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Norwich City

Chenango County, New York

Norwich City Hall is located at 31 East Main Street, Norwich NY 13815 phone: 607‑334‑1230.


Beginnings [1]

Norwich is delightfully situated upon the Chenango River, in the north-west part of the town, and was incorporated April 16, 1816. Canasawacta Creek flows along its western border and unites with the Chenango at the south bounds of the village. The streets are regularly laid out and most of them bordered by fine rows of shade trees. The village contains the County buildings, six churches, viz., Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Episcopal, F. W. Baptist and Roman Catholic, two banks, an academy, two newspaper offices, four hotels, a piano forte manufactory, several carriage factories and tanneries, a blast furnace, a hammer factory, a planing mill, a sash, door and blind factory, a foundry and machine shop, and several other manufactories of various kinds. The village is lighted with gas, contains between 4,000 and 5,000 inhabitants and is rapidly increasing. The Utica, Chenango and Susquehanna Valley Railroad, now open to Sherburne, will soon be open to Norwich, and the Midland Railroad is now in process of construction and will, when completed, give direct communication with New York City.

The Piano Forte Manufactory of E. T. Hayes was established in 1838, with a capital of $150. Six or eight instruments were made the first year and the business gradually increased until about three hundred were made in one year. At present about thirty hands are employed and four instruments are made per week.

The Gas Works were started about 1862, by Hayes & Rider, and now the public buildings, many private residences and the streets are lighted with gas.

The Hammer Factory of David Maydole is a monument to the enterprise, energy and business talent of its founder and proprietor. The business of making hammers was commenced in the spring of 1847, and four or five men were employed. In the fall of 1848 the establishment was burned, but rebuilt immediately and put in operation in January, 1849, since which its progress has been onward and upward until the present. About one hundred hands are employed and the sales amount to about $150,000 per year. Sixty-four different kinds and sizes of hammers are made and are generally acknowledged to be the best in the market. Mr. Maydole gives his personal attention to the manufacture of these hammers and allows no defective work to leave the shop. To this in a great degree may be attributed the fact that he meets with no competition in the market. The number of hammers made averages from forty to fifty dozen per day.

The Norwich Charcoal Blast Furnace was erected in 1856, by Andrews, Rider & Co., and cost about $25,000. The ore used is from Salisbury, in Dutchess County, and the iron manufactured amounts to about 1500 tons annually. The present proprietors are Russell & Angel, car wheel manufacturers, of Chicago, Ill., and Adrian, Mich.; J. & N. C. Scoville, of Buffalo and Toronto, and B. B. Andrews, of Norwich. The iron manufactured is used by the proprietors at their foundries in the places above named. About 25 hands are employed. On the 21st of April, 1869, the establishment was burned, but is now being rebuilt.

White Store, in the south-east part of the town, contains a church, a hotel, a grist mill, a saw mill, a blacksmith shop and about a dozen houses.

Polkville is a hamlet near the center of the town.

The first settlement within the present limits of Norwich was made in 1788, by Avery Power. He came here previous to the treaty by which the Twenty Towns were ceded to the State, and located on what was known as the Indian Fields, on lot 39, in the south-east part of the village of Norwich. When the surveyors came here to run out the land it is said that Power paid for his farm by boarding the surveyors and assisting them in their labors. His farm was purchased of the State at the minimum price, three shillings per acre. In 1800 he sold out to John Randall for four thousand and one hundred dollars. The farm contained 286 acres, including the whole of lot 39 and 36 acres over. In the fall of 1790 and spring of 1791, several other settlers came from Massachusetts and Connecticut and settled in various parts of the town. These settlers came via Albany to the Unadilla River and followed marked trees to the Power farm. Where the streams were too deep to ford with safety they crossed in canoes. Some came by the way of Whitestown and down the valley. David Fairchild was one of the first settlers and located near the south line of the town and subsequently removed to Preston. Silas Cole is another of the early settlers. His farm, according to Clark's History, must have embraced nearly the same as that of Avery Power. He says: "The Cole farm included all of the corporate limits of Norwich village lying north of where the Canasawacha Creek crosses South Main Street, and east of South Main Street to where East Street intersects Main Street." He built a house for a tavern, and when the first militia muster was advertised for Norwich, made great preparations to entertain the assembled multitude. Though the crowd that assembled was even greater than was expected, the inn keepers failed to gain the largest share of their patronage, as the village swarmed with hucksters who ministered to the wants of the multitude, leaving the landlords to dispose of their supplies at the best market offered. Mr. C. became involved by his outlay on this occasion and was compelled to sell his farm. He removed to the State of Ohio, where he died. William Smiley came into the town about the same time and settled south of the village. Flis farm included the once famous Sulphur Spring which was destroyed by an attempt to improve it. Nicholas Pickett was another who came about the same time. Major Thomas Brooks, from Massachusetts, who was engaged in "Shay's rebellion," came here and settled on the west Green in Norwich. He built a log cabin without using either hammer or nails. He subsequently removed to Plymouth, where he died. He was a soldier of the Revolution and was at the battle of Bunker Hill. Israel, Charles and Matthew Graves were among the early settlers and purchased all that part of the village lying west of South Main Street, and extending to the Creek and as far north, as the Green. Other early settlers were Josiah Brown, John Wait, Martin Taylor, Joseph Skinner, Captain John Harris, Samuel Hammond, William and Hascall Ransford, Chauncey and William Gibson, Simeon and Job Spencer, John Welch, Lemuel Southwick, Col. William Monroe, Lobden Jaynes, Richard Miller, Manasseh French, Joab Enos, Elisha Smith, Mark, William and Stephen Steer, Stephen Collins, James Gilmore, Moses Snow, John Randall and his son the last named still living, John McNitt, David and John Shattuck.

  1. Child, Hamilton, Gazetteer and Business Directory of Chenango County N.Y. for 1969-70, Journal Office Printing, Syracuse, 1869