Town History

Town Historian

Clayton Welch

Phone: 607-334-6464

Email: [email protected]

Norwich was formally established on January 19, 1793 from the historic Town of Jericho, now Bainbridge, and the Town of Union.

Located in the heart of Chenango County, the Town of Norwich presently consists of approximately 43.1 square miles with a total acreage of 27,584 acres.

The area has a rich Native American heritage. The Oneida people cleared ten acres south of Norwich and referred to this land as the “castle”. It was in this location they held councils and entertained other tribes.

In 1788, pioneer Avery Power arrived in Norwich and purchased land tracts on the West side of the Chenango River, becoming the Town’s first white settler. According to the article titled “History of Norwich, New York, USA,”

Afterwards, Norwich, as a “mother town”†of the county, lost substantial territory in the formation of new towns. In 1806, Norwich gave up territory to form the towns of Pharsalia, Plymouth and Preston. More of Norwich was lost in 1807 to form parts of the towns of New Berlin and Columbus. In 1808 and 1820, Norwich exchanged territory with the town of Preston.

The central community of Norwich set itself off from the town in 1816 by incorporating as a village, later becoming the City of Norwich in 1914.

Norwich has a proud history that includes several notable citizens such as Gail Borden, who originated condensed milk and founded the company Borden Milk Products; world-famous psychiatrist, Harry Stack Sullivan; Lt. Warren E. Eaton, DSC, the “father of soaring”; as well as John Randall.

In 1818, noted New York journalist and politician, Thurlow Weed, established a Norwich newspaper called the Agriculturist. It was also in this same year that The Chenango County Fair, Upstate’s first agricultural exposition, was held.

Piano Forte Manufactory of E.T. Hayes was established in 1838.

David Maydole, inventor of the “adze eye”†hammer in 1845, produced and sold his creation out of his shop. The Maydole Hammer Factory became internationally recognized.

In 1887 Norwich Pharmaceutical Company was established by Oscar Bell and Reverend Lafayette Moore.

This company introduced Cholera Infantum in 1901 to treat infants, with the name later being changed

to Pepto-Bismol to promote use by adults. Not too long after, Norwich Aspirin appeared in 1907.

Today, both the City of Norwich and the Town of Norwich are home to many small and commercial businesses, attracting consumers and visitors from surrounding areas


“Biography of Thurlow Weed.”†Online Biographies, Accessed on 24 September 2021

“History of Norwich, New York, USA.”†Greener Pasture. Updated 25 May 2021, Accessed 24 September 2021

Johnson, Shane. 2016, June 21. “David Maydole.”†WSKG, Accessed 24 September 2021