The house at 409 Washington Street in Norwich was once the site of Isaac Huntington’s blacksmith shop. In 1722, James Norman acquired the property from Christopher Huntington and either converted the existing building into his residence or removed it and built a new one on the site. As related in Old Houses of the Antient Town of Norwich (1895) by Mary E. Perkins:
In 1714, 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 Sergt. Thomas Adgate’s cartway,” and here he builds a shop, and in 1717 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 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.
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Miss Caulkins mentions a James Norman, who, in 1715 was captain of a vessel engaged in the Barbadoes trade, and in 1717 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 choosing their brother Caleb for guardian. The heirs divide the property in 1753-4.
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, and Mr. Miner pictures him “with his ads 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.
the Yantic Fire Engine Co. No. 1 was established in 1847 in the mill village of Yantic in Norwich. The company‘s service area would eventually grow to include Bean Hill, Plain Hill and Norwichtown. After their old firehouse burned down in 1906, a new one was built in 1907 and was first occupied in 1908.
Bean Hill is a neighborhood in Norwich that was a local commercial and manufacturing center in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. The area was home to the ancestors of several nineteenth-century US presidents: Millard Fillmore, Rutherford B. Hayes and Grover Cleveland. The home of President Cleveland’s grandfather, William Cleveland, a silversmith and deacon of the Congregational Church, does not survive, but there is a Fillmore family house at 8 Huntington Avenue, across from the Bean Hill Green. The house was built around 1743 (the date is inscribed on the house’s central chimney). Millard Fillmore‘s great-grandfather, Capt. John Fillmore, Jr. (1701-1777), lived in Norwich and later settled in Norwich West Farms (now Franklin). Millard Fillmore‘s grandfather, Nathaniel Fillmore, Sr. (1738-1814), and grandmother, Hepzibah Wood (1747-1783), were both born in Franklin and lived in Norwich. Another relative of the President, also a great-grandson of John Fillmore, Jr., was Rev. Jehiel Fillmore (1797-1862), who was born in Franklin and lived at Bean Hill.
I would like to know more about the house at 11 Dudley Street in Norwich. The plaque on the house gives it a date of 1729 and calls it “Woodside.” The style of the house was obviously much altered in the nineteenth century, as it now has features, such as the front portico, the brackets and the curved windows in the gable end, that are typical of the Italianate style. The property also has a large barn, which is listed on Historic Barns of Connecticut (with an address of 8 Dudley Street), but without much information about the structure. Perhaps it dates to the time the house was altered in the Italianate style, as the barn has an Italianate cupola.
The city property listing for the house at 130 Washington Street in Norwich gives a construction date of 1810, which seems too early for this Italianate building. The National Register of Historic Places nomination for the Chelsea Parade Historic District gives a date of c. 1880, which is too late because it is known that Edith Kermit Carow, future wife of Theodore Roosevelt, was born here on August 6, 1861. The house has clearly been much altered over the years. Could Italianate features have been added to a much earlier house? It was the residence of Daniel Putnam Tyler (1799-1882), Edith‘s grandfather (Tyler’s daughter Gertrude had married Charles Carow of New York City). Daniel Tyler was a West Point graduate who became an iron manufacturer and railroad president. He served as a general in the Civil War, commanding a division in the Union Army at the First Battle of Bull Run. Although he took a substantial portion of the blame for the Union disaster at that battle, he was promoted and commanded a brigade at the Siege of Corinth, Mississippi. At the Battle of Harpers Ferry, September 15, 1862, Tyler’s division surrendered to Stonewall Jackson and spent two months as prisoners of war at Camp Douglas before being officially paroled. Tyler left the army in 1864, the same year his wife passed away. He owned his house in Norwich until 1868. By the start of the twenty-first century the building had become dilapidated and was condemned, but c. 2004 it was restored and subdivided into apartments.
On the death of John Slater, May 27, 1843, his sons John F. and William S. inherited his interest in the mills at Hopeville and Jewett City, Conn., and at Slatersville, R. I., and they formed a partnership under the name of J. & W. Slater, adjusting their affairs so as to be equal partners. In March, 1845, this firm sold their Hopeville property, and in 1849 bought the interest of Samuel Slater’s heirs in the mill at Slatersville. In 1853, after the lease of this last-mentioned property to A. D. and M. B. Lockwood had expired, William S. Slater took the management of the Slatersville mill, and John F. Slater that of the Jewett City mill. The partnership of the brothers continued until Jan. 1, 1873, when it was dissolved, each taking the mill of which he had been the manager.
John F. Slater was also a principle investor in what would become the Ponemah Mills in Taftville. According to the “Walking Guide to Historic Broadway & Union Street,” the house at 274 Broadway in Norwich was built c. 1870 and in the late nineteenth century was the home of his son, William A. Slater (1857-1919). The book Norwich in the Gilded Age: The Rose City’s Millionaires’ Triangle (2014) by Patricia F. Staley, explains that the house at 274 Broadway was the home (by 1876) of Marianna Lanman Hubbard Slater (1824-1889), who married John F. Slater in 1844. (presumably she lived in the house with her husband). That book indicates that her son, William A. Slater, lived [at some point] in the Slater mansion, a now demolished house at 228 Broadway. William Slater founded the Slater Memorial Museum in Norwich in honor of his father. In the 1950s, the house at 274 Broadway became the residence of the Roman Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Norwich.