Norwich & District Historical Society

The town of Norwich was founded in 1810 by settlers from Dutchess County, New York, many of whom were members of the Society of Friends (Quakers). By the 1830s, these Quaker settlers began to encourage free Black people from the United States to move to Upper Canada. Of these Quakers, Frederick Stover was of particular importance. He became involved in abolitionism as he travelled to Quaker Yearly Meetings in the United States, and was involved with the establishment of the Wilberforce settlement.
Other Norwich Quakers were involved in the abolitionist movement, including town co-founder Peter Lossing. As the dowry from his first marriage, Lossing was offered a number of enslaved people; on receiving these people as property, he not only freed them but helped the adults find work, and the children find new homes. The Norwich and District Museum is housed in one of several Quaker Meeting Houses built in Norwich. This one was constructed in 1889. This building was sold to the Norwich and District Historical Society in 1968 for $1.00 so that it could serve as a permanent museum site, a function it serves to this day.