Lowthorpe Meadows

This plot of land, now known as the Lowthorpe Meadows

Plaque sponsored by the Lothropp Family Foundation

Located on 382 Washington Street

This plot of land, now known as the Lowthorpe Meadows, was deeded in 1905 to Wallace S. Allis, Caroline T. Gilman, Elizabeth Gilman, George H. Gilman, Charlotte C. Gulliver, William H. Palmer and Herbert L. Yerrington. The deed reads as follows:

Dear Friends,

For the consideration of the love and good will that we have to the inhabitants of the town of Norwich, we desire to give to you and your successors for ever the greater part of the land owned by us on the west side of Washington Street, as shown by accompanying plan, that it may be kept perpetually as a free open space for the public good, unencumbered by dwelling houses, barns of any nuisance whatever.

Emily S. Gilman
Louisa G. Lane
Norwich, Conn. Nov. 30, 1905

This plot of land, now known as the Lowthorpe Meadows

The name Lowthorpe comes from the old English form of Lothrop or Lathrop. In 1745, Thomas Lathrop owned this property. This same Thomas Lathrop was an ancestor of the Gilman family.

Lathrop Home

Lathrop Home

This site is the John Olmstead home lot

Located on 380 Washington Street

This site is the John Olmstead home lot, later the Samuel Lathrop home lot, inherited by Daniel Lathrop, Samuel’s son, in 1774. The original home was burned in February 1745. Recent restoration disclosed charred lumber, indicating that the original house forms part of the present structure.

Dr. Daniel Lathrop was the son of Thomas and Lydia (Abel) Lathrop. He was born in 1712 and 1744 married Jerusha Talcott, daughter of Governor Joseph and Abigail (Clarke) Talcott of Hartford. In 1733 he graduated from Yale and went to Europe to study “Chirurgery,” but started the first apothecary shop between Boston and New York. Dr. Daniel died in 1782.

A Note on Benedict Arnold

In his youth, Benedict Arnold served five years of indentured servitude and lived in this house. Benedict Arnold came from an excellent family background. His grandfather was Governor of Rhode Island. His mother was the daughter of a prominent citizen, and her epitaph states that “she was a pattern of piety, patience, and virtue.”

Many tales have circulated about Arnold’s wild, undisciplined childhood but virtually none is true. His father’s health problems caused young Benedict to leave school and become and apprentice to his mother’s cousins, Daniel and Joshua Lathrop. Those two Norwichites taught him the apothecary’s trade and then helped set him up in business in New Haven, Connecticut. There, Arnold became a prosperous merchant, heavily involved in the West Indies trade.

The Revolution fostered Arnold’s remarkable talents as a daring commander on land and water. He fought courageously in Ticonderoga, Quebec, Lake Champlain, and at the pivotal battles of Saratoga. He repelled a British force at Danbury, Connecticut for which the Continental Congress finally named him a major general. George Washington praised Arnold and his fighting general.

Wounded seriously at Quebec and then again at Saratoga, and seeing how poorly Congress supported its army, Arnold started to doubt the merits of the patriotic cause. Problems with the local officials in Philadelphia during 1778, after Washington named him military governor there, added to his growing disillusionment. After a vicious public attack on his character, Arnold opened negotiations with the British. He believed the Revolution had lost its way and would collapse, and he hoped to lead the people in settling their differences with the Crown short of independence.

In September 1780, Arnold led attacks on Richmond, Virginia, and in September 1781 on New London, Connecticut. The massacre of American soldiers at Fort Griswold across the Thames River that day, as well as the burning of New London, further increased patriotic enmity toward Arnold. He was not at Fort Griswold but was in overall command of the troops and who attacked that bastion.

After the war, Arnold resumed his mercantile career, trading out of Canada and England. He never quite enjoyed the prosperity of his earlier years. Arnold died in London in June 1801, aged 60 years, his name, despite his invaluable service to the patriotic cause, to become synonymous with treason.

His remains are interred at St. Mary’s of Battersea Church in London with his wife, Margaret Shippen Arnold, and daughter, Sophia.

Text by Professor James Kirby Martin, author, historian, professor of history.

Lathrop Pharmacy

Lathrop Pharmacy

Located on 377 Washington Street

Dr. Joshua Lathrop, the son of Thomas and Lydia (Abel) Lathrop, was born in 1723. In 1748 he married Hannah Gardiner, daughter of David and Rachel (Schellinx) Gardiner of Gardiner’s Island. She died in 1760 and in 1761 he married Mercy Eels, daughter of Rev. Nethaniel and Mercy (Cushing) Eels of Stonington.

He graduated from Yale in 1743 and joined his brother, Dr. Daniel Lathrop, in the first drug store in Connecticut and actually the first one between Boston and New York.

Notes: This house was built in two main parts, a saltbox section and a three-bay Georgian section. It is believed the saltbox section was the first part built. Interesting features: original fireplaces, including a nine-foot cooking fireplace; original paneling—most in good condition; a smoking chamber in the attic and a cold storage chamber in the cellar (both built into the chimney), also an attached woodshed.