The mill village of Yantic in Norwich was home to the Yantic Woolen Company Mill. In 1824 Erastus Williams purchased a preexisting mill and enlarged it to produce woolen products. He and his wife, Elizabeth Dorr Tracy, oversaw the organization of Grace Episcopal Church in Yantic in 1853. Their daughter Elizabeth was the first church organist. Erastus was succeeded by his son and then by his grandson, Winslow Tracy Williams. Under the latter’s administration a new Grace Episcopal Church was erected. It was dedicated in 1902.
Built c. 1799 by master Ebenezer Learned, master carpenter, the house at 157 Broadway in Norwich was probably originally a Federal style building. In May 1812 the property was deeded to B. M. Ballou and in 1861 it was bought by Connecticut Governor William Alfred Buckingham for his daughter, Eliza Coit Buckingham, and son-in-law, General William Appleton Aiken (1833-1929). That same year, in late April, Gen. Aiken was dispatched by Gov. Buckingham on a mission to Washington, D. C. to assure President Lincoln of Connecticut’s support in the Civil War.
In 1867 Aiken mortgaged the house the enlarge it and remodel it in the Greek Revival style with a columned portico. He made further alterations in 1880 and 1890. It remained in the Aiken family until 1940 when Aiken’s daughter Mary sold it. In 1950 the house was bought by architect John E. McGuire who in 1957 partitioned the interior to rent out half the house as apartments.
The Colonial Revival house at 17 Broad Street in Norwich was built in 1923. Its first occupant was Mrs. Frances E. Leonard Johnson, widow of Robert C. Johnson, who had been Assistant treasurer at the Aspinook Company textile mill in Jewett City.
On the 18th of March, 1778, Mr. Joseph Strong was ordained as colleague pastor with Dr. [Benjamin] Lord [of the First Congregational Church]. The audience, gathered from all parts of the county, was unexampled in point of numbers, and the services were unusually solemn. Dr. Lord was eighty-four years of age, venerated and beloved by all, but small and frail in appearance, while his colleague, in the full glow of youth and health, large and stoutly built, stood over him like a sheltering oak. [. . .]
Mr. Strong was the son of the Rev. Nathan Strong of Coventry. By his mother’s side, he was descended from the Williams family, who were taken captives by the Indians at Deerfield, in the night of Feb. 28, 1704. The general circumstances of this tragedy are well known. The two little daughters of Mr. Williams who went into captivity with their father were named Eunice and Esther. The former was never redeemed, but being adopted into the family of a chief, she became attached to the Indian manners and customs, refused to return to her relatives, embraced the Roman Catholic religion, and married a chief named Roger Toroso, who resided at St. Johns, twenty miles from Montreal. Esther was ransomed and returned home with her father. She married the Rev. Mr. Meachum of Coventry, and one of her daughters became the wife of the Rev. Nathan Strong, who was ordained pastor of a Second Congregational Church in Coventry, in 1745, and was the father of the Rev. Nathan Strong, D. D., of Hartford, and the Rev. Joseph Strong, D. D., of Norwich. At the ordination of the latter, the sermon was preached by his brother, and the charge given by his father. [. . .]
Dr. Strong in person was above the middle size and stature, and he had 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.
Rev. Strong married Mary Huntington. Their house was built on land her father, Jabez Huntington, had acquired from Peter Morgan. As related in Old Houses of the Antient Town of Norwich (1895), by Mary Elizabeth Perkins:
Mrs. Strong received from her father a large amount of additional land, both in 1784 and at his death in 1786, and Dr. Strong also bought adjoining 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 Strong, the homestead was inherited by his son, Henry Strong [who became a lawyer], and is now in the possession of the latter’s daughter, Mary, wife of the late Dr. Daniel Gulliver.
Built in 1737 by Nathaniel Lathrop, its prosperity was maintained by his son, Azariah. From here was started the first stage coach to Providence in 1768. In 1829 the property was sold to the Union Hotel Company, who erected the present building, which was later used for a boarding school.
According to Mary Elizabeth Perkins in her book Old Houses of the Antient Town of Norwich (1895):
Azariah died in 1810, aged 82, leaving the house to his widow, and son, Augustus [. . .]. 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 1829, 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.
In the early twentieth century, the building became The Johnson Home, a home for aged and needy Protestant woman (now accepting all denominations) incorporated in 1907 by the Connecticut branch of the King’s Daughters, a Christian philanthropic organization. A description of “The Johnson Home for Old Ladies” is given in the Report of the State Board of Charities to the Governor for the Twenty-one Months Ended June 30, 1920 (1921):
The Johnson Home is one of the more recently established places of this character and is situated near the Green in the Norwich Town district, about two miles north from the center of the city. Electric cars pass near the house.
The building occupied is a large brick structure, three stories high, which, some years ago, was an old-time inn. There are accommodations for eleven residents, and all of the rooms give an impression of home-like comfort. The management of the Home is liberal and few restrictions are imposed in the life of the occupants. An entrance fee of $500 is required for each person accepted as a resident in the Home.