It is to the life and paternal lineage of the late William Mason of Taunton that this article is directed, he being a direct descendant from one of the old pioneers and Indian fighters of this section in its early settlement – Major John Mason, of Pequot fame, from whom William Mason’s descent is through Daniel, Peter, Japhet, Japhet Mason (2) and Amos Mason.
Although the products of the industries in Norwich have not been of great magnitude they have been quite varied in character. Such information in regard to these callings as we have been able to obtain we will present to our readers, though not in strict chronological order. Among the earliest establishments coming under this head was a grist mill established as early as 1770, by Hatch and Babcock on Blood Brook, on or near the site of the grist mill now operated by J. E. Willard, a short distance up the stream from where it empties into the Connecticut River.
During the four years of war for the suppression of the Rebellion, Norwich furnished 178 different men for the armies of the Union. There were seven re-enlistments, making the whole number of soldiers credited to the town 185. By the census of 1860, the number of inhabitants was 1759. It appears, therefore, that the town sent to the seat of war rather more than one in ten of its entire population, during the four years’ continuance of hostilities. About the same proportion holds good for the state at large, Vermont contributing, out of an aggregate population of 315,116, soldiers to
Alexander Sproat, banker, and formerly member of Parliament from the north riding of Bruce, was born at Esquesing, near Milton, county of Halton, June 24, 1835. His father, Adam Sproat, farmer, was from the county of Kirkcudbright, Scotland; his mother before her marriage, was Eleanor Brown, daughter of Alexander Brown, a United Empire Loyalist. Alexander was educated at Knox College, Toronto, and Queen’s College, Kingston, receiving the degree of Bachelor of Arts from the latter institution in 1852. After leaving college, he was on the engineer’s staff at the construction of the Grand Trunk railway; subsequently studied surveying, and followed