Location: Mansfield Connecticut

Johnson Family of Norwich Vermont

The Johnson Family were numerously represented in the early history of the town. Of this family there were several branches. Captain Hezekiah Johnson was an original proprietor of the town and one of its earliest settlers. He settled on the north bank of the Pompanoosuc River near its mouth and fixed his residence where Mr. Richard Waterman now lives. Captain Johnson was born in Woburn, Massachusetts, May 12, 1724, but emigrated to Norwich from Mansfield, Connecticut. He married, at Mansfield, Dorothy Slafter, sister of Deacon John Slafter, January 25, 1750. He was in the fullest sense one of the “fathers

First Settlements in Norwich Vermont

Having glanced thus briefly at the action of the Norwich proprietors in opening a way to reach their new township in the wilderness, and in dividing up a portion of its surface into lots suitable to become the homesteads of future settlers, let us pause a moment and see what had meantime been done in the work of actual settlement. I am indebted to Rev. Edmund F. Slafter of Boston for an interesting account of what was unquestionably the first attempt at settlement made within the limits of the town. I quote from the Slafter Memorial: “Samuel Slafter [of Mansfield,

The Proprietors of Norwich Vermont

The larger part of the names of the grantees of Norwich are names of Connecticut men then resident in Mansfield and neighboring towns. Captain Hezekiah Johnson, Samuel Slafter, Joseph Storrs, and William Johnson 3rd, are known to have lived in Mansfield; Amos Fellows, James West, Adoniram Grant, and Samuel Cobb were of Tolland; Ebenezar Heath, Captain Abner Barker and William Johnson of Willington, towns adjacent to Mansfield on the north. The last nine names are those of New Hampshire and Massachusetts men, several of them members of the provincial government in the former province. Major Joseph Blanchard was of Dunstable,

The Founding of Norwich Vermont

As we have already seen, Norwich virtually had its origin in the colony of Connecticut in the year 1761. On the 26th day of August of that year, at the house of William Waterman, inn-holder, in the town of Mansfield, in said colony, were convened the proprietors or grantees of a newly granted township of land situated 150 miles away to the northward, in a wilderness country then just beginning to be known as the “New Hampshire Grants.” These men were assembled to decide upon the first steps to be taken to open up to settlement and improvement a tract

Norwich Vermont an Independent Township

In America the germ of political organization is the Township, older than the County, older than the State. In New England we find towns established as independent communities, endowed with distinctive rights and privileges, as early as the middle of the seventeenth century. It is to these town governments that we must look for the foundation of republican liberty, to the town meeting, where all citizens meet on a plane of equality to choose their local officers and manage their local affairs. Here is the firm basis upon which all free institutions can rest. Ralph Waldo Emerson once proposed that

Biographical Sketch of J. Dwight Chaffee

The Chaffee family have for several generations resided in the town of Mansfield, Tolland county, Conn. Frederick Chaffee, the grandfather of J. Dwight Chaffee, a prosperous farmer in that town, married Elizabeth Knowlton. Their son, Orwell S., was born in Ashford, Windham county, Conn., and for some years resided in Northampton, Mass., where he was engaged in the manufacture -of silk thread. Later he was similarly interested in Mansfield, and was a man of prominence in that locality, serving his constituents in the state legislature and filling other important offices. He married Lucinda A., daughter of Joseph Conant of Mansfield,