Sunday, June 26, 2011

On to Norfolk

In 1637, the colonists exterminated the Pequots because of some killing by the Pequots. Rev. Eldridge wrote, "The warlike tribe from the first had exhibited a hostile spirit toward the English. They had committed several murders." And who wouldn't when some foreigners are trying to take over their land. Woops! They had no written proof it was their land, whereas the English had charters and such to prove to the Indians and anyone else they had a right to the territory. And with some stirrings of independence from the English in the Connecticut Colony under Charles II, and some clamping down under James II, the Charter Oak affair came about and the colony remained somewhat independent.

After a lot of squabbling and hoo-hawing back and forth between the Colony of Connecticut and the towns of Hartford and Windsor, the western part was given to the colony by the Assembly and towns were surveyed and laid out, including that of Norfolk. "The town was incorporated in 1758, and then contained twenty-seven families resident." In a short while there were sixty families and then seventy, even though the Assembly had a heck of a time selling the original township. The East Coast had been getting crowded in the last hundred years with all the new arrivals and people were looking West.

Nothing but Indians and wild animals roamed the thick forests, and roads had to be laid out through them connecting the various towns to further commerce. The colonists were resourceful and hard-working, building their own houses, planting crops and all the other requirements of a settlement, and, of course, a church in which the Reverend Robbins held forth. School books were "the Bible, the New England Primer, Dilworth's Spelling Book and an elementary arithmetic called the Schoolmaster's Assistant...... .. The children learned to write sometimes on birch bark and sometimes on paper, which was then a very scarce article.  Ink was made of berries of sumach, and inkstands from the tips of cattle horns."

Norfolk wasn't  the only town settled at that time in western Connecticut, but I'm using it as an example of what my own ancestors went through on the journey West. My fifth great-grandfather (Asahel Case) was among those early settlers to make his home in Norfolk. I've mentioned this before in an earlier blog that Asahel was a descendant of John Case who arrived in America on the Dover in 1640. John had lived in Hartford before settling in Simsbury.
So, when and how did we get to the West? In the 1790's a big jump was made in exploring in that direction and we will get to it in the next blog.

(Ref: History of Norfolk, Connecticut, 1744-1900)


  1. "The east coast had been getting crowded..." What a hoot! I wonder what they'd think if they saw it now!

  2. I think they would turn around and go back.