlement. He remained pastor of this church till his 
death, Dec. 18, 1834, having a colleague for nearly six years. The last church 
service he attended was in January, 1833, w^hen he took part in the administration 
of the Lord's Supper. 

His preaching was simple, earnest and solemn. He was peculiarly gifted in 
prayer, and always successful in selecting thoughts appropriate to the circum- 
stances. Like many other good men at that time, he was not at first in favor 
of Sunday schools, but he lived to remember earnestly in his prayers the organ- 
ization that ' cared for children.' 

In his Half-Century sermon, while lamenting that the fruits of his labors 
had not been more abundant, he says : ' I do not recollect a single year of my 
ministry without some hopeful instances of awakening and conversion.' 

He was a member of the corporation of Yale College for 18 years and faith- 
fully performed the duties connected with this position. In 1807, he received the de- 
gree of D. D., from the college of New Jersey. Several of his sermons were printed. 

19 



290 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

Dr. Strong was tall and well-proportioned. His health was uniformly good, 
so that he was rarely absent from his pulpit by reason of sickness. Reserved 
and unostentatious, he was always ready to do everything in his power for the 
comfort and welfare of others. 

He married Oct. i8, 1780, Mary, daughter of Jabez and Hannah (Williams) 
Huntington, who was born March 24, 1760. She was a woman of rare excellence 
of character. Possessing a cultivated mind, ready sympathy, and abounding 
charity, she was an acceptable substitute for her husband, in his absence, to those 
who sought counsel or aid from him. She died May 14, 1840. 

Their children were: Joseph Huntington Strong (b. Nov. 27, 17S0), Mary 
Huntington (b. Feb. 5, 1786), who married Aaron P. Cleveland in 1820, and died 
in 1843, and Henry, who died Nov 12, 1852. 

Henry Strong was born Aug. 23, 1788. His preparation for college was 
made in his native town, and he was admitted to Yale at the age of 14. During 
the first two years of college life, he studied a part of the time at home, passing 
the regular examinations. He graduated in 1806. After graduation he taught a 
small school of young ladies in Norwich Town, and in after years he liked to 
recall his pupils individually, considering what a choice circle they formed. 
During this time, he commenced studying law with James Stedman, Esq. In 
1808, he was called to take the position of tutor at Yale College, which he filled 
for two years, continuing his legal studies under Judge Chauncey. He was admitted 
to the bar in New Haven County in 18 10, but commenced practice in his native 
town. Here, for more than forty years, he devoted his energies to his chosen 
profession. 

His perception was acute, so that he quickly saw the rights of a case, and 
when he perceived that his client was in the wrong he would advise him to 
settle the matter with his opponent, rather than go to law about it. His questions 
were so searching that he was often asked, " Has the other side been to see 
you, Squire ?" 

After his death, a gentleman in a neighboring town, who had great respect 
for Mr. Strong, said to his wife, " It was not so much your husband's legal 
abilities that we valued, though we esteemed them highly as they deserved, but 




Mary lliurir.rrsi on i Scrong. 

i760-l840- 
WiFE OF Rtv.JosEPH Strong. 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 291 

his unbending integrity." This characteristic commenced in early life, for his 
mother used to say that she could not recall an instance when he disobeyed or 
deceived her. 

In a sermon, preached the vSabbath after his death, his pastor says : " Mr. 
Strong was a man free from all taint of personal ambition. He sought not the 
honor which cometh from men. He was solicited to allow himself to be put in 
nomination for some of the highest ofifices in the gift of the State, but except 
that in two or three instances he reluctantly accepted a seat in the State Legis- 
lature, he uniforml}' and resolutely declined all such overtures. He was invited 
to accept a chair of instruction, as professor of law, in his own Alma Mater. He 
refused to listen to the invitation. In the year 1848, however, the Corporation, 
without asking his leave, conferred upon him the honorary degree of Doctor of 
Laws, an honor which was richly deserved." Mr. Strong died Nov. 12, 1852. He 
married July 7, 1825, Eunice Edgerton Huntington, daughter of Joseph and Eunice 
(Carew) Huntington, who was born Sept. 13, 1797, and died June 19, 1865." 

Miss Caulkins describes the Rev. Joseph Strong as "above the middle size 
and stature," with a calm dignity of address which impressed every one with 
respect. This dignity, however, was blended with great kindness and courtesy, 
and his manners, far from inspiring awe, were gentle and attractive. In his latter 
years, especially, it was delightful to listen to his conversation, flowing as it did in 
an easy graceful stream, enlivened with anecdotes, and enriched with sketches of 
character, curious incidents, and all the varied stores collected by an observant 
mind through long years of experience."* 

" In the pulpit he was remarkable for the fluency and impressive solemnity 
of his praj'ers. The deep tones of his voice, combined with the devout humility 
of his address, and the free flow of adoration and praise with which he approached 
the Father of spirits, would hush an audience into deep attention, and waft them, 
as it were, into the immediate presence of the Most High." 

Of Mary Huntington, wife of the Rev. Joseph Strong, Mrs. Sigourney 
writes : " A mistress was she of the minutiae of that domestic science, which 
promotes household comfort and happiness. Proverbially plain was she in dress 



* Miss Caulkins' History of Norwich. 



292 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 



and manner, condescending to the lowliest, and of so easy and cheerful a tempera- 
ment, that her words were always mingled with smiles. In those days, a minister 
and his consort were expected to be patterns in all things to all people, and the 
closest critic perceived in her only those quiet unambitious virtues that pertain 
to woman's true sphere, and a cloudless piety. Her husband had erected a hand- 
some parsonage within the precincts of Huntington Square ; and they and their 
children formed an integral part of those weekly social gatherings which kept 
bright the chain of affection and the fountain of kindred sympathy. To be 
occasionally comprehended in those circles, and partake their ' feast of reason and 
flow of soul,' which comprised always a most liberal admixture of creature- 
comforts, was accounted a rare privilege." * 

Jabez Huntington sells to Robert Lancaster in 1748, 30 rods of land (front- 
age 5 rods, 2 feet), north of the Morgan land. Here Robert built a house, 
which, owing to the slope of the land, had two stories in the front, approached 
by a long flight of steps, and only one in the rear. We do not know the parentage 
of Robert Lancaster, nor the date of his first appearance in Norwich. He died 
in 1770, aged 76, and was buried in the Christ Church grave-yard. It is possible 
that his nearness to the Grist house, where the Episcopal services were held for 
so many years, may have led to his attending the Episcopal Church. 

His son, John (b. 1737-8), married in 1798, Anna (Bentley) Trapp, widow 
of Ephraim Trapp. John Lancaster buys of Simon Tracy in 1769, land on the 
opposite side of the street, where he builds a shop. In 1803, John Lancaster and 
his wife, Anna, deed to Ephraim Trapp one-half the land and house, but in 1809, 
Ephraim, who is mate on the ship of Capt. Edward Whiting, dies of a fever on the 
Island of St. Bartholomew, W. I., and his mother and step-father inherit his 
property. In 1830, Anna Lancaster deeds the house, shop, and land to Orimel 
Mabrey, who had married in 181 7 her daughter, Anna Trapp. Orimel Mabrey 
still retained this property in 1850, when the house seems to have disappeared. 
In 183T, the land where the shop stood, on the opposite side of the street, was 
sold to George W. Lee, and later to Theodore McCurdy. 



* Mrs. Sigourney's " Letters of Life." 



CHAPTER LIV. 

Now returning- to the Green, we find that the north line of the lot occupied 
by Miss Grace McClellan, marks the beginning of the home-lot of Maj. 
James Fitch, eldest son of the Rev. James Fitch, and his first wife, Abigail 
Whitfield. The land was a part of the house-lot of the Rev. Mr. Fitch, and was 
given by him to his son. It extended from the home-lot of Simon Huntington, 
2nd, to the southern line of the burying-ground lane, covering a frontage of 
37>4 rods. 

The record gives it as three acres, " more or less," abutting south on the 
home lot of the Rev. James Fitch 45 ^^ rods, abutting east on the land of Lt. 
Thomas Tracy, 8 rods, 4 feet, abutting north on the land of Simon Huntington 
18 rods, and east on the land of Simon Huntington 19 rods, 4 feet, then the line 
runs easterly over the brook, "it being two rods," "then the line runs two rods, 4 
feet, north, and thence northwest 4 rods, thence west, abutting north on the land of 
Simon Huntington 14 rods, to the street, abutting northwest and west on the 
Town Green 37}^ rods." 

James Fitch, 2nd, was born in Saybrook in 1649, and married in 1676, 
Elizabeth Mason, (daughter of Maj. John Mason, and younger sister of his father's 
second wife), by whom he had four children, one of whom died in infancy. His wife 
died in 1684, and in 1687, he married Alice (Bradford) Adams, daughter of Dep. 
Gov. William Bradford, and widow of the Rev. William Adams of Dedham, Mass. 
Three children were born to them in Norwich, and five more in Canterbury. 

During the time that Maj. Fitch resided 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. He was one of the first persons to receive, in 
1687, a grant of land for a wharf and a warehouse at the " port " or " Landing," 



294 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 



and was also allowed the exclusive right to establish a saw-mill. As a large 
land-owner, and the general agent of the Mohegan Indians in their transfers of 
propert)^, he acquired great influence, and controlled all the land transactions of 
an extensive territory. He was appointed Captain in 1680, Assistant in 1690, and 
Sergeant Major of New London County in 1696. 

As treasurer of New London County he seized, laid out, and offered for 
sale 600 acres of land in the Ouinebaug region, to indemnify the State for 
the burning of the county-prison by the Indians. He sold this land to John, 
Daniel and Solomon Tracy, and Richard Bushnell of Norwich ; and then, 
empowered by a deed from Owaneco, son of Uncas, Maj. Fitch laid claim to the 
rest of this region, against the counter-claims of Fitz-John and Wait Winthrop, 
sons of the Governor, who based their title on a deed from two resident Sachems ; 
and great were the struggles and litigation of both parties, in their efforts to gain 
and dispose of these lands. 

Maj. Fitch had many enemies, made partly by his domineering spirit, and 
partly through jealousy of his great landed possessions, which last gained for him 
the reputation, shared by Capt. John Chandler of Woodstock, of being "one of 
the biggest land grabbers " in Connecticut. 

About 1697, he was accused of some very irregular land transaction, which 
caused his removal from the office of assistant, and he finally decided in 169S to 
remove to Peagsconsuck, where he had already sold lands and an attempt at 
settlement had been made. The spot selected by Maj. Fitch for his house, and 
still marked (we have been told) by traces of a cellar, was below the river island, 
on a point called "Indian Neck," and is one of the most beautiful situations in 
Canterbury. Here he erected the first framed-house and barn within the limits 
of the town. 

His own family of eleven children, and those of his wife, the widow of the 
Rev. William Adams, formed a large and doubtless lively household, and this 
attraction, combined with Maj. Fitch's position as disposer of almost all the lands in 
this region, made the house a place of great resort. Courts were also held here, 
and Miss Larned, the historian of Windham County, says that " a road was laid 
out from Windham to this noted establishment," which, "connecting with the 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 295 

Greenwich path, formed the great thoroughfare to Providence." * Major Fitch 
gave to the town the name of Kent, but it was afterward changed to Canterbury. 

Miss Caulkins says that the Major, according to tradition, and record, 
"coiild not always resist the temptation to convivial excess," but for this and also 
for his frequent outbreaks of temper against the government, he was always 
repentant, ready to acknowledge his fault and when possible to make amends. 

Miss Larned says that " he was an ardent patriot, a firm friend of popular 
libert}', contending ' as strenuously against Gov. Saltonstall and the Council, for 
the rights and privileges of the Lower House ; ' as he did thirty years earlier 
against the encroachments of Andross, nor did he allow his personal feelings 
and prejudices to hinder him from promoting what he deemed the public good. 
He was a friend of progress, ready to initiate and carry on public improvements, 
a friend of education, endowing Yale College in 1701 with over six hundred acres 
of land, in what was afterward Killingly, and furnishing glass and nails for the 
first college edifice in New Haven." f 

But his irascible disposition, and his efforts to establish his Indian claims, 
involved him in endless disputes, and his last years were sad and embittered. 
He died in 1727. The inscription on his grave stone, in the old Canterbury 
grave-yard reads : " He was very useful in his Military & in his Magistracy 
to which he was chosen, & served successively many years to the Great Accept- 
ance & Advantage of this country being a Gentleman of good parts & very 
forward to promote ye civil & religious interest of it." 

His second wife, Alice (Bradford) Adams (b. 1661), was the daughter of Dep. 
Gov. William Bradford of Plymouth and his first wife, Alice, daughter of Thomas 
Richards of Weymouth, Mass. She married (i) in 16S0, as second wife, the Rev. 
William Adams of Dedham, Mass. He died in 16S5, leaving his young widow 
with three children of her own, and a step son, Eliphalet, who came with her to 
Norwich, studied theology with the Rev. James Fitch, and settled as minister at 
New London in 1709. A posthumous child, Abiel, (?) was also born four months 
after her father's death. 

The widow, Alice Adams, married in 16S7, ALaj. James Fitch, as second 



* f Miss Ellen D. Larned's History of Windham County, 



296 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

wife. He had already a family of three children, and eight more were born to 
them in Norwich and Canterbury. Alice lived to the age of 84, dying in 1745. 
The inscription on her grave-stone at Canterbury reads : " In memory of Mrs. 
Alice, dtr. to ye Hon. Wm. Bradford, Esq., Lieut-Gov. of ye Col. of New Plymouth, 
Relict of ye Hon. James Fitch, Esq. late of Canterbury, a person of rare qualities 
& excellent endowments, an example of virtue, & paten of piety. She after an 
exemplary life fell asleep in Jesus, Mar. 10, 1745, m ye 84th yr. of her age." 

Elizabeth, the eldest daughter of the Rev. William and Alice (Bradford) 
Adams (b. 1680-1), was, after the death of her father, adopted and brought up 
by her childless uncle and aunt, Capt. John and Ann (Winthrop) Richards of 
Boston, Mass. On one of her visits to her mother in Norwich, she probably met 
for the first time Samuel Whiting, afterward minister of the First Church of 
Windham, then studying theology with the Rev. James Fitch of Norwich, was 
married to him in 1696, and though not yet sixteen years of age, went to Windham, 
as Miss Caulkins says, " to be set up as a model to the whole parish for sobriety 
of demeanor, discreet conversation and skilful housewifery." Rev. Samuel Whiting 
died in 1725, and in 1737, the widow, Elizabeth, married the Rev. Samuel Niles 
of Braintree, Mass., and died in New Haven in 1762, at the house of her son. 
Col. Nathan Wliiting. Alice Adams, the second daughter (b. 16S2), married the 
Rev. Nathaniel Collins of Enfield, Ct., in 1701. The son, William, was a helpless 
invalid. The other daughter, Abiel (?) (b. 1685), married the Rev. Joseph Metcalf 
of Falmouth, Barnstable Co., Mass. 



CHAPTER LV. 

IN 1698-9, Capt. Fitch, calling himself "of Peagsconsiick, (Gent.), sells his house 
and home-lot to Samuel and Simon Huntington, who perhaps had purchased 
it in order to control the disposal of property, so immediately in their neighbor- 
hood. In 1 699-1 700, Simon deeds his share to Samuel, who sells the property to 
the town committee, the latter purchasing it with a view to the settlement of 
the Rev. John Woodward. 

In 1694, the Rev. James Fitch was rendered unable to preach by a stroke 
of palsy, and an effort was made by the people of Norwich to induce his son, 
Mr. Jabez Fitch, to be his father's successor ; but though he preached on trial for 
more than a year, he declined to become the settled pastor ; was later a fellow and 
tutor of Harvard college ; was ordained at Ipswich in 1703, as colleague of the 
Rev. John Rogers ; and was afterward minister at Portsmouth, N. H., where he 
died in 1746. Various candidates were then tried, but the town failed to procure 
a settled pastor. 

In December, 1696, the people of Norwich feel that they "have reason to 
bless God," for having sent Mr. Henry Flint, a Harvard graduate of 1693, to 
"preach to them in order to a settling and carrying on the work of the ministry," 
and they agree to give him 20 s. per week and to " defray the chardges of his 
Board and horsmeat " " as long as he shall continue to be our Minister." But 
all their efforts to induce him to settle among them were in vain. Others were 
tried, and failed to please. In 169S, Rev. Joseph Coit, son of John Coit of New 
London, was engaged to supply the pulpit, but, when invited to settle, declared 
his " disagreement from Norwich church, and consequently he cannot walk with 
them, for how can two walk together, if they be not agreed." The church having 
confidence in its own infallibility, is concerned about Mr. Coit, who "doth sett up 



298 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

his own opinion in opposition to the Synod book, and a cloud of witnesses," and 
fears he " will be in great danger to wander from the way of peace and truth." 
Rev. Joseph Coit was settled in 1705 as minister at Plainfield, Ct, where he resided 
till his death in 1750, at the age of 77. 

The next candidate finally accepted a call, and was ordained in 1699. This 
was the Rev. John Woodward (b. 167 1), son of Peter Woodward of Dedham, 
Mass., who graduated from Harvard College in 1693. The town agree to give 
Mr. Woodward "the home-lot purchased of Mr. John Mason, 9 acres adjoining, 
on the south side of the river, 150 acres at the north-east end of Plain Hills, 
2^ miles from town, also the use and improvement of the home-lot and pasture 
purchased of Stephen Gifford, also 12 acres of pasture land near the town, 6 acres 
lying within the little boggy meadow, ^150 interest in the undivided lands 
belonging to the Township, and 30 cords of fire wood per year delivered at his 
door." The agreement continues, "If it shall please God to remove you by death, 
while you be a bachelor, within the term of 5 years next after your ordination, 
then the home lot, 9 acres, and also 50 acres of 150 acres shall be at the only 
use and dispose of yourselfe, your heirs .... at that time in which you shall 
enter upon the improvement of any part of sd tract of land, but after the term 
of five years, the remaining 100 acres shall be at your use and dispose," and 
" also we do propose and promise to give you yt house lot, together with the 
dwelling house barn &c which were Maj. Fitchs, which sd lot, house and barn 
shall be yours after the day of ordination, reserving to ourselves iYo acres for a 
burying place at the lower corner of sd land, next to land in the present tenure 
of the Rev. James Fitch, also to give you 20 ^ in money in order to the repair 
of sd dwelling house, also to clear the meadow lands on both sides of the river 
purchased of Mr. Fitch." 

Then as "sallery" for his "incouragement," they agree to give him "60^ 
per annum in our ordinary pay, and 10^ in money annually till the term of four 
years," then " to make an addition of 10 £ in ordinary pay, and 5 J^ in money, 
the same to begin Dec. 6, 1699," and it was to be understood that "pork should 
pass" with him at "3d. per pound as pay, and beef at 2d., provided there be no 
more beef carried than he hath occasion for." 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 299 

No houses are mentioned as on the lots of Maj. Mason and Stephen Gifford, 
as it is probable that those formerly standing there had disappeared. The town 
at first contract with John Eklerkin to build for ^140 "a parsonage 40 foot in 
length, and 18 foot in width, 15 foot between joints, with a room on the back side 
18 foot one way, and 15 foot the other way, and 15 foot between joints," but 
finding that Mr. Woodward preferred the former house of Maj. Fitch, it was 
finally decided to use that as a parsonage, and not to build a new one. 

Rev. Mr. Woodward married in 1703, Sarah, daughter of Richard Rosewell 
of New Haven, and had seven children born in Norwich. In 170S, the council 
at Saybrook drew up their rules for church regulation, later known as the Saybrook 
Platform, which Mr. Woodward, who had been a delegate to the convention and 
secretary of the synod, was naturally desirous of having adopted by his church, 
which had always strongly adhered to the Cambridge Platform. The Legislature 
accepted the Saybrook Platform, and confirmed it as a law of the Colony, with 
the proviso, that any churches dissenting from these rules, might be allowed to 
regulate church discipline according to their consciences. 

In reading this act of the Legislature to the church, Mr. Woodward omitted 
this last clause, and the two representatives, Richard Bushnell and Joseph Backus, 
arose and announced the whole law to the people. They then withdrew from 
the church, and with a number of warm sympathizers, held private Sabbath meet- 
ings. At the next session of the Legislature, they were expelled from the house. 
The majority of the church members adhered for a time to Mr. Woodward, but 
the increasing dissatisfaction, continued complaints on his part of insufficient 
salary, and the prospect of division into two ecclesiastical societies, finally com- 
pelled the calling of a council of ministers, who recommended his immediate 
dismissal, which was accordingly effected in 17 16. The retiring minister sued the 
town for arrears of salary, which he did not, however, recover until 1721. He 
sold his house and lands in Norwich to the town committee, and removed to a 
farm in East Haven, where he died in 1746. 



CHAPTER LVI. 

IN 1 7 17, the First Church committee, "a company in ye purchas of ye Estate 
of Mr. John Woodward," sell to Sarah Knight of Norwich, " (widdow), all y* 
their Messuage or Tenement with ye land whereon ye same doth stand, situated in 
ye Town Plot," (frontage 32 rods, 3 ft.), "extending from ye southerly corner of 
Dea. Simon Huntington's land, down to ye highway laid out to ye Burying 
Place," — "together with all ye singuler, ye houseing, outhousen, Barn, Buildings, 
Edifices, &c., orchard, yard, garden, Trees, well water, Brooks, Runs of water, 
water courses, stones, wayes, easements, rights, privilidges, members, and appurten- 
ances," &c. Evidently Sarah, being a woman of business, meant to have all that 
was her right. 

This Sarah Knight (b. 1666 in Boston), was the daughter of Capt. Thomas 
Kemble, a merchant of Charlestown, Mass., and his wife, Elizabeth Trarice, 
(perhaps daughter of Nicholas Trarice). Capt. Kemble lived in a house on North 
Square, Boston, later the residence of Samuel Mather. In 1673, he was sentenced 
to stand for two hours in the stocks, " for lewd and unseemingly conduct," in 
saluting his wife at the doorstep on the Sabbath day, after a three years absence. 
He died in 1688-9, and was buried in the Copp's Hill burying-ground. His 
daughter, Sarah, married, as second wife, Richard Knight, of whom little is known. 
He is said by one authority, to have been a brick-layer, by another a carver, and 
is supposed to have died between 1706 and 17 14, leaving his widow, with one 
daughter, Elizabeth (b. 1689). Mrs. Sarah Knight "kept school in her father's 
house from 1701 till her death in 1708." So says one authority, but her journal, 
dated 1704, shows that at that time she was travelling through New England, 
and her appearance in Norwich in 17 17, proves that she certainly did not 
die in 1708. 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 301 

Her journal is most interestint,'-, showing "Madam " Knight to have an educa- 
tion and mind far above the average, especially in those days, when many women, 
even of good family, could hardly write their own names. It was preserved in 
the family of Christopher Christophers of New London, whose wife, Sarah, inherited 
it among other effects of her relative, Madam Livingston, the daughter of Sarah 
Knight. It then passed by inheritance into the possession of Mrs. Ichabod Wetmore 
of Middletown, Ct , who allowed its publication in 1825, under the supervision of 
Theodore Dwight of New York. We can, perhaps, hardly realize what a difticult 
and hazardous undertaking was this journey of Madam Knight from Boston to 
New York 271 miles, through a wild and half-settled country, at this early date, 
which, as W. R. Deane says (in his annotated review of this journal in Littell's 
Living Age of June 26, 1858), was the very year in which died Peregrine White, 
the first child born in New England ; " also the year of the publication of the 
first newspaper in America (the Boston News Letter) ; about the time of the 
establishment of the first daily paper in London ; one year before the birth of 
Dr. Franklin, and twenty-seven years before the birth of Washington." 

On Monday, Oct. 2nd, 1704, at three o'clock in the afternoon. Madam Knight 
starts on her long and perilous journey. She waits for a while at Dedham for the 
"post" to come along, but as he does not arrive, she finally proceeds to the tavern 
and negotiates for a guide to conduct her to the first stopping place. She succeeds 
in procuring one, of whom she writes : — 

" His shade on his Hors resembled a Globe on a Gate post. His habitt, 
Hors, and furniture, its looks and goings Incomparably answ^ered the rest." With 
this guide she travels through a dark and dismal Swamp, and after reaching 
her destination, is conducted to " a parlour in a little back Lento, w"'' was 
almost fill'd w"' the bedstead, w''' was so high that I was forced to climb on a 
chair to gitt up to y'' wretched bed, that lay on it." There laying her head upon 
a " sadcoloured " pillow, she thought over the events of the past day. Finally the 
" post " appears, and she travels on with him. Crossing Providence Ferry, they come 
to a river, which is usually forded, but she, not daring "to venture," the post rode 
through, leading her horse, and she crossed in "a cannoo," "very small and 
shallow, so that when we were in, she seem'd redy to take in water, w"'' greatly 



302 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

terrified mee, and caused me to be very circumspect, sitting with my hands fast 
on each side, my eyes stedy, not daring so much as to lodg my tongue a hair's 
breadth more on one side of my mouth than tother, nor so much as to think on 
Lott's wife, for a wry thought would have oversett our wherry." The "Post" 
tells her of another rapid river, "so very firce a hors could sometimes hardly 
stem it," which they should have to cross, and all day she sees herself in imagina- 
tion, " drowning, otherwhiles drowned, and at the best like a holy Sister Just 
come out of a Spiritual Bath in dripping Garments." When night came, "each 
lifeless Trunk, with its vShatter'd Limbs appear'd an Armed Enymie, and every 
little stump like a Ravenous devourer." Finally, after descending a hill in the 
darkness, she knew "by the Going of the Hors," that they were fording the 
dreaded river, " ralyed " all her courage, and "sitting as Stedy as just before 
in the Cannoo," arrived safely on the opposite shore. Riding through "dolesome 
woods," the guide far ahead, in the " Terrifying darkness," which was enough 
"to startle a more Masculine courage," and reflecting that her "Call to take 
this Journey was very Questionable," which she had not till then " prudently 
considered," she became much distressed in mind, but on arriving at the top of a 
hill, " the friendly Appearance of the kind Conductress of the night, just then 
Advancing above the Horizontall Line " inspired her with courage and a poem, 
which she jots down at the next stopping place. As a specimen of her poetical 
powers we will give the whole of this poem : — 

" Fair Cynthia, all the Homage that I may, 
Unto a Creature, unto thee I pay : 
In Lonesome woods to meet so kind a guide 
To Mee's more worth than all the world beside. 
Some joy I felt just now, when safe got or"e 
Yon Surly River to this Rugged shore, 
Beaming Rough welcome from these clownish Trees, 
Better than Lodgings with Nereidees. 
Yet swelling fears surprise ; all dark appears — 
Nothing but Light can dissipate those fears. 
My fainting vitals can't lend strength to say, 
But softly whisper, O I wish 'twere day. 
The murmur hardly warm'd the Ambient air, 
E're thy Bright Aspect rescues from dispair ; 
Makes the old Hagg her sable mantle loose, 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 303 

And a Bright joy do's through my Soul diffuse. 
The Boistero's Trees now lend a Passage Free, 
And pleasant prospects thou giv'st light to see." 

In the light of the moon she sees in imagination "A Sumpteoiis city, 
fiU'cl w"' famous Buildings and churches, w"' their spiring steeples, Balconies, 
Galleries," &c., and "without a thou't of anything but thoughts themselves," she 
hears the " Post" sound his horn, and knows that they have arrived at the "Stage," 
where they were to lodge for the night. Here everything was neat and clean, 
and she has " chocolett " prepared, which she had brought with her ; then goes to 
bed, but not being able to sleep, on the account of the discussion of some " Town 
tope-ers " in the next room, she finally rises, sets the candle on a chest by the 
bedside, and falls, as she says, "to my old way of composing my Resentments," 
in the following manner: — 

" I ask thy aid, O potent Rum, 
To charm these wrangling Topers Dum. 
Thou hast their Giddy Brains possest — 
The man confounded w**> the Beast — 
And I, poor I, can get no rest. 
Intoxicate them with thy fumes : 
O still their Tongues till morning comes I " 

And she adds, "I know not but my wishes took effect; for the dispute 
soon ended w"' 'tother Dram ; and so Good night ! " 

On Oct. 4th, they set out for Kingston in the company of a French doctor, 
and he and the " Post " rode so furiously, she could scarcely keep up with them. 
They were obliged to ride 22 miles before they could "bait their horses," but 
the " Post " encouraged her, by saying they should be " well accomodated at Mr. 
Devill's." " But I questioned whether we ought to go to the Devil to be helpt out 
of affliction. However like the rest of Deluded souLs, that post to y' Infernal 
denn, wee made all possible speed to this Devil's Habitation ; where alliting, in 
full assurance of good accomodation, wee were going in. But meeting his two 
daughters, as I supposed twins, they so neerly resembled each other, both in 
feature and habit, and look't as old as the divil himselfe, and quite as Ugly, we 
desired entertainm't, but could hardly get a word out of 'em, till with our 



304 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

Importunity, telling them of our necesity, &c., they call'd the old vSophister, who 
was as sparing- of his words as his daughters had bin, and no or none, was the 
reply he made us to our demands. Hee differed only in this from the old fellow 
in t'other Country ; hee let us depart." After more adventures she arrives at 
" Stoningtown " and from there, guided by an old countryman and his two daugh- 
ters, she comes to the New London ferry. Here there was a high wind, and 
Madam Knight says : " The Boat tos't exceedingly, and our Horses capper'd at a 
very surprizing Rate, and set us all in a fright ; especially poor Jemina, who 
desired her father to say so Jack to the Jade, to make her stand. But the careless 
parent taking no notice of her repeated desires, she Rored out in a Passionate 
manner: Pray, suth, father. Are you deaf? wSay so Jack to the Jade, I tell 
you. The Dutiful Parent obey'd ; saying so Jack, so Jack as gravely as if hee'd 
bin to saying Catechise, after Young Miss, who with her fright look't of all 
coullers in y" Rainbow." 

At New London she arrives "at the house of Mrs. Prentices," and "waits 
on " the Rev. Gurdon vSaltonstall, who invites her to stay the night at his house, 
where she was "handsomely and plentifully treated and Lodg'd, and made good 
the Great Character" she had before heard concerning him, viz., "that hee was 
the most affable, courteous, Genero's and best of men." 

Mr. Joshua Wheeler is her escort to "Seabrook," and from thereto New 
Haven. She writes about the customs of New Haven, and comments on the 
frequent " vStand aways," as she calls the divorces, which are then " too much in 
vougue" among the English, and also the Indians. She sees her relatives, the 
Prouts and Trowbridges, and from there travels to New York, and back to New 
Haven, comes again to New London, where she is entertained by Gov. Winthrop, 
and is accompanied across the ferry by Mary Christophers and Madam Livingston 
(the Governor's daughter), who little thought she was then travelling with her 
husband's future mother-in-law. Mr. Samuel Rogers escorts her part of the way, 
and Capt. John Richards of Boston was her companion on the latter part of the 
journey. On March 3rd, 1705, she joined "her aged and tender mother in Boston, 
and her dear and only child," having been five months from home. On the 
window-pane of her home in Boston was scratched with a diamond : — 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 305 

" Now I've returned, poor vSarah Knights, 
Thro" many toils and many frights ; 
Over great rocks and many stones 
God has preserv'd from fracter'd bones." 

It is said that she first appeared in Norwich in 1698 with goods to sell, 
remained here a few years, then went back to Boston, and in 17 17 ai^ain returned 
to Norwich. It is certain that for a time previous to 1717, she was residing in 
New London, where she may possibly have gone after the marriage of her 
daughter to Col. Livingston, which occurred in 1713. On the Norwich town records 
of 17 17 we find that "The town grants liberty to Mrs. Sarah Knight to sit in the 
pue where she use to sit in the meeting house." She is said to have presented the 
church with a handsome silver goblet, to be used in the coinmunion service. In 
1718, Sarah Knight, with others, was "brought before" Richard Bushnell, Justice 
of the Peace, for selling strong drink to the Indians. She accused her maid, Ann 
Clark, of selling the liquor, but refusing to acquit herself by oath, was sentenced 
to pay a fine of 20 s. 

Her daughter's husband. Col. Livingston, died in 1721, and in 1722 she 
sold her house in Norwich to Edmund Gookin of vSherborn, Mass., and moved to 
the Livingston farm, which she had previously purchased of her son-in-law. This 
farm stood on Saw Mill brook, near LTncasville, on the west side of the road to 
New London. Madam Knight was a pew-holder in the Montville Church, built 
in 1724. She was also called an inn-keeper. In company with Joseph Bradford, 
she purchased large quantities of land. She died in 1727. Madam Livingston 
died in 1735-6. The latter's inventory includes diamond rings, jewelry, valuable 
pictures, slaves, and a large amount of silver-plate. 

Edmund Gookin, who purchased Madame Knight's house in 1722, resided 
here until 1733. He later purchased a house at Bean Hill, with which the history 
of his family is more closely identified, so we will reserve his history and lineage 
for our second volume. 




CHAPTER LVIL 



IN 1733, Edmund Gookin sells to Curtis Cleveland, the north part of his home- 
lot and buildings (frontage 2 rods, i)4 feet), "beginning at the north-west cor- 
ner of my shop." This is possibly the "warehouse" of Sarah Knight. Curtis 
Cleveland either altered the shop into a dwelling house, or built a new one on the 
lot in which he lived for many years. Curtis was born in 1700. He was a 
descendant of Moses Cleveland of Woburn, Mass., and a son of Isaac Cleveland, 
who married in 1699, Elizabeth Curtis, and came from Woburn to Canterbury, 
Ct., or Plainfield, between 1699 and 1703. He shortly after moved to Norwich, 
where he was admitted an inhabitant in 1709. He was appointed bell-ringer in 
1709-10, and a grant of land was voted to him in 17 14, nearly opposite the ware- 
house of Ensign Thomas Leffingwell. He died probably in that year, and by 
17 15, his widow had married Clement Stratford, a mariner of New London, Ct. 
She died in 1742. Four children were born to Isaac and Elizabeth Cleveland. 
His daughter, Kesiah, became the wife of Sylvanus Jones, and his son, Curtis, 
married in 1733-4, Remembrance, daughter of Richard Carrier of Colchester, Ct., 
and had eight children. In 1761, Curtis Cleveland was still residing in this house 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 307 

on the Green, but died probably shortly after that date. His widow, Remembrance, 
died in 1790. 

The house and land passed before 1776, into the possession of Joseph Peck, 
though the deed of transfer has not been found. It is possible that the latter 
built a new house on the lot, as at his death in 1776, he leaves to his widow, 
Elizabeth, "the use and improvement of the new dwelling house we live in, with 
use and improvement of the land where the said house stands (called the Cleve- 
land lot)," but he gives the property to his stepson, Gardner Carpenter, on 
condition that the latter shall pay one-third of its value. 

Gardner Carpenter (b. 1749), probably resides here with his mother, Elizabeth, 
until about 1793 or 1794, when he buys the Butler property opposite, and builds 
the brick house, now owned by Rev. William Clark. He was the son of Joseph 
and Elizabeth (Lathrop) Carpenter of Norwich. His shop was on the opposite 
side of the Green. He served as paymaster in the Seventeenth Connecticut Reg- 
iment, in 1776, and married in 1791, Mary, daughter of Benjamin and Mary 
(Carew) (Brown) Huntington. His death occurred in 1815. In 1816, the house 
(called "the red house)," on the Cleveland lot, was sold to Bela Peck, who in 1829, 
sells it to Orimel Mabrey. At present, it is owned by Miss Grace McClellan. 

In November, 1733, Edmund Gookin sells the remaining part of his home- 
lot (frontage 30 rods, ij^ feet), to William Witter of Preston, who, in December 
of the same year, sells to Andre Richard the house and land next to the Cleveland 
lot (frontage 7 rods, 2 feet). In Januar}', 1734, Andre Richard sells to Sylvanus 
Jones a part of this purchase (frontage 2 rods), " together with the east part of 
the house purchased of Mr. Witter, with chimney, and one- half the stones of the 
cellar — the Great Room called the kitchen, with Lentoo on the north side of the 
kitchen, with liberty to separate them from the house off my land, and to remove 
the same." Andre either builds an addition to the remaining part of the old 
Fitch house, or builds a new house and shop, which he sells in December, 1734, 
to William Darby of Canterbury, Ct., with the land (Si rods), "abutting west on 
the Green 5 rods, 2 feet," south on the Jones lot, and north on the Cleveland land. 

Wiliam Darby was an early settler of Canterbury, but now moves to Norwich, 
and probably resides in this house until about 1737-S, when he sells the property 



3o8 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

to Susanna Rame (shop-keeper), of Boston, Mass., who conveys it to her son-in-law 
and daughter, William and Elizabeth (Rame) Fountain, "late of Boston, now 
of Norwich." 

Capt. William Fountain (for his calling was that of a sea captain), was 

possibly the son of Aaron and Hannah ( ) Fountain of Fairfield, Ct., and 

grandson of Aaron Fountain, who lived in New London about 1683, and married 
(Miss Caulkins claims) Susanna, daughter of Samuel Beebe, but a Stamford record 
says that his wife was " Mary, daughter of Samuel Beebe of New London." It 
is possible that the latter may have been a second wife. This Aaron Fountain's 
house stood on the Great Neck, now Waterford, and he left New London in the 
latter part of the century for Fairfield, Ct. W"m. A. E. Thomas of Hartford, 
Ct., who has made many researches in the Fountain genealogy, believes him to 
be the son of Edward Fountain, who came to New England in 1635 in the ship 
Abigail, at the age of 28. The family is of French origin, the name being 
originally Fontaine, and is a branch probably of the same family to which the 
Rev. James Fontaine of Virginia belonged. 

The Rame lineage we have not been able to trace, but think that Elizabeth 
may have been a descendant of George Ram, who also came in the Abigail from 
London in 1635, aged 25, and her father may possibly have been a Simon Rame 
who was in New York in the latter part of the seventeenth and beginning of 
the eighteenth century. Mrs. Caroline F. Blackman of Norwich, a granddaughter 
of Capt. William and Elizabeth (Rame) Fountain, says that her great-grandmother's 
name was Basset, and we think she may possibly be Susanne Basset (b. 1689), 
daughter of Francis and Marie Madeleine (Nuquerque) Basset, French Huguenots, 
who fled from Marennes, France, to this country, and lived for a while both in 
New York and Boston. vSusanne Rame was a widow in 1737. 

Family tradition tells of the large property sacrificed in France for the sake 
of their religion, of their trials and persecutions. It is said that Elizabeth Rame 
was sent back to France for a while to be educated, and also to learn if anything 
could be recovered of their former estates, but found that they had been con- 
fiscated by the government, and that nothing could be secured unless she abjured 
the Protestant faith and became a Romanist. 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 309 

Mrs. Blackman remembers how her grandmother would often narrate to 
her grandchildren, the trials her ancestors endured, telling of the strict surveillance 
exercised over the Huguenot households, how the Bible was fastened open by- 
straps under the seat of a chair and how during family worship, watchers were 
stationed at the windows, and when the gendarmes were seen approaching, the 
chair was at once placed in position, with one of the family seated in it. She also 
remembers boxes, sent by the friends in France, containing silk gowns and many 
luxuries, and her grandmother would often say, " How little my friends know of 
our real needs in this new country I " In February, 1738-9, the house was sold to 
Thomas Danforth, and the Fountain family removed to the Landing, or Chelsea, 
where they afterward resided. In November, 1739, Thomas Danforth sells the 
house, shop, and land to Philip Turner (later known as Capt. Philip Turner), 
(b. 1 7 15), who came from Scituate, Mass., to Norwich, and married in 1739, Anne, 
(b. 1 7 15), widow of Thomas Adgate, 3rd, and daughter of Daniel and Abigail 
(Bingham) Huntington. Philip Turner was the son of Philip and Elizabeth 
(Nash) Turner, and great-grandson of Humphrey Turner, a prominent citizen of 
Scituate, Mass. Miss Caulkins writes of " the enviable popularity Capt. Turner " 
soon acquired among his new associates, performing the duties of constable, 
selectman, and captain of the troop of horse, a spirited band of young men, in 
whose parades and exercises he took great pride. He was active in all works for 
public improvement, and was one of the chief agents of the town in opening the 
two avenues to the Landing, and in the laying out of Water Street. In 1752, he 
was a member of the General Assembly. But alas ! this active and useful career 
was cut short by his death in 1755, ^^ the age of thirty-nine. His widow married 
for a third time, in 1757, Capt. Joshua Abel. Five children were born to Anne 
and Philip Turner, of whom, the second son, Philip, became a distinguished surgeon. 

After the death of Capt. Turner, the house was sold in 1757 to Joseph 
Peck. The shop is not mentioned in the deed of sale, so may have disappeared. 

Joseph Peck (b. 1706), was the son of Benjamin Peck, a wealthy resident of 
Franklin, and a great-grandson of Henry Peck, who came in 1633, in the ship 
Hector to Boston, and later in 1638 with Gov. Eaton, the Rev. John Davenport 
and others to make a settlement at New Haven. Joseph married in 1729, Hannah, 



3IO OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

daughter of Richard and Thankful ( ) Carrier of Colchester, Ct. She died 

in 1741-2, and he married (2) in 1742, Elizabeth Edgerton, who died in 1753. In 
1754, he married for a third wife, Elizabeth, widow of Joseph Carpenter of 
Norwich, and daughter of Nathaniel and Ann (Backus) Lathrop. It is shortly 
after this marriage that he buys this house of Capt. Philip Turner. He possibly 
enlarges the house, and keeps a tavern here until shortly before his death in 
1776. At that time he is not living in the inn, but in the house next door. 

This inn was one of the three celebrated taverns on the Green, and some 
old people still remember the large old elm which stood in front of the house, 
among the boughs of which was built a platform or arbor, approached by a wooden 
walk from one of the upper windows. From this high station, the orators of 
the day held forth on public occasions, and here tables were set, and refresh- 
ments served. 

"On June 7, 1768, an entertainment was given at Peck's tavern, adjoining 
Liberty Tree, to celebrate the election of Wilkes to Parliament. The principal 
citizens, both of town and Landing, assembled on this festive occasion. All the 
furniture of the table, such as plates, bowls, tureens, tumblers and napkins were 
marked "No. 45." This was the famous number of the "North Briton," edited 
by Wilkes, which rendered him so obnoxious to the ministry. The Tree of Liberty 
was decked with new emblems, among which, and conspicuously surmounting the 
whole, was a flag emblazoned with "No. 45, Wilkes and Liberty." 

"In September of that year, another festival was held at the same place, 
in mockery of the pompous proceedings of the Commissioners of Customs, appointed 
for the colonies by the British ministry. These Commissioners had published a 
list of holidays to be observed by all persons in their employ, and among them 
was "September 8th," the anniversary of the date of their commission. The 
citizens of Norwich were resolved to make it a holiday also. At the conclusion 
of the banquet, toasts were drank, and at the end of everyone was added : — 

"And the 8th of September." 
Thus:- 

" The Kinj^ and the Sth of September." 

" Wilkes and Liberty and the Sth of September" 

" The famous y2, and the Sth of September." 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 311 

Songs were also sung with tliis chorus ; nor did the assembly disperse 
without indignant speeches made against ' British mis-government ' and the 
disgrace of wearing a foreign yoke."* 

In 1774, John AVheatley, who had formerly kept a boot and shoe shop on 
the opposite side of the Green, moved to the Peck Tavern, " lately kept by Joseph 
Peck," and it is perhaps about this time, that the latter moved to the Cleveland 
house next door. 

John Wheatley (b. 1748), was the son of Capt. John Wheatley, who married 
in 1743, Submit, widow of Aaron Cook, and daughter of Benjamin Peck of 
Franklin. Capt. John Wheatley served as paymaster in the expedition to 
Havana; was living in 1760 at Bozrah, and in 176S at a place called "Coase." 
We have found no record of the marriage of John Wheatley, 2nd. He was a Second 
Lieutenant in Col Samuel Selden's Regiment in the Revolutionary war, was taken 
prisoner at the battle of Harlem Heights in Sept., 1776, and died soon after. His 
estate was settled by his widow, Jane, and his brother, Andrew Wheatley. In 
December, 1776, '' De O Dad Liddle " (as the Packet announces), is keeping the 
tavern, and offers " brown sugar, and molasses " for sale. 

Deodat Little (b. 1750), was the son of the Rev. Ephraim Little of Colchester, 
Ct., and his wife, Elizabeth Woodbridge, daughter of the Rev. Samuel and Mabel 
(Russell) (Hubbard) Woodbridge of East Hartford, Ct. Deodat's mother, Elizabeth 
Woodbridge, "ye vertuous consort of ye Rev'' Mr. Ephraim Little," as her grave- 
stone announces, 

" So Pious, Prudent, Patient, and Kind, 
Her Equall mayn't be left behind," f 

died when Deodat was only four years old. Deodat married possibly previous 
to his arrival in Norwich, as the baptisms of several of his children are recorded 
here. In 1781, he was a resident of New London, and afterward lived both in 
East Windsor and Ellington, Ct. 

In 17S4, Jonathan Trott, "a fiery old patriot" (as the Hon. Charles Miner 
calls him), was keeping the tavern. Mr. Miner writes in his letter, declining the 



* Miss Caulkins" History of Norwich. 

fFrom "The Woodbridge Record," compiled by Donald G. Mitchell from papers left by 
the late Louis Mitchell, formerly of Norwich, Ct. 



312 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

invitation to the Norwich Bi-Centennial celebration: "Consciousness of memory- 
is first awakened to the shouts of triumph, and the thundering of cannon at the 
old Peck house, when peace was declared in 1784." An old lady, living in 1865, 
remembered the great crowds ^f people assembling on the plain, "their joyous 
greetings and congratulations, the shaking of hands, the waving of flags, firing, 
drumming, shouting, and the large bonfires at night. The following Sabbath, the 
church was filled with a dense crowd, all in their best array, smiling and happy. 
The choir of singers appeared with brilliant decorations, and sung an ode adapted 
to the occasion, in the tune of Worcester, of which the following was the opening 
stanza : " — 

" Behold a radiant light! ^ 

And by divine command, 
Fair Peace, the child of Heaven descends 
To this afflicted land." * 

When peace was again declared after the war of 18 12, Norwich (according 
to Miss Caulkins), was in a tumult of excitement. "Rockets flew up from the 
hills, salutes were fired from the ships in the river, and these were echoed from 
the fortresses at New London, and these again were responded to from the British 
blockading squadron at the mouth of the river." f 

A letter written by a Norwich citizen in March, 18 15, mentions a commem- 
oration ball given at Norwich in that month, at which 180 persons were present, 
and another at New London, where there were 500 guests, including 40 English 
officers. A dinner was also given at Norwich Town, where 100 persons "sat down 
at the table, and ratified the peace with all the requisite formalities." The letter 
also alludes to a ball, which Admiral Hotham was expected to give in the follow- 
ing week, on his ship vSuperb, but we are unable to say whether this took place 
or not. 

In 1787, the year in which Capt. Bela Peck was married to Betsey Billings, 
we think that he probably moved with his bride to his father's former tavern. 
In that year, Newcomb Kinney advertises that he will open a school " in a large, 
convenient room in Capt. Bela Peck's house." In 1829, the house was occupied by 



*f Miss Caulkins' History of Norwich. 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 313 

Samuel Claghorn. In 1851, the heirs of Bela Peck sell the house to Nathan D. 
Morgan. It is now occupied by Edwin LaPierre. 

Jonathan Trott was possibly identical with a Jonathan Trott who was a 
jeweller in Boston in 1772, and whose genealogy is given by Edward Doubleday 
Harris in the N. E. Historical and Genealogical Register for January, 1889. He 
married Lydia (b. 1736), daughter of John and Lydia (Richards) Proctor of Boston 
and New London. His daughter, Abigail, married Dr. Philemon Tracy in 1785. 
A son, John Proctor Trott, married in 1796 Lois Chapman, daughter of Joseph 
and Elizabeth (Abel) Chapman, and another son, George Washington Trott, 
married (i) in 1806 Sally Marvin, daughter of Gen. Elihu Marvin, and (2) Lydia 
Chapman, sister of his brother's wife. Miss Caulkins writes of the long sixteen 
days' journey, which Lydia Chapman made in the month of February, iSoo, 
when, "the only female in a considerable party of emigrants," she went out with 
her younger brothers to the Wyoming Valley, Penn., to join her father, who had 
emigrated to that region shortly before. " Not a murmur escaped her, and her 
noble patience and cheerful hope animated and sustained her companions." Her 
husband, George W. Trott, was afterward a physician in Wilkesbarre, Pa. * 



Miss Caulkins' History of Norwich. 




'i 



"^*^<- 









CHAPTER LVIII. 



IT is possible that the " Great Room " or kitchen, and " the Lentoo " of the old 
Fitch or Knight house were added in 1734 to the house, then erected by 
Sylvanus Jones, on land purchased of Andre Richard, but of this we have no 
positive proof. 

Sylvanus Jones (b. 1707), was the son of Caleb Jones, one of the first settlers 
of Hebron, Ct., and his wife Rachel, daughter of John Clark of Farmington, Ct. 
He married in 1730 Kesiah, daughter of Isaac and Elizabeth (Curtis) Cleveland, 
and died in 1791. He had eight children, and at his death, his son, Ebenezer, 
becomes the owner of the house and land. 

Ebenezer Jones (b. 1744), married in 1765, Elizabeth Rogers, and had three 
daughters, one of whom, Lucy (b. 1766), marries Henry J. Cooledge, and another, 
Rachel (b. 1771), becomes in 1793 the wife of Asa Lathrop, Jun. Louisa, daughter 
of Lucy (Jones) Cooledge, marries in 1832 Charles Avery of New London, and 
her daughter, Mrs. Harriet Robinson, now owns and occupies the house. 

We do not know the occupation of Sylvanus, but Ebenezer was a cooper, 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 315 

and Mr. Miner pictures him " with his adz and double driver, holding it in the 
middle, and playing it rapidly on the empty barrel, as he drives the hoop, sounding 
a reveille to the whole neighborhood regular as the strains of Memnon." His 
shop stood south of the house and a little back from the street. 

To enter into all the exchanges of property between the Jones lot and the 
burying-ground lane, would be not only tiresome, but very bewildering, so we will 
make the account as brief as possible. In 1739, William Witter sells to Thomas 
Danforth, land adjoining the Jones lot (frontage 10 rods) ; in 1737, to Joshua Prior, 
the next frontage of 4 rods; in 1739, to Jonathan Wickwire, the next 2 rods 
of frontage; and to Joshua Prior in 1734, the land beyond this, abutting west on 
the Green 7 rods, and south on the highway to the " burying-place." 

In 1742, Thomas Danforth sells to Philip Turner the north part of his 
purchase (frontage 4 rods). In 1740, he sells the next three rods of frontage, with 
a shop upon it, to John Manly, and in 1744, his remaining 3 rods of frontage, 
with another shop (which he has probably built), to William Morgan, Jun., of 
Groton, Ct. Philip Turner sells the upper part of the land purchased of Thomas 
Danforth (frontage 30 feet), to George Wickwire in 1753. On this, the latter has 
built a house, which he sells in 1765, to Ebenezer Jones. This is later occupied 
as a shoe-shop by Asa Lathrop, Jun., the son-in-law of Ebenzer Jones, and again 
as a dwelling by Eliphaz Hart, who is living in it in 1823, when it is sold by 
Lucy Cooledge to Capt. Bela Peck. 

George Wickwire (b. 1727-8), was the son of Peter and Patience (Chappell) 
Wickwire of New London, North Parish (or Montville). The family of Jonathan 
Wickwire (an uncle of George), also appeared at this time in Norwich. George 
Wickwire married in 1749-50, Elizabeth Culver, perhaps a daughter of John 
Culver. John Wickwire, the grandfather of George, was an early settler at 
Montville. His wife was Mary, daughter of George Tongue, who kept an inn at 
New London, on the bank between the present Pearl and Tilley Streets. One of 
the daughters of George Tongue married Fitz John Winthrop. At her death, 
she left legacies "to sister Wickwire's children." 

The remainder of Philip Turner's purchase (about 2 rods frontage), comes 
into the possession of William Morgan in 1747. John Manly's land and shop 



3i6 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

(frontage 3 rods), is sold in 1746 to William Morgan, who, as we learned before, 
had acquired possession of the Danforth shop and land in 1744. The land pur- 
chased of William Witter by Joshua Prior, comes into Morgan possession in 1740. 
William Morgan came from Groton to Norwich, either in the latter part of 1744 
or the beginning of the year 1745, and built a house between this time and 1752. 
At this latter date, James Noyes Brown is occupying the house. In 1752, the 
Danforth and Manly shops have disappeared. In 1750, William Morgan sells land 
(frontage 3 rods, 15 14 feet), and a barn at the north of his lot, just south of 
where the Wickwire house later stood, to Daniel Needham, who in 1752 sells it 
to James Noyes Brown (formerly of Newport, R. I.), who also buys of William 
Morgan the lower part of the Morgan lot (frontage 64 feet), on which he builds 
a shop. 

James Noyes Brown belonged to an old Rhode Island family. He was the 
gr.-gr.-grandson of Chad Brown, and through his mother and paternal grandmother 
was the descendant of four Rhode Island governors : Jeremiah Clark, Peleg and 
John Sanford, and William Coddington. His mother was the granddaughter of 
the Rev. James Noyes of Stonington, Ct. 

James Noyes Brown was married at Newport, R. I., in 1751 to Robe Carr, 
and came to Norwich about 1752 with his widowed mother, Ann (Noyes) Brown, 
and possibly a sister, Mary, who married in 1755, Jacob Perkins of Norwich. A son 
and namesake was born and died in 1753, and his wife and mother died in 1754, 
the former in August, the latter in October, and in December of that year he 
married Mary, daughter of Joseph and Mary (Huntington) Carew. A second son, 
also named James Noyes Brown, was born in 1755, and died in April, 1756, and 
the father died in November of that year. The widow, Mary, married in 1767, 
Benjamin Huntington. 

In 1757, William 'Morgan* sells his house and remaining land to Nathan 
Stedman, who also buys the Brown lots. In 1764, Nathan Stedman sells his house 
and home-lot to Azariah Lathrop, ■' bounded north on George Wickwire, south on 
Jonathan Goodhue," and in 1770, Ebenezer Jones, who purchased in 1765, the 



* The genealogies of William Morgan and Nathan Stedman will be given in the history of 
the west end of the town, where they later resided. 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 



317 



Wickvvire house and land, sells also a small piece of the land on the south (frontage 
10 feet) to Azariah. 

Azariah Lathrop either altered and enlarged the old Morgan house, or 
built a new one, in which resided for a time his son, Dr. Gurdon Lathrop (b. 1767), 




who graduated at Yale in 1787, and married in 1791, Lucy, daughter of Dr. Philip 
and Lucy (Tracy) Turner. 

Gurdon Lathrop was a merchant in 1791, in the former shop of Dudley 
Woodbridge, across the green. In the same year he moves to the " Perit " store 
on the corner of the burying-ground lane, and again to a new shop near his 
dwelling house. He was later either a druggist or doctor (as he bore that title), 
and moved to New York, where he died In 1828. 

Gerard Lathrop (b. 1778), fourth son of Azariah, married in 1809 Mary Ely, 
daughter of the Rev. Zebulon Ely of Lebanon, Ct. At the death of Azariah 
Lathrop in 1810, "the large mansion house" (the one now owned by Mrs. Peter 
Lanman), is willed to Gerard, and the land on the north to Gurdon, who sells 
it to his brother in 181 1. 



3i8 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

Gerard Lathrop had seven children, three of whom were born in Norwich. 
In 1814, he conveys his property in Norwich to his brother-in-law, Rev. Ezra 
Stiles Ely of Philadelphia, and later resides in Savannah and New York City. 
The house had then for many years a variety of tenants. Capt. Elisha Lefifingwell 
resided here for a time. In 1S23, it was sold to Capt. Bela Peck. In 1853, it 
passed into the possession of the Lanman family, and is still owned by the widow 
of Peter Lanman, who occasionally resides here. When the property of Gerard 
Lathrop was conveyed to Rev. E. S. Ely in 1814, there was standing on the lot 
a "red shop," the property of Abigail, widow of Azariah Lathrop. We think this 
was possibly the former shop of James Noyes Brown. It has since disappeared. 
It probably stood on the site of the house now occupied by Anthony Peck. 




CHAPTER LIX. 



THE land (frontage 3^ rods), on which now stands the store of Herbert 
Hale, is sold in 1736, by Joshua Prior (who, in 1734, purchased it of William 
Witter), to Alexander Stewart, and by Stewart to Jonathan Wickwire in 1737. 
Jonathan Wickwire purchased in 1739, the land north of this (2 rods frontage), 
on which he must have built a house. In 1740, he sells both these lots of land, 
with a house and shop, to William Morgan. An old well, with crotch pole, &c., 
belongs to the property, but stands on "the common," south-west of the house. 
William Morgan sells this house and shop to Jonathan Goodhue in 1742. 

In 1735, Joshua Prior sells the land (frontage 3^ rods), on the corner of 
the lane to the "burying-place ; " to Samuel Waterman, and here the latter has 
already built a shop. In 1736, Samuel Waterman sells the land to William Hyde, 
and after this date the shop is no longer mentioned, though the land is several 
times bought and sold. In 1745, it is purchased by William Morgan, who sells it 
in the same year to Jonathan Goodhue. 

Samuel Waterman (b. 1712), is the son of John and Judith (Woodward) 
Waterman. After 1736, we have no further knowledge of him. His parents 
resided in the house, formerly the home of the Rev. Mr. Fitch. 



320 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 



Jonathan Goodhue we believe to be the son of Joseph and Abigail Goodhue, 
of Ipswich, Mass., and a descendant of Dea. William Goodhue of that town. He 
probably came to Norwich about 1742, when he purchased this house and shop 
of William Morgan. He also leased of Joseph Waterman in 1747, for a term 
of fifty years, the island in the river at the north part of " No-man's Acre," near 
Bingham's mill-dam, where he erected works for grinding scythes. He died in 
1760. The Goodhues of Ipswich were profoundly religious people, and so was 
Jonathan, if we may judge from the inventory of his library, which included 
such works as Flavel's " Meditations," the " Imitation of Christ," Vincent on the Day 
of Grace, the " Day of Doom," Dr. Edwards' Book of Prayer, &c., &c. Four 
children were born in Norwich, and one of the sons, David Goodhue, (then of 
Simsbury, Ct.), sells the house and land to John Perit in 1771. 

John Perit was a descendant of Peter or Pierre Peyret (or Peiret), one of 
the first Huguenot pastors in America, who was the grandson and namesake of 
a Protestant officer, who distinguished himself by bravery at the siege of Mas 
d' Azil. He came to America about 1687 in the ship Robert from London. Family 
tradition says that he escaped from France by being carried aboard ship concealed 
in a meal-sack. He was a preacher for seventeen years in the French church at 
New York, died in 1704, and lies buried in Trinity Church grave-yard, where a 
stone, with the following inscription, in both Latin and French, marks his resting- 
place : — 



Ci - git - le - reverent - Mr Pierre - Peirete - 
M : D - St . Ev - qui - chasse -de - France pour 
la - religion - a preche - la - parole -de - Dieu - 
dans - 1 ' Eglise - Francoise -de - cette - ville - 
pendant - environ - 17 - ans - avec - 1 appro - 
bation - generale - et - qui - apres - avoir 
vescu - comme - il - avoit - preche - jusques - 
a - 1 age - de - 60 - ans - 11 - remit - avec une - 
proffonde - humilite - son - esprit - entre - 
les - mains -de - Dieu - le - i - Septembre - 
1704. 



Hie - jacet - reverd - Dom - Petrus - Per - 
rieterus - V - D - M - qui - ex - Gallia - religi 
onis - causa - expulsis - verbum - Dei - in - 
hujus - ci vitatis - ecclesia - Gallicana - per - 
annos - 1 7 - cum - generale - approbatione - 
proedicavit - quique - cum - vitam - proedi - 
cationibus - suis - conformem - duxeret - 
usque - ad - 60 - aetatis - suae - annum - tan - 
dem - in - manus - Domini - spiritum - hu - 
militer - deposuit - i - mens - Sept - ann - 
Dom - 1704. 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 



321 



The wife of the Rev. Pierre Peiret was Marguerite de Grenier la Tour, 
des \"erriers de Gabre. His son, Peter Peiret, joined the French colony at Milford, 
married Mary Bryan, daughter of Capt. Samuel and Martha (Whiting) Bryan of 
Milford ; and in 1709, acted as clerk of the expedition to Canada imder Col. 
William AVhiting, writing the journal and letters, and drawing up the orders for 
the troops. He died before 17 15, and letters of administration were granted to 
the widow, Mary "Pieritt," with the guardianship of the two minor children: 
Peter, aged 8, and Margaret, aged 6 years. 

The third Peter Perit married in 1734 Abigail wShepherd, daughter of John 
and Abigail (Allen) Shepherd. He built the wharf, now called the "Town 
Wharf " in Milford, and sent a ship to Bordeaux, France, after a cargo of wine. 
She made a good voyage, and got safely as far as Newport, R. I., but in attempting 
to pass through Fisher's Island Sound, was wrecked, and her valuable cargo lost.* 

John Perit of Norwich was the son of Peter Perit, 3rd, and was born about 
1738. He served as ensign of the Third Company, Second Regiment, in the 




French war in 1761, and in 1762 as Second Lieutenant. Shortly after he came 
to Norwich, and in 1771 bought the Goodhue property. Whether the old gambrel- 



* Lambert's History of New Haven Colony. 



322 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

roofed building on the corner of the burying-groiind lane was included among the 
buildings mentioned in the deed of sale, or was later built by John Perit, we are 
unable to say, but in this building, he for some years carried on a mercantile 
business. It is probable that in 1775 ^^^ raised an independent company to march 
to the relief of Boston, for the General Assembly in that year grant to the men 
in Boston under the command of Capt John Perit, the same pay as the regularly 
commissioned troops. In 1779, he marries Ruth Webster, who came with her 
father, Pelatiah Webster, to visit in Norwich in 1776. The latter was a citizen 
of Philadelphia, and a distinguished writer on financial and political matters, 
who, for his strong and outspoken patriotism was imprisoned for a time by the 
British during their occupation of Philadelphia, and a part of his property con- 
fiscated. In 1786, John Perit leaves Norwich, resides for a while in Scotland, 
Conn., and dies in Philadelphia in 1795. He left five children: John Webster 
Perit, who married Margaretta Dunlap of Philadelphia, and resided in that city ; 
Pelatiah, who for many years was President of the Chamber of Commerce in 
New York City ; Rebecca, who married Joshua Lathrop, and resided in Le Roy, 
N. Y. ; and Maria, who married Charles P. Huntington of Norwich. The widow, 
Ruth (Webster) Perit, married in New Haven in 1799, Col. Christopher Leffingwell 
of Norwich, and died in the latter place in 1840. 

In 1786, the Perit house is sold to Asa Spalding, who resides here until he 
moves to the Gov. Huntington house in iSoi. In 1815, Luther Spalding sells the 
house, office and barn to the State for county uses, and the land between the 
house and Perit shop for a jail lot. The jail, erected at that time, remains 
standing tmtil the courts are moved to the Landing, and is then shortly 
after burnt to the ground. The Perit house becomes the home of the jailer and, 
from a tree in front, hangs a sign of two crossed keys. In 1S35, the county 
house and jail lot are sold to William Cleveland, who builds for his son-in-law, 
George D. Fuller (the husband of his daughter Susan), the store now occupied by 
Herbert W. Hale. The Perit house passes into the possession of Henry Harland, 
whose heirs retain it for a while. It is then sold, and of late years has had 
many occupants. 

We think that in 1789, Alexander McDonald may have occupied the Perit 




.VebsLer ) ( Peril ) L eff ingwell . 



_\Vir£ OF John Pcrit 5 later of Col. Chris. Leffingwe., 
17 55-1840. 

PAINTED BY BASS 0TI5. 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 323 

shop, as a bookseller and book-binder, but it is possible that his location " a few 
rods north of the court house " may refer to the Woodbridge shop. Gurdon 
Lathrop establishes himself in the Perit shop for a while in ijqf, after leaving 
the Woodbridge shop across the green. His stock consists of a general assort- 
ment of goods, from groceries, hardware, " Russel, Calimanco, and Lasting Shoes," 
shawls, dress goods, &c., to annotated editions of the Bible. In 1793, ^^'''S shop is 
sold to Asa Spalding. In 1794, Gurdon Lathrop moves to a new shop two doors 
from the corner, and Simon Carew transfers his stock of books from a former 
stand to the Perit shop in 1795. ^^ i8or, Joseph and Charles P. Huntington are 
for a while located here. In 1817, the shop comes into the possession of William 
Cleveland, and after his death, this and the adjoining land and store are deeded 
by the Cleveland heirs to George D. Fuller. At the present time, the upper part 
of this building is occupied as a dwelling and the meat-market of Lucius Fenton 
is located in the basement. 

The lane, leading by the market, was laid out in 1699, as an approach to 
the one and a half acres, which were at the same time "set apart " for "the burying 
place." In 1704, the town grants liberty to Mr. Woodward "to flood the burying 
place till the town sees cause to fence it in by itself." According to Miss 
Caulkins, " the first persons interred in this lot were Dea. Simon Huntington, 
who died in 1706, and his grandson, Simon, who died of the bite of a rattlesnake, 
received while mowing in an adjoining lot in 1707. In 17 14-15, a committee is 
appointed to lay out the burying place. In 1734, the inhabitants declare by their 
vote that the Burying Place, adjoining to the Lott that was Mr. Gookins, shall 
be laid open to the Common from and after the ist of September next." Miss 
Caulkins says in her History of Norwich, "that in 177S some French troops, on 
the route from Providence to the south, halted in Norwich for 10 or 15 days 
on account of sickness. They had their tents spread upon the plain, while the 
sick were quartered in the court house. About 20 died, and were buried each 
side of the lane that led into the old burying yard. No stones were set up, and 
the ground was even smoothed over, so as to leave no trace of the narrow tene- 
ments below." 

In Dr. Lord's sermon, preached in 1778, he alludes to "20 French prisoners 



324 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 



from New York who died here in a few weeks." This may have occurred at 
the time when Gen. Glover's Irish brigade, under the command of Lafayette, 
remained for three days in town in that year, though the Packet makes no alhi- 
sion to any deaths at the time. 

In 1796, additional land was purchased of Azariah Lathrop, and again in 
1819, of the estate of Simeon Huntington. At this latter date, the other entrance 
lane was laid out, adjoining the property of Charles Young. In the beginning of 
this century, two Indians died suddenly on the same day, one a Mohegan, the 
other a Pequot. The funeral services were held on the square opposite the court- 
house, and graves side by side were prepared for them in this burying-ground, 
but when the time for interment arrived, the Mohegan Indians refused to allow 
one of their race to lie beside a hated Pequot. So strong was the feeling among 
those rival races, even at that late day. 





John Peric. 

5ow or Johns Rl'Th iV/ebster) PriRi 

1781-18^5. 



CHAPTER LX. 

CCUPYING all the land on the south side of the Green, was the home-lot 
of Maj. Mason of 8 acres, " more or less," abutting north, north-west and 
east on the highways, south on the river and west on the land of Thomas 
Waterman. No measurements are given in the record, nor in the sale of the 
land to the town in 1698. The street line, beginning by the river, extended along 
the road leading from the present railroad depot, then by the Green, and the 
Bean Hill road, to a point beyond the residence of Mrs. Hoffman. 

Maj. John Mason, the pioneer of the Norwich settlement to whom the 
people looked for counsel and protection, was born in England about 1601. He 
is said to have been a relative of John Mason, the New Hampshire patentee, but 
his parentage and birthplace are unknown. The first knowledge we have of 
him is in 1630, when he was serving as a lieutenant in the army of the Nether- 
lands. It is possible that at that time he was associated with the future 
commander of the Parlimentary army. Sir Thomas Fairfax, who, as a young 
man of 18, served for several months in the Netherlands in the spring and 
summer of 1630. About fifteen years after, in 1645, Sir Thomas Fairfax was 
made commander-in-chief of the Parliamentary forces, and wrote to Maj. Mason 
offering him the position of Major General, which honor Major Mason declined. 
In 1632, Major Mason appeared at Dorchester, Mass., and is commissioned 
by the Massachusetts Colony, in company with Capt. John Gallup, to search for a 
pirate named Dixey Bull, who had been committing depredations on the coast. 
In 1634, he was one of a committee to plan the fortifications of Boston harbor, 
and was placed in charge of a battery on Castle Island. In 1635, he was a Rep- 
resentative to the General Court from Dorchester, and shortly after comes to 
Connecticut, with the colony that settled Windsor in 1636. In April, 1637, the 



326 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

Pequot Indians made an attack on Wethersfield, and the General Court, alarmed 
for the safety of the new settlements, declared war against them on May ist. 

By May loth, an army of 90 men had been raised, which, under the com- 
mand of Maj. Mason, sailed to Saybrook, and arriving on the 17th, was there 
wind-bound for two days. The Court instructions were to land at the mouth of 
the Pequot river, but Mason, finding that the Indians had heard of this intention, 
concluded to act according to his own judgment, go on to Narragansett and 
approach them from the rear, though in his written account of the expedition, he 
advises others not " to act beyond their commission, or contrary to it ; for in so 
doing, they run a double hazard." He also counsels the government " not to bind 
up" their military leaders "into too narrow a compass. For it is not possible for 
the wisest and ablest senators to forsee all accidents and occurrences, that fall out 
in the management and pursuit of a war." 

At Saybrook, they were joined by Capt. Underbill and 19 men, and 20 
of the former band were sent back to guard the settlements. The small army 
of 90 men sailed from Saybrook on Friday, the 19th, reaching their landing place 
on Saturday, the 20th. They kept the Sabbath day aboard ship, and were pre- 
vented from landing on Monday by a storm, but on Tuesday evening, the 23rd, 
Capt. Mason and Capt. Underbill with 77 men disembarked, leaving the others 
in charge of the vessels. They were joined by 60 Mohegans and several hundred 
Narragansetts, in all about 500 Indians, who, with the exception of Uncas and a 
Niantic Sachem named Wequash, all deserted before they reached their destination, 
where they arrived on the 25th. 

The Pequot fort, which they were going to attack, covered a circular area 
of one or two acres, and was surrounded by a palisade 10 or 12 feet high, formed 
of trunks of trees, driven into the ground. There were two openings, on opposite 
sides, obstructed by light bushes or underbrush. Into these two entrances, on 
the 26th of May, two hours before daylight. Captains Mason and Underbill forced 
their way, each with sixteen men, the others remaining outside. The barking of 
a dog gave the alarm, and with the cry of " Owanux I Owanux 1 " the Indian name 
for Englishman, the startled Indians rushed from their wigwams. There was a 
confused firing of muskets and arrows, and Capt. Mason, seeing the need of 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 327 

immediate and decisive action, seized on a brand from one of the wigwams, and 
set fire to the mats, with which they were covered. The flames, fanned by a 
north-east wind, spread rapidly, driving Capt. Underbill and his men from the 
enclosure, and Capt. Mason also retired outside the fort, to be ready to intercept 
the Indians as they emerged. But out of 700 Indians, who were estimated to be 
in the fort at this time, only seven escaped and seven were taken captive. The 
rest were either shot or perished in the flames. 

As Capt. Mason says: "Thus did the Lord judge among the heathen, 
filling the place with dead bodies." Of the English, two were killed and twenty 
wounded. There were many providential escapes. Lt. Bull had an arrow shot 
into a hard piece of cheese in his pocket, which as the Captain writes, " may 
verify the old saying, 'A little armor would serve, if a man knew where to 
place it.' " The only surgeon had remained on board the ship, and there was no 
one to attend to the wounded. Major Mason writes : " Our provisions and muni- 
tion were spent ; we in the enemies country," — " our pinnaces at a great distance," 
and "when they would come, we were uncertain." 

But as they were debating what to do, they suddenly saw the ships sailing 
into Pequot harbor. Sassacus, and about 300 Pequots, appeared from the neigh- 
boring fort, and hovering in the rear of the English, obliged them to fight their 
way to the vessels, carrying their wounded comrades. After they were safely on 
board the vessels, there was some misunderstanding with Capt. Patrick, and Capt. 
Mason with twenty of his men landed, and returned on foot to Saybrook. They 
arrived the same day at the Connecticut river, where, as Capt. Mason says, they 
were " nobly entertained by Lieut. Gardiner with many great guns." On the 
next day they reached Saybrook, where they were "entertained with great 
triumph and rejoicing, and praising God for his goodness to us," for as the 
Captain adds : " It is He that hath made his work wonderful, and therefore 
ought to be remembered." 

The remainder of the Pequots, with their Sachem, Sassacus, set out to join 
the Indian tribes in central New York, but as they killed some white people on 
the way, Mason was sent to intercept them. He surrounded them in a swamp 
at Fairfield and killed or captured all but 70, who escaped to join the Mohawks, 



328 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

Thus, by his prompt and brave action, Capt. Mason secured for the Connecticut 
settlers immunity from Indian attack for a period of nearly forty years. 

On his return to Hartford, he was appointed chief military officer of the 
colony, with the rank of Major, which was equivalent to Major General, his only 
duty being to "traine the military inen in every plantation ten days in every yeere, 
soe as it be not in June or July." The salary was ^40 per annum. In 1654, he 
was ordered to hold a general review of all the train-bands once in two years. 

When Saybrook was transferred to the Connecticut Colony, Capt. Mason 
was appointed commander of the fort, and moved there in 1647. In the winter 
of that year, the fort, which was built of wood, caught fire, and was burnt to the 
ground, with the dwelling house connected with it. Captain Mason, his wife, and 
one of his children, barely escaped the flames. 

The New Haven colony contemplated at one time, making a settlement on 
the Delaware river, and urged Major Mason to be the leader of the expedition, 
but the Connecticut colony interposed, and prevailed upon him not to leave them. 
Not being able to secure the services of Major Mason, the New Haven people 
were obliged to relinquish their enterprise. By Uncas and the Mohegan Indians, 
Maj. Mason was loved and revered as a firm friend and protector, but to the 
other Indian tribes he was often severe, and as Roger Williams writes, "terrible." 
In public affairs, he was always a prominent figure, serving as Judge of the 
Courts, member of the Legislature, Commissioner, as arbitrator and agent in all 
Indian affairs. Deputy Governor for eight years, and Assistant. Miss Caulkins 
divides his life into four periods : — 

"Lieutenant and Captain at Dorchester, . . . 5>4 years. 

Conqueror of the Pequots, Kt Windsor, . . . 12 years. 
Magistrate and Major, ) 

Captain of the fort and . Ut Saybrook, 12 years. 

Commissioner of the United Colonies, \ . ^ ■' 

Deputy Governor and Assistant at Norwich, . . 12 years." 

On January 30, 1672, as Rev. Simon Bradstreet of New London writes in 
his journal : "Major John Mason, who had severall times been Deputy Govern' of 
Connecticut Colony, dyed. He was aged about 70. He lived the two or three 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 329 

last years of his life in exlream misery, with ye stone or strangury, or some 
such disease. He dyed with much comfort, and assur" it should be well with 
him." 

Trumbull, the historian, describes Maj. Mason as "tall and portly, full of 
martial fire" as one who "shunned no hardships, or dangers, in the defence and 
service of the colony." 

Norwich may well be proud of her founder, so brave and fearless, yet 
withal so modest, that he " forbears to mention " any especial matters relating to 
his own personal action in the encounter with the Pequots, "ascribing all blessing 
and praise " to God for the success which crowned his imdertaking ; so wise and 
prudent in counsel, that he advises that "matters of moment should be handled 
with ripe advice, poised consultation, and solid conclusions ;" though sometimes 
severe, yet always just in his judgments, and in religious controversies, suggesting 
that " we look up to God to help us see our evil, and great folly in our needless 
strife, and contention, and that we unfeignedly and heartily repent and speedily 
reform," 

At last, worn out with pain and suffering, when he can no longer labor for 
the public good, he resigns his honors and offices, ending his last letter to the 
General Assembly : — 

" Beseeching the God of Peace, who brought again from the dead the Lord 
Jesus, the great Shepherd of His Sheep, to make us perfect in every good word 
and work to do his will, into whose hands I commend you, and your mighty 
affairs, who am your afflicted yet real servant. John Mason." 

It is believed that Maj. Mason was twice married, as on the old Church 
Book of Windsor, among the list of deaths occurring before 1639, is mentioned 
"the Captain's wife," and at that time he was the only person in the settlement 
who bore that title. In July, 1639, he was married to Anne Peck (b. 1619), 
daughter of the Rev. Robert Peck of Hingham, Mass. 

This Rev. Robert Peck (b. 1580), was the son of Robert Peck, a wealthy 
citizen of Beccles, Suffolk Co., England. He graduated at Magdalen College, 
Cambridge, in 1599, and was ordained rector of St. Andrew's Church, Hingham, 



330 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

Co. Norfolk, England, in 1605. For "having catechised his family, and sung a 
psalm in his own house on a Lord's day evening, when some of his neighbors 
attended," he was so persecuted by the Bishop of the diocese that he fled to New 
England "with his wife, two children, and two servants," and became the Teacher 
of the church at Hingham, Mass. When the persecutions in England had ceased, 
he returned in 1641, and resumed his rectorship of St. Andrew's Church in 
Hingham, where he died in 1658. His wife, Anne, and his son, Joseph, returned 
with him, the former dying in 1648, and he married (2) Mrs. Martha Bacon, 
widow of James Bacon, Rector of Burgate. His daughter, Anne, remained in 
New England, as the wife of Major Mason. 

In the funeral sermon preached " upon the occasion of the Death and 
Decease of that piously affected, and truely Religious Matron, Mrs. Anne Mason," 
her son-in-law. Rev. James Fitch, calls upon us to " mark and behold her godly life 
and happy end." "It is a rare thing to behold such constant freshness of spirit, 
and affectionate esteeming of communion with God. O with what weakness, and 
trembling difficulty, and danger to health and life, did she many times come to 
the public ordinances, but she would purposely conceal her sickness, oftentimes 
from her near relations, lest in tenderness to her, they should hinder her from 
going to the publick ordinances. In respect of secret prayer, she had been so 
acquainted with that ordinance from a child, that she could not charge and 
accuse herself of any neglect, not so much as one time in thirty years." " Were 
I able to rehearse the many spiritual, weighty and narrow questions and discourses, 
I have heard from her, it would fill up a large book." "The Lord having gifted 
her with a measure of knowledge, above what is usual in that sex — as she had 
opportunities, by reason of her usefulness to the afflicted, so the Lord supplied 
her with a word in season. I need not tell you what a Dorcas you have lost — 
men, women and children are ready with weeping to acknowledge what works 
of mercy she hath done for them." 

The date of her death is unknown, but it is supposed that she died either 
in or before 1672, the year of her husband's death. They were both probably 
laid to rest with the other settlers, who died previous to 1700, in the old burying- 
ground near Bean Hill, but no stones have been found to mark their resting-place. 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 331 

Priscilla, Major Mason's eldest daughter by his second wife, married in 
1664, Rev. James Fitch as second wife ; the second daughter, Rachel, became in 

1678, the second wife of Charles Hill of New London. Anne married Capt. 
John Brown of Swansey, and Elizabeth, Capt. James Fitch. 

Samuel (b. 1644), married tor his second wife, his cousin, Elizabeth Peck, 
daughter of Joseph Peck, 2nd, of Rehoboth, Mass. Like his father, he was chosen 
Assistant, and also bore the title of Major. He settled early at Stonington, 
where he died in 1705. 

Daniel Mason, the third son (b. 1652), married (i) in 1676, Margaret, daughter 
of Edward and Elizabeth (Weld) Denison of Roxbury, Mass., and (2) in 1679, 
Rebecca Hobart, daughter of the Rev. Peter Hobart of Hingham, Mass. In 

1679, he filled the office of schoolmaster in Norwich, but soon after went to 
Stonington, where he died in 1736-7, aged 85. 

The Major's house and home-lot passed into the possession of his second 
son, John Mason, 2nd, (b. 1646), who early entered into public life, serving as 
deputy to the General Court in 1672, 1674 and 1675. He received his commission 
as Lieutentant of the train-band in 1672, and in 1675, was appointed Captain. 
In this latter year he was severely wounded in the great swamp fight, lingered 
until September of the next year, when he died at the age of 30. He was 
chosen Assistant the very year of his death. In the probate of his estate he is 
called "the worshipful John Mason." He married Abigail, daughter of the Rev. 
James and Abigail (Whitfield) Fitch and left two children : Anne, who married 
John Denison of Stonington, and John (b. 1673), afterward known as Capt. John 
Mason, 3rd. It is possible that the widow, Abigail, went to Lebanon to join her 
relatives after her husband's death, or perhaps her son may have moved there 
later. 

In 1698, Capt. John Mason, 3rd, (yeoman), of Lebanon, sells the house and 
home-lot to the town of Norwich. In 1699, when the committee were looking 
about for a parsonage, though this land is granted to Mr. Woodward, no house 
is mentioned as standing on the lot, and it may possibly have been burnt or 
destroyed. If the Major's old home had been standing, it is probable that it 
would have been used for a parsonage. 



332 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

Uncas had given to Major Mason, some time previous to the settlement of 
Norwich, a deed of all the Mohegan lands which were then not occupied by the 
tribe, and Capt. Mason later surrendered this to the General Court. After the 
death of Major Mason, his relatives claimed that this deed was only the convey- 
ance of land which the Major held in trust for the Indians, and prevailed upon 
the latter to urge their claims to the property. 

In the meantime a large part of these lands had been deeded to various 
settlers, and many courts were held in Stonington and Norwich to bring the 
contest to a settlement. No sooner, however, did the Courts of Commission 
decide in favor of the Colony, than the Masons would at once appeal to the 
King. However, in 1767, the English government gave a final decision in favor 
of the Colony and against the Indians. 

Capt. John Mason, 3rd, married (i) Anne, daughter of his uncle Samuel, 
and (2) in 1719, Anne (Sanford) Noyes, widow of Dr. James Noyes, and daughter 
of Gov. Peleg Sanford of Rhode Island. He moved from Lebanon to Stonington, 
then to Montville, where for a while he served as teacher of the Indians, made 
several journeys to England, and finally died in 1736, in London, where he had 
gone with Mahomet, grandson of Owaneco, for prosecution of the Indian claims. 



CHAPTER LXI. 

THE whole church were so united in their approbation of Mr. Benjamin Lord, 
who was called to preach "on tryal " in 1716, that they extended to him 
a unanimous call to be their pastor, with the offer of £^ 100 per annum, the use 
of the parsonage land formerly purchased of Stephen Gifford, and wood sufficient 
for his use to be dropped at his door, " provided he settle himself without charge 
to the town." He accepted the call, and was ordained Nov. 20, 17 17. He proceeded 
"to settle himself" by purchasing the Mason home-lot and erecting a house on 
a site * near the present residence of John Sterry. 

At his ordination, the Saybrook Platform was distinctly renounced, and 
from this time the relations of pastor and people were most harmonious. 
As Dr. Lord writes : " From a Massah and Meribah, a place of Temptation 
and Strife, this, in a good measure, became a Salem or place of Peace." In 1721, 
1735, and 1740, there were great revivals in the church. In 1744, the pastor and 
the majority of the people voted to adopt the Saybrook Platform, and again the 
church became greatly excited, and thirty members, one of whom was Deacon 
Joseph Griswold, left the church and formed the order known as Separatists. 
Others joined them, and soon they established a distinct church. 

From 1740 to 1772, Dr. Lord was a member of the Corporation of Yale 
College, and in 1774, he received the degree of D. D. He preached his half- 
century sermon on Nov. 29, 1767, from II. Peter i : 12-15. He was then 74 years 
old. In the fifty-fourth year of his ministry, at his request, a colleague was 
provided in Joseph Howe, who, however, left in 1773 to become the pastor of the 
New South Church of Boston. Another colleague was procured in 1777 : Joseph 
Strong of Coventry, Ct. In 1778, Dr. Lord delivered his sixty-first anniversary 



See pencil sketch of the Green. 



334 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

sermon. Both this and his first sermon were published. The sermon preached 
on his sixty-fourth anniversary was never printed. In his eighty-seventh year 
his eyesight failed, but he was still able to write his sermons, which his grand- 
daughter, Caroline, used to read over repeatedly to him, so that he was able to 
deliver them with ease, and some of these were considered by many as among 
the best of all his discourses. His mind was clear till the last, and, though feeble, 
he was still able to appear in the pulpit, and occasionally, with the help of his 
colleague, conduct the services. He preached for the last time " on the Thanks- 
giving subsequent to the restoration of peace to America, seemingly by a special 
Providence gratified in living to such a memorable period, which he had often 
expressed his wish to see." He died March 31, 1784, in the ninetieth year of his 
age, and the sixty-seventh of his ministry. 

His funeral sermon was preached by the Rev. James Cogswell of Windham, 
from I. Cor. 4 : i. Mr. Cogswell alludes to the beauty of Dr. Lord's character 
in old age, when " his meekness, humility, philanthropy, and heavenly mindedness 
were apparently increased, and he seemed to 

' Stand with his starry pinions on, 
Drest for the flight, and ready to be gone.' '' 

His funeral was "attended by a respectable number of his own profession, 
the gentlemen of the vSuperior Court, and their officers, together with a large con- 
course of people of almost every denomination, whose very countenance loudly 
expressed the general loss."* We learn from his obituary in the Norwich Packet, 
that "his talent at expounding the scriptures, and representing them in their true 
analogy was singular. The solemn, animated, and commanding manner of his 
public address was a distinguished part of his character, and exceeded by nothing, 
unless it was that spirit of prayer, which on every occasion dwelt upon his lips." 

" His first prayer, at morning service on the Sabbath, occupied the full run 
of the hour-glass at his side." How full of interest must this prayer have been 
to that part of the congregation, which came from the outlying districts, for in it 
was condensed all the news of the week, public and town events, " deaths, acci- 



* Norwich Packet. 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 335 

dents and storms." " In war time, his supplications and thanksgivings were so 
particular and specific, as to give the congregation the best information, that had 
been received of the progress of affairs. Notes were sent up to the pulpit, not 
only in cases of sickness and death, but by persons departing on a journey or 
voyage, and also on returning from the same. It is said that a petition was once 
sent up to the pulpit for public prayer in behalf of a man, gone, going or 
about to go to Boston."* 

According to the testimony of the Rev. Joseph Strong, " Dr. Lord was 
assiduous in visiting the sick and afflicted, a Barnabas to the dejected and feeble- 
minded, and very skillful in discriminating characters, and making proper applica- 
tions, and giving suitable advice in soul-troubles." 

Dr. Lord was small in stature, and in his old age his figure was bent, yet 
his face was said to have been attractive and pleasing. He had bright, keen, 
blue eyes, and was very neat and careful in his dress. He wore an imposing 
white wig, and silver buckles at his knees and on his shoes. A portrait of him 
is still extant in the possession of his gr.-gr.-grandson, John Bliss of Brooklyn, 
L. I., which represents him with hand raised as if in the act of preaching. 

Of his wig this tale is told, how John Rogers, the founder of the sect of 
Rogerenes, who regarded it as his duty to inveigh against the clergy, and 
especially the observance of the Sabbath, followed Dr. Lord to church one day, 
using abusive and insulting language, and when Dr. Lord arrived at the church- 
door, and taking off his hat disclosed his carefully adjusted wig, Rogers exclaimed : 
" Benjamin ! Benjamin ! Dost thou think that they wear white wigs in heaven ? " 

Though Dr. Lord lived to be so old, he was far from strong, and suffered 
all his life from pain and disease. His first wife, the daughter of Rev. Edward 
Taylor of Westfield, was also a great invalid. They were married for twenty- 
eight years, and during sixteen of these she was confined to her bed, and for 
eight years of that time unable to feed herself. Yet with all these trials. Dr. 
Lord was still able to attend to all his church duties, and in addition to his long 
weekly sermons, to prepare for publication eighteen pamphlets or sermons, preached 
on special occasions. 



*Miss Caulkins' History of Norwich. 



336 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

On his eighty-first birthday he writes in his diary : " It is a wonder to 
many, and especially to myself, that there are any remains of the man, and the 
minister at this advanced age, and that I am still able to preach with acceptance 
to my numerous assembly. It is much that I have survived two former climacterics, 
in which many have died, and ministers not a few, and still more, that I have 
lived to this greater climacteric, nine times nine. But the climax is at hand — 
the certain crisis. Death has not gone by me, not to come upon me." 

On his eighty-third birthday he alludes to his being the oldest preaching 
minister in the State, yet considers himself but "a babe and dwarf in religion," 
in proportion to its high demands. On the eighty-fifth anniversary of his birth 
he writes : " Oh, my soul hast thou on the garment of salvation, both inherent 
and imported righteousness, the one to qualify for heaven, the other to give the 
title ! Art thou the subject of that effectual calling, which is both the fruit and 
proof or evidence of election ? " * 

His tombstone in the old burying ground bears the following inscription : 
" In memory of the Rev"" Benj" Lord D. D. Blessed with good natural abilities, 
improved from a liberal Education and refined by Grace, he early dedicated him- 
self to the sacred office, tho' incumbered through life with much bodily infirmity, 
he executed the social duties of his charge, in a manner which was acceptable 
and usefull. In 17 14, he had conferr'd upon him the highest honors of Yale 
College, after having been the faithfull Pastor of the ist Ch. of Ch' in Norwich 
for 67 years, he departed this life, March 31st, 1784, M, 90 - tho' now unconscious 
in Death may the living hear (or seem to hear) from him the following address. 

' Think, Christians, think ! 
You stand on vast Eternity's dread brink 
Faith and Repentance, Piety and Prayer 
Despise this world, the next be all your care, 
Thus while my Tomb the solemn silence breaks, 
And to the eye, this cold dumb marble speaks. 
Tho' dead I preach, if e'en with ill success 
Living I strove th' important truths to press, — 
Your precious, your immortal souls to save, 
Hear me at least, O hear me from my Grave.' " 



* Miss Caulkins' History of Norwich. First Edition. 



mmm 




r ^ 



S^ 9 ^ 



IflHHaaffMMiMli 



Rev. Benjamin Lord. 

1692 - 1784. 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICM. 337 

As we turn from this inscription to the portrait, where the hand is raised, 
as if in admonition, we can still "hear (or seem to hear)" the old pastor, with 
his slow, impressive manner, preaching to the people, of whom he said, " I have 
lived in their hearts, and they in mine." The marble slab, with its conventional 
grotesque cherub's head carving, has been removed from this tombstone, and 
ground to powder within the last two years. 

The Hon. John T. Wait gives this little anecdote, to show that the good 
parson did not entirely despise the things of this world. He was invited out to 
dine on a Thanksgiving day, at the house of one of his deacons, who was troubled 
with a slight impediment of speech. Beginning to hesitate in his blessing, which 
was rather lengthy. Dr. Lord at once turned his plate over, and said, " Deacon, 
this is no time to hesitate, when the turkey is cooling." 

Ann Taylor (b. 1697), the first wife of the Rev. Benj. Lord, was the 
daughter of Rev. Edward Taylor of Westfield, and his second wife Ruth Wyllis. 
Through her mother, she was descended from two Connecticut governors : Gov. 
John Haynes and Gov. George Wyllis. The second wife of Dr. Lord was Elizabeth, 
widow of Henry Tisdale of Newport, R. L. who died in New York shortly after 
her marriage. His third wife was Abigail Hooker, possibly daughter of Nathaniel 
and Mary (Standley) Hooker, and great-granddaughter of Rev. Thomas Hooker. 
She died in 1792, aged 86. 

It will be interesting to know how a minister's wife attired herself a little 
more than 100 years ago, so here are a few items of Abigail's inventory. For 
gowns, she had among others, "a brown damask," a green "tabby," and a black 
"taffety," a "grogram," and a black "padusoy," and a "green full suit," and a "red- 
dish-colored silvereth." She had 26 aprons in all, among which were 12 Holland 
aprons and one of black silk ; of cloaks, to choose from, she had one of black satin, 
one small black "padusay," and one black velvet fringed cloak. She had also a 
flowered gauze shade, a crimson cloth riding-hood trimmed with red, two lute- 
string hoods with gauze, a velvet hood with lace, a black silk bonnet and a gauze 
scarf, besides 23 caps. Then she had fans of black gauze, of paper, ivory, and bone, 
six silvered girdles, gloves of black silk, leather, and white-leather, and white mitts, 
red and blue silk stockings, silk clogs, three strings of gold beads, and a pair of stays. 



338 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

In his will, the Rev. Benjamin Lord gives to his widow the use of the 
house for life, and he then divides the house and home-lot (frontage 8 rods, 4 
links), between his sons, Benjamin and Ebenezer, the west half to the former, the 
east part to the latter. The east end of the former Mason lot, where the new 
school-house now stands, with a frontage of 17 rods on the highway to the river, 
and of 4 rods, 4 links, on the Green is given to his daughter, Elizabeth. The 
west part, where the Sterry house now stands, had been sold to Nathaniel 
Lathrop. Benjamin Lord, 2nd, dies in 1787. He was a farmer, and lived at that 
time on Plain Hills. Ebenezer Lord died in 1800, and his son, Ebenezer, then 
occupied the house. Lucy (Lord) Avery, widow of Richard Avery, and daughter 
of Benjamin Lord, 2nd, resided here in 1S25. vShe married in 1826, Capt. Erastus 
Perkins. In 1830, the Lord heirs sell the property to William Cleveland, grand- 
father of President Grover Cleveland. He builds a shop east of the house, where 
he carries on the business of a goldsmith, until his death in 1837. The house 
remained in the possession of his heirs, though occupied at times by other tenants, 
until 1852, when it was burnt to the ground. In the old drawing of the Green, 
we have a picture of this house and shop. 

Joseph Howe, the young colleague provided at Dr. Lord's request in 1772, 
was born in Killingly, Ct., in 1747. He was the son of the Rev. Perley and 
Damaris (Cady) Howe of Killingly. He graduated at Yale College in 1765, for 
a while had charge of the public school in Hartford, and was afterward a tutor 
at Yale until 1772. In that year he was called to Norwich, and preached 
alternately with Dr. Lord for a part of 1772 and 1773. While at Yale, we learn 
from Sprague's "Annals of the American Pulpit," that he was distinguished for his 
literary accomplishments, and especially for his remarkable powers of elocution, 
not less than for his fine moral and social qualities." 

While at Norwich, he received a call to the New South Church of Boston, 

which he accepted, leaving for this new field in May, 1773. The poem "Boston 

Ministers" heralds his arrival in Boston: — 

"At New South now, we hear of Howe, 
A genius, it is said, Sir, 
And there we'll hail this son of Yale — 
There's not a wiser head, Sir." 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 339 

In the early part of 1775, he fled with many other inhabitants of Boston 
and sought a refuge in Norwich. "But the anxiety and agitation had affected his 
health, and after a few weeks, he went to New Haven for change of air, and 
on his way back stopped at Hartford, where he was taken seriously ill, and died 
in three weeks, in August, 1775." 

" In person, he was tall and slender — his head was rather inclined forward, 
not from any defect in his form, but from a habit which he had of letting his 
eyes fall, while engaged in meditation. His complexion was fair, and though his 
features were somewhat irregular, and by no means strikingly agreeable, his 
expression was strongly indicative of high intellectual and moral qualities. His 
efforts in the pulpit were of the most impressive and fascinating kind. In almost 
every department of literature and science, he had made himself at home. He 
was distinguished for benevolence and generosity, mildness and courtesy, humility 
and modesty. One of his most attractive qualities was that he seemed unconscious 
of the applause which his character and his efforts elicited."* 

Miss Ellen D. Larned in her history of Windham County, writes of the Rev. 
Joseph Howe : " His memory was fondly cherished through all the generation 
that had known him, and years later, when many of his contemporaries had 
passed into oblivion, his character was portrayed in that of the model hero, in one 
of the first original popular tales published in America, 'The Coquette, or the 
History of Eliza Wharton.' " 



Sprague's "Annals of the American Pulpit." 



CHAPTER LXIl. 

IN 1737, Rev. Benjamin Lord sells to Nathaniel Lathrop "8 rods of land of my 
home lot (formerly John Woodward's,)" with a frontage on the Green of 3 rods, 
12)^ feet,' and on the highway leading to Bean Hill of 15 rods, 7 feet. Nathaniel 
Lathrop (b. 1693), was the son of Samuel and Hannah (Adgate) Lathrop. In the 
division of Samuel's property, he receives the farm at Namucksuck, a few miles 
north of New London, where he resides until 1735, when he moves to Norwich. 
He married in 17 17, Ann, daughter of Joseph and Elizabeth (Huntington) Backus, 
and had nine children. 

On the land purchased of Dr. Lord, he built the house, which became the 
well-known Lathrop tavern. From here, was started the first line of coaches to 
Providence in 1768. He also had a shop on the Green, which he was ordered to 
remove in 1757. He dealt largely in "Flower of Mustard Seed," which he adver- 
tises in 1773. He died in 1774, aged 8r. His obituary in the Packet says: "He 
was of a hospitable and charitable disposition, and made the principles of Religion 
the Rule of his actions, and died a Real Believer in the Promises of the Gospel." 
His wife died in 1761. 

His son, Azariah (b. 17 28), succeeded him as landlord of the tavern. He 
had married in 1764 Abigail, daughter of Isaac and Rebecca (Lathrop) Huntington, 
and had seven children. He also carries on the trade in " Flower of Mustard 
Seed," advertising as late as 1791. In 1787, he buys additional land on the east 
(frontage 2 rods), of Benjamin Lord, and here builds a shop. 

Azariah Lathrop was one of the wealthiest citizens of Norwich, and his tavern 
was one of the best known and prosperous. The Hon. John T. Wait gives various 
anecdotes of this popular landlord — how when the guests of the inn complained 
of the cold, used to tell them that " there was plenty of fire in the bar." At one 
time, card-playing was prohibited by law, so when Azariah approached a room, 
where it was possible that some of the guests might be indulging in this forbidden 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 341 

amusement, he used to cough loudly, then knock, and when the door was opened, 

stood with his back turned to the room, that he might truly say he had "never 

seen anything of the kind in his tavern." His sons were highly respected citizens, 

and both they and his daughters married into the prominent families of the town. 

Azariah died in 18 10, aged 82, leaving the house to his widow, and son, Augustus, 

and the shop to his son, Charles. Augustus Lathrop died in 1819, and in 1821, 

the administrator of the estate sells the tavern to Bela Peck. It was shortly 

after partly destroyed by fire. In 1S29, the land was sold to the Union Hotel 

Company, who erected the large brick house now standing, which was used for 

some years as a hotel, but when the courts were moved to the Landing, lost its 

popularity, was later occupied as a boarding school, and was finally sold to John 

Sterry, who now occupies it as a summer residence. Charles Lathrop sold his 

part of the lot to William Cleveland in 1S29. 

In this tavern were held the winter assemblies, in the room built by Mr. 

Lathrop with a spring floor for this special purpose. The Hon. Charles Miner says 

that there was "no formal supper on these occasions, but tea, coffee, tongue, ham, 

cakes and every suitable refreshment in abundance. Collier with his inimitable 

violin ; Manning with his drum. Order the most perfect, never for a moment, that I 

heard or saw of, infringed. Contra-dances occupied the evening. The stately 

minuet had gone out of fashion, and the cotillion not 3'et introduced. At one 

o'clock the assembly closed." William Pitt Turner, in a Packet of 1789, satirizes 

these assemblies and the young beaux of Norwich ; — 

" Adieu, adieu to Sans Soucie, 
Cries all the Lads with merry glee, 
The girls, I'm sure if they complain 

Of N h boys, 'twill be in vain. 

For they this winter, strange the' true, 
Have spent of shillings not a few ; 
The fair to please, night-errants stout, 
They've turned their purses wrong side out ; 
And to maintain their dancing-sett 
All head and ears, the^^'ve run in debt ; 
yome to the Cobler for their shoes, 
Some to the Merchant for their cloaths. 
Of jackets, stocks, and cambrick ruffles, 
Silk stockings, hats and plated buckles." 



342 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

He then proceeds to mention the beaux of the assembly, giving their initials 
and possibly alludes to himself as: — 

" A Druggist too, that retails Crocus 
Who's noddle's full of hocus pocus, 
With hair that like a fire brand red, 
Or like a gay woodpecker's head. 
Belongs to this great lib'rel ball 
And always meets at ev'ry call." 

He alludes to the music furnished by "Cuffee," and to " the dancing master 
Griffiths," and to "the Landing bucks," who, 

"With heads just fit for barber's blocks. 
Mount their old pacing mares, & prance 
To this expensive merry dance." 

In this tavern in 1774, Jabez Smith advertises as "a teacher of Psalmody," 
and of the "scale, fife, and German flute." In 1797, a Mr. Marriott informs the 
people of Norwich that he intends to amuse them at Mr. Lathrop's tavern, with 
a performance entitled " Brush upon Brush, or a Pill for the Spleen," price of 
admittance i s. 6 d. Again Moulthorp and Street exhibit here these wax works, 
among which figure, " The Beauty of Norwich," " David bearing the head of 
Goliath," " Maj. Andre taking leave of his Honoria," &c , &c. 



r 






■<^ 



CHAPTER LXIIL 



THE early courts wiiich met in Norwich were held either in private houses, 
or the meeting-house. In 1720, money was raised, and an unsuccessful 
attempt was made to have the county court hold some of its sessions here. In 
1735, another effort was more fortunate. Norwich was made a half-shire town, 
and a court-house, whipping-post, and pillory were erected on the south corner of 
the parsonage lot. The key of the court-house was given into the custody of 
Capt. Joseph Tracy in 1736, and a room in the attic was made to hold the 
town's stock of ammunition, and a fine of 5s. imposed on any man, "who shall 
smoke it in the time of sessions of any town meeting." In 1745, the care of the 
town house was committed to Philip Turner ; in 1755, to Benjamin Lord. 

This court-house was so dilapidated in 1759, that it was voted to build a 
new one 48 or 50 feet X 26 or 28 feet in size, on the south-east corner of the 
plain, in front of the old one. The building was finished in 1762. A powder- 



344 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

house was also built in 1760, on the hill near the path leading to the meeting- 
house. This was blown up in 1784. A train of powder, laid by some unknown 
person, was discovered one-half hour before the explosion, but not a person could 
be found courageous enough to extinguish it. Everyone was warned to get out 
of the way. The stone powder-house was blown to atoms. Only one of the 
stones could be afterward identified, and this descended through the roof of a 
house and two floors, and landed in the cellar. A bag of canister shot entered 
one of the windows of the parsonage. The meeting-house was greatly damaged, 
also some of the neighboring houses, and all the window panes in the vicinity 
were shattered.* 

Shortly after the erection of the new court-house, Samuel Huntington, then 
a young attorney just entering into business, petitioned the town for liberty to 
use and improve the north-east chamber in the court-house for a writing-office, 
"except in Term-time, at a Reasonable rent," and if the town will grant his 
request and give him the key, "he will promise to take all proper care," &c., &c. 

In this court-house, in 1767, was read the famous Boston circular, and a com- 
mittee of prominent citizens was formed to draw up a report for the next meeting. 
This consisted of an agreement not to import or to use articles of foreign manu- 
facture or produce, such as tea, wines, liquors, silks, china, &c. Linens, low-priced 
broadcloths, and felt hats were excepted. It was also voted to encourage all 
domestic manufactures. One clause reads: "And it is strongly recommended to 
the worthy ladies of this town, that for the future, they would omit tea-drinking 
in the afternoon ; and to commission-officers, to be moderate and frugal in their 
acknowledgments to their companies, for making choice of them as officers, which 
at this distressing time will be more honorable than the usual lavish and extrava- 
gant entertainments heretofore given." This report, however, closes with the 
determination to remain "loyal subjects to our Sovereign Lord the King, holding 
firm and inviolable our attachment to and dependence on our mother country." 

Homespun dresses and Labrador tea became the fashion. The latter was 
made from the dried leaves of the Ccaiiothus Amcricaiius, now well known under 
the name of New Jersey tea. 



* Miss Caulkins' History of Norwich. First Edition. 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 345 

In 1774, a circular from the Boston Committee of Correspondence, calling 
for resistance to the oppressive laws of the mother country, brought out so vast 
an audience, that they were obliged to adjourn from the court-house to the meet- 
ing house for better accommodation. A Standing Committee of Correspondence 
was appointed of five of the leading citizens : — 

Capt. Jeuidiah Huntington. Christopher Lkffingwell, Esq. 

Dr. Theophilus Rogers. Capt. William Hubbard. 

Capt. Joseph Trumbull. 

All through the Revolution, the Norwich citizens, with but few exceptions, 
were staunch in their patriotism, and numerous and enthusiastic meetings were 
held in this court-house. To all appeals for aid to the army, the people of 
Norwich made a generous and immediate response. 

In 1784, "a new," and as a correspondent of the Norwich Packet says, 
" a most pompous " City Hall was erected in New London, and the question was 
raised, whether if ^5000 of the county money must be laid out in county build- 
ings, whether Norwich, " who pays double the tax of New London, in justice 
ought not to have some proportion of the money agreeable to the tax ? or so far 
at least as to paint and repair the Court House, build a house for the Goal 
Keeper, and remove the old one." 

However, the Norwich Court- House was destined to last for many years 
longer, though in 1793, the courts complained loudly of its ruinous condition. The 
town thought the county should pay the expense of repairs or build a new 
one. In 1798, the house was thoroughly repaired and painted, and money 
raised to move it from the Green. In this year, Eleazer and Elizabeth Lord, 
who had inherited from the Rev. Benjamin Lord the land on the north-east 
corner of his home-lot, sold to the town land " to extend as far south as shall be 
necessary for the purposes of placing a county court-house south of a line drawn 
from the north-west corner of Ebenezer Lord's dwelling house to the west side 
of Eleazer Lord's north door of his dwelling house," &c. To this lot the court- 
house was moved and remained standing until 1891. 

Between the years 1809 and 1833, the attempts made to move the courts to 
the Landing were strenuously opposed by the town. Three times the matter was 



346 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

brought before the General Assembly, who, in 1833, referred it to the New London 
County Representatives, who finally decided on removal. The town then sent in 
a petition, asking to be separated from the city, which was granted. 

The whipping-post and pillory were in frequent requisition in the early 
years of the town. In 1773, the Packet mentions the punishment of three negroes, 
one with 6 lashes, the other with 8, for striking some white people ; and two 
white men, convicted of burglary, receive, one 15 lashes, and the other 6. A man 
arrested in this year for horse-stealing is sentenced to receive 15 stripes, to be 
imprisoned one month in the workhouse,, and to pay a fine of ^10, costs and 
damage. Another, for burglary, receives 6 stripes, and pays 20 s. fine and ^15 
costs. For manslaughter, an Indian is branded in the hand, receives 39 lashes, 
and forfeits his goods. 

In 1785, one of "the light-fingered gentry " receives at the post "the discipline 
of the whip," and a man, convicted of horse-stealing, receives his chastisement, as 
he "sets on the wooden horse." In 1787, another sufferer for horse-stealing "rides 
the wooden horse " for an hour, is whipped 25 stripes, fined ^10, imprisoned for 6 
weeks, and is then sold to pay the costs. However, his punishment is so far amelior- 
ated, that he "rides the horse," and receives 15 stripes on one day and the balance 
of 10 stripes on the first Monday of the next month. A man convicted of forgery 
is sentenced to stand in the pillory for three public days, for the space of fifteen 
minutes each day. 

The penalties for breaking the seventh commandment were very severe. 
The offenders, if church members, were obliged to appear before the church, and 
make public confession of their fault, and were also censured and punished by 
the civil authorities. In 1743, a man and a married woman of well-known and 
respected families were, for this offence, sentenced " to be branded in the forehead 
with the letter A on a hot iron," "to were a halter about the neck on the out- 
side of the garment" during their "abode in this colony," "so it may be 
visible," to pay the cost of prosecution which, in the woman's case, amounted to 
J^l 9 s. 9 d., in the man's, to ^4 17 s. 3d., to be whipped "on the naked body," 
the woman to receive " 23 strips," the man 25, and " to stand committed until this 
sentence be performed." 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 347 

The court-house also served as a theatre. On Dec. 15, 1791, the tragedy 
of " Douglas," and Foote's farce, " The Mayor of Garrat," were given by " Messrs. 
Solomon & Murry ; " and on Dec. 22, of the same year, the comedy of " The 
Citizen, or Old Square Toes Outwitted," and "The Female Madcap," and a ballad 
farce called "The Elopement." The tickets for admission were is. 6d. 

On February 19, 1792, "The Poor Soldier" and "The Mock Doctor," were 
given for 9 d. a ticket, children half-price. On February 16 of the same year a 
number of young ladies and gentlemen of the city took part in the tragedy of 
" Gustavus," and the comedy called "The Mistakes of a Night." The entertain- 
ment began at 6 o'clock. 

In March of that year, a part of the tragedy of " Ulysses " was given, and 
a comedy called "Flora, or Hob in the Well," a part of the tragedy of " Sopho- 
nisba " and a farce called " The Miser, or Thieves and Robbers," the exercises to 
begin at 7 o'clock. 

Mrs. Sigourney describes the singing school held in the court-house : " Behind 
a broad table, where in term time the lawyers took notes of evidence, or rectified 
their briefs, sat we girls of the novitiate, technically called ' the young treble.' In 
the gallery, raised a few steps above, sat the older and more experienced singers. 
When discords occurred, the master, standing in a listening attitude, with more knowl- 
edge of music than of grammar, would exclaim, 'There its them young treble.'"* 

In the court-house were often held the dancing-classes, under a variety of 
teachers. The first dancing master of whom we have any knowledge, Mr. Griffiths, 
in 1787, held his classes not in the court-house but in "the house of the widow 
Billings." As there were two of that title in town, it is dilTficult to say which was 
intended, but we believe it to have been the house of the widow Mary Billings, 
which was on the "Cross highway." Mr. Griffiths advertises to teach "Minuets 
and a Duo Minuet (which are entirely new). Cotillion Minuet, and new Country 
Dances, with the real step for dancing," and his terms were $6 for the first 
quarter, $4 for the second. In 1793, a Providence dancing master appears in 
town, and in 1797, John C. Devero (or Devereux), whom Mr. Charles Miner 
describes "as an Irish gentleman of a titled family, whom the war had embarassed," 



* " Letters of Life." 



348 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

who, " with a noble spirit of independence, rather than sit down in indigence and 
despair," opened a dancing school in the court- house at Norwich, and also had 
classes in Bozrah, Franklin, and two or three neighboring towns. Mr. Miner 
says that Mr. Devereux afterward became one of the wealthiest citizens of Utica, 
N. Y., and president of the United States Branch Bank. 

Mrs. Sigourney's first dancing master was a Frenchman, "whose previous 
history not ev'en Yankee perseverance could elicit. He bore the sobriquet of 
Colonel, and was disturbed at the name of Bonaparte. He was tall, gaunt, well- 
stricken in years, and impassable beyond aught what we had seen of his mercurial 
race. His style of instruction betrayed his military genius. He would have made 
an excellent drill sergeant. We were under a kind of martial law. During the 
hours of practice, not a whisper was heard in our camp. The girls received 
elementary instruction mornings, and when a particular grade of improvement 
was attained, met and mingled with the other sex for two hours in the evening. 
Being his own musician, and executing with correctness on the violin, he required 
a strict adaptation of movement to measure. At his cry of ' Balancez ' we all 
hopped up in a line, like so many roasted chestnuts. Low obeisances, lofty 
promenades to solemn marches, and the elaborate politeness of the days of Louis 
Ouartorze were inculcated. Many graceful forms of cotillion he taught us, and some 
strange figures called horn-pipes, in which he put forth a few of his show pupils 
on exhibition days. They comprised sundry absurd chamois leaps, and muscle 
wringing steps, throwing the body into contortions. He gave out words of com- 
mand as if at the head of a regiment. As imperative was he, as Frederick the 
Great, and we as much of automatons as his soldiers."* Every separate term 
closed with a ball, when beaux and belles of a more advanced age joined in the 
festivities. On these occasions, only, the dancing lasted beyond 9 o'clock. 

In 1823, a Mr. Fuller was the dancing master, and taught his pupils "how 
to enter, and leave a room, to walk gracefully and to take the long allemand." 
Contra-dances such as "Chester Castle," "The Hay Dance," "Turnpike Gate," 
"Life let us cherish," "Opera Reel," " Durang's Hornpipe" and "Patty Carey," 
seem at this time to have superseded the more graceful minuet. 



* Mrs. Sigourney's " Letters of Life." 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 349 

After the courts were moved to the Landing", the old court-house was sold 
in 1835 to be used as a school-house, and served in that capacity until 1S91, when 
a new school-building was erected, and the old structure was destroyed. 




CHAPTER LXIV. 



AT the south-east corner of the Green, near the residences of the Rev. Mr. 
Fitch and Maj. Mason, stood the earliest meeting-house of Norwich. 
This was probably a plain, rough, barn-like structure without steeple, porch, or 
gallery. In 1668, a rate was collected to pay Samuel Lathrop, for "repairing and 
heightening" it, and in 1673, thirteen years after its erection, the town contracted 
with John Elderkin and Samuel Lathrop, for "the building of" a new house of 
worship. This was to have a "gallery, and trough to carry the water from the roof." 
The site chosen was on the hill, overlooking the greater part of the township. 

At this time, before King Philip's war, when Indian attacks were constantly 
expected, the inhabitants may have thought (as Miss Caulkins suggests), that on 
this lofty site, commanding an extensive outlook, the building might serve "as 
a watch-tower, and garrison-post, as well as a house of worship." So great was 
the dread of Indian invasion, that the settlers carried their muskets to church, 
and stacked them outside. A guard was set to watch, and the militia sat near 
the door to be ready in case of alarm. 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 351 

The new'meeting-house was finished in 1675. The estimated cost was 
^428, buf'John Elderkin claimed that the expense had much exceeded this sum, 
and" for compensation the town gave him a grant of land near the mouth of 
Poquetannock Cove. To James Fitch, who had generously furnished nails to the 
value of ^12, a grant of 200 acres was given, 100 of which were situated "on 
the other side" of the Shetucket, and 100 "in the crotch" of that river and the 
Ouinebaug. In the winter time, when the winds howled and whistled around 
this church in its exposed position, hov/ cold and cheerless it must have been, 
and how little could have availed the foot-muffs and heated stones to keep the 
congregation warm. 

In 1689, Lt. Lefifingwell, Ensign William Backus, Dea Thomas Adgate, and 
Sergt. Waterman were appointed a committee "to consider and contrive, to the 
enlargement of the meeting-house." A lean-to was added, in which several new 
pews were made. 

In 1697, Samuel Post, John Waterman, Daniel Huntington, Jabez Hyde, 
Caleb Abel, Caleb Bushnell, Thomas Leffingwell, John Gifford, John Tracy, Joseph 
Bushnell and Samuel Abel were allowed " to build a seat on the east side of the Meet- 
ing-house on the Leanto beams, for their convenient sitting on the Lord's Dayes." 

At a town meeting March 28, 1698, the seats were divided into eight classes, 
and Lt. Leffingwell, Lt. Backus, Dea. Simon Huntington, Dea. Thomas Adgate, 
and Sergt. John Tracy were directed to seat the people according to rank, the 
seats varying "in dignity," in the following order: — 

" I. The square pue, the first in Dignity. 

2. The New Seate and the fore seate in the broad alley the 

next and alike in Dignity. 

3. The second seate in the broad ally, and the first long seate 

next and alike in Dignity. 

4. The third seate in the broad ally next in Dignity. 

5. The fourth seat in the broad ally next in Dignity. 

6. The first Long seate in the Leanto and the fore seate in the 

Gallery, the first seate in the Lower teer in the leanto and 
the fifth seat in the broad ally next and alike in Dignity. 



352 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

7. The sixth seate in the broad alley, and the second long seate 

in the leanto next and alike in Dignity. 

8. The second seate in the lower teer in the leanto, and the 

seventh seate in the broad alley next and alike in Dignity." 

In 1705, it was agreed "to claboard and shingle, when claboards and shingles 
are wanting, to repaire the staircase and staires, to mend the piramid, and to close 
the leanto roofs, where they join to the border of the meetinghouse," and to be 
at no further charge at present. From these changes, we can form some idea of 
the architecture of this early church building. At this date, according to the old 
highway survey, the first old meeting house was still standing on the corner 
of the plain. 

In 1708, Capt. Rene Grignon, who had recently come to Norwich, presented 
the town with a bell, which is supposed to have been brought from France to 
Oxford, Mass., by a band of French exiles, who had settled that town, and were 
finally driven from thence by Indian attacks. Capt. Grignon, who was one of 
these Huguenot exiles, then brought the bell with him to Norwich. The town 
" thankfully accept it," and decree " that it shall be hung in a usable place, and 
shall be ringed at all times as is customarie in other places where there are 
bells." It must have been a great satisfaction to the Norwich settlement to 
receive this gift from Capt. Grignon, as the New London church had already 
possessed a bell since 1691. It was decided to hang it on the hill, suspended from 
a scaffolding on the ridge west of the meeting-house, near the path, by which the 
inhabitants of the west end of the town came "cross lots" to meeting. In 
1709-10, Isaac Cleveland was engaged for ^5 10 s. per year, "to ring the bell on 
publick days, and at 9 o'clock in the evening as is customary." 

In 1709-10 it was voted to build a new meeting-house, either 50 feet square 
or not to exceed in dimension 55 feet x 45, and a great discussion arose as to 
the proper site, some preferring the old situation on the hill, others the more 
accessible plain It was finally referred to a committee of three of the principal 
citizens of Lebanon, * who decided for the plain. The frame was set up, but the 
inhabitants were still dissatisfied. Another meeting was called, at which only 



* Capt. William Clark, William Halson (perhaps Halsey) and Samuel FTuntington. 









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twenty-eight persons voted, and of these twenty-seven were in favor of the 
hill, so there it was finally built, near the site of the old church, which last 
building was sold in 1714-15, to Nathaniel Rudd of West Farms, for ^12 5 s. 6 d. 
The difficulty and expense of moving this edifice from its elevated site must 
have been great, and Nathaniel complained to the town, that he was "sick of his 
bargain," so the price was reduced to ^5 10 s. The old pews, pulpit, and canopy 
were carried to West Farms or Franklin, and were later used in the Franklin 
meeting house which was erected in 17 18. 

The new church was completed in 17 13. Lands were granted to all who 
had contributed labor or money toward its erection. Ensign Thomas Waterman, 
"for his labor and cost in providing stones for steps at the meeting house doors," 
received 22 acres at the Landing Place. Miss Caulkins describes one of the 
fixtures of this 1707 meeting-house, "an hour-glass, set in a frame, and made fast 
to the pulpit (cost 2 s. 8d.) This hour-glass was placed in 1729 under the particular 
charge of Capt. Joseph Tracy, who was requested to see that it was duly turned, 
when it ran out in service time, and that the time was kept between the meetings, 
the bell man being charged to attend his orders herein." 

In 1748, it was voted to build a fourth church, which was not, however, 
begun until 1753. In 1752, it was voted to "remove all incumbrances from the 
west side of the meeting-house plain under the site of ye Great Rock by ye Town 
Street," and here, where the present church stands, the frame of the fourth 
meeting house was built, the bell hung, and the clock set in its place, but a suffi- 
cient sum not having been raised to complete it, it remained in an unfinished 
state for several years. It was not completed until 1770. It is said that the Rev. 
Mr. Whitefield preached in this church, while in its unfinished condition, and 
fifteen years after, when he again came to Norwich, it was still unaltered. He 
publicly reproved the congregation for their neglect, and efforts were made to 
complete the work. The galleries were built, the stone steps set up, and finally 
in 1769, a vote was passed to "colour " the meeting-house. It is said to have been 
<'<'a square building, with doors on three sides, and a front porch, or platform. 
The house was furnished with pews, except there were slips in front of the 
pulpit for aged men and strangers, with low benches in the aisles for the 

23 



354 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

children. * On the front of the pulpit canopy was the motto in large letters, " Holi- 
ness becometh God's house." In 1791, this motto was removed, as a correspondent 
in the Norwich Packet explains, "out of complaisance and in conformity to an act of 
the General Assembly, to secure the rights of conscience to Christians of every 
denomination." 

On the Sabbath, Miss Caulkins says, "the deacon lined the psalm, and the 
congregation, under the guidance of one or two leaders, who faced them from 
the front of the pulpit, sung in their seats. Choir singing was considered a great 
innovation, and the new tunes were frowned upon as too lively and worldly, by 
the older people, who missed the old time quavers." 

Mrs. Sigourney writes : " It was the custom of the church to employ a 
competent teacher f for several months in the year, to train the young people in 
the melodies of Sabbath worship." For the rest of the time, the choir were 
instructed by the regular choir leader. From the simple tune of " Lebanon," 
they were led on gradually to " complex music, elaborate anthems, and some of 
the noble compositions of Handel." " After the reading of the psalm or hymn 
on Sundays," the leader "rose in his place, enunciating audibly the name of the 
tune to be sung, giving the key-tone through the pitch-pipe, then raising high his 
hand to beat the time." "The taste of the congregation was for that plain, slow 
music, in which the devotion of their fathers had clothed itself." The leader had 
a great love " for those brisk fugues, where one part leads off, and the rest follow 
with a sort of belligerent spirit." 

"One Sabbath morning," Mrs. Sigourney narrates, "he gave out a tune of 
a most decidedly lively and stirring character, which we had taken great pains in 
practicing. Its allegro, aliissimo opening, 

' Raise your triumphant songs 
To an immortal tunc,' 

startled the tranquillity of the congregation, as though a clarion had sounded in 
their midst. The music, being partly antiphonal, comprehended several stanzas. 
On we went complacently, until the two last lines, 



*In 1778, John Bliss was paid ^^37 us. 6d. for work on the bell and tower of the church, 
f The Hon. Charles Miner mentions " Roberts, the famed singing master," who "infused 
his own impassioned soul " into the singers. 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 355 

' No bolts to driv^e their guilty souls 
To fiercer flames below.' 

Off led the treble having the air, and expending- con spin'to. upon the 
adjective 'fiercer,' especially its first syllable, about fourteen quavers, not counting 
semis and demis. After us came the tenor, in a more dignified manner, bestowing 
their principal emphasis on 'flames.' 

' No bolts, no bolts ' shrieked a sharp counter of boys, whose voices were 
in the transition state. But when a heavy bass, like claps of thunder, ke^ 
repeating the closing word 'below' and finally all parts took up the burden, till 
in full diapason, 'guilty souls,' and 'fiercer flames below' reverberated from 
wall to arch, it was altogether too much for Puritanic patience. Such skirmishing 
had never before been enacted in that meeting-house. The people were utterly 
aghast. The most stoical manifested muscular emotion. Our mothers hid their 
faces with their fans. 

Up jumped the tithing man, whose ofifice it was to hunt out and shake 
refractory boys. The ancient deacons slowly moved in their seats at the foot of 
the pulpit, as if to say, ' Is not there something for us to do in the way of 
church government?' As I caine down from the gallery, a sharp, gaunt Welsh 
woman seized me by the arm, saying, ' What was the matter with you all, up 
there? You began very well, only too much like a scrame. Then you went galli- 
vanting off like a parcel of wild colts, and did not sing the tune that you begun 
not at all. ' " * How the shrill-voiced old lady who could not sing, should know 
what the new tune was, or ought to be, Mrs. Sigourney was not given 
to understand. 

In 1745, a new clock was placed in the belfry. In 1772, Watts' version of 
the Psalms was introduced into the service. In i7<S3, the society, using as a 
nucleus the ^500 left by Dr. Daniel Lathrop in 17S2 for the support of the 
ministry, started a subscription, and a large sum was raised, the pew-holders were 
induced to relinquish their rights, so that the pews tnight be sold yearly, and 
enough money was thus collected to accomplish what had been so long desired, the 
abolishing of the minister's rate. The first annual sales of pews took place in 1791. 
* Mrs. Sigourney's "Letters of Life." 



356 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

In 1792, the church, with but "one dissenting voice," voted to have an organ. 
This " one dissenting voice was that of a man, who," the Weekly Register says, 
"had lived a bachelor to the age of 43," and was incapable of having "any music 
in his soul." It seems he believed that "instrumental music was apt to excite 
ideas of levity." The efforts to procure an organ at this time were, however, un- 
successful, and the change was not made until some years later. 

In i8or, the church and the neighboring store and house were burnt to the 
ground, and with money raised partly by subscription, and partly by a lottery, 
the present church was built. A copy of the subscription paper for the building 
of this meeting- house is now in the possession of Mrs. George B. Ripley of Nor- 
wich. The first names on the list are Dr. Joshua Lathrop and sons, who contribute 
$300. The other subscriptions range from §100 to $5. The sum of $2,016/3 was 
raised in this manner and there were also some conditional subscriptions. John 
Backus gives $66 " with $34 more added, provided that $3,000 is obtained on this 
subscription." Simon Huntington will give $20, "on condition the incumbrances 
be removed." Elisha Tracy adheres to his former declaration "made to the 
committee and others," that " in case the House is put in the Center of Travel, 
he will give $333.34, in case the house is put on the Hill he will build -^., of the 
House, cost what it will. Provided the House is built under the Hill & the bell 
hung on the Hill he will give $100, if neither of these conditions are complied 
with, he thinks buying a Pew is all he ought to do." 

"For having the Meeting House on, or nigh where it stood before, there 
were 58 votes ; for having it on the Rocks 27." Fifty-four persons were in favor 
of "having the Bell on the Meeting House," and twenty-four for "having a crotch 
built on the Rocks for hanging the Bell." The building committee were Elisha 
Hyde, John Backus, Christopher Leffingwell, Zachariah Huntington, Dr. John 
Turner, Ebenezer Huntington and Thomas Lathrop. 

Miss Caulkins describes the laying of the corner- stone by Gen. Ebenezer 
Huntington on the iSth of June: "Only a few words were uttered, but they 
were of solemn import : ' May the house raised on this foundation, become a 
temple of the Lord, and the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit.' A throng of 
spectators murmured their assent, and young people standing above on the 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 



357 



rocks, waved their green boughs. Dr. ^Strong, the pastor, then offered prayer."* 

In the style of church architecture, this edifice displayed a great advance 

over all other churches in this part of the State. It had groined arches, massive 



^ 





Jj , I • I ;^ 




pillars to support the gallery and a central dome painted sky-blue ; but it retained 
the old form of a high contracted pulpit, and square pews. In 1845, the interior 
was entirely remodelled, and since that period it has been a second time renovated 
and improved. Its earlier appearance is given in the sketch of the Green. 

At the beginning of this century, there was a great rage for Lombardy 
poplars, which, according to a newspaper article of 1802, "not only gave the 
country a gay and pleasant aspect, but also purified and refreshed the air." A 
Rhode Island gentleman established a nursery of them, and offered, when they 
were sufficiently grown, to distribute them gratis to anyone who would set them 
out for the public good. About 1S03, they were thickly planted about the church 
and plain. On July 21, 1824, a 3^oung girl writes in her journal, "This morning, 



* Miss Caulkins' History of Norwich. 



358 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

when I came to school, saw that the beautiful poplars which were by the meet- 
ing-house had been cut down." 

In 1810, stoves were first used in the church. In 1824, the bass-viol gave 
place to the organ. The first Sabbath School was held in the court-house in 
1820. In 1852, the present chapel was presented by Mrs. Harriet Peck Williams. 
The regularly ordained pastors of this church from the settlement of the town 
to the present day, are as follows : — 

Rev. James Fitch, ..... 1660 -1694. 

Rev. John Woodward, .... 1699- 17 16. 

Rev. Benjamin Lord, ..... 1717-1784. 

Rev. Joseph Strong, 1784- 1834. 

(Colleague pastor from 1778- 17S4). 

Rev. Cornelius Everest, .... 1834 -1836. 
(Colleague pastor from 1829 -1834). 

Rev. Hiram P. Arms, 1836 -1873 

(Pastor Emeritus from 1S73-1882). 

Rev. William C. Scofield, . . . . 1873-1S75. 

Rev. Charles Theodore Weitzel, . . 1876 -1885. 

Rev. Charles Addison Northrop, ordained, 1885. 



CHAPTER LXV. 

BETWEEN the chapel and Mediterranean Lane, was formerly situated the 
home-lot of Stephen Gifford. Though it is generally supposed that he was 
one of the original settlers of the town, his name is not included in the list, 
which we believe to have been made by Dr. Lord. He was born about 1641, so 
at the time of the settlement was about nineteen years of age. In 1667, he 

married Hannah, daughter of John and Rhoda Gore of Roxbury, Mass. 

She died in 1670-1, and in 1672, he married another Hannah, daughter of John 
and Hannah (Lake) Gallup of Stonington, Ct. In 16S6, he was chosen one of the 
constables of the town. He lived to be very old, dying in 1724, and was buried 
in the old burying-ground near the Green, where his grave-stone and that of his 
wife, who died in the same year (1724), still remain. 

In 1697, Stephen Gifford sells to the town "all that my home lott, with 
the house, orchard and fences about it . : . . scittuated lying and being in the 
town of Norwich," — " contayning six acres more or less, abutting on the Town 
Common eastwardly 20 rodds, abutting on a highway into the woods Northeasterly 
20 rodds, abutting Northerly on land of Abraham Dayns 30 rodds, abutting west- 
erly 44 rods, abutting southwardly on the Commons 24 rods — as also six acres 
more or less adjoineing to the sd home lott abutting southeasterly on the sd 
home lott 20 rodds to the corner of the stone wall, abutting Northwest on Commons 
60 rodds, abutting northeast on Commons 60 rods to the highway abutting east 
by the highway to the first corner." 

Stephen Gifford moves to the Great Plain, and in 1699 this land is granted 
to the Rev. Mr. Woodward on his settlement in Norwich, and is afterward known 
as the "parsonage lot." The house is not mentioned in the deed of settlement, 
and had possibly either been destroyed by fire, or removed from the lot. In 



360 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

1714-15, the town allows Mr. Woodward "to fence in the Gifford lot leaving 
convenient room about the new meeting-house." 

After Mr. Woodward's departure, the land is granted to the next pastor, 
the Rev. Benjamin Lord. In 1735, the first court-house is built on the south 
corner of this lot. In 1759, it was voted to treat with Mr. Lord about " the sail " 
of a part of the "parsonage" lands. This matter was, however, not arranged 
until many years after. Many lots were leased or sold to various persons by Rev. 
Mr. Lord, but the only records of lease are to be found in private account books, 
and the few deeds of sale on record give such indefinite measurements and 
bounds, that it is difficult to locate the lots, or to tell in what manner they were 
occupied. The Chelsea Church Society laid claim to a share of the parsonage 
land, but the property was finally adjudged to the First Church Society. The first 
purchasers were then induced to resign their lands to the church, and between 
the year 1786 and 1799, new leases for a period of 999 years were granted to them. 

The land next to the church, on which the chapel stands, belonged to the 
town, but was not a part of the original Gifford or " parsonage " lot. Here in 
1762, twenty-six rods of land were laid out to Ebenezer Lord, "where his house 
and shop stand," beginning at the south corner of his shop, " then running north- 
west on the line of his shop, and on the stone-wall 9^ rods to a point, thence 
bounded northeast on the land called Parsonage 11 rods, thence abutting southeast, 
the front of sd house and shop in the line 4 rods, 13 feet, to the first corner." 

Ebenezer Lord was the son of Rev. Benjamin Lord, and his first wife, Ann 
Taylor. He was born in 1731, and married in 1760, Temperance Edgerton, 
daughter of John and Phoebe Edgerton. The house and shop were sold in 1774 
to Dudley Woodbridge. Whether Ebenezer at this time went to reside with his 
father or not we do not know, but at the death of his father in 1784, he inherited 
one-half of the house and resided there till his death in 1800. 

Dudley Woodbridge (b. 1747), son of Dr. Dudley and Sarah (Sheldon) 
Woodbridge of Stonington, Ct., was the descendant of a long line of ministers : 
the Rev. John Woodbridge of Andover and Newbury, Mass. ; the Rev. John of 
Killingworth (now Clinton), and Wethersfield, Ct. ; and the Rev. Ephraim of Groton, 
Ct. He was also a gr.-gr.-gr.-grandson of Gov. Thomas Dudley of Massa- 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 361 

chusetts, and a gr.-gr. -grandson of Gov. William Leete of Connecticut. He 
graduated at Yale College in 1766, married in 1774, Lucy, daughter of Elijah 
and Lucy (Griswold) Backus, and purchased in that same year the house and 
shop of Ebenezer Lord, where he lived till his removal to the west between 
1789 and 1790. His brother, Samuel, was for a short time associated with him in 
business. In 1782, the first post-office was established in Norwich, and Dudley 
Woodbridge was appointed postmaster, which office he held until 1789. The mails 
had previously been delivered by post riders. On his removal to Marietta, Ohio, 
about 1790, he adopted the profession of law, which he had previously studied at 
Yale. He died at Marietta in 1823. His son William (b. in Norwich in 1780) became 
Governor of Michigan, and L^nited States vSenator. Elizabeth, the sister of Dudley 
Woodbridge, married Daniel Rodman. His brother William also settled in Norwich, 
and after the death of his father, his mother and sister, Lucy, came here to reside. 

In 1790, Gurdon Lathrop occupied this store as a general trader. In 1791, 
he moves to the opposite side of the Green, and the store is sold to Joseph 
Huntington. In 1793, the latter forms a partnership with his father-in-law, Joseph 
Carew, under the firm name of Carew & Huntington. Like the store of Tracy 
& Coit, these shops are stocked with goods of every description, groceries, books, 
shoes, dress goods, hardware, &c. The wonder is how the town could support 
so many establishments. In October, 1800, the firm of Carew & Huntington was 
dissolved, and Joseph Huntington associated with himself his younger half-brother 
as the firm of Joseph & Charles P. Huntington. 

The house of Dudley Woodbridge was also sold in 1791 to Roger Griswold 
(b. 1762), the son of Gov. Matthew and Ursula (Wolcott) Griswold of Lyme, Ct., 
who graduated at Yale College in 17S0, studied law with his father, was admitted 
to the bar of New London County, and settled at Norwich in 1783. He married 
in 1788, Fanny Rogers, daughter of Col. Zabdiel and Elizabeth (Tracy) Rogers. 
In 1794, he was elected Member of Congress, and moved from Norwich to Lyme. 
He served in Congress for ten years, and in 1801 declined the office of Secretary 
of War which was offered to him by President Adams. He filled the offices of 
Judge of the Supreme Court from 1S07 to 1S09, Lieut. Governor from 1809 to t8ii, 
and of Governor from iSii to 1S12. 



362 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

In 1807, while arguing a case, he experienced the first attack of a painful 
and alarming disease of the heart, which, recurring at intervals, obliged him in 
the summer of 181 2 to come to Norwich for change of air, and to be under the 
care of Dr. Philemon Tracy, in whose skill he had great confidence. But nothing 
could check the progress of his disease, and he died in October, 181 2, at fifty 
years of age. He had ten children, three of whom were born in Norwich. 
He is described as " a very handsome man, with flashing black eyes, a com- 
manding figure, and majestic mien, seeming even by outward presence born 
to rule." 

On his tombstone we may read that he was " not less conspicuous by 
honorable parentage and elevated rank in society than by personal merit, talents 
and virtue. He was respected at the University as an elegant and classical 
scholar, quick discernment, sound reasoning, legal science and manly eloquence 
raised him to the first eminence at the bar. Distinguished in the National 
Councils among the illustrious statesman of the age. Revered for his inflex- 
ible integrity and pre-eminent talents, his political course was highly honor- 
able. His friends viewed him with virtuous pride. His native state with honest 
triumph. His fame and honors were the just rewards of noble actions, and of 
a life devoted to his country. He was endeared to his family by fidelity and 
afl:ection, to his neighbors by frankness and benevolence. His memory is em- 
balmed in the hearts of surviving relatives and of a grateful people. When this 
monument shall have decayed, his name shall be enrolled with honor among the 
great, the wise, and the good." 

Mrs. Roger Griswold long survived her husband, dying in 1863, aged 96. 
In the family of Gov. Roger Griswold's mother, Ursula Wolcott, the office of 
Governor seemed almost hereditary, as her father, brother, husband, son, and 
nephew were all Governors of the State of Connecticut. 

In 1797, an attempt was made to burn the carriage house of Roger 
Griswold, which was then "improved" by Capt. Elisha Tracy. There had been so 
many acts of incendiarism at this time, that the Mayor, John McC. Breed, offered 
a reward of $500, for the discovery of the criminal. In 1800, Roger Griswold 
sells his house to Jesse Brown, " near the store " of the latter. The destruction 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 



Z^l 



of this house, and of the Huntington store in the following year, 1801, is thus 
described in the Norwich Packet : — 

On the night of Februar}- 5th, 1801, "between the hours of nine and ten 
o'clock, the Inhabitants of this town were awakened by the alarming cry of Fire, 
and the ringing of the Bell. The Fire when first discovered, burst forth from 
the large store of J. & C. P. Huntington, and in a short time .... that valuable 
building was wrapped in the destructive element. By this time the inhabitants 
had collected from all parts of the town, and made every effort to quell its further 
progress. But alas I it seemed to put all their exertions at defiance, and spread 
with unconquerable fury — it communicated to the Meeting House next, and first 
caught in several places on the steeple, so that the Engines which were kept 
constantly playing to the best advantage on the most contiguous buildings, were 
of little use to preserve this Stately Dome from the destruction which now 
followed. The flames ascended to its Spire and continued to expand until the 
House was enveloped in one general blaze. A scene more dread, terrific, and sub- 
lime the eye could never behold ! . . . . A handsome dwelling house owned by Mr. 
J. Brown next the wStore .... now met the same fate. The large house owned by 
Mr. Lathrop was happily preserved, tho several times on Fire." "Mr. Brown's ele- 
gant dwelling house, in wiiich he resides," was saved, and some of the goods in 
Messrs. Huntington's store. The Packet thanks " our fellow citizens at the Port " 

for assistance rendered. The fire 
was supposed to be of incendiary 
origin. 

The enterprising firm of 
Jos. & Charles P. Huntington 
moved their goods to the store, 
" a few rods N. E. from the 
Court House," possibly the one 
formerly owned by John Perit. 
In May, they invite the attention 
of the public by a column-long 
advertisement of goods for sale. 




364 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

including paints, dyes, dress goods, groceries, hardware, china, &c. In August, 
they move to the large, new brick store, which they have built on the site of 
the old Woodbridge shop. After a few years, this firm is dissolved. Charles P. 
Huntington establishes a store of his own, and Joseph Huntington later takes 
his son, Joseph, into partnership. In 1841, the brick store is sold to Bela Peck, 
and in 1852, it is converted into the present chapel, and presented to the church 
by Harriet Peck Williams, wife of Gen. William Williams. 

In 1787, lot No. 1 of the parsonage lands is leased to Dudley Woodbridge, 
and, in 1795, again to Roger Griswold. This land lies between the Griswold, or 
former Woodbridge house, and the Brown tavern, and is " bounded beginning 
at the highway at the south corner of Jesse Brown's land, then leased to him 
for a house lot, then runs by said land, abutting on it 9 r. 12 1., then S. 49}^° W. 
9 r. 20 1. to the Common lands behind the Meeting House, then runs in a straight 
line, abutting on the Griswold house lot to the highway i r. 2 1. distant from the 
first bound." This is now included in the o^rounds of the Rock Nook Home. 




Jesse Brown. 

1753-1818. 




William Brown. 

l779-ab.l809. 
PAINTED BV COL. JOHN TRUMBULL. 




CHAPTER LXVI. 



THE first deed of lot No. 2 of the Parsonage land (frontage 5 rods, 18 links), 
to Jesse Brown is dated 17S7. In 1796, he also leases one-half of lot No. 3 
(frontage 3 rods, 8 links). We know nothing of his antecedents. He married 
in 1769, Anna Rudd, daughter of Nathaniel and Mary (Backus) Rudd of Franklin, 
Ct., who was the mother of his six children. In 1772, he purchased a house and 
land in Bozrah which he sold in 1774. During the Revolution he officiated as 
the Governor's post, bringing, in October, 1777, the latest news of the Continental 
Congress, then in session at Yorktown, and of the occupation of Philadelphia by 
the British under Lord Howe. In 1781, he married Lucy Rudd, daughter of 
Daniel and Mary (Metcalf) Rudd, and cousin of his first wife. 

In 1790, Jesse Brown was licensed to keep a tavern, which was famed, it 
is said, for its good dinners, and was greatly patronized by merchants from the 
West Indies. His stages were constantly bringing table delicacies from Boston 
and Hartford. Miss Caulkins says that " many were the excursions and gallant 



^66 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

hunting parties with hounds and servants which started from this tavern one 
hundred years ago." Here, on Wednesday evening, Aug. i, 1797, arrived Pres. 
John Adams and wife, and the Matross company came out to welcome them in 
full uniform, and fired a federal salute of sixteen guns. They proceeded the next 
day to Providence, a large company on horseback attending them out of town. 
Jesse Brown established stage lines between Hartford and Boston, by way 
of Norwich, in 1790, and in 1793 between Boston and New York, by way of 
Providence and Norwich. The Hartford line, " Old Industry," was advertised 
in 1797, as running once a week. The New York and Boston stages made two 
weekly trips in winter and three in summer, arriving at Norwich on Sunday, 
Wednesday and Friday in the latter season. The stage left Providence on Sunday 
morning at eight o'clock, and arrived in Norwich at noon, " the stage horn sounding 
just as the audience issued from the church after morning service." In truth, 
times were changing even then from the early days, when every Sunday traveller 
had to give an account of himself, or go to jail. The fare from Boston to Provi- 
dence was ^3, from Providence to New London $4, for the remainder of the 
road 4 14 cents per mile. Fourteen pounds was the limit of luggage allowed. All 
in excess of this, was charged at the rate of " 100 pounds as a passenger." Five 
days was the length of time allowed for the journey from New York to Boston. 

One of the daughters of Jesse Brown, Ann Brown, married in 1S02, John 
Vernet of St. Pierre, Martinique, who afterward built in 1809 the house, later 
known as the Lee house, on Washington Street, now occupied by Charles Sturtevant. 
He sold the house in iSii to Benjamin Lee of Cambridge, Mass, and moved 
with his father-in-law and family to Wilkesbarre, Penn., where Jesse Brown died 
in 181S. Mr. Vernet introduced into the garden of the Brown tavern about the 
year 1809, a species of grape, never before cultivated in this region. It was 
propagated from this vine into other gardens, was highly prized, and popularly 
called the Vernett grape. It is not known where Mr. Vernet obtained it, but it is 
supposed to be identical with the Isabella. The original vine planted by Mr. 
Vernet, was still flourishing at the time Miss Caulkins wrote her history. 

At the Brown tavern appeared in 1791, Dr. I. Greenwood, who "with an ex- 
perience of fifteen years extensive practice," advertises " to set teeth which will vie 




fciO 11 
o >. 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 367 

in beauty and duration with the most brilliant natural ones, with or without extract- 
ing the stumps, or causing the least pain, transplants them, grafts natural teeth to 
remaining roots in the gum," &c., c^-c. He at first intends remaining four days, but 
being " honored with more applications " than he could attend to in so short a time, 
his stay extends to several months. Jesse Brown, Jun., married in 1801, Lucy, 
daughter of Erastus Perkins, and was for a time associated in business at the Land- 
ing with the Rowlands, as the firm of Rowland & Brown, which partnership was 
dissolved in 1S06. Jesse Brown, Jr , died in iSii. In 1814, the house is sold to 
William Williams of New London, and in 181 7 to Capt. I-5ela Peck, who resides 
here till his death in 1850. 

Bela Peck (b. 1758), was the son of Joseph Peck, and his third wife 
Elizabeth (Lathrop) Carpenter, widow of Josepli Carpenter and daughter of 
Nathaniel and Ann (Backus) Lathrop. At the time of Joseph Peck's death in 
1776, Bela was only 18 years of age, and according to the terms of his father's 
will, the tavern, though left to him, was to be rented for a term of years. He 
probably resided with his mother until his marriage to Betsey Billings in 1787. 
At that time, or shortly after, he moved to the former Peck tavern to reside. In 
1805, his only son, William Billings Peck, died while a student at Yale College. 
The illustration on the opposite page is a copy of a memorial piece of embroidery 
and painting, executed by the two sisters of W^illiam Peck. The faces are said to 
be family likenesses. It was quite customary at the time to have these mourning 
pieces made for departed friends. 

In 1817, Capt. Peck purchased the former Brown tavern, to which he soon 
removed. In 181 8, his wife died, and he married (2) in 181 9, Lydia, widow of Asa 
Spalding. He resided in this house until his death in 1850, at the age of 93. He 
inherited a good fortune from his father, which he also largely increased, and was 
"noted for his business sagacity, and strong common sense." The Peck Library 
in the Slater Memorial building was given by Mrs. Harriet (Peck) Williams to 
the Norwich Free Academy, as a tribute to the memory of her father. In 1855, 
this house was purchased by Moses Pierce, who lived here for some years, and 
then presented it to the United Workers as a home for poor children, and the old 
tavern much altered and modernized, is now known as "The Rock Nook Home." 




CHAPTER LXVII. 



THE other half of lot No. 3 of the Parsonage land is leased to Joseph Car- 
penter, 2nd, in 17S8. Joseph Carpenter, ist, comes from Woodstock, Ct., to 
Norwich and marries in 1746, Elizabeth, daughter of Nathaniel and Ann (Backus) 
Lathrop. He died in 1749, leaving two sons, Joseph (b. 1747), and Gardner 
(b. 1748-9). The widow, Elizabeth, marries in 1754, Joseph Peck, who kept the 
Peck tavern. As early as 1769, Joseph Carpenter, 2nd, was established in business 
as a goldsmith in a shop belonging to his step-father, for which he pays a yearly 
rent of ^i jos. This may have been one of the shops then owned by Joseph 
Peck, in the rear of the jail. 

In 1772, Joseph Carpenter, 2nd, buys boards, &c., of Joseph Carew, and 
pays to James Wentworth ^11 for "stoning the seller" and for the underpinning 
of a shop. In 1773, he pays for " stepstones " and shingle nails, and buys of John 
Danforth eight scaffold poles, so we may assume that about this time he builds the 




Ann (Brown) Vernec. 

WiFt OF JohnVebnet. 

1780 -1859. 
PAINTED BY E.TISDALE. 




John Verne: 

17(34-1827 

PAINTED BY COL, JOHN TRUMBULL. 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH 369 

shop now owned by his grandson, Joseph Carpenter, 3rd. In 1774, and for some 
years after, he pays rent to Rev. Benjamin Lord for land " my shop stands on." 
After the parsonage lands are ceded to the church, he receives in 1787 a 999 
years' lease of this land, then known as lot No. 4 (frontage 4 rods, 9 links). It 
is said that he occupied one side of this shop, while his brother, Gardner, carried 
on a mercantile business in the other part. The building has never been altered, 
and retains to this day its gambrel roof and old-fashioned shutters, and all the 
features of a shop of the olden time. Joseph's stock in trade consisted of gold 
necklaces and beads, stone earrings and rings, teaspoons, smelling bottles, "speck- 
tacals " or "specticls," "stone nubs," bonnet pins, " tortashell " buttons, "brass 
holberds," "cristols," "nee buckls," stock buckles, clocks, watches, &c. He also 
advertises in January, 1776, that he has for sale engravings of "four different 
views of the Battles of Lexington, Concord, &c., copied from original Paintings 
taken on the vSpot." The price is 6 shillings per set for the plain engravings, and 
8 shillings for the colored ones. 

I'^ 17 75' Joseph Carpenter married Eunice Fitch, and had six children. 
From 1777 to 1778, he leases a house of Seth Miner. From 1779 to 1782, 
he occupies a house belonging to Joseph Peck. These buildings we are unable 
to locate exactly. In or before 1788, the church lease to him the north half of 
lot No. 3, and here, next to his shop, he builds the house now owned by his 
great-grandson, Joseph Carpenter, 3rd. About 1 790-1, he builds the house near 
the Chelsea Parade, which has been recently sold to Mrs. Gardiner of New London. 
His death occurred in 1804. 

Gerard Carpenter (b. 1779), son of Joseph, married in 1819, Rebecca E. 
Hunter, and lived in this house on the Green, till his death in 1861. He served 
as Lieut. Colonel in the war of 1812. 

Approached by a lane, between the shop of Joseph Carpenter and the school- 
house, there stood high up on the hillside, a house (now disappeared) which was 
at one time occupied by Seth Miner. All the land lying back from the street, 
comprising lots Nos. 7, 8, 9, 10, 16 and part of No. 14, were leased to him by the 
First Church Society, the earliest deeds dated 1787 and 1789, but Seth Miner may 
have resided here at a much earlier date, possibly at the time of the Revolution, 

24 



370 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

His son, the late Hon. Charles Miner of Wilkesbarre, Penn., in his letter of 
Norwich reminiscences, alluding to the patriotic excitement of that period writes : — 

" My father, a house carpenter, and his journeyman dropped their tools on the 
alarm. As the broad axe rung-, the journeyman said, 'That is my death knell.' 
Breathing the common spirit, he hied away cheerfully and returned no more." 
Mr. Miner says that his father was orderly sergeant under Col. Jedediah Hunting- 
ton at the battle of Bunker Hill. 

Seth Miner (b. 1742), was the son of Hugh Miner of New London. He 
married at Norwich in 1767, Anna Charlton, daughter of Richard and Sarah 
(Grist) Charlton, and had five children. For a number of years he served as 
keeper of the jail which stood near his house. He was an investor in the Delaware 
Land Company, and when the time arrived for his sons to go out into the world to 
seek their fortune, the eldest son, Asher (b. 177S), after serving seven years as an 
apprentice in the office of the " New London Gazette, or Commercial Advertiser," 
and one year as a journeyman in New York, resolved to go to Pennsylvania and 
look up his father's landed interests. 

His brother, Charles (b. 17 So), after an apprenticeship in the New London 
Gazette office, also went to Pennsylvania in 1799. After wandering about for a 
while, he went to Wilkesbarre to enter into partnership with his brother, who 
was then editing " The Luzerne County Federalist," the first number of which 
was issued in 1801. It is said that the press on which this paper was pub- 
lished was brought from Norwich on a sled. Asher afterward relinquished his 
interest in the paper to Charles, and went to Doylston, Pa., where in 1S04, he 
established the "Pennsylvania Correspondent, or Farmer's Advertiser," which after- 
ward became the " Buck's County Intelligencer." He also for a time edited another 
newspaper called "The vStar of Freedom." 

In 1807 and iSoS, Charles Miner was elected to the Legislature. In 18 16, 
he went to West Chester, Pa., and there started "The Village Record." In 1S24, 
he was again joined by his brother, Asher, who formed with him another editorial 
partnership. From 1824 to 1828, Charles Miner was sent to Congress, having for 
his colleague, James Buchanan, afterward President. In 1S34, the brothers returned 
to Wilkesbarre, where Asher died in 1841. Among other publications of Charles 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. ijt 

was a newspaper called "The Gleaner," which he issued for a time, and a history 
of Wyoming, which, as one of the early residents of that region, he must have 
been well qualified to write. He died in 1865, aged 86. 

In writing his recollections of Norwich to the committee of the Norwich 
Bi-Centennial Celebration, he speaks of his old home, " the Red House on the 
hill." He tells of " the snug little room fourteen feet square, with a fire-place, 
called the Judges' Chamber," which the Chief Judge, the Hon. William Hillhouse, 
Judge Noyes, and Judge Coit used often to occupy during a period of twenty or 
more years while the court was in session. Seated around the fire-place, " with 
their long pipes, the ends coated with sealing wax," "the old gentlemen were 
often as merry as kittens passing their jokes, as their pipes threw up columns of 
smoke without intermission to the ceiling." " Their thoughts ran on early life, 
as old men's, I suspect, are apt to do, and the}^ talked of their sweet-hearts. 
Judge Noyes was acknowledged to have been most of a beau, and claimed to 
have been a favorite with the fair. But the Chief Judge reminded him that at 
a certain gathering he had run away with Noyes's partner. At one time Noyes 
told, with great glee, the well-known story, seemingly justified by the swarthy 
complexion of Hillhouse, that several of the Montville and Mohegan mothers 
being out huckleberrying had left their children together in the shade, when, being 
alarmed by a bear, they ran, each seizing the first infant .she could catch up, and 
fled. It so happened Mrs. Hillhouse, by a fortunate mistake, had gotten the 
papoose of Queen Uncas." 

On Saturday night "the family is called together," and "after a chapter 
read from the sacred volume. Judge Noyes, gifted in prayer, standing, his hand 
resting on the top of his chair, the back of it being from him, commences (solemn 
and softly, as one deeply sensible that he was in the presence of, and presuming 
to adress the Supreme), with the Creation, the fall of Adam, and his expulsion 
from Paradise, his wickedness, — the fiood,— the Covenant with Noah, — with Abra- 
ham,— with David— dwelling on the great and sublime Covenant of Redemption- 
becoming more and more animated and sonorous as he warmed with the subject, 
walking his chair more and more rapidly, until he came to the Advent of our 
Saviour, and near an hour had expired, the good old man would strike his chair 



372 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 



against the back of the parlor with a force that would make the windows shake 
again." * 

This Judge William Noyes was the son of Moses and Mary (Ely) Noyes of 
Lyme, Ct., and grandson of the Rev. Moses Noyes, the first minister of Lyme. 
He married in 1756 Eunice Marvin (b. 1735), of Lyme, Ct. Judge Noyes "was 
a tall, grave man, the terror of Sabbath-breakers," who " never allowed a traveler 
to pass through Lyme on the Lord's Day without some extraordinary excuse." 
He was regarded by his four grown-up sons with such respect that when on 
horseback they "never presumed to ride on a line with him, but always at a 
respectful distance behind." f 

Judge Benjamin Coit (b. 1731), son of Col. Samuel and Sarah (Spalding) 
Coit of Griswold, Ct., was, like his father, an influential citizen. Representative 
in the State Legislature and Judge of the County Court. He married (i) 1753, 
Abigail Billings, daughter of Capt. Roger Billings of Preston, Ct., and (2) 1760, 
Mary (Tyler) Boardman, widow of Elijah Boardman, and daughter of Capt. Moses 
Tyler of Preston. Judge Coit died suddenly while on a visit to North Stoning- 
ton in 1812. 

Judge William Hillhouse (b. 1728), was the son of the Rev. James and Mary 
(Fitch) Hillhouse of Montville, Ct. The Rev. James Hillhouse was born about 
1688, at Free Hall, County Londonderry, Ireland, was educated at the University of 
Glasgow, came to America in 1720, and in 1721 was installed as minister of the 
North Parish of New London, now Montville. He married Mary, daughter of 
Daniel Fitch, and granddaughter of the Rev. James Fitch of Norwich. 

Judge Hillhouse was " a leading patriot of the revolution," "a member of 
the council of safety for Connecticut and major of the first regiment of cav- 
alry raised in that state. He was afterward a magistrate, or assistant, of the 
state for 24 years, and for many years the chief judge of the county court for the 
county of New London. He was frequently a member of the State legislature, 
and was a member of the congress of the confederation.";}; He died in 1816. 



* Letter from Hon. Charles Miner to the Bi-Centennial Committee. 

f From an article on Lyme, Ct., by Mrs. Martha J. Lamb, in Harper's Monthly for Feb- 
ruary, 1S76. 

|: Chancellor Walworth's "Genealogy of the Hyde Family." 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 373 

Between 181 1 and 1815, Seth Miner sells the property, and in 181S it comes 
into the possession of Capt. Bela Peck. The house soon after disappeared, and 
the land now forms part of the grounds of the Rock Nook Home. In 1839, 
Charles Miner paid a visit to Norwich, but the house was no longer in existence. 
But "he went up the hill on the slope of which it had stood," Miss Caulkins 
says, " to look for the brown thrasher's nest that he left there more than forty 
years before." 




CHAPTER LXVIII. 



THE early laws required that every town of thirty inhabitants should have a 
school to teach reading and writing, and that in every county town a Latin 
school should be established. In 1677, it was voted in a town meeting at Norwich, 
that "a schoole" should be kept "for nine months according to law," and that 
John Birchard should be the school-master, and receive ^25 in provision pay 
for his services, each scholar to pay 9 s. for the nine months, and the remainder 
to be paid by the town rate. In 1679, "Mr." Daniel Mason was engaged for the 
same length of time. 

A school-house was built in 1683 by John Hough and Samuel Roberts, and 
Miss Caulkins believes that, at this time, John Arnold officiated as school master.* 
In 1697, Richard Bushnell served for a while in that capacity, and in 1698, David 
Hartshorn. In 1700, Norwich is indicted "for want of a school to instruct chil- 
dren," and the town at once negotiate with David Knight to repair the school- 



* A later affidavit of John Arnold's testifies to his having taught school in several towns. 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH 



375 



house. In 1702-3, Mr. Solomon Tracy engages to repair it. In 1709, the town 
votes to " have a school-master according to law," and Richard Bushnell is 
again employed. 

In 1712, it was voted that "a good and sufficient school-master be appointed 
to keep schooll the whole yeare and from ycare to yeare, one halfe the time in 
the Town Piatt, the other halfe at the farms in the several quarters." In 1714, a 
rate of 40 s. on a thousand pounds is voted " for ye maintaining of ye school 
provided ye schoolers of ye Town Piatt pay to ye school-master what fails in ye 
sum agreed for, and ye farmers have liberty to send their chilldren free of cost." 
In 1745, the Town appointment for schools was as follows : — 



"School at the Landing Place to be kept 3 months, 17 days. 
Two schools in the Town Plot one at each end, 5J2 months each. 
School at Plain Hills, 
School at Waweekus Hill, 
School at Great Plain, 
School at Wequanuk, 
School on the Windham Road, 



2 


months 19 days. 


I 


month 16 days. 


2 


months 18 days. 


2 


months 15 days. 


^ 


months 11 days." 



" If any of these schools should be kept by a woman, the time was to be 
doubled, as the pay of the mistress was but half that of the master." * 

We are unable to determine the site of any of these early school-houses. 
The one "at the east end of the Town Plot" may have stood near the Green, 
and possibly on the site of the old red brick building formerly used as a school- 
house. The date of the erection of this latter building is unknown. 

Few of the names of the early school-teachers have come down to us. In 
1774, Thomas Eyre advertises to teach an evening school at the rate of is. per 
week for a class of not less than ten pupils. He will give special attention to 
Algebra and Geometry, and " the three useful though neglected rules " in 
Arithmetic, "Vulgar and Decimal Fractions, the Progressional Series, and the Ex- 
traction of the Roots." 



* Miss Caulkins' History of Norwich. 



376 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

One Jared Bostwick (school-teacher), died "greatly lamented in August, 
1778, at the age of 27." A friend mourns his loss in the Norwich Packet as — 

" A friend sincere whose heart did aim 
In virtue's path at honest fame — 
While modest wit and sense refined 
With radiance sweet adorn'd his mind 
Such virtues, Bostwick ! warm'd thy breast, 
Such sentiments thy soul possest." 

In the latter part of 1783, a school was opened in the brick school-house 
"a few rods north of the court house," "upon the most extensive plan and liberal 
construction," "for the reception of a large number of young Gentlemen and Ladies, 
Lads and Misses : where is taught by experienced Instrtictors, in the most modern 
manner, every branch of literature, viz., reading, writing, arithmetic, the learned 
languages, rhetoric, logic, geography, mathematicks," &c. A Mr. Goodrich was 
the instructor. In addition to all these accomplishments, the pupils were taught 
" the rules of decency, decorum, and morality." Andrew Huntington and Dudley 
Woodbridge were the committee. 

"The exhibitions of this school were deemed splendid, and great was the 
applause when Miss Mary Huntington came upon the stage dressed in green silk 
brocade a crown glittering with jewels encircling her brow, and reading Plato to 
personate Lady Jane Grey, while young Putnam, the son of the old general, 
advanced with nodding plumes to express his tender anxieties for her in the person 
of Lord Guilford Dudley." "* 

At his death in 1782, Dr. Daniel Lathrop left ^500 "for the interest to be 
Annually Improved for the support of a school for all the Inhabitants of the 
whole Town, at some Convenient place near where the Meeting House now 
stands, the school to be kept by an able Master for the Instructing Youth in 
Reading, Writing English, also for teaching Arithmatick, also teaching the Lattin 
Tongue — no Children to be sent to said school but such as can read in class — 
the school to be kept 11 months in Each Year, and 8 hours in each day from 
the 20th of March to the 20th of September, and from the 21st of September to 



* Miss Caulkins' History of Norwich. First Edition. 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 377 

the 20th of March, 6 hours in each day that is to say as nearly that space of 
Time in each day as may Reasonably be expected." 

No action was taken on this until 1784, and then it was decided to take 
the brick school-house on the Green for its accommodation, and here probably 
presided the following- teachers, in the order mentioned by the Hon. Charles ^liner, 
who was born in 1780, and received his early schooling in this building : — 

Charles White. 
Newcomh Kinney. 
Mr. Hunt. 

Alexander McDonald. 
William Baldwin. 

Miss Caulkins, however, mentions an Ebenezer Pnnderson as the first 
instructor in this newly-endowed school. This Ebenezer Punderson was probably 
born shortly before the Revolution. His grandfather was the Rev. Ebenezer 
Punderson, who married Hannah Miner in 1732, was ordained minister of the 
Episcopal Church at Poquetannock in 1738, was pastor of Christ Church in 
Norwich from 1749 to 175 1, then went to New Haven, and in ten years later 
to Rye, N. Y., where he died in 1771, aged 63. His widow, Hannah, died in 
1792, aged 80. A stone table, erected to their memory, formerly stood in front of 
Christ Church, but has lately been removed. 

Ebenezer (b. 1735), son of the Rev. Ebenezer Punderson, married Prudence 
Geer in 1757. In 1771, he purchased property on Poquetannock Cove and resided 
there, though owning a farm, store and wharf at Groton. He was evidently a 
regular attendant at Christ Church where sev^eral of his children were baptized. 
When accused in 1775, of drinking the then prohibited tea, he replied, according 
to the Norwich Packet, "to use his own words, that he has drank tea, and means 
to continue that practice," and that "Congress was an unlawful combination, and 
that the petition from Congress to his Majesty was haughty, violent and rascally." 
The Committee of Inspection immediately ordered that "no Trade, Commerce, 
Dealings or Intercourse whatsoever be carried on with said Punderson," which 
had the effect of bringing him to his senses. In less than a week he appears 



378 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

before the Committee, and begs that " they and all his neighbors will forgive 
him, that he was sorry that he drank any Tea since last March," and is determined 
" that he will drink no more until its use is no longer prohibited." He regrets 
also " all expressions used against Congress," and promises that he will never again 
do anything "inimical to the Freedom, Liberty and Privileges of America." It 
is probable, however, that his life in Norwich was no longer a pleasant one, and 
in 1777, Miss Caulkins says, "his property was confiscated, and he left town to 
join the enemy." 

No record of the third Ebenezer Punderson's service as teacher in this 
school has been found, except the brief mention by Miss Caulkins. We know, 
however, that an Ebenezer Punderson was officiating as jailer in 1786 in the prison 
near the school-house. 

Mr. Miner writes : " Among the earliest teachers within my recollection was 
Charles White, a young gentleman from Philadelphia, handsome and accomplished. 
Of his erudition, I was too young to judge, but popular he certainly was among 
the ladies." In July, 1784, the Packet mentions "a public scholastic performance " 
exhibited in the court-house by the scholars " under the tuition of Mr. White." 
"The genius of the scholars, and the taste and good judgement of the Instructor, 
which were exhibited in the various representations during the day, gave universal 
satisfaction to the spectators. Between the different representations the harmony 
of vocal and instrumental music inhanced the pleasures of the day, and rendered 
it compleat." 

Mr. Miner also alludes to " the high degree of emulation awakened " by 
Newcomb Kinney especially in writing. " A sampler was pasted up before six or 
seven scholars near the ceiling, on fine paper, on a double arch sustained by 
Corinthian columns, the upper corners of each sheet bearing a neatly painted quill, 
with the motto, 'Vive la Plume.' Within each half arch near the upper part, 
in fine hand, a poetical quotation, as suggested by fancy, probably from Hannah 
More's ' Search After Happiness,' then highly popular. Beneath, in larger hand, 
successive lines in beautiful penmanship, filling the whole. The Piece painted in 
water colors, the pride of mothers — master and scholars." 

In October, 1787, Newcomb Kinney advertises that he has opened a school 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 379 

in a large, convenient room in Capt. Bcla Peck's house, where he will teach 
" Reading-, Writing, English Grammar, Composition, Geography, with the use of 
the terrestial globe, Book-Keeping by single and double entry, Arithmatic, 
Geometry, Trigonometry, Navigation, and Surveying by actual survey." He will 
also obtain board for pupils " in reputable houses at 6 s. per week, and will accept 
country produce or West India goods in payment." 

Newcomb Kinney (b. 1761), was the son of Joseph and Jemina (Newcomb) 
Kinney. He married in 1786, Sally Branch, daughter of Samuel and Hannah 
(Witter) Branch of Preston. It is probable that the committee of the brick 
school-house, rather than have so formidable a competitor on the Green, engaged 
his services as teacher of the Lathrop school. In 1789, he buys the former 
Joseph Trumbull house near the Green, perhaps with a view to residing perma- 
nently at Norwich Town, but sells it in 1790. He later resided at the Landing, 
where he kept the most popular of taverns. The old Frenchman, in McDonald 
Clarke's verses, is supposed to allude to this favorite landlord, when he says : — 

" Norwich von very fine place, 
And Kinney he von fine man." 

It may have been in the year 1790, that Alexander McDonald became the 
teacher of this school. He was born about 1752, and may possibly have been a 
son of Alexander and Ann (Wilson) McDonald of Newport, R. I., who were 
married in 1747. In 1783, Alexander McDonald of Norwich marries Sarah Leach, — 
daughter of Thomas and Sarah (Reynolds) Leach. In 1785, he publishes at the 
Landing his "Youth's Assistant," a guide to Arithmetic, which is highly praised 
by many of the chief instructors of the day. In 1786, he advertises as a book- 
seller and bookbinder at Chelsea, and also, in connection with Hezekiah Woodruff, 
opens a school in Chelsea Hall, and offers to obtain good board for pupils at 6 s. 
per week. In 1788, he moves his bookstore to No. 2 Leffingwell Row at Norwich 
Town, and in 1789, to the shop a few rods north of the Court-House, probably 
the former " Perit " shop. He died in 1792, aged 40, possibly while still a teacher 
in the brick school-house. It is probable that he left no children, as no births of 
that name have been found in the records. His widow married Capt. Joseph 
Gale in 1795. 



380 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

William Baldwin is the best remembered of all the teachers in the town 
plot. Mrs. Sigourney describes him as "somewhat stricken in years," having 
''held his office from early manhood." " He was a thorough scholar and austere. 
Not being addicted to social pleasures, he was considerably past his prime, before 
he entered the marriage relation, and he still retained the temperament of a 
recluse. Never having had opportunity to wreathe his features into a smile for 
a babe of his own, they were not often moved to that form by the children of 
others. Indeed, according to the system of Rochefoucauld, he seemed to take it 
for granted that every boy was a rogue, until proved to the contrary. Neither 
was slight proof sufficient to overcome his scepticism. He was of a tall, spare 
form, with a keen black eye. Everyone in school could imitate his frown, his 
measured gait, and precision of speech." 

" Boys, I shall be compelled to punish you severely, if there is either per- 
sistence in or repetition of such conduct." 

" Little did the dominie suppose that in the familiar talk of the scholars 
the irreverent cognomen of 'Uncle Billy' was applied to him. The more obser- 
vant, who, according to Goldsmith, 

' — are skill'd to trace 
The day's disaster in the morning's face.' 

would sometimes say pantomimically ' Uncle Billy is chewing a tough Greek 
root to-day. Look out for breakers.' " 

"To the female branch of his dominion he was eminently taciturn. I doubt 
whether I ever addressed him save in replies to his questions on the lessons, or 
what sprung collaterally from the business of the school. Still there was no 
mixture of dislike in our reserved intercourse. On the contrary, I felt an innate 
sense of his approbation, which sustained my complacency. He elevated me as an 
honor to the especial office of monitor of the reading classes. This was no sinecure, 
as the classes were large ; and when they were marshalled for this exercise, I was ex- 
pected to stand opposite each one, as they read, and criticize elocution and emphasis, 
having the power to make them repeat their allotted portion as often as I deemed 
necessary. On the whole, I enjoyed myself, and improved under the stern old mas- 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 381 

ter, and felt a sort of pride in his strictness, which I think scholars generally do, 
notwithstanding- what they may say to the contrary."* 

William Baldwin (b. ab. 1761), married in 1802, Alice, daughter of Benjamin 
and Mary (Carew) (Brown) Huntington. He died in 1817, and his wife died in 1833. 



* From Mrs. Sigourney's " Letters of Life." 



CHAPTER LXIX. 

WHILE William Baldwin continued to teach in the brick school-house, Mrs. 
Sigourney "was removed from his regency to share the benefits of a 
school unique in those times," and, as she writes, " I am inclined to think, not 
easily paralleled in any. A young gentleman of superior talents, education, and 
position in society, having been compelled by some infirmity of health to abandon 
his choice of the clerical profession, consented to take charge for one year of a 
select circle of twenty-five pupils." * 

This teacher was Pelatiah Perit (b. 1785), son of John and Ruth (Webster) 
Perit. He graduated at Yale College in 1802. The location of this school we have 
been unable to determine, but think it quite possible that Col. Christopher Leffing- 
well, who had recently married (in 1799) the mother of Pelatiah Perit, may have 
placed at his disposal an upper room in the two- storied part of Leffingwell Row, 
which we know was later used as a school-room. 

Mrs. Sigourney considered it a "rare privilege" to attend this school, and 
writes of Mr. Perit : " He had but recently completed his collegiate course, and it 
seems a scarcely credible fact that, ere he had reached his twentieth birthday, he 
should have judgment to conduct such an institution, and to impress every vary- 
ing spirit with respect and obedience. Yet so it was. The secret of his sway 
was in his earnest piety and consistent example." 

" The order of the school was perfect. The classes were excellently well 
taught, as were also the English studies. Among the latter, I recollect geography 
was quite a favorite, probably because it was deepened by our construction of 
maps and charts, in which we were strenuous for accuracy and some degree of 
elegance. The former we decorated by painted vignettes and devices, and for 



* Mrs. Sigourney 's " Letters of Life." 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 3S3 

the latter had immense sheets manufactured at the paper mill on purpose for us. 
These being divided into regular parallelograms by lines of red ink, we wrote 
on their left the name of every country on the habitable globe, filling its even 
line of regular compartments according to their designation over the top — Length 
and Breadth, Latitude and Longitude, Boundaries, Rivers, Mountains, Form of 
Government, Population, Universities, and Learned Men, where they existed, and 
whatever circumstance of history was reducible to so narrow a compass. The 
search after these facts, the conciseness of style requisite, and the fair chirography 
which were held indispensable, were all valuable attainments. This could not be 
an exercise com.mon to the whole school, from the large space required for accom- 
modation. I recollect being one of six— three of each sex, — who had permission 
to pursue it, and to have each a table spread for that purpose in a large vacant 
apartment. So much was our conscientiousness cultivated by this admirable 
instructor, that we, in conformity to our promise, comported ourselves with the 
same gravity as if in his presence, holding no conversation save what was neces- 
sary to test and condense the knowledge drawn out from the text-books on 
separate papers, and criticized ere they were copied." 

" He also suggested an excellent employment for the intervals of Sunday, — 
the selection of passages of Scripture on subjects given us by himself. Our 
zeal to bring a large number, neatly copied, on Monday morning, prevented the 
idle waste of consecrated time, and promoted an intimate acquaintance with the 

treasures of the sacred volume I have never attended a school where the 

religious sentiment was so perfectly cultivated, .... not by the constant repetition 
of precept, still less by the enforcement of peculiar doctrines, .... but by the 
influence of an earnest, consistent, pious example. The deep feeling of the morning 
prayer often moistened the eyes of the most unthinking ; and the same spirit 

caught from the closing orison followed them home The future course of 

Mr. Pelatiah Perit fully verified its opening promise Wherever he was, and 

in whatever he engaged, his influence was for God and goodness." 

In 1809, he married Jerusha Lathrop, daughter of Thomas and Lydia 
(Hubbard) Lathrop, and entered into business in New York. From 1817 to 1S32, 
he was a member of a firm of shipping merchants. In 1S21, his wife died, and 



384 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

in 1823, he married her cousin, Maria Coit, daughter of Daniel Lathrop and 
Elizabeth (Bill) Coit. From 1852 to 1863, he was President of the Chamber of 
Commerce. He was also President of the Seaman's Savings Bank. During the 
cholera epidemic, he assisted in nursing the sick, and gave large sums of money 
to aid the sufferers. He resided for many years at Bloomingdale, N. Y., and later 
moved to New Haven, where he died at his house on Hillhouse avenue in 1864. 
His wife died in 1885. 

The school was next " taken in charge by the Rev. Daniel Haskell, a 
gentleman of somewhat more mature years, and also a graduate of Yale College. 
He was decidedly a religious character, a ripe scholar, and of great amenity of 
manners, and disposition. The belles-lettres studies were admirably taught by 
him, and he gave critical attention to the correct expression of written thought. 
He read to us portions of the best standard authors, in his own elegant elocu- 
tion, and encouraged us freely to criticize both style and sentiment." 

" Into the idioms and refinements of our own language he carefully led us. 
The ' Exercises of Lindley Murray ' he especially rendered delightful in daily 
lessons, throwing us back continually upon definition and derivation, until the roots 
of words, and their minute shades of meaning, became beautiful as thought- 
pictures. So much did he inspire us with his own favorite tastes, that parsing 
the most difficult passages of the poets, remarkable either for elision or amplifi- 
cation, was coveted as a sport. The culture of memory was also a prominent 
object with him, for being a natural metaphysician, he scanned the intellect as a 
map, and wrought in each department. He occasionally read slowly to us pages 
from rare or antique works, historical, descriptive, or didactic, and, closing the 
book, required the substance or analysis in our own language. This was given 
orally at the time, and might also, if we chose, be presented in writing, subject 
to his correction." 

" Our course of study, which was arduous, he sustained and quickened by 
emulation. The gift of books signalized the close of each term, of which there 
were four in the year, and a silver medal was semi-annually awarded. These 
premiums were so definitely adjusted to different grades of proficiency, or exem- 
plary deportment, that there was no possibility of partiality, and so wisely balanced 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 385 

by the kind feelings cultivated among us, as never to create jealousy or dislike. 
I well remember our added meekness of manner when in the reception of these 
coveted prizes, and am sure that it was the fruit of his teachings. He faithfullv 

developed not the intellect alone, but the affections Under the charge of this 

learned and amiable man, there was a perceptible growth of ' whatsoever was 
lovely and of good report.' " 

" His sway sweetly illustrated the beauty of rule and the beauty of obedience. 
Our grief at the termination of the school was more deep and passionate than 
aught I have ever seen on a similar occasion. He was to us all the 'man greatly 
beloved.' We were as Niobes at the parting interview, when gathering lis aroimd 
him that last sad morning, he read once more in his voice of music from the 
Holy Book, gave us solemn and tender counsels, and kneeling down, commended 
lis to the blessed care of the ' Father of Lights, with whom is no variableness, 
neither shadow of turning.' 

" Thou who didst bend to guide the timorous mind, 
Wise as a father, as a brother kind ; 
With gentle hand its wayward cause withheld, 
Allured, not forced — encouraged, not compelled, 
Till the clear eye look'd up, devoid of fears, 
I bless thee for thy love, through all this lapse of years." 

This Rev. Daniel Haskell was born in Preston, in 17S4, and graduated at 
Yale College in the same class with Pelatiah Perit in 1802. After leaving Norwich, 
he taught in the Bacon Academy, Colchester, in 1806-7, then studied theology, 
was settled as pastor at Middletown and Litchfield, Ct., and afterward at St. 
Albans and Burlington, Vt., from 1810-21, and was then elected President of the 
University of Vermont, which position he retained until 1824. During the latter 
part of his life he was afflicted with a mental disorder, from which he, however, 
recovered, and later resumed his literary work. He received the degree of 
LL. D., from Olivet College, Michigan. He was the author of a Gazetteer of the 
United States, and a book called "A Chronological View of the World," and 
also assisted in editing AlcCulloch's Geographical Dictionary. 



25 



CHAPTER LXX. 

SOME time before 1795, a part of lot No. 5 (frontage i rod, 16)2 links), just 
beyond the school-house, was leased to Gardner Carpenter. On this he 
builds a store (or store-house), which, after his death, is sold in 1816 to Nathaniel 
and John Townsend. In the deed it is called "the red store." In 1846, John 
Townsend sells it to Charles Charlton, who alters the store into a house, which 
is now occupied by his widow. 

The lease of the other half of No. 5 to Nathaniel Townsend, "on which his 
traiding or barber's shop now stands," is dated 1795, but he was probably in 
possession of the property sometime before, certainly as early as 1793. The line 
is described as "running N. 5^4° W. 4 r. 18 1." (abutting on Mediterranean Lane), 
"to the narrow alley which leads to the jail," "then by sd lane N. 4 r. — then 
south 35° E 4 r. 1 1 -^4^ 1. by land leased to Gardner Carpenter to the highway, then 
by sd highway i r. 1714 1." In 1793, Nathaniel Townsend advertises that he has 
" hired a regular bred Baker from Boston and proposes to the inhabitants of Nor- 
wich to send his Bread Carriage round from the upper part of the town, and through 
Chelsea every day except Sundays (designated by Slay Bells), about 4 o'clock 
afternoons, with all those different kinds of Bread which those that are pleased 
to patronize this undertaking shall recpiire. Butter & Groat Biscuit, Crackers, 
Gingerbread, Sugar & Ginger Cookies, Rusk, Buns, &c. — for sale in large or 
small quantities at his Bake House in front of the Goal." He later sold in the 
same place a varied stock of goods, paper-hangings, dry-goods, groceries, &c., so 
possibly the bakery enterprise was soon relinquished. The shop, which resembled 
in many features the one owned by the Carpenters, remained until after 1868, in 
the possession of the Townsend family. It was then sold, and destroyed, and 
the house now standing on the lot was built. 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 387 

We believe this shop to be the one in which John Wheatley carried on the 
business of boot and shoe-making in 1774, near the Printing office, and made 
" the best of materials, good work and cjuick despatch, the cardinal points of his 
compass." He moved in the next year, across the Green to keep the Peck tavern, 
and Nathaniel Patten, with an utter disregard of the points of the compass, 
establishes his book store here '• at the east end of the plain near the Printing 
office. " He has one of the largest and most varied assortments of books ever 
offered in town for sale, and advertises also iron-mould drops, a tincture to take 
stains out of mahogany. Tooth-drops, Venetian Tooth Powder, Lip Salve, Eye 
Water, &c. He will " bind, gold and letter books," and "metamorphose old books 
into New at least the difference will not be perceptible to those who do 
not open them." 

In 1775, his store is robbed and he announces that he intends to leave 
town, but is still residing here in 1776, when he advertises for rags for making 
wrapping paper. 

In 1797, a Nathaniel Patten, possibly a son of the first Nathaniel, adver- 
tises in Norwich as of the firm of Sterry 6c Patten. This second Nathaniel 
Patten marries in 1796, Faith Foster. These probably belonged to the Patten 
family of Cambridge, Mass. 

We think this may be the shop in which Gideon Denison advertises in 1783 
to sell a large and varied assortment of goods. He also wishes to buy horses 
for the Surinam market. We are unable to say when this shop was built. 



CHAPTER LXXI. 

THE early jail (or "goal," as it was then written), stood, it is said, on the 
south-east corner of the Green. About 1759, a new jail was erected back of 
the old brick school house on the parsonage land. In February, 1786, this jail 
"took fire," as the Norwich Packet says, "and alarmed the inhabitants, who 
collected in great numbers, but notwithstanding their sacrificing exertions, the 
whole of this lonesome building was burned to the ground." The Packet adds : 
" It is wished by many that the inhabitants would provide themselves with two 
good fire engines, which are the best preservatives against that worst of all mas- 
ters, fire." It was shortly after this, that Thomas Harland made his first fire engine. 

In 1774-5, Sims Edgerton was the jailer, and to his care was committed in 
November, 1775, Dr. Benjamin Church, .gr.-grandson and namesake of the noted 
Indian fighter. Dr. Church had written songs and delivered orations in favor of 
American freedom, and had also been a member of the Provincial Congress in 1774, 
and yet was convicted of treasonable correspondence, arrested, and sent under close 
guard to Norwich for safe keeping. A high picket fence was built around the 
jail, and " even within this inclosure, Dr. Church was not permitted to walk but 
once a week, and then with the sheriff at his side. In May, 1776, he was sent to 
Watertown, and shortly after was allowed to sail for the West Indies, but the 
vessel was never again heard of." Various tories and suspected persons were 
sent to the Norwich prison from time to time, and many escaped. In 17 78, John 
Barney, Jun., was the prison-keeper ; in 1783, Darius Peck ; in 1784-5, and at various 
other times, Seth Miner served in that capacity. Ebenezer Punderson was the 
successor of Seth Miner in 1786. 

Rewards of $5 or |io were frequently offered for the arrest of escaped 
prisoners, confined for debt, murder, burglary, treason and counterfeiting, in 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 389 

which latter crime old offenders were detected by their " cropt and branded ears." 
In 17S2, a company of English sailors, who were imprisoned here, ran away to New 
London, seized a new coasting vessel, and made good their escape. In 1800, 
seventeen French prisoners were brought here, captured as they were fleeing from 
the Island of wSt. Domingo. They were allowed to wander about freely in the 
town, treated considerately, and soon released in 1801. One of these prisoners, 
Jean Pierre Boyer, afterward President of the Haytien republic, remembered, with 
substantial rewards, kindnesses he had received while in Norwich. 

After the burning of the prison in 1786, a new building was erected on 
the same site, but in 1815, the " Perit " house on the opposite side of the Green 
was purchased for the county house, and a jail was built on the adjoining lot a short 
distance back of where now stands the store of Herbert W. Hale. This lasted until 
the courts were moved to the Landing, in 1833, and was then shortly after burnt 
to the ground. 

Back of the jail, and surrounded by paths leading from the jail and main 
highways, was a small lot of land which was sold by James Huntington to Joseph 
Peck in 1760, and was deeded back to the town by Bela Peck in 1783. At that time 
there stood on the lot a shop " improved by Darius Peck," and another '' occupied 
by a chaise-maker." 

In 1773, this latter building was the printing office of the Norwich Packet, 
which was transferred to a shop west of the church in 1775, and William Lax, 
an Englishman and a wheelwright, moves " to where the Printing office formerly 
kept on the Plain. He repairs carts, coach and chaise wheels," and during the 
Revolution built up quite a reputation as a maker of gun carriages. He died in 
1779. In 1775, Darius Peck, who was also a wheelwright, moved "from the east 
side of the plain" to the other shop on this land "back of where the Printing 
office formerly kept." In one of these two shops in the rear of the jail, Joseph 
Carpenter was po.ssibly located in 1770, when he pays to Joseph Peck £^\ 10 s. for 
one year's rent of shop. 

The Norwich Packet or Weekly Advertiser was the first newspaper pub- 
lished in Norwich. It was started in October, 1773, by the firm of Robertsons & 
Trumbull, the partners being Alexander and James Robertson, and John Trumbull. 



390 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

Their first printing office, according to the advertisement, was rather indefinitely- 
located "near the Court House," but from the advertisements of adjoining shops, 
we think that it probably stood in the rear of or near the jail. In 1775, the firm 
moved to another stand west of the Meeting House.* 

The brothers, Alexander and James Robertson, were born in Scotland, and 
were the sons of a printer. They emigrated to America, and established them- 
selves about 176S at New York, where they published "The New York Chronicle." 
In 1770, they opened a printing office at Albany, and also in 1773, at Norwich, 
where, besides "The Norwich Packet," the}^ printed many books, pamphlets, tales, 
sermons, political tracts, military manuals, school books, hymn books, &c. During 
the Revolution, they were suspected of sympathizing with the British, and though 
there was no evidence of this feeling in the columns of the Packet, which freely 
admitted all patriotic communications, they, however, finally acknowledged their 
lack of sympathy with the Revolutionists and moved to New York, in 1776. 

A grave-stone in the old burying-ground marks the resting place of Amy, 
wife of James Robertson, who died in Norwich, in June, 1776, shortly before their 
departure from the town. After the capture of New York by the British, the 
brothers published in that city " The Royal American Gazette," and later James 
Robertson issued in Philadelphia "The Royal Gazette." They finally removed to 
Nova Scotia, where at Port Roseway (Shelburne) in November, 1784, Alexander 
Robertson died, in the 42nd year of his age, as the Norwich Packet announces, 
"a gentleman of probity, benevolence, and philanthropy, much esteemed, and 
now greatly lamented by a very numerous and respectable acquaintance." After 
the death of his brother, James Robertson returned to Scotland. 



* We will reserve the Trumbull genealogy and the later history of The Packet for our 
second volume, which describes that part of the town, in which this second office is located. 




CHAPTER LXXIL 



ARIUS Peck (b. 1749-50), was a son of Jonathan and Bethiah (Bingham) 
Peck of Norwich. He married (i) in 1772, Hannah Warner of Windham, 
Ct., and (2) Mary Frances, and had ten children. He died about 1804. He was 
among the first to enlist in the army of the Revolution, was appointed Ensign 
in 1777, commissioned as Lieutenant in 17 78, and retired from the service in 1779. 
Between 1772, the date of his marriage, and 1781, he builds the house (long known 
as the Dr. Tracy house), standing on the slope of the hill at the foot of 
Mediterranean Lane. He also occupied, as a wheelwright, a shop which stood 
between his own house and the IMiner house, and back of the jail. 

In 1 78 1, he sells this property to Gideon Denison, and also a blacksmith's 
shop which he owned in the rear of the old Arnold house. From one of the 
bills of sale we learn that his dwelling house was originally painted red. 

Gideon Denison (b. 1753), was the son of Gideon Denison of wSaybrook, Ct., 
and gr.-gr.-grandson of Capt. George Denison and his wife, " Lady " Ann Borodell 



392 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

of Stonington, Ct. He married in 1780, Jerusha, daughter of Benjamin and 
4££»stei (Hyde) Butler, lived for a while in Norwich, his busmess bemg that of 
a merchant, and his shop near the Green. He moved from Norwich to Havre de 
Grace, Md., where he died. His widow, Jerusha, died in Washington. He had 
five children, of whom one, Minerva, married Capt. John Rodgers, U. S. N. 
Elizabeth became the wife of Capt. John D. Henley, and Louisa, of Capt. Alexander 
Wadsworth, all distinguished naval officers. Gideon Denison sells his house in 
1782, to his father-in-law, Benjamin Butler, who leaves it by will to his son, Thomas. 
The next occupant was Dr. Philemon Tracy (b. 1757), son of Dr. Elisha 
and Elizabeth (Dorr) Tracy, who, though he resided in the house for some years 
previouslv, did not purchase the property until 1801. He studied medicine with 
his father, and also with Dr. Philip Turner, and practiced in Norwich for more 
than fifty-five years. He received from Yale College the honorary degree of 
Doctor of Medicine. He married in 1785, Abigail, daughter of Jonathan and 
Lydia (Proctor) Trott of Norwich. 

Mrs. Sigourney thus describes Dr. Philemon Tracy : " I think I see now 
that cautious Mentor-like person, so grave and courteous, his countenance marked 
with deep thought and kindness— Dr. Philemon Tracy. I remember him among 
my benefactors. From his father he inherited medical skill and fame, monopolizing 
the principal practice of the city. Yet let the pressure of his business be ever so 
great, he studied a new case as a faithful clergyman does a sermon. He happily 
avoided the extremes which my Lord Bacon has designated: 'Some physicians 
are so conformable to the humor of the patient, that they press not the true treat- 
ment of the disease, and others so bound by rules as to respect not sufficiently 
his condition.' But the practice of our venerated Norwich healer was to possess 
himself of the idiosyncrasy of constitution as well as of the symptoms of disease, 
to administer as little medicine as possible, and to depend much on regimen, and 
rousing the recuperative powers to their wonted action. His minute questions and 
long deliberation inspired confidence, while the sententious mode of delivering 
his prescriptions gave them a sort of oracular force." * 

Mrs. Sigourney again writes of him : " I well remember his dignified 
*Mrs. Sigourney 's "Letters of Life." 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 393 

deportment, his originality in conversation." From an old bill of Dr. Tracy's we 
will give a few homely items, as illustrative of his fees and practice : — 

To A.NDKKw Hl.ntixgton in acct. Philemon Tkacv, Dr. 

1796. 
Jul}' 20. To extracting Tooth for Lucy, . . . \ s. t d. 

iSoo. 
Nov. 2. To a visit to his wife. Bleeding & Box of Pills, 4 j. b d. 

1801. 
July 1. To Bitters prepared, . . . , . . 2 s. 

July 21. To Columbo & Vit. Tart. &c pp" . . . 1 s. v,d. 

Oct. 21. To a visit to Abner & Puke, . . . . ■}, s. i, d. 

' " " " & Pills 3 J. 

Oct. 23. ' " " Pills & Blisters, . . i,s.bd. 

Nov. I. " " " " " & Bark is.bd. 

Dr. Philemon Tracy died in Norwich, in 1837, aged eighty. He became blind 
several years before his death. His daughter, Harriet Frances Tracy, witty and 
talented, died in 1830. Two of his sons, Phinehas, and Albert Haller Tracy, 
became members of Congress : one from Batavia, N. Y., the other from Buffalo. 
Another son, Edward, was Judge of the Superior Court in Macon, Ga. The only 
remaining son, Richard Proctor (b. 1791), studied medicine at Yale College, and 
succeeded to his father's practice. He never married, and lived in the old home- 
stead till his death in 1871. He was talented, eccentric, and peculiar, but highly 
esteemed as a physician, and like all the other members of this family, renowned 
for his witty and original sayings. He was the last of his family to occupy the 
old homestead, which was sold after his death. It is now occupied by George 
Williams. 

Next to the Tracy house comes lot No. 10, formerly part of the lands of 
Seth Miner, and beyond this, lot No. 11, at one time in the possession of Ebenezer 
Jones. This was later leased by the Church Society to Samuel Charlton, and the 
two houses now standing there, were built by John and Samuel Charlton. The 
second of the houses was sold by John Charlton in 1S39 to Chauncey K. Bushnell. 
In 1868, it was in the possession of Luther Matthewson. 

Beyond lot No. ii, we come to lot No. 12, which was early leased to Par- 



394 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 



menas Jones, and the house built, which still remains in the possession of the 
Jones family. 

Parmenas Jones (b. 1752), was a son of Sylvanus and Kesiah (Cleveland) 
Jones. He married (i) in 1777, Eunice Herrick, and (2) in 17S8, Rosanna Weeks. 
Beyond the Jones house we come to lot No. 13 (frontage 6 rods), leased to Daniel 
Abbot in 17S7. On this land he builds a barn, and sells the property in 1792 to 
William Osborn. This may be the William Osborn who advertises in 1785 as a 
painter and gilder on the road west of the meeting-house. In 1802, William 
Osborn sells to Isabella Gildon, the land and former barn (''converted into a 
house"), in which he then resides. The house has since that time had many 
occupants. 





o 

CD 



ri 



CHAPTER LXXIII. 

IN the first settlements, a plot of ground was usually left open in the centre of 
the town for public use, about w^hich clustered the church, the parsonage, and 
public buildings. This centre of the town plot in Norwich was called "ye Green," 
"ye Meeting-House Green," and later "the Parade," "the Training Field," and 
" the Plain." What an event it must have been in the history of the town when 
the first train band, with Francis Griswold as Lieutenant, and Thomas Tracy as 
Ensign, assembled here in 1666. Under the special supervision of Major Mason, 
who, from the windows of his house at the south of the Green, could watch their 
evolutions, what a proficiency these "trainers" must have attained, for the old 
Major v/ould hardly allow his Norwich company to fall behind the other train 
bands of the colony at the regular biennial reviews. 

According to the laws of Connecticut, a band of thirty-two persons was 
entitled to a lieutenant, ensign and two sergeants, but no captain was allowed 
until the number of privates had increased to sixty-four. John Mason, 2nd, son 
of Major Mason, was the first captain of the Norwich train-band, and he received 
his appointment in 1675. What an impetus it must have given to the annual 
training when the new "drums, holbarts, and one pr. of collours " were purchased in 
1708, and two companies were formed, the first with the popular Richard Bushnell 
as Captain, Solomon Tracy as Lieutenant, and Thomas Leffingwell, 2nd, as Ensign ; 
and the second officered by Capt. wSamuel Griswold, Lt. Joseph Backus, and Ensign 
Thomas Waterman. 

In 1729, it was voted by the town "that the Plain in the Town Piatt, 
called the Meeting House plain, with all its contents and extents of it as it now 
lyeth, shall be and remain to be and lye common for public use for the w^hole 



396 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

town forever without alteration." The first old meeting--house which was built 
on the south-east corner of the plain was still standing in 1705, but probably soon 
after disappeared. 

In 1737, Nathaniel Lathrop requests permission "to build a shop on the 
plain," and it was then resolved by the inhabitants that " there shall no shop, 
barn, house, or any other building be erected, built, or sett up in or upon the 
above sd plain or any part thereof without special liberty from this Town.'' 
But it is possible that the town relented, and that later the privilege of 
building was granted to Nathaniel, as in 1757, it is voted "to remove all 
incumbrances off the lands late in possession of Nathaniel Lothrop, on the 
west side of the meeting house plain that the land may be fit for public use." 
Between 1760-62 the court-house was built upon the plain, and remained there 
until 1798. . 

On this Green, Capt. Philip Turner paraded and exercised his troop of 
horse, and Richard Bushnell, 2nd, who, under the captaincy of Philip Turner, had 
served as cornet, later succeeded him in command. Fines were imposed for non- 
appearance on Training day. On April 8, 1750, John Bliss, "Clerk of ye first com- 
pany or Train band of Norwich," was ordered by Capt. Ebenezer Lathrop, to levy 
fines on all who did not " appear and answer to their names on the forth day of 
September, 1749, on ye Common place of parade," and "if any neglect or refuse 
to pay" he is "to distrain their goods or chattels" and for want of these "to 
seize ye body or bodys of such person or persons, and commit them unto ye 
Common Goal." 

At the time of the Stamp Act excitement, Miss Caulkins says, that a liberty 
pole was erected on the Green adorned with standards and appropriate devices 
and crowned with a cap, and under it was built a tent or booth called the 
Pavilion. * Here the citizens met to celebrate the repeal of the Stamp Act with 
great rejoicings, and the effigy of Jared Ingersoll, the unpopular stamp distributor, 
was burnt on the high hill overlooking the plain. During the Revolution, this 
liberty pole was the rallying place for the citizens, and here they met daily, to 
make speeches and discuss the state of affairs. 



* Miss Caulkins' History of Norwich. 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 397 

In 1774, a field review of four companies was held on tlie plain, with the 
following officers : — 

First Coinpaiiy. 

J EDI 1)1 AH Huntington, Captain. 
Jacdi; Perkins, Jr., Lieutenant. 
JosKiMi Carew, Ensign. 

Second Company. 

Samuel Wheat, Captain. 
Joseph Ellis, Lieutenant. 
Isaac Griswold, Ensign. 

lliird Company. 

Isaac Tracy, Jr., Captain. 
Jacob Witter, Lieutenant. 
Andrew Tracy, Ensign. 

Fourth Company or CJielsca Company. 

Gershom Breed, Captain. 
Benjamin Dennis, Lieutenant. 
Thomas Trapp, Ensign. 

"One of the words of command in training at this time was ' Blow off the 
loose corns,' and before and after the command to 'Poise arms' came 'Put 
your right hand to the fire-lock,' or 'Put your left hand to the fire-lock.' 
An odd kind of aspirate was sometimes used after a command, thus : 
' Shoulder ! hoo ! ' * 

The English colors were also used, " displaying the Cross of St. George in 
a field of red or blue, and sometimes the St. Andrew's Cross united with it in 
reference to the union of England and Scotland." It was perhaps of this grand 
training of 1774, that Miss Caulkins tells the tale of the artillery company, com- 
posed of strong patriots, who bore the banner of the State, while the light infantry 
appeared with the royal colors. In marching through the streets, the artillery 
encountered the infantry, and planting their cannon in the way, refused to let 



* Miss Caulkins' History of Norwich. 



398 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

them pass until they had lowered the royal standard, which from this time was 
never used again. 

In 1777, Congress ordered that the flag, representing the thirteen original 
States, should have thirteen stripes, alternate red and white, with a union of thirteen 
stars, white on a blue field. In 1794, the number of stars and stripes was changed 
to fifteen. This was the flag of the war of 181 2, for which was written the song 
called "The Star Spangled Banner." In 1S18, the number of stripes was changed 
to the original thirteen, while it was ordered that the blue field should contain 
as many stars as there were vStates in the Union. 

In 1774, the General Court ordered that the Norwich companies should 
form the Twentieth regiment of infantry, and Jedediah Huntington was ap- 
pointed colonel, Samuel Abbot, lieutenant, and Zabdiel Rogers, major, and a 
regimental training was ordered for the first Monday in May, but by that time, 
most of the men were already in service at Boston, and no review took place. 

On the Sunday following the Battle of Bunker Hill, toward the close of 
the morning service, the noise of a galloping horse was heard, and the church 
bell was violently rung. The audience rushed out upon the Green, and gathered 
around to hear the courier read the dispatches from the seat of war. That evening 
the bell was rung, cannons were fired, bonfires blazed, speeches were made, and 
many pledged themselves to join the army. 

After the war was over, and independence was declared, how gay must 
have been the scenes enacted here on the yearly "training" day, when all the 
houses and taverns around were filled with guests, every table set with training 
or election cake, and wine, beer, or cider, and throngs of people straggling over 
the plain, and through the streets, among whom, the Mohegan Indians, with 
their queen, Betty Uncas, and their brooms, blankets and papooses were most 
conspicuous as they " lined the fence from Lord's to Lathrop's tavern." How 
the small boys enjoyed themselves, hovering as closely as possible to the military 
until, charged upon by a row of muskets, they scattered in all directions. 

The first train-bands wore probably a modification of the Puritan or Round- 
head costume. To the early colonial soldier was generally furnished the scarlet 
uniform of the British, but at the beginning of the Revolution, when the army 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 399 

was called hurriedly into the field, a great variety of dress and equipment pre- 
vailed. Even the officers were so poorly supplied, that Gen. Washington ordered 
that the general officers should be distinguished by ribbons across the breast, and 
later that the field officers should wear various colored cockades. He also 
requested that the troops should wear as much as possible hunting shirts and 
breeches, fastened garter fashion about the legs, but this was not generally adopted. 

After the alliance with the French in 1779, stores of cloth were procured 
of the shade known as " Dutch blue," and it was ordered that this should be the 
army color, the Connecticut light horse or cavalry having their uniforms faced 
and lined with white, the artillery with red, and the general officers with yellow. 
The familiar continental or cocked hat was worn, the face was clean-shaven, with 
the hair clubbed or queued, and powdered. In 1781, the stock of blue cloth was 
exhausted, and none could be procured at any price. It was not until after 1782, 
that the army was completely uniformed. 

In April, 1793, Adj. Gen. Ebenezer Huntington issues the orders of the 
Captain General for the militia of the State. The generals are to wear blue 
coats, faced and lined with buff, buff underdress, yellow buttons and epaulettes, 
and the aids-de-camp and brigade-majors the same as the generals, except when 
they hold commissions in the line, in which case, they wear the uniform of the 
corps to which they belong. The officers of the regiments of foot are to wear 
blue coats, faced with red, and lined with white, white underdress, white buttons, 
and white epaulettes. The sergeants have the same uniform as the commissioned 
officers, and are designated by a white worsted " nott " on each shoulder. The 
" musick " are to be attired in red coats, faced with blue, and lined with white, 
trimmed with blue livery lace, white underdress, white buttons, and a blue 
worsted "nott" on each shoulder. The corporals and privates are to wear white 
frocks and overalls. All on horseback are to be armed with swords and pistols, 
and the troops are to have black cockades. 

In August of the same year, the officers and men of the artillery regiments 
are ordered to wear blue coats, faced and lined with red, buff underdress, and 
yellow buttons, the officers to wear yellow belts, the sergeants a red worsted 
"nott" on each shoulder, and the corporals, one on the left shoulder. The 



4O0 OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 

" musick " are required to wear red coats faced and lined with blue, and trimmed 
with blue livery lace, yellow buttons and buff underdress, and a blue worsted 
" nott " on each shoulder. The Captain General is to be adorned with a deep 
blue ribbon across the breast, the Lieut. General with one of pink. The Major 
General has two stars on the strap of each epaulette, the Brig. General and Adj. 
General one star, and the latter wears one blue and one black feather on his hat. 
The hats of the aids de-camp are adorned with white and black feathers, and 
the brigade-majors with blue and black, 

In this year, the Twentieth regiment, commanded by Lt. Col. Joseph 
Williams, was reviewed by Maj. Gen. Gordon, and inspected by Brigade-Major 
Joseph Perkins. It consisted of one matross company, one light infantry, one 
grenadier, and eight infantry companies attended by Capt. Edgerton's troop of 
Horse. The Weekly Register thus expatiates on the scene : " Tho' mankind look 
forward with avidity to the season when ' swords shall be beaten into plough- 
shares, and spears into pruning hooks, and the nations learn war no more,' 
yet for beauty, order, regularity of movement and the true vSublime perhaps no 
place or situation short of the Heavenly Jerusalem can furnish scenes ecpial to 
military arrangements." 

Mr. Charles Miner describes a review of long ago, when the Matross 
company, commanded by Roger Griswold, paraded in front of the meeting- 
house, the light infantry near the Perit house, the common militia company 
stood facing west on the lower point of the Green— and the out-of-town companies 
were assigned positions by the adjutant on their arrival. He comments on "the 
fine soldier-like bearing of Gen. Marvin on his stately war steed," "accompanied by 
his aids in splendid uniform and nodding plumes." "The march was down east, 
and round the square. The band and brigade of drums and fifes under Collier 
and Manning alternating." After the parade was over, games were usually the 
order of the day, in which Capt. Griswold took the lead in cricket, Capt. Edward 
Slocum in wrestling, and John Post would show his agility by climbing the steeple. 
After the shades of evening had gathered, the sounds of revelry proceeded from 
Lathrop's tavern. " The officers have dined, and prefer punch, such as Lathrop 
only could make, to indifferent wine. The choicest Antigua, loaf sugar by the 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 401 

pailful, lemons, oranges, limes. Merrier fellows with tempered mirth never wore 
cockade or feather." 

A more amusing, if not (|uite so imposing occasion, was the annual election 
of their governor by the colored people of the town. One of the first of these 
dignitaries was Boston Trow-trow, who died 1772, aged 66. After his death 
Samuel Hun'ton (named after his master. Gov. Huntington), was annually elected 
to the office for many years. " As he rode through the town on his master's 
horse adorned with plated gear, his aids on each side, a la militaire, himself 
pufifing and swelling with pomposity, sitting bolt upright, and moving with a slow, 
majestic pace as if the universe was looking on. When he mounted or dismounted, 
his aid flew to his assistance, holding his bridle, putting his feet into the stirrup, 
and bowing to the ground before him. The Great Mogul in a triumphal proces- 
sion never assumed an air of more perfect self-importance than the negro 
governor at such a time." * Provisions, and decorations, and liquors were freely 
furnished for this occasion, and the colored people made speeches, counted votes, 
and ended with a drunken frohc and often a fight. The last of these governors 
was Ira Tosset. 

In old times, as well as now-a-da3's, the plain was the center of boyish 
sports. In the winter, as Mr. Aliner relates, the boys sometimes built "a semicir- 
cular fort of vast snow balls, eight or ten rods apart. When the snow was soft and 
would adhere, all hands were summoned to the work. A line of balls as big as 
could be rolled, was laid in a crescent ; outside that, another as large. Then with 
skids, a row on the top, then a third row as large as could be raised on the summit, 
to crown the work, making a formidable breastwork. Lockers were cut out in 
the inside to hold great quantities of balls, made ready for action. When both sides 
were prepared, a proclamation was made, and then came "the tug of war." The 
Jabez Choate, whom Mr. Miner remembers, as the head of all the sports, "a 
favorite," "brave & clever," "who when he moved, moved like an engine," was 
perhaps, a son of Jabez and Eunice (Culver) Choate, and was born in 1771. He 
was a relative of the celebrated Rufus Choate. 

During the war " the plays of the boys were battles with the regulars- 



Miss Caulkins' History of Norwich. 
26 



40 2 



OLD HOUSES OF NORWICH. 



the charge— the ambuscade — the retreat — 'The regulars are coming!' Then the 
rally and renewed charge. Their songs : — 

Don't you hear the general say 
Strike your tents and march away."* 

The old Green, or "Training Field," though no longer a business centre, is 
still the rallying place for the boys of Norwich Town, and every part of it is 
endeared by many tender associations to the old inhabitants. The Hon. John 
T. Wait, alluding to the affection cherished for the Green, by some who have 
long since passed away, tells of one resident, who, remonstrating with a neighbor, 

about to move to Wequonnock, said : " Why, , I'd rather live all my 

life on Norwich Town Green, and then be hung at ' the Cross Keys,' than go to 
Wequonnock, and die a natural death." 



* Letter of Hon. Charles Miner in "The Norwich Jubilee." 




PART //. 



GENEALOGIES. 



A line, drawn across a genealogical page, indicates either a not absolutely 
verified descent , or that one or two generations are missing. 



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PART IL 



ERRATA AND ADDENDA. 

Page 487, No. 200, Read John Turvill Adams, b. 1805 at Essequibo, S. A. d. 18S2 at Norwich. 

son of Richard and Mary Rebecca (Turvill) Adams. 

of Essequibo, S. A., and Norwich, Ct. 
He m. (2) 1S39 Elizabeth (Lee) Dwight. b. 1801. d. 1865. 

dau. of Benjamin and Elizabeth (Leighton) Lee 

of Norwich, Ct. 

Page 507, No. 36, Read John Bishop, b. 1685 at Ipswich, d. 1755 at Norwich. 

son of Samuel and Hester (Cogswell) Bishop of Ipswich, Mass. 

Page 512, No. 125, Read George Biirbank Ripley, b. iSoi. d. 185S. 

son of Dr. Dwight and Eliza (Coit) Ripley. 



As it is difficult to find satisfactory records of many of the early Huguenots, it has been 
thought best to publish as complete genealogies as possible of two Huguenot families of Con- 
necticut, the Perits (or Peirets) and the Fountains (or Fontaines). The former has been compiled 
from family papers, grave-stone inscriptions, the Connecticut Colonial Records, and information 
furnished by The Huguenot Society of New York and Miss Louise Tracy of New Haven ; the 
latter, from Norwich, New London, and Stamford records, that valuable work, "The Huguenot 
Emigration to America," by the late Charles W. Baird, and from data furnished by Wm. A. E. 
Thomas of Brooklyn, New York. The latter has spent several years in collecting information about 
the Fountain family, and, at his request, some of the family lines are here for the first time pub- 
lished, which have no connection with Norwich history, but may, nevertheless, be of interest to 
other Connecticut residents. 

The Kinney family genealogy was compiled by Mrs. Frederic L. Osgood. Mr. Sidney jMiner 
of New London has furnished the record of the Seth Miner family, Anson Titus of Tuft's 
College, Mass., the early records of the Abbots, and Miss Carolyn Sterry of Norwich the later 
records of the Sterry family. 



APPENDIX TO PART I. 

Page 53. 

Jonathan Pierce, b. 1715-6, was located at Brattleboro, Cumberland Co., N. Y., in 1774. 
Cyprian Pierce, b. 1724, was located at Halifax, Cumberland Co., N. Y., in 1774. 

Page 105. 

When changes were being made, some years ago, in a wall on the former site of this 
old highway, the late Angell Stead rescued from destruction an old mile-stone which is said to 
have formerly stood there, and this is still owned by his widow. 

Page 223, Line 6. 

In The Norwich Packet of April 8, 1776, appears, in very small type, this notice of Gen. 
Washington's first visit to Norwich : 

" Norwich, April 8. 
" Si7ice our last, four or Jive Regiments of the Continental Troops, under 
the Command of Brigadier-General Sullivan, have passed through this Town in 
their Way to New York. . . . His Excellency General WASHINGTON, with four 
more Regiments, arrived here this day fro?n Cambridge.'''' 

And in The Packet of April 15 : 

''Since our last, sjifidry Regitnents of the Continental Troops, have passed 
through this To%un, from Cambridge, in their way to New York." 

Page 274, Line iS. 

Miss Caulkins alludes, in her History of Norwich, to the occupancy of the Wm. Bradford 
Whiting (now Fitch) house by Thomas Hubbard, and that his three sons, Thomas, Russell and 
Amos H. Hubbard, were born there. 

Page 352. Church Plans. 

It has been a difficult matter to give a perfectly accurate plan of the old church, begun in 
1753, but not entirely finished until 1770, as there were so many erasures and substitutions in the 
original plan, of which an imperfect copy is given at page 352. This plan was probably made 
about 1756-7, as the widow, Anne Turner, who is mentioned as a pew occupant, married Capt. 
Joshua Abel in 1757. Two other plans of 1756 exist, both differing from this one, and from each 
other. The first of these, marked " exhibited in Society meeting, March 3rd, 1756, and approved," 
is much larger than the other plans, and has a seat for the deaf people, and one for the deacons in 
front of the pulpit, and a double row of pews at that end of the church, also benches in the middle 
aisle, in the places later occupied by pews No. 36, 37, 69, 38, 35, 36, — and 37, and there are only 
nine pews, instead of twelve, at the main entrance end of the church. The second plan, " exhibited 
in Society meeting, March 15th, 1756," resembles in arrangement the plan at page 352, except that 



APPENDIX. 603 

the benches still remain in the middle aisle. These benches were probably soon replaced by pews, 
as in the plan presented in this book. Some of the names of pew owners in the original drawing 
are very indistinct, either almost obliterated by time, or by being partly blotted out, and one name 
written over another, so that it is often impossible to decipher them even with a magnifying glass. 
The pews were not sold yearly, but were a family possession, and two names may not always in- 
dicate a joint occupancy, but possibly an inheritance, or a sale from one owner to another. 

The names Asa Lord and Asa Lathrop are given in pew No. 2, at the right of the pulpit — 
only one name, which might read either Asa or Eleazer, is prefixed to the names Lord and Lathrop 
in the original plan. The first owner in this case was probably Eleazer Lord, succeeded later by his 
son-in-law, Asa Lathrop. In No. 4, the name of one owner is indecipherable. In No. 11, the name 
of Aaron Chapman is faintly visible. In No. 13, Simeon Case is crossed out, and Joseph Winship 

substituted. Two almost obliterated names in No. 15, appear to be Elijah Lathrop and 

Fitch (possibly Jabez). In No. 23, there is also a Peter . In No. 24, one name is crossed out, 

and Nathaniel Parish substituted. In No. 30, a line is drawn across the names of Lydia and Eliza- 
beth Reynolds, and a barely perceptible Jonathan Goodhue is added. 

In the six middle seats of the upper row, some changes have been evidently made, indicated 
by lines. No names are given for the pews, Nos. 35, 36 and 37 of this row, and in Nos. 38 and 39 
names have been blotted out, and a blurred Matthew Adgate is added to No. 39. In No. 68 of the 
second row, a name resembling Nathaniel Lathrop, and a faint Marsh, can be traced. In No. 52 of 

the third row, the paper is torn, and though the name resembles Starr, it might read also let 

Hazzen, and we are inclined to believe that the owner was Howlett Hazen, who had married a daughter 
of Eleazer Lord. It is impossible to decipher the name in No. 67. In No. 38 of this row, the word 
Thomas appears. The number of Theophilus and Zabdiel Rogers' pew is not easily read, but 
might be 70. In No. 41, the name is possibly Daniel Burnham instead of Birchard, and the names 

Allen and Totman (probably Stephen Totman) appear. No. 50 of the fifth row has 

beside Samuel Starr another occupant, Starr. In No. 47, the name Ebenezer Lathrop 

seems to be written over the name Leffingwell. In No. 44, is a puzzling name which may be Jabez 
Lathrop. In No. 43, the name of Joseph Reynolds is blotted out. 

In No. 9, in the gallery plan, another indecipherable name appears with Nathaniel Hunting- 
ton. Beside the other names given in No. 10, are James and B. Leffingwell. In addition to 

Jonathan Chester in No. 11, appears Abbot. In No. 14, may be seen Simeon , and an 

almost indistinguishable John Case. In No. 20, there is a faint E. Vernum (probably Ephraim 
Farnham.) 

Page 353. 

When the church of 1756 was built, the old church on the hill was sold to the ancestor of John 
Post of Wawecus Hill, who still owns the hinges and door-handle of the old church-door, which have 
been photographed by Charles E. Briggs, and may be seen with the gallery plan. 

Page 367. 

The mourning piece at page 367 was painted and embroidered by Charlotte Peck (later Mrs. 
Ebenezer Learned of New London), and Harriet Peck (Mrs. Gen. Wm. Williams of Norwich), 
while they were at the celebrated Moravian boarding school, at Bethlehem, Pa. The taller 
figure is said to be a likeness of the elder sister, Charlotte, then 15 years old ; and the shorter, of 
Harriet, aged 11. 

Page 381. 

George Bliss taught in the Lathrop school (the brick school-house on the Plain) in 1829. In 
that year this school was discontinued, and in 1843, by the terms of the will, the property reverted 
and was paid to the heirs of Dr. Daniel Lathrop's nephew, Thomas Coit. 



For additional information about Jonathan and Cyprian Pierce, Gen. 
Washington's first visit to Norwich, description of Church Plans of 1756, 
the last relics of the last " Church on the Hill," an account of the Mourn- 
ing Piece by Charlotte and Harriet Peck, and the discontinuing of the 
Lathrop School, see Appendix on preceding pages 602 and 603. 



INDEX TO PART I. 

{Married Names of Wives, or Daughters, in pare}ti/ieses.'\ 
[ Maiden Names of Wives, ivithout parettt/teses-l 



Abbot 277. 

Danie! 2G1, 39-1. John 248. 
Samuel 124, 248, 61; 398. 

Elizabeth Phipps 248. Phebe 
Edgerton 248. Sarah Reynolds 
261. 
Abel. 

Calebs, 351. Joshua 82 ; 137, 
71, 7; 309. Samuel 351. 

Abigail (Huntington) 82, 111. 
Anne Backus 82. Anne Hunt- 
ington (Adgate) (Turner) 309. 
Bethiah Gager 137. Elizabeth 
(Chapman) 313. Eunice (Birch- 
ard) 171. Jerusha Frink 171. 
Jerusha (Williams) 117. Lucy 
(Lord) 177. Lucy Edgerton 
177. Lydia (Lathrop) 137, 60. 
Abser 52, 77. 
Adams 246. 

Eliphalet 100 ; 295. (Pres.)John 
228 ; 366. (Judge) 243. Will- 
iam 293, 5, 6. 

Abiel (Metcalf) 295, G. Alice 
(ColHns) 296. Alice Bradford 
(Filch) 2G6, 93, 4, 5, 6. P]liza- 
beth (Whiting) (Niles) 100, 
296. 
Adgate 106, 56, 68. 9, 74, 6, 7, 80. 

Asa 172. Daniel 1G9. Matthew 

168, 72, 5. Thomas 2, 4, 53, 
87: 100, 4, 6, 30, 1, 55, 6, 7, 
69,' 74, 5, 8, 9, 80, 3; 212, 
29, 31; 309, 51. William 

169, 175. 

Abigail Culverhouse (Waterman) 
175. Abigail (Tracy) 231. 
Anne Huntington (Turner) 
(Abel) 309. Elizabeth (Bush- 
nell) 4; 157, 74, 75. Eliza- 
beth Morgan (Starr) 175. 
Eunice Baldwin 172. Eunice 
Waterman 175. HannahHyde 
172,5. Hannah (Lathrop) 131, 
74; 340. Jane — (Williams) 
172. Lucy (Lord) 175, 7. Lucy 
Waterman 172. Marv Marvin 
(Bushnell) 4, 58; Vol, 74, 5. 
Ruth (Edgerton) 248. Rutli 
Brewster 175. Sarah (Hunt- 
ington) 179. — — (Norton) 
172. 



Aldex. 
John 220. 

Mary (Gale) 280. Priscilla 220. 
Allen. 

Fitch 91. James 203. John 4. 

Robert 3, 4. 
Abigail (Shepherd) 321. Debo- 
rah (Gager) 4. Hannah (Rose) 
4. Hannah (Needhara) 269. 
Mary (Parke) 4. Mehitable 
(Case) 147. Rachel (Tracy) 
192, 
Anderson Elizabeth 219. 
Andre (Maj.) 223. 
AxDROS Sir Edmund 295. 
Answorth Sarah (Manning) 92. 
Apeanuchsuck 32. 
Arms Hiram P. 270, 358. 
Armstrong. 
Henry 281. 

Isabella (Needham) 269. Kesiah 
(Parish) 168. 
Arnold 225, 67; 391. 

Benedict20, 43, 5,54; 101,9, 51 ; 
252, 64. John 251, 64, 7; 
374. Ohver 185. William 264. 
Hannah Waterman (King) 101. 
Mary (Mauley) 251. 
Attawanhood 1. 
Austin David 153. 
AvERiLL Polly 35. 
Avery 90, 1; 171. 4, 94: 204, 33. 
Charles 314. Henry 194, 214. 
Jabez 45, 88, 9; 125. James 
206. John 88, 9; 180. Jona- 
than 185. Richard 338. Sam 
171, 2, 4, 80, 1, 3, 92, 4; 233, 
6. Thomas 32. William 270. 
Candace Charlton 180. Elizabeth 
(Tracy) 180, 233. 
Avery. 

Hannah (Butler) 270. Harriet 
(Robinson) 314. Lncy Bush- 
nell 89. Lucy Lord (Perkins) 
338. Louisa Coolidge 314. 
Lydia— (Perkins)