Sarah Kemble Knight (1666-1727) was a colonial-era teacher and businesswoman. She is best known for the diary she kept of a journey from Boston to New York City in 1704 (pdf). Born in Boston, she came to Norwich in 1698 and was a storekeeper and innkeeper. Sarah Knight later returned to Boston but came back to Norwich in 1717. A two-handled silver communion cup that she gave to the Church of Christ in Norwich in 1722 is now at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. The tavern she operated in Norwich was built c. 1698-1717. It was enlarged by Andre Richards in 1734. A later innkeeper was Joseph Peck (1706-1776), who purchased the building from Capt. Philip Turner around 1754. As related by Mary Elizabeth Perkins in Old Houses of the Antient Town of Norwich (1895):
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 refreshments served.
On June 7, 1767, a notable celebration took place at Peck’s Tavern to celebrate the election of John Wilkes to Parliament. In front of the building, which is located at 8 Elm Avenue, is a cast iron fence, erected in the late nineteenth century.
Thomas Danforth was a noted pewterer. He produced a variety of pewter tableware and was the first of several generations of pewterers. Born in 1703 in Taunton, Massachusetts, Thomas Danforth was one of fourteen children of Rev. Samuel Danforth, the town’s Congregational minister. Thomas moved to Norwich in 1733 and opened a pewterer’s and brazier’s shop on the Norwichtown Green. Two of his sons, Thomas II and John, also became pewterers. Thomas II set up shop in Middletown and became the father of six more pewterers. John worked with his father until the latter retired in 1773, when the firm of Thomas Danforth & Son was dissolved (Thomas I died in 1786). John‘s son Samuel later took over his business in 1792, finally selling it in 1802 and moving to Ellsworth, Ohio. Thomas Danforth I’s Norwich home was the house at 25 Scotland Road. It was built in 1746.
In 1761, David Greenleaf, a goldsmith, purchased land in Norwich on which he soon built a house, perhaps in 1763, the year he married Mary Johnson. David Greenleaf sold the house, located at 2 Town Street (near the Christopher Leffingwell House), in 1769 and moved to Boston. It was then the home of Jesse Williams until 1772, then of Capt. William Billings, whose widow sold it in 1796 to the cabinet maker Timothy Lester. His heirs sold the property in 1854. In recent years, the Society of the Founders of Norwich acquired the house and restored it.
Constructed in 1759, the house at 363 Washington Street in Norwich was the home Thomas Williams, a tailor, who also had his shop on the property. He sold the house to William Beard of Preston in 1798 and moved away from Norwich. A series of small shopkeepers then owned the building.
The house at 14 Elm Avenue in Norwich was built between 1747 and 1752 by William Morgan of Groton. In 1757 he sold the house to Nathan Stedman, an attorney. In 1764 Stedman sold the house to Azariah Lathrop, who enlarged it or rebuilt it. Azariah lived with his son, Dr. Gurdon Lathrop, who was a druggist and had a shop across the Norwichtown Green. Another son of Azariah, Gerard Lathrop, inherited the house in 1810. According to the 1895 book Old Houses of the Antient Town of Norwich, by Mary E. Perkins:
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 Leffingwell resided here for a time. In 1823, 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.
Christopher Huntington (1660-1735) was the first male child born to the English settlers of Norwich. Known as Christopher Huntington II or Deacon Christopher Huntington, he was a surveyor and extensive land owner who served as first townsman (selectman) and town clerk. He married Sarah Adgate (1663-1705) in 1681. His second wife was Judith Stevens Brewster, widow of Jonathan Brewster, who he married in 1706. Christopher Huntington had four daughters and seven sons. His house in Norwich, built c. 1720, is located at 410 Washington Street.
Michael Darrow established his farm in Norwich in 1743. He lived in a one room house on his property while regularly commuting to New London. In 1773, his family was admitted as residents of the town of Norwich, so his saltbox house at 10 (also listed as 6) Ox Hill Road was probably completed by that time. Famed lawyer Clarence Darrow was his direct descendant.