The World Family


The Lost


The Lost Communities
by Derek Bickford-Smith

Today's two and a half million residents - rising 3 million - who comprise the existing Norfolk & Norwich communities bear witness to those previous communities subsumed by events such as climatic and economics, and even sheer grasping for power by their neighbours.
There are so very many questions in the case of each of these deceased communities - How? Why? When? It is hoped that by registering them here, there will be friends who will come forth to fill in the detail. Such lost communities are almost totally within the United States of America. The whole question of American history would seem to be bound up with the immense dislocation of the disastrous civil war. So many young men went to battle and lost their lives, with the result that much of their original background was destroyed.

The remarkable ghost town of Norwich, Pennsylvania - where the vestiges have been turned into an historical site. Here was a thriving community based upon the extraction of timber, but that was an expendable commodity.

The State of Virginia, namely that area which is one vast conurbation now divided between Norfolk, Chesapeake and Portsmouth; was a proud possessor of Norfolk Heights and West Norfolk whilst South Norfolk has been accepted by a community to be remembered by the Chesapeake authorities. My attempts to re-identify was negatived as "no longer being in existence", but, as will be seen are still very much alive under that new administration.

Mississippi and Missouri States with their lost Norfolk communities that became areas for flood relief for that vast lifeline river - can one imagine the first delight at discovering lush pastures only to be 'outed' in the name of progress? All this information delightfully conveyed by Librarian Shirley Briant. Her acceptance of one of our Family pins was charming.

New York State with its four Norwich's - City, Town, North and East - still there were yet more Norwich's which seems to have been in existance until the late 90's but now so vaguely remembered in the library records.

Norfolk, Connecticut - a most charming almost holiday town with a barely existing South Norfolk, deprecated as being of no importance and a bare West Norfolk graveyard that shows hitherto pride in Polish ancestry.

Vermont with a seeming West Norwich in two places, but the one having the most poignant graveyard that I have ever visited. The crosses and slate headstones on that lonely hillside bearing recognition to those who had laid down their farming tools to decamp to Boston, so very many walking miles away, and fight with enthusiasm for a conceived freedom, only to lose their lives so far away. And their loved ones, bringing their bodies back, again so many walking miles, to this hill side. Remembered now by the headstones and crosses marked 1776.

Georgia and map memories of Norfolk - a post office in an unmapped area where the community became redundant. Hardly even in memory, save for the researches of Susan A.Lemme at her Washington Memorial Library and those libraries of Taylor country - The Reynolds Community Library and The Butler Library. Yet another opportunity for me to register my unparalleled debt to the wonderful lady librarians of the world.

Oregon with that Norfolk in Douglas County - yet another marked only by a Post Office, serving the inner regions and what was to have been called Norfork due to the junction of two rivers but wisely designated as Norfolk by the main post office. A thanks to Librarian Deborah Lipman of The Douglas County Library system. Were youth on my side, what wonderful travels and meetings I could have had - maybe another will take up that mission?

Colorado and Larimer County - no Norfolk remains save a large railway watering tank for those ancient water guzzlers - an outpost on this long railway line. Next door however is the fascinating story of one Charles Buylger who had the vision to lay out a new town with roads and building sites. Only no one ever came. At most it was only a loading site for cattle and sheep. Understandably Charles became depressed and finally was imprisoned for life having killed a man in a gun battle.

There are no doubt, many more that are yet to be uncovered. Where we have found information on these lost communities we have recorded them in this Directory.

If anyone out there can provide more information, please do so.
They are all part of our history and heritage.