Benedict Arnold Trail

    THE BENEDICT ARNOLD WALKING TRAIL OF COLONIAL NORWICHTOWN

    Length 2 Miles, 40 Minutes
    Type: Culture
    Difficulty Level: Easy, some uneven terrain

    Benedict Arnold is of Norwich’s most infamous native son. Discover the story of a controversial and complicated man who greatly impacted our nation’s history during the Revolutionary War. The tour gives a glimpse into Benedict Arnold’s complex childhood and discusses prominent Norwich figures that played a role in the Revolutionary War. The tour can be explored in any order. Enjoy!

    “Setting the Stage”

    35 settlers from Saybrook led by Major John Mason and Rev. James Fitch settled Norwich in 1659. The early settlement surrounded the Norwichtown Green and included the prominent Huntington, Lathrop, and Leffingwell families. The English settlers aided the Mohegan tribe numerous times throughout the 1640s – 1650s during the Mohegan and Narragansett Wars. Sachem Uncas sold a nine by nine- square mile tract of land to the settlers, which includes present-day Norwich and parts or all of the towns of Bozrah, Franklin, Griswold, Lisbon, Preston, and Sprague in appreciation of the settlers’ aid in lifting a Narragansett siege at Shantok.

    In the 18th century, Norwich was a prominent manufacturing community, which boasted numerous factories and mills powered by Norwich’s three rivers – the Yantic, the Shetucket and the Thames. Norwich was a thriving seaport; crops and livestock were traded for rum, sugar and molasses from the West Indies at Chelsea Landing. Norwich was a major shipbuilding center and provided supplies, munitions and soldiers during the American Revolution. By 1774, Norwich was the twelfth largest city in the colonies.

    A Note on Norwich Architecture

    The variety of architectural styles in Norwichtown is much greater than is found in surrounding towns in Eastern, CT. The two plans one typically encounters in the “country towns” during the 18th century are the “center chimney” plan (typically 1 ½ or 2 ½ story houses with three large rooms each with a fireplace plus two smaller rooms) and the “center hall twin chimney” plan (typically 2 ½ story house with four large rooms each with a fireplace and a center hallway, offering a more gracious floor plan.) Norwichtown has examples of these two styles, but, being a wealthy city, there are several other styles evident.

    One interesting architectural style in historic Norwichtown is a “double saltbox” (two center chimney houses attached by half of a hip roof.) The Leffingwell Inn and the Joshua Lathrop House are good examples of this style. A second slightly atypical plan is a “center hall, twin end chimney” house plan; two and a half story house with a central hallway and two end chimneys with corner fireplaces. The third interesting style is the “Norwich Plan” house (all c. 1760) in which there are nine corner posts versus the more typical twelve, the center chimney is rotated 90 degrees, the footprint is smaller and there is one less room per floor than the typical center chimney house. Many houses such as the Thomas Williams, Christopher Huntington Home and the Lord Tavern follow this pattern.

    STOP 1 - Arnold Family Homestead Corner of Washington Street...

    Benedict Arnold was born on January 14, 1741 in the home of his parents Hannah Waterman King Arnold and Captain Benedict Arnold…

    STOP 2 - Leffingwell Inn 1675 348 Washington Street

    Lt. Thomas Leffingwell was a member of one of the founding families in Norwich and assisted Sachem Uncas on many occasions…

    STOP 3 - Thomas Williams House 1759 363 Washington Street and...

    The East District Schoolhouse was built in 1789 and Lydia Huntley Sigourney, famous poet and beloved ward of Jerusha Lathrop, attended school here…

    STOP 4 - Olmstead-Lathrop House/Lathrop Manor 1660-1745...

    Dr. Daniel Lathrop was born in Norwich in 1712 and upon his graduation from Yale in 1733, he traveled to London to study “chirurgery,”…

    STOP 5- Apothecary Shop/ Joshua Lathrop House 1763...

    Joshua Lathrop, born in 1723, joined his older brother Daniel’s apothecary business after graduating from Yale. The Lathrop brothers were highly regarded…

    STOP 6 - Lowthorpe Meadow 382 Washington Street

    The name “Lowthorpe” is the English equivalent of “Lathrop” and this 18-acre meadow was deeded to the town in 1907 by the Gilman sisters…

    STOP 7 - Christopher Huntington House 1720 410 Washington St

    Christopher and Simon Huntington were founders of Norwich. In 1640, Christopher, Simon and their family left England and traveled to the new world…

    STOP 8 - Jedediah and Ebenezer Huntington House 1765 23 East...

    Jedediah Huntington was born in 1743 and is the son of General Jabez Huntington. He graduated from Harvard in 1763 and was appointed Colonel…

    STOP 9 - Samuel Huntington Mansion 1769 34 East Town Street

    Samuel Huntington was born in Scotland, CT in 1731 and practiced law with Reverend Ebenezer Devotion. Huntington married Devotion’s daughter…

    STOP 10 - Bradford-Huntington House 1660 16 Huntington Lane

    The home was built on John Bradford’s home lot in 1660 and is one of the oldest surviving homes in Norwich. John Bradford’s father was William…

    STOP 11 - Joseph Strong House 1778 30 Huntington Lane

    In 1778, Reverend Joseph Strong became the colleague pastor to the Arnold family’s pastor, Reverend Benjamin Lord, who was 84 years old at this time…

    STOP 12 - The Norwichtown Green

    The Norwichtown Green was the center of life in colonial Norwich; shops, private homes and taverns lined the green. A jail, a courthouse, whipping…

    STOP 13 - Simon Huntington 1690 2 Elm Ave

    Simon Huntington was a member of the 35 founders of Norwich. He held the esteemed title of Deacon and was married to Sarah Clark for an…

    STOP 14 - Knight/Peck Tavern 1717 8 Elm Ave

    Sarah Kemble Knight was one of the most colorful figures of Colonial Norwich. She was born in Boston in 1666 and was the second wife of Captai…

    STOP 15 - Daniel Lathrop Schoolhouse 1783 69 East Town Street

    Upon Dr. Daniel Lathrop’s death in 1782, he left an endowment of 500 pounds for a free school to remain open eleven months out of the year. The school…

    STOP 16 - Joseph Carpenter Silversmith Shop 1772 71 East Town...

    Joseph Carpenter’s silver smith shop is believed to be one of the few surviving silversmith shops in New England today. Joseph made clocks, pewter…

    STOP 17 - Jesse Brown Tavern 1790 77 East Town Street

    Jesse Brown’s house was a licensed tavern and stagecoach shop in 1790. It was famous for fine dinners boasting delicacies from Boston and Hartford…

    STOP 18 - First Congregational Church 1801 81 East Town Street

    In 1660, the first Meetinghouse was built on the southwest corner of the Green. In 1673 a second meetinghouse was erected on top of Meeting…

    STOP 19 - Lord's Tavern 1760 - 86 Town Street

    Eleazer Lord’s tavern was called the “Compass House” because it faced north. Often, lawyers would relax at the tavern before attending court…

    STOP 20 - Diah Manning 1750 85 Town St

    Diah Manning was born in 1760 and inherited the home from his father Samuel. Diah served in the Revolutionary War as a Drum Major…

    STOP 21 - Twenty French Soldiers

    In 1778, a body of French soldiers under the command of Marquis de Lafayette set up camp unexpectedly on the Norwichtown Green due to…

    STOP 22 - Hannah Waterman King Arnold's Grave

    On August 15, 1759, Hannah Waterman King Arnold died at the age of 51 due to a mysterious illness and some claim a broken heart. Hannah Waterman…

    Aftermath

    There were many other turncoats during the Revolutionary war, such as Dr. Benjamin Church, Surgeon General of the Continental Army, who was briefly jailed in Norwich for giving secrets to British General Gage. However, Arnold’s defection is so notorious because he was a celebrity and one of Washington’s trusted generals. Arnold fought courageously at the Battles of Quebec, Ridgefield and Saratoga, but political and personal attacks made him bitter. Arnold, once agile, became crippled following his injury at Saratoga, further demoralizing his spirits. When he failed to gain vindication, he began to question the patriot cause.

    In 1779, with the assistance of his second wife, Peggy Shippen, Arnold negotiated with British Major John Andre to hand West Point over to the British. However, the plot was discovered when Andre was captured and the incriminating documents were found in his boot. Arnold fled to the British lines. Washington, devastated by his friend’s betrayal, attempted to trade Andre for Arnold. To Washington’s disappointment, the British refused and Andre was hung on October 2, 1780. British and American officers alike lamented Andre’s death. According to witnesses, Andre placed the noose around his own neck. Alexander Hamilton wrote of Andre, “Never perhaps did any man suffer death with more justice, or deserve it less.”

    While serving the British, Arnold raided Richmond, burned New London and his army devastated Ft. Griswold in Groton. Arnold was mistrusted and seen as a failed spy. Arnold became a man without a country and drifted between St. John’s, Canada and London, trying unsuccessfully to revive his mercantile business. His health declined and a miserable Arnold died in London on June 14, 1801. Some records claim that as Arnold lay on his deathbed, he said, “Let me die in this old uniform in which I fought my battles. May God forgive me for ever having put on another.”

    Today, the name of Benedict Arnold has become synonymous with the word traitor. All of the good contributions, the physical injuries and financial sacrifices he made to the Revolution were quickly forgotten. If Arnold died at Saratoga instead of being wounded, he would be known as a military hero as opposed to an evil villain. Benjamin Franklin wrote that “Judas sold only one man, Arnold three millions”, and that sentiment became a common theme through the rest of American history writings up to today.

    For more information on Benedict Arnold, please click here: http://library.fora.tv/2015/05/29/Benedict_Arnold 

    Audio Script and Recording Credits

    Script Writers -Sara deBeer and Carolyn Sterns of the Connecticut Storytelling Center  – New London, CT

    Chris Bell – Norwich settler/resident/citizen/gossip; Ebenezer Punderson; CT Historian; Political Observer; Alexander Hamilton

    Tom Callinan- Benjamin Franklin; Norwich Packet Reporter

    Bill Champagne – Norwich resident/citizen; Son of Liberty; Daniel Lathrop; Apothecary advertisement

    Damien Cregeau – narrator

    Pamela Hall – Hannah Arnold; Sarah Kemble Knight; Daughter of Liberty

    Ken Lamothe- Norwich settler/resident/citizen; Seth Miner; Town Gossip; Benedict Arnold; Charles Carpenter

    Regan Miner – Lydia Huntley Sigourney; Norwich woman

    Ann Shapiro – Frances Manwaring Caulkins

    Recorded and mixed by Tom Callinan ~ Crackerbarrel Entertainments ~ Norwich, CT

    Mastered by Bob Nary~ Suite Audio ~ Clinton, CT