Early History of Norwich
Chenango County, New York
Chenango Union, January 31, 1907
Alexander McCulloch, a revolutionary soldier settled on a farm south-west of the village in 1796. He had three children all of whom moved west. In that same year Judge Stephen Steere, Capt. Edward Green and Jedediah Sprague came from Rhode Island and purchased the southeastern quarter of the township, where they located near White Store. Judge Steere soon after moved into the village and purchased 56 acres of the Silas Cole farm and 70 acres of land of John Harris. His property lay on both sides of East Main st. and his first home stood near the present residence of the Misses Cook. Many of us remember when Maydole Grove was called Steere's Grove and recall his granddaughters, Betsey Steere and Julia Steere. East Side park was a gift from his son, Stephen Steere.
Settlements were made at an early date by John and Daniel Shattock who first resided in the village but about 1800 John and his son David took up a hundred acres south of village where John's great grandson, John Samuel Shattuck, now resides. Thomas Wood and Amos Bowers settled in the extreme east of the township. Joshua Burlingame took up land east of village across the river, still known as the Burlingame farm. Uriah Avery came from New York and was the first saddle and harness maker. His house stood on South Broad st. where Mrs. Crumb's residence now stands and was occupied until a few years ago by his granddaughter, Miss Cary.
In 1798 several families named Aldrich, Henry and Phillips came together from Rhode Island and settled in northwest part of township.
About 1800 settlements were made by John Randall, Nathan Pendelton and Caspar M. Rouse. John Randall bought the farm owned by Avery Power, the first settler. He came from Stonington, Conn. where he was born in 1754. He married in his native town Mary, the daughter of John Swan. They first located in Pharsalia but came to Norwich in 1800. He had thirteen children and over sixty grand children. His brother, Jedediah Randall, afterwards came to Norwich and bought the southern part of the Cole farm, including the house where he lived. Elder Randall, as he was called organized the Baptist church of Norwich in the "ball room" of this house in 1814, and for a few years services were held in this room.
Nathan Pendelton took land about three miles south of the village and Caspar M. Rouse settled on the site of the present cemetery. Mr. Rouse wished to build a house with dining room and kitchen in the basement. When excavations were begun for the cellar, it was found that the locality had been used as a burial ground at some preceding period. Skeletons were found in an upright position and in such numbers as to deter Mr. Rouse from the enterprise, for the time at least.
About this time too, came Peter B. Garnsey, a native of Columbia county, who -?- in Oxford. He had been newly admitted to the bar. His wife was Mary Spiers, daughter of Dr. Spiers of New Lebanon. He purchased of Elisha Smith the old Col. Munroe place, with mill and other property added by Deacon Smith. He donated the ground on which the court house and jail now stand and the West Side park and moved the house to its present location in 1807, as has been said.
Mr. Clark says "Perhaps no citizen was so closely identified in his lifetime with the early growth and prosperity of Norwich village as Peter B. Guernsey. The characteristics of Mr. Guernsey's mind were strong, natural sense, untiring perseverance. He was one of the early settlers who literally died in harness."
To be Continued